What a person surrounds themselves with embodies the very essence of that individual. Nothing could be more fundamental to your identity as a human being than your environment, your habitat. And most of us can choose our surroundings, which, therefore, by definition, becomes the expression of our very self, an explanation of who we really are. That is the depth to which our decor is interwoven into the very core of our unique narratives.
So many aspects of our lives converge in that space we call “home“. Many times it reflects our culture, depending on how deeply we relate to that connection with the society around us. Also, like a three-dimensional scrapbook, your decor can be a way to keep bits of your life alive and near. It can be an embodiment of those places you’ve seen, events you’ve experienced, and people you keep close to your heart.
My story, as it relates to all this, is a bit unconventional, which leads to a perspective which may be altogether unique. My parents separated when I was two years old, and my mom’s passion for humanitarian work led us to India. That exotic culture is the first one I remember experiencing, with its intoxicating sights, aromas and customs. But mostly, I remember the colors. Hand spun tapestries and brightly-colored calendars displayed prominently on each wall. Tables adorned with religious icons, brass urns and golden candle holders. Bright oblong-shaped designs on furniture, with arched and scalloped architectural features abounding. The surroundings completely enraptured me, taking me on a mystical journey into their ancient culture. That was my first taste of the wonder of design.During that time I also traveled to Nepal, high in the Himalayas, and was impressed with their simple lifestyle, filled with bricks and wicker baskets and spice markets laden with hundreds of brightly colored wares. Houses were simple too, with sparse multi-functional furniture, walls nearly bare except for a few tiny mementos and pictures.
Aztec Area Rugs Remind Me of Home Whenever I’m Living
The years following were no less intriguing to me. Our next stop was the golden sands of Tampico, Mexico. The culture there was very different from what I had grown accustomed to in India. Though the colors were still bright, they were on the other side of the spectrum- pinks and oranges, with striped pots and dual-colored suns. Many of these design aspects influenced my current take on room ornamentation.
Several years later, we traveled overseas again- this time to Romania. I have such fond memories of that beautiful country and fascinating culture. Having been a Communist dictatorship before the Revolution in December of 1989, many of the buildings, as well as the people’s outlooks, were still decidedly gray. But the optimism of the youth was overtaking the drab disposition, and hope was palpable. New buildings had more character and a modernistic feel, though many homes still celebrated their heritage with traditional tapestries, carved ornate wood and an intricate Aztec area rug, fabrics and lace.
Most recently we moved to Brownsville, Texas, where I’ve lived for nearly seven years. My experience in Mexico has been revisited in the many cultural similarities with this border town. Spanish is the prominent language spoken, and Latin is the ever-present cultural flavor, akin to chili and lime.