Monday, October 27, 2008

BE IT EVER SO HUMBLE......

The glamorous ideal (image via Elements of Style)

AND........ the way I actually live (I have got to paint those drab walls!)
What I do love: the plantation shutters, the desk from my mom's childhood I re purposed as a dressing table, and a mirror I bought in London years ago.

There is no place like home! I am sure most of you would agree with me, being the design and domestic aficionados you are. Nowadays, with so much available to us as far as design-related media goes, it's easy to look at the fabulous homes of others and, while being inspired, also feel twinges of design insecurity/inferiority. For me, design blogs and shelter magazines provide an endless source of eye candy and inspiration. But, at times, it's kind of like air-brushed photos of celebs, the homes look fabulous, but most have been styled to death, airbrushed and fine-tuned to excess. That can leave ordinary folks like me with "habitat-image" issues, not unlike self image issues that are exacerbated by "perfect" images of skinny, polished celebrities. Too much focus on design-perfect homes can leave people with thoughts like, "gosh, my kitchen cabinets look too much like cabinets and not furniture" or "my bed skirt looks like it is waiting for a flood". Have you ever felt nauseated when you look at clutter on your counter, or groaned with disgust at the dust you let build up on your lampshades? I have. (I hate dust, but hate dusting even more. I'll admit it, sometimes I skip the dusting.)

Truth is, nobody's space looks perfect all of the time. At least not mine. Like the rest of life, 99% of the time there is something of a gulf between people's ideals and how things actually are. If you're always bemoaning the imperfect, you don't have a chance to enjoy the better aspects of what really is. It's sort of like accepting your appearance. You see your flaws and, yeah, there are things you might like to change, but you don't run out and get a plastic surgeon to overhaul every inch of you. You make the most of what you have and make peace with the genes you've been "dealt", the good ones and the not-so-good ones.

One thing I appreciate about European design magazines, is that while I am sure they do their share of tweaking before photos, they seem better at letting things look natural and lived-in than us perfection-oriented Americans. I am not campaigning for a magazine that comes in and takes candid photos of mediocre interiors or anything akin to "just rolled out of bed" sloppiness. Nobody wants to aspire to that. What I am saying is that I think we should be able to enjoy our homes in process, even if we have absolutely no current plans to change anything. Home is dear purely because it's our private refuge and sanctuary. A space where we can find shelter, express ourselves and be "us". That is what makes people's homes truly beautiful and inviting, not when we are just following trends, trying to impress people or purchasing pieces much as someone buys a "statement handbag". I love to see it when someone decorates with things that mean something to them, whether it's been passed down, gathered on travels or made by someone special. To me, these are the things that truly give my space it's own unique personality, whether or not it wows other people. It needs to fit who YOU are and how you live! Don't listen to anyone who tries to sell you anything by way of intimidation tactics or subtle put-down manipulation. Like those hairdressers who ask first time customers in a snide tone"WHO cut your hair last time?!"or store clerks who use that annoying phrase to wind up your checkout experience,"Will this be ALL?". As if, by saying that, they are going to convince you that you are incredibly cheap and need to buy a heck of a lot more before you will be able to impress them. Not nice. Not smart.

Yeah, I am certainly all for new projects, or making the most of your space, but I don't think we should succumb to cookie-cutter peer pressure or always having to strive for "perfection" in our homes. As a wise person once said, "It's not the destination that matters, it's the journey". Take time to just live and enjoy what you do have. It's a blessing to just have a place to call home, be it grand or humble. It's more than a lot of people have.

26 comments:

A Day That Is Dessert said...

Beautiful post, Anne...important for life and not just our home.

vicki archer said...

So well said Anne, bravo - there is truly no place like home. xv

pve design said...

As my father loves to say - "A blind man would be happy to see it" - I could come and help you paint your room a vivid shade! Home is where the heart is!

Karena said...

Excellent and wise points Anne. I woke up this morning thinking about how to turn my condo space's garage into a light bright studio. It will have to be work in progess, painting the walls a wonderful shade, something on the floors that is cleanable yet cushiony. Lots more lighting. Oh dear! When we aspire to make our homes into something meaningful that is great design.

Ellen said...

"Merchandising" the home. God help us all! Who decided that our living spaces should be camera shot ready at a moment's notice? With everything placed just so in case Domino magazine swings by for an unannounced, but nonetheless welcome, photo layout of the top of YOUR kitchen cabinets!

I have an attic chock full of tchochkes that would make Homegoods proud. I think it was Christopher Lowell who proclaimed years ago that we all need a "prop closet." I have that, in spades. But I still can't make the tops of my cabinets behave. Or the bookshelves. Not even the shelf where my laundry supplies go. I suck at arranging. I've decided no matter what I do, my home will never be Domino photo spread worthy. C'est la vie!

{ Becca } said...

I love this post Anne! Your desk is beautiful :) I love seeing little glimpses into your home, your style is so refreshing!

Amisha said...

This is a great post. Some times when I look at interior decor magazines, I do wonder if real people live there. Some of the houses look like museums, where I'd be afraid to touch anything.

It is a great post reminding us to enjoy what we have!

Ivy Lane said...

Anne, Thank you for this post! It really says alot.

The little corner of your room is so charming. That mirror is great~ and I love that you made such good use of your Mom's childhood desk.

I think a vivid clear color would be smashing!! :)

la la Lovely said...

Well said.. I love looking at all the blogs and mags but you are so right it does leave the feeling of imperfection (as I sit at my kitchen desk with magically re-appearing piles of papers) and us striving for perfection in yet another area...its hard to keep up.. And I think you are so right about European design...They have beautiful things but it is so less fussy and it so lived in.. a true mix of high and low. I think that is why I've always loved watching Nigella (sorry for my tangent) .....her food and her home are pefrect with imperection and that is celebrated.. Anyhow, 3 cheers for you.. lovely post!

Emily said...

oh how i've always wanted my bedroom to be painted a brilliant shade of pink!

annechovie said...

Thank you Lecia,Vicki,Patricia, Karena,Ellen,Becca,Amisha,Ivy, Trina,and Emily!! I appreciate all of your kind and thoughtful comments and the unique input each one of you took time to add. I hope that ALL of you have a great week!

Cote de Texas said...

your room looks so adorable - I love that mirror and the seat cover!!! i could see your painting it a little deeper shade like that picture - but it's charming as is. ps. i hate my cluttered filled counters!! haha!!

Joni

Eloise said...

I loved your post today.

So often I have visited a beautiful home and thought, "But where would people sit and visit in this room? Where would someone relax with a good book?" The ideal house is a perfect mix of form and function.

By the way, I love the desk, mirror and the chair cover in your room!

annechovie said...

Thanks Joni and Eloise!

SimplyGrove said...

Great post!!! So many people in the world would be thankful just to have a roof over there heads!!! Thanks for bringing healthy perspective.
Come over to my blog for a table giveaway:)

annechovie said...

Kirsten~ Thank you! I will.

Karena said...

Forgot to mention that I love the mirror, I might raise it higher,even though it is for dressing table. That is just me though, I tend to stack and hang mirrors and art higher than most.

Velvet and Linen said...

I think I will save your post as a reminder that it is all about the journey. After all, perfection is not reality!
Every time I finish a project I instantly see the flaws. It is only after time has gone by and I get some distance that I am able to see the things I did right.

Thank you for the great insight.

xo
Brooke

annechovie said...

Thanks, Karena! The only reason I have it hanging that low is because when I "do" my hair I can't see if it's higher, 'cause the chair sits fairly low. Otherwise, I totally agree, it would look better! :>)

Brooke~ Thanks so much for visiting and for your comment - you have a very good point!

The Steel Magnolia House said...

Indeed! Beautifully put. I actually purchased the quote art from you "Happiness is not having all you want. It's wanting all you've got." I am looking at it now as it graces my desk and it reminds me every day how lucky I am. Thanks for the hand written note that came with it. Great post. Love your blog!

annechovie said...

Aw, thank you so much, Steel Magnolia! That made my day. I am so glad you are enjoying the print.

beachbungalow8 said...

here, here. Don't we all have bigger things to do in life than worry about dust build up on a daily basis.

annechovie said...

Hi Megan! LOL, yeah, seriously. Why can't I put the dust mites to work on it? They obviously aren't ingesting enough of my dust at a fast enough rate to do me much good.

Josh Harwell said...

Great post Sis! Have a great time at your art show. You will be missed this weekend.

annechovie said...

Aw, thanks,Bro! I will miss you guys, too!

Julia @ Hooked on Houses said...

I totally agree with you on this! Well put. When things look too picture-perfect in photos, they can leave us cold. It's hard to imagine ourselves actually living in them when they've been "styled to death."

This pink bedroom is so glam! Love it. :-)

 
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