Monday, August 25, 2008


When you are overwhelmed with an entire new house to decorate, the task can be quite daunting. It is easy to stand slack-jawed at the mountain of boxes and not be able to decide where to begin or what to open first. If you are not careful, you can end up bouncing around from box to box and room to room like a ball in a pinball machine. I have done this many times. You don't get a higher decorating score for how many obstacles you can bounce off of.

This time I am trying to go about things in a more organized, logical fashion. Yes, that implies that there was, in fact a last time, that wasn't so organized or logical. 3 years ago when we built our previous house, Jason and I went out and bought everything imaginable BEFORE we so much as stepped foot into the finished house. Yes, we were there every day and really got to know the house as it was being built, but that's no substitute for actually living there. You can't truly know what your house will need until you spend more time in it, get to know it, let it tell you what it needs.

Sounds crazy, right? It's not. It was the first house we had ever lived in that had higher ceilings and open spaces. Lack of experience in these two areas alone was enough to knock me down before I ever began. Nothing I bought fit the space. The house ended up with a cluttered, out of scale feeling from the lack of balance. If you have a big space, you cannot just put more little things in it to fill it up. And no, even though it's what I've done to compensate, you can't just fill up the empty spaces with more greenery. I have enough greenery to put Michael's to shame.

So priority number one should be to get to know your house first. Some very wise friends of mine have recommended that I make sure to do that this time. And I'm so GLAD! It has already made me realize that there were things I thought I'd have to change, that I really ended up liking once I spent time here. And things that I will change, I'm taking the time to make those decisions so that I only have to make them once.

The next priority for me was to pick the most important room in the house and complete it from top to bottom. I was trying to decide if I wanted to work a little bit at a time in each room, or one room at a time. I decided that I feel as if I am making more progress when I finish a room. Yes, my mattresses are still lying on the floor, and no, there's nothing on any of the main living walls. But my son's room is completely finished. A huge priority. I wanted to help his transition into his new house.

Then working on the guest room was next. Why the guest room? Partly because it is on the same side of the house as Conner's room, so we painted them at the same time to cut down on how much he would be exposed to fumes. Also partly because I had the most pieces for that room. Lastly because we live away from our families and that's where they stay when they come. Just because it looks like we live on the inside of a toy box doesn't mean that guests have to feel that way. I want them to be comfortable.

My priorities may make no sense to anyone else and that's okay. You need to come up with the priorities that work best for make sense for you. In the meantime, if I want to enjoy a little peace, I walk into the guest room, close the door, and take five minutes in the tranquility of a completed space.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Back Again and Decorating Avidly!

It seems that all plans to decorate anything came to a screeching halt last December 30 when my son joined our lives and became part of my decorating team. I say he became part of because he altered my home in such a vast and unimaginable way. Suddenly I felt a camaraderie with all those women who said that they couldn't get a thing done now that they had kids. My naive thoughts were "so just do it when the kid is sleeping"! Well....then God blessed me with a child who never slept. This was just to spite the fact I always had that preconceived notion that all babies sleep all the time. Not mine. He definitely cried, ate, and pooped far more than he ever slept!

But now he's 8 months old and much more independent, so mommy can find herself again. However when I say "find herself" I mean literally. We moved a week ago and my life is crazier than it has ever been. I will never find anything, ever! At least once a day I find myself saying my new favorite mantra, "I knew I put it in a box that with with such and such and had something or other written on the front". Then I spend an hour looking for this wonderful missing piece of our lives that has disappeared somewhere in the very long 5 mile move up the street. Why do we have to pack so well we we are not moving very far, anyway?

But my favorite is when I am asked where something might be. I have 2 or 3 answers of logical places the missing item might actually be. If I am the one who asks "did anyone see" then I get a response very much like I just asked for the 3rd character to make an appearance in the second act of William Shakespeare's The Tempest!

I will be decorating again. I have to make the new house my own. I will be doing this at the whim of my children: 8mo old Conner, 32 year old Jason, who is really my husband but is more like keeping after a child, and 3 fur kids (cats) Mabel, Max, and Matty. I will post pics and advice as I am able. It's going to be fun! And as always feel free to give me any advice/criticisms (as long as you love what I am doing!) and overall discussion. If there is something you want to know more about, please let me know!

And we're off!