The Inspiration Behind Our Current Living Room / by Alaina Kaczmarski

HERE'S ME SINGING "I WANNA BE, I WANNA BE LIKE ALI!" (and jenna and nancy!) to the tune of "BE LIKE MIKE."

Behold: Ali Cayne's West Village Home, Jenna Lyons' Brooklyn Brownstone, Nancy Meyer's The Intern set, the stunning grey and white Paris apartment above, Michelle Adams' buffet, and more...

ie the inspiration for our living room as it currently is

So this is kind of hysterical... referring to that last photo above of Jenna Lyons' old living room, I wrote in Live Creating Yourself blog post in 2010 (6 years ago!!) entitled "My Dream Couch:"

"I've literally found my dream couch in my dream living room. From now on, when anyone asks, "What's your style?" I will refer to this photo. Subtle grey walls - check. Art strewn about like it's nobody's business - check. Oversized, under-styled coffee table - check. Over-the-top lighting - check. Crown molding to make Queen Elizabeth jealous - check. Perfectly worn fireplace mantel - check. Abundance of daylight - check. I think you get the picture."

And again in this 2010 blog post I wrote...

"I wish my living room looked exactly like this. Relaxing and pretty, cluttered yet clean, neutral with whispers of color. It's perfect, and I want to remember this photo always, which is why it gets its own post."

So folks there you go! It only took me six years to finally achieve the look I think I was always working towards... a designed rooted in traditional elements, with kind of an Old World/feminine pieces mixed in (roll arm sofa, marble bistro table, crystal chandelier) accented by contemporary art and tons of natural light. A cozy neutral, if you will. Large amounts of white, grey, and beige with bold gold and black accents and a few more masculine pieces for good measure (since after all a man does live here).

I'd like to bring a touch of color in with flowers but for some reason the ones I had here basically photographed white... would also love to switch out our grey roll arm for one in a bone colored velvet (exactly like this), but Interior Define doesn't have the exact color I'm looking for so we're sticking with grey! Will likely bring more bone/ecru/taupe in with some fresh accent pieces... (I have a whole post on my love of the color ecru coming up this week!)

...and while I have ya'll here, can we discuss how identical Jenna Lyons and Alison Cayne's homes are? Do we know which is the chicken and which is the egg? I know Nancy Meyers used them as the inspiration for her set in The Intern but which of them inspired the other? Did they have the same designer? A mystery I clearly do not know and am way too lazy to figure out...

What's crazy is I feel like my style has changed, but maybe it was just that I was trying out new ideas and concepts to see what worked and what felt best. I was honing my eye and have been more open-minded to try things out... even if they didn't always work. But 30-year-old me loves the exact same things 23-year-old me did. I mean, it makes sense.

I've always described my style as "all over the place" and I think what I really mean is I can easily look to see the good in something that might not entirely suit me or be "my" style. But I can appreciate why it works or why other people like it. I coincidentally also wrote a post years ago about Caitlin Flemming:

"[Caitlin] was born into this world with a knack for style. But most of us have to work hard to define our style. Caitlin can look at something and decide immediately whether she loves it, hates it, whether it's a good investment, whether it's a piece of junk, etc."

And I think I'm finally getting closer to that. I'm more willing to say "no, that's not right for me or us or this space" whereas before I'd be more willing to say "hmm interesting, sure I could try that." 

So when I put the rooms side by side, I think yea...?! It's similar! I think I was able to pull pieces together to create the traditional meets contemporary look I was going for. Maybe?! Just me?? Haha alright well I'm well aware we don't exactly live in a West Village brownstone with 12 foot ceilings, 6" crown molding, and marble fireplace... but it works! It's almost like The Everygirl's one-bedroom Chicago walk-up apartment version... ohhhh snap. See what I did there?!

Who do you look to for style inspiration? Do you mix what you see from different sources? Come up with your own unique combinations of pieces?