— Lonny Magazine (@LonnyMag) January 15, 2015
When Lonny Magazine tweeted this image, I was instantly intrigued by the dark walls, faux taxidermy, and cheery secretary desk. Then I clicked through, and they had me at Ruthie Lindsey’s wish to have her house “feel like a big ‘ol hug.”
I mean, gosh darn, y’all.
And of course the secret to that warm, fuzzy feeling is a house full of things you really love – that you’ve collected over time, or made yourself, or gotten from family and friends. For a house to look cozy and lived-in, you need at least some pieces that have lived a bit.
The downtown loft I share with my husband looks nothing like Lindsey’s home. We have way too many lingering Ikea pieces, for starters, and far fewer pillows. But there are lots of sentimental moments tucked into things mass-produced: shelf brackets and industrial lights from my grandfather’s workroom, a groovy afghan throw crocheted by my great-grandmother, the green-framed leopard my husband’s dad bought when he moved to America, and my uncle’s old record player. Some day soon, there will be an epic gallery wall culled from souvenir ephemera. It’ll be the scrapbook wall that makes me point to something with an exaggerated “awwww” most days, while my husband rolls his eyes in fake annoyance. (He’ll only grudgingly admit it, but he’s sentimental too.)
I’m really proud of the way we’re piecing together a very personal home, and it’s clear Ruthie Lindsey feels the same way about her house. That makes me think we should be friends. Also, I really want to borrow her kitchen owl.
Unlikely, I know, but it’s nice to have a dream. And since Lindsey’s clearly got style for days, I’ve put together a primer for myself when I want to change something but can’t think what:
1) Photo bowl. Conversation piece, memories within reach, great fodder for a story session.
2) Bright but patchy painted furniture. Not even being sarcastic. Her red secretary looks vaguely distressed, but more like a single coat of paint than an Annie Sloan treatment.
3) Lambswool throw on vintage wood. It hints at modern updates but stays very, very soft.
4) DIY art installations. In truth, I’m on the fence about the feathers, but they make me want to experiment.