Paradoxal Tendancies

 I’ve threatened to write a blog for many years, and I’m finally getting down to it! This is prompted by my desire to record and share our renovation journey, but for a long time, I’ve wanted to write. I've always enjoyed sharing my thoughts through the written word. I can be verbose, so I apologize in advance and will try not to keep it simple as to not lose my audience. My best friend has strong opinions about blogs- basically that they are egotistical and self-indulgent, and I agree to some extent… after all, who do I think I am that people want to read my thoughts? I’m certainly no expert in home design, architecture, or life in general, but I’ve got things I want to say!

Nothing pleases me more than contradictions- whether it be in personalities, opinions, or design aesthetics. I feel my style embodies something you don't see everyday. We are so used to the perfection of HGTV, Pinterest, and Instagram that I think sometimes we forget that imperfections such as a mishmash of furniture styles, or showcasing your family heirlooms and making do with what you have can lead to a more interesting, and layered aesthetic that I personally find so much more appealing than styled perfection. The Japanese have a term for this, "wabi sabi." It's an appreciation for things imperfect. It's the philosophy that flaws make things more interesting-the patina of many layers of paint, a crack in a vase, even laugh lines on a maturing face (I'm still working on this one). 

Let me tell you about my friend, Lisa. I met her while on my honeymoon with my husband, Bryan, in Costa Rica almost 20 years ago. She was also honeymooning with her husband Bryan (yup), staying in the same little inn we were in a little town on the West Coast. During the course of our first night together, it became quite clear that God, or whatever you believe in, put them there for us to meet. We had left our happy circle of friends in Baltimore to try a new life in Raleigh, N.C., where we knew virtually no one. On about day three of our honeymoon, we started chatting up a couple we saw at a restaurant because the guy had on a shirt that said, Raleigh, NC on the back. One thing lead to another and it turned out that not only were they from Raleigh, but we got married the same day, were both traveling the country with no real plan (them by bus, us by rented Rav-4), Lisa and I were both cultural anthropology majors in college, we were reading the same book (Barbara Kingsolver, The Poisonwood Bible), and we almost wore exactly the same linen wedding dress (no joke, I saw the picture and it’s the dress I put back at the last second deciding I wanted a shiny dress, after all). After two days of playing, hiking, beaching, and dining together we told them if they wanted to hop in the car we would go wherever they wanted to go (they knew the language, we had the car, so it was a win-win). It sounds weird, right? Traveling for four days of your honeymoon with some random couple you just met- but here’s the thing… we knew it was fate. Eighteen years later, we still celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, date nights, weekend family lake trips, and Lisa literally held a leg at the birth of both of my boys.

It's a cool story, for sure, but that's not all- this girl was unlike anyone I’d ever met! She would be talking about her debutante days one minute and suddenly she’d jump off the barstool and grab a frog and say in her thick ITB accent, “Y’all see this frog? It’s a poison dart frog, and if you push on it right here, it’ll shoot poison out of this gland…” SAY WHAT???? It was love at first sight. She was so lovely and ladylike, dripping of old southern money, not a tattoo or piercing anywhere but her ears, yet at that time her pets included a dog, a cat, a 7 ft albino python, various tarantulas and a snapping turtle. She was like a walking dichotomy.

This is the stuff I love. Break the mold. Do the unexpected. Be a liberal with a staunch conservative idea or two. Be a conservative who advocates for the poor and downtrodden. Be a debutante who is also a snake girl. Be a peace-loving hippie chic who loves gangsta rap. Decorate with things you love. Instead of making your home look just like the Pottery Barn catalog, why not mix in your favorite flea market finds, or your finds from nature walks. Hang a gorgeous piece of fabric on a crepe myrtle branch. Use the chipped frame for your favorite piece of art. Imagine an old service station turned bar or coffee shop hung with chandeliers and lined with oriental rugs. Mix things that shouldn’t go together that you love. Don’t let anyone put you into a box. Don't define your style. I think the world would be a better, and much more interesting place if we all challenged the idea that we have to be one way or another. As my surrogate daughter, Lilli, would say, “You do you, boo.”

If you’re still with me, thanks for your time. I’ll be getting into the renovation here shortly, but I can’t promise that I won’t go off topic from time to time. I tend to digress…

xo Susie