Like all humans, I'm not a big fan of clutter in my own home. I definitely let it go sometimes and I'm staring at a pile of picture frames, laundry, pillows, or whatever for days at a time. Alas, I have several "mini-projects" that I really want to see the light of day, but I just know it'll be months before they actually all unfold. Some are big. Some are small. I'm okay with that though, because when designing a home, you need adequate time to breathe and actually enjoy planning, and allowing yourself the opportunity to change things up. Even a year later.
I remember when I first moved to Texas. I was living in the top floor of some friend's of ours' home, planning our wedding, planning everything, setting up the registries, and we were also simultaneously trying to find a place to live. It was a three-in-one life transition: Newlywed, newly-moved, and newly-working. All at once. After the wedding, the transition period had to be fast, because my new "daily life" was going to start with or without me.
This feeling of making our home a home was surprisingly harder than I thought it would be. What did I want it to look like? This was our abode now. No one prepared me for how this kind of home-making would be, and rightly so—it's one of those things you don't really understand even if someone tried to explain it to you, until you're there in life. Most of our possessions were gifts from the wedding, and the rest was my husband's, as well as some of my own which had been carefully placed in my in-laws trailer as they drove back across the country post-wedding, and we went on a honeymoon. Just like that was a jumble of a sentence, it was a jumble of belongings.
What I felt was something I'd describe as "not-grounded," because I was still organizing my things in our apartment after life already started for us. I wanted it to say "Here's your home" and instead it was "Welcome home, here's a bunch of random things with a little bit of everything else." Please do not get me wrong: all the gifts and furniture and help we received as a newlywed couple from many people, and still receive is seriously so precious and we cannot thank them enough. Without that, we would be nowhere. But I think you understand me when I say that having your own belongings you picked out because you like them so much, is different. I was moving and adjusting to a new place on all sorts of levels, and being out doing my usual daily activities and coming back at the end of a long day, there were times I just sobbed on the floor because I didn't feel like I was in my own house, during a time when I was trying to feel at home in a new town. Again, I feel pretty selfish saying that, seeing how much love has been outpoured on us from several people, but it was just me at the time adjusting to new ways. Even currently a lot of our things are gifts, but my sense of home is much different now, and I appreciate these things more and more every day.
Fast forward a year, and we purchased a house. Technically a big duplex, but again, another opportunity to make a home feel like a home but in a bigger space than before. Another challenge along with moving into a new place. But I've learned to just give yourself time to enjoy what you're doing and allow yourself time to watch it slowly come together. Even if it's a slow start (it took some time, but we were able to give back the couch we had borrowed because we were finally able to purchase an 'on sale' couch, for example), that is totally okay.
The following is an outline of ideas and decor I came up with to help my Southern house get on it's feet, and look California-chic complete with Texas charm all at the same time.
- The dining room went from a kind of "not sure what to put here", to a chic spot to sit and eat at. It's a comment-able part of your home, if you host a lot or like to have the family sit around the table most nights, I like the idea of having your own personal choices of decor and notables for the guests to feel comfortable while they eat. I chose plants to help in this way in this space of the house. We already have a plan to have 2-3 different-sized boxes, several of them, staggering down the wall to hold indoor, green potted plants. If you visit my article on creating a nook, you'll see I have green potted plants in mind there as well.
This space was quite a process as a whole, in the constructing of it (when we bought it, this part of the house was a complete step-down situation and we felt to bring it level with the rest of the house). We didn't know whether to fill it up with cement or wood planks, but ended up with the latter for sheer lack of money. So every time you walk from one side of the house to the other it sounds like there's almost nothing beneath you, the shallow thunk, thunk, thunk, thunk with each step.
A note on decorating: decorating is another thing. For some reason when I go out to buy (or just look at) decor, I feel pressure, like a voice going "This is the only chance you will ever have to pick your style for this space, choose wisely." But it's simply not the case. I don't know why I think this sometimes. It took me forever to decide on a chandelier, but once I knew what I was going for it was easy to find. We purchased it off of Overstock.com (go visit, seriously! It's awesome!). I saw a "gather" sign in a Hobby Lobby a while back, but didn't purchase it. So after a few trips later on at the same spot, I found the perfect "gather" sign for our space. I love the font as well, it fits in with our industrial and rustic vibe.
The artificial succulents were given to me and are from Hobby Lobby as well I think, but if not it was from a ReStore Habitat for Humanity (which is great for discounted purchases, and the money goes to a good cause. You should definitely check them out).
Along with a stop at a local Tuesday Morning, I found a short table runner (after I realized how short it was I wasn't sure how I'd feel about it, but I actually really like it) in colors that I love, and decided to just space the succulents out on it. I think it looks great and I love having guests sit here. Someday I would like a different table, but for now this one suits us well. Currently waiting for the right time to buy a white tablecloth to go underneath the runner.
- The more rustic-ness of our home is helped by this toppled-over batch of flowers you see on the piano. The rest of the room is somewhat more on the industrial side in our decor, but I feel this effect helps in forging the two styles. One trick I've found with some spaces is even if the styles are totally different, having the decorations and even colors of furniture, etc. be of the same color hue is the underlying factor in the flow of the space.
To this day I struggle with where to put artificial flowers. Two of these bouquets were not originally on this piano, however I think the hustle and bustle of the scene kind of makes it all flow together. My husband's guitar sits idly next to this ivory grandeur, and though I'm not a fan of the spinning seat chair, I appreciate how precious this scene looks. It doesn't get a lot of attention, but one thing it does have is attention to detail.
- Ah. The entryway to a home. So many options and almost no idea what to do a lot of the time. I feel like having a large painting along this wall helps the room appear longer than it actually is, both for the walls and the painting. It makes an area open that wasn't before.
You don't get much view of our table here in the photos, but it's a solid wood, thin table that's maybe five feet long. We have the option to sand it down and paint it a different color, but I honestly like the color it is now, a light oak. Something I've found is flowers are a good way to tie rooms together if you're concerned about flow, because they look great everywhere and you can use different kind and colors to have the room speak for itself.
The Bathroom/Guest Room:
- Maybe this isn't your thing, but I love when colors contrast. For me, having a general theme is great as well, but the main thing is the contrast in colors. It helps the room pop and have it's own way of being comfortable simultaneously. So having a guest room with bright-blue patterned curtains, having lamp shades that are bright red, pillow covers that have yellow fabric, and a dresser with teal-blue decorations on it, it just looks so lively. Nevertheless, not every room has this type of style to it. Most of the rooms are a gray-hue, which I honestly enjoy because you can bounce off of it all these kinds of colors. All the color palettes are different, but they all go together in the end.
I've been told before the way I decorate is like a California-girl, which I am. And now you'll probably see there's some aspects of Texas involved in the decor, influences from friends and family I have here. Either way, it is our home. And everyone feels at home when they walk in.