Some time ago, Grace Nuth, who blogs at The Beautiful Necessity, mentioned that she might start a blog specifically focused on mythic and fairytale decorating. And now she has!
It’s called Domythic Bliss, and although she only has three posts up so far, they are just as interesting and beautiful as you would expect from Grace. I’m going to quote from her first few blog posts, because Grace expresses so much of what I’ve come to believe about decorating. She describes why she created the blog:
“I love interior decorating. I never get tired of looking through a really great book of interior design, and I’ve been known to spend hours on blogs and websites devoted to the fine art of turning a house into a home. But there has always seemed to be a gap in the blogosphere and book market. There were books and websites devoted to Victoriana. There were books and websites devoted to Country and Cottage style, Tuscan style, Bohemian and even Steampunk Style. I would peruse these books and websites and find bits and pieces here and there that spoke to me and seemed like what I wanted. But like Goldilocks, I was still in search of the decorating style that seemed ‘just right.'”
I’ve felt this too. I love elements of cottage style, and bungalow style, and French country style, and Scandinavian style, but somehow none of those styles was exactly right. The books I bought could give me ideas, but none of them made me say, yes, this exactly.
“I love a room that spreads out before you like a feast to the eye no matter where you are looking. Even though it is often the opposite of sparse or minimalist, it shouldn’t just be a jumbled mess of random objects. Instead every view should be full of magic and enchantment. It’s a golden standard to which a homeowner can strive for years and decades before just the right combination is obtained, and usually is an amalgamation of family heirlooms, flea market finds, and one-of-a-kind artworks, sculptures, and handicrafts.”
Well, that’s certainly what I have: an amalgamation of family heirlooms, flea market finds, and one-of-a-kind artworks, sculptures, and handicrafts. But I think the important words in that paragraph are “magic and enchantment.” The things you have should be magical. They should create a space that enchants. I think that’s what is missing from most decorating books. There’s loveliness, but no magic.
“Every room is laid out like a story – a fairy tale told right in front of you, full of magic, secrets, and wonder. And in fact, the decoration of the room revolves around narrative and storytelling . . . sometimes literally, as fairy tale volumes are displayed as decoration, and sometimes figuratively as a room is set up to remind you of an enchanted forest cottage or a queen’s boudoir. That is the ideal Mythic Home, to which all of us who love the style strive. But don’t despair! The process is a wonderful journey, and my goal with this blog is to share homes with all sorts of different degrees and levels of mythic accents and themes. And together we can work on identifying just what it is that makes a house transform from decoration to imagination – from practical to enchanting.”
Exactly! The home needs to tell a story. And for the home to be enchanting, that story needs to be a magical narrative. Are you the princess? The witch? The fairy in the woods? What character are you, and what story are you telling about yourself? And if you think that’s silly, remember that we are always telling stories. A home can just as easily say, “I am an investment banker” or “I don’t spend a lot of time here” or “I don’t really care how things look.” It’s always telling a story about you. This is about telling a more interesting story. Grace also gives some very useful advice:
“Here’s a thought for decorating mythically and adding enchantment to your home: First see your home through the eyes of an adult, and then see your home through the eyes of a child.
“The house should be useful and practical, appealing to the senses and showing some sort of unifying theme of color or style (or multiple styles that somehow work together). But then once the “bones” of the decorations are in place, you can and should approach the rooms again, looking through the eyes of your child self. Did you love dragons? Tilt at windmills? Read fairy tales? Have invisible friends? Starting the decoration of a room by keeping in mind the ‘rules’ of decorating just means that when you reach the second phase, you can feel free to break every rule you just made, and create a chaotic wonderland just for you. Hang paper chains from the doorways. Attach fairy wings to the wall when you aren’t wearing them. Paint your ceiling with glow-in-the-dark stars. The sky was the limit to your imagination when you were a child. Try to rediscover what you dreamed about, and make it a reality as an adult. Create a home that the younger-you would enter and stare around in thrilled awe.”
Reading these two paragraphs made me realize what’s wrong with my decorating style. When I was a teenager, I tried to have a sophisticated, grown-up room, although even then it had elements of enchantment: the walls were a light, pale, dusty pink, and there was a tapestry on the wall that showed a view into a forest, in which there was a castle, with mountains in the background. And I had a very large, impractical old mirror with a chipped frame painted sage green. Also, curtains over my bed. Since then, I’ve had a sort of assumption that I should have a sophisticated, adult space – without really thinking about it. But why? There have always been touches of whimsey: I buy old silver plate in flower patterns, so it looks as though I’m eating with a silver garden, and I have ceramic bowls of pine cones and acorns on low tables. But the space, overall, is practical rather than enchanting.
I think it’s time for me to rethink my decorating. And just so you have a good sense of what Grace is talking about, here is one of the pictures that she’s posted on her blog. Enjoy, and then go over and see the rest of them!