All original work © Jason W. Wong. Please ask for permission to reproduce any work.

All original work © Jason W. Wong. Please ask for permission to reproduce any work.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Stars Go Blue

This recent article in the LA Times about design trends that are "over" reminded me how fickle the industry can be. One day (or year) you're in, and the next you're out. It's kind of why I stopped following fashion so long ago. When it comes to things like clothing and the home, I begun to stick with that French/European idea of getting well-made basics and sticking to things you personally love and complement your body (or the architecture of your home.)

Now I know it often takes a designer or decorator to get into peoples' heads and find things/colors/whatever that resonate with them. It's too easy to just say, "be true to yourself" or "get what you love" when you don't always know how that translates into furnishings and your surroundings. God knows that if I wore what I loved all the time, I'd be a walking nightmare of plaid, stripes, houndstooth, and tweed. (Hmmm, kind of sounds like when I was a kid and started dressing myself.)

This retrograde period is hitting me hard. Schoolwork, a bad cold, and not enough "me" time have taken their toll on this new endeavor. So it's harder to get momentum going to post more regularly (is anyone out there?) But I'm still encouraging people to clean their homes and get organized, so when Mercury goes direct again, you'll feel that much better about their homes. Amy H.'s old studio (befores and afters above) is always a good example. One week and $200 later, this crazy girl slept soundly for the first time in a while.

Friday, January 9, 2009

We'll take our hearts outside, leave our lives behind, and watch the stars go out

Well, we're approaching a real, honest-to-goodness Mercury retrograde period in a few days. It'll run from January 11 through February 1.

I know most folks don't really care or believe in astrology, but I've named this blog (and my corresponding design/organization business) Retrograde for a good reason. According to supercool (and eerily accurate) astrologer Susan Miller, "Mercury retrograde phases urge us to look back to find things of value from the past." Regardless of what you believe, I  think that's a good attitude to have at various times of the year.

We should take time to organize our homes and offices several times a year, cleaning, rotating artwork and furniture, and putting up new things like fresh flowers or plants. Over the last few days I've used my own home as a place to experiment. I rearranged things a bit to come up with the photo above.

Here's how it was before:

Now I know there probably wasn't anything wrong with the "before", but I had been living with it for almost two years now, pretty much unchanged. So it felt good to shake things up a bit. I took out an old coffee table from storage and pulled back the sofa to make room. I moved the large blue painting to another wall and put up a new piece. The vertical bookshelf was actually there before, too, so I kept it there.

We shouldn't be afraid to re-examine our lives, and Mercury retrograde is kind of like a big cosmic "time out" forcing us to stay in a corner and think about what we've done. Embrace it! 

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

We Don't Need Another Hero

Okay, so we need another interior design site like a gunshot to the head, and I can't guarantee that I'll be any different or special in any way. With an opening sentence like that, let me assure you that my bubbling personality will really help this blog take off.

Seriously, all I can offer is my own take on design and the way it impacts my life and the lives of my friends. Hopefully you're a like-minded person who can relate, or even open my eyes to new ways of thinking. How's that for interactive media--I could actually learn something from this blog by hearing from you, and not the other way around.

Why do I want to do this? Why do I want to become involved with interior design and architecture? I can assure you it's not because of the glut of home improvement shows and shelter magazines out there. Yes, I'm a fame wh*re and have tried my hand at acting. Yes, I actually watch those home improvement shows and read those shelter magazines. But you've got to try and make a living out of something you love, right? After 10 years of "just getting by" and making a good paycheck, I knew I could either keep doing the same thing and keep feeling miserable or I could actually try to make a break and switch careers.

It's funny, 'cause when I used to advise college art and design students I used to tell them over and over again that our generation was expected to have several careers over a lifetime. Now I'm finally following through on that lil' lecture. I've always loved seeing how other people live and carve out their own spaces. Other than anthropology (trust me, I tried it when I was 18) this is what I decided to do.

So just to give you fair warning, with each post I'll ramble on like this. Maybe you'll like it, maybe you won't. But I have this feeling that most bloggers out there started with similar notions. They just had so many ideas that they wanted to share. Regardless of whether people were going to actively read their posts or whether their words were just going out into the ether, they had this need to get it out in writing. Aw heck, maybe it's just the gin talking, but that's how I feel.

I'm not a multi-contributor machine like Apartment Therapy, so I'll just post ideas and observations as I see them, not every two minutes, six days a week. Heck, I've got schoolwork to do and a house to maintain--and after 11 years of not being a student, it's a hard adjustment. So check back whenever. I'll be around.

I look forward to hearing from you.