cocktails / interior design

Evolving Style


Evolving Style

Before I start my spiel, I just want to say that I am bringing this topic to the blog to see if anyone else has ever experienced it.  If so, please tell me about it.  ALSO, I am sharing some eye candy to keep you awake.  Kayla and I styled this shoot a while back for fun.  There’s a cocktail recipe at the end if you want to make it.

…..Changing, maturing, evolving, growing, call it what you want, I feel my style is changing and it hit me like a ton of bricks.  Maybe not that hard, but this IS what I do all day every day, so when I finally swallowed the realization that my style is changing before my own eyes, I was in a bit of shock.  To be honest, I thought I had my style nailed down.  As in done, sealed the deal, end of story.

I knew I needed collected, bold, color, pattern, lived in, vintage…what else? Those words pretty much defined me, and I was great with it.

Evolving Style

Now I want collected yet REFINED.  Bold yet UNDERSTATED.  Who am I??????  It’s not that I don’t want my space to feel lived-in, I do, just in a different way.  I want it to feel approachable, which in turn feels lived-in to me. And the refined thing…to me, that just means “put together”.  You know, when you describe the lady that wears pearls, a suit (??) and heels, you might say, “she’s refined”.  That might have been a terrible example because that lady sounds awfully stuffy.  Stuffy is my worst nightmare, so I don’t want that.  I don’t want to take the collected out of it because without that, you have a Pottery Barn showroom.  I just want my space to feel a bit more put together if that’s not too much to ask.

Evolving Style

The thing is, I took this realization by surprise at first because I thought I knew what I wanted and why I wanted it.  My thoughts were “I’m not fancy, why do I want refined???”  But once I started digging deeper I’ve come to realize that those attributes are what I am currently craving in my own life.  So maybe I AM ready for a style change.  Not a full on style change…..just an update.

I’m blaming every bit of this on the One Room Challenge.  These past six weeks were a whirlwind, and that project almost got the best of me.  It was my first ever neutral room, and if I’m being completely honest, before that project I kind of looked past neutral spaces because I felt they lacked soul.  I can remember designing and planning that space and thinking, “this isn’t going to be ENOUGH”.   But it was enough in the end (at least for my parents and I).  I proved to myself that I can create a neutral room and it be enough for me.  In no way am I saying that I am taking the neutral route now, but that room really opened my eyes.  That space feels refined to me, and every piece of my being wants that as far as my professional life goes, which is the only part of my life that I am referring to here.  Most days my head just spins with ideas and things I want to do to grow or I have so many little things going on and not enough big things that I just want SO BAD to be intentional with every single little thought that comes in my head.  Is that too much to ask??? So yes, I am craving some intentional, refined YET understated (can’t forget that understated) in my actual life too.  By the way…intentional seems to be a hot word right now.  I’m not using it to be trendy. I can’t think of another word to use for it?  What I’m trying to say is that I want to be more thought out and planned…….

So after I finished the ORC, I sat back for a brief second and then my wheels started turning again.  My style was changing before my little eyes.  From there I got on Pinterest and started googling my new words.  “Refined”, “Classic”, “Bold”, “Understated”…….. Pinterest can be a good search engine at times, but it wasn’t especially helpful this time.  I’m still soul searching though….and cocktail reaching.

Evolving Style

So……..can you relate or should I delete this post and pretend like it never happened?

*Disclaimer – This random rant was only about my own personal style.  When it comes down to it, that doesn’t matter AT ALL when working with a client to find their style and create their space.  It doesn’t matter what I am personally most drawn to, only what the client wants and needs.  Just thought I should get that out there that while this might seem like clouded judgement, that’s only the case with my own house, which is irrelevant.

Oh, and here’s that cocktail.

Sea Breeze Cocktail:


  • 4 oz of Cranberry Juice
  • 1 oz of Grapefruit Juice
  • 1.5 oz of Vodka
  • Grapefruit Wedge


  1. Pour vodka over ice
  2. Add Cranberry Juice
  3. Top with Grapefruit Juice
  4. Garnish with a grapefruit wedge or lime
  5. Enjoy!

Photos: Kayla Snell

A Cozy and Lively Outdoor Patio Reveal
A Classic Yet Modern, Neutral Rich Living Room

19 comments on “Evolving Style”

  1. I hate to tell you but this will probably be a lifelong process. The minute you think you know your style, and things you would NEVER do, an image inspires you to take that leap. And with the flood of “inspiration” these days….. I’m 51 and I exhaust myself with the number of about-faces I do!

    For example, I live in a suburb of Washington, DC, where there are endless builder neighborhoods, and the houses ALL have a two story foyer with a dramatic staircase. Blah, blah, blah. Every house has it! I got so sick of the sameness of it all, that when we built our current house we changed the standard floor plan our builder provided and closed in the foyer for more bedroom space above. While I still love our intimate foyer, I’m now seeing that if you just modify the finishes on a dramatic staircase, maybe using very little trim and a simple iron railing (sort of combining dramatic and austere?), you can create something all new that I really love. This just hit me a few weeks ago. Aaaah! And this is just one example out of a ton of flip flops I’ve made over the years. So, yeah, I totally understand what you’re saying. Maybe all this change is part of the fun? (my husband would vehemently disagree, lol)

    1. It’s funny – I wrote this post in such a frenzy. What you described up there “The minute you think you know your style, and things you would NEVER do, an image inspires you to take that leap” is SO what happened to me, and I think I am freaking out because it’s the first time I’ve experienced a shift……

      But I woke up this morning thinking GOD why did I write that post, I sound SO DUMB!!!! Of course everyone experiences style change. It’s freaking me out because the thought of ever-changing style sounds exhausting and EXPENSIVE!!!!!! But I agree with you…. I think change is part of the fun 😉

      Thanks for weighing in, Laurie! Loved reading your thoughts!

      1. I didn’t find the post dumb at all – it IS startling when your thoughts shift about something you thought you hated! But in the midst of all the likes and dislikes over the years, the one thing that stays constant for me is the desire to do something with my house that I don’t see all the time. I think it’s the monotony of the marketplace that is hard to take. So, here’s to new ideas! Which is one of the reasons I love your blog. You have a refreshing design style, and I can’t wait to see what you do next 🙂

  2. I can totally relate to this! In this stage of my life, I’m feeling the need to shed all the excess and get down to basics. While I’m not sure someone who loves thrifting tchochke’s as much as I do could ever be considered a minimalist, I do think the term “essentialist” could be a good description for my new outlook on my life and my home. I want to feel like my daily life and my interiors have a little more blank space, more breathing room. I recently read “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” by Marie Kondo so I’m on a decluttering and purging kick!

    1. I have heard great things about this book and have been wanting to read it! I bounce back and forth between a total hoarder and a wanna be minimalist who throws away half of her belongings.

      “Essentialist”…. I like! Best of luck!

      1. Ahhh that book is so good and inspirational and practical!! But I have to say the way you talk about selling or buying things on craigslist if you don’t love it is also inspiring! I’ve recently felt much bolder with my decorating decisions because I don’t have to work with a rug or piece of furniture I don’t love anymore. I can just sell it and save up for what I really want and really love. I just sold a rug today I didn’t love, and I’m so happy to not have it anymore AND have some cash money 🙂

  3. Totally! And it’s jarring when your style evolves because you thought you had it on lock down. And because it’s spenny, yo! But you gotta roll with it. Sell stuff on CL. Trust the evolution. 🙂

  4. I love that you put yourself out there, Claire, because it shows us you are OPEN to accepting change. I love the sense of wonder you have about yourself that you’ll let it in, too, that’s very important, else how can you possibly work with clients who have overlapping taste, yet want the finished result to be “theirs”? I have been seeing so much mid-century modern, antlers, animal skin as well as “chippy goodness,” pallet walls made to resemble shiplap, blah blah, it’s all starting to look manufactured and, dare I say, “intentional” rather than original, quirky, or collected. I love watching your style evolve, because it is fresh, it is original, and you have a great eye for collecting treasures that will withstand the next style trend. And of course, there’s always Craigslist! Thank you for continuing to entertain us.

    1. Lesley, what a thoughtful comment! I so appreciate your kind words! Since I wrote this post last week, I’ve opened up more to the thought of ever-changing style. It’s part of the ride and maybe it will even result in some good blog content 😉 Thanks for taking the time to comment!

  5. I’m going through the exact same thing! I just like SO many styles. I’ve found myself drawn to the mid century modern, which I didn’t EVER think I would like. Ha! I’m so “all over the place” that I’m not even quite sure how to decorate. It’s becoming a bit stifling. Ugh. Help. 🙂

  6. Don’t you dare delete this post! I love rambles, and totally get where you’re coming from! I know my own style is constantly evolving, and I’m sure it will continue to forever. Definitely not a bad thing 🙂

  7. I have experienced this myself and I think I’ve finally got a hold on my new style. The in between stage was the worst for me, trying to deal with the fact that I didn’t like any of my stuff anymore… and feeling a little guilty because of it. I used to like everything super vintage and rustic (like old suitcases, chippy paint, burlap) and then my style did a major shift… suddenly clean lines were more attractive to me. Midcentury modern and minimalist designs. I felt like I was trying to force myself to like what I used to like, because after all it was me, right… but I simply changed. No biggie, no I embrace it!

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