Three days of packing. Nine hours of bonding with three movers. Two days of unpacking and furniture arranging (uh, before you put that down, could we try the armoire upstairs?). Ten broken fingernails, two band-aids, 12 Advil and one icepack.
And I’m in my new home.
Not only that, the new place — another home I’ve staged to sell — was show ready 48 hours after the movers drove off. It’s detailed down to the vegetables bin. I have the circles under my eyes to prove it.
If I’ve done my job right, the buyers will never suspect the sweat and swearing that took place offstage. To them, the place will look as if it fell into place as effortlessly as snow on a winter’s evening.
Except it didn’t.
Like every home, this one had its decorating challenges. The 100-year-old Southern plantation style house came partly furnished.
Certain rooms, I was instructed, were to stay furnished as they were. Others I was to decorate with my stuff. Thus, my skills were tested as I tried to make two styles, as different as New York and Southern France, blend.
The home came with mid-century modern pieces, sleek black and clean-lined, and accents of deep chocolate brown and aqua. My décor leans old world European and mixes warm wood tones with golds, burgundies and peacock blue.
I like both looks and color palettes a lot. I just wasn’t sure how well I would like them together. How would my brown dining table’s curved carved legs sit alongside black straight-lined pieces?
I was about to find out.
I knew I was in treacherous waters. Many designers have told me that the hardest design style to pull off is not contemporary, traditional, ethnic or rustic. It’s eclectic, a mix.
“Why is this so hard?” I asked Chicago designer Bill Godley, who’s been pulling together sophisticated eclectic looks for decades.
“Because it’s easy to make an eclectic interior look like a mishmash,” said Godley, “but it’s also my favorite style because you can create a look that no one else can imitate.”
Getting my space to work took more trial and error than usual, but when a combination worked it made all pieces involved look more interesting.
Though tricky to pull off, Godley offers these rules for creating eclectic interiors:
At least no one can say I’m boring.
Syndicated columnist and speaker Marni Jameson is the author of “House of Havoc” and “The House Always Wins” (Da Capo Press). Contact her through marnijameson.com.