16 February 2012

changing my mind; and why blogs are bad

I love blogs. And even more than blogs, I love bloggers. My problem isn't with bloggers, it's with blogs. Is it just me? Well, let's see...

Have you ever declared that something was positively over? Remember the Keep Calm and Carry On posters?

I even did a post a couple years ago about how over they are. And when I wrote said post, had I ever actually seen a Keep Calm and Carry On poster in anyone's home? Yes, in one, about a thousand miles away from mine. But not in a single home that I would see on even a monthly basis. And yet, because I was seeing them "everywhere," they were over.

And just this week I was flipping through an old House Beautiful that was predicting the big trends of 2011. In it, Newell Turner (whose editorial leadership I adore) says that Chinese garden stools are over, along with a list of other overdone things. I nodded in agreement, "Oh yes, Newell, you're so right. Those damn stools are just soooo overused!" But had I actually ever seen a garden stool used in anyone's actually home? Nope. Not once. 

Noticing a pattern? I can't believe that I'm the only one who has ever avoided buying something for my own home because I've seen it in other homes in the blogosphere (or, to a lesser extent in magazines, since the homes featured usually belong to people with bigger budgets than ours).

Speaking of over, I have decided that I don't like the curtains I sewed for my office. The space is now feeling too busy to me, so I'm making lots of little changes, and the curtains just aren't floating my boat. (Don't worry... I'll recycle the fabric as pillows.) This is why I always say "nothing is ever done." :-)

I've been scouring the internet for new curtain fabric, and I decided that this was my absolute favorite: "Khanjali" by Robert Allen.

So I sat on that for a day or two, and then realized, "Crap! That's the fabric Sherry and John used for their curtains!" Yes, that Sherry and John.

Well, clearly the Khanjali fabric was no longer a viable option.

"Hold on," you may be thinking. "So, you'd avoid using a fabric just because some people on the internet whom you've never met and whose house you will never see used it?"

Yes, yes I would. A sickness? Perhaps. But I read their blog every day, and so do about 10 bajillion other people. If I used that fabric, lots of people who come over, and certainly most of this blog's readers would think, "You got the Young House Love drapes!" Not the look I'm going for.

So back to the drawing board. Here are the samples currently lingering on my magnet board as under consideration (the peacock Khanjali sample is still there, just because it's pretty).

And I think I'm leaning most toward this one, which is actually also Khanjali by Robert Allen, though in "glacier," which is enough of a difference to me. Most people (including me, I think) will never notice.

I know this all sounds completely whackadoodle, trying to avoid having anything associated with certain people or overused in our home. (And, notice, I apply this principle selectively, since I adore our soon-to-be-iconic David Trubridge pendant light in the dining room...

... and I would be overjoyed to own a Womb chair.)

Taniya Nayak of HGTV from Apartment Therapy house tour

I think the difference is that those things -- the light and the chair, and we could all think of a thousand examples -- are iconic. They're not associated with any one person, and they also don't seem tired and overused... at least not yet.

Back in the day, we would have all just gone through our lives only seeing our own home, the homes of our friends, family and neighbors and maybe a few each month featured in Better Homes and Gardens. The odds that we would have something that any of those folks have would be infinitesimally smaller than it is now, when anyone who peruses the blogosphere probably sees a few hundred homes each month. 

Having a home that feels unique, like a true reflection of "us," is a lot harder now. And I'm sure that's why I've gotten so into shopping at flea markets and antiques stores, because the odds someone else will have stuff I find there is so much smaller than if I shop at West Elm and Ikea. (Of course, the old stuff is also made better, and it tends to be cheaper... that helps too!)

So tell me: am I alone in this? Or have you ever felt the same way? If you've never ever commented before, this could just be the perfect day to chime in! ;-)

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  1. OH I'M TOTALLY THAT WAY!! I see something on a blog, and I'm like "I so want to do that!" But then I think... "they already did that, so I can't do that." haha not like they'd EVER see it (unless I blogged about it of course!) :)

  2. I dunno, maybe the the whole "I can't buy/install/make/choose that because it's all over the blogosphere" is really the boredom one would experience upon seeing that item every.single.day in one's own home. And I for one am thankful for all the bloggers out there who have the time/budget/energy to try all those new things so I can see what gets boring over time (imo) so that I can pick and choose from inspiration that reflects the timeless version of me. But I think the likelihood that two people will find the same set of blog pics inspiring/boredom-inducing is pretty low.

    For example, I love garden stools. Not the stylish solid-color geometric homegoods variety. Something more like this: http://www.benzgem.com/catalog/09garden%20stool.bmp ....which probably won't be gracing the cover of house beautiful any time soon ;-)

    1. What a great point, and a healthy way to think about it! I'm sure you're right. Just like my curtains, which I liked at first, but now find borderline hideous. :-) If only every blog in the world could have had them first so that I'd realized they wouldn't stand the test of time!

      And that is a great garden stool. It feels so much more authentic than, in your words, the "solid color geometric HomeGoods variety." And I love little Asian accents all over the house.

  3. I'm absolutely feeling the same way. I don't blog much anymore, but I still glance through my Reader from time to time. I have to admit that over the past year or so, I've started to feel like everyone's houses are starting to look the same: lots of gray, sunburst mirrors, painted furniture and chevron prints. I actually love all of those things, but I do feel like it's getting harder and harder to find unique styles. We're all doing the same things (me included).

    I started out loving the Lettered Cottage, and I still like to follow her, but every single project she does looks exactly the same to me - white walls with gray distressed accents. You just kind of become jaded to it over time. And then you feel funny because, like you said, nobody outside of the blog world has seen half of these things.

    I am totally with you on avoiding things that are too much like other bloggers. I think this sort of realization that we're all feeling is helping to guide us back to our more inherent, unique styles.

    Can't wait to see what curtain fabric you pick out! Love 'em all!

    1. Totally! I agree with everything you said. Thanks, Meg!

  4. As a former art student.... I have the same sickness =) Its part of the reason i dropped out of art school! I cant handle being copied (when blog land went nuts with remaking my quinoa fried rice i wanted to die.. whats wrong with me!?) or copying anyone else. like at all.. I need to get our more ;)

  5. I like the glacier color even more. Maybe I will use it...ha! Just kidding. I recently saw a chveron pillow and it appealed to me. I've never before liked chevron and it doesn't seem to jive with a lot of other styles I like, yet I liked it anyway. However, I remember recently reading on a blog that chevron is "so over" and I felt silly for liking it because I must be soooo out of date. Man, that seems really dumb now that I admit it LOL.

    1. Well since I'm not a big deal blogger, I'm fine if you copy me. :-) And if you love chevrons, go for it! I know that the midcentury modern trend has gotta be on its way out soon, but I just love all those warm, non-reddish woods in our mountain house, so I filled the place with 'em anyway.

    2. is a trend ever really over if you love it?

  6. Hey girl! Yes, I think these thoughts every single day. It's odd how our exposure to this specific world of blogging and home decor has us feeling this way. I think I've realized that for a while I was trying to make my house look like everyone else's when I should be creating a home that reflects my style.

    So I've been focusing on doing that. Creating things how I like them, not just because I see it on Pinterest.

    I consider home decor blogs inspiration if you will and it's not my only inspiration for sure. I make sure of that, otherwise our houses will all look the same! And I want mine to be intersting, meaningful and most of all, me.

  7. I love this...humorous and true! So many good points!

    1. Isn't it funny how certain things are trends yet real people like us {full time DIY bloggers should also be kept off this list as their home IS their work and life} don't end up buying them? Those magazine and design catalogs are making suckers out of us all. We feel like we have to have it only for it to leave us a year later. A lesson in trends...I might as well stick to what I personally love.

    2. I read Young House Love occasionally...so even when you name dropped I didn't know who you were talking about. I would be more likely to stop over to their blog and say, "hey you have Postmodern Hostess curtains!" :) But I get it. I feel like when people see things I have done, many non bloggy types will say things like, "did you see that on {insert creative TV show/magazine/website/etc}" or even worse, "did you see that on pinterest?" It's like we are not capable of coming up with our own creative ideas! So I will agree on your decision on this one! I especially hate it when I write a blog post and then read the same exact topic on another more popular blog. I think to myself, "hey, I came up with this idea on my own, thank you very much!" But I guess that is life as a blogger. I try to tell myself that even though said blogger has already posted about it, I have at least one reader {even if it is just my mom!} that does not read that blog...so if I can inspire at least one person, that works for me!

    3. I also loved what Meg said in the comments. Everything is starting to look the same. And personally I don't want to be like everyone else. And I am often surprised that I get the largest and most impactful response from readers when I am true to myself and my personal taste.

    All this to say...loved your every word! :)

    1. oh and I also forgot to add that I am totally sporting a "keep calm and have a cupcake" sign in my kitchen...and proud of it!!! ;)

  8. I admit when I saw the fabric I went 'isn't the YHL curtain fabric'? And I felt like a dork for noticing something like that. That said, I don't have a 'Keep Calm' poster, though I secretly want one. I do have a Keep Calm knock-off free printable thingy hanging in my office and I suppose that is enough for me. What the heck, right?!?

    I agree w/PP when saying things start to look the same in Blogland pretty fast and yes, it's easy to get jaded, but I also really agree that it should push us to be true our own selves. It also pushes me to pare down my blogroll, LOL! =D

  9. No no, I feel ya - like chevron stripes and a ton of other things! I feel like nothing is "mine" and that a true creative spirit is actually being a little dampered with pinterest (although I love it so).

  10. YES! Though last year I think I may have broken myself from feeling this way. I bought chiang ming pillows, a Docksta table and a sunburst mirror. And I just ordered some O'verlays. Oh - and there's a garden seat on my deck that's waiting for a coat of white spray paint. But yeah - no one who has ever come over to my house has said "Oh! You have that table that everyone else has!"

    I actually find the harder thing for me is trying to distinguish whether I like something just because all the cool kids have it or if it's something I actually like. If I've decided that it's the latter, then I don't care if it's on every blog under the sun.

  11. Great post - you crack me up with your honesty and I appreciate it. I like your office - it looks very open and bright. Good luck with the new curtains.

  12. Love the mood boar & the Ikat fabric.

  13. The blogging world sure makes the world a tiny little place. You feel like you know thousands of people that you're never likely to meet!
    So in a way I get that having something similar to someone else in your house would feel a bit weird, a bit like that "friend" we all have that copies everything you do!

  14. P.S. I think I'd do practically anything to have one of those keep calm and carry on rugs at my front door!

  15. I am already "over" my entire dream kitchen design concept because I have seen so many of the aspects all over the interwebs. :(
    It makes me really super sad actually.

  16. What a wonderfully thought-out diatribe on the cons of being bombarded with beautiful design on a daily basis. I scour the blogosphere for images of homes daily, and often other people's homes leave me with envy, but also a little disappointment that my style is so "similar" (read: not unique).

    This is why my trick is always ORIGINAL pantings!



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