An inspiring conversation with a friend and co-collaborator led to some interesting reflections on how to approach redecorating a space that has perceived limitations. Maybe you feel you are working against an architectural style that is just not you or you have a limited budget for the list of 108 things that all seem to be a priority.
If, like me, you often feel limited in some way by your current home situation and don't know where to begin, this one is for you.
What I've realized in living in a 1960 Colonial home that was purchased from a well-meaning couple that attempted to DIY their way through a lifetime of raising their family is, the more I embrace the style my house WANTS TO BE, the more I succeed. In other words, the less I come from a place of deficiency and the more I come from a place of abundance, the more my house begins to embody a style and aesthetic that works for IT and for ME.
Coming from a place of deficiency: My house will never be the modern bohemian oasis I have always envisioned. My house will always have chipped paint and mis-matching baseboards. My house will never be seamless and current.
Coming from a place of abundance: My house is a constantly evolving creative process and exchange of energy. The more I feed it, the more it feeds me.
Your house is a living breathing thing. It has its own energy. (I can't help it, sorry. This is the yoga in me.) Right now, think about if your house had a voice. What would it say? What would it wear? Where would it go? The more you honor the energy of your house, the more the design will take on its own life, and the less work you will have to do.
Anyone can look at a magazine and copy a design item for item. This will lead to beautiful results, but where is the fun? As with most things in life, the boundaries, limitations, and (maybe extreme) design challenges that your home presents can be the container for great creativity if you let it. And when you have a home that isn't so shiny and perfect, this is truly where the creative process begins, not at some imaginary place down the road where you win the lotto and finally get to hire the most expensive builder in town.
For example, how can you merge your love of bohemian textiles with a 1980s traditional Colonial? There is a challenge. How can you make a tiny and highly used space feel more open and airy but still be functional and supportive? How can you spend $10,000 on your house to give it the look of a full renovation? This is not easy.
All of this being said, I often get frustrated by my home. Just when we invest in something, something else breaks. Right when I feel on top of things, I notice horrible imperfections in the tile job or dings in the dry wall.
But then I remember, my home is a living, breathing thing. It supports our family and it does it well. It's not new and shiny. It's showing its age. It was built almost 60 years ago and has been added on to, renovated, and repaired multiple times.
Of course I am going to inject my style and my aesthetic, but I have to honor its history and architectural integrity. Maybe that means leaving the dinged up wall until I can get to it, unapologetically. Or infusing some traditional elements into my mid-century modern furniture pieces.
Maybe it means loving my home for what it is and stop looking at what it isn't.
Have you ever had a friend unexpectedly stop over and you find yourself blabbering on excuses as though you are ashamed of your home, ie., "We are in the process of renovating and that room is going to be painted soon...Don't even look downstairs, we haven't gotten to that yet and it's a disaster...The furniture looks like this because I'm trying to figure out a new configuration and we can't get it to work....The walls are completely bare because I haven't had time to look for art....."
But when I stand in awareness I realize every time I do this I am demeaning and devaluing my home instead of accepting it right where it is and showing it some love and gratitude. Yes, I believe you can and should show your home some gratitude. It doesn't like to be talked down to or made to feel ashamed or not good enough.
I once was invited to a friend's home and when I got there is was a disaster. A very refreshing kind of disaster that was showing a lot of signs of life. You know this look, right? But she opened the door in a breeze and ushered me around as though it was a beautiful showroom. And you know what? I still think of her home to this day. It was cozy, lived in, just right. It felt good. But most of all, she didn't make one excuse and all of a sudden that house stood proud. It did. The wear and tear almost seemed intentional, and kind of cool. It was a very inspiring message for me.
So without rambling on any further, here are some of my very favorite homes that are showing signs of life. You might not find them on the cover of Elle Decor but they seem to be saying, "I'm here. I'm proud. I'm a work in progress but I love who I am. Won't you??"