Lessons in Interior Design

Since my site went up, I’ve gotten a lot of questions about my place- how I put it together, where I did my shopping and on and on… There was one question in specific that made me smile, and it was when I was asked whether I got my ‘talent’ (her words, not mine) for decorating from my mom. I smiled because I didn’t. Surprisingly enough, I got everything I know about interior design from my father. As I grew up, in every house we moved into, I watched as my father carefully put together pieces, and frames, and colors to make up our decor. My mother, so utterly left-brain thinking would talk a lot about the budget, but other than that kind of let him do his thing. It’s a side to my father that so little people see, his creative genius. Yet he  is one of the most musical, colorful, and big-thinking individuals I’ve ever known. He is also extremely poetic and romantic, though not in a feminine kind of way. When I think of my dad, I imagine a king from medieval times, who thinks constantly of writing literature, the meaning of life and love, and philosophy. A renaissance man, who could also easily kill people when challenged (not that my dad has actually killed people, but you get it).

      Anyway, I didn’t notice until asked that one particular question how much this influenced me as an individual. For one, this was probably one of the reasons I simply could not handle the thought of living in an average looking home. No, the daughter or Ruddy Gracia would of course strive to live somewhere exaggerated, and if it’s going to be pink it has to be pink with a vengeance. I also noticed that I followed the same procedure I watched him use as I was growing up: First, you have to get a LOT of inspiration. For my dad, this meant collecting boxes upon boxes (this is literal, I promise) of magazines and catalogues. For me, it meant pinterest twenty four hours a day for a good few weeks. The pictures, of course don’t need to be exact, they just offer you an idea of what colors to pair, and elements in the photo you can recreate. If you see a throw blanket draped whimsically over the side of a couch for example, you create the same effect. The next step in the process is to buy everything, always mixing old and new. My father was an expert at buying a bunch of things from Ikea and HomeGoods, then mixing in expensive pieces to add elegance and charm. I personally was on too much of a budget to include any expensive pieces, but I am very proud of my antique finds- the fruit of saturdays at antique and thrift stores so that I could have some things that were original, and no one else would have. The last step in the process, and the only real proof you have learned from the master, is you have to photograph everything and photograph yourself with everything. By the time I had completed this step I could no longer deny it: I am my father’s daughter.

    As I continue to find out who I am, I think I’ll always fluctuate between things I do like my mom, and things I do like my dad. From my mom I learned structure, numbers, and my inability to stop working even when I’m done for the day. But to be honest, I think the Gracia in me will always win out. From my father I get a love of music and appreciation for art. I get from him my way too-loud laugh, and the need to make a joke about almost anything. This is probably why my dad was never the one who made me sit down and be calm, rebuked me for making messes, and why he was always the one to laugh at the jokes the rest of my family thought was dumb. This could easily be the reason  why sometimes we drive each other crazy, both trying to constantly change the others mind, frustrated because neither of us listens, too alike to notice what’s going on. All in all, to answer the question for the person who asked, No, I did not get my decorating sense from my mom, I got it from the few good years I’ve spent watching a self-proclaimed, interior designer- my father.


Vanessa GraciaComment