When is enough enough?

In an era when minimalism is becoming de rigeur, when networks such as HGTV, FLN, and DIY are promoting less clutter, and when “staging” is as much a part of selling a home as is putting the sign up in the front yard, my affection for “stuff” is a bit, well, out of vogue.  While not a hoarder in the least, I am probably a nightmare for those who like clean surfaces and empty living spaces. 

Personally, I think that my home is a well-balanced depiction of me and of my personality.  Sometimes it might get a little cluttered (my dining room table often serves a second role as mail collector and my dining rooms chairs seat my purses and bags more often than they seat actual derrieres) I will admit.  But, in general, I think that I have done a good job in decorating and acquiring pieces that truly reflect who I am. 

My weakness is wall space.  I admit it.  I hate a naked wall.  There is not a wall in my 900 square feet of condo space that does not have some kind of framed something or another on it.  Recently, I decided that all of my wall accessories needed to be original.  No more 3 for $99 prints from HomeGoods for me.  No siree. 

Luckily for me, I surround myself with wonderfully talented, artistic, and generous friends.  My most recent acquisition is a three piece painting I commissioned from my good friend, Erica.  Erica is a PR whiz by day but rightfully moonlights as a fantastic painter.  She just launched Studio Eriksdotter, which showcases her acrylics and watercolors and features a blog that highlights what she’s presently working on.   My art, called “Sunflower Rising,” appears on her website but, more importantly, is featured prominently on my living room wall, above my red couch.

brown sara's 30th 003

I love this for a variety of reasons, the least of which are because it’s original, it was painstakingly painted and created just for me, and it’s just awesome. (And, this photo, which I took, does not do it justice.  I, obviously, was not blessed with a photographic talent.)

Another favorite artist of mine is Wayne Thiebaud.  His work is often of the food variety (think sweets), so it’s no wonder that I gravitate toward his creations.  His prints are the only non-original pieces that currently “clothe” my walls.  My brother and sister-in law listened to my hints and, for my birthday, had Thiebaud’s “Three Machines” framed for me.   The wall on which I have it hanging is in the main living area.  On the other side of that wall is the kitchen, where I have Thiebaud’s “Cakes.”  Both symbolize so many different things to me and I have no problem allowing them to be the exception to my art rule.


I have a hallway wall dedicated to photos of trees–one taken by my friend, Kenneth, who also just started a fan page on Facebook (Lecky Photography).  Because I was one of his first fans, Kenneth gave me a print of my choice from his voluminous collection.  I chose this one:


And that, friends, is just four–FOUR–of the many walls of my humble abode.  I am not sure if the choice I have made to dress my rooms this way is bad or good.  I do know, though, that I love looking at it all.  I love that each photograph is an original, taken by someone I know and printed especially for me.  I love how the black and white of most of my photographs contrasts with the brightness of my prints, my paintings, and my other decorating choices.  I love, for example, that I have a picture of an Italian nun, sitting in a McDonalds in Venice, chomping on French fries.  I love that each of these pieces has a story behind it, and that, often, that story is personal to me in one way or another.  I love that people stop to look at it all, as though this is the Lala art gallery and I have a constant art show going on (champagne, cheese, and crackers provided). 

Bring in a stylist or a stager, though, and I think I might be in trouble.  Less is more, I know.  But, for now, more and excess is how I want to live.  My gluttony comes in many forms, it seems.  And this is just one of them.  While it’s always better to have quality over quantity, in this case I think I might have struck a happy medium.

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