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Beauty is not Perfection.

As a designer, I have learned and practiced the ability to develop and curate, creating something that is yet to exist. A designer of spaces observes things in their reality, imagining what they could be. We visualize the future, exercising the hope that others will feel what we feel. I have often heard two exclamations from others when they enter a recently completed space — one of praise and wonder, the other of “I could never do that.” Now, for context, as a designer who has primarily worked with large teams, I do not take any praise personally. It takes each individual involved and their talents to bring a designed space to life. It takes vision AND execution. However, what I find most interesting in these observations is the juxtaposition. The wow and then the shame. I’m going to be honest…it is so awkward.

The thing with beauty is that it’s subjective. So, while interior designers desire to showcase beautiful materials and details, we more powerfully strive for function. How a space works influences how it feels. To understand how to get this right, requires trial and error. Error as in failing and allowing things to not work. This is really scary because it puts us in an extremely vulnerable position. As I often am, I’m brought to the words of Brené Brown, “Vulnerability is the birthplace of innovation, creativity and change.” So why are the aforementioned exclamations so awkward? I think it’s because there is no recognition of the work and of the often painful vulnerability it takes to make the finished product. The expression of “I could never do that” in particular takes humanity out of the process. Where does it come from? 

Something that’s been on my mind is how our economic system and culture of social media prioritizes what we can see, just the end result. Face value is prioritized by likes and shares (and dollars.) But like interior design, the song or dance move, the painting, the food creation, the successful business, the smiling face, the best seller didn’t just happen overnight. It also isn’t perfect. Every creation has flaws baked in, its edges softened by the human hand — the inherently imperfect human hand. Sure it takes talent and passion to design, but putting down your own abilities to celebrate something beautiful omits the purpose. You are the purpose, we are the purpose. Interior design is evoking elements that create connection, learning and healing. It both reacts to and inspires the human experience.

A friend and I have been talking about the word messy. Their work in the nonprofit world and mine in the design world is simply that, messy. When I close my eyes and think about it, I see a recipe card with notes in ballpoint ink, stained by splatters of its ingredients or the scars and bruises on the body of an Olympic gymnast. The final meal or highly-scored routine would not be what it is without the discomfort. This is why we cheer for the underdog. Their struggle inspires us. No matter your work or the solutions you create, the ability to evolve and endure makes them that much more beautiful

What we do at Flourish & Foundry is provide solutions for your home, whether large or small, that express the humanness behind them. When you buy a gift for your friend having a rough week, we want them to smile and remember what they mean to you. When you invest in new dishware or sheets, we want you to use them each day to make your meals and sleep better. And, when you stop and think, it’s often the most simple or overlooked items that bring you the most joy. The collection of things that make up your home should represent and enhance who you are, not just look a certain way in a photo. In a month marked by celebration, let’s not forget the struggle. Let us not be tricked into believing that beauty is perfection, but rather let us understand how the messiness of human creation is the true definition of beauty

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Could not agree more. There is something really sterile about perfection.

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