Saturday, August 30, 2008


not as in, I'm going to "entitle this post such and such", but entitled as in, "I feel entitled to a perfectly ordered, stylish, and happy home--ahora. Is that really too much to ask?" This is a frequent struggle of mine. Don't worry, I'm not planning on using this blog as a regular confessional, but because this particular struggle seems hopelessly tied up with my decorating impulses-- and because so many friends are currently in a similar phase of setting up new homes in new cities with little kids, little help, and/or little resources--I'm going to expound.

When I set out on a project I usually think that I'm doing it for a greater good. Like, if I just repaint this terribly depressing 3 tone beige/brown room, rip out these awkwardly placed shelves, re-cover this eyesore sofa, rearrange these mirrors and those pictures, sand and re-stain this bench, then our home will be simple, airy, and light and all inhabiting it or stopping in for a visit will feel at peace.

In my perfect world that may be true, but the reality is that peace (for anyone in our home) is rarely in the process, especially when I start all my projects all at once, flying from one room to another in a creative/chaotic frenzy...which is what happened this week. It left us all exhausted, and since the projects were scattered throughout the house, instead of concentrated in one room, I didn't feel the satisfaction that I expected after investing a lot of time and energy on improving our living space.

Then I stumbled upon a few timely words of design wisdom that struck a chord with my impatient side. I hope they will be as big of a help to you.

1) Not every single piece of furniture or piece of art in a room needs to be a wow piece. Start out by investing in one exceptional piece that you really love, and let it set the tone or feel of a room. Then build around it. -Nicole, my lovely sister and source of inspiration (she's also happened to have an exceptionally beautiful room/home for as long as I can remember. i always take her advice:))

2)Don't think that you need to decorate in one go. Decorating a house takes a while and it always looks better when it has evolved over time. You will also be able to afford much nicer things if you do this. -Rita Konig of Domino via frolic

3)Start with one room. Don’t overwhelm yourself with trying to makeover the whole house all at once. -Melissa @ The Inspired Room

4) Nothing in the home can be thought of as a linear process with a start and a finish. Nearly all home projects and tasks are cyclical. A bed should be made, but it won't stay made forever. Grimy little feet will scamper across a freshly mopped floor. You have to take pride in the process and expect that the result will be at best temporary. -paraphrased Kathie Hunt

5) keep track of your muses. If you spy something that strikes you in a magazine or in real life--a wall color, a picture arrangement, an awesome piece of furniture--cut it out or take a picture of it, and stick it in a file for future inspiration. By looking through all the pictures you've collected, you'll get a good sense of your own style preferences. I didn't realize how much I was drawn to calm color palettes until I began to flip through my inspiration binder and noticed the recurring theme--sayonara red dining room....

in case you were wondering, no, the pics are not of our home (but maybe you figured that out from the 1500 hangers dangling from the ceiling above) ... we're not cool enough to go that bohemian in the day to day. They're from a recent trip to anthropologie, that mecca of mass retail style


  1. I think your best piece is that little one under the rack of sweaters and her sister.. also a design question : can you paint a dark piece of furniture white with that spray can stuff? Or is that not a smart question?

  2. I thought those hangers were birds at first. I wish that I could live in an Anthropologie.

  3. Hey friend! Great tips! We are in the same boat and stalled out after finally furnishing the living room. There's a lot left to be done but our creative juices have sort of run dry. I'm beginning to think the process of turning a house into a home is a bit more organic then I naturally have the patience for but I'm trying to slow down and let things come in their own good time.


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