Someone came to my new house in Dubai the other day, and complimented me on the decor (which is always nice, especially as it's very much a work in progress) and then said something that caught me so off guard, I almost fell off my chair: 'I love your style - it's quite minimalist.' I thought I had misheard and then realised I hadn't. Mi-ni-ma-list. MINIMALIST?! Moi?! What the...? If I had to be called something, it would maximalist so this had me all confused and mind racing for days.
Then I looked at pictures of my old pad in East London and it suddenly hit me. Since moving to the desert a few months ago, I have started kitting out our new pad and seem to have developed a split interiors personality in the process.
So, although things are probably not as dramatic as this blog title suggests, and I am probably not suffering from an actual diagnosable mental illness (although if you consider madness that could be questionable), but I am definitely showing symptoms of what you'd call design schizophrenia, if that was an actual condition.
You see, my home in London is all about bold colourful, statement decor and accessories... Dark grey walls displaying neon signs, blue velvet sofa and copper lighting, bright accessories and quirky pieces. Maximalist, bold, statementey, 'in your face' kind of decor... Not exactly what you'd call minimalist, right?!
Here, on the other hand, I seemed to have gone all light greys, soft tones, scandi vibes, with completely naked white walls, and wait for it, all of this following one NEUTRAL colour palette (I know, I can't actually believe I am writing this!). I have gone so off piste, I have even evolved into a state in which I don't feel the need to fill every bit of space with some funky decorative items, or cover every wall with dark paint and colourful artwork.
I thought the first thing I would do the minute we moved in, would be to repaint the whole thing dark grey and buy a bright pink neon sign and yellow sofa or something, but I haven't been able to take the plunge and for the first time in years I have been slightly scared about 'taking risks' when it comes to decorating... I don't know if it's swapping a small townhouse with, shall we say, cosy, rooms to a big 2500sq ft warehouse type, white box (things are on a much bigger scale here in Dubs!) that's completely thrown me but here I am in a weird state of decorating paralysis.
I mean, don't get me wrong, it's far, so far, from being finished and I am gradually sourcing lots more stuff like artwork and accessories (tight budget problems...) but bizarrely all this whiteness is not actually bothering me as much as I thought it would.
So there is obviously a clear design dichotomy between my ultra decorated London townhouse, filled with bold coloured furniture and bonkers accessories, and my more sleek, laid-back and slighted understated beach pad in Dubai... And because it's happened quite naturally, without me overthinking it, I now feel more confused than a chameleon in a bag of bloody skittles. And it raises an even more confusing question now: which is the 'real' me? If there even just one real me?
I feel mega comfortable in both spaces (although I couldn't imagine them the other way around!) so, what's the deal here - have I simply developed split interior design personality? Or can you love two completely different styles while being totally true your own design personality? Is that in the sodding interior styling rule book?! And if so, can you change interior style like you would with, say, a total wardrobe revamp without completely losing your personality?
I'd like to think it's a phase and part of me may subconsciously be experimenting what a minimalist environment would do to my soul after years of living in a colourful (and slightly bonkers) house and I might be simply considering (deep, deep our Dubai abode more like a beach holiday house rather than our actual home? Or am I being influenced by the homewares offering? We are being exposed to a completely different interiors scene here in the Middle East, and the quirky colourful interiors, Abigail Ahern style, I am usually gagging for, are very hard (if not impossible) to find here. So is my brain slowly surrendering and making me go towards what is actually available? Or is your true sense of style affected by your environment, what side of the globe you live in, the architecture of the country you call home, or even the type of space you sleep in?
So many bloody questions I am currently asking myself, as you can see. Maybe I am looking too much into it, and in a few days, the dark interiors bug will catch up with me again and I'll be dialling the painter's number to beg him to come rescue me with a pot of Farrow & Ball Downpipe like a crack addict looking for their next fix. Who knows... For now, I am embracing the minimalist side I didn't even know I had and I would highly encourage anyone out there to give in to your own inner confusion and succumb to your own Multiple Interiors Personality. Yep, that's a thing...
Because at the end of the day, your home decor should make you feel happy.
And currently I am literally happy as a clam.