Last week I had lunch with my fellow creative friend Jen, and amidst catching up on life and work, I shared a few of the things both exciting and stressful about our new house project. I mentioned how I’ve been racking my brain over the right cabinet color, torn between lusting over images of moody sage green kitchens and knowing that white is the more practical and timeless choice.
And she said something so simple, but that’s completely altered the way I look at renovations and design.
“Don’t try to future-proof.”
Don’t try to future proof? Shouldn’t every big investment, whether it’s in a bag, a pair of shoes, or kitchen cabinets, be purchased with timelessness in mind? I pride myself on choosing quality, on prioritizing classic pieces that I’ll love for years. I value an antique over a trendy piece from the retailer of the moment, just like I’ll choose a staple cowboy boot over the flashy white bootie (an actual decision I recall making several years ago).
But is timelessness even possible? Can’t everything, even the most classic of decisions, be painted to a specific date and time? And, if that’s so, then we should make decisions based on what we love, not what we think has staying power?
It’s a complete mindset shift for me. I don’t want to advocate abandoning intentionally making classic decisions — I’ll always believe the best design, whether in fashion or home, is informed by what’s come before. And the fast fashionication of everything is a problem, whether it’s the dress you pick up at H&M or the sofa you don’t intend to keep but for a few years. There’s certainly an issue with the constant need to redecorate online. Some people rely on this constant stream of new as their career on social media, but that trickles down into everyone thinking they need to totally overhaul their space every year, sometimes every season.
However, there’s a happy middle somewhere, nestled in between making decisions based on a need to keep redecorating for dopamine hits and also being too risk-averse due to the fear of a space looking dated.
Right now, my design inclinations have me leaning towards green cabinets — which you can clearly see I did not achieve with any of the samples I ordered above. I absolutely love this moody look, with its marble checkerboard floor and rich green cabinetry. At Rosehill Cottage, I opted for off-white cabinetry, hoping to, yes, future-proof it as much as possible. But, in the kitchen I’ll use every single day, shouldn’t I have a little bit more fun? If I love the green, who’s to say I won’t still love it in 5 years?
So that’s where I’m headed right now in this rowhome renovation, which I just realized I haven’t actually mentioned on here? Yes, we bought a house that needs to be fully renovated. I’ll do a post about it. I’m focusing on what I love now, and I’m assuming it’s what I’ll continue to love. There’s no need to decorate for some future version of me and especially not for some vague idea of what will increase the home’s value, which is something I believe a lot of people get caught in now. I certainly didn’t do that in our condo, where I painted one room navy and wallpapered a bathroom in Scalamandre zebras. But now I need to carry that joie de vivre for design through to the bigger decisions — the bathrooms, the kitchen. Because we should live with what we love and, at the end of the day, I can always paint the cabinets later.