When I was a young girl I admired that my mother sewed her own clothes. She taught me how to sew and I was fortunate enough to be able to whip up a new outfit in a few hours with a fabric remnant. We perused fabric stores often where she taught me about the 'hand' of fabrics, i.e., the quality and feel, the way they hung, and I admired the tailored patterns she chose. I loved those translucent ochre paper patterns and wanted to wallpaper a wall with them!
When she remarried in her fifties, her new life as a dentist's wife involved entertaining, a lot of social functions and travel. Her sewing elevated to couture patterns and fabrics and I loved to watch her get dressed and accessorize herself! I remember her amazing fashion sense more than I remember her decorating our home growing up, until I was in college. That's when Mom started adding Scandinavian furniture (mid-century modern now), Marimekko fabrics and modern pieces to her already traditional collection of family antiques. This is when my eyes opened to interior design and how her taste influenced mine.
I consider my style "transitional" in my own home decor. However, since my mother passed away several years ago, I have added family antique or two. I love that I have some of her mid-century pieces as well, and one unusual piece we all call 'Zeebee'.
She was ahead of her time with Zeebee. People thought she was nuts buying this ceramic zebra (back in the '70's he was considered a fortune at $200). I thought it was 'artsy' and loved it! My daughter, Bethany, equates Zeebee with memories of her grandmother, who is a huge influence in her design tastes today. She used to run into 'Nonnie's' house and sit on Zeebee where he was perched in the foyer.
It was my mom who taught me the value of good pieces, both in fashion and in furniture. She reupholstered furniture often and changed with the times. I will forever honor my mother as one of the people who influenced me the most in my life today. Among her other attributes that I share were her love for dogs and horses, gardening and entertaining. I have her Havilland china, that reportedly I never really liked until I was older, but now adore.
She was a style icon to me, and I see now that my daughter is carrying on the family tradition. Bethany has one of her Waterford crystal lamps at her bedside. Along with a horse block-print resting beside it.
Just writing this post makes me miss my mother; her wonderful qualities and all that she brought to our family. Join me in celebrating all mothers this year on Mother's Day, and the influence they had in shaping our lives.
My mother's heirloom mahogany tilt-top table sits in the corner of my living room today.
Her Scandinavian wall-hung teak buffet holds some serving pieces and her antique Balinese carved window hangs above it (that we DIY'ed into a lighted piece of art).