Sunday, September 30, 2012

Is Interior Design Materialistic?


You guys know I've always loved interior design and are probably totally sick of hearing about it, but what I've learned these past few years goes beyond just the technicalities of design. This is going to be a longer post than normal because, well, I've had a realization and I have a lot to say. We're about to get real here.

I was asked recently while talking about design with my housemates: 'Why do people spend that much money on decorating their house?'. One of my housemates responded by saying 'Because they're vain'. 

Now...here's the thing. In that situation, I completely agreed. The industry of interior design can be super materialistic. It can be an industry that causes people to feel discontent with what they have, and makes them continually want more more more. It can be an industry where people spend ridiculous amounts of money on frivolous things, and yes, that can be vain. This concept is something that has certainly crossed my mind more than once in college...the question of "Waiiit...am I encouraging vanity and discontent by getting into this industry?"

I can say with confidence now--that is not the case. There is so much more to design than meets the eye, and I don't think everyone understands it. This past year has been SO eye opening for me on why I'm passionate about design. Yes, I love beautiful architecture and pretty velvet headboards. But would I say I am passionate about those things? Nope. There's certainly nothing wrong with loving beautiful things. 
But I'm not passionate about things

 What I am passionate about is creating spaces that make people feel at home. There is so much value to having that feeling of comfort in the place that you live--having a feeling of safety and order. For me, that starts with good design in a home. 
Here's a little back story about what brought this realization to my attention. My family and I started a church in 2009 called Voyage. We packed up our lives, moved from Oregon to Washington, and have been on this adventure ever since. Church planting is a huge commitment and my family has been both challenged and blessed beyond words these past four years. Because we quickly moved and started planning the church right away, we have never fully felt 'moved in' to our house. We planted the church from scratch and met in a school for the first couple of years, which meant that we didn't have a permanent place for a lot of the church's supplies, so some of it ended up hanging out in our house. We even had a drum set in our living room for awhile and held music practice here. We didn't have much time or money to quite settle in and make our house our own. 

Since then, Voyage has moved into a permanent facility--a building that finally feels like a home for our church. We wanted that so badly for our church family...to have a place that felt secure and welcoming. To create a place that they enjoyed being in and that encouraged conversation before and after each gathering. It seemed like a far off dream, but God made it happen. The building started as a big white box and we had tons of help to make it what it is now. You guys, God has been blessing Voyage like crazy lately. I look around and am amazed by how far we've come. We have amazing people that have total servant's hearts. I know there's a lot that goes into making a church feel like a home for people, but I really believe that having a welcoming building has played a role in that.


Now that we feel settled into this building, we are finally getting settled into our own house. My mom and I were on a roll all summer of organizing, painting, rearranging, brainstorming...and just all around making this house our home. We aren't done yet but we already are in disbelief of how different we feel in this house. We switched a few rooms around to make sense for our needs. We are creating a comfortable guest room and making a second family room out of a room that was mostly used for storage. These things mean a lot to us. They mean that we feel more equipped to host guests...we feel more effective as we work from home, we feel accomplished looking around and seeing things we created together, we feel more organized as a whole, we feel like we have a place to recharge, and we simply enjoy being in our home.
This is the longest post of my life. But it might just be my most important one yet. 

My point is...I've learned what makes me happy about design. I have such a joy in learning how a family works and what role a house can play in their life. I have an opportunity use the things I'm talented in to benefit people's lives. 

That's what I hope to do. We all have that opportunity in different ways, and that is such a beautiful thing.


*beautiful illustrations above are by: Rebekka Seale 
*images above are of Voyage!

26 comments:

Diane Streicher @ Diane Again said...

Court, interesting post and thought-provoking topic. I totally agree with your thoughts and I am glad you took the time to share these important issues about the design industry.

Jillian said...

Well said lady! Design is soo much more then pretty accessories and fancy details. I believe its part of our job to teach people what it really is all about!

Cheers
~ jillian
www.hersplitends.com

Maria & Cameron who loves Jack!! said...

This post was so well written! It is truly a gift to make a home truly inviting and the Lord will use that in many ways to promote His kingdom, especially with a heart intention like yours! Thank you for encouraging art given by the Creator to be used to His glory and to bless others! This was so encouraging to read in light of many different types of "art" inspiring gifts He gives His children!

Beverly said...

Courtney, I came here via your mother's post, and I am so blessed that I did. This post speaks to my heart from yours.

Tiffany Leigh Interior Design said...

So well put Courtney. I think that many people have this misconception about design. The reason I'm getting into the industry: To change people's places from houses to homes. Homes filled with love, homes where they feel comfortable, happy, relaxed, and inspired!

Dear Emmeline said...

very well said! not only can a well designed home with meaningful and beautiful decor bring peace and order and a general feeling of pleasure to those who live there but it provides an enjoyable space in which to spend time with others!

Chrissi Holt said...

This is an amazing post ! I know I have never posted anything before but this just moved me. Can I say if those pictures are of the church they are stunning. It looks very homey ... I wanna come this evening, but heck I am all the way over in London darn !

Love Chrissi xo

www.christianaholt.blogspot.com

Michaela said...

Yes to all of this. Wow, Courtney, this is exactly what I've felt for years and never wrote about! We're too similar :) Mark Driscoll once said in one of his sermon's that when him and his wife went house hunting, they had a specific list of things they wanted to be able to better serve others in their home. That stuck with me big time...and I SO want to create that in my home one day and my client's houses over the years. Memeber how we should go into business together? This post is why. We can use it as our mission statement or something :)

andrea brionne said...

AMEN! i think interior design plays such a huge role in how you feel when you are home. when my apartment is decorated, i feel so happy to be at home. interior design also helps to create the mood and really express yourself in your own living space. others learn more about you and your family by the way it is decorated. interior design is SO NOT vain!! :)

andrea brionne
@HIM+HER

Manni King said...

Hello, this is a good article.
Thanks.

Angelika said...

Woo Hoo! I just popped in after months of not reading your blog and I was so happy to read this post. I am happy you have a sincere passion for this kind of thing, and I am happy to be a part of/involved with Voyage also, you guys are great people. Watching the blah space transform into a place where I WANT to be every week, has been fun and exciting to witness!

I want stop by your place and see the semi-recent changes to the kitchen and stuff though! Totally curious!

Heidi Szczepanski said...

Really nice article and information. I love all the ittle house graphics. Nice blog.

Heidi
Exede

Rachel said...

Love it!!! Thanks for sharing. A house to a home is such a blessing. We have moved a lot in the last few years in ministry and I am looking forward to settling down and creating a home for us too, one day in God's timing. {Will totally be checking out your blog for inspiration}. I just found your blog, it is completely lovely.

Kylee Noelle {the blog} said...

oh hey. why don't you BLOG? :P

Joan said...

nice post!
very well written and interesting!

Sharon @ Hiking Toward Home said...

Courtney, I've been keeping up with your mom a long time. You are so right about that feeling at home issue. We have moved 9 times in 19 years of marriage. Sounds crazy but that is the life of a missionary. We are now living in a rented house but of all the places we have lived this is the one that feels the most 'homey' and comfortable. We have been here a year and I still have unopened boxes here in my kitchen. (sad I know) Your post is good encouragement for me to get moving on decorating and making it really feel like our home. The last house we lived in... I never even hung anything on the walls! I never felt 'at home' there.

Angie said...

Love this! This totally makes sense. I LOVE interior design too, and have struggled with the consumerism aspect of it. But I think I'm just like you - I love making a house feel like a home, because we are all yearning for that home.

And also love how you talk about needing a "home" in church too - which makes so much sense, when you think about how we need a family home, we need a church to feel like home too.

Good insight! :)

Nick Chan said...

I agree with you that design is more than just decorating a place. It's arts, it's solving problem and it's bring a better life and living to people.

Nick Chan said...

I agree with you that design is more than just decorating a place. It's arts, it's solving problem and it's bring a better life and living to people.

Whitney said...

those house prints are beautiful and so is the way you write! love your blog and am excited to follow along!

whitney
michaelandwhitneyweekes.blogspot.com

kimberlyrenee said...

This post is awesome. I have struggled with this same thing in studying Architecture! It was really hard when I was in school because the profs can be very... design-snobish... but it was hard out of school with some of the people I work with too! My husband is going to be a pastor soon and so I've had a few questions about my profession... sometimes it's so hard to remember that our God is a CREATIVE God! He loves design too! We can see it every time we look up at the mountains or at the ocean. Heck, He even cared about all the little design details that went into the temple. Whew. longest comment ever, but i just wanted to encourage you- HE will use Christians in this sometimes very materialistic profession! xo and God bless.

dutchbritishlove said...

I so agree with you on this and I love how you put it into words! It was great to learn a bit more about Voyage as well! It sounds like you guys have a great thing going and how awesome that you can work on it together as a family!

Tonya said...

I have always loved architechture and design and would feel a bit guilty for how much joy I find in it, but then I realized that I am made in the image of God. Take a good look around at the extravagant handiwork of our God and it doesn't take long to realize where my love of beauty comes from. I truly believe that creating a beautiful and peaceful environment for my family is a gift I give them and it's not about following design rules or filling my home with the latest trends. It's about creating a home that is a comfort and refuge from the crazy world we live in.

The Cottage Nest Design said...

Yes, Yes!!! I have been wrestling with this topic my whole adult life! I have finally come to a similar thinking. I also see the value in our Creator making us so completely unique from one another and being able to express this uniqueness in our homes - which I think reflects back to God and His incredibleness in creating!
Thank you so much!

julia john said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
julia john said...

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