Express yourself

Forget the magazine look. Home should reflect your personality

Special to The Hilton Head Island PacketMay 2, 2014 

The parlor of my 1890 Victorian home in downtown Savannah is an eclectic mix of the things I love. Modern pieces and and antiques happily mingle together to provide a highly personal space for living.


I went to my first Heritage golf tournament this past weekend. That’s right, I, like the hoards of other islanders and out-of-town visitors, braved the less than stellar weather Saturday morning and “got my plaid on” at our annual golf extravaganza. How I have managed to work for almost 25 years on an island resort known as much for being a golfer’s paradise as anything else and not ever attended this event is beyond me. However, when clients offered me their passes for the day I jumped at the opportunity.

Although I don’t play golf, I can appreciate the talent it takes to play the game. Seeing it live gave me a better perspective and mingling with a crowd that was so energetic and, for the most part, very well behaved made it more enjoyable. One of the things I found interesting was some of the players’ fashion choices. 

Golf attire was once known for its sometimes garishly loud color palettes and less than subtle patterns, making it the butt of many jokes. However, over the years it seems the clothing has gone the way of so much other active wear and become more homogenous and less flamboyant. So, I was fascinated by some of the more daring clothing choices and wondered if the players’ personalities matched their outfits.

What is it about golf fashion that allows us to step outside our comfort zone and express ourselves a bit more than we may normally do? Or, in the case of big tournaments, do the sponsors act as personal stylists and dictate what the players will wear? A quick Google search revealed a little of both. If the players are game for it, the sponsors will happily oblige. Why not have some fun with it and make it personal?

This got me thinking about how much interior design is like fashion. In fact, it is fashion for the home. And I find the most interesting and successful interior design comes when the style reflects the owners personal style as opposed to super trendy and of-the-moment styles. With the proliferation of design and shelter magazines, and the ubiquitous television home decorating channels like HGTV it is easy to get caught up in the drama of it all. 

Sometimes when I look at a heavily styled and staged magazine photograph I can’t help but feel like no one  lives there, or if they do they live in a make-believe world. The goal of designing your home, even when you enlist the help of an interior designer, is to create a place to be yourself. It should reflect your likes and embrace your quirks. When I see a room decorated  all in one style I think about the missed opportunity to create something personal. When something is limited to one note it is often boring.

How about an unexpected pop? If you love old houses and antiques then celebrate the two. But do you want to live in a house museum? I don’t.

I am all about adding a little eclecticism. The juxtaposition of a slick steel and glass cocktail table sitting in front of an antique 19th-century mahogany chest can be pure magic and decorating bliss. And who says modern abstract art can’t happily hang on the wall next to 18th-century prints? 

If you have many facets to your personality then so should your home’s interiors. Only then is your home a true portrait of you. Never be afraid to express yourself with your home’s interiors. If you do not want to blend in with the crowd then step outside your comfort zone and get your plaid on.

Gregory Vaughan is an interior designer with Kelley Designs. Contact him at 843-785-6911 or

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