Decorate With What You Love

If you love it, It will work.

I’ve been an interior designer for ten years. I’ve seen trends go from chintz and cabbage roses to chevron prints and signs that read “Live, laugh, love.” There is always going to be the next new thing. And while trends are fun to use in your décor, they are just, that, trendy. I believe that a home should reflect the people who live in it. So, if you find a piece that you love, there is a way to make it work.  

Let me tell you a little story


Last Sunday, on the way to our weekly Costco run, my husband and I stopped at a garage sale. It was moving sale and when we walked up, there it was, hidden among a large china hutch from 1982 and a chair with three springs popping from the seat cushion.  A corner of large picture in an ornate gold frame peeked out from the shadows. Wedged at an angle, between the few items left on this last day of the sale, the artwork in the frame was only partially visible. But the part I could see drew me in...

“Look at that picture!” I squealed as if finding a long lost Da Vinci, in of all places, the suburbs of Seattle. 

My very patient husband replied, dispassionately, “The monkey one?”

Monkey Shines

It was unlikely that this shiny, gold glided frame caught my eye. Typically, I am drawn to chrome and clean lined Mid-Century items, but I do have an affinity for quirky artwork that speaks to me on some level. This picture was the definition of quirky and I think I heard it say, “Take me home.”

Monkey See, Monkey Do

I picked it up to get a closer look, and there, looking deep into my eyes, into my heart, was a very life like chimpanzee, formally posing like an 18th century child having her picture painted by a master of Rococo portraiture. This cheeky monkey wore a little blue and red dress with a large ruffled collar. She had a large polka dot bow dripping with flowers tied in her hair. Truthfully, it was kind of hideous, and I was in love!

“Yes! We should get it and put it in Kenzie’s bathroom. She’ll hate it!”

At this point you may wonder why I would buy a hideous picture to hang it in my daughter’s bathroom knowing full well that she will instantly hate it. If he didn’t know me so well, my husband would have had the same question.

Instead he asked, “Do you love it for 30 bucks?” 

“Well, maybe not for 30, but definitely for 15.”

“I’ll ask if they’ll take ten.”

Monkey Love

While he was deep in negotiations, I just stared at that monkey staring back at me and I smiled. The thought of me loving this kooky piece of art was hysterical. And the thought of hanging it bathroom of a girl who loves millennial pink and gray with purple accents made me laugh out loud. Although my daughter is very creative and inherited my love of design,  our aesthetic is very different. And, often, she doesn’t get my sense of humor. She has been known to tell me, in a very exasperated tone, with her eyes rolling to the back of her head, “Mom, you’re not that funny.” But I crack myself up.

See, this silly piece of art brought back the memories of the days when my smart, beautiful and determined college aged girl, was a smart, beautiful, determined, tiny little thing. She climbed, flipped, and scampered. It was not unusual for me to find her scaling the shelves in the pantry to reach her favorite snacks. I enrolled her in gymnastics at three, just so she’d learn how to do a front flip without ending up in the ER.  That’s how she earned the nick-name of “monkey.” This monkey portrait made me smile.

“They took ten bucks for it,” my husband, the hard-hitting negotiator (again I crack myself up) was back. The picture was mine!

Curious Monkey

Before you think I brought the picture to torture my daughter day after day, I should say that she is away at college, and only comes home on breaks. However, since it is close to my workspace, I use her bathroom daily. I haven’t hung the picture yet; the small powder room needs a little tweaking before I can really make it work in the space. (Wallpaper? Paint? I’ll let you know…) But it’s leaning on the floor in her bedroom and every time I walk past it, I smile.

I’m not monkeying around when I say you should decorate with things that make you happy.  Trends can be fun, but when you find things that bring a smile to your heart and warm your soul, surround yourself with them. I’ll keep you posted on the monkey picture saga and you call me if you need help making the things you love work in your décor.

Click here to drop me a line. I can help!

Live Colorfully,