Porcelina's posts about restoring her home to its moderne-era best, Cate's (Vintage Gal) renovations and Marija's (Pinky Purple Honey) notes on decoration. The thing is, I'm never going to have an art deco home because I'm never going to have those uncluttered surfaces. I have too many books and knick-knacks.
I once read a wise quote that said, “When you move house a lot, home isn't a place, it's things,” and I suspect my reluctance to get rid of things may stem from an early childhood moving regularly as my dad went to new Air Force postings. As a child I was often baffled and distressed at the way I lost things, and it was only as an adult that I realised my parents probably threw them out when we moved on to another country thinking I'd never miss them.
As I don't like throwing things out, I'm very picky about what I acquire (who wants to live under a mountain of junk?), and nowadays any new large items tend to be ones we've bought on our travels. The result? The House of Robots seems to be developing a sort of 'Victorian explorer' style. I'm actually quite pleased about that as it's a look I've always loved. For me the key to the look is natural materials in warm and dark colours – unpainted dark wood, leather, brass and so on – plus plenty of handmade items from all round the world. As well as the warm tones of many natural materials giving a cosy feel, there's a story behind every object. And if things are a bit worn, so much the better: while the traveller may have settled down and found a home, their stuff will have taken a few bumps and scrapes along the way.
In the picture at the top of the page, the painting is from Burma (bought unframed for easier transportation, and framed here in the UK), the vase handmade in Wales and bought at Tintern Abbey, the terracotta mug from a 'medieval' bar in Caceres, Spain, and the little volcano from Tenerife. The latter's doubly precious as it was something my mother-in-law bought when we took her there for her 60th birthday, and we brought it home with us after she passed away. Lower down the page is a carved wooden elephant from Burma; we put a candle on him for Thadingyut (a Buddhist holiday that the locals were celebrating while we were in Granddad's home town). Most of the things we acquire are fairly practical, things like vases and serving dishes, though Mr Robot is addicted to pictures too! And I do have odd things like fossils scattered around the house.
Nowadays there are enough shops selling new imported trinkets and old antique bits and bobs to make it easy to buy yourself the Victorian Explorer look in an afternoon. To me, though, that's missing the point. If you just go to a shop and buy something, that's all the story there is. Where are the memories? And, if you buy things made in the places you visit, you're actively discovering a new culture or artistic community, and supporting local artists and artisans and putting money directly into the economy there, you know you're not simply keeping someone, somewhere, in a sweatshop.
I still dream of dwelling amid art deco glamour – if I ever win the lottery, you can bet your boots I'll have a London flat fit for Hercule Poirot – but I actually think an explorer's home suits me and Mr Robot much better.
Does your home have an identifiable look? And if so, did you have to make an effort to achieve it, or has it just evolved naturally?