Tuesday, November 2, 2010

What is "a Grace-ful space" Anyway?

Good ole' Merriam-Webster defines as: Grace-ful (adj.) 1. characterized by seemingly effortless beauty or charm of movement, form or proportion. 2. suggesting taste, ease and wealth. 3. a disposition to be generous or helpful. 4. a sense of fitness or propriety.

That said, is there a formula or standard that makes one space more "graceful" than another? Of course not!  The best part is that whatever style you may gravitate toward, whether it's traditional, minimalist, shabby-chic, modern, contemporary, transitional, cottage, Mediterranean, minimalist, French Provencal (and the list goes on...) or any combination of these, every space has the potential to become a "graceful" space.  It is more about how you, your family and your guests feel and function in your home that is important.

Is it really "effortless" as the definition suggests? Well, no. But, what that is worth it in life is really effortless? However, having an awareness of your personal values, goals and objectives in how you live - and prioritizing them in such a way that you are able to take joy away from the process of creating a graceful space - certainly helps to put the "fun" in functional so to speak, and leaves you with a sense of accomplishment.  Suddenly,  your home (and you)  feel a sense of effortless order. And then there's that sigh of relief. Ahhhhh....

Is "graceful" just beauty and form? Again, a resounding "No!"  It is a feeling of warmth and welcome, fun and laughter, and comfort and ease which all contribute to a graceful space. And, most importantly, the ability for you to embody "generosity and helpfulness" (definition 3) in the environment you've created, because, in the end, THAT is what you, your family, your friends and your guests will notice the most!  However, many of us lifestyle and decor enthusiasts (myself included) swoon over the beautiful, perfect and yes, "graceful," homes and rooms that are featured (and we are taunted with) in magazines and catalogs.  But, what we fail to remind ourselves as we imagine what it must be like to live in such a pristine home, is that it is a highly contrived environment at which we are longingly gazing.  One which is chock full of fresh floral arrangements, special lighting, pillow fluffers, a highly accomplished photographer, a set-assistant armed with a "Swiffer Duster" just outside the reach of the camera frame, and of course, the most stylishly dressed, beautified and happy homeowners [and/or family] we've ever seen!  Is it attainable in our real day-to-day lives? Yes. By a select few. ("The Stepford Wives" and "Mommy Dearest" come to mind.) But, in truth reality,  being "graceful" and keeping "graceful spaces" allows for imperfections, and as is shown time and again in nature, there is much "effortless beauty" to be found there. Ultimately, the point I am making here is don't be discouraged and disgruntled from making your home it's most "graceful" because of the "threat" of a perfect picture of a home/room which yours will never be directly compared to. (Unless of course you are submitting it to the publishers of "Your Favorite Home Magazine" for consideration.)  Rather, use the ideas you may find there in practical ways that will compliment your lifestyle and, to quote Tim Gunn, "Make It Work!"

As we move forward together through this journey into " a graceful space," I hope to employ the delicate balance between style, organization and function in my home and life, and will always welcome your thoughts and ideas as to what works for you and yours. Together, may our spaces all be "graceful."

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