Remember that time we were at Grandma’s?

The holidays are approaching and throughout the United States, uncles will be cracking corny jokes and mothers will be crowding the kitchen.  Families will gather, friends will congregate and inevitably, memories will be recounted over a glass of wine or at the dinner table.  We have a fancy word for this sentimentality for the past; nostalgia.  It is a powerful emotion.  It can inspire us, induce laughter and provide connections, both happy and sad.  Places, smells, foods and stories are all avenues for driving us back to the “remember when.”

Nostalgia can be a very effective means for inspiring a space.  While we may not have loved every detail at Grandma’s house, her banister might have been ideal for sliding down.  What made the handrail great for that?  Maybe it was wide and polished.  What did the old faucet in the kitchen look like?  Did the finish have a patina and feel nice in your hand?  Bringing a few carefully planned details along with you from the past can have a powerful effect on the way your home feels every day.

“Wait,” you say.  What does looking back do for those of us who have a more modern, clean, contemporary style in mind?

Simple.  It can provide an opportunity to do one of two things:  blend the clean, crisp new details with a cleverly disguised nod to the old.  Consider the look of barn door hardware (which is not new at all) in a brushed aluminum finish with a clean, single-panel door hanging on it… perfection.  Or a set of antique dining room chairs, reupholstered in a fashion-forward upholstery.

Draw on what you know.  Think about where you have been; what you have loved about those places, the people and the myriad feelings you had when you were there.  Let nostalgia inspire your existing, or brand new, space.  You might be surprised to find yourself, “at home.”

-Holly Bayer, ASID