collecting beautiful moments
If you have known me for a while now, then you will know that I am an interior stylist who believes there is beauty in imperfection. Who thinks that something chippy and old will add soul to something shiny and new.
You might also have gathered that when I am lucky enough to travel to distant shores, I like nothing better than to bring a little souvenir or two home with me. Something that instantly transports me back to a time and a place, and makes me smile at the memory. Simple memorabilia like beautiful cards, labels, tags, empty soft drink bottles, paper treasures, tickets, are a given. So too are things that are a part of everyday life in a foreign land, but which become instantly exotic when transported to distant shores back home. In India this could be a padlock, a lassi cup, a printing block, a cow bell, a quilt, jewellery. Collections of beautiful moments.
And though I have been known to stagger back from some trips with mementos that truly weren’t so easy to get home, (cue what must surely be the second largest rug ever made in Turkey, or the dozen bottles of Chateauneuf de Pape wine, a present for my Dad, complete with French market wine basket, helpfully made to carry eight bottles and not twelve, or a complete hand-painted Italian dinner set, to mention but a few of my least travel friendly travelling companions), I have never for a moment forgotten the adventure in acquiring them or regretted the pain in getting them home to New Zealand.
As I said in an instagram post last week, my thoughts around shopping in India on our trip last year went something like this… “Oh that’s lovely, I’ll buy just one … ok my bag is filling up, I’ll spread things around the family suitcases … oh, these are so lovely, yes, we can carry these … ok, the bags are obviously heavy, poor Rupsing can hardly get them on to the roof rack any more … I might need to post a few things home … I can’t possibly leave this behind, I might need a crate … two crates? … ok, let’s just fill a container and get on with it.”
And so I did, rationalising that I had a store, and that my customers would love these beautiful vintage treasures as much as I did. After convincing my husband that this was a brilliant idea, and then disappearing for hours on end with various lovely, helpful men, and my guides, the container was full of original vintage furniture and objet trouve, and we flew home excitedly anticipating its arrival in three months time.
Cut to the container’s arrival, and my initial excitement upon being reunited with all my found treasures was soon replaced by the anxiety of being parted from them again, and also, worse, that no-one would quite see my vision in the same way I did. Of course I was totally confident that these lovely old pieces with their chippy, original paintwork and inherited patina that tells a thousand tales would look even more amazing when styled in a modern interior, alongside contemporary furnishings, but could I convey this to anyone else? And would they be as convinced as I was. Am.
I’ve never been afraid of swimming against the crowd. I am confident in my interior style because it’s what I love. I also know it isn’t for everyone. And sometimes, as most of us do, I doubt myself. It can be lonely beating the eclectic colour drum in a sea of monochromatic mass produced home decor.
I needn’t have worried. I should have more faith. I should have bought more.
The anxiety I had at parting with my beautiful pieces has been replaced by the certain knowledge that sharing is so much better, especially when I see how happy a certain treasure, big or small, makes someone else feel.
An eclectic home, filled over time, with a lovingly curated mix of furniture and collections, no matter, or perhaps because of, their pedigree, origin, or dollar value, is the pinnacle of perfectly imperfect living. And all these old pieces now have a new chapter in their story.
(photography and styling by Amanda Holland for perfectly imperfect living)