I have a love-hate relationship with my house. I didn’t choose my home, I chose the man and the house was part of the package. I still love him; the house I’m not so sure about.
This is the home where our daughter grew up and our grandchildren all lived during their early years. It has far more sentimental value to them than me. At least that is what I think as I peruse the pages of Zillow or Trulia looking for my perfect home. And don’t even get me started on the perfect town for the perfect home. Each week as we watch Home Town we dream of moving to Laurel Mississippi to live in an adorable refurbished cottage. My husband was born in Laurel and his mother’s family still has roots there. So the dream is not so very arbitrary. Well maybe a little. But that’s why it is called a dream.
This morning while I was wandering around Etsy, I stumbled upon a blog post from a couple years ago that really spoke to me and my house woes. The title was “Reasons to Embrace Your Imperfect Home” and featured a book called Life Unstyled by Emily Henson.
The philosophy of Henson’s book is that no one’s home is like the Instagram or magazine photos we all drool over. We have stacks of stuff, and things out of place and dishes in the sink. That is life. Our homes, like us have imperfections and some of those are the things that give us character and personality.
Real Life vs Instagram Life
While the world is going crazy for all things Marie Kondo and her tidying up philosophy I look around my house, and while I’m trying to do the tidying thing, I seem to get distracted by my stuff. I find joy in virtually everything I own. I’ve purged my closet so many times I can barely leave the house appropriately clothed. And yet I can’t part with thirty year old knick knacks.
I’ll admit that I am a recovering decorating magazine junkie. I couldn’t part with those either. But with Instagram in my life, I just collect decorating accounts to follow. Less clutter and no trees were cut down to support the addiction. There are endless accounts loaded with beautiful pictures and “perfect” homes in “perfect” towns. But are they really?
Design trends come and go. Thanks to Chip and Joanna Gaines the world jumped on the modern farmhouse style. I loved that style, until everyone and their brother loved it. Now I’m over it and sad about it. Same with Midcentury Modern. I grew up with the Jetsons and The Brady Bunch. How could I not love that style? Again, once I saw it everywhere I was no longer as infatuated.
I don’t have a one size fits all personality and my home should reflect that. Given my own personal preferences, I would not choose hunting prints or stuffed geese on the walls, but my husband is a hunter and he loves them. I made concessions. This is his house too. I do like the sculptural quality of the deer skull, just no stuffed deer heads. That’s where I draw the line.
Here is an example from my home. This, in fact, is my view as I write this post. The chair is part of a set that I purchased several years ago from a friend. I have always planned on getting it recovered, but it is still upholstered in a yellow, orange and green print. The settee that matches this is in my yarn room, aka the dining room. The pink and burgundy needlepoint footstool belonged to my mother-in-law and always sat in her formal living room with the pale pink Duncan Phyfe sofa which now resides in my Whimsy Room. Maybe I should move the stool in there?
This empty corner housed the Christmas tree. One month later and I’m still not sure what I want to put there; so it sits empty…waiting to be adorned in some fashion. Until then it will remain as is. I will be moving the two prints as the sun shining in the windows will, over time, fade them and they have significant resale value as well as sentimental value for my husband. As for the stick. I love sticks and I have them all over my home as a decorative accessory.
The Ugly Truth
When our home was built, this room was designed to be the formal dining room. In the thirty years I have lived here, this room was a dining room for about thirty minutes. Since then it has been a sitting room with book cases and comfy chairs for reading – my favorite; a playroom for grandchildren, a pretty room with no purpose, and now this, a depository for the yarn spinning equipment gathered from other rooms and dumped. All of it now waiting for me to decide how the heck I’m going to make this all look good and still be functional. It will happen, but first I need a big, strong, young man to help me get stuff moved around. Any volunteers?
The Poison Of Illusion
Back to Life Unstyled. Henson is a professional stylist by profession, but she advocates a more organic approach to home decor. Surround yourself with things that you love and that speak of who you are and your home will be uniquely beautiful. People will know that you live there. Isn’t that what our homes should really be all about?
Don’t worry if your house or you life isn’t Instagram perfect. That is all an illusion, a moment staged and caught in time with one click of a button. That image is then edited, filters applied and flaws removed to create one person’s idea of perfection. If looking at those things brings you joy please, go ahead. Take the inspiration and make it your own. If, on the other hand, you feel negative thoughts about yourself or your home because of them, STOP. Stop following, stop looking, and stop comparing. No one ever wins in the comparison game. Just be you, it is a full time job.
Until tomorrow…keep looking up, embrace today, and go have some fun!