Submitted by Marlie Bilbruck-Boerger
“I just don’t have a clue where to begin.” “You’re so good at decorating. I don’t know where you find your inspiration.” “I just don’t have the (decorating) gene.”
I hear it all the time from friends, family, acquaintances, delivery people, etc. People who just can’t see the decorator in themselves and seem to be struck by the ‘decorator’ they perceive resides in me. The truth is I don’t have anything at my disposal different than anyone else. I don’t live someplace particularly inspirational, I didn’t grow up in an artsy home, I didn’t even attend a school known for its ‘free-thinkers’. The only thing I can think of that I do differently from others might be that I am constantly seeking inspiration in my everyday life.
I take note of life around me. When in the grocery store I notice all of the beautiful fruit and vegetables and how their shapes and colors create such an amazing display. My children get tired of having me point out the gorgeous mountains, the blue sky, the fluffy white clouds, the amazing fall leaves. I find myself constantly finding inspiration through the artwork that can be found at the library and public offices. Just about anywhere and everywhere my day takes me I can find something that inspires me.
I challenge you to try it. Make a conscious effort to see the beauty, patterns, colors, life all around you and then glean some decorative inspiration from it. It doesn’t have to be a big thing. Maybe you notice the way the gray of the sky and the blue of the mountains are striking together and you decide to move the blue chair from the bedroom near to the gray couch in the den. Or maybe you see a piece of glass artwork that has the sunlight playing off of it and you decide to hang some glass chimes near your kitchen window to catch the afternoon light. Whatever the inspiration or the decorating project that results from it if it makes you happy and is personal to you then it will turn out perfect.
So go out and explore your everyday life. Who knows what inspiration you’ll find?
Submitted by Marlie Bilbruck-Boerger
My six-year-old asked me the other day if she may look through one of my design books (specifically a book dedicated to bedroom design). I said, “Of course. Help yourself.” I was mainly just excited and a little impressed that she asked to look at a book as opposed to watching T.V. or playing a video game. But after a while of listening to her critique several layouts and designs throughout the book with remarks like, ‘Oh my gosh! What were they thinking?’, ‘I would not have put that chair there.’, and ‘Now that one I like. I really like that one.’ I became more and more aware of being impressed by something altogether different—I was now impressed by what an opinion on design she had. I was struck by the fact that she is only six and already has a strong thought about what she likes and does not like.
This got me thinking about myself at the tender age of six and remembering clearly moving the furniture around in my small bedroom (this was made easier than you might think by the fact that it was fairly light furniture and we had hardwood floors) to better make it fit my personal design style and just to make it ‘feel right’. I too had a strong opinion on design. But then again I think if you were to ask most children what color they wanted their rooms painted or how they would like them decorated they would all be able to share quite definitively their opinions on the subject.
It was at this point that I realized that style and design are not possessed by a lucky few, but instead are innate and unique in all of us. We all know what we like and what we don’t. The difference between a person who is ‘design savvy’ and one who is not is that the former knows how to pull it all together and can see the details through the mountain of throw pillows.
This is why people hire designers, to have someone who can interpret their personal design style and bring it to fruition. Someone who can ask the right questions, visualize the end result, who has the resources, knows the particulars, is detail-oriented and can draw out the design that lays in all of our souls–Someone who can turn our homes and offices into reflections of us.
As designer Billy Baldwin once said, “If you have marvelous taste and know exactly what you want, you don’t need a decorator.” Well I think we can all agree that we know what we want when we see it, but most of us can use a little help finding it first.