Being the child of two military parents, having a mother that is from the beautiful Caribbean island of Trinidad & Tobago, and leaving home at the age of 17 to study abroad, Monique has had the privilege to travel the world, and experience all different types of cultures, while capturing ideas and inspiration that influences her design work today.
Monique works with residential homeowners that are well traveled and always looking to decorate their home in a way that represents their style, and culture. But the question always is, how do you do that? How do you design a home that truly presents who you are and your life experiences, without you having to pull out the photo album when guests come over and explain, where you’ve traveled, and what experiences you’ve encountered?
Monique is going to tell you how! You can work with your decorator to truly create a home that tells your story full of your culture, belief systems, and style so that you have a place that you can truly call home.
How can you decorate your home to infuse your culture, lifestyle & experiences?
The first thing is you want to think about where you’ve been and what you’ve experienced. If you’ve traveled a lot or even a little, think about where you have visited, and one unique experience you had there. Write it down and review your list. This will help you to remember where you’ve gone, and what imprint those experiences left on you.
Take inventory of any trinkets, art, etc. that you gathered while traveling or that is sentimental to you. Oftentimes, we get things while on vacation, or from our home town, but never incorporate them into our home when we return, because we don’t know where to put them. It simply takes a little planning to be able to use the memorable items you’ve gained, to infuse them in your home. Your Decorator can help with this as well.
If you haven’t traveled much, when you do, pick up something that will remind you of your experience there. For example, I used to collect decorated plates. Every place I’d visit, I’d always bring home a decorative plate that represented the country I visited. Today I have a collection of plates that showcase all the places I’ve visited over the years. Find something you like and start collecting them.
Lastly, if you don’t travel at all, that’s ok. Because we all have a unique style and cultural background. So you can find beautiful pieces that represent your heritage and culture, by shopping at antique shops, thrift stores, and from collecting sentimental items that have been passed down to you from family members.
Why is it important to create a home that represents you?
Let’s be honest. Most Americans work so they can live a good life, pay their bills, and have a home to come home to. But I believe that your home is your refuge. It’s your sacred space. So why not create your home to represent everything you stand for, believe in, and love. There is no place like home, so you want to make it feel like home. In the caribbean culture, there is a saying that you always know when you visit a “Trini” home. Especially during the holidays, if you visit someone of west indian descent, you are sure to smell the sweet scent of ginger, because someone is making ginger bear, a custom drink that west indians make during the holidays. Along with the smell of fresh coconut bread or bake, which is another custom holiday food.
So it’s okay to create a home that allows you to express your culture, and lifestyle. For example, during the holidays, a Trini home would always bring out their beautiful dish sets and glasses so they can drink out of them.
I also had a client who was from India. And a part of their lifestyle was that they prayed several times a day and needed a prayer area. So I helped them design a space within their home to allow them to practice their prayer time. And the beauty of it all is we infused this space into their overall design. It wasn’t a space that was an afterthought, or stuck out like a sore thumb. When you walked into the space, you could tell, their prayer area was intentional. It was designed in the room as a focal point of their culture. It allowed them to feel at home while practicing their daily prayer, without feeling like their space was intruding on their everyday living.
What are the benefits of working with a Decorator to help create life-style inspired home?
The great thing about working with a design professional is that they know the right questions to ask to really get to know you, and understand your design vision and style.
They can also see and put together all the different styles you have, pieces you’ve collected over the years, or simple practices and experiences that you want to showcase in your home. It takes the guesswork and stress away from you, for example having to figure out how to incorporate your exquisite painting you bought in Italy, but don’t know where to put it.
Lastly, we can think beyond your current needs. We capture the details to create your custom home. Because design professionals not only think of the design side of things but also the functional aspect, we can ensure you have the right furniture, accessories, and tools that you need to live out your lifestyle and culture in your home. We think of everything so you don’t have to.
We all work really hard to have the things that matter in our lives, like our homes. And frankly, it’s one of the most expensive purchases you’ll ever make. I believe that you should be able to enjoy the fruits of your labor through your home. It should feel like home, and not just a place that you reside in. And the only way to do that is to take the time to decorate it the right way that represents who you are, your culture, your lifestyle and your experiences. Wherever that looks or feels like. To me that’s the definition of truly living.