The Victorian House

Changing Taste

I’ve been thinking a lot about how my taste has changed. Our last house was fun to decorate because even though it was 100+ years old, there wasn’t a lot of ornament in the architecture that dictated a certain style. It lent itself well to mid-century modern furniture, and that design era had a huge hold on me throughout my twenties.

It was also an easy house to add basic, inexpensive furniture to. As I mentioned yesterday, I bought several BILLY bookcases recently. We had them in our bungalow’s landing, as our home’s library, and they were excellent!

Library Landing, Making it Lovely

Simple and well-priced, but with glass doors that made them look higher-end; I continue to receive a steady stream of emails asking about them. Now we’re using them sans-doors in the Victorian, up on the third floor as media storage for DVDs, video games, and CDs. Nearly all of our storage conveyed with the old house, so four months in, we’re glad to finally have some shelves up. We still have boxes upon boxes to unpack here though. So many books! Gah. We plan to add built-in bookshelves to the front parlor downstairs, but in the meantime, I did pick up one additional BILLY bookcase for my office. I’m happy to bring a little order to the room, but well, it looks cheap.

BILLY Bookcase

I suspected it would. Poor BILLY. It’s not his fault! This house is a completely different style, and he just doesn’t work so well here. The exciting thing for me though, is that it’s exactly the style I felt myself moving toward, starting a couple of years ago.

These dressers. Let’s talk about them.

Vintage-Inspired vs. an Antique Dresser

Before, I would have gone for the first, hands-down. Look how cute it is! And think of how adorable it would have been in my white-trimmed, clean-lined bungalow. Now though? No contest. I love the spoon-carved antique. The patina! The detailing! It would hold its own and yet not compete with the Victorian. It’s not about price (the antique is actually less than the brand-new piece here) — it’s about assembling the pieces that are going to make up the fabric of our home for a long time to come.

I’m finding myself drawn to more detail in other areas too. Below is a graphic patterned rug I would have put in the first house, vs. a traditional style rug that I would choose for this one. I can picture it playing off of the teal sofa in perfect juxtaposition.

Rug vs Rug

Of course, I haven’t done a complete 180°. I’m still drawn to both styles, and I’m enjoying the process of blending the different looks together. Plus most of what we had before still works here. I’m not chucking it all and starting over! I’m a big believer in making furniture work for you as your life and tastes change. I mean, that’s what my Making it Yours series is all about.

I’m curious. Have you noticed a similar shift in the way you approach your home? Is it because you moved and the space is better suited to different things, or do you think it’s a natural reflection of growing older, or a response to changing trends?

You Might Also Like...


  • Reply
    emily @ cabin fervor
    January 8, 2014 at 11:39 am

    I think your style SHOULD evolve at least somewhat — age, experience, financial factors, trends, etc. all have an influence over time. Sometimes it just happens more quickly when your surroundings change dramatically, as yours have. I currently live in a rustic cabin with exposed log walls and an industrial kitchen. I’ve definitely taken a different approach to furnishing and decorating this rural house than my previous home — an apartment in Miami Beach. Truly, I can love almost any decorating style in the right environment, and there’s a reason why particleboard IKEA furniture doesn’t look right in your new home. Your home was built with great care and attention to detail; it just begs for a more traditional approach with quality pieces. Of course you can juxtapose that with modern touches and colors, but I think your style was bound to “grow up” and evolve when you bought such a traditional home. I’d be sad it if didn’t!

  • Reply
    January 8, 2014 at 12:55 pm

    Living this also. My last home was a mid-century split. We styled it with mod/mid-c. craigslist finds mixed with a bit of IKEA too. I was very spare with decor and it looked great, was easy to maintain, very fresh. But in my new home those furnishings are too low (literally!). The high ceilings and ornate trim make a lot of what we had look strange and small. We had to pretty much start from scratch and it’s more expensive to style this way than last. I’m really interested to see what you do.

  • Reply
    January 8, 2014 at 1:56 pm

    Can’t wait to see what you do with this house! My taste changes with each house we live in and I think it has made each house have its own personality. Plus it’s more fun to try out different styles than to always do the same. Yay for flexibility!

  • Reply
    Marcee ... ILLINOIS
    January 8, 2014 at 3:22 pm

    The bookcases look better with glass fronts. I could certainly use a set for an overflowing mass of (500+) cookbooks. Simple white cases (w/glass) are best. Dusting is minimal … thank goodness. Years ago I purchased huge entire sets from C&B. They are on every floor. Pricey, but doing ok. They get a lot of daily use. Forgot what they were called/named. Something “lake.” It will be interesting to see your reading collections in the BILLY cases. Maybe come summer!

  • Reply
    Julia at Home on 129 Acres
    January 8, 2014 at 8:25 pm

    My decor style has definitely evolved over time. But I think that in addition to time, another influence is setting. I never considered myself a fan of the rustic or country look, but since moving to our farm I find I’m more open to it. It’s appropriate for our house and our property. Bring on the barn board!

  • Reply
    January 9, 2014 at 8:46 am

    My tastes have definitely shifted, but I’ve learned how to combine different styles in a way that is complimentary instead of competing. I would love to use that traditional style rug you posted with a clean-lined sofa or other mid-century furniture pieces. That kind of juxtaposition is what makes a space feel homey and not like it came straight out of a catalog. I think as we expose ourselves to different spaces and decor styles, we fine-tune our design sense and start to see how variety makes a living space more interesting.

  • Reply
    January 9, 2014 at 10:29 am

    I wonder about people who never show an evolution of style or taste. And by wonder, I mean people who don’t evolve have something going on upstairs.

    Sometimes I wonder if style/taste is like figuring out who a baby will look like when they get older. Work with me here, because this is a theory best explained in person with hand motions and facial expressions. Okay, here goes.

    Have you ever noticed that when a baby is born they look like (for example) mostly dad…and then they start growing? They start looking like mom, then dad, then a little bit of both, then mom, dad, grandma, mom, both, mom, and then finally when they reach adulthood they are back to looking like mostly dad.

    I think that’s our personal style. We have it, and it’s mostly determined around the time we start figuring out what we like (for me it was around middle school-high school, and it resembles your traditional Victorianish look), but it goes through phases until it reaches adulthood and settles into what it’s meant to be. Life is about waiting for our style to grow into its nose.

    • Reply
      Amy Chen
      January 9, 2014 at 6:34 pm

      I just have to say I love this comment.

  • Reply
    January 9, 2014 at 12:16 pm

    I so get this. We bought our circa 1922 home last spring. Since moving in I have felt this strong desire to go super slow on the decorating. I am a believer that houses somewhat dictate how they should look and in an older home we should go with it rather than fight against it. So now I find myself being pulled to furniture and rugs I wouldn’t have pick at all for my first house…I painted a bathroom a BM pink for heavens sake and it looks perfect.

  • Reply
    January 9, 2014 at 2:21 pm

    My design style constantly evolves and changes, maybe because like you, I am artistic (Graphic Designer). I flip flop from modern/rustic,to traditional to bohemian, vintage and even shabby chic! I think it’s not so much a certain style that we gravitate towards, but good DESIGN. Great design actually.

    If it’s mixed well, even an eclectic modern/victorian combo can look fabulous! I so look forward to seeing the evolution of your new home!

  • Reply
    January 9, 2014 at 4:24 pm

    Nicole, we think you are spot on! “Mixxing” it up is what we are all about at MixxCentury and love that you featured the soulful spoon carved chest from our collection of vintage finds. Slightly primitive pieces like this just beg to be touched and add so much warmth. But juxtaposing it with modernism and throwing a 1900s Tabriz under it all, is what we call chic.

    Love your style… can’t wait to read more!

  • Reply
    January 9, 2014 at 8:02 pm

    I love both styles and always have, but have no idea how to blend them well (for example, I would love both of those dressers in my home and would never know how to choose or how to make them work together, albeit in different rooms) so I’m very interested to see how you blend.

  • Reply
    January 9, 2014 at 8:30 pm

    I’m definitely drawn to more classic styles as I get older. With a quirky twist of course but for the more expensive items, I’m leaning towards traditional. When you realize how much a sofa costs, you’re like, yeah I’m getting the English roll arm sofa.

  • Reply
    Weekend Links
    January 18, 2014 at 10:08 am

    […] Changing Taste Nicole talks about how since moving to a different home, she finds herself making different choices in her furniture. She captures how a house can speak to us and help guide us on what it wants inside. […]

  • Reply
    January 18, 2014 at 11:39 am

    My tastes have changed with the times and the homes. My 1926 bungalow had a much different feel than my 1996 two story. No “country” or shabby chic here. Just doesn’t fit. The house does speak, mostly get rid of the ruffled curtains, and time for wood floors. Thanks for sharing.

  • Reply
    Jessica @ Decor Adventures
    January 18, 2014 at 4:46 pm

    Hi Nicole,

    I’m glad you brought this up. I’ve often felt the same way in our 114 year old house. I’d stare at my spaces wondering why things just don’t look right against the large trim and old features. My taste changes all the time, which can be a good and bad thing. I’d say be open to what you think will work for you and try some new ideas out, could be fun!

    Glad you are figuring things out and I look forward to reading more.

  • Reply
    January 27, 2014 at 9:42 am

    Love the new look, it’s good to change, keeps your current. I would say that you should store some of the good pieces your have, such as the rug and chest of drawers, you will find you might wantto use them again down the road, everything old is new again after all.

  • Reply
    February 14, 2014 at 1:04 pm

    My problem is that I have a very rustic taste and I moved into an apt with very contemporary wall colors and accents. I know I can repaint but…ugghhh I am lazy. When I get home I just want to collapse. And I do like the colors.

    I have collected handmade brooms, wreaths and woven baskets since my early 20s. I have a LOT of handmade brooms. I love them. I want to display them. But they don’t go. In fact the main wall color is mustard yellow which really doesn’t go with the broom corn. I would need to repaint, maybe a taupe color, that would go with the red kitchen and the deep eggplant accent wall. It’s an open plan apt so the color has to flow.

    The bedroom walls are a deep sea green that I also love but can’t work with.

    I also love the color blue grey, or Yankee blue. I have SO many pieces n that color, from IKEA wicker chairs I’ve collected, display units, etc. Federal and naive art in that color. I also love deep peacock blue mixed with spring green.

    You know what color cannot work with that blue and green? MUSTARD YELLOW.

    But the yellow is very bright (basement apt) and cheerful and works perfectly with the other colors.

    So basically the brooms hang in their storage box in my bedroom (no storage elsewhere) and very little is on the walls. I’ve put a couple of favorites up, tucked around other pieces on the eggplant walls, where they look GREAT.

    No clue what to do, but I discovered I had to give away or dump all the carefully curated items in my favorite colors that I had collected over the years. I’ve kept a few that I just love…but they don’t go with this place.


  • 1 2

    Leave a Reply