Hi all! In my recent post Actually Back and Actually Better Than Ever, I told you that after a big, long, crappy slump, my creativity is finally re-energized! I thought I’d take this week’s post to talk a little more about the changes I’m seeing in myself and my design palette.
Growing up in the cold weather of Minnesota, I was always inspired by dark colors and cozy textiles – dark browns and burgundies, wools and furs. I loved patterns that signaled fall and winter, primarily houndstooth and tartan. In Minnesota, summer almost seemed like a momentary eclipse to my home state’s truly chilly nature, and my design style reflected that Northern cold.
Since meeting and marrying Vikram, I’ve noticed my design palette beginning to pick up some Indian flavors. I don’t think this is necessarily because I married Vikram; rather, I think it has more to do with the fact that being with him has given me the access to Indian design elements that I may not have otherwise had. (There’s only so much inspiration you can get from HomeGoods :)) I find myself incorporating brighter colors like mustards and golds, as well as block prints and traditional embroidery work such as phulkari, which is from Vikram’s home state of Punjab.
Shortly after moving into our apartment in North Carolina, I transformed a built-in in our apartment into a temple area that combines my Minnesotan colors with Vikram’s Hindu culture. I find the space to be one of the first examples of our cultures combining to create a unique design environment.
I feel like I slipped into my design rut shortly after moving to North Carolina. Maybe it was culture shock, maybe it was the lack of cold weather that previously justified my use of dark and heavy elements. Either way, I really felt lost as a designer after the move. The things I was seeing in the South – bright patterns, traditional monograms, and preppy silhouettes – were completely new to me, and the living space that we had packed up and moved down with us seemed at odds with the light, carefree flavor of the South. Roaming around Raleigh-Durham and coming home to a Minneapolis apartment felt like I was living in two different worlds, and left me more than a little disoriented.
As someone who is truly a designer at heart, having my design foundation shaken was quite alarming – it made me constantly doubt myself and led to crippling insecurity. Something that had come so naturally to me for my entire life was suddenly something I wasn’t able to do anymore – or maybe I was never as good at is as I thought I was.
I’m happy to report that we’ve been in North Carolina for over a year and a half now, and I’m finally feeling confident in my design abilities again. I’ve embraced certain Southern elements – sunny yellows and delicate pinks, lots of white, eyelet lace, monogramming, florals, and greenery. Needless to say, our home has slowly but surely gotten brighter over the last few months! There are some Southern elements I’ve shied away from – neons in particular (seriously, why is neon such a big deal down here?) – but even so, I feel like I’ve done a good job of incorporating Southern things that somehow still feel like “me”.
One area that I’ve focused on redesigning is our bed. In Minnesota, I stuck with hotel-inspired white sheets and a heavy down comforter with burgundy accent pillows. It wasn’t very inspiring, so I decided to explore my newfound creativity there. I ended up finding the perfect quilt (whose lightness was a much better fit for the NC climate than our down comforter) with the perfect Indian-inspired design and bright Southern coloring. As a nod to my Minnesota roots, I bought it from Target 🙂
As I mentioned in my previous posts, my mom was in a terrible car accident earlier this spring. While she was recovering in the hospital and TCU, I decided to put my time visiting to good use by creating a custom pillow with both Indian and Southern elements to finish off the bed decor. (I’ll have more info on this pillow in a separate post, but for those of you that are curious, it says Verma!)
Do I feel like I’ve finally found my design style? No, but I have learned to get accustomed to three seemingly disparate styles influencing my design sense. I’m growing comfortable with the uncomfortable, and letting my inspiration run free. I’m sure I’ll feel settled after some time, but at this point I’m not trying to rush it. My design sense closely mirrors my life, and I think it’s best to let both run their course and just enjoy the ride!
Thank you for listening to me talk about my design experiences over the past few years – I hope you found it interesting/relatable/helpful/any of the above 🙂 I look forward to writing again next week! If you have any questions or comments for me, please feel free to leave them in the comments section below. As always, be sure to follow me on Facebook and Instagram for posts and updates in between blog posts!
Ciao for now!