Why I Reject the Curated Aesthetic Home

I am vast; I contain multitudes

Jess C.
5 min readNov 1, 2022


Photo by Steph Wilson on Unsplash

My mom has always been fickle when it comes to home decor.

Growing up, my dad never had a stake in the way the house looked. He was expected to do his share to keep it clean and organized, obviously, but he never really had any involvement — or, frankly, interest — in decorating. While they were both responsible for various chores, the “look” of the house was firmly in my mother’s hands.

From the time I was a little kid to well-through my college years, I watched my house constantly shift and change with each of my mother’s aesthetic whims. None of them ever lasted very long — she would grow bored, or find something she liked better, or just decide, once half the house was decked out in a particular theme, that it wasn’t quite exactly what she wanted in the first place.

Looking back, it absolutely wrecked my (already tenuous) grasp of both my own personal aesthetic, as well as my ability to be satisfied with any decision for as long as it took the (metaphorical) paint to dry.

When my wife and I bought our first house in 2016, I had ambition. I finally had my own space in which to play, and no longer bogged down by the need to get my mother’s approval for my aesthetic choices, nor bound by the constraints of a rental contract, I was going to make this space mine.

I just needed to figure out what that meant.

Growing up in the 80s and 90s, “themes” were a big thing with home decor. I guess it’s never fully died down, though I feel like we’ve (slightly) mellowed now more into a “vibe” culture when it comes to home decorating — maybe you’ve got a farmhouse vibe, or a boho vibe, or a minimalist vibes. Vibes, whatever else you can say about them, allow some room for interpretation and creative expressions.

In the 80s though, we had themed sets of home decor — fruit. Sunflowers. Nautica. Geese with blue bonnets. Roosters. Coffeehouse. Farm house. Vineyard.

Wandering my mother’s house was like walking through the galleries in a museum — every room a different theme, a cohesive, insular entity unto itself, but absolutely unrelated to everything else in the house. The looks were bought whole-cloth out of a…



Jess C.

Jess (they/she) 🏳️‍🌈 Educator/artist/writer/parent. Under-slept and over-caffeinated. Currently showing at Essex Art Center(thru Sept. 15th).