CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The art of home is a topic that has always consumed me, a driving force in both my private and professional lives.
The art of home is about an attitude, a way of seeing the ordinary and making it extraordinary.
From the most mundane to the special events in our lives, the art of home can change how we view our world.
Graciousness of living is about making the extra effort when it might be easier to do something else.
It is not about perfectionism, but it does require discipline.
In today’s hectic world, wouldn’t it be easier to eat on paper plates with paper napkins and throw everything away? Sure!
But family traditions are built on what we remember and what we pass down through our families.
China from our grandmother, a vase from an aunt, or a wonderful garage-sale find; objects that we treasure and use to make our daily lives more lovely.
When I was growing up, Memorial Day was called Decoration Day. Is it any wonder that it was my favorite holiday?
Summer stretched out like a golden highway in front of me. Everything was possible. As a family, we celebrated after the town parade with a visit to the cemetery and then a family picnic.
My mother and grandmother would take such joy in making homemade ham salad and packing the wicker picnic baskets with such style.
It is this style that they brought to everything that I try to pass on to those in my life.
Having fresh flowers in the house, for example, or spreading into the dining room on a weeknight, pulling out the linen placements and lighting candles because I’ve gone to a bit of trouble to make a good meal.
These details help to make a relatively ordinary happening important. The meal can be pizza from the deliveryman — it is the presentation that is the deal-maker.
This is where discipline helps. The more organized you are in your home, the more you can be ready to share important moments with others.
It is this atmosphere that you want to create for yourself and for family and friends.
I always want my home, and the homes I help to create, to be an oasis for those who enter.
Every room in your home should be a “living room” — a place where you gather as a family. The kitchen, the family room, the den — whatever the label — they are all living rooms.
I always tell clients to throw out the words “formal” and “informal.” What we all seek are sophisticated living spaces that welcome our families to sit, to have conversation and to be comfortable.
There are really no hard and fast rules to create this atmosphere. Color, fabrics that coordinate, interesting accessories and a lot of serendipity can make a smashing room.
Fill your living room with things you love. Collections, family heirlooms and travel mementos can all coexist in an interesting room.
Photographs can tell the history of your family. Displaying them in similar frames creates a collection, rather than scattered pieces in a puzzle. You want your photographs to be front and center, not the frames.
The right room arrangement is the starting point for any great living space. I often tell clients that once we find the perfect arrangement, they should be able to live with that same arrangement for many, many years.
What is your starting point? An architectural detail such as a fireplace, bookshelves or large window can be a focal point. But most often it is the television. Don’t be afraid to put a television in the room that has the best view or is the most prominent of your house. I get this question a lot. Live in the best rooms of your home, and, if you enjoy television, then by all means have one there.
Look for comfortable seating that can be flexible. Maximize your space by utilizing the entire size of the room. A sofa at one end flanked by several chairs is a great place to begin. Benches with storage offer versatility, while seating arrangements gathered around a fireplace create style and comfort.
This Memorial Day weekend is a wonderful time to remember the traditions that make the memories of home shine for many of us. It is also an opportunity to make new traditions with your family.
Remembering that the pleasure you get from creating a beautiful environment has a ripple effect that can pass from one generation to the next.
Based in Charleston, Pat Bibbee has been designing homes and commercial spaces for more than 25 years. More information on Pat Bibbee Designs can be found at www.patbibbeedesigns.com/. Bibbee can be reached at 304-346-1991 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Check out the latest on Pat Bibbee Designs on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Houz.