Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Decorating with Intention

I'm a big fan of Houzz, and I don't think I'm the only one.  All you Houzzers out there, raise your hand!

[My one complaint is that if you comment on an article or respond to a question that someone has thrown up on the site, every.single.comment.forever.more.on.that.article is then sent to your e-mail. I commented on a couple pieces before realizing the ramifications, and am still getting e-mails several months later. BTW, does anyone know how to leave a comment on Houzz without getting a flood of other comments sent to your e-mail?!]

But back to the point of this post...

A recent article on decorating with intention caught my eye. Now I'll be honest, the subtitle almost caused me to move on without reading it: "Could a Mission Statement Help Your House". Huh? What a silly idea!

But then I took time to read the article and this comment about how a mission statement could help made a lot of sense: "So the next time you are waffling about a purchase, looking for a new home or even changing a paint color, you can let your mission statement remind you of your priorities and vision for your home and life."

With high prices and sky-rocketing inflation here in Argentina, we have to be thoughtful about every peso we spend. And that applies to everything from construction materials to furniture,  appliances and even decorative items. Which led me to think, "Why not develop a mission statement for my home?"

Because I'm a hard-copy kind of girl, I wrote the seven questions in a notebook, and then worked my way through each one. Oh, and half-way through I decided to get Ivan's input too, so I asked him to answer questions #1-4. It actually turned out to be a very beneficial exercise, and I think it really will help as we contemplate our future home, as well as any other projects we tackle for the casita.

Since I had so much fun with it, I thought some of you might like to play along too. How about it? First up: the seven questions (abbreviated by me)...

1. Explore your style: Look at images you've saved and see if there's a theme to what you like, or are drawn to, that could become part of your mission statement.

2.  Tap into your values: What are your priorities? How can you welcome them into your home?

3.  Define how you want your home to feel: How do you want to feel (or have others feel) when they walk in the front door? Brainstorm words and then choose the top three.  How can you incorporate them into your home?

4.   Clarify the purpose of your home: What role does your home play in your life (beyond basic shelter)? Feel free to add one or two additional roles that support the main one.

5.  Refine your answers: Make a list of key words and phrases from your brainstorming and style folders.

6.  Imagine your ideal day at home: What do you see, hear, smell, touch and taste throughout the day? Who else is there? What do you do?

7.  Write your mission statement: "My home is a place where..."

As I worked through the questions, and then talked to Ivan, it was easy to see we had a very clear idea of what we want our home to be like.

I ended up with almost 25 items in response to question #1 about exploring my style: everything from white spaces, to touches of rustic mixed with modern, and lots of baskets... I definitely have a certain style. What was interesting was how closely my list aligned with Ivan's. We both like:
~ an open floor plan, but cozy spots created within the wide open space
~ have the things we use at hand, but not necessarily always visible (that includes cords associated with various electronic devices, uncluttered kitchen counters, and so on)
~ lots of big windows
~ for lack of a better word: organic pieces (log beams, handcrafted items, etc.)
~ architectural art, because our taste in pictures (whether drawings, paintings or photographs) leans toward places we've lived or visited

Question #2 about our values also found us in agreement; our priorities include delineated private and public spaces (including outdoors) so that we and our guests can feel comfortable.

And that led naturally into answering question #3 about how we want our home to feel, with our top three words being: welcoming, clean, and comfortable.

Without even discussing it, our response to #4 was spot on! Ivan answered that he believes the primary purpose of our home is to be a "haven" and I responded "refuge" --two words with the same concept.

We didn't spend a lot of time describing our ideal day. We did agree that we like to have time to do the necessary cleaning/maintenance, spend time with people, have time for just the two of us, and for me the ideal day would also include time to be creative.

It took about an hour to work through all the questions and brainstorm, and then I came up with this mission statement:

Our home is a haven for family and friends, a place where they feel welcome and comfortable. Our home is a light-filled, open space, clean and uncluttered, with beautiful things that have special meaning and speak of the people we love and the places we've been.

It's rather general, but I believe it will help as we think about the materials we want to use when we build, and the pieces we'll be buying to furnish or decorate our home.

So what about you? How do you determine whether to buy something for your home?


Mari said...

I really like that! It sounds like a beneficial thing to do.
PS - I've never heard of Houzz.

The Bug said...

That's a pretty cool process. I might go through it with Mike - after the semester is over :)

We're hampered a bit by space limitations, attachment to things that don't necessarily match our "mission statement" and the fact that I give up the type of space I'd like to have so that I can do the things I like to do (keeping the desktop computer in the living room)...

rita said...

Your initial mission statement sounds like it could be ours too.

Great exercise!