Style Court

Textiles, Art History, Gardens, and a Little Mental Traveling with Courtney Barnes 2006-2016


Fourth Ingredient: Consideration

"A person's good manners are primarily a matter of considerate actions; a house's good manners are largely a matter of considerate furnishings that are comfortable, co-operative, and easy to live with. They take into account the fact that things, no matter how beautiful, are less important than people."

-- Vogue's Book of Etiquette, 1969

The book goes on to say that consideration begins before one enters the front door: have a well-lighted street number, a driveway free of obstacles, and a clearly marked mail box.

"A reasonable amount of shabbiness is nothing to be ashamed of, and certainly should not be confused with dirtiness...Too much newness can have overtones of a store display and give the impression that a house is more of a showpiece than a place for enjoying a full life."

"Anything that is irritating or a hazard is inconsiderate and should be eliminated or fixed -- small rugs that slip, the bathroom lock that does not work, the table leg that wobbles." Pillows should enhance comfort, not make it hard to sit down.

Make sure entryways and stairs are free of scattered toys, but remember "It is not a tragedy if there are fluffs of dust in a corner, if the sofa pillows are crushed, or the newspaper is spread open on the table. An often-used desk is usually cluttered, an overflowing table in the front hall simply means that a family finds it the most convenient place to leave all sorts of miscellany. Friendliness is essential to the well-mannered house, and is expressed by its relaxed acceptance of people's comings and goings, their habits and hobbies, their needs and pleasures."

"Consideration is many-faceted, and a considerate house is as generous in its own way as a considerate person. Both focus on making people feel happy, at ease, and unaware of any effort that may have been exerted to bring about their sense of well-being."

Images one, three, four, six and eight show the family and apartment of Lorraine Kirke -- wife of Bad Company drummer, Simon Kirke --  Fernando Bengoechea photographer, Elle Decor, December/January 1997. Image two courtesy Kathryn M. Ireland. Image five, Christina Cuomo Elle Decor, circa 1999.


Ivy Lane said...

Great post! just in time for the holidays when our homes will be filled with friends and family. Many do not realize that consideration starts out at the mail box all the way to the front door! I love that part!

Style Court said...

Hi Ivy -- I like your reminder about the holidays :)

LINDA from Each Little World said...

That is such a wonderful book — the advice is so thoughtful and realistic. My 88 year old mother-in-law was living with us for part of the summer and it made me very aware of how quickly a chic concept can turn into a hazard. It really made me rethink some of my design decisions — so it's nice to see that I'm on the right track. I've loved waiting for your posts and to see how you will illustrate them. And don't I recognize image No. 7 from a stylish Atlanta address?

S. Adler said...

This is wonderful advice.
Why do I always feel so self-conscious when people come into my house? It must be an insecurity. When I entertain - I spend days in advance scouring my house with a fine tooth comb. This hinders me from entertaining as often as I'd like.

Just curious -- a familiar fabric on an ottoman. Is picture 7 a personal one of yours?

Style Court said...

S. Adler, Ms. Wis -- thanks for your insights. Adler, hope you will entertain more often now :)

Yes, 7 is mine.

Linda@ Lime in the Coconut said...

Oh boy...wise words for sure...and the images are the exclamation point! thanks for the generous reminder.

Style Court said...

Ms. Wis -- wanted to also mention that it sounds as of you gained new sensitivity. Glad you shared.

Linda -- I'm happy you think the images work here!

Teacats said...

Brillant words -- and ones that should be posted at every design or decorator's office! I LOVE the phrase of a "considerate house" -- really wise and welcome words when creating a "home" (as opposed to a "house")

Jan at Rosemary Cottage

Style Court said...

Great idea Jan!

Pigtown*Design said...

Couldn't agree more!!!

Mrs. Blandings said...

I am so loving that shabbiness should not be confused with dirtiness - I'm making this my new mantra. And what of image 7, dear Court? Did you think I wouldn't notice your not-too-shabby abode?

beachbungalow8 said...

I was just going to say, I looked for the credit on that image of the boy, feet up on your hassock.

I love any reminder that a beautiful home should be lived in and comfortable.

Style Court said...

Hi everyone -- I'm partial to the lived-in look too.

I can't believe guy # 7 is 13-years old. Seems like yesterday his feet did not touch the floor.

I chose the kitchen b/c I love the flowers on the counter. I think the curtains are up for debate, but the cabinets are kind of killer!

Belle said...

I am mad for the curtains - it would be a perfect compromise in my house; one of us likes chintz and the other is mad for stripes. Thank you for a wonderful blog.

Style Court said...

Belle -- so glad you like them! Hope the image turns out to be a problem solver for you.

cotedetexas said...

I knew 7 was yours immediately! but I must say - you have never posted a shot from that angle before - very interesting!!!!

nice looking nephew? I assume?

but truth - it doesn't bother you just a little tiny bit with his shoes on the your gorgeous ottoman - I would be be dying!!!!!

Style Court said...

Yes, one of my nephews.

That bench gets used every which way. I encouraged him to put his feet up. The print hides everything and the little one stands on it, moves it all around.

Thanks for stopping by Joni!

Paul Pincus said...

courteny: i'm crazy about that red kitchen! i've stolen the image for my personal image bank. it's strange, but this one image, of this terrific red kitchen, has made me rethink my design choices over the past 10 years!

thank you...i think!?!? : )

Style Court said...

Paul -- wonderful to hear from someone else who likes the red cabinets!

I can see them used different ways. The curtains here are so very English and very Kirke -- but the high-gloss red could also go modern.

Anonymous said...

Love the Aga Cooker.