Timeless Trait #1 – Restraint

Hello there! Welcome to the first Timeless Trait Tuesday! Let the games begin! Well, maybe not games exactly, unless you count intelligent conversation a game… (I’m nerdy, so I guess I do!) I should say, let the formal discussion begin! Now that you know a little more about me, and the purpose of the blog, let’s dive in, shall we?

On Saturday, I proposed that timeless living is a lifestyle. What we consider important in our lives affects the decisions we make about how we live in our homes. Those decisions include the ways we arrange our furniture, lay out our kitchens, select our plumbing fixtures and make our beds. They affect how we furnish and decorate, how we choose to make our house our home. That leads me to the first timeless design trait: RESTRAINT. I look at the concept as a lifestyle and a design style, because I think the two are co-dependent. When we choose to live a lifestyle of restraint, that translates into our homes’ aesthetics.

So what does a lifestyle of restraint look like? Nowadays, most of us are having to make due with less, making our money go further and getting creative with our financial decisions. Some of us are living restraint by necessity, some of us by choice. I don’t propose, however, that living a life of restraint means giving up what’s important to you (like a weekly dinner with friends, for example). I think restraint means giving up excess; if it’s not that important, do you need it? (I will point out that dinner with friends at someone’s house is much more fun, and economical, than another night out.) If you don’t need it, can you give up wanting it? (I would like to refurnish our master bedroom, but, saving money to buy a house is more important.) Decisions are value judgments. So if we decide we don’t need that fiftieth pair of shoes or third gray handbag, not only are our closets less cluttered, but our lives are a whole lot simpler. Perhaps our budget is self-imposed, because we reject the materialism our culture pushes on us. The home design/decor/DIY blogosphere has shown us that repainting/refinishing that old cabinet can created a completely new look. Those old wallpaper scraps make great art when framed nicely, and houseplants and flowers from the garden are really the best accessories a room can have.

But, I’m getting off my soapbox now (because really, I could add materialism as an “anti-timeless trait” for so many reasons). We’ll probably return to the lifestyle discussion at a later date…

Back to the real topic: What might restraint look like in our homes?

Some recurring themes of restraint:

  1. consistent and simple color palettes
  2. minimal but meaningful accessories
  3. careful and thoughtful selections
  4. focus on necessity and function

These themes show us a few things.  First, restraint obviously isn’t about “stuff”.  It’s about the careful selection of pieces we love.  Then, we let those items speak for themselves, not cluttering up tabletops with useless items or covering the sofa in a hundred pillows.  (Too much clutter makes me feel anxious.  Does it do the same to you?)  When we choose to make selections based on a subtle color palette, we can feel refreshed and calm.  Restrained design allows us to live in our home the way we want to: comfortably.


A few closing thoughts:

“Teach us delight in simple things.”  – Rudyard Kipling

“Going back to a simpler life is not step backward.”  – Yvon Chouinard

all images shown from: http://thepursuitaesthetic.tumblr.com/ , http://delicatesoundofthunder.tumblr.com/ , and http://open-bibles.tumblr.com/


Must-Read Monday

Good morning!  Welcome to the first Must-Read Monday here at Amaranthine Aesthetic.  I’ve struggled with what to share today, because my list continues to grow.  But I think I’ve decided.  Last week, I introduced the Timeless Living books by Wim Pauwels.  He’s become rather prolific, having published numerous tomes on the timeless design subject.  So I wanted to introduce you to some of these.

These books certainly present and promote a very European perspective on timeless design.  But the color palettes and architectural details are incredibly inspiring.  These books have provided ideas, inspiration and solutions in my work as a designer, and are loved by clients and architects alike.  These are like grown-up picture books – not much commentary, but large collections of beautiful photographs.  His newer publications also do a better job of photographing the small details that make up such stunning interiors.

Have any of you read or used any books by Wim Pauwels?  Do these look like something you would use?

Come back tomorrow for Timeless Trait Tuesday!

Timeless Living as Lifestyle

I think timeless living begins with the concept that it is a LIFE STYLE not a design style. How we design our homes is only one component of our lifestyle. Do you agree? Or is there an argument that design can create a lifestyle? (If you went to design school, you know the answer is yes, but maybe that’s a topic for another day…) A lifestyle is a way of life, a way of living. It relies on our fundamental belief systems and is created through our actions, our relationships and our day-to-day choices.

source: http://jarlathmellett.com/index.php?id=16&type=projects

By trade and by passion, I’ll be focusing on the aesthetic aspect of timeless living: timeless design. I think designing timelessly requires a change in thinking and a change in lifestyle. And I think that means creating a lifestyle of restraint. By that I mean, a lifestyle, and a design style, that rejects excess. (The topic of restraint is a big one, so more on this Tuesday!)

Our home should reflect how we live our life, and be integral to it. For each one of us, this is a little different. Each one of us has a different daily routine, different guiding principles, different beliefs. These lifestyle traits will impact our design choices. That means, I don’t really want to arrive at one over-arching definition for timeless living that we can all ascribe to. I want to pursue my personal definition and help you pursue yours, and find a lot of inspiring work along the way!

Here’s what you can expect as this blog progresses, in an effort to further our pursuit.  But don’t think I won’t be posting on other days too just because I don’t have an alliterative subject title!

  1. Must-Read Monday – there are many fabulous design books, blogs and websites out there, and I have so many recommendations. In order to formulate our definition, we must do our due diligence and see what other definitions exist. Sometimes that’s how we find the best ideas!
  2. Timeless Trait Tuesday – if we are going to define timeless design, we must define its traits. (And I don’t mean design style or design elements. We need to define it on a higher level than “linen vs. leather”.) I’ve got a starting list, but I have a feeling we’ll discover many more. And I always want to hear your suggestions!
  3. Fabulous Find Friday – because there will always be beautiful images to share!

What do you think about the lifestyle concept?