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To My Own Self Be True

Have you ever felt like caving and going with the popular crowd? Maybe with how you feel you are supposed to look. Maybe with what you are supposed to enjoy doing.

Specifically I’m thinking in regards to design though.

Y’all know I’m an Interior Designer. I was trained to be able to follow the design rules set in place to make the most beautiful spaces in any style. I was trained to solve design issues, plan the perfect lighting, customize homes to meet and surpass my clients dreams.

Did you know I struggle too?

It may not be with some of the things you struggle with but I bet one big one is exactly the same. Designers are human too.

Honestly as a designer I think in many ways it’s harder. I got into Interior Design because of a love of styles and textures and colors and patterns. Designers get to help people with many different styles. We get to “play” if you will with many more options and spaces than someone who is just working on their own home for their own family. It’s great fun. It can also be really confusing. I love so many things about so many different styles that it can get a bit hard to figure out what is really YOU.

I’ve had opinions on design ever since I designed my first bedroom all on my own. I believe I was about 12 at the time. Over time my style evolved and settled on a decidedly French look. More French Country than French Provincial due to my love of vintage and rustic elements. I had an amazing time collecting antique furniture and accessories.

Then I had kids.

I realized very quickly that all my antiques and beautiful silks and vintage lace was not that practical with kids. I mean, I didn’t want them growing up feeling that THINGS were more important than them and like they had to walk around on egg shells. I wanted the kids (and still do want them) to grow up appreciating beautiful things and knowing how to handle things gently but they have to learn on something and I didn’t really want it to be on lovely antiques.

So I sold it all.

I’m totally serious.

Melding what The MR likes and what I liked came to a middle ground of a Tuscan style. Now please understand I love Italy and it’s style, the language, the food, the scenery, the gardens, the stone, the food, the history, the food….did I mention the food?

Tuscan is not a common style in the areas I have been living so it’s not like I could find much decor as is. I had to make or alter most things I got but that’s fine. It’s what I love to do anyways.

This could be the end of the story but it’s not. Thanks to social media and what’s EVERYWHERE, in every store these days, as well as what so many small shops are making, it’s hard to avoid the Farmhouse style. In fact if you care about your popularity on social media and how well “liked” you are, it’s easy to find yourself going down a different path. Slowly and subtly being led by the stronger personalities in the group. Feeling like if you made your space look just like “so and so” that it would get you more followers. I think you know what I’m talking about. I’ve sure heard a lot of people expressing the same “peer pressure” feelings.

Anyways I shared all this to tell you about a break thru I had just a couple days ago. I’m so excited.

I was actually talking with a dear friend on Instagram who often asks my opinion on things in her home or ideas she has. It’s nice to have someone else’s opinion on DIY’s, you know?

So I was talking with this sweet friend and she was expressing frustration at not really knowing what she loved and feeling she had too many things but not knowing what to keep and what to get rid of. I found myself telling her the same thing I have said SO MANY times before.


It’s so very brilliant! 🙂

I said something like the following – “Imagine you had some form of a disaster happen to your home….a flood or a fire or something. Every person is safe but as far as possessions – you have 15 minutes to get out what is most important to you and you will lose the rest. What do you grab in those 15 minutes? Those are the things you really love that are in your home. Make those work”.

Later I got to thinking about that myself. How many times have I said this but not made my own list? So I started making my list in my head.

It was a really, really short list.

A lot of thinking and soul searching later I realized that my heart (my design heart anyways) was still deeply rooted in the French style and I vowed then and there to be true to me.

I also realized that without even consciously realizing it, quite a few of the more recent choices I’ve made for my home have been closer to French than Tuscan style anyways and I gave myself permission to follow my heart.

This time of year everyone is talking about New Year’s Resolutions and what they want to change for next year. I typically don’t make New Year’s Resolutions. I mean, I break them before the end of January just like everyone else so why bother?

This year I’m going to make myself a promise instead. For 2019 I am going to be true to myself. To make my home the way I LOVE it, not necessarily the most popular style or what someone who I admire is doing in their home.

Someone who is very popular in the Instagram world has coined the phrase to “Do You” and I love that!

So grab yourself a cup of coffee and some of those cookies you just baked the other day and think about what you love in your home and how you can be true to your heart too. It might not involve changing your style but it might involve displaying those things that have been packed away for a while because they aren’t the “in thing”. Maybe allowing yourself to love some color in your home and not having to only have white everywhere (I’m not saying there is anything wrong with white. I have lots of white in my home).

Maybe it’s allowing yourself to show your home how it really looks instead of altering the photos in an attempt to make them more popular and more liked.

Maybe I’m the only one that needs to make this promise to myself this year but I’m thinking probably not!

I bet you know exactly what I’m talking about…..

Anyways, just saying…..

Merry Christmas!

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  1. Tara,
    This is perfect. I struggle so much on IG with who I am and what my message should be. IG can lead us down the wrong path if we aren’t careful and true to ourselves. Great message!

    1. stilettosandshiplap says:

      I agree, Michelle! We can all get into that for sure. Its easy to get confused with who we really are and what makes us truly happy. Who do we really want to please? Thanks for reading.

  2. Tara, I LOVE this post!! You are so wise! we should each be true to our own styles and preferences, without social media taking charge of our design decisions! You have such a lovely style and I can’t wait to see it evolve in 2019!

    1. stilettosandshiplap says:

      Awwww Thanks so much, Em! I’m really excited to just go with what’s me as well. Already starting!

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