Thursday, May 7, 2009

"Don't Complain." " Don't Explain." - Elsie De Wolfe

Elsie De Wolfe.

Lady Mendl.

"The First Lady Of Interior Decorating".

Some say this is an exaggeration as she did not begin her career in interior design until the age of forty. I however, believe that any woman in the early 1900's willing to step "out of the box" and follow her passion and talent to make the world around her a more beautiful place, is more than deserving of said title.

“From the moment I was conscious of ugliness and its relation to myself and my surroundings, my one preoccupation was to find my way out of it. In my escape, I came to the meaning of beauty.” De Wolfe transformed the design of wealthy homes from the dark Victorian style into designs featuring light, fresh colors, and a reliance on 18th century French furniture and reproductions. “I opened the doors and windows of America and let the air and sunshine in.”

*Notice the animal print throw pillows? - remember, this is in the Victorian era. Elsie rocked. period.

Perhaps the one thing I love most about this woman is her belief that decor should reflect "the woman's personality and not her husbands earning power"

Can this still be said today?

I live in a rather wealthy area.. I love to drive by homes at night and peak in the windows... not creepy like.. just to study the decor.

Much to my dismay it all seems to appear the same.

Nearly every home has a red room for a "statement"

Nearly every home has paintings of flowers in large gold frames.

And large bouquets of artificial flowers.

Homes that look as if they jumped right out of the Home Interior sale catalog pages.

I love nothing more than to go into a home I've never visited and seeing interesting things... collections, antiques, family photographs, things that say "This is who I am." Not "This is what we have".

Because that is SO not what it is about!

On my birthday I will go back to school... this time for what I have wanted to do for years, Interior Design.

My hope is that I can work with people and help them learn how to express who they are through their home.

I hope that I do not sound judgemental or hypocritical. I know that many of these people have their homes this way because they don't know HOW to do otherwise.

So like Elsi De Wolfe, I want to open the windows, doors, AND minds of Americans and let in the sunshine, light AND personality.



Natasha said...

Beautifully said. Good luck. I know you will succeed.

Haven and Home said...

Wow,what a great post. I am so proud of you for pursuing what you love, I know it is not easy but it is definitely worth it!

Jolena said...

Thank you both!

VictoriaArt said...

Dear Jolena, as usually one stumbles upon little treasure often unexpectetly and finding your blog is such an occasion...
Your post on Elsie De Wolf speaks to my heart.
I am one of those womwan, I am in my 40's and just started my career as an interior decorator, being a mother of 4 and a artist. I have been doing it all my life without putting a title to it, but started as a business only a couple of years ago. Your blog is refreshing to read and see!

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