Tuesday, October 29, 2013

The Road From Bohemian Chic to Cozy Cottage

My decorating style has really varied over the years.  While I was in 
college my style was early Bohemian Chic.  My roommate and I 
constructed a tent in our room much like the one you see if this pic.
I wish that I had the foresight to take pics of my dorm room back then
because ours was the only one like it.  Filled with pillows and candles
it was oh so cool and nothing like our mother's dorm room would
have been.

After college I started dreaming of a different kind of nest.  
I went back to my Scandinavian roots and wanted only very clean
and modern lines with pops of color.   A Stockholm in NYC kind
of look is what I was going for.  Blame it on my family who 
always called me the "little Swede".

Then I moved to this little island off the coast of Saudi Arabia.
A very exotic and exciting move for me.

And I was a First Primary teacher at this school ...
Sacred Heart School of Bahrain.  Some of the happiest days
of my life were spent at this school filled with children
from 28 different countries all seeking a British education
in Arabian Gulf.

I spent hours shopping in the souk.  I still miss shopping there.
It was all so colorful and fascinating.  And it's when I started to
become very interested in handmade carpets and kilims, big brass
trays and the beautiful woven baskets that were everywhere.
So the Bohemian Chic and the Scandinavian style were merging
into what I was calling "Susan's Eclectic Style".  It was a 
pre-PotteryBarn kind of look.

The colors of the kilims are so vibrant and work so well with 
several design styles.

These wonderful baskets were handwoven and used to 
collect fish from the gulf and also to put live chickens in to
take to the souk for sale.  

But after three years of living in the Middle East and becoming very 
homesick for the good old USA,  I longed for a very different style
that really reflected my born in the USA roots.  

After I married and moved to Middleburg, Virginia I re-embraced the
design style of my childhood.  So my style guru became ...

Ralph Lauren.  The designer who really embraced American East Coast
style.  The camelback sofas, primitive hutches, handmade quilts and yes ~
dogs on the furniture and horses everywhere.  My kind of design guy.
His Hudson Valley collection was my favorite.
But then ...

I became enamored with the cottage style.  It's not far off from
from Ralph's Hudson Valley look, but with a few more 
English country touches.  And now?  Well Bentley is still on
the furniture and horse prints are everywhere.  But now that I
am in a new to me house in Texas, I find that my style is
evolving a bit to reflect the elements of our new place.  The one
thing I know for sure is ~ your nest should always reflect
who you are and your own passions.  

Of course, Bentley is happy no matter how his momma 
changes her design style.  Look at that big smile!

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley


  1. We love that rug. Would love to fly there and buy it

  2. Hi Susan, what a fun and interesting post. Wow, living in the middle East. What an experience! My style has evolved over the years also. Always been kind of eclectic, but once loved Victorian. Not full out, but more what we know call shabby chic. I tend to lean towards the cottage and farmhouse style these days. It's fun to make change now and then!

  3. Susan,
    I love this little trip through your design life....I have added to and subtracted from and tweaked a little but my style has definitely stayed mostly eclectic through the years..I always wanted to be a one kind of style girl but....the bohemian eclectic always won out...
    Bentley is so cute..
    Love, Mona

  4. I'm not sure if I ever had a style, I thing it's just things I have grown to love over the years and kept and repaired and not discarded when they looked old or tired more of a mish mash.

  5. Well that was fun seeing your various styles through the years. You were a very brave woman to move to Saudi by yourself ... I barely survived moving 30 miles into 20 when I was 19 :) Bentley, yes he likes all his mama's styles!

    Hugs ~ Mary

  6. I loved reading about the evolution of your style, Susan. Mine has changed over the years, but it has always included antiques. Your home should definitely always reflect who you are. xo Laura

  7. I can't wait to see what you come up with when you are all done and have the basics in place that will define your new style- xo Diana

  8. Oh this was so interesting to learn about you, Susan!

    Thanks for sharing.

    I think we've all changed through the years.....only wish my mother would have lived long enough to see me fall in love with wood - she only really saw my Swedish Modern ultra streamlined chrome/glass/leather/white phase. She would love where I am at taste-wise now, lol maybe she'd in heaven sending me design vibes because boy have I changed through the years - she's been gone since 1995.


  9. You've led a fascinating life Susan! That takes guts to move so far away.

    I love Ralph Lauren he is my all time favorite designer mostly in clothes though.
    The cottage style i will always love!
    Hugs to Bentley!!

    Pamela xo

  10. Well, you've led quite an interesting life and been places I know I'll never go. My design style has always been eclectic, I guess. Always quilts and books and plants.

  11. I know I've gone through a lot of design phases but I was always influenced by people and trends, and you, by places you have lived. And how interesting was that?!!


  12. What an interesting past you have had. It will be fun to see what you decide on. I like mixing it up. I love rugs but our Yorkie thinks they are to potty on. (((((HUGS))))

  13. Fascinating. Isn't it funny how a style change just creeps up on us and nothing will do but we must go with it? Can't wait to see what evolves in your new home.

  14. Oh how I enjoyed this post. Your so right about how your style reflects a little about where you live. I too have gone through some style changes but I have found my current blend of farmhouse/cottage is the most fun I've ever had with home decor. I have a feeling I'll be keeping it for a while.

  15. Lovely post..lots of reasons for all those changes..

  16. Good post... Lovely carpet and basket...


Oliver and I LOVE and read every comment.


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