All I got to say is WOW.
You guys rocked my world with your outpouring of support for my knockoff I made for Creating with the Stars!!! I am working to respond to every single one of your emails, blog comments, Facebook messages, and social media shout outs. Until I can get caught up, I just wanted to take today to give you all a public thank you and share a bit of my experience this past week for CWTS.
Just be forewarned, that this post is more wordy than my norm, but I wanted to share my experience with you all.
As most of you know by now, I was in the bottom 3 and did not advance to week 2. When I saw the results, honest moment here…I was disappointed and didn’t quite get it. After the disappointment subsided, I started to think about the whole experience. I had a real sense of gratitude come over me. There was nothing to feel bad about. All I could feel was a welling up of pride for what I had made then quickly followed by gratitude.
When I saw the entries for week 1, I was completely blown away by the talent! Plus, so many different design aesthetics. You think about it, the twelve of us were chosen from 299 entries. That is a big deal in itself. It is an honor just to be selected. Just to be a contestant, you are competing against some mighty talented bloggers. Also, some of these blogger teams are made up of two people. You go into this thing not knowing what the voter make-up will be. You also go into it with the feeling of go big or go home.
I had the amazing opportunity to have Kristin from The Hunted Interior as my blog star. It was really a happy moment, because she is a designer and blogger that I admire and her style resonates with me. I kid you not, that it was so much fun to brainstorm ideas with her and she totally got my personal tastes and style. Even though, I only got to spend a week working with her, I feel like I gained some great takeaways and I valued her direction and opinion. It really did not feel like work to be teamed up with her and I am grateful for the time she took out of her own busy schedule to mentor me. She is a class act. Working with her is one of my favorite things about being part of CWTS.
Project selection for me ‘wasn’t about what will the masses love’. I guess that is not a very good strategy for winning. And not to say there is anything wrong with that. Obviously, what is popular amongst the majority will be a hit. I got chosen based off my own personal style and skills. I wanted this project to showcase what I love in design and not be the norm of a knockoff. So, as you saw, I went bold in color, with a high-end knockoff. I wanted a modern element thrown in and I loved it. I wanted to create something special for my home and even though it was a knockoff, I wanted it to have a unique quality. I love chinoiserie pieces, gold, pattern, and beautiful color. The bar cabinet possessed all those qualities plus that unique flair I was looking for. Knowing that I could customize the inside however I pleased was a bonus. I knew it would be a way to show off my styling abilities.
Building it from scratch was a personal choice because on such a short time frame, I could not find a pre-made cabinet in stock that would work. It ended up saving me money too which was a win-win. It took a lot of planning and I had to be smart about the base design to equally distribute the weight of the cabinet. A lot of thought and planning went into the design and the materials chosen to execute a project with integrity that could be recreated by readers on a budget. I also took into account the fact that a lot of people may not have access to wood-working tools, so I even had the home improvement store make all my large wood cuts for me based off my design plans. My goal in it all was to create something true to my style and give people the tutorial and template to make one themselves at an affordable price.
In order to have it ready to photograph for Friday, I did pull a couple of all-nighters. You do go into this competition knowing that this is probably going to happen. I have to tell you though, when you are in the creative process, the lack of sleep doesn’t bother you because you are on a high. The excitement of seeing my plans come to fruition kept the midnight oil burning. I did sleep like a rock when the work was done though!
One of my late night mock ups for styling ideas
Kristin was such an asset to have in my corner. I would text her progress shots. I sent her my styling ideas. She sent me sketches of styling ideas, she tweaked a couple of my original mock ups. It was her idea to have the bar cabinet slightly overlap the art on the wall. Many of you commented that you loved the art, and that made me so happy since it was something I came up with to add in a modern element. Kristin also helped with photo selection and it was so great to have another set of eyes to help make those choices.
One of Kristin’s styling sketches
Through the week I just kept thinking, man! if I could collaborate like this all the time for my career that would be amazing! Sharing the creative process with others is so great! I really loved it!
The result of our efforts is something that I will always cherish. What is a true measure of success? Is it in the votes tallied or in the overall feeling that you are left with upon completion of an idea? Even though the votes weren’t there to advance us to week 2, I really feel like this whole thing was a success. I stayed true to who I am as a designer and creative. I shared something I really love– which is the core of why I blog in the first place. I got to be in the company of the best of the best. I pushed myself. It really just motivates me to keep on keeping on! It was a gift.
I get to do what I love for my job and when opportunities come along like CWTS, it is always a joy to be a part of– no matter what the overall result may be. You guys have touched my heart with all your support of what I made. The fact that so many of you have taken a moment to send your thoughts and love this way just makes me feel so humbled! It is unbelievable and I thank you!
I thought to myself, knowing the outcome now– would I change what I did? A resounding NO. If I had it to do over, I wouldn’t change a thing. No regrets at all. I have thought long and hard about this. You need to be you. As my friend, Lindsay, just coined in her blog post yesterday you need to fly your style freak flag. Her little phrase got me thinking…what is my style freak flag? How do you celebrate your individuality? I could give you a list of design styles that I love, but to me it is a feeling that a project or space evokes.
So, I decided to label my ‘style freak flag’ with that exact thought in mind. When I design a space, or a piece of furniture, or make some art what am I saying about me? I think I found the words that define my style, that celebrate my individuality, and deliver what I am trying to achieve.
Those four words carry the weight of what I set out to achieve through design. I feel that it is the essence of why I create. Don’t be like the rest of them–Be daring. Set the tone for your life--To be lovely. To some people, dwelling on the objects in our homes may seem like a waste of time. To each his own. To me, it is a part of the whole. Create a space that wraps you in the emotion you want to feel. Our homes are our havens. To create a home that delights and encourages your talents and dreams is a good thing. To surround your family in love and comfort through design is a gift.
So, follow your dreams, keep on creating, and design the framework for the life you want to live. I promise to keep flying my style freak flag high. In all that I do, I am making a promise to myself to be daring but lovely.