Mar 29 2018
Earlier this month, I visited my parents in Tampa. They live in a classic Florida bungalow that was built in 1928. It gets great natural light throughout the day and is bright and charming due to white walls and what I assume is a vintage kitchen (no maple colored cabinets, hooray!)
My mom enlisted my help with decorating. They've been moved in for a year but she was at a standstill with how to move forward. I noticed she kept a lot of older items, such as framed prints of art from the late 1990's, or vases that she liked years ago. Her intent was to use what she already owned but it soon became clear that she's changed a lot since 1998 (I mean, who hasn't!) and that a lot of the things she wanted to use in her decor just didn't suit her anymore.
Cue a few trips to various local Targets. I like Target because it's affordable and chic, especially their new Project 62 line. We picked up some great new pieces that I hoped would breathe life back into the home. My mom's style is classic modernist with a hint of primitive, natural accents. She doesn't like to display a lot of things as it overwhelms her. She'd rather show a few pieces of art and a handful of decor accents, rather than a full blown gallery wall. This was hard for me because it left me with a lot of blank space to work with. I used my skills as an artist to play with the negative space that I saw in the blank walls which worked out in the end. We were able to decorate sparsely, minimally, but with warmth and flair.
As some of you already know, I operate with a color based brain. Everything I do artistically is based on a foundational color palette, whether it be paintings, patterns, logos or interiors. For my parents' place, I went for modern blacks and whites with warm neutrals (tan, beige) to account for the primitive/natural accessories that my mom loves. Lastly, I added a pop of fresh, bright colors. My mom was already using bright citrine yellow in the living room and I liked the look. She had also recently bought my Poppies pillow and liked how the bright colors added life to the room.
The living room, before
My parents have a lot of original art from when Kim and I were kids. One piece, a flying hamburger over a family of frogs was done by Kim in the fourth grade and was a non-negotiable from my dad. Rather than hide it in the guest bedroom, I chose to put it in a very prominent spot in the living area. I know it's important to my parents to have pieces of us in their home, so this decision satisfied that need and added the pop of yellow that the room needed.
The dining area was another challenge. My parents' purchased a siiiick mid-century dining set and credenza from Modern Merchant Furniture and Rad Harbor Vintage in Tampa. Basically, the room has great bones! My mom wants to paint one of the walls black–so with this in mind–I knew the decor would have to be minimal overall to satisfy her taste.
The dining room, before
I was able to get my mom on board with a small gallery wall over the credenza. She doesn't have a lot of large pieces and I knew it was imperative that we fill that space to balance out the height of the lamp. It was a challenge to find the right artwork but we finally settled on the right pieces and the right configuration. I kept the credenza's top decor very minimal since the gallery wall was a lot busier than something my mom would usually do.
We also picked up some awesome, patterned placemats at Target. We were surprised to find that my mom's red dotted napkins actually matched perfectly AND her old circular shell placemats could work in a nifty 2 on 2 arrangement. Such fun!
Lastly, we tackled my parents' room. The room already had a very minimal vibe, so I helped pick out some textiles and accessories to add a pop of color. The yellow and ivory striped throw really ties the room together (plus, it is from Target so it was affordable!)
We did a bunch more but I don't have images of the rest. We hung some art and got some textiles for my dad's office, my mom's office and the several hallways throughout the home. I left my mom with a list of recommendations, of which she is currently tackling.
This project took the entirety of my stay – one week. While my mom is excruciatingly particular, she was willing to open her mind and collaborate with me, which led to a lot of unexpected victories that neither of us expected.