This post will be a bit off-putting to some, but I’m going ahead.
Let’s start with a personal story. When I was in high school, like most high schoolers, I wanted to wear all the clothes that were in fashion. I couldn’t tell you today what those clothes were, but I remember the feeling as a very short kid that I looked terrible in most of the really trendy looks. I couldn’t pull off some of the fashions like the tall, lanky models and some of the other girls in my school could easily do. So I decided to wear clothes that were still current, but actually fit my body type, rather than try to make a square peg fit in a round hole. And I looked and felt much better.
So it goes with houses. In my opinion, if your home is a red brick Georgian in suburban New York, I can’t understand how “industrial farmhouse” or “Spanish colonial” could play any significant part in the design of your interior. It doesn’t fit.
I could picture this kitchen integrating beautifully in a bungalow in California. Otherwise, I’m not sure I’m on board. Instagram is great for making us believe we can achieve anything. It also, unfortunately, makes us believe we can achieve anything.
I am a proponent of considering a holistic approach to the interior design of a home. That means looking at the overall geography, history, architecture, and neighborhood to inform major decisions. This takes a serious moment of truth for the homeowner who is enamored of a style that just doesn’t fit the big picture. Once we embrace what we have, we can make it look its best.
Anticipating some pushback here…We’re not talking about limiting ourselves to only period furniture like a museum exhibit. I’m not against (for example) some midcentury modern furniture or lighting fixtures in a prewar Manhattan apartment. Not at all! But if you want to take that prewar apartment and put in a rustic fireplace, or tile the kitchen floor in handmade Mexican terracotta, that isn’t going to work. You’re not putting in a sliding barn door and shiplap like on Fixer Upper. You’re just not. I (or your neighbor on the co-op board) will kill you if you try :)
Likewise, if you have a Craftsman in Chicago, please don’t put in a neoclassical-looking fireplace. Gold leaf baroque sconces aren’t going to work, either. But your beautiful Craftsman can pull off things that another house can’t!
So in summary, please embrace the aspects of your home that make it special, and help it look its best by staying true to its most essential elements.