Making a Space

Dear readers, I have to tell you about this crazy thing I did yesterday. I am helping with cheer this next year at school, and we have evening practices during the week in July and August before school starts. Also: today started our 3-day cheer camp here in town. So, I got finished with practice at about 8:30 last night, and had to be at camp this morning at 7:30. So, naturally, my roommate and I decided that 11 o'clock last night would be the perfect time to start a living room redo. Right. I know. It's not some wild and crazy thing, necessarily, but it did result in my being exhausted today. I think it was worth it, and here's why:

Since I bought my house about a year and a half ago, I have been attempting to make it look more and more like a space I love. Now, I know that this can be a slippery slope. "What's the big deal?" you might ask. "Who cares that your house has the exact same layout as 7 other homes that belong to friends of yours?" And that's a fair point. Some people wouldn't care. And it's entirely possible to care too much, I think. But having a space to come home to that feels like home is kind of a loaded concept for me. 

Growing up, we moved every 18 months, because of the military, and then when my dad retired, we lived in this really great neighborhood that was old enough that all of the houses were built by different people, and each had it's own character. I loved that. I liked that no two houses were exactly the same. 

Flash forward, and it turns out that in buying an adorable, old, character-filled home, you are also buying (sometimes immediately) all those super fun things like HVAC systems and roofs. That, I wasn't so interested in. 

So, the house I bought isn't necessarily the house of my dreams. It looks like a lot of other people's homes. But, that's okay.

Will I live here forever? The answer to that depends on when you ask it. After a really tedious, but totally worth it project like painting the walls a color I love,

or taking way too long to replace a beloved lamp in my bedroom that the cats broke...ahem. I might still be having a difficult time with that one, 

or finally hanging all the things on the gallery wall in the office,

or my dad using old fence wood (FREE PROJECT, whaaaaat!?) to refinish a wall in my room to look amazing,

 The book page wreath I definitely stole/learned how to make from The Nester, BTW.

The book page wreath I definitely stole/learned how to make from The Nester, BTW.

or after oh, 11 months finally deciding on curtains I love for the dining room,

I'll tell you I'm NEVER LEAVING. FOR THE LOVE. THERE IS SO MUCH WALL (that seems to be a recurring issue for me in all the projects). But recently, which I think is responsible for the sparking of the re-do the living room bug, I re-read Myquillyn Smith's The Nesting Place where the tagline for said book (and blog!) is that "it doesn't have to be perfect to be beautiful" and that really resonates with me. 

Here's the inside flap's excellent intro to what you find in the book:

Homes are for living, not for looking...I realized years ago that although immaculate homes are pretty in pictures, when I’m actually in one, I’m not comfortable. Instead, I’m worried that I’ll spill my drink on the rug, or I’m wondering if it’s okay for me to move the pillow out of the way to sit down. When I’m in a perfect home, all I can think about is how to act and how my home compares. I get all caught up in myself and miss the real purpose of being there: connecting. I figured that if I wasn’t able to let my guard down in a perfect house, maybe others felt the same way.
— Myquillyn Smith

I love it. So much so, that after my recent re-read, I'd been itching to do something she talks about in the book, which she calls quieting a room. Doesn't that just sound so fancy and HGTV-like? Here's what she says about it:

Sometimes a room is so full of the everyday things we've been looking at for years that we can't even see what we've got. We can't see the forest for the trees. Or we can't see the sofa for the cute pillows. 

So, we're quieting the living room. Here's how it started (or more acurately, after we'd shoved a few things around, but you get the idea):

We started with taking everything easily portable, moving it to the entryway or dining room, and then moving furniture around. 

Here's where we're at after the shifting around of things: 

We're not finished with it yet, which might seem counterproductive in a post about this exact undertaking, but that happened for two reasons:

  1. Moving around & rehanging all wall decor requires more wherewithal than I possess after today and, 
  2. It's important to me that I don't post some super polished, perfectly staged picture of what it looks like. 

I want my house to feel like home for me, but I want it to feel welcoming, and comfy, and inviting for my friends too. And more often than not, that looks like an iPhone cord hanging over the back of the sofa and Chacos strewn around the room instead of being put away. Agatha Christie loves to be the center of the party, and if you're coming over, you're curling up on the most comfortable sofa that ever lived. 

It's home. And you're welcome in it.