The Unattainable Goal Of Magazine Perfection In HGTV Timing

When I work on projects, I have a lot of alone time and quiet time.  It’s just me and my thoughts.  And what I’ve been pondering lately are the ideas of magazine perfection and unrealistic timelines.

Last night when I was working on my fireplace (which I’m so close to finishing!), my eyes kept drifting over to my window unit air conditioner.

fireplace with window unit air conditioner

Not too long ago, I posted an update on a project in my living room (can’t remember which one now), and a person left a comment saying something like, “Sorry, but I’m too distracted by that window air conditioner.”

I’ve had several other people leave comments wondering why I hadn’t removed the window air conditioner yet.

I’ll be the first to tell you that I hate window unit air conditioners.  I hate how they look from the inside of a house, and most of all, I hate seeing them hanging out the windows on the exterior of the house.

But since our house doesn’t have a central HVAC system yet, I’d much rather deal with the eyesores of window units than go without A/C in Texas.  Even in “winter” an A/C is sometimes needed in Texas.  I’ve had to turn on that A/C three or four times so far this winter, and today will probably be another one of those days, as the temp is supposed to approach 80 degrees.

And I can also tell you that in this area, window unit air conditioners are quite common in old houses, even in many that have been updated and beautifully decorated.  But when was the last time you saw a window unit air conditioner in a magazine?  Of course, we’ve never seen that.

That Unattainable Magazine Perfection

Magazines (both print and online) and similar websites are in the business of selling picture perfect images of houses that are completely unrealistic.  And in many (most?) cases, the images you see aren’t even close to what the home looks like before the stylist and photographer arrive for the photo shoot.

I remember a couple of years ago when a particular blogger I followed at the time was having her house photographed for a magazine and she showed some “behind the scenes” pictures of what went on.  The stylist arrived and basically removed all of the blogger’s stuff, and replaced it with all of these picture perfect items placed just so in order to create the perfect image.  This seemed so strange to me.  I thought that they had chosen this blogger’s home for the magazine because they liked how she had decorated, but then they basically came in and redecorated before taking the pictures!

I don’t necessarily think this is a bad thing, as magazines and online “designer” sites give us wonderful ideas that we can incorporate into our own homes.  But at the same time, I think they can subconsciously cause us to develop an intolerance for things in our own homes (and in others’ homes) that don’t lend to that picture perfect image we think we’re supposed to be able to attain.

Can I tell you one thing that I always notice (or rather, don’t notice) in pictures of designer bedrooms?

Alarm clocks.

For some reason, I fixated on this several years ago, and I’ve noticed it ever since.

When was the last time you saw a picture of a bedroom in a magazine or “designer” website that actually had a real, usable alarm clock on the bedside table?

I’m sure I’ve seen a handful…maybe…but more times than not the alarm clocks that are shown in pictures of perfectly styled rooms look something like this…

Traditional Bedroom by Chicago Interior Designers & Decorators Tom Stringer Design Partners

Those types of alarm clocks are beautiful and create a picture perfect image, and I have no doubt that there are people who actually use this type of alarm clock. But if magazines and online “designer” websites are to be believed, these awesome antique-looking alarm clocks (and other similarly awesome vintage alarm clocks) are the only types of alarm clocks in use in American homes today.

Evidently nobody uses the big, black, electric, digital things that have 12 different sleep sounds and various alarm settings that they sell at Bed, Bath & Beyond.  Nobody.  (Well, evidently nobody except for me.)

Obviously I know that’s not true.  Others are using these alarm clocks as well, but when the stylists and photographers arrive, they’re promptly removed and replaced with cute little antique or vintage alarm clocks.

These images are just unrealistic and unattainable.  Almost every single one of them.  And they don’t represent how homeowners really, truly live in and use their homes.

And again, that’s okay.  I love looking at pretty images of perfectly designed and styled rooms.  But when it starts to develop in me an intolerance of the things that real, normal people have to deal with in their real, normal homes, then it can be a problem.  And when I start directing that intolerance towards my own home, that can be a huge problem, seeing that I’m just now dipping my toe into what will likely be a several-years-long project of updating an old home that currently has many quirks and eyesores that I’ll have to just live with for a while.

That Unattainable HGTV Timing

Just like I enjoy magazines, but think they’re completely unrealistic, I also have the same attitude towards HGTV.

I haven’t turned on a t.v in almost four years, and haven’t had cable in almost that long, so I don’t really spend a lot of time watching HGTV shows.  But recently, I bought, and have been watching, Rehab Addict on Amazon.

Have you seen this show?  I love it!  I love seeing strong, capable women tackle what seems like an overwhelming project and actually getting in there and getting their hands dirty.  And Nicole definitely does that.

And while I love the show, one issue I’ve always had with HGTV shows is the fact that they boil down months of hard work into a 30-minute show, further feeding into the unrealistic and unattainable notion that these things can be had very quickly, and with very little effort.  It feeds that need for immediate gratification that most of us have.

The episode I watched last night was about the kitchen renovation in the “Dollar House.”  At the beginning of this 30-minute show, I saw her walking through the kitchen in its “before” state, then I saw 15 minutes of her working on the kitchen, and then the show ended with the big reveal of the completed kitchen.

I sat there shaking my head, thinking, “Ha!  Wouldn’t that be nice!  A thirty-minute kitchen renovation.  And here I’ve been working on one project…a fireplace…for over a week, and I’m still not finished!”  :-D

And you want to know the funniest thing about this?  As soon as I finished watching that episode, I clicked over to my A2D Facebook page to check messages and comments.  The very first message was from a woman who had linked to my most recent fireplace Facebook update and commented, “So sick of seeing this boring fireplace makeover!”

Yep, there’s a woman who probably spends her days with her butt planted on her sofa watching episode after episode of HGTV shows that boil down months and months of hard work into bite-sized 30 minute shows, continually feeding her appetite for immediate gratification to the point that seeing work done in real time is intolerable to her.

So I’m not really sure where I’m going with this train of thought.  :-D  Only to say that these are the things that have been on my mind lately regarding decorating, renovating old homes, and creating homes that people truly live in and use.

I love magazines, and I love HGTV.  And I think both of those things can be useful tools to us as long as we always keep in mind that they’re not real.  Homes aren’t always (ever?) picture perfect, and room makeovers and remodels don’t happen in 30 minutes.  And the minute we start letting those things develop in us an intolerance for reality is the minute that those things stop being useful tools for us.

What are your thoughts on this?

And I’d love to know…is there something that you’ve noticed (like alarm clocks for me) that is usually absent from picture perfect magazine pictures, but is an item that everyone generally has out in a room of their home? For some reason I fixated on alarm clocks, but I want to know what you noticed!

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Comments

  1. Cyndi L says

    I completely agree with you about the “perfect” images we strive to copy in our homes. Another pet peeve of mine is lamp cords. So many beautiful pictures of floating furniture arrangements, which I love, but where are the cords!? Doesn’t anyone need to read in their rooms?

    • says

      Cyndi, I never thought about the lamp cords until now. It’s witty of you to point that out. I’m redecorating my family room and I’m having issues with hiding the lamp cords. I’ve thought about purchasing the tubes that cover them. But, from what I’ve noticed, cord covers don’t show up in the magazines either. Ha! Now, I’m realizing that I’ve never seen an interior decorating magazine photo with the lamp light on. Maybe they cut the cords!

      • Kristi's mom says

        I think the cords were probably there but have been photoshopped out. It is very easy to do. I wish it could be that simple in my house!

    • Jeanne says

      My sentiment exactly. On this blog, I recently asked the question about what to do with lamp cords when the sofa or chair is NOT against the wall. The decorators all tell you not to line up the sofa and chairs along the wall, but they do NOT tell you what to do with the lamp cords. You have to have light, am I right? Maybe they use battery-run lamps. Solar?

      • Susan says

        If you have a table with a lamp in the middle of the floor and don’t want cords you have a few options.
        A) hire an electrician to put a floor outlet in for you.
        B) put it in yourself if you have a basement or crawl space and are electrically inclined
        C) put a rug over the cord from the wall to hide it and keep people from tripping over it , duck tape the cord to the floor first.
        D) make the lamp cordless. This is possible and according to a few tutorials on Pinterest aren’t hard to do.

        So yeah it can be done if you know how.

    • Janet McKay says

      Yes, cords are my obsession, too! The cords in my house always nag at me, but I didn’t realize until just now that it’s because they never show in those magazine photos.

    • Dorothy Mooney says

      I never see a fire extinguisher in any of the “perfect rooms”. I was staring at mine last night and thinking how to hide that ugly thing! LOL!!

      • Kim says

        When my mom-in-law replaced her flooring about 10 years ago, she took the her lamp cord frustration into consideration & had outlets strategically placed in the floor. So, with her current sofa placement, the lamp cords run to outlets under the sofas. The ones not used or under furniture are under area rugs, which keeps them out of sight, but allows for rearranging furniture in the future.

  2. Candice Crossley says

    Alarm clock? What’s that?! Just kidding! I’ve been using my cell phone as an alarm clock for almost a decade now. I would probably be one of those people to decorate with an alarm clock like that (Although I haven’t! ) Lord knows I have 2 huge decorative clocks around the house that I do not use! Lol

    • Donna D says

      Wow. I thought I was the only one! I quit wearing all watches, also. I just look at my phone. However, I have a really adorable vintage style alarm clock in my room, because I find the tick-tock soothing for sleep.

    • Julie says

      That’s so funny. I was reading along thinking “yeah…where are the alarm clocks????” until I got to Candice’s comment and realized “oh, I don’t have an alarm clock on my nightstand…I just plug in my iPhone when I go to bed…duh!” With that said, my husband does have an awful little digital on his side, and there’s another awful bigger digital across the room, where I dock an iPod Nano with my white noise. And now I’ve had another epiphany. I’ve been using that Nano for years…way before I had an iPhone, but I just realized that I can ditch it and use my iPhone instead.Simplify!

      What a great blog this is! Not only do you share all the how-tos of your hard work, Kristi–and yes, I’m enjoying all the fireplace details, which are not boring in the least–but you and your readers help the rest of us get our creative juices flowing as well. Thanks!

  3. Joyce says

    LOL.. are you really sure they don’t make over that whole room / house in 30 min?? Perhaps you just don’t want to admit you are a bit slow on your projects?? I love watching HGTV for their ideas, finishes..etc. I know they are not actually “liveable” , kinda like the cover girls on mags don’t exactly look like that first thing in the morning. I want the “beautiful” idea.. then work with what I have to incorporate it in my home. Attaining the absolute perfection isn’t reasonable.. who wants to live in a magazine cover room? You do a great job.. love your site!! Stop making me look bad and we could be great friends :)

  4. Margaret M says

    And here I was amazed at how fast you’re fireplace was going! I’ve been meaning to finish my bathroom vanity for months. Remember it’s YOUR house – YOU get to do the projects YOU want on YOUR timeline!

  5. Rachel says

    I have the same feelings! Just want to let you know that I appreciate you sharing your actual progress with us – successes and do-overs! I work full time and get so discouraged reading blogs (and watching home makeover shows) when my projects take forever. (For example, we have been building a simple pot rack FOR MONTHS).

    I really, really appreciate you sharing the step-by-step process as it is happening and not waiting until it is finished and then putting up one long fireplace post.

    • Gen says

      Yes exactly! You’re one of the most real bloggers out there, showing your progress after every day, good and bad. It’s really refreshing and I feel like I connect more that way. And I love it when you ask for feedback on Facebook, it’s like we’re friends.

  6. Marcy says

    Oh my goodness! I, too, have noticed the lack of digital alarm clocks and wondered how to remove mine from the nightstand so I can have the look I see in the magazines. I have decided I cannot live without one. I need to see the big red numbers when I wake up in the middle of the night.

    I, personally, am totally enjoying the fireplace posts. You are amazing and I love seeing the progress. It’s going to be so beautiful when you finish! I look forward to each of these posts. :)

  7. Lisa E says

    I totally get it and concur. Even the best laid plans usually run into some type of obstacle to slow the project down. Most of us love the step by step process because it shows detail on how things are done as well as real time. I will never get, however, why some people insist on making rude comments from the anonimity of their keyboard. Cowards. If they don’t like it, they should just stop reading and keep their ignorant comments to themselves. Rehab Addict is a fav of mine. I also love that she is not cookie cutter like so many others. However, you are right, 30 mins, boom!, done. So unrealistic and you would think that common sense would tell you otherwise. Enough said there. ;) Keep on doing what you do Kristi.

  8. jody says

    I heartily agree with all that you’ve said here. I am painting my sons’ room. It’s a tiny, tiny 8×10 space. I spent Saturday and part of Sunday peeling off the wallpaper. I spent the second half of Sunday spackle-ing and making the walls and ceiling perfect for paint. I spent most of yesterday sanding the spackle (then cleaning up the subsequent dust) and painting the ceiling. I realized that this project, which includes installing a closet organizer and building a loft bed) will not be complete for almost a month – if my money lasts that long!

    I love Rehab Addict and I’ve learned a lot from that show and I had the exact same realization that you did: That Dollar House took MONTHS to complete. It would lend credence to the renovations if she actually included by-lines that documented how her time was spent.

    On a complete sidenote: Please, pretty, pretty please do a feature on this ridiculous paint with primer mix. I bought ICON paint for the boys’ room and the consistency of the paint was like blue mucus. Very gross and difficult to paint with. Your thoughts?

  9. Heather says

    What I can’t understand is if people don’t like what you post, then why are they still looking? Good grief! I love your blog and I watch FB for updates every day. From my viewpoint…you move ahead on your projects are warp speed. I love seeing what you’re working on and I love that you don’t sugarcoat everything. I like that you post your struggles right along with your successes! Keep up the good work!

    • says

      Good grief is right! I’ll never understand the people who lay down the less the awesome comments.

      I guess with your multiple posts you become the antithesis of HGTV…I actually love the fact that you break down your posts…it helps (in my opinion) the blogger from skimming the tedious info that we all really need to know!

      Christine

  10. says

    Soooooo well worded!!! I have really struggled with time to complete projects as there are other aspects to living (kids, shopping, business, church duties, etc) and love that yours aren’t instantly completed. I have really appreciated seeing your projects as they progress along the way. On most blogs you will see before pictures & after pictures, which I like, BUT I LOVE seeing the sweat involved. I enjoy knowing that sometimes things don’t work out and other times (most often) I am completely stunned by something truly beautiful you have made. I love that you take me along on your journey. I truly look forward to seeing your posts. Continue to keep it real, classy and fantastic! I continue to be inspired by you which I am truly grateful for.

  11. says

    Aside from how unrealistic it is to expect perfection, I never cease to be amazed that people can be that rude to point out something like an unsightly air conditioner (we have 3 in our 1930s cottage) or to tell you how tired they are of seeing the same project.

  12. Hope says

    Hi! Although I love seeing all these perfect interiors, I have 2 small children and it’s just not realistic in my life during this time, at all! So that’s what I think is missing- kids and their toys, little chairs, sippy cups…

    • says

      Exactly! My dad likes to surprise me with visitors to show them our house (I did the majority of the finish work myself and he’s proud) and I always cringe when it’s not “show ready”. I mean, my bedroom looks “awful” with a bassinet, humidifier, sound machine, breast pump and swing strewn about! Not to mention that really stylish jumparoo and remnants of my toddler’s breakfast on the coffee table. But even without the regular mess of dishes and cups, how does one fit all these young child apparatuses into home decor? I guess you just don’t. It sits in the middle of the room like the necessary eyesore that it is and I’m just grateful I can use it to squeeze in doing the dishes every now and then!

      • Racheal says

        I was thinking that too. Kid stuff is what is missing. Even homes with kids rooms that are showcased have nothing child oriented outside of the children’s bedrooms. Honestly even the children’s bedrooms are too neat and perfect!

        • says

          I totally agree. The way children’s bedrooms look on most blogs is unrealistic. I made a comment about that just last week! My kids bedrooms are totally lived in and messy! I know of one blogger who did a post about buying her son a big boy bed, and he wanted a car bed. Of course, she didn’t get it for him. It wouldn’t look good for her blog. But what about that little boy who wanted that bed so much? It frustrates me.

  13. Paula T says

    I agree! The missing cords are what I always notice. Lamps and computers (which are always tiny laptops, if shown at all) NEVER have cords!

  14. Karen says

    I love seeing the progress on the fireplace! When you complained about not finishing last week end, my first thought was, “you can’t rush through that” if you cut corners and rush to meet a deadline, you’re bound to make mistakes and not have it turn out the way you want it. Besides, I would still be on step two! Love your blog!

  15. Cindy Wekch says

    I love your comment about ‘alarm clocks’. It represents so many things about imagined life that is portrayed everywhere we look. It feeds into the anti work mentality so prevalent today. Before we bought our home we looked at many ‘model homes’ trying to find the perfect house for us. The designers had decorated lots of great spaces but the thought kept going thru my mind, but where is their stuff and where do they do anything?
    I love to watch you work, it inspires me to set my alarm and do some of my own!!

  16. Laurie Willingham says

    My first comment is: I hope you deleted that woman. People need to remember your website isn’t a tv show with many people working all day and night to complete a project. This is real life and I personally think you work incredibly fast. It takes me more (much more) than a week just to decide what I want to do or how I want to do it then another month or so to second guess myself. :) You ARE appreciated and when people make snarky comments just hit the delete button. Life is too short for that. PS…lots of those reality shows don’t show televisions either…or didn’t until it became a cool thing to mount them over fireplaces, etc. I always had a gripe with that because that it not real life in my world. My world consist of a husband, a recliner and a large screen tv. I need a living room designed around that. LOL Love you work. Keep it up:)

  17. Sarah says

    I am so glad you wrote this post! First, I am continually appalled at people’s rude comments. If they don’t want to see what you are doing then don’t, but why take the time to leave a nasty comment? Anyhow,..On to my real point, I thought I was the only one who thought that home magazines were a misrepresentation and can actually perpetuate an unsatisfaction with our own wonderful homes (whatever they look like) and critical of others. It’s like the Photoshopping of models to be unrealistically skinny and “pretty” We subconsciously think this is real. I love magazines and HGTV too,. for ideas…but people IT IS NOT REAL LIFE! IT IS STAGED! As long as you remember that you can enjoy it for what it is. One of the reason’s I love your blog is because it is pretty real. Makes me feel normal and at home. We all know how it feels when that projects took longer than we thought …they all do! That is real life and DIY :)

  18. Joy says

    Storage make overs!!..they take a perfectly functioning although messy coat closet and turn it into a beautiful area for 2 folded towels and a small potted color coordinated plant!….storage in any capacity that doesn’t function or hold or store anything!!,,,,that’s MY pet peeve!!

    • Marie S says

      I am with you on this one. The storage now looks wonderful but doesn’t have any of the things that you really needed to have in there. If anyone threw out most of their stuff they could make the area look the same without having a magazine shoot. The issue is…we all have more than 4 towels to store or 2 sets of pressed sheets. What do we do with the partial bottle rubbing alcohol…throw it out and buy a new one the next time we need it?

      • says

        And what about laundry rooms that have no place to hang clothes to dry? I hang almost everything to dry! Everytime I see a laundry room like that I am wondering how they realistically DO laundry in there!

  19. Amy says

    I already ranted about this on Facebook today but my peeve is nurseries that are decorated in totally unrealistic and unsafe ways. It may look good to have things hung over and behind a crib but being a mom of 4 kids I can tell you that is not safe and will have to be taken down eventually.

    I think people criticize you because you are honest and open and seem much more approachable than other bloggers. It’s a double edged sword to be sure.

    Thanks for once again being an inspiration to those of us who live in real houses and actually LIVE in them.

  20. says

    You’re so right about these D-I-Y and HGTV programs. I wish a personal renovation, D-I-Y project or room decorating only took 30 minutes. Actually, I’d be happy if some projects took less than a day to complete!

    One thing I’ve noticed in the magazines and the “reno” shows that doesn’t conform to everyday living…clothes hampers. Where do they put their dirty clothing? Do they hide them in a closet or run them straight to the laundry room?

    It would be nice to see how these D-I-Y and decorator magazines incorporate a dirty clothes hamper with the decor.

    And by the way, I love your fireplace project. Don’t worry about how long it takes. Go your own pace because in those TV shows, they have a team of carpenters and laborers to assist with their projects.

    • says

      Kind of glad these magazines and shows don’t show dirty laundry baskets. The last thing I want to see in a room is someone’s dirty underwear. LOL

    • Amy says

      Our bathrooms don’t have enough extra floor space for hampers so yes, we actually Do take our dirty laundry directly to the laundry room right after we shower. Less clutter and no one ever has to see our “dirty laundry”. : ) it also helps keep things from piling up, as soon as it comes off it goes in the wash and the boys are less likely to leave stuff thrown here and there. It works for us.

  21. Diane Mansil says

    Telephones – nobody use ‘em, apparently. Sure, a lot of people are swapping landlines for cell phones, but I haven’t seen a house phone except for a kitschy one here or there in a decade on tv or in magazines. Because nobody calls anyone.

    I agree with Cyndi L above – either everyone has battery powered lamps or they don’t plug in anywhere and nobody reads. Books are always decorative and never actually meant to be read, so I suppose you don’t need a lamp, right?

    Another thing you seldom see in real homes is real televisions. You see big flat screens in media rooms, of course, but since about 2% of “real” people have media rooms, that leaves the rest of us with “eyesores” ruining our decorating. I don’t watch a lot of regular tv but I have a Netflix account, and I use my gaming systems to relax, and I don’t have a game room. I have a living room. I don’t have a den. I have a living room. I have a small house, one that is entirely functional, but I have no extra, specialty rooms. Kitchen/dining combo, living room, bedroom, bedroom turned office, and laundry alcove, as well as the small-by-decorating-standards bathroom. That’s it. The TV has to go in the living room or else I have to join the masses who don’t clutter up their living spaces with entertainment options.

    Oh, and you see dogs and cats, but you never see food/water bowls or litter boxes. And on that note, you NEVER see pet birds, because clean/perfect and pet birds are totally incompatible, even for 27 seconds. LOL

    • Diane Mansil says

      BTW, I’m GLAD your projects are in real time. If you were super-diy-er, I’d probably stop following your blog, because I’d know you were faking it! As it is, I’m amazed at how quickly you accomplish things. My projects take months sometimes (though I can paint my living room in half a day, so there! LOL)

  22. Holly says

    This gave me a really good laughing this morning as I am sitting drinking my morning cup of coffee. Thank you for posting this! I have an alarm clock, just like the one you speak of, and I love it! I’m currently trying to start up my own blog because I am so inspired by you amazing ladies that do this, and everyday I try to take pics of my home and rooms and it never happens because I never think that it’s anything anyone would ever want to see. And the chaos that comes with have a 2 & 4 year old that share a room. So thank you for posting this, it made my day!!!! And I’m definitely not sick of the fireplace posts, it’s looking great! Thanks for inspiring me :)

  23. Krikit says

    Everything you speak of says so much about the levels to which our society, as a whole, has fallen; the lack of understanding what it actually takes to make or overhaul something that requires time, effort, money, and skills/talents, along with patience, endurance and a commitment to finishing well. We have lead ourselves into having either a “throw away” mentality, or one that has no stamina for anything more than instant gratification and perfection, even if it’s only visible on the surface of things.

    You’re an inspiration in ways more than those that can be seen in your DIY talents. Thank you for being thoughtful and sharing those thoughts with the rest of us. ~:)

    • Carla says

      Not to mention money. Everything is expensive. I have a fixer-upper that I am doing on a cash only basis. Takes longer folks!!!

  24. Pam says

    I admit that 30 minutes does not work when remodeling but neither does a 3 month tv show about one kitchen remodel. I’m pretty sure you’re suppose to know that it didn’t get done in 30 minutes.
    I absolutely LOVE how your fireplace is turning out. So what if it takes you awhile. Rome wasn’t built in a day! LOL!

  25. Kari says

    I love a nicely decorated house. Really I do. I make my bed, I keep up with the “stuff” but at the end of the day, I have a husband who needs a ceiling fan (oh horror of horrors!) to sleep, we have a humidifier (for our harsh, dry, NE winters) and we both have clunky digital alarm clocks on our bedside tables. And yet, we can live to tell the tale :)

  26. says

    My husband and I tend to balance each other out in respect to function vs. design in our home, him being 100% function and me erring on the side of beauty over function from time to time. Since his primary concern is whether or not it is useful and functional, he not-so-gently reminds me from time to time when I’m putting magazine perfection ahead of a family-friendly living space we can actually use. :)

    How about things they ADD to magazine pics that nobody (or not many) actually have in their homes on a day to day basis? Like a fully set and styled dining table. I also have never been able to keep decor on the coffee table. It always seems to be in the way or carried away by little hands. ;)

  27. Ruthie says

    THIS. THANK YOU!!!!!!!!

    Lamp cords. Where are the lamp cords? And yes, honest-to-god real alarm clocks. Do people really wind up alarm clocks every night? And pretty displays on kitchen counters that hog the work space. How can you cook with so much uh, decor, in the way? OK, OK, I concede that some people don’t cook, but still, who keeps half a bushel of apples on the kitchen counter at all times?

    We love you just the way you are, Kristi. Thanks for keeping it real!!!

  28. Julie says

    Carpets under the dining room table !! Am I the only one that thinks this is a bad idea ? Sure, it looks nice but not practical at all. Everyone drops food at one time or another, especially kids.

    Before ex left, he tore the whole house apart, inside and out. Three years later, people are still asking me why am I not done putting it back together ! Hum, aside from the money issue (and other factors), renovating takes a lot of time.

  29. Judy says

    Ha, you should start making snappy comebacks, like “Me too! Come finish it for me already”. I actually love the fact you don’t gloss over how long it takes to do things. Seems like I take forever to finish a wee project, let alone something big like your fireplace (which is turning out AMAZING). You are an inspiration.

  30. Kerri says

    FANS!!!! HGTV ALWAYS WANTS TO TAKE THE FANS!!!

    I’m sorry but it’s Florida. We are stifling with heat and humidity 330 days a year… You take my fan, you die.

    • Lisa E says

      LOL! Love it! I live in the north, but I feel the same way, especially if a hot flash hits! Step away from the ceiling fan!

    • Robyn says

      Fans is my comment too! We live in south Texas for goodness sakes! I don’t want a fancy light fixture over my bed. I NEED A FAN! It gets hot here!!!! It’s February and we are already running the air conditioner!!

    • Melody says

      Yes! Why are they so anti-ceiling fan? It’s so efficient for our two-story house in our hot central California location, especially when it means we don’t have to turn on the a/c. (Which is priced so high to begin.) They are a must!!!

  31. Geysa says

    First off,I love your blog and you’re doing great!
    What a GREAT read! I don’t even have a blog, but I love interior design and some DIY. Consequently I also love decorating magazines and HGTV.
    I absolutely agree and confess I’m always wishing for that picture perfect home, but find myself frustrated sometimes as I have 4 kids and we are very busy, so although I’m always tweaking with the house, it’s not always clean and or picture perfect.
    Once in a while I need a reality check.

  32. says

    You’ve given Ms. SpoolTeacher motivation to start a blog she has long thought might be useful, “Real Life”. You should see her house. Painted floors, because she wanted to try it and see if she would like it and when she rearranged the furniture, oops, she had painted around pieces. Oh, well, it will have to wait, something more fun is on the horizon. The process is what is the passion. Innovation, creativity with what you have. These picture perfect homes are BOR-ING!! We can’t all have this perfection. Earth cannot handle bazillions of people having everything they want. Love what you have and make the most of it. Nice that you have air conditioning, period. Very nice. Ms. ST has a heat pump that uses too much electricity and is completely inefficient and nothing better is in the budget, so she just opens the doors and windows and gets wet once in awhile…It’s all Guud! Kristi, you don’t need to apologize for anything. And as far as the alarm clocks go…cell phones, oops, i-phones radiating by their bedside tables all night thwarting their brains, reducing melatonin, etc., etc. Picture perfect comes at a big cost. :)

  33. Kim says

    Thank you for addressing this! I love using magazines and tv shows for inspiration but it often leaves me feeling inadequate because I know it isn’t realistic in my home! I hate how they always rip out the ceiling fans like they are a bad thing! We use our fans all the time and feel they are a necessity even if they aren’t stylish! I love your blog and FB posts and think you are doing an wonderful job! I am amazed at how quickly you get things done! Forget the Negative Nellies!

  34. says

    Kristi, I have loved this post. It is all so true. Alarm clocks, cords, paperwork, battery chargers, teenager’s giant tennis shoes….where do people keep those hidden?

    I’m following along with all the projects you do, and it’s actually amazed me how fast you get things done. Anyone who ever built their own whatever can appreciate how much work and time goes into your projects.

    Try to ignore those people who seem to thrive on criticizing others, they obviously have no clue that they could just click away and be done with their “annoyance”. Don’t they realize there is a life worth living out there?

    I hope you don’t let these types get you discouraged, there are so many of us who appreciate all you do.

    ~Siggie

  35. Carla says

    I like that you show us how you do it so we can do it too. I hate those blogs that say I did this and show a finished product!!! I want to learn. . . Thanks Kristi.

  36. Linda says

    I love seeing new updates on your projects daily, and look forward to seeing what you’ve accomplished. If you don’t like it, look away. If I don’t like a blog, I stop reading. Or at least refrain from leaving nasty comments.

    One thing that really bugs me in HGTV/DIY network shows AND in real life model homes (and I’ve toured a LOT of them lately) is that while their TVs hang nicely above the fireplace, cord hidden away neatly by putting an outlet and a cable outlet behind the TV there are no DVRs. No speakers. No DVD players. Adding those would make it look horrible, cords all over the place. It’s not realistic. It looks nice to have a TV and no cords, but c’mon – I need my sound bar and my DVR. Desperately. And it is going to look awful.

  37. Denise says

    Nice post. I completely agree with you. I always wondered about the alarm clocks. I think it is like airbrushing on magazine covers. People don’t look that good in real life. Well, neither do real rooms.

  38. jennifer says

    There is a blogger that I follow on Instagram, she is always posting pictures of her kitchen and office space and it’s gorgeous…but I always want to say “Do you actually LIVE here?” because it looks like a movie set. Everything is perfect and there’s nothing that looks “lived in”. I know she doesn’t have small children so it might be easier to have that perfect looking space, but it just looks unreal to me. She lives in Europe, maybe they’ve figured out how to live in a space but make it look un-lived in.

  39. Shirlee says

    I’ve always noticed electrical cords missing from lamps, small appliances, electronics etc. They must cut them out during the editing process.

    I personally like how you show all the details in your projects and reno’s. If the person who made the rude comment on your fireplace update did any kind of DIY, she would know that it takes time from start to finish. And especially if you’re building a fireplace from scratch! My goodness, she hasn’t a clue.

  40. says

    I was just thinking the other day that you have such determination to keeps working on this fireplace day after day! I started reworking my boys’ bedroom two weeks ago and am still not anywhere near finished. Between just having 4 kids at home and all that goes with that, it will take me a month or more to finally have their room the way I would like! I applaud your diligence!….and the cords to wall mounted televisions…where are they? The average person isn’t rewiring a wall just to hang a tv and all its components. I love the look of a wall mounted tv, but would rather have the cords hidden behind a piece of furniture,

  41. Natalie says

    Great post! I am shocked and appalled at the trolls still following you after your purge post…really? My pet peeve in photos are never lived in kitchens, no kitchen cloths or towels, no paper towels and NO HAND SOAP in kitchens or bathrooms! Do they think we believe no one ever uses the sinks to wash their hands? I love the comments on here from moms of little ones, when my kids were little I had a clean room for about 12 seconds, but wouldn’t change that for anything. Now with beloved grand babies, I don’t want to put the high hair away when they are gone just to make it feel like they are still here! Guess I will never have a perfect house because I adore the people in my life much more than stuff…and we like clean hands!

  42. Iris says

    People with negative comments need to go and see the LEGO movie……Then they will come and say to Kristi…………”Everything Is Awesomeeeeeeee!”

  43. Joyce tx says

    Ha! Thanks for the spiritual uplift! All you say is so true! I am always amazed at the closets in the reveals/magazine layouts. They are so, so unrealistic. Where is the clutter? Where is the laundry basket? Where are those things we keep in our closets that really aren’t clothes? I am all for being organized and pretty, but let’s make it a realistic space. As for the snarky FB comment? Delete her and her need for you to ‘entertain’ her! She’s not interested in the process, just the product, and then, only if she likes it. Anyway, keep real-timing us. We love to see what you’re doing!

  44. says

    I am so glad you brought up the alarm clock!! Since I have been decorating my house, all of my inspiration lacks the good old alarm clock. Or what about my clunky alarm system key pad in my living room, bedroom, and kitchen? Dont see those making magazine pages any time soon. hahah

  45. Debbie Vietmeier says

    My husband and I just laugh when we watch tv and they do everything in 30-60 minutes. So unrealistic.
    KLEENEX BOXES !!! No one must ever have the need to use a tissue. I also have a silver alarm clock on my nightstand with big red digital numbers… along with my tissue box.

      • Peanut says

        That’s so true! I enjoy watching her changes and the down to earth way she explains her progress! Why is someone who’s so disgruntled even on this page?

  46. Becky says

    I’m so thankful for the way you point out realistic time lines and possible problems! That actually inspires me more than the “fake”, unrealistic tv episodes!

    And although people’s tastes may/may not be the same (for example I like warm earth tones more than cool colors), creative people should still appreciate the beauty of projects based on the project – not just personal taste.

  47. Susan says

    I hate seeing marble on the bathroom floors with no rugs! Do people dry off in the shower? Or skate across the floor? You never see paperbacks or book spines on bookshelves either.

  48. Leslie says

    This blog was so well written on so many levels. You addressed some interesting wonderings while politely dismissing those people who DO think real work is accomplished in TV time. Lol! I seriously laughed out loud, because I too am eager to see the finished product on those shows and not so much the blood sweat and tears that produce it. People want the ‘wow’, kids want the ‘A’ without having to study, men/women want the weightless without having to workout, etc. etc. you are completely right, we are a society of immediate gratification, only want the end product, ignoring the journey and what makes it valuable. But those folks will never appreciate the work, and they will also forget the reveal because it didn’t really mean anything to them. To us though, who have put a little sweat equity into a loved piece of furniture or project, it is for us to appreciate and value, and to us, it is priceless. For we are doing and creating for ourselves after all, not for generation give-it-to-me-now! :)

  49. SLNY says

    I love the quailty of your work Kristi!!! And like someone mentioned, I love the step by step photos you share. I for one am atonished by what you are able to do on your own (which seems pretty fast for me). Truly inspiring, and have a couple of diy projects on my calendar right now because of you. ** I do use my cellphone for an alarm but I do have a regular alarm clock as back up too!!! One thing that bothers me personally, is when they show family homes and see all these white sheets and towels. Like seriously, a family of 4 (2 little ones under 5) and you have white sheets and towels out. Come on!!! Although I love white it is unrealistic to have all that white in an house with kids.

  50. Emily says

    Obviously this person has never tried to live through the summer in the deep south. I live in Louisiana and you would have to pry my window a/c unit from my cold dead hands. Sometimes the necessities of life are more important than the perfect decorator look. When the interior temp got to about 105 degrees or so, I think she would be quick to agree the window unit added just the right touch to the living room. :)

  51. Christy says

    Kitchen – Knife block, stand mixer, toaster, coffee pot, spoon rests, functional salt/pepper shakers. I don’t have spare cupboards in my kitchen to hide these things, and I would guess the majority do not either. Bath rooms – where is the toilet paper? Also – We use so many things that need charging on a daily basis–where are the charging stations for all the smart phones, tablets, battery chargers, etc.? And fans – not antique styled designer ones, but functional ones — we have to use them, as well as ceiling fans, even with central A/C when it is hot out. Storage–Yes, baskets are ideal to hide clutter, but if you need something, you have to know where to look. My husband doesn’t do well with baskets. Some clutter is necessary and part of daily living. Enjoyed your commentary, thanks!

    • Karen says

      toilet rolls was one of my first thoughts as well!! Along with paper work, not so very fresh flowers in vases which are still nice enough not to get thrown out yet. And all the clutter that my husband finds he needs on our kitchen table (not at all related to food of course!) where I tried to arrange some pretty candles which in the process get shoved into a heap at one table end ;)

      Kristi, I love your fireplace project and a) find your speed on it amazing and b) love all the detailed descriptions! Don’t let those people discourage you from writing your posts and enlightening us!!!

  52. says

    I am always amazed how quickly you accomplish your projects. Also, your incredible bravery in tackling most any job & in using all those POWER TOOLS. To me, seeing a picture in a magazine or watching an HGTV program is not about copying that look exactly, but seeing one or two ideas we can incorporate into our own rooms. Also, many times it seems that money is no object: is that realistic? My favorite HGTV program was Decorating Cents. (no longer on.) Joan Steffand (one of our own Minnesota girls) was the hostess. Originally they decorated a room for $500, using thrift store items, repurposing items homeowner already owned & DIY projects. To me that was realistic for most anyone.

  53. Kismet says

    Even Young House Love when they re-did his college age sister’s bedroom. The before pic def showed a big old radio alarm clock and in the after it was nowhere to be seen! I know young folks today rely on their phones for time (I even stopped wearing a watch) but it isn’t realistic to say there are no bedroom clocks. Or lamp cords.

  54. Alica says

    I love that you share your progress as it happens. It definitely keeps me motivated. Anything you want done right definitely takes time.

  55. Kim says

    You go girl!!! You amaze me… you set your mind to something and actually accomplish it. I set my mind to a lot of projects and never seem to accomplish them. I always feel overwhelmed when I want to try something and you just tackle what ever your idea seems to be. You are right up there, along with Nicole, in my book of strong, go get em women. Keep up the GREAT work!

  56. says

    One person mentioned this, but where are the food and water bowls for the perfectly photogenic cat and/or dog? Show me a classy, realistic & usable way to disguise a litterbox? I have four (4) cats and there are cat toys in random spots all over my place.
    And even if there is a (cordless) TV above the fireplace, where are the remotes? And the cable box?
    My motto is, make it work THEN make it pretty.
    And just anybody doesn’t have the cojones to MAKE a fireplace, so that impatient poster can go jump in a lake!

  57. says

    So sorry that there are people (especially ladies) out there that are so rude to leave those kinds of comments. Too much money, too much time and a lack of hard work has warped them for sure. I can identify with both of your topics. I never have a magazine worthy or picture perfect room. In order for my family to function we have real alarm clocks (and fans) on our bedside tables. That’s just life for us and though they are unsightly I don’t remove them before taking pictures of my bedrooms (I guess I should). I can identify with the time thing too. I have been working hard on my house for almost 4 years and not one single room is “completed”. Livable but not complete! TV makes everything look so easy. Anyone who is a DIYer knows better. So let me say, you are doing great. You’re house has never had it so good to have someone like you living in it and fixing it up. The only thing that should be “intolerable” to you are those people who insist on making rude comments. Don’t let them bother you. They just don’t have anything better to do with their time or money. They are spoiled, selfish and need to spend a little time in our shoes to truly appreciate where it is that we come from. You don’t need them to be happy and you certainly don’t need to allow them to make your sad. Have a terrific day and keep up the good work. BTW the fireplace is looking GREAT!!

  58. Joi says

    I totally agree. In fact, I’ve had to limit how much time I spend perusing decorating magazines/websites because I was becoming quite intolerant of my own home and the things that needed to be “fixed.”

    I always notice the absence of family photos. It’s like it’s no longer stylish to have pics of your kids.

  59. Becca says

    I am glad to see that your projects aren’t done in a day. It makes you real. Honestly, a project should take time. The quality is always better when you don’t rush. I think most of the people that have negative comments like that have never even attempted a diy project! I was starting to wonder if you had time to even eat dinner with the amount of work you have been doing already! ha!

  60. says

    I’m so glad you posted this because I’ve always wondered, “What do these people do with all the stuff they use everyday that doesn’t fit into the perfect design?” Many room designs don’t contain good storage or, if they do, the storage areas (like bookshelves) are used to display artwork and things that are part of the design rather than practical items like books.

    Some examples: books (most mass market paperbacks don’t all have elegant antique spines), afghans and blankets you actually want to snuggle with, TV remotes (I have at least 5 and we don’t have the fanciest setup), pending mail and bills, car keys, snow/rain/mud gear (the real practical stuff), everyday dinnerware, electronics (TV components, chargers for wireless devices, etc.), non-matching towels, serviceware that isn’t on display, drink coasters, children’s toys, that laptop bag or briefcase you drag back and forth to work everyday, the kids’ lunchboxes, purses, pet stuff (food bowls, beds, etc.). The list could go on.

    I guess what I’m saying is that I’d love to see how a house can be designed to be “lived in” and still look “designer” on a fairly regular basis. You shouldn’t have to spend 3 hours prepping for company so that they see your design the way you intended it (and keep them away from that closet you just stuffed everything into). If a design is done right, you should be able to live in it day-to-day and store your “things” in it in a way that isn’t obtrusive to the design.

  61. sonny says

    YEP – YOU ARE SO RIGHT…
    no real clock, no cords , no food/water bowls and never ever any tissues~! I mean seriously- does anyone else have a nose but Me? do these folks go to a dark closet and grab a tissue way at the back– then step inside and blow their nose, then quietly tip toe out so no one would ever think they have “nasal passages”??

    they build and remake all these fancy ass bathrooms but their is never a sheet of toilet paper in site.
    we live in an unrealistic world and then wonder why REAL or Truth cant be found..

    love how your fireplace is coming along.. for those who dont think its going fast enough ,I say FFTTTTTTT on um~!!!

  62. Rebecca M says

    I always wonder about the not-so-pretty but need-it-every-day kind of stuff, esp in kitchens and bathrooms. I’d love to hide it all, too, but don’t necessarily have the space where I need it.

  63. Sheila F. says

    I do not understand people who read blogs just to snark on them. It seems they get a perverse pleasure by attempting to belittle others. It makes me sad for them in a way. But it makes me angry that the are hurtful toward someone who only wants to share a gift with us. I say delete them and accept our whole hearted thanks for what you do. Now for my designer pet peeve. A coffee table with no place to set my coffee. I find so many are accessorized to the point of being useless. BTW is that “snarking?” Lol Love everything you do!

  64. Andrea says

    Yes- aren’t we all dazzled by the “showcase” rose colored glasses. My current experience is along those lines. We built a new house. It’s beautiful and boring. We’ve been in the house just over 2 weeks. It takes TIME for me to anguish over my design choices. Well- all except one- I need window covers or something on the one side of my house- like NOW… because the vacant house next to us will have owners this weekend. There goes my packing paper window coverings. (so high class) ;) That beloved packing paper allowed me to delay that anguish… roman shades vs regular blinds, vs rollers…uGH…Then I can’t decide on rods- do I buy the double rod for the layered look? Decorative finials… I really need a window covering for the powder bathroom. UGH!!! Just shoot me.. seriously. So yeah- that “snap and it’s perfect” by the next commercial break is a joke. All their pre-planning is done behind the scenes. Well- back to Pinterest- for more ideas on window coverings so maybe I can translate it into something realistic.
    I live in Washington state- what’s an air conditioner? LOL

  65. says

    Well, first off the lady who wrote the snotty comment about the fireplace…can take a hike. If she is sick of the fireplace posts…go elsewhere…where things are done in 1/2 an hour….not in real life time. Geez…the nerve of some people.
    I didn’t take note of missing alarm clocks…but mainly because we don’t use one…we have two little doxies who are the best alarm clocks ever…we do have a digital clock on our nightstand. And I only have one night stand, on my side of the bed….as there is a dog crate on the other side!
    Your home is a work in progress…and it is “your home” and I am grateful you share your journey & accomplishments on your blog…I am in awe of your abilities!
    And, if we needed an AC up here in the great frozen north….we would have one! Or central air….but neither are a necessity for us!

    Can’t wait to see your completed fireplace….and I know the wait will be worth it! Take your time….

  66. Mary Stewart says

    Seems like that woman needs to go find another blog to follow! I will be remodeling my original childhood home which I just purchased from my mom. My brothers and I will be doing some of the projects and some of the work will be contracted out. I have shown them your fireplace and we will be following your realistic step-by-step plan. One of my brothers thought we could do this in 1 day. He now sees that this will not be a 1 day job if you want to do it right! So thanks for breaking it down and for pointing out possible mistakes and how to avoid them. I watch several programs on HGTV and follow the Love it or List it show as well as the Property Brother’s (cute hunks) who give a more realistic view of how long makeover’s really take. They show all the stuff that can go wrong and how quick your money can be eaten up from unexpected setbacks. Hey, isn’t that what you do? As for the model homes HGTV shows, I’ve always wondered why they never show a bedside table with a note pad and pen on it. I have to have that and a clock next to my bed. I make dolls and write children’s books and sometimes I wake up with an idea on my mind for a new story or doll or DIY project and I just jot it down on the pad while it is still fresh in my mind. Please disregard that woman. I need you and your realistic tutorials to keep me on track! Thanks for keeping it real!

  67. says

    You are right on with this article! I gave up trying to reach home perfection…especially on my budget! I have a tendency to look at my home and think there is so much that needs to be done, but then I pull out the photos of when I first moved in 9 years ago and I realize how much I actually HAVE done!

    Most of us don’t live in those “perfect” homes…we’re real people. But for a great laugh, if you haven’t read this article: Warped Childhood, Restoration Hardware-Style, you have to for a fantastic laugh!
    http://suburbanturmoil.com/warped-childhood-restoration-hardware-style/2012/12/03/

  68. Nancy says

    oh Kristi my husband and I talk about this all the time. He is obsessed with these house make overs and how they make it all look like it is done in 30-60 min. He gets on rants about it. We have mentioned no lamp cords and no clocks before (except for great big ones on walls that happen to be “in” right now) and also always always tons of white furniture and 4 little kids……….ummmm sure you do this all the time and no one spills a thing sure yep and I have some waterfront property in AZ to sell you too. We had a friend who had her house 3 different ones in fact in magazines and after the last one she said that’s it no more. She could find none of her stuff for a week after they got there for magazine shoot and stripped all of her beautiful antiques out of the way so they could add their stuff they sent in boxes and boxes and boxes weeks before and also had delivered via truck. You keep up the good work that you do you give us all hope —- me hope that I could ever get done as fast as you do and a cheering section to keep us going. Oh and back to the tv shows have you ever noticed you see them in shorts and tank top before commercial then they come back and they are in hooded sweatshirt and boots and it is snowing then back to the shorts again a few min. later? They don’t even put it in sequence.

  69. Nancy says

    also forgot our central air condition went last summer in the middle of a heat spell and I didn’t have the $6,000.00 to replace it and we got 2 widow a.c. for our tiny cottage and we have survived it. Oh and our electric bill dropped after doing this. Yes all decorators think you should never have ceiling fans, sorry decorators we need them here at the beach.

  70. AnnW says

    yes – cords was my first thought – AND outlets! Have you noticed in the bathrooms there is not an outlet to be seen? Where do they plug in their curling irons and blow dryers? Of course, if their lamps do not require cords- then their curling irons probably do not need them either – and therefore outlets are obsolete! – I forgot that small detail:)

    I LOVE Rehab Addict! She is realistic with “working with what you have” and redoing old stuff – and making it just SING again!! That can be so time consuming – but at least she inspires you that it can be done! All it takes is hard work and time! And yes I would love to spend a whole remodel following her – none of this 30 minute stuff! Can you imagine what all we would learn and how FUN it would be!!!

    And as for the a/c unit – my goodness – are these people just that “dumb” or are they mean – yes – could you please allow me to watch all these great projects you are working on and oh yeah can you please do it in the sweltering heat of TX with no “creature comforts” so I do not get “distracted”!!! Yeah and can you please get this fireplace done in a day – I mean – come on – it shouldn’t take more then what -2 hours to get a big project like that done? You know because it isn’t like there is any “drying time” for the wood filler or caulk – and do you really need sleep? And heaven forbid you be able to actually enjoy working on the project – NOPE – you are here for my entertainment only!

    It is a very sad “snapshot” of where our society is at!

    I am just so thankful you bloggers allow us to come “peak through the windows” so we can cheer you on, glean a few ideas and enjoy each others talents!

  71. Susan says

    So agree. I used to be a stylist, all true. One thing that bugs me about mags and photos is the color or “pull together” piece is usually the flower arrangment. I have been watching your fireplace project with sincere interest and amazement. Nice work.

  72. Sharon says

    I did some renos this summer and I actually have some thoughts on this topic. Personally, I think you are a machine with how fast you finish projects. I wish my house looked like a magazine, so it’s reassuring to know that it’s not really the way people live.

  73. says

    I used to work professionally as a decorative painter and very frequently dealt with clients that couldn’t understand why a finish would take so long and/or cost so much. Then they would watch me work like a dog until it was finished, which made them understand that HGTV had been lying to them.

    I love your blog BECAUSE you include all the details, which I think is a necessary education in proper workmanship. And from where I sit, it seems like you don’t even take time off to sleep. I don’t know how you accomplish so much and run a really brilliant blog. I just pray that you take time for a nap every once in awhile. You deserve one.

  74. Trisha says

    Thank You!!!!! I can’t tell you how irritating it is to look at picture after picture of homes that in no way reflect that someone actually lives there!!!!! I think what I love most about your blog is the realism of how you deal with design problems. These are the things that the rest of us deal with too and it is SO refreshing to see that these things can’t be accomplished overnight (or in a thirty minute show)! One of my favorite pet peeves is chandeliers over beds. They look lovely, but I live in California and you have GOT to have a ceiling fan over your bed. I love that your house is REAL and you have REAL problems! I get so tired of seeing perfect homes (because I don’t think mine will EVER look like that)! You give me hope that I can work towards a house that reflects my design aesthetic without it having to look like an unrealistic picture in a magazine! Another thing I love about your blog is your honesty about your missteps! We can’t all choose the perfect paint color the first time. You try something and, if it doesn’t work, you try again! You are one of us!! You are the people’s interior designer!

  75. Natalia says

    I like to see how long things take in real life. (This Old House is pretty good at this).

    Life isn’t like TV or magazines. In addition to alarm clocks, fans, paperbacks, mail, cords, etc, where do people put their rags, outgrown kids’ clothes (saving for next child), tools, and bananas? Yes, bananas. They don’t go in cabinets and not everyone hangs them on those banana hangers, do they? As others have said, the list goes on.

  76. says

    I like to read, so what I notice is bedside lamps that are tiny or way too low to shine any light for reading in bed. In fact I actually struggled myself finding the right lighting for my own bedroom and am glad to say I did find what I needed eventually. For those that aren’t readers, this isn’t a problem I guess.

    • BeckiB says

      I totally agree about the bedside lamps, and those bedside tables are always so tiny! I’m thinking about using a tower from our old entertainment center because the table I’m using doesn’t hold my lamp, phone, books, kleenex, ….

      =]

  77. says

    In slick magazine shots of people’s homes or HGTV type shows my eyes always scan the photos and videos for signs of “unsightly” details that have been tidied up and hidden with accessories – not so I can smirk or feel judgmental, but because I know its unrealistic for a 130 year old house to be perfect, and its kind of a game for me – sort of like those “find five things that are different” photos, lol. The perfect photos may be eye candy but I find the real photos much more satisfying. I’ve loved reading your posts and following your progress these past weeks since discovering your blog.

  78. says

    Well, all I can say is that I’m flabbergasted with how you have designed and created this amazing fireplace! I prefer blogs to t.v. because y’all are REAL. Even when bloggers take photos they usually tell us their home rarely looks that clean, everything was “swooshed” out of the way for the picture.
    It’s a sad state of affairs that our society just has to have it instantly–EVERYthing!! And that there is an intolerance for hard work, real grit, and a house that is lived-in. I have an amazing home and I love everything about it. I would NOT like a photo shoot where they took away all the items that were handed down or collected and that actually MEAN something to me. My house is full of items with a story, a story that is part of my journey in life.
    Ok, so what’s missing? All the devices charging, like you know we have to do! Where does the owner keep her purse? An office without cords (again).
    Girl, I love your blog, and you are amazing!! I so totally agree with this post. Love and hugs!

  79. Jean says

    Perhaps you can post a ‘condensed’ version, beginning to end, for those who have to have immediate gratification. The rest of us enjoy the journey.

  80. says

    Good for you, in not having a TV you have to decorate around. I notice in magazines that there is rarely a TV in a room. But in real life, I can’t just get rid of the thing. I love your fireplace project. You’re blowing my mind! Great job!!

  81. ChrisE says

    Good post! I immediately thought of cords too. I know there are ways to camouflage them, but I think magazines must just chop them off!

    Another thought on the alarm clocks… those cute analog clocks often tick, and sometimes loudly. No way I could sleep with that by my head.

    And finally, I am awaiting the fireplace reveal with anticipation too, but I have enjoyed watching your updates and seeing the process. I don’t know why people have to be so cruel sometimes!!

  82. Deb says

    Kristi I love the way you present each project realistically & with such clear instructions! Makes me feel so much better about my VERY SLOOOOOW remodel project.

    One thing that bugs me the most about magazine/tv photos are the missing towels, appliances on counters, salt n pepper shakers, container with spatulas, no knife block, dishsoaps etc in a kitchen.

    Afraid from time to time, I too have fallen into the unrealistic I want it done now mode. That’s why I love your blog … you bring me back to reality with your projects.

  83. Brenda says

    You were after my heart in yhis blog!!! My husband and I were invited to a reception for the Gov.of VA that was given by our friends at their house. We were greeted by the wife when we arrived . While I was chatting with others in the living room, the husband , a dentist, arrived home and entered the front door. He came to kiss my cheek and whispered in my ear,” I have never seen anything in this room before. None of this furniture or accessories were here this morning.” The wife had called a friend who owned an interior design business to help her make her house look fresh and her friend redecorated it for a day from her shop. The same thing happened to another friend:s house during VA Garden Week when her house was open on the tour. In magazines I am amused when I see families with their big dogs on the sofa and no dog hair on the upholstery. There are never wrinkles in the slipcovers, which is impossible! HGTV: home or room makeovers have budgets of $10,000 to $60,000. Anyone with any flair can make over with that budget. I used to like Candice Olson but I got tired of her formula (pot lights, chandeliers built-ins.)

    • Brenda says

      I used to subscribe to all the home decorating magazines but stopped when I had the feeling they were recycling articles and photos, especially in Southern Living.

  84. Sue says

    I love HGTV and decorating magazines. I know they never have a thing out of place in magazine photos and that HGTV shows complete a room/home makeover in 30 minutes. I learned a long time ago that that is just ‘make believe’ because no one can complete a room in a day, let alone 30 minutes. As for magazine photos, there is much to see and ideas to gather from them but most of the staging is just that: staging. I always laugh at the photos of a home remodel where they have children in the photos. I bet those kids had to stay at a neighbor’s home or stay outdoors until they were called in for the photos. No home stays ‘in order’ for long when there is more than 1 child around, let alone 3 or 4.

    Last summer I redid our small guest bedroom. I thought I did a pretty good job by completing it in 9 days – that’s moving old stuff out, priming and painting the walls, cleaned the carpet, moved in new (to us) furniture, dressed the bed, hung drapes, and added a few ‘pretties’ to finish it. You, my friend, are an amazing DIYer and you complete projects almost as fast as HGTV! Go Kristi!

  85. janpartist says

    Funny post. First of all I’m amazed at how quickly you get things done and that is including the fireplace, and it’s nice to see the stages it’s gone through. Gee, it seems like you were saying one day I want a fireplace on that wall where the credenza is and the next you were actually building one. My thinking stages last months, maybe even years which is good because I change my mind every now and then. Personally I think you don’t take enough Kristi time, like just sitting in your living room with a cup of tea/coffee and looking around at how lovely it feels to be in there. On a comical note, no one has canned beer in their house in photos, an occasional wine fridge, or decanted bottles of booze encircled by cut crystal double old fashioned glasses. Yea, that’s real alright! And, Nicole Curtis rocks! Go have a cup of tea/beer/whatever and forget about pissy people!

  86. deb says

    Can I just say that I LOVE your site and I can NOT believe that people are soooo mean. I love that you do everything yourself and yes it takes time. I have told many friends about your site and how great it is. I have been interested in starting a blog but didn’t realize that people are so mean. Hang in there and please keep up the blogging and projects. I love them all and look forward to them.

  87. Jaybird says

    Amen Sistah’!!!
    That is one of the major problems with America….so often people think they are entitled to immediate gratification, an idea promoted by the media and most shelter publications!!
    You said it all!! and beautifully!!
    Blessings,
    J

  88. Crystal Kirkland says

    I just wanted to pop in and say how much I love your blog. I hate that you have had some mean and negative comments- so sick of fireplace. Who are these people? If they don’t like the content-leave. I love your site and I am constantly amazed by your projects. I may not have the exact same style but I can always appreciate the work and the beauty of your projects. Love love a2d!!

  89. Sandra E says

    my goodness. where to start? first you know your strengths, kristi, which is pluck, a great design eye, the ability to stretch a buck and a can-do attitude which is the cousin of pluck. you break the mold when it comes to HGTV and that’s a great thing. if someone comes across your blog with an expectation to have their curiosity satisfied in 21 minutes, then they are alighting on the wrong place. you’re REAL. they’re TV. next time your thoughts wander, think about all of us kristi-cakes out in our homes imagining how to adapt your ideas to our lives. i wouldn’t change you for a second and you should focus on how many of us feel the same way (picture an army of us wearing “team kristi” t-shirts covered with wood filler splotches waving used paint brushes).

    ok decor pet peeve: all those pillows on the bed!! it looks great, but what a mess when you go to bed at night!! i used to do the euro shams, then standard shams, the bolster, the toss (with embroidered monograms) and i even think I had a crown pillow at one point. it’s so not real life. my nightstand has a digital alarm clock and a tangle of wires for my nook, cell phone and another cord which has sat there for a year which i don’t know what it belongs to but am afraid to throw out. and i’m pretty clutter free!!

  90. Catherine says

    I am sorry to hear of the unpleasant comments you receive. I, for one, am always in awe when I see all that you accomplish each time I check in with your blog!! I didn’t read all of the comments, so I apologize in advance if someone already mentioned this as something they never see in pictures of room reveals, etc. in magazines but this is a part of reality: potty seats on toilets or potty chairs!! Tee hee! Truly, I have seen magazine layouts that show the spit-shined perfect family with three small children, a babe in arms, one year old, two year old with mom and dad tauting all that the lady of the house manages and then the newly diy’d bathroom is pictured — and you never see the potty training equipment!

  91. laura says

    Oh my, where do I start!! Haha!! First, let me say I am loving the pace of the fireplace project!! I like how you are showing each step and how it is done!! Each day I check in anticipating the next update!! :)

    K, with magazines I notice and laugh at those coffee and end tables that are full of a small collection. If that was done at my house, people would think I was just messy!! Also, side tables made of suitcases….cute look but again would just look like I don’t put stuff away!

    On HGTV, which we don’t have (no cable either), but we used to….I often got frustrated at the lack of factoring in contractors costs. Of course the work is done for “free” by hosts or whoever, but as a landscape contractors wife I felt those shows sometimes set up unreasonable expectations when customers called us. Typically it was the wife who mentioned what she saw and what she wanted and my husband would need to explain his costs, etc. Not a big deal but interesting I thought. :) Thanks for letting me get that off my chest!! Lol!!!!!

  92. Marianna Sloan says

    I was glad someone else has noticed the absence of the clocks too. I have to get up really early and have trouble actually getting out of bed, so I have my cell phone and a wind up clock on my side and my husband has a electric clock radio on his side. We will never get an honorable mention in our bedroom decorating! I have noticed that kitchens never have paper towels visable or trash cans unless a really nifty hideaway system No one seems to just have a can under their sink or next to the dog food dish sitting in the corner. Bathrooms in magazines don’t have trash cans either. I also wondered about kitchen sinks, with all the farm style sinks looking so pretty in the print ads, how are the people supposed to wash their pots and pans? There is no where to put a dish drainer.

  93. debbie says

    Kristi, you are amazingly talented and as fast on your projects as Superwoman. I think THAT may be a big reveal one of these days. You are so blessed with such talents and I am so glad you are sweet enough to share them. Keep up the great work!!!! Believe me the majority of your fans LOVE everything you do. Also, negative Nelly & Debbie downer (Sat. Night Live) are not ladies or they would not make such rude remarks. A lady does not do such things. They need to make the world a better, kinder place rather than just complaining.

  94. Maribeth says

    While I don’t blog myself, your site is a daily read for me. I am so envious of your skills and design ideas and have been inspired to push myself outside the box by your blog. From one color loving DIYer to another, you only have yourself to answer to with your site content. Those “bored” with multiple postings detailing larger projects just need to put up or shut up.

  95. says

    Hahaha….I noticed your air conditioner when I first came to this page to check out your makeover and follow you. And then you made a comment explaining the need for it ..so I never gave it another thought. I really can’t believe that people would continue to harass you about it, (and I too have seen that they do!) or that any one could be so rude as to say that comment on Facebook about your fireplace posts!!!
    Kristi, you do an amazing job! I too have a blog, I DIY and my projects take me forever!!! And yes I look at beautiful pics and DIY projects and HGTV and wish….but, like the models in magazines, it’s not real!! I don’t look like those models and my home doesn’t look like the HGTV pictures. I love to decorate my home but we have to live in our homes too, along with kids, dogs, cats, toys etc.
    I remember reading a blogger a while back too who had a photo shoot of her office done. It was absolutely gorgeous and anyone would be envious of it and then at the end of the blog she was kind enough and “real” enough to say “oh yeah here’s what my office looked like yesterday in my real world!” and she posted a pic and it was a disaster! Loved it cuz that is real life! Let it go…you do a great job and this fireplace is looking amazing and truth be told, the length of time, and the detail you are putting into it is certainly going to pay off and it’s going to be beautiful!!! And my item is the TV. You may not have one but most people do and yet EVERY room I see designed in mags and on TV…there’s no TV in the room! Or stereo or electronics! hmmmm

  96. says

    People make such rude comments about your projects! I enjoy reading about your projects with realistic timelines. I have been a part of many DIYs and I know they take more time than you anticipate most of the time. Those HGTV shows also have a whole crew of people working that they never show you

  97. Joan says

    I have a real problem with lighting. Almost all “after” photos are professionally lit, so even if the “before” pix (supposedly taken by homeowners) aren’t especially dark, they look dark next to the poked, prodded and perfected “after.” That being said, I’m not sure the “befores” aren’t professionally lit as well, making the “afters” even more picture perfect in comparison.

    As for the uncivil critics, ignore them. There are far, far greater numbers of us who support and admire you!

  98. Nancy says

    Kristi, you cut to the heart of the matter. I enjoy watching Nicole on Rehab Attic, she is real and she actually gets dirty working on the houses, etc. But I rarely watch tv. I got to the point that the perfection of tv and magazines really just irks me.

  99. kelly says

    I totally agree — it’s like seeing super models and then looking in the mirror! I love to look at beautiful houses, but after awhile I start to wonder what’s wrong with me that I can’t get a house looking that good. Thanks for the reminder that houses are for living not for looking! I think one thing that always frustrates me is the lack of kitchen appliances on the counters. Kitchens always look like no one ever COOKS in them! Also, the beautiful and pristine white houses. I have to admit, I have those people on a pedestal. How does one live in an all white house? Especially with children? I can’t even wear a white shirt for more than 5 minutes without getting a stain! I think you’re finishing the fireplace at lightening speed! It’s awesome that you’re making it at all! Can’t wait to see it with the logs aglow! kelly

  100. kristenk says

    haha I always notice bathrooms without real towels (that you can actually dry your hands with without ruining them).

  101. says

    This may be one of the best comment threads I’ve ever read. Kristi, I’m so glad you blog in real time and that you break down your projects into separate posts. I just looked at your fireplace post and I was blown away. I’m amazed what you can accomplish without a table saw. I remember a while back you made a comment about being on the fence about faux fireplaces. Because I had longed for one for so long, I decided to build one anyway in my master bedroom. I have no regrets and I love it but now that I see yours, I want one in my family room. You do an awesome job at making YOUR home YOURS and I love that your are a bottomless pit of creativity. You’ve encouraged me to take my time and enjoy the process.

  102. Kim says

    The thing that bothers me the most about the unrealistic portrayal of homes in decorating shows & magazines is the pristine, bare refridgerator fronts. I can’t imagine life in a house with a fridge not covered in pictures of children, treasured handmade trinkets from school, magnets from family vacations, Xmas cards from friends, and other reminders of a beautiful, amazing life.

  103. AnnieB says

    HAHA you made me laugh! I admire your creativity, drive and vision and look forward to your updates.
    Now just hug your A/C unit, Shug, and pray it doesn’t give out on you!

  104. says

    Kristi, I love to pore over House Beautiful on my Kindle. If you have a tablet, the tablet version of the zine is AMAZING, like having all those colorful pics on a lightbox. I bet you’d love it.

    Yeah, the alarm clock thing…I agree. Most of the ones you see in pics are so crystaly and pretty, I’d hate to try and turn the thing off for fear of knocking it off and breaking it.

    Fireplace looks amazing, by the way!

  105. Michele says

    I don’t blog myself, but I really enjoy reading yours. I admire your willingness to tackle big projects. You are fearless! And I enjoy that you present your projects in detail–you are a teacher, too. My advice: ignore those mean trolls who criticize the pieces you write about the process you are going through. I suspect those words come from readers who don’t take on anything challenging and see it through. I live in an apartment now, so I am not doing the type of work you are doing, but this year I am slipcovering all my furniture and rethinking my accessories. I have plans to paint some of my furniture (not the more valuable antique pieces, obviously) and also to paint my walls. These past few days I have been reflecting how much of my pleasure in redecorating comes from the progress I make, no matter how small. I realize it has always been that way for me, in each of my former homes that I redid. I take pleasure in the planning, collecting the inspiration, shopping for bargains, hours spent at my sewing machine, etc. Somehow I think those critical readers can’t appreciate the sense of satisfaction that comes from involving yourself in a complex project. Keep inspiring us!

  106. says

    Agree fully on unrealistic views in the HGTV houses…I love the look however couldn’t LIVE in them. Parts of them sure…all, nope. I LIKE seeing your slow and steady pace in your posts and seeing you do it yourself and seeing trial and error. It gives me confidence to keep ploughing away at my projects!

    I have to admit Facebook gets snippets of the ongoing project. E.g. I just started the real painting of the desk. Facebook got a “jog” of the start of the project – raw picture. Now no one will see it until it’s done and in the room…and when I can find the blasted hardware I purchased weeks ago. Yes, it’s lost fir now.

    I tend to announce less and finish a project on the blog like HGTV does however… I post it all at once. So I’m just as guilty ;)

  107. Racheal says

    Good things take time. I’m fairly new to DIY, I’ve come so far over the past year. I never imagined our small remodeling projects would have taken a year already, and yet they have. It takes as long as it takes is my thought. Your fireplace is brilliant as everyone has already said. What I love about you going through the project in real time (besides the obvious time line reality check) is that instead of a lengthy post barely touching on the steps in the project we get lots of details. It’s wonderful for people like me who are trying to learn to see these details…in detail!

  108. says

    First, well said.
    Second, WHERE are the DVD players, TiVo’s, cable boxes’ remotes and speakers for all these sexy big screen TVs that sleekly hang over the fireplace or are hidden behind that cunning gorgeous sliding barn door thingo they made in that 30 mins, which probably took 3 weeks to source the hardware and reclaimed wood before they even picked up a saw.
    Yeah, I notice the cords too, pet peeve of mine and I do make “sleeves” for them.

    I’m actually shocked at how fast you do stuff AND how fast you get to another project right away… Kudos and thumb your nose at the haters.. they prolly never picked up a tool in their lives, other than their husbands *wink*

  109. says

    Kristi, You just keep on making me love you! I swear, we would make such good friends! Seriously, I have written you before and told you that my husband is a television meteorologist, and we have plans of moving to Texas in about 5 years. He was offered a job once in Waco, so we think it might be possible where we end up. If so, I am gonna hunt you down girl! Anyway, I so totally agree with you, and I mentioned it to you last week. Some bloggers would never show progress posts about projects they are working on like you do. They would wait until the project was completely finished and picture perfect before they would dare show it on their blogs. You never see a garbage can in a kitchen do you? And peoples pantry’s don’t really have all matching containers and jars. Seriously? Who has a pantry in which they don’t leave any of the food in the container they came in! I think they are pretty to look at but I would never have time to take all of my food out of the container they came in and put it in something else! I blog about my house just the way it is. And it is not picture perfect. I guess that is why my blog hasn’t hit the big time! Thanks for being you.

  110. Becky Butler says

    I guess I should not admit this on a design blob, but we have 2 recliners & we like them. We also have ceiling fans in almost every room. It is hot in Texas and we need them & I really don’t care if HGTV doesn’t like them. We have a Keurig on the counter, an electric can opener and other things necessary for cooking. I also have laundry baskets, electric cords and a TV in my famy room and bedroom. Oh, and we use toilet paper and paper towels. No wonder I am frustrated with my house. We live in it! :-)

  111. Sally B says

    I personally LOVE the detail you are giving on this project and know from doing very TINY projects myself (a very simple shelf) that I take about 10 times as long as you do to make anything. I am very, very slow, and my projects almost always have something wonky about them, but no one seems to notice but me:)
    I love Nicoles show too, she is like you, in that she isn’t afraid of any project and has mad skills. I have recently really gotten into watching Renovation Realities though, its REAL homeowners tacking projects (often not experienced diyers either) and how there are many issues, delays, mistakes (and the occasional near-death experience).
    We built our own house from the bottom up many years back and I almost fell backwards off a ladder lifting a 4 ft. wall section (could have killed me) I have more in common with RR people than anyone else on tv, lol…:)

  112. Nola says

    Dang! Talk about rude people – if she doesn’t want to see/hear about your fireplace MOVE ON!!! Personally I love watching/reading your blog because you are so informative and so detailed. I could no more do what you do than anything but I truly admire what you do. So keep on with the teaching…even to the rude nasty people. Who knows, maybe they’ll change their tune someday. By the way, never even noticed your window AC, was too busy admiring your fireplace!

  113. Donna Ball says

    I couldn’t agree with you more! Keep doing (on a realistic timeline) and sharing and don’t worry about the rest.

  114. AM says

    it’s fans for me. i’ve seen so many makeover shows/articles taking out fans (ceiling fans, tabletop oscillating fans) from rooms because they’re ugly or not stylish. haven’t those designers ever been hot? or they take away a tv’s antenna – better looking, but they can’t get any channels now. or they take away the tv entirely.

    i guess i just hate impractical makeovers. i like it when the room looks better, but the purpose of a room is that you live in it – if you can’t watch tv, and it’s the tv room, if you’re roasting hot or can’t wake up in the morning, or the couch is some designer thing that is too uncomfortable to sit on or too fancy for the kids and dogs you have to use, then i feel the design has failed. function before form.

  115. Colleen says

    Goodness, Kristi, I couldn’t believe that someone would write to you and basically tell you to hurry it up! I’m a fairly new follower of your site and absolutely love the way you keep things honest and real. I’ve been trying my hand at some DIY projects at home recently and am enjoying it, but they seem to be taking me FOREVER! Being new at this, I was just saying to myself on the weekend, “Boy! How on earth does Kristi get soooo much done in one day?!!”. One of your days would be equal to a month or so for most of us, so I really enjoy your pace. You could even slow it down if you like, and I’d be totally cool with that. So keep on doing what you’re doing and at a pace that YOU are comfortable with, not with someone else’s need for instant gratification. Just refer those people to all the projects that you HAVE completed so they can quickly see the before and afters, if they don’t want to see all the “How-To”s along the way. I think you’re doing a great job just the way you do it, so don’t let the words of detractors take the wind out of your sails. ;)

  116. Sarah says

    Oh, Kristi! How do you do it? Overcoming decision paralysis, attacking projects like a one woman machine, cultivating a skill set that is broad and impressive, patiently explaining and sharing all the details… AND dealing with numbskulls who defy all logical reasoning… Common sense would say, “Hey, I don’t have to follow Kristi if I don’t enjoy her blog”, but common sense is a flower that doesn’t grow in everyone’s garden apparently.
    My parents raised me without television and I’ve continued to stay unplugged in my adult life, but I do buy every HGTV magazine as soon as it hits the stands. I enjoy the inspiration but I often get a kick out of the lack of practicality in the styling. Putting knick knacks on the coffee table where the kids can get it, stacking things on the floor, jewelery holders that only hold dangling earrings (lol)…saving money in a price range that I would consider splurging etc.
    Someone once welcomed me into their home by saying, “Sorry it’s not clean, but we live here.” That’s my kind of home.

    • Lisa says

      “Common Sense is a flower that doesn’t grow in everyone’s garden”….LOVE THAT!!!! My new favorite phrase!!!

      I could not agree more…Kristi is simply awesome and inspiring!!!!

  117. Laura says

    Hi Kristi!
    This is the first time I comment, but I have been reading you since… uff more than 1 year. I check everyday your work and it is always amanzing!! You are so capable, funny, kind and real!! English is not my mother language so, if something sounds weir it is only because of my limitations… but the important thing: you are the BEST, please don t take the facebook comments so hart because, as you says, this woman has no idea of the real work and people are so unkind with no manners… I live in Spain and as you know, in Europe we have another kind of houses, the constructions methodes are diferents and the styles too, but you always make me feel happy because of your pasion, your kindness, happiness and your full energy agains all the boring and dirty work that every project involves even if you only shares the best of it. So thank you so much for the time and the part of yourself that you spend in this blog, I appreciate it really so much than if I were there in your neighborhood I would be in your door asking if you need some help!!
    And as always you are right with your opinions of styles and magazines… I have a baby girl and the houses with kids are never like the ones in the magazines….

    :)

  118. Tish says

    Hi Kristi
    I, for one, love reading your blog, seeing the different stages you go through with your different projects over days/weeks. Don’t get me wrong, I love seeing the reveal, but I also love seeing the process you go through to get the final product.
    I am inspired by your positive can do attitude and perseverance and hope my projects turn out as lovely as yours do.

  119. jenw says

    Ditto on the ceiling fans. The kitchen and bath rooms are literally the only rooms without ceiling fans. Yeah, an awesome chandelier or light fixture would look prettier…but we USE those fans!

    Kristi, I think you’re touching on what I feel is a big problem in society today. We innundate ourselves with unrealistic “reality” television (and blogs and Pinterest) on so many fronts from the Kardashians…to HGTV…to The Batchelor,,,to Honey BooBoo that there are a lot of people who just don’t know what real life looks like anymore. And they become increasingly dissatisfied with their own lives when they don’t live up the expectations shown in the media. A little bit of unreality is okay…I like that Pinterest is there when I need an idea for how to make my A/C unit less obtrusive…and I like seeing how rooms are decorated on HGTV…I just know that I need to expose myself to those type of things *in moderation* (which is apparently a bad word nowadays) and keep in mind that those outlets don’t reflect reality…they’re there for inspriration.

  120. DAF says

    No toilet paper. I googled to make sure. Yes, it’s there on blog images, but the images from magazines don’t feature any (photoshopped out or the shot is taken from an angle that hides it). Why, yes, I’d love to shake the hands of the people who live in those houses without TP.

  121. Patricia Boswell says

    Hi Kristi! I for one feel like I won the jackpot when I found your blog a few months back. My husband and I are currently in “permit paralysis” on a big remodel project and your blog is getting me through that phase…AND I have this great list of things I know that I can do, thanks to the detail you provide in your posts. I love your style and I love the progress posts for a number of reasons (for one, they establish a sense of “chatting over coffee” with your friends on the latest).

    On the “lack of reality” front, don’t get me started! How about: every single kitchen and bathroom done in a contemporary/modern style? I just flipped over to Houzz and in 2 seconds found this kitchen. The same for bathrooms. Where do you put anything in this kitchen? I am always utterly mystified at the ooohing and ahhhing at such designs because all i can think is “where do they put the silverware or the dishes or towels?” or “where do they put their toothbrush?” (for bathroom makeovers).

    I have quite a few friends who prefer more modern styles and attempt to use it for their own spaces, but of course they have gadgets, utensils, and the like. The result is a space that isn’t designed for their life (and their stuff) at all, but rather what looks to my eyes like a stark warehouse full of clutter, which only serves to emphasis the lack of true utility of this design.

    Anyhow, keep up the great work on your blog. I for one love it and I love that you show the real.

  122. Catherine says

    Very well said! My pet peeve is when designers redo a living room and they remove the TV from the room. Or when a house is being staged for sale and no TV is allowed in any room. Be real! How about ideas for decorating a room in spite of the TV being there?

  123. JudyMae Johnson says

    First, I hope you do not take to heart those rude people’s rude comments. Second, big screen TVs are missing as is any TV at all. A family room without a TV? So not realistic. Third, I use window air conditioners to save money. There are 2 of us. Why cool the downstairs which has a living room, family room, den, dining room, kitchen, and laundry room plus the upstairs unoccupied rooms which are the home office and two guest bedrooms when all I need to do is close my bedroom door and turn on the window air conditioner? I have one in the office that I turn on only when I am working there. I look at a window AC and see money in the bank.

  124. Doris Bertoch says

    You are exactly right! Reality is not often seen in print. I love your projects. I love your work ethic. I love your REAL life that you’re willing to share. You are an inspiration. Please don’t ever take the crappy comments personally.

  125. Jan Jones says

    I don’t think it’s done much now, but a few years ago they were always showing curtains that “pooled” on the floor. All I could think about was how much my dogs and cats would enjoy sleeping, or worse, on those curtains!

  126. designdreamer says

    Ha Ha.
    I use my phone (when I need to) for an alarm clock. BUT I also have an electronic radio/alarm clock combo – which I never even use for the radio capability – since it has pretty bad reception. Hmmm, why haven’t I gotten rid of it?
    I’VE been amazed at the speed in which you’ve created your fireplace! So, pay NO ATTENTION TO THAT BUTT SITTER!
    And about those ceiling fans – I live in Arizona – haven’t turned on the AC this winter, don’t think we EVER have in the winter – but our ceiling fans are on ALL THE TIME. And we have them in EVERY bedroom, FR, and the den.
    I would LOVE to replace one or two in a bedroom, with a current light/chandelier, but that’s just not practical, so thanks for keeping it real! LOVE your blog.
    PS: won’t tell you how many TVs we have

  127. christine says

    You have done such a nice job with this site, and I have learned so many ideas I can use as I tackle a budget update on my 1970′s tiny kitchen. It is inspiring, in a realistic way, and your comments about the decorating media are what we all know, but need to hear each other say from time to time. Thanks!

  128. Jennifer says

    I recently discovered your blog when I was looking for ideas on how to convert a dresser into a bookshelf. I’m still thinking about doing that project but haven’t been able to find the time to start it yet. I love that you show the step by step photos because then I can follow it. Also I love that you share the mistakes and errors — that’s what is real and everyone who has done these kind of projects knows that! So thanks for being down to earth and realistic. That makes it fun instead of stressful.

  129. says

    Wow – one of my favorite things about your blog is that it’s REAL. You don’t just appear one day with a finished project. I love that we get to see the steps that led to the end, warts and all. I think it’s more encouraging to show the build including the moments where you back-up and re-think a design or how you’re going to accomplish something.

    And if I was bored, heck, I wouldn’t bother following never mind sharing with a snarky comment! Yeesh, some people!

  130. says

    Amazing! I am always so inspired by your posts, yes exactly! You are one of the most real bloggers out there, showing your progress after every day. I think you are doing brills. I love to observe your job; it inspires me to set my alarm and do some of my own.

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