When I got married, everyone decorated their first home in “early family.”  There was no style since you were just glad to have furniture of any kind.  My mother thought you should have accessories, so she helped us get some extra pieces to make it more than just a series of bare rooms.  The rest of our place was things we picked up in thrift stores –  we “antiqued” some pieces, the going thing at the time.  It was cute to have my mother’s first coffee table that I painted and a headboard that we covered in gold burlap and a paper lamp from Pier 1.  Young, funky and fun.

Through the years, we upgraded to furniture we liked and purchased mixed with more hand-me-downs from our families.  I got the desk that had been my maternal great-grandmother’s refinished by my paternal grandfather that had been in my room as a girl.  And I would find something on sale.  Or I would find an antique I liked at a shop or auction, mostly with my mother teaching me how to bid.  And I would buy paintings on a trip.  This didn’t happen overnight, but it was a never-ending accumulation.  When I down-sized, I gave away various items to my kids, but I replaced them with my mother’s things when she died.  And more things I found.


Somewhere in this mix through the years, I think my basic hoarding inclination took over.  It’s not that I mean to hoard furnishings, but I do hoard memories.

Anyone who comes in my house sees a lot of stuff.  I see a memory on every table, wall, available space.  There are paintings by artist friends, a couple by my mother, others from galleries and my parents.  There are photographs that need no explanation.  There are contemporary furnishings mixed with American, English and French antiques, Western and Greek sculptures mixed with carved wood bears.

Accessories include my great-grandmother’s coffee grinder, my grandmother’s cookie jar, my other grandmother’s little syrup jar, wooden elephants that my father brought back from Africa in World War II along with this statue of a man with a frog on his head that scared me to death when I was little.


I have clay heads my son made in high school and clay figures my grandkids made.  There is the huge Oklahoma map that was behind my father’s desk at work when I was a little girl.  On the shelf over my desk is one of my son’s lunch boxes from his collection and a mug we got at The Ugly Mug coffee house in Seattle.  There’s a collection of Edgar Allen Poe’s works that I used to read at my grandparents’ along with my father’s copy of “The Emerald City of Oz.”  And more books.

It goes on and on throughout the house.  I am beyond eclectic in style.  I can’t say “early family” anymore since I’m at the old end of that chain.  There is a memory that I need to shift every time I get ready to let go of something.  Some things aren’t so easy because I remember when I got them, who I was with, why I liked it.  It’s not that I never part with anything…I just tend to hang on.  And I’m not apologizing. I love everything I have around me or I would get rid of it.  I definitely live surrounded by warm memories.

And, I still need to clean out some things.  I’ve just learned there are still memories to come and I need to make room.

I guess my decorating style defies a professional decorating definition.  Let’s just say it’s personal.