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Where Do You Find Your Inspiration?

It’s so easy to find inspiration nowadays–Instagram is filled with endless images available at the click of an app–but I find it so hard to focus on something specific unless I’m deliberately taking the time to look at the image. So I’ve been turning to books. This may seem like an obvious solution, and as a avid lifelong reader I’m kicking myself for not just turning to books ages ago. In going through the hundreds of books that are currently residing in boxes (my husband is also an avid reader, so there is an endless search for shelf space), I stumbled across some old favorites, which I found room for on my shelves.

One of these was American Country: A Style and Source Book, by Mary Emmerling. I remember flipping through this book at my grandmother’s, although this is a copy I tracked down on EBay a few years ago. This is exactly the inspiration I was looking for–marrying a country and more contemporary style together with ease in a way that doesn’t seem to be done any more. More and more, I see the same rooms repeated on Instagram and online, without the personal note or unique touch that keeps my attention. I love how this book takes very traditional elements–ladderback chairs, for instance–and shows them in settings that combine the best of traditional American country with modern elements. There’s a fantastic picture of the author’s New York City living room with a very modern set of furniture upholstered in a “country” fabric, and that’s exactly what I’d love to do with our living room. It’s giving me exactly the boost I need to get into gear.

I’ve mentioned, in the past, the fabric house my aunt and grandmother founded. My other aunt was a painter and interior decorator as well, also embracing the “country” style that I love, and when I was growing up our house included many textiles from my aunt’s company, needlepoint chairs and footstools, and other things I’ve found in American Country. I do believe that you should fit the design of your house to your life, and this is exactly it–taking modern elements and traditional ones and making them work together. To quote William Morris, “have nothing in your house you don’t know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.” Something to keep in mind as we move forward!

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