About the Book
While browsing at Mr. K’s Used Bookstore in Asheville recently, I came across a book I have loved. Unlike most of the books I buy it is not literary fiction, but it is sort of a coffee table book about home decor. The book, Hand Made Home: Living with Art and Craft, by Mark and Sally Bailey, has become a companion for me whenever I want inspiration.
The book is filled with photos of beautiful interiors of homes of artists and designers that are perfectly curated and highly personal, while exuding a sense of warmth and welcome. That just about nails my own style and the Hand Made Home style I model at Chifferobe Home and Garden. Each interior includes handmade items carefully chosen for their color and texture. Some of the art and craft items are expensive, but mostly they are chosen for the inherent beauty of their design. The many antique and vintage pieces used are not pristine, but scuffed and faded. They show signs of being loved, just like the Velveteen Rabbit.
This philosophy captures my feeling that a home should be the unique expression of the taste of the person or people who live there. It should draw the visitor in and make you want to snuggle down and have a glass of wine. It should not bear the stamp solely of a decorator who independently selects the colors, textures, and styles he or she likes such as is the case in The Property Brothers or any of the other home improvement shows on HGTV. At the “big reveal” on those shows the homeowners are brought back to their own homes after being exiled from them for the duration to admire the interiors they did not have a hand in designing. If they don’t like the furniture, kitchens, or colors they have paid for, they are stuck. Too bad; so sad!Sometimes the returning owners exclaim, “Oh! This looks just like a picture in a magazine!” and once I heard one of them say, “Beautiful! It looks just like a motel room.”
Now why in the world would I want either of those? Pictures in magazines are mostly carbon copies of every other magazine picture, and a motel? Motels are not where people live. Guests stay for a night or two and leave, and they are naturally impersonal. and cold, and smell chemical.
When I went through the book the first time, I was inspired to rearrange the objects and furniture in my house to make the most of things I already have. As in the shop, objects in my house are things I bought because I fell in love with them. Often they are worn and chippy and they don’t necessarily match the other things I have, but they are handmade and beautiful. and I feel a little beating in my heart when I spot them that lets me know I am in love!
That, too, is the way I shop for Chifferobe. I go to antique shops, auctions, and quaint spots where I am traveling, and I wait for that quickening that tells me I must have the object I spotted. That too is how I choose art from local artists and crafters. When I see their work, I feel a click in my brain saying, “Yes! I totally love this work! I must have it myself, and I have to display it at Chifferobe for others to own!”