When I first moved out of my parents house and into my very own apartment, I had so much fun designing and decorating my living space. You could even say I went a little crazy...with it. I had more ideas than I can even remember stuffed into 400 square feet. Just imagine (if you dare) a shabby chic theme that somehow got sidetracked to countrified angel. Not something I am completely proud of...notice no photos! But at that time I loved it.
When my husband and I bought a house, my design sensibilities had changed...now imagine lots of gold, sparkly, cherubs, and well, semi-ornate items. And, we had just gotten married so there were plenty of new gifts - vases, frames, platters, etc. - to decorate with. I liked that everything was new. I wanted my house to look like a catalog (you know which one, I am sure). It didn't...it never felt right...and hubby is cheap!
Once again we moved...to a new house - an older home on the Central California Coast. It had low ceilings, not a lot of natural light, and was in need of major updating. I got preoccupied and overwhelmed with fixing what was "broken" with trying to make the new house the same as the old house. Other than blowing a hole in the wall to create a hallway...I didn't do much to this house for a long while...I complained but never acted...seriously, it took 3 years for the cardboard in the hallway to make way for new hardwood floors.
Painting, decorating, and making a home had always been one of my favorite things to do and I had left is by the wayside, while continuing to lament about the "tragedy" of my new fixer-upper. I just was not feeling it with the new house...everything I did seemed forced...until one day, I finally got it...I had to let the house be what it was. There was no way hubby was going to let me blow the roof off so I could have higher ceilings, and with the price we paid (yes, we bought at the height of the market!) the old orange-ish kitchen and UGLY master bath complete with saloon doors were staying for awhile.
Now, however, I can say I am glad, I am happy...I do love this house. It has personality. It has a story to tell. I was patient...and I let its story unfold. By living here, adjusting to a new lifestyle and embracing the (little) charm that was there, we have created a warm and welcoming home. It has taken time...it has tested my patience...but the changes we have made are right for this house and for our family.
In the process of letting our home and our decorating style evolve I have discovered a few things:
1. Don't fight what you cannot change (kind of like marriage). Um yeah, converting the garage to an indoor pool and adding a rooftop deck and out of the question..even the contractor looked at me and told me to "just move."
2. Learn to love if for what it is. My family room is funky...I used to call it the pine coffin (pine paneling, pine ceiling...ugh!). It had a mini makeover - just some white paint on the walls, but it is getting ready for a serious makeover...first up the walls will be painted with a warm honey color. I did not love the saloon doors...they are gone...but the bathroom is still ugly.
3. Spend your money wisely. At first I wanted to gut the kitchen, move things around completely and create a state of the art cooking area. First that would have looked DUMB in this house...kinds of like "So...you spent all the money on the kitchen? Do you like cardboard taped to your floor?" Instead we kept the cabinet boxes, left the floor plan the same, had new doors put on, new appliances, fresh hardware, new paint, and a few little extras. For a very small fraction of the cost of a complete overhaul. And guess what? The kitchen fits the house perfectly...it does not overwhelm it.
4. Surround yourself with what you love and it will feel like home. My style is crazy (I am not an interior designer) I know what I like and I make it work. Case in point I have a very large print of a champagne ad...it was going to hang in the living room no matter what. After many attempts at paint we finally got it...purple! Yes, even purple works in a living room (and hubby agreed to it) because it felt right and complemented the artwork we already loved (also, think color wheel). The (darker) purple has been upgraded to more periwinkle and it looks stunning.
I have a long list of projects still...but I enjoy and relish each and everyone of them. It makes this house unique...it makes DIYing fun. I cannot wait to bring a little happy to the outside of the home with a new paint job...just trying to decide if I can DIY that one myself!? I am sure the neighbors would enjoy watching the crazy lady go at it.
So what's my point...yes...I have a point? Become your home's BFF. Make it happy! It will speak to you it will tell you what it needs...what it wants, and ultimately surround yourself with things that make you happy...that is what will make a house your home.
What's your style or decorating challenge?