What does your house say about you? This designer explains and offers some tips for building your look | Entertainment/Life

Over the years, I’ve interviewed hundreds of designers, and I’ve often asked them the same question: What makes you cringe when you walk into someone’s house? While I expect them to say something like bad taste, too much clutter, no sense of proportion, their answer is universal: lack of personality.

Like it or not, our homes say a lot about us. Even those chilling houses with no personality send a message. They say the residents are too timid, too busy, too boring, it doesn’t matter, or all of the above.

Surely you aren’t, otherwise you wouldn’t be reading a home design column. Ideally, the goal is for our homes to reflect not only us, but the best version of us. What do our houses say about us? I had the chance to find out.

Expert evaluation

A publicist pitch promised that her client’s interior designer Margarita Bravo could reveal “What the aesthetic of a person’s home reveals about their values ​​and identity.” I was intrigued.

In the 20 years that I’ve been writing this column, I’ve never seen a pitch for a psychic designer. I thought I would put Bravo to the test.

Though she later admitted it wasn’t her idea, Bravo, who is based in Denver and also has offices in Montecito, California, and Miami, was a game.

Since there’s nothing I wouldn’t do for you, I invited Bravo to virtually come to my home and give me a design reading to find out what my house said about me. Yaks.

A look

We met on FaceTime. I led her through my house while she took notes. Before giving me her opinion, she asked, “How long have you lived there?”

“Five years,” I said. “Why? Does it look like 50?”

“No, because it looks very finished and well put together. Many homes are under construction. But your house is ready.”

“Don’t tell my husband that,” I said. “I still have plans.”

Design impressions

Then she rattled off a few more impressions:

From the outside, it’s a traditional home, and the orange front door is a focal point that shows you’re not afraid of color, and it shows throughout the house.

(She thinks I’m showy.)

You have traditional furniture and furnishings that are transitional and eclectic items, but generally a clean look.

(My disdain for boundaries is evident.)

I love that you put a cowhide rug under a traditionally carved desk in your office. It’s not to be expected, but it works. There’s also a bit of glamour, crystal chandeliers and champagne finishes, and then a rustic loft, which feels relaxed.


It looks like a composite house showing its personality in pieces inherited from family and highly expressive art. I saw both works of art on metal and oil on canvas, showing that art is a very important part of your and your husband’s life.

(Actually, it’s a topic we usually disagree on.)

Your house really says, “This is who I am.” It looks like a house where real people live.

(That is it.)

When that revealing exercise was over, I asked Bravo what she wished more people knew about expressing themselves at home:

YOU DON’T WANT TO WATCH: You are looking for your appearance. Interior design is not about having a house that looks a certain way, but about showing the lifestyle and personality of those who live in it. Your house shouldn’t look like it could belong to someone else.

IT’S YOUR HOME: Good designers know how to channel you into your home design. The best interior designers are not the ones who put their stamp on a home. They are the ones who put your stamp on a house.

YOU CAN WORK ANYTHING: Many people have pieces that they love but don’t think are right for their home. If they matter, they belong. Don’t hide what’s important to you. If you have an emotional connection to a piece, such as a painting of your grandmother, then that piece is a topic of conversation and should be given an important place.

A HOUSE MUST FEEL GOOD: Your home should have pieces you’ve collected over the years and not look like you bought everything from a showroom in one day.

YOUR COLLECTIONS WILL GIVE YOU: If you want to see what someone values, see what they collect. People who appreciate travel have pieces such as African masks or Indian baskets that they have collected during their travels. Art collectors will no longer have room for more art on the wall. Those who value family and heritage will have family memorabilia and photos everywhere.

DO NOT STAY OUT: “If I had to give one piece of advice, it would be to finish it,” Bravo said. “When I see houses where the walls are bare and the windows have no curtains, I want to encourage the owners to get the job done. That finishing touch may not seem important, but it is.”

Marni Jameson is the author of six home and lifestyle books. She can be reached at www.marnijameson.com.

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