Passion for interiors...where it all began

I consider anyone who reads my blog to be a 'kindred spirit' - we each have a passion for interiors and making our homes beautiful. What I find really intriguing though is how this passion first started. There's often a simple little thing that starts it off, that snowballs, setting off a lifelong passion. At least that was the case for me.

Remember Petticoat Junction? I watched re-runs of this show every night after school (I also have memories of Greenacres, the Ghost and Mrs Muir, Monkey, Gilligan's Island, Laverne and Shirley, Perfect Match...but I'm digressing). I was always watching Petticoat Junction with a rumbling stomach and it seemed that every night they had fried chicken for dinner - teasing me with it! But again I'm digressing! I will eventually get to my point I promise.

So how is Petticoat Junction related to my passion for interiors? Well do you remember the little sister Betty Jo? She was the tomboy one. In season five she falls in love with handsome crop duster Steve and they become engaged. Here they are. I think they were a couple in real life too, though I am not sure for how long.

I can distinctly remember the episode where Betty Jo and Steve get engaged and Betty Jo chooses a "dream house" as the couple's honeymoon cottage. Unfortunately, Steve takes one look at the tumbledown shack and declares the "dream house" to be "nightmare alley." This leads to the couple's first lover's quarrel. All ends well, when Betty Jo magically transforms the little cottage into a sweet love nest.

I have no idea how old I was when I watched that episode, 12 perhaps, but I remember being entranced by the transformation of that cottage. All I could think about was how they had magically transformed the cottage into something livable and beautiful and I was hooked! I wanted my own little "nightmare" cottage to transform, using my own ingenuity and energy to turn it into something special. My interest was sparked.

Next to fuel my passion was Dolly magazine. This is an Australian teen magazine, and it still exists today. Back in 1983 I was a loyal reader, in the days when Nicole Kidman still had freckles and red curly hair (yes, that is her on the cover below!) and Culture Club and Michael Jackson were big.

As you might have read on my sidebar 'about me' - I read an article in Dolly about decorating small bedrooms. The article featured the cutest little bedroom, and fantastic storage ideas. How I wish I had kept this article! At that age I was living on my own with my parents in an outback mining town, as my older siblings had flown the nest. So, inspired by this article, I moved from a lovely, light-filled, double bedroom to a smaller bedroom at the back of the house. But I made it my own and I loved it!

Another significant development happened shortly after, when I moved to Chicago, USA for a year with my parents. Talk about a culture shock for an Aussie girl from an outback town of 1500 people! But what a fabulous feast! Suddenly I was immersed in a culture of Guess Jeans, Seventeen Magazine and Mrs Fields Cookies. A trip to the supermarket was a wonderful thing, just to see the array of all the products, including a whole aisle for makeup! Maybelline became my new best friend.

It was in Chicago that I developed a love for country style. I started buying country themed decorating magazines, and I fell in love with this picture. I've kept it all these years, carefully torn from a magazine, and carried all the way home to Australia with me.

Ok, it's a little dated, and the photo is very tatty (loved!), but still I love the pretty quilt on the wall, the freshness of the blue and white theme, the simple white fireplace and the worn wooden furniture.

When I returned home to Australia my mum and dad let me redecorate my room. I chose an antique brass bedhead, powdercoated white, a beautiful wooden wardrobe in the colours of the wood in the image above, and a white Laura Ashley wallpaper with a sweet and subtle little dot pattern on it. I still have some of this wallpaper - it lines the drawers of my chest of drawers. And my bedroom did not have a poster in sight - I didn't want to ruin 'the look'.

In the following years, as I finished high school and went to university, I began collecting for the day I would move out of home. I was often gently teased for a having a 'hope chest' but for me, it wasn't about finding a husband at all, it was about feathering the nest of my future home. It was about slowly but surely moving closer and closer to my dream. I even kept a list of "Things for my unit/bungalow" (yes that was the exact title!). I still have that list. I wanted baskets as well as antique tins, bottles and signs for my kitchen, bare floorboards and a Molissi fan in my bedroom, shells and star fish in my bathroom, and a trunk, basic couch with lots of cushions and an 'unusual decorative piece, eg wallhanging, gate or large mirror' for my living room. This list makes me smile, as I have many of these things now.

So do you, my kindred spirits, have a story to share of how you became passionate about interiors and homes? Please share!

Best wishes,

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