I sometimes walk into others' homes and think that, although beautifully decorated with expensive draperies, artifacts and lamps, I wouldn't want to live there. Why? Because I wouldn't feel comfortable. I'd worry too much about breaking or spilling something. Don't get me wrong, I want my house to look beautiful, but I'm not willing to pay lots of money for furniture or accessories that I would stress over getting broken or dirty.
Especially with young children, a home needs to be able to be lived in. Children shouldn't feel anxiety if they go into the "formal" room with a cookie and drop a few crumbs. It has to be child-proof, comfortable and liveable. But there's no reason it can't still be beautiful. So that's where my FAB ideas come in.
Functional, Affordable and Beautiful are the three things I look for when shopping for my home (and a client's home). I am unwilling to spend lots of money on designer pieces when I know full well that someone is going to leave a juice box leaking on it, or throw a ball around in my family room (even after being scolded a dozen times). You can still have a designer look (if that's the look you want) without paying designer prices. There are lots of off-price stores and outlets–not to mention antique shops, yard sales and auctions–where you can find some gorgeous pieces for a fraction of the retail, and sometimes even wholesale, cost.
Below are photos of items I've recently found in discount shops. I have seen lovely vases and decanters much like the items in the photo on the left, in high-end specialty shops for hundreds of dollars. I refuse to pay that kind of money. Pottery Barn-style items, like those in the photo on the right, are very popular right now. I love the shabby chic old-world style of many of their pieces, but unless they have a major clearance sale, I'm probably not going to buy much–even with my trade discount. These look-alike items were also found at deeply discount prices.
Although they are not exact replicas of the original designs, they have the same look and feel as the expensive pieces. I just love to find deals like this! I am tempted to keep these items myself, but will probably end up selling them to a client, use them as raffle items, or hang onto them and use them at a home staging job at some point.
It's so much fun to see a designer room, a vignette, or even a single item and try and match it in my FAB way. The holidays are a great time to do this. Presenting a beautiful table when entertaining for the holidays is something many of us take pride in. Give me a photo and a budget and set me loose! Try it yourself. And you know who you can call if you're having trouble, or just plain don't have the time. ;-)