We sat down this week to chat with our friend Travetta Johnson about the concept of making a home and her ideology on decorating. Travetta and her husband own a beautiful Victorian home in a downtown Knoxville neighborhood.
When you walk into the Johnson's home you immediately feel like you can breathe a little easier. I've always loved Travetta's ability to create beautiful spaces that somehow feel like home to everyone that comes through the door. Walking through their house is almost like reading a book. Travetta loves art, objects and pieces of furniture that tell a story.
I asked Travetta to tell me about how she decorated and chose the pieces in her home.
I love mixing old and new styles. I'm drawn to items that have history. There is something really sweet about your grandchildren being able to use the highchair that you used as a child or reading the same books over the span of generations. Pairing the older more antique items with more modern, clean lined pieces creates a really nice contrast. One concept that I have found really helpful when decorating an eclectic home is to mix things from different time periods keeping in mind that pieces that were made at least 50 years apart tend to be more cohesive. In general I focus on simple beauty by using things that invite people in, like flowers from the garden, a bowl of fruit, a photograph. To keep things interesting, I consider contrasting texture, color and shape when I curate a space. Establishing a natural flow between our home and the outdoors helps create a comfortable feel throughout the house. There is something nostalgic about porches, open windows and the hum of house fans.
Tell me about what roles your home has taken on in various stages of your life.
I read a book when I was in my 20's that changed the way I thought about my home. The book focused on the difference between entertaining versus hospitality. I want my home to be less about making impressions and more about making people feel welcome. Home is a place for people.
I've found that the role of my home has changed in different seasons of life. In early marriage our home was based around that concept of hospitality. We often hosted potlucks, game nights, and bible studies. When we had young children, home evolved into more of a place of retreat and nurturing. As our kids got older the hospitality theme resurfaced and now with grown children, grandchildren, and aging parents our house has served as more of a care-taking and provisional refuge again.
How do you find the balance of creating beautiful spaces without becoming obsessed with the appearance of your home?
The phrase "Man was not created for the Sabbath but the Sabbath was created for man." comes to mind. In this same way, we are not created to serve our homes but rather our homes are created to serve us. Homes feel ordered when they revolve around people and not vice versa. I've found that my taste and style has developed over time. I no longer feel the pressure to constantly redecorate in order to stay on top of the trends. There is a really sweet balance of creating beauty and comfort in your home and yet being content with it once it is settled.