Some days I wish our house was totally done. Complete. I get annoyed at the parts that aren’t painted yet or our lack of a coffee table. Our entry way makes me cringe and the basement, well, let’s not even get started on that. But then I think about the parts that are done and what it took to get them to that point. For each new light fixture or faucet installed, I’ve spent hours researching and searching for the one that will fit my vision, and budget, perfectly. Much to my sister’s dismay, we lived in our house for months without a single mirror because I couldn’t find the right one. I’m writing at a metal shelving unit-turned-desk because I want an antique one and it hasn’t turned up at my door yet. I’m expecting it any day now…
Most of the rooms in our house hover around 50-75% complete and I’m (usually) okay with that. I enjoy the hunt for the perfect piece that will finish off a room. I don’t mind buying new items but I love finding used furniture and decor that has some history to it. They don’t make them like they used to definitely rings true here; the beautiful solid wood of yesterday is replaced by the IKEA laminate of today. But I’m not ashamed to say that we’ve got a mixture of both. I’ve found that if I really take the time to find something that I love, I’ll hold on to it for a lot longer. I tend to gravitate towards neutrals, especially with furniture, so even through multiple moves I’ve been able to keep most of it and it has worked in each house. Simple and classic is the name of the game. I know something belongs in my house when I have multiple spots to put it and I can’t decide where I like it best. A pillow from my couch made its way onto our bed and there it stays. Side tables and baskets are frequently being shuffled. Rugs drift around. I’ve tried to stick to the same aesthetic and color scheme throughout the house so that it feels cohesive as you walk through.
Our kids bedrooms are where I get to step off the map a little. I haven’t started on Oliver’s room yet but Matilda’s is just about complete. Whimsical was the word I chose for her room and it’s about as girly as you can get. Each piece came about separately…I didn’t walk into a store and furnish her room in a day. But that’s the fun part. Looking at her dresser alone: I had the bunny mirror on my wish list for many months before I bit the bullet and ordered it, the mermaid print is from a weekend trip to Bemidji, the M is from her first birthday party, the gold framed print was purchased on one of my many HomeGoods runs, the unicorn just entered our lives via Target, the wooden doll is from a trip to Minneapolis, my sister delivered the cat dish from New Hampshire, and I hauled the books and bookends in my suitcase after one of my trips home. I’m just realizing that I put on a lot of miles collecting all of it but it’s neat to look at each item and have a fun memory attached to it. For Oliver’s room, I think my word will be adventure and there are a few items at the antique store that have his name on them…a Hudson’s Bay blanket being one of them. Finger’s crossed that it’s still there and that the vendor lowered the price by about 90%.
A few different people have said to me, “I just like too many different things and can’t seem to pull everything together.” My (novice) advice is that while you can appreciate different styles, figure out what you are really drawn to and what will fit with the style of your home. You don’t need to strictly stick to one type of design style, but keeping everything within the same range will make your house feel more unified. While I may love the look of a glittering chandelier, I know that it does not fit into my farmhouse so I didn’t put one in. Ultra-modern furniture also wouldn’t work with the design of our house so I avoid that. I might be contradicting myself now by saying this but if you really, really love something but it doesn’t quite fit with the style of your house, just buy it anyway. You will be the one looking at it everyday and it will make your house more “you”. Don’t ever buy something you don’t like just for the sake of a “stylish” house.
I read somewhere once that you need to be content in your house, at whichever place you’re at in the process. Don’t wait for “someday” to come so that then you can be happy in your home. I really took that to heart and I do try to enjoy each stage. I’ve also applied that to raising our children. Sure, some things will be easier to do when we don’t have little ones underfoot (and on my back, and no, you can’t sit on my head) but by wishing away the years I would be missing out on the fun they are right now. Sometimes I have to remind myself to enjoy the moment but I know that the times I sit down on the floor to roll a ball to Oliver or play ‘cat’ with Matilda isn’t time wasted. Make lasting memories in your home, and just let it be messy sometimes.
In the end, it’s your home. Fill it with things you treasure and memories that make you smile. Your house should make you feel happy and inspired everyday. Even if it’s half done.