I’m Lila and I’m interior design-phobic.

November 15, 2010

By Lila Wallrich

If a man’s home is his castle, a creative person’s home is their portfolio. My designer and artist pals have temples showcasing their fine art, crafts and furnishings in galleries of understated architectural relevance. When new friends hear me hold forth on color, texture and the vocabulary of form, they often express a wish to see all that creativity as it must certainly be applied in my own home. At which point I mentally cross them off the short list of people who will ever set foot inside it.

Because, when it comes to my own house, I have a lifelong case of creative constipation. I’m terrified to align with any current style trend, and even more afraid to spend the kind of money it costs to achieve real timelessness. I can spot a fabulous dress in my size on a crowded sale rack from 25 yards, but I wouldn’t know a home furnishing “find” if it fell off a truck into my yard. After two decades of happy marriage, the Wallrich home remains a disingenuous example of “early matrimonial” décor, comprised of family hand-me-downs and staples from Ikea or Target. Decorative pieces were either made by my children or received as wedding gifts in 1987. The notable exceptions are fabulous paintings by my artist friends, displayed with pride but no curatorial talent. The effect is more randomly indecisive than charmingly eclectic.

Years ago, Susan vowed to cure me, taking the baby step of helping me choose some throw pillows at an import store. After agonizing in the aisle for about an hour, I wound up buying one in every color and pattern to test at home – where I narrowed to the most boring neutral and returned the rest. If anyone wants to stage an intervention, I’ll be at home, watching Divine Design and breathing into a paper bag.

I’m Lila and I’m interior design-phobic.

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