Ever since my trip to Lori and Kelli’s Design Camp in Atlanta, I’ve been really working over an idea shared with us by Barry Dixon . Barry inspired us all (read more about what he said here). His attitude of graciousness and giving felt like rain in a drought. When there is so much greed and fight for self gain, his words were always about collaboration. That we should leave everyone we meet with the feeling that their lives were bettered for having met us.
But he didn’t stop there.
You see, we don’t just have one client when we take a job. We have two.
We have the house itself.
Every house has a spirit of its own, and to tap into that is something GREAT designers do. They move beyond making it pretty. They even move beyond the needs and functions a home needs to answer. They listen to what the house wants to say.
Are you ready to take me to an insane asylum yet?
Well, it’s been something I’ve been mulling over for months now. How could I design on that level? I know time, effort, and experience will take me there. But I really had a break-through moment a few days ago.
It had to do with memories.
And wild blue flax.
You see, my mom asked me to help her design her family room. That’s what she wants for Mother’s Day. I happily obliged. I love to design any room, after all. And the family room where I grew up? It’s where the wood stove sat, where we stayed up late at night talking with my Dad about boys, where we took our naps wrapped in warm blankets. This is where we lived. When I think of it, I feel comfort.
In this room there are two cabinets. They were taken from the original homestead cabins of my great-grandparents, and my mom re-purposed them. In one sits a small television. It’s hidden most of the time, and it’s in an unusual spot. Instead of being at eye-level, it’s in the lower level of this cabinet. This requires the watcher to lay or sit down to view it. It’s not an option to move the television or the cabinet, and so my creative juices HAD to get to work to find a solution.
This is the cabinet…..
I finally determined that a simple “bed” would be really fun. It wouldn’t be your typical bed. It wouldn’t have any legs…the body itself would rest on the floor. It would have a comfortable mattress, lots of soft pillows, and of course, blankets to wrap up in.
I started drawing the bed. As I was sketching, little memories started floating through my mind (the header of this bed is now changing, but more on that later!).
I started remembering roads.
The smell of hay season, when all the alfalfa has been freshly cut.
Walking up “the dirt road” to the forest gate and feeling like I was the only one on earth.
Running from a thunderstorm in my new, red jelly shoes (remember those?) and thinking I was going to get struck by lightning.
And of the wild flax that grew along the sides of the road as we walked. We (my sisters and I) would pick it for my mom. She always said her favorite flower (or weed?) was blue flax. I don’t know if they really were her favorite, but she would put them in glass jars and display them anyway.
That made me happy, and I would skip off to the next adventure thinking I had done her a tremendous favor.
Then it struck me….whether this bed stayed or not (it’s kind of a wild idea and it might be a little out of my mom’s comfort zone), I wanted to weave that memory into this design.
Then the “ah-ha” moment struck.
I was whispering with my old home. This design was going to another place and time, and it would be special.
I’m currently trying to work on an image that can be carved into the wood on the “bed” header. I don’t want it to be too sweet….I want it to be very natural. Because I felt this breakthrough was, well, almost sacred, I’ve started sketching in a very special book given to my by a friend. It’s a leather bound book she brought back from Italy, with hand-dipped,marbelized edges. It will be the book that holds my sketches….sketches of the things that influence my design. It now has its first drawing. It is a drawing of some wild blue flax.
Here’s to you Mom.
Wherever this inspiration ends up, I think it will make the old farmhouse happy.