Alexandra Stoddard on Creating a Beautiful Home

As a young mommy with 5 children hanging off my arms everyday in the late 1980s, I read a book from the library by Alexandra Stoddard, a revered interior designer and prolific author. 

Having moved a lot as a child, I struggled with a bit of rootlessness, yet was always looking for a way to be planted – create home.  Looking back at the notes I wrote when I read Alexandra’s book, I can see that this woman whom I will probably never meet, this woman who lives a life which is night-and-day different than mine – was actually an early mentor for me.  She gave me the words and understanding to create a home for myself and my family.

These are some things I learned from Alexandra Stoddard:

“I’ve seen the homliest houses transformed into havens of affection and joy by fascinating, high-spirited people.”

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“An honest home that rings true to the lives of the people who occupy it will always be disarmingly refreshing to visitors.”

“Style requires discipline…Edit.  Putter.  Eliminate.”

“Don’t feel compelled to fill up all the spaces.  Space is a luxury.  Plus space  helps us feel serene.  Create rooms that have free corners.”

“Clean windows are like a cloudless day.  White window trim intensifies light.”

“I have  a theory about houses.  The front is the most formal and correct.  The middle loosens up a bit after we’ve passed through our public rooms into our private, intimate rooms.   By the time we get to the back, there is children’s art on the walls, good smells coming from the kitchen, and there is laughter.”

“Design your life, not your house…Create rooms for endless pleasure and feelings of well-being.”

“Houses, no matter how humble or grand, come and go and ultimately do not define us.  Home is an attitude that has to do with love and caring, thoughtfulness, honesty and authenticity.”

“If you are drawn to certain colors and objects, chances are that a compatibility of spirit will bind them together.”

About 10 years ago Alexandra Stoddard was in Denver promoting a book she wrote (which I have never read), Feeling at Home.   I found, tucked into my home-making notebook (where I have kept ideas and magazine pictures for inspiration) the torn piece of newspaper from an interview she did for the Home section of the Rocky Mountain News where she advises:

“Write down ten things that define who you are.  Now bring your list and walk around [your home].  How do you feel in your home?   If you don’t feel good about a dark corner, change it.  Do you have a blah area?   Get out your paint brush.  If you love the color blue, paint your ceilings blue…put a blue quilt on your bed.

“What I want is for you to feel…wonderful when you’ve made the connection.   You’re not decorating a house…you’re taking yourself and the way you truly want to live [to heart] so your environment stimulates the best in you.”

I really love her philosophy on home.  I am going to make my list now…Jeanie

“By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established; through knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasure.”  Proverbs 24.3, 4 NIV

NOTE TO SELF: My Savior, my husband and kids, those grandbabies, writing, worshiping/singing, family dinners, time with Dave, time in the Word (aka time WITH the Word), speaking/teaching, cheering young wives and mommies on (my spiritual daughters), loyal friends…can I have more than 10?…

pictured: sneak peek on the orange-painting-craze; kid’s art on the walls

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