Here we are, September nearly over, and the last post I made was about spring/summer fashion early in May. I didn’t intend to take such a long break, or even a break at all, but life often gets in the way of our plans. I’ve been struggling lately, personally and creatively. Chronic back pain (for which I’ve started seeing a chiropractor–it helps!), depression and anxiety, and busyness have all kept me from feeling like my best self. But Fall has always been my favorite season so I’m starting to see a bit of light ahead, starting to feel inspired again. I have a few exciting events on the horizon, the spider lilies have bloomed, and mornings have given way to that refreshing chill in the air–little things that bring joy to the forefront of my mind. It’s good to be getting back to this space not out of obligation but after a small yet significant rush of the creative energy I’ve been missing.
Nothing feels more cozy than bringing in a little green (and red!), a warm fire, and nostalgic treasures and traditions during the Christmas season, a time to celebrate our King. Though I have a subtle, restrained approach to Christmas decorating, these small touches are a calming refuge from overwhelming holiday stress, reminding me of the peace and hope he brings.
This year we put our tree up the day before Thanksgiving–in part because I grew up decorating on Thanksgiving, but especially because last Christmas was a very dark period in our personal lives and we wanted to reclaim the memory with something joyful and bright for as long as possible. It has always been a priority to represent our roots while also creating traditions unique to us–a blend of what we find personal and meaningful. I hang the stocking I grew up with and made a modest but sweet garland with eucalyptus from the tree in my parents’ yard. Our tree is decorated with David’s collection of ornaments given to him every year by his family, which we add to ourselves each holiday season.
When I can’t sleep I’ll go into the living room and turn on the tree lights to enjoy the display of warmth and love. Coming home to the familiar smell of our Frasier Fir is an enormous comfort, and I delight in having the curtain open to reveal our tree, knowing we’re sharing a little Christmas spirit with our neighbors. More than gifts, these are the things I remember year after year.
Recently my husband’s grandmother and aunt were in town and we gave them a tour of the house. It’s a joy and privilege to open our home and share it with others, especially all the quirky things that make it ours and tell who we are. I’m so, so glad they were finally able to visit. But it’s not uncommon for me to panic when expecting guests, so prior to their arrival we could be found cleaning and organizing furiously. I worry everyone will know I didn’t clean my baseboards perfectly or dust every book, or that the unfinished renovations will be a glaring eyesore. Not just that, I worry it matters if people do notice, and judgment will follow. Whenever I give voice to my insecurities about the state of the house, David repeats the kind reminder, “It just looks like people live here.” And he’s right–it’s a flowing, evolving space, responding to different moments and circumstances. This is a place for living, and all the evidence of our sweet, simple life together–dog hair, dirt from the backyard, unwashed dishes, worn furniture, an unmade bed, shoes thrown on the floor after a long day, laundry air drying in the dining room, book piles everywhere–belongs here. A while back we unofficially took on the family motto “good enough is good enough.” It’s a little funny, but also true. It really is good enough.
During the visit I noticed how much has changed in the short 9 months we’ve lived here, and how much change is still to come. In a couple weeks our new contractor will be starting the finishing work on our bathroom and kitchen. I’m looking forward to the final reveal, but these are a few scenes as it stands now. I spend a lot of my day-to-day time here, and I’m beginning to grasp more of that ease I felt in the apartment we lived in for years and years. I’m grateful for the comfort and familiarity.
We’ve slowly been chipping away at the list of things that might make the house more efficient and conducive to fellowship. I’ve not opened up my home to others in a while and it’s been weighing heavily on my heart. My hope is that these small changes not only make us feel more at home but our friends and family as well. If you follow along on Instagram you may have already seen these updates, but I thought it would be nice to do a post anyway. If nothing else it got me to pick up my camera, which doesn’t happen nearly enough these days.
The biggest new feature of the room is certainly the blue velvet ottoman we bought after I sold a couple of my collages. We’ve wanted a chase for our couch or ottoman for years but it never worked out until now. David has some vein issues that cause a lot of pain in his legs, so having a place for him to put his feet up is a big help. I tend to go for lighter neutrals when it comes to furniture, but I’m in love with this bold, rich hue. The ottoman is quite large for the space and nearly always covered in dog hair, but after living with it for several weeks, I wouldn’t have it any other way.
We also finally had these chairs reupholstered in the prettiest light gray fabric. David and I found the pair at a government surplus warehouse in South Carolina for barely any money at all. I spent an afternoon cleaning up the wood ages ago and then they sat for years just begging to have their hideous and institutional teal fabric and tufting removed. I’m very happy with how they turned out! Our former coffee table fits perfectly between them and is a great spot to display treasures or be a landing area for glasses and plates. Just having these two extra seats in the room makes it immensely more usable.
Other items I’ve added in: this brass incense holder, a patterned pillow and a few pieces of pottery I saved from our yardsale pile, and simple curtains and rods. As much as I appreciate a minimalist approach to design and color (my sister can tell you my wardrobe color palette certainly proves that), I’ve found that it just doesn’t work in my home. And I’m okay with that. I’ve got a few more plans for this room, but I love where it’s at right now.
Our schedule has been unpredictable at best so staying on top of household tasks hasn’t been a priority. But I’ve been busy putting my personal touch on this place the last several days (which may have involved adding no less than four plants to our collection and planning for even more) and the rest of the week will be devoted to cleaning and organizing. Storage has been a challenge–one that we’ve never had to deal with before thanks to an incredible rental with five closets and built-in shelving. I love my beautiful treasures that can be displayed (the living room and bedroom shelves were designed for that after all), but finding places for all our clothes and shoes, linens, papers, documents, toiletries, and general utility items–the things we prefer to keep tidy and hidden–is tough. I have a couple random boxes left to unpack and then it’s framing a few pieces of art and hanging the rest of the curtains. The kitchen and bathroom projects down the line are a sore subject for me (they exist, I promise), but it’s getting there!
Last week we finally moved into our house. There are a few projects to be completed at a later date, but I’m excited to push play on our lives again. It felt like we were on pause for the past 7 months of the renovation (while we lived with David’s mom), much longer than we expected, and I’m thankful to have back the space where I’m free to create and be myself. I have ideas about how to translate the feeling of a new beginning into decorating and arranging, though at the moment there’s mostly chaos in the corners you can’t see. I’m looking forward to making the house reflect even more of who we are. Unpacking seems endless and our bodies are worn from heavy lifting and eating takeout for a week, but it feels very good to be home.
We’re going out of town on Wednesday and don’t yet have internet at the house, so it’ll be quiet here for the next week or so. I’ll be sure to post more scenes from the finished space soon, and hopefully something in a few other categories I’ve been neglecting.
Moving has coincided with a lot going on in other areas of life, but this morning I feel peace instead of hostility toward the busyness. It’s a nice way to start the week.
I’ve inadvertently made purchases around a theme over the last several months. These shades of off-white speak to the current mood I’m channeling–comfortable, muted, and composed. A good neutral does wonders to balance my somewhat unrestrained tastes. I’m so happy about these new additions to my collection.
lamp: IKEA, hanging pot: Kati von Lehman (purchased at FERN), weirdo planter: Jacqueline Klassen (also from FERN), ceramic triangle: It’s All My Stuff in Cincinnati, candle: Yoke (purchased at Idlewild Woman), other ceramics: local
Here are a few recent photos from the renovation that clearly won’t be done this month as previously indicated.