Know Thyself: Living with kids, pets, and your own personality

One thing that has really struck me the more I work with people on their homes is the idiosynchratic nature of our wants, needs, and pet peeves.  It makes me think about furnishings a little differently:

Will the high back of this sofa keep the boys from jumping over it?
Are the flourishes in this chandelier going to be hard to clean?
Is this coffee table sturdy enough for two children to use it as a stage?
What will happen to this rug when a cat throws up on it?

These questions may not apply to you (lord knows I didn't think about dusting when I bought a chandelier made of 200 paper flowers!), but you surely have your own special needs when it comes to your home.

I was chatting with a showroom rep yesterday, and he told me about a wing chair of his grandmother's that he kept sentimentally and made over in super expensive fabric.  Every time he looks at it, it makes him happy, but he knows some people would look at it and just think about how much they paid for the fabric.

Sometimes, people don't even know what is important to them (or what they don't like) until I show them something that won't work for them, like the client who didn't know she hated white leather until I suggested it for her dining room.   Same goes for price point.  Even if money is no object (ha!), its possible you just can't abide spending that much on that item--custom sheets, high end fabric, what have you.  I can take pets and kids and climate and budget into consideration, but only you can know that you just can't deal with vintage upholstery, or that you are not going to stop eating in front of the TV, so your family room set up better hide crumbs.

I always tell my clients there is nothing wrong with any of these choices.  You run into a problem when you try to pretend, in decorating your home, that you are different than you are.