a wildly wallpaper dining room image via Paul Anater

A client came to me yesterday with a photograph very similar to this one as one of his few inspiration images. The image is from Graham and Brown, the British wallpaper people. Further, the pattern is one by Umbra for Graham and Brown. The guy didn’t know where to start other than he wanted the feeling of that image interpreted and extrapolated over his entire open floor plan condominium. Perfect, this is just the kind of challenge I love. I asked him what it was about the photograph he liked so much. And without hesitation, he said, ” The wallpaper.”

So I started talking about wallpaper and how cool it is and how my great friend Given Campbell has some patterns he ought to see. He stopped me and said, “Oh I can’t use wallpaper.”

I reminded him that it was wallpaper that started our conversation and it was wallpaper that was so appealing to him. He went on to explain that he can’t use wallpaper in his home because it’s too “taste specific.” Mind you, this is a man who’d also told me he had no intention of selling any time soon. He was interested in making his house really his.

So when did making a home “taste specific” to the man who owns it become a bad thing? Isn’t my whole life spent helping other people make their homes taste-specific to them?


Your Home is Your Home

It reminds me of a conversation I had with a woman about a year ago. Anyhow, she wanted to know if it’s OK to hang family photographs in the “public” areas of her home. I explained to her that hotels have public areas but homes don’t. She looked at me as if I were speaking Russian.

I hear things like that with shocking regularity. “I can’t do what I want because it’s what I like and nobody else will.” Or “I can’t leave too personal an impression in my living room.” Or “I drip a little vanilla extract on a light bulb every night, how do I keep it from leaving a stain?” How about “I want to paint my dining room a bright color but I’m worried about resale.” Has everyone become a home stager all of the sudden?

I know where all of this crap’s coming from. It’s that great Satan HGTV. I swear, they are the Fox News of the design press. Turn it off please. And leave it off.

Your home is your home and by virtue of the fact that you’re an adult, you get to do anything inside of it you want to do. Even if it’s stuff I find repugnant, who cares? I’m some guy with a big mouth in Florida, not some final arbiter and neither is anyone else. So go ahead. paint your walls with chalkboard paint, put a damn chicken coop in the backyard, hang exciting wallpaper. And for the love of God, stop asking for permission to put photos of your kids on the mantle.

If you’re going to put your house on the market sometime down the road, deal with it then but you can’t live your life for a potential buyer. And seriously, when is the last time you walked out of a house tour because someone had a perfectly painted red dining room? People walk out of house tours because the place is falling down. Gah!

Life’s over faster than anyone wants to admit. Leave a mark already.


Note for the hosts:

I’d like to thank super-blogger  Paul Anater for posting with us. I originally connected with the man formally known as @saintpetepaul on Twitter. Paul can currently be found @Paul_Anater. His don’t miss daily blog can be found here. This article originally posted there on May 13, 2010. ~ jb