Remember that kid in grade four who could trace perfectly? The one that could mickey mouse like the best of them, but was still somehow never as impressive as your friend who could really draw. It’s amazing to be able to copy all those lines perfectly, but it was so much cooler when the kid three desks over pulls an incredible alien hamster/monster cartoon out of no where.
To my mind, style is the same. Some people have this innate ability to put things together in a way that’s not just copying something cool they found on the internet, but is taking inspiration from that cool image and making something of their own. This isn’t just about fashion, even though that might be the most obvious example. Where I really see this in my own life is in decorating.
Look, I have nothing against pinterest (okay, other than the fact that I don’t 100% understand how it works.) Looking at beautiful pictures of the homes other people have created is inspiring and soothing in equal parts. Do you ever feel, though, that you look at someone’s apartment and you can see the tutorial behind it? Even though a lot of love was probably put into whatever project is in question, sometimes it can feel a little soulless when you recognize the room you’re in – because it looks like 10,000 other rooms across the internet. If I wanted my apartment to look like that, I’d just move into a homesense.
One caveat before this next bit – I’m no expert, and yet I’m preaching at you like the goddess of unique home living and individuality. I get that – so feel free to take my advice with a grain of (pink) salt.
The key to living in a home that looks like it belongs to you (and not to some anonymous pinterester who follows the same boards as you) is actually a bunch of keys (a keychain?):
- Firstly, patience. You cannot go out into the world and simply acquire everything you need to make a beautiful lived-in home that reflects who you are – not who you follow on instagram. You have to take the time to look for things that you love. Look for things that make you laugh, even if they’re a bit dumb. Once I spent fifteen dollars on a very tiny ceramic rabbit in Argentina. It’s an amazing rabbit, it makes me laugh, and I like looking at it.
- Cheaper is not better. Okay, I was raised by a grade-A amazing beautiful snob. My mom is one of the best people in the world, but she does not suffer imitations. Jo-Anne Ritchie has been buying local, high-quality goods since before it was cool (yes, the original hipster). Follow the JR way and spend a little more money to get something that won’t be in the trash in two years. It’ll look better in your home, it’ll be better for the environment, and you’ll usually end up with something a little more unique that the knock-off you were tempted to buy for $39.99.
- Go to antique stores and second hand or thrift stores everywhere you go. I particularly love old metal things – signs, tins, cabinetry – and I look for that stuff in every city and town I visit. As a result, I have bits and pieces from everywhere from Bulgaria to Enderby.
- Don’t be afraid to be uncool. Think about what you actually like, and stick with that. I like bright colours – which aren’t super fashionable in today’s bright, white, minimalist world. Get you uncool bright yellow on, and you’ll enjoy being in your home that much more.
- Literally nothing matters. Do whatever you want. Live in a cave and hang with the bats. Paint your house pink (shotgun). Cover every surface with pillows so you can nap freely. Buy the ugly trinket that makes you laugh. Do whatever makes your weird, gorgeous, tiny self happy – and your home / bat cave will reflect that.
Anyways, here’s what my apartment looks like – a combination of things I’ve picked up travelling and things stolen from my grandparents’ and parents’ basements. Dani also lives here, cutely, which helps.