(Warning: Long, rambling, pictureless post ahead.) 🙂
I absolutely LOVE the beginning of a new year. It’s like a fresh start. A clean slate. A chance to evaluate, correct, redirect, and begin anew. So every December, I start to think about things, evaluate how I’ve been doing things, and make plans to change what hasn’t been working for me. That way I’m ready to wake up on January 1st with a brand new strategy and a clear plan in place. Gah! I love it! It makes me excited just thinking about it!
There’s one big change that I’ve decided to make that pertains to my house and my whole decorating/remodeling strategy.
Obviously this house it the biggest project…the biggest challenge…I’ve ever taken on in my whole life. I’ve determined to do as much of it by myself as possible, only calling in help when I’m simply not physically able to do something on my own, or when something is too dangerous for me to do on my own (like pouring concrete countertops, or replacing all of the electrical wiring, or installing an 11-foot-long load-bearing header).
But I think I’ve been going about it the wrong way, or at least I’ve had the wrong mindset about it, and it has actually been working at the condo that’s made me realize that I need to change my strategy.
Matt and I lived in that condo for seven years, and in those seven years I never got the condo finished. Some of those road blocks were beyond my control. We lacked finances during those first years. Then I got really busy with my interior decorating business. Then Matt’s health started declining and he became wheelchair-bound, which not only affected him, but also affected my life and my business greatly as I had to learn how to help him and be there for him while juggling other responsibilities. Then the most horrible year of our marriage hit like a ton of bricks when Matt’s brother died unexpectedly, Matt became bedridden, and we both became incredibly depressed. So during a large portion of those seven years, decorating the condo was the last thing on my mind.
But during that time, I always had projects in progress, and tools, paint cans, boxes of supplies, etc., littering our small condo. And over the years, I just became accustomed to the mess, the scattered tools, and the laundry list of unfinished projects. I got to the point where I wasn’t really even aware of it anymore. The only thing that would bring me back to the reality of the situation was when someone would knock at the front door when we weren’t expecting guests. Then I would panic.
As soon as I’d open the door, the excuses would start rolling off of my tongue. “Oh, please excuse the mess. We’re remodeling!” For about six straight years, I used that excuse. And when we moved out last year, it still wasn’t finished. We left behind a condo filled with unfinished projects, a pile of wood scraps, tools, etc.
Well, I’ve realized that I’m doing the very same thing with the house. Once again, I’ve got rooms filled with tools, piles of lumber, remnants from past projects, etc. I have walls (like our bedroom wall) where I’ve tested paint samples over a year ago, but never got around to actually painting. So I’ve been looking at big navy blue squares on my wall for over a year now. None of the rooms have baseboards. I removed them when I refinished the floors before we moved in, and then thought, “Oh, I’ll just add the baseboards room-by-room as I decorate each room.” It’s over a year later, and not one single room (except for the kitchen) has baseboards on all of the walls.
I could go on and on, but I think you get the point. And probably some of you can relate, as you have the same situation going on at your house.
My plan in this house, starting with the kitchen, was to do one room at a time, and to do the room completely start-to-finish before moving on to another room. But now I’m thinking that’s probably not the best strategy. Working on the condo lately has shown me that just getting a room looking presentable, even if it’s not exactly how I planned, or exactly how I want it to stay long-term, is much better than living with things completely torn up and unfinished.
As you know, I’ve been working on the condo bedroom lately. And quite honestly, the way it’s turning out is drastically different from that “perfect” plan I’ve had in my mind for so many years now. My “perfect” plan included grasscloth and wainscoting, built-in closets with pull-out drawers for storage, and custom draperies. What I’ve ended up with is a room with no grasscloth, no wainscoting, simple built-ins with hanging storage, and very inexpensive painted curtains. But you know what? I absolutely LOVE that room!!!
I find myself making excuses to go over to the condo just so that I can enjoy being in that room. And it’s not because the room is just so unbelievably amazing and gorgeous that I can’t stay away. And it’s certainly not because it’s a manifestation of my years-long vision for that room, because it’s very far from it. That room is certainly not some high-end, designer, magazine-worthy room. It’s just the fact that it’s clean, it’s put together, and it has a very fresh feeling to it. It’s not filled with unfinished projects, tools, and sawdust. And being in there makes me feel peaceful and relaxed.
And when I’m over there, in that room, and it’s time to come home, I find myself dreading it a little bit. That’s not good. I want to feel as comfortable and relaxed and peaceful in my home as I do in that bedroom at the condo. And I’ve realized that the rooms in my home don’t have to be exactly as I picture them in my mind in order to make me feel that way. Long term decorating goals are good, but in the meantime, I just need to make sure that the rooms in my home are clean, not filled with tools and half-baked projects, and somewhat put together, even if they’re put together with some temporary and cheap fixes like painted curtains, or bookshelves made from scrap lumber.
So I’ve decided that my new strategy is this…
My main, overarching goal for this next year is to make all of the rooms in my home look presentable — not perfect, but clean, presentable, peaceful, fresh, and relaxing. That doesn’t mean that I’m completely putting long-term plans on the back burner. I really am hoping that I can completely get my living room and my breakfast room finished in 2015, while also working on some “make it presentable” projects in the other rooms of the house.
In other words, by the end of 2015, in addition to a completely decorated living room and breakfast room, I’d also like to have my bedroom walls painted so that I don’t have to look at big navy blue paint sample squares. I’d like to have the new hallway doors installed. I’d like to have all of the baseboards installed in every room. I’d like the bare drywall in the hallway to be taped, mudded, and painted. I’d like the horrible paneling in Matt’s game room to be primed and painted. And I’d like for every room to have a fresh coat of paint so that I no longer have to be surrounded by all of this “antique white” that I find a bit depressing.
You get my point. No more rooms filled with blatantly obvious unfinished projects (missing baseboards, holes in drywall from moved electrical boxes, etc.) that make me cringe when someone knocks at my front door, and that make me feel like I have to start in with the, “Excuse our mess! We’re remodeling!” excuses when someone walks in.
I don’t need my home to be perfect…yet. 🙂
I need my home (all of it) to be peaceful, relaxing, and welcoming. That’s my goal for 2015. 🙂