My daughter recently asked me what my decorating style is; an odd question since my house had also been her house for eighteen years. Someone had asked her the question, and she didn’t know what to say. So she asked me.

But here’s the truth: I don’t know the answer either.

My husband and I planned our wedding around a pending PCS move. Actually, my mother and I planned it because he was in the field for the four months leading up to it. He brought three items to the marriage: a good bed, a microwave oven, and a really cool Camaro z28. I brought even less: an eight-year-old Volkswagen Rabbit, my childhood desk and dresser, and a dining room table my mother had given me out of pity that none of my siblings had wanted.

After that wedding and PCS, we made an OCONUS move a year later. This required us to store almost all of our possessions for at least three years! Buying nice furniture, setting up a house, and figuring out my “decorating style” wasn’t really a priority for this new bride.

Well, now I’m a not-so-new bride. My house is full of things, and I still don’t know what my decorating style is.

I could use excuses like working full time, frequent moves, the arrival of children, and bad quarters as reasons I never adopted a  decorating style. But there are too many people that experience all of the above and still manage to have beautifully decorated homes.

I think of my parents and siblings, all of whom moved way more than I ever did.

My mother took particular pride in decorating her house wherever my dad’s career took us, and the results were always spectacular. Mom had a knack for taking whatever she had to work with and making it into a home Martha Stewart would envy.

The truth is it just never happened because I don’t care. There, I said it (Sorry Mom.)

The hand-me-down dining room table has been handed down to the next generation. And the more time passes, the less I worry about the fact that nothing in my bedroom matches.  

I look around my house at all the furniture, art, and knick-knacks. These have been collected at various duty stations, vacation spots, or TDY locales spanning three generations and several continents. I realized that instead of saying I don’t have a decorating style-which is what I told my daughter to tell the inquirer-perhaps we just need to give it a name.

PCS Provincial? TDY Transitional?  Christmas-leave Contemporary?

Let’s face it: Joanna Gaines I am not. But even though my home would never make it to the pages of Magnolia, I still love it. I look forward to getting here as soon as possible after work and am reluctant to leave it on weekends. My house is comfortable and it makes me happy.

woman standing in decorated house
My mom – the Queen of Military Chic!

I think of Mom every time I sit down to tie my shoes on the prie-dieu she bought from a Frenchman for a carton of cigarettes. I hear my cuckoo clock play “Der Fröhliche Wanderer” and warm with nostalgic memories. I walk by the beautiful carpet my daughter-in-law bought me while deployed in Afghanistan and think of her.

Every day, I am reminded that my home is a testament to the unique experiences I have been afforded as an Army child, spouse, and mom. And I wouldn’t trade these experiences for anything. Even an HGTV worthy home.