I'm an interior designer and I took a "What style are you?" quiz and here's what I learned.
Updated: Apr 15
I am a terrible client. Not just a bad client, I'm the worst client I've personally ever had. The challenge of being a designer is that I love many different styles and once I see an object that captures my attention my brain instantly designs a fabuous room around it. It doesn't matter if it's me or not, because it's about objective design, not subjective, which makes this really difficult. I didn't have much time; I needed to upfit my guest bedroom done quickly because my mom was coming for an extended stay and I had no idea where to start. I looked everywhere-- Houzz, Google, Instagram, and Pinterest; I checked out magazine articles and design-oriented websites, and even stalked the sites of several designers I know, but I couldn't find anything that was inspiring, so I gave in and took a style quiz.
If you haven't taken one, style quizzes are filled with about 10 pages of different rooms and you click on the ones you like as you move page to page. At the end of the quiz it gives you your answer with a synopsis of your style. I was super hopeful when I started, but by page four I was starting to get frustrated because none of the rooms were spaces I'd live in, but I had to pick something to progress through the quiz. Maybe if I picked the one I liked best, it would magically mash the different looks together to show me my true and unique style so I could get on with my new guest room.
Only, that's not what happened.
At the end of the quiz it told me I was Glam and gave me some perky write up about what that meant-- chic, sexy, and elegant; reminiscent of old Hollywood, and classically formal. Hmmmm... okay-- on some days, but I'm not a Hollywood starlet. I don't walk around in heels, lipstick, and well-tailored clothing. My hair isn't perfectly coiffed, and my nails aren't always well-manicured-- sometimes they're broken from furniture installs or covered in paint and nailpolish ruins them. When I try to imagine who lives in a glam house, it just doesn't feel like me. Glam is a temporary mood to me, but I don't think I want to live in it forever.
I'm an X-er. I grew up in Denver, Colorado when it was a western town and Sarasota, Florida, when it was a quite beach town filled with artists and hippies. While I've been in Durham for many years, I most associate home with the towns of my youth because they are the areas that shaped me and imprinted upon me. I still love the moody/punky/alternative music of my youth-- like the Ramones, Depeche Mode, and the Cure, as well as the Grateful Dead, Nick Drake, and Carol King. My dad was an architect so we had an Eames chair and several other Mid Century Modern pieces. That's who I am...
So I wrote a list and started thinking about symbols. I painted the walls black to represent my love of alternative music. I used a modern brass bed, because it made me think of cabins in old mountain towns, and hung the cowboy hat I got at a western shop in Larimar Square above it. My night stand has MCM lines and I hung the Gabo pendant from my childhood living room in a dark corner. My bedding is white for calmness and chose tribal fabrics for my drapery and bed pillows to represent my time in Sarasota. I do have a bit of glam in me, which is represented by the gold Greek key mirror above my nightstand and the turquois ceramic lamp. Sarasota was the winter home of John Ringling, his brothers, and the circus, so I tried to work in a vintage circus poster, but it was just too much, but no worries-- knowing how to edit is vital to good design.
This room is me. It's cozy and comfortable and beautifully tells my story. It also has a hidden super power, which is the light Gabo light from our old living room. When days are rough and I miss my dad, and I just need a bit of a boost, I turn it on and sit in its light, It's a memory trigger for me and when it's on it brings me back in time to that long lost room, my childhood, and all the love I felt then. It's Christmas mornings, Sundays watching the Broncos, and evenings curled up watching Thursday night Must see tv.
The trouble with trends is that they are beautiful, but they aren't much more than that. They can't feed us, remind us of who we are and where we came from. They can't support us when we're down, trigger fond memories of the past, or help us heal. They're anonymous. They're for when we want to forget and be someone else for a spell, but they're not where home lives, which is in each and everyone of us. So skip the quiz and wander a bit down memory lane.
Design consciously, live beautifully.