Materialism vs. Designing a Capital "H" Home

So you want to put stuff in your house...

But what stuff? And how? And how do you make that house a HOME? 

Well, with--you know--people and life and love and blah blah blah.  But, ALSO--with STUFF! 
And this materialistic world definitely has a lot of stuff. Beautiful stuff even. But how much is too much when it comes to spending money and time on just stuff?

And there lies the tension. 

How do we reconcile our love for beautiful things with our aversion towards materialism? Is it wrong to buy something that just sits on you wall or your table when your money could be spent elsewhere?

I've thought a lot about this lately and here are my thoughts. 

People are material beings. We have the senses, and flesh, and blood. We have pleasure and pain. And as material beings, we find comfort in material things. It is our nature! And we want to have a comfortable home, decorated with things. 

So, on one hand I hate waste and over-consumption, and I see the images of thousands of tons of "fast fashion" piling up on our earth. On the other hand, having beautiful things in my house makes my house a HOME. Soooooo, I want to buy those things. 

 Each year  Americans throw away  10.5 millions TONS of clothing. How many tons of "fast fashion" decor, cheap rugs, broken chairs, and out of style "wall art" do we send to the landfills?  

Each year Americans throw away 10.5 millions TONS of clothing. How many tons of "fast fashion" decor, cheap rugs, broken chairs, and out of style "wall art" do we send to the landfills?  

So, I must ask the question: how do we balance the ever-present struggle against unmitigated consumerism with the natural human love of things? 

Well, the answer is that we find material things that mimic our non-material soul. Things that have stood the test of time. Design that is not a trend of the day, but a lasting testament to our character. Things that express not only beauty but also TRUTH. Things that have served generations of masters. And things made by the hands of other soulful people with love and care. 

Handmade. Vintage. Sentimental. Slow. Meaningful. Purposeful. Pre-loved. Ever-loved. Timeless.

 This well-designed 1970s apartment is timeless. It would be a darling of 2018 too! 

This well-designed 1970s apartment is timeless. It would be a darling of 2018 too! 

Good, thoughtful design, with great materials and soul, LASTS. 

And the style--hopefully LASTING style-- of your home, matters! Your home is your temple, it is your peace. It is the school in which your children learn through sight, touch, smell. It is the background for the permanent memories that we will ruminate on in our elder years. It is the setting for which we interact with our friends and family. It is the chair where we sit when we discuss our fears and vulnerabilities. It is the intricate painting that instills the sense of wonder in our children, the couch we cry on, the rug we roll with laughter on, and the table we share a meal on. Oh, my friends, decorating your home is not a novelty in this world ruled by novelties, it is our story.  

In my reflection of years past, the dark times of my life had the saddest of interiors. But, the happy memories of my childhood include the paintings my mother put on the wall, the wallpaper in the bedroom, and the sound the antique buffet made when I opened it to find my paper and crayons. The times that I was strongest, and most confident, and most at peace--in those times I had the the most beautiful, carefree home interiors. The kind of interior where every little thing brought me joy. When I walked downstairs in the morning I saw my living room I exclaimed "ahhhh I love this house!" Have you ever felt that way? 

 Waking up to this room every morning, even when it was filled with toys, was my peace. I haven't recreated that in our new home yet, but I'm working on it. 

Waking up to this room every morning, even when it was filled with toys, was my peace. I haven't recreated that in our new home yet, but I'm working on it. 

So yes, our homes' interiors matter. 

(And of course, on a side note, buy more art! For the love of pizza--people--stop buying mass-produced "art" for your walls!) 

 NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NONO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO 

NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NONO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO 

So, perhaps this musing on interiors and your soul is only touching the surface of a bigger picture. But in sum, spending money and effort on making a home is most definitely a worthwhile feat. And to make it count, fill your home slowly and mindfully. 

I know its hard; I've bought things shipped to me from China because it was cheap and I was impatient. And my living room is pretty sad and empty right now since I haven't found or had the budget for what I truly want RIGHT now. But, we each have the ability to avoid this trap of going to a store and buying all the things for our home. There are businesses in your neighborhood, or online neighborhood, that make furniture, reupholster furniture, sew pillows, paint paintings, and travel the world finding the best makers to make your rugs and textiles. We live in a unique age where we can edit the world, circulating the best of material things to the best of material people, and can do so without encouraging the creation of more disposable soulless things in the world. It takes more time. It might be more expensive upfront--if you are thrift-lucky, then it probably will not be more expensive. But my goodness, what a home you will have when you have given it its own soul! 


Buy vintage. Shop smart. Create your lovely sanctuary. Keep your soul.

 

And if you don't know where to start, check out these families, people, and small businesses that I love who create the timeless and the beautiful. (Not an exhaustive list!) 

Charish (find vintage art and furniture from hundreds of individual sellers locally or around the country)  here's my favorite Dallas seller, Kerry 

Odd Bird Company (clothing and textiles) 

The CEH (high-end bespoke and vintage furniture) 

Gaia For Women (textile and accessories made buy refugee women) 

Indigo Trade (vintage home deco r sourced globally) 

Hamlet Interiors (Moroccan textiles sourced by Veronica, made by artisans who have generations of experience, and photographed by Carley Page Summers) 

Kaya Kilims (Turkish rugs from Nez, a mother, boss lady, and lover of rugs living in Turkey)  

Atlantis home (textiles and jewelry sourced by Judy) 

Lauren WIlliams Art (hand made tapestries by Lauren) 

Mel Remmers Studio (beautiful paintings by Dallas artist and friend Mel Remmers) 

Magic Hour Shop (my friend Molly who finds the best vintage with a mindful philosophy)