The Theory Of A Room


By Carolyn Shields

Think about your childhood home for a minute. Your mom's precious treasures she would keep high on a shelf that you would admire from below, the chaotic clutter of muddy shoes in the corner from your siblings, the perpetual heaps of neglected things to be carried up the steps (some making it even half way up the stairs). Think about your grandmother's house. The painting above the fireplace, the little bar cart with history etched in its scratches, and your dad's own childhood bedroom that once harbored his toys.

Home is important, but it looks different for everyone of us. Whether it's in the basement of your sister's new house, a little studio in a city, or a dorm room at the end of the hall, it's a place where you take off your shoes, close your eyes, and rest a while. You can let your guard down. You can breathe. And more so, when someone is invited in to that intimacy, it speaks that truth to them to.

It's also a reflection of who you are. Does perfectionism seep into the precision of your gallery wall? Does the simplicity attest to your simple soul? Is the overflowing closet and trinkets speak to your need to be known?

I've loved thinking about the whole philosophy behind spaces, whether that's home, your office, or a social environment. This love has overflowed into theStewardess, our shop for theYoungCatholicWoman's home. In this article you will find practical ways to help settle or re-settle into your abode so that it's a reflection of who you are.

Trends are fleeting

Obviously, trends are fun to get into sometimes, but when we have limited resources (whether that's finances, space, etc), we want to put emphasis on the timeless over the trendy. Design with pieces that will last and that you will be happy with for an extended period of time. And it's always fun when the trendy and timeless are the same heartbeat, such as natural linens, wicker and rattan, and neutral colors. Besides, not conforming to everything else makes you way more interesting. This is your big sister talking who sees nothing but trendy girls who blur together in this city.

When it comes to home, it's about you

Really, you don't have to impress your guests, and you won't have some style guru judging your tastes. I'm a hardcore tumblr-er, and I'm sure there's plenty of pinterest fans out there reading this, but don't let those images of perfect homes or dinner parties intimidate you from inviting friends and family into your home because it's not totally instagram worthy. If something speaks to you at a thrift store and you're pretty sure it's not currently 'in,' who cares. Hang that print of 70s Jesus on laminated wood. Paint that wall burnt orange. And don't fret too much about your whole apartment smelling a bit like cat litter because you forgot about it.

Sometimes it takes only one thing

I love this. Whenever I design a room, a wedding, whatever, all it usually takes is for one piece to offer inspiration. And you design everything else around it. In theStewardess you can find unique pieces that may help with that, and you can build from there. A cool Persian rug becomes the focal point of your dorm, your first real oil painting becomes the pride of your possessions!

Cheap doesn't always mean cheap

You can spend $200 on a pair of boots that will last you for ten years, or you can spend $2 on a pair of boots at a thrift store that will also last you for ten years. That's one of the underlying messages of our shop: being good stewards and taking care of what we've been given. Don't throw away a vase because it has a chip in it. Don't toss your boots in the closet but take care of them. Thrifting isn't just a fun way to find unique pieces, but it encourages a mindset that challenges our throw-away culture. Second hand, used, and worn goods are still alive. And honestly, sometimes thrifting encourages humility when it's not necessarily a choice that we have to buy our clothes there. 

Stories and shrines

Lastly, I'm always drawn towards pieces that have a story, whether that's one you inherit from the antique store or from your own history. Take a look around your room. Can you remember when that piece came into your possession? How? Why? And most importantly, what tells the story of your faith? It doesn't have to be as blatant as a prayer corner or a huge piece of sacred art, but where is your bible? Where is your rosary? Where do you keep the pieces that speak the loudest?

To read more on this subject, check out our last article on home here.