26 October 2010

are we influenced by Europe?

well, the short answer is, "Of course we are."  Yet, sometimes, I peruse dreamy images from across the pond and it truly seems like another world.  

(Oh, I could design an entire home around the color of this door)

Is it just that their homes are older and can't help but have more character?  Just like how we love a rugged Paul Newman or Robert Redford as they seem to deepen with age, is this the lure of Europe's homes?

Or is it more; like the souls of those who have lived here before are added to the spaces' DNA?

One benefit to our country's economic strife is (in my opinion) I see Americans striving for more with less.  Better materials, fewer square feet.  Craftsman cottages beat out McMansions.  

This is what I think I see in these homes from Marie Claire Maison--emphasis on beauty, finishes, timelessness.  These homes do not shout "look at me"--"I am hip"  "I have money"  "I am somebody".  To me, these homes aren't shouting anything.

They whisper.

Even this loud wallpaper is soft.

Am I generalizing in saying that these homes are obviously European?

What is it about these spaces that is so hard to nail down?  Do you feel that people in the states tend to overdecorate?  What do you think about these homes vs. American homes?

sorry it's a little deep for a Tuesday.  I'm in a mood.

Y'all are the best, by the way------Julie

(Katherine--you had a no-reply name in your comment.  I did get those organizers at Target.  They are the Real Simple line they carry (they are at the end of the aisle where I go near the stationary).  Email me again if you wanna.  If mine has anymore I'll mail you some.

Also, that bar stool from yesterday is "Toledo" --1st Dibs.  Pretty pricey but I recall seeing them elsewhere.

I'll post Kate's fabric source tomorrow for her playroom built-ins.  I saved it on another computer.

How is the best way to answer questions?  How do y'all do it?  Just leave a comment on the post and y'all read the post again?

Okay, bye.  Really this time.


  1. Julie, not too deep for me! I completely agree - I lived in Belgium growing up and it is all about understated beauty! The way they live is so simple, refined but absolutely beautiful!! Happy Tuesday!

  2. I think space depends on one's preference. It doesn't mean that if you're an American you love to over-decorate, nor for a European to love space. In my case I love decorating and I also love space. I make sure that there is still a space for my furniture to breathe. An empty house seems to be a lonely one from me. I take designs not just from the number of things you have at home, but as well as the quality and uniqueness of either your paint, lights and even the flooring tile. Stores from all over America offer a lot of choice. One can make an American home look European and vice-versa.

  3. Great post! I love how thoughtful it is. I think part of the charm is the that furniture has a patina and looks like its been lived it -- it's not all brand new (which happens a lot in the states -- and in my own home!). Love all the images.

  4. I loved this post and agree that European homes seem to have a less decorated appeal- almost like things have been collected over time rather than placed for the sake of decor- Of course this is a generalization but I do see its thread running through European homes. I also think the history of the buildings and surroundings has something to do with it, as does the fact that Europeans seem to embrace decorating these charming abodes, rather than tearing them down (and replacing with mcmansions.) I also think in general, Europeans are more willing to experiment and aren't so concerned with fitting a mold- just my opionion anyways.
    Great post and thanks for the beautiful images!
    And PS, I love that Hanna Werning wallpaper!!!

  5. What comes to mind for me is the concept of dressing...buy fewer things of quality and wear them all the time, mixing it up with accessories. Is the same approach used in homes? Enjoyed reading the comments above...Janell

  6. Older homes certainly do have more character. I love to think about people who may have owned or lived in a place or vintage item. It feels so nostalgic. I would love to study more about the European way of decorating. Funny they are less in your face with it. I guess that had their "look at me" moments back in the day with queens and courts and the extravagance of that time period?

  7. Enjoyed your post very much and not too deep at all. The European style definitely seem a lot 'cleaner' and 'simpler' then a lot of what we see here in the States. I think we just need to play more with design and dare to be different and not worry about fitting the 'mold' as Christine said.

  8. I like all of the photo's you choose because the rooms look really loved and used! I don't like to have spaces in a house that are just for looking at!

  9. Not too deep at all! Great writing in this post.

    I do think that people in the U.S. tend to over decorate, but more than that, just use too much stuff. I love the weathered-but-beautiful look of these spaces.

  10. it's funny reading this because I am European (though I've lived in the US most of my life) and I remember being slightly mortified at my parent's contemporary Scandinavian furniture (not to mention art) when we first moved to the suburbs of Cincinnati. They since have let all their contemporary stuff go (in garage sales for pennies) and their home is filled with old English antiques and paintings from the 1600’s. My whole love affair with old homes and pretty interiors started at a very young age from visiting my the homes of my aunt and grandparents in Belgium. While there homes probably looked more English, they were incredible. I don't know why their decorating is different, I can't even explain how, but it is. It's like the way Europeans dress, the way they make children's clothes -- can't really explain it, there is just something inherently European and you got to be European to pull it off.

  11. I think European decorating is more timeless and has character. In the U.S. things look cheap and new.

  12. I love everything about the second image and it wouldn't be too hard to recreate.

  13. There is a lot more opportunity with older homes with more character, definitely but I also find that (here's another generalization) a lot of it has to do with the styling of photos in European mags. They tend to have a more lived in look and you don't feel like there is someone behind the camera fluffing every pillow and placing everything just so. I think that is why we feel like we could move into the pictures. The rooms have room to breathe and you don't feel like you are going to mess something up if you walk through the room.

  14. The same goes for the way European women dress. They seem to do more with less and always look elegant and pulled together.

    Second Hand Chicks

  15. This is a fabulous post my friend! I agree, that some how they whisper, and it is classic perfection. =)