Sunday, June 30, 2013

How I Found My Style Sundays- Common Ground

Hi Everyone, it's Debra from Common Ground. And I want to thank Pamela for inviting me over to her "Front Porch" to share with all of you "How I Found My Style". What an honor to be asked to be a part of this wonderful series!

Dining Room

What's your decorating style?

If you would have asked me this question before I started blogging, I probably would have had a hard time nailing it down, but now after four years of daily seeing what's going on in the world of decor, I know that I've found what I love. I think that I could narrow it down to a mix of French Country and English Country, with a lot of "vintage" thrown in for good measure. 

Living Room

I think we all find our tastes and style evolving over a period of years. I read once where it's normal to want to change out our decor every six or seven years. Then there are some of us who could be happy doing that a little more often! I've gone from darker Traditional/Primitive antiques in the 80's to a softer more Romantic French style at this time.

I'm a believer in letting the home itself give you the feel for the furnishings and design. With the beamed cathedral ceiling of this current house it needed symmetry, and a little more "French" than my usual cleaner lined preferences in furniture. Since I've been blogging I jumped on the "white" bandwagon, and found myself painting over 20 pieces of furniture two years ago. At the time I wasn't sure if I had lost my mind, but I've really loved having a light and bright feel in my spaces.

My husband trusts my judgement so I had his blessing for all the changes. Although it did take a little convincing that I just had to paint the massive 80's shiny brass chandelier here in the Living Room. That was a full day of feeling like a circus performer.

 How did you "find" your decorating style?

I grew up in an old rural farmhouse built in 1840. My parents always loved antiques and for a weekend outing we would usually end up at some antique shop, junk store, or sifting through someone's old barn for treasures. My mom has always loved a mix of French Country and traditional antiques and my dad definitely had "the hoarding gene", so those two elements have been passed on to me.

For most of my married life an antique or family piece was my furniture preference. My first purchase after we were married was an antique "pie safe" that I used in our Dining Rooms up until we moved to this house ten years ago. I sold it because we bought a "new" Dining Room set, and no sooner did we move, than I could have kicked myself. I realized that "new" furniture in sets just wasn't me. It took me several years to add back my own personality into my spaces. I've done that with my love for collecting and displaying "vintage" along with the new, and then keeping an ever changing seasonal theme with color and vignettes.

The Entry

I actually love many different styles of decor, and like to have a little of it represented throughout my home. Cottage and Farmhouse, Traditional, Industrial, Camp and Cabin, Equestrian, and Shabby Chic. I love elements of a lot of different styles, but I don't think I could be happy doing just one style. I love a great mix that makes a home personal and one-of-a-kind. However my style might evolve, it will always be based in Traditional and antique pieces with some French and English Cottage style for flavor.

Master Bedroom

I think our walls are an important "canvas" upon which to decorate and add your own personality. I love a gallery wall with groupings of "like" elements. I guess that would be one of my nods to English Country. In the home before this, my Dining Room had a 12 foot ceiling and above the wainscoting on one wall it was filled with English landscapes and still life paintings, prints and etchings. I can still see it, and wish I had a photo. These last few years I've collected an ever changing stash of old prints and artwork. They may be water stained and the frames might be chipped, but to me they give my home it's personality and unique style.

What has been your most treasured find for your home?

When my husband and I bought our first home we needed something to house our teensy television. We found a wonderful oak armoire in a corner of an old antique store that needed lots of TLC. It was black with layers of dark varnish and neglect, but after refinishing it, it has become the one piece that I hope to always have. It breaks down like a puzzle box into about 8 pieces. Thank goodness, because we've moved it all over the US.  And no, I've never been tempted to paint it white!

Armoire in Living Room

 What tips do you have for creating a beautiful home?

Be yourself...decorate for yourself, not for what other's might approve of or like. Don't be afraid to do what you love. Have fun and don't take it all too seriously. (Like my old windowbox as a centerpiece on the Dining Room table). You don't have to spend a lot in order to be happy with your surroundings. Look for, and display things that tell a little about yourself. Learn to trust your gut and your instincts about furniture, accessories, art etc. I've made mistakes when I've second guessed myself, or left an antique behind because I didn't know where to put it at the time. If you love something you'll eventually find just where it needs to be.

Old Windowbox filled with Pumpkins for Fall

I get bored with my spaces and like to change things up. Because of that, my main decorating rule, (that I've unfortunately broken a few times) is to keep the big ticket items neutral, then use pattern and color with your accessories to keep things fresh and different. I love the seasons, and use the colors of nature to reflect the time of year and holidays.

Kitchen at Christmas

The Sunporch is my place to have fun; adding lot's of color and cottage whimsy with my collection of quilts and vintage garden finds. It never stays the same for long, and is one of my favorite places to decorate for each season and Holiday.

The Sunporch

Having been actively buying and selling "vintage" and antiques for most of my life, a lot of my favorite pieces have been found in flea markets and antique malls, and most have had a coat or two of paint. Look for pieces that need a little help. "DIY love" can bring your furnishings and home together with a feel and personality all it's own. Embrace the imperfections. Don't be afraid to step out there and try a new project, and don't be afraid to get your hands dirty in the process.

Create spaces that you're comfortable in and that reflect the things you love and enjoy. My studio/office is where I spend a lot of my time, so it's cozy and comfortable (and crowded) and a place to display a lot of my vintage collections.

My Studio/Office

Be careful about trends. One thing I've realized is that they come and go, and what you could be crazy about one year, you could be loathing the next. So indulge in "trends" but do it with inexpensive accessories such as fabric, pillows, curtains, prints, etc. To me decorating is in "the details"; the small things like my lamb collection, or my love of brown transferware that make my home "me".

Lower Level Family Room this Spring

Make sure your home fits who you are as a family. Use the things that you love and let them show your personality. I love comfort, and no matter how expensive your items might be, if your space isn't inviting and accessible it will not be realistic and it will come off looking fake and pretentious. Who wants to live in a museum or home furniture store gallery?...not me, I'm all for putting your feet up! 

Front Porch last Fall

And lastly I'd say realize that whether it's big or small, expensive or modest,that it's how you and others feel in your spaces. I've lived in both, but I've known that it's not the "building" itself that makes it feel like "home". Don't compare your home with others and become unhappy. Blogging can easily cause you to fall into that trap. There will always be someone who has "bigger, better, etc.". Gratitude and contentment will go a long way in your happiness in creating a warm and inviting home.

Thanks so much, Pamela, for letting me share my thoughts on my style and decorating ideas. I hope that you all come by my blog, Common Ground for a visit.

Thank you so much Debra for coming over today and sharing with us your amazing home. I always have loved your style and have used it as an inspiration many times.

Before I forget, if any of you follow me thru Google Reader as of July 1 Google Reader will be no more and this you will no longer receive my posts. I found BlogLovin to be a wonderful alternative so please take a moment and Follow along there if you had been following thru Google reader. Thanx!:) Just click here straight to my blog on there to make it easy for you to follow along.


  1. Pam, you have nailed this with inviting Deb's style post! She's one of the best!

    I respect and really like her style - and especially love her talented writing - her advice is solid, and I truly enjoyed this guest post.

    Thank you!

  2. Hello Pamela,
    What a wonderful gall to feature! Debra has one beautiful home and is a sweetheart too.


  3. Great feature!! I love Debra's home and her advice is spot on! Falling into that trap of "that's bigger & better" is easy to do in the blog world. Such inspiration...

  4. Debra has lovely style and a gorgeous home. :D

    I enjoyed the post's photos and interview.

    Ricki Jill

  5. Great feature! Debra inspires me each time I visit. I remember when she was painting that clock and I nearly's gorgeous!!

  6. thanks so much Pamela, I loved coming to visit at your place!

  7. Loved seeing Debra's house and hearing her ideas on decorating. She has a beautiful home and it's always fun to see what she is up to.

  8. Hi Pamela,
    Debra's is as sweet as her home. She is a warm and inviting person and her home style is the same. I love her beautiful pieces and decor and yet feel like I could kick my shoes off and curl up on her couch. She is one of the sweetest in blog world and I am so excited to see her home featured. Congrats Debra.

  9. OMD (that's Oh, my dog!!! for us corgi people)- could I just move into this house??? It is absolutely stunning!

  10. It was fun seeing bits and pieces of Debra's home all in one post and reading about how her style evolved. Thanks for sharing!

  11. Great post! Debra's house and style are just amazing. I just love her last bit of advice about not comparing! She's so right that it can be easy do. Great advice and tips!

  12. I never tire of seeing Debra's stunning home, and I loved reading how she found her style.

  13. Pamela, Thanks for asking Debra to share her style and thoughts!!!!
    She has the most amazing way of putting things together!! I love her attention to detail and they way her personal style is so apparent! I think I could pick out a room she decorates anywhere!
    Great advice and lots of interesting and new things about Debra and her home! What a wonderful post!

  14. OMGosh- Sometimes I forget how very, very beautiful Debra's home is. Amazing and lovely~ xo Diana

  15. That was a very interesting post and the pictures of the house are amazing. Even if I already follow Debra's blog, seeing all the rooms of the house in one post was like re-discovering all the house's gorgeousness.

  16. Debra's home is like a place that you never want to leave. so inviting and comfortable.

  17. i love debra's charming style--tfs:)

  18. J'adore votre style de décor. C'est dans ce style que je commence à me lancer. C'est très beau.

  19. Thanks to Debra for inviting us in to her beautiful and comfortable home. Looks as if she knows her style and has it down to the detail. This post was quite an enjoyable read!

  20. Debra's home is so beautiful. I never tire of looking at her spaces and seeing how she pulls things together. Thank you for sharing her, Pamela.~~Angela

  21. What a wonderful gall to feature! Debra has one beautiful home and is a sweetheart too.
    Property for sale


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