Broadening Horizons: The Style Files

Last year, about two-thirds of the way through the interior decorating program, I grew really concerned because I really disliked most of the room designs I was seeing. Uh oh! Did it mean I had chosen the wrong field or did it ultimately mean I had no taste…no style…no class? I knew I would never be able to create the kinds of rooms I was seeing because I truly disliked 90% of them. They were overly-furnished, crowded, busy, frenetic, garish, ostentatious, commercial, contrived, pricey, or sometimes just plain ugly. The rooms lacked authenticity.

 Drum roll……enter The Style Files, a site by Danielle de Lange originating from the Netherlands and featuring décor, fashion, and products. Such a relief! At last, rooms and décor that I loved! I visited every post, going back to the first entry in Oct 2006. I copied and pasted a gazillion images into my files.

 So what was the difference between the Style Files and the many sites, magazines, and books I had been viewing? I’m not absolutely certain but I suspect that it might have something to do with design that comes from consumer-based societies vs. design where there is less emphasis on product.

 Or perhaps it’s the difference between the brand spanking new fabricated, imitation, Tuscan-style kitchen in Topeka and the aged-brick, weathered-stone, and genuine-wood kitchen in Tuscany.  

 The Style Files has an international perspective and features homes and designs from Greece, Italy, Scandinavia, Spain, Australia, Portugal, France, Brazil, Uruguay, Morocco, South Africa, Germany, China, Britain, and occasionally the U.S. The designs on the Style Files generally seem cleaner, more relaxed and less contrived. The emphasis is less on “stuff” and more on other things: sunlight and shadow, view, materials, architecture, shape, form, contour, texture. I especially love the use of wood, stone, concrete, and brick in many of the designs. Not everything is new and bright and shiny. Sometimes the setting is aged but the style is always contemporary. Rooms are often elegant in their simplicity making other rooms appear garish and vulgar by contrast. These are not cookie-cutter rooms; this is not formula decorating. Are they pricey? Mostly I see a mixture of old and new and since generally there is less emphasis on “stuffing” a room full of furnishings, art, and accessories, the total cost is probably lower than for a more ostentatious design. 

The Style Files is my favorite design site and while I don’t love every single room I love about 90% of the designs. A far cry from the 10% I liked from other sources. Whatever your taste or design preferences visit the Style Files and explore the archives. Style Files offers a broader world view, and since we can’t all be world travelers, it’s an easy and inexpensive way to broaden design horizons. Thank you Danielle!

Click here to visit the Style Files.

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