Wednesday, October 1, 2008

A Dream

WE SOLD OUR OLD HOUSE!!! I realize how incredibly lucky we are. There are hundreds of houses still for sale in our old neighborhood. We only had to pay double bills for two months and our finances will recover quickly. Many, many people won't be so lucky. But, am I 100% happy and satisfied? No.

Why? Well, you see, I have this dream. Actually, I have many, but this one is wild and crazy. I hope you can handle it. I dream of living in a nice neighborhood (done), in a house that is big enough to hold all my belongings and that of my son and pack-rat husband (the jury is still out on that one). A house where everything has a place, and things are organized and clutter free (not even close at this moment). A house in which the rooms have matching furniture and accessories (heh, furniture would be nice). Rooms that look well thought out, and put together, as if done by a designer, instead of a hodge podge of hand me down pieces and bare walls. A house that is relaxing, that reflects who we are, and what we enjoy. A house where love shines brightly in family photos artfully arranged on colorful walls. A house that is my refuge.

Now that I have a new house, why is this all just a crazy dream, and not reality? Many reasons - some of which I know for certain, and some that I've only recently come to be brave enough to admit. One reason, of course, is that we never have enough time. Time to unpack, time to organize, time to design, time to shop, time to hang pictures. Another big reason is money. There is never enough to buy that matching furniture and all the hundreds of other items that make a house look great.

There is another reason, though, and I fear this might be the true reason my dream is just that. My husband and I, although very artistic and creative people, are handicapped. Yes, it is true. I should have mentioned it before. We have a block. Put a smattering of paint chips in front of us, and we start to stammer and stutter. Give us a hammer, nails, photos, and bare walls, and our palms start to sweat. Give us furniture to arrange in an empty room, and we will stare at you open mouthed, muttering, "buh, buh, buh".

We always have an excuse, but the truth is, we lived in the old house for six years and hung only a handful of pictures. We didn't paint a single room a color that we fell in love with. We arranged the furniture, and then left it that way for six years. If you came to our old house and didn't know us, I'm not sure you would learn a thing about us from looking around.

So, my question to all you fellow bloggers, lurkers, readers in general who have my email address, is this... How do you do it? How do you design a room? Where do you start? Do you pick a color for the walls, then buy furniture, or find furniture you like, then look for paint? How do you decide what photos to hang, and how do you pick an arrangement? Where have you bought furniture? Maybe I should just hire one of you to help me out. Oh, right, back to that money excuse. I don't know. Give me some advice, please. I need help...clearly.

Maybe, if you're lucky, I'll even invite you over. I haven't even celebrated yet.


Nicole said...

Ahh... I could have wrote this post. Not enough time or money... Our entire house- which needs lots of updating aside from our own belongings- is half-done. Nothing is fully put together which drives me nuts. Every room has SOMETHING that either needs to be bought, painted, remodeled or something....

As far as decorating... I look on and get ideas (also from magazines) and I often pick wall colors that I like first. Or... if you're in the market for new furniture, I'd pick that first and then go with paint colors and slowly add accessories and artwork and pictures.

Nicole said...

Btw... my fav magazine for decorating ideas is Pottery barn!

Kellan said...

Oh, I am so glad you sold your house - CONGRATULATIONS - what a blessing!!!!!

I love to decorate and it seems to come easy for me. I can see in my head what I want and then I go and try to do it. I always start with one object/item. Like a picture or a couch or a plate that has the colors in it that I want to work around. They say you should do that. Pick one object and work the colors around it or one object - like a floral couch and work around it. Add wall colors to compliment the couch or begin with a painting that has fabulous colors in it and choose 3 of those colors to work into a room. Neutral walls (beige, gold, taupe) are so in right now and so easy to work around. I went to a friends' house yesterday and she had her entire house painted in this beautiful taupe and then all the moldings on the floor and ceiling were white. It was so gorgeous, because it was so rich looking and consistent. Then - in each of her rooms she threw in colors she wanted like reds and greens and golds. I would start with your primary rooms (kitchen, family room, living room, dining room) and paint them all the same color. The kitchen could have a slightly different color/tone, but the others (including foyer and hallway) look nice with all one consistent color. Then, bedrooms can be any colors you want. The wall color will dictate the tone of your house. If you choose red - then everything in all the rooms works around the red, but you could throw in gold or green or browns or blue - just about anything. I always work with just three colors. My house has red, green and gold. All our walls are white, except in the kid's rooms and our bedroom. Our bathrooms are wall paper, but wall paper is not very popular these days.

Wish I lived next door to you - I'd love to see what you come up with.

Take care and have fun!!!

PS - I shop A LOT at resale and antique stores - a good way to save money and come up with really interesting furniture (armoires, coffee tables, storage cabinets, lamps ...).

See you - Kellan

The Girls' Mommy said...

IKEA, IKEA, IKEA. Its cute and affordable. I think almost everything in our house is from that store. Kitchen cabinets, floors, beds, couch, bookcases, lines...sadly...I really mean "everything".

And decorating ideas? Only one, and it may be too late for you: We ALWAYS paint and get an idea/plan for a room before we move in. We overlap for two weeks and do everything we can in the new place before the boxes and furniture come. Because for us, once we move in the furniture and actually live there, we will NEVER be motivated to touch it again. But...heh...maybe you guys are different? I'm sure you are. Good luck! :D

The Girls' Mommy said...

Oh, and CONGRATULATIONS on the sale!

JCK said...

Congratulations! That's huge news in this current economy.

I have two tips on decorating. Take one room at a time. And if you're unsure of the paint color, take a small sample size and paint an 8 1/2 x 11 sheet of paper. It is much easier to see the real color on rather than those small paint chips. :)

Burgh Baby said...

Wumman, you should have said something sooner! Hi, I'm BBM, and I am pleased to be of your shopping and decorating service. We'll have to chat.

LOOOOOOVE the new blog look! It's absolutely perfect.

Jonny's Mommy said...

I know nothin' about decorating. Our house is similar to yours, but I really want to do some different stuff and soooon!

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

I haven't spent a to of money on furniture, but I seem to have inherited "the knack" from my mother.

Painted walls and art are very important to me. And not too many patterns--I like a clean look.

garage66 said...

You can just frame old antique postcards,and that's not very large of a frame you need to buy,plus the colors could inspire you,since the ink they used is no longer used in printing.You could get those to match at a paint store,and those colors are really amazing. Some of the colors on old postcards are rich and deep,and I use that sometimes as inspiration.
You can frame your kids photos,or close up shots of flowers(if you like flowers) you can frame concert tickets from shows you went to,those things can just start ideas for decorating a room pretty easy.
I have a room devoted to music,with framed ticket stubs,photos of bands,post cards,
posters framed,flyers framed,and now they even sell album frames that fit 12" vinyl records perfectly.Just take the record out,and frame the cardboard cover.
Instant art,and it's a personal one. You can find small 5 x 7" frames at a lot of craft supply stores,and they pop open,and you just replace the post cards when you're bored looking at the same ones. I go to flea markets for the old post cards,and auctions in my area. Or antique stores sometimes have these small books open,with tons of post cards for like 50 cents each. Then go nuts. These can dress up a wall pretty quickly AND they look cool.

Jennifer H said...

Congratulations on selling your house! That's a very big deal these days.

I hear you about wanting a house that's decorated and reflective of the people who live there. We've rented for the last 4 years, so no color on the walls, and I never even invested in window coverings (since it's not our house). But, I have big dreams for the next one...and maybe not the cash flow to do it right away.

Still, paint is relatively inexpensive. I would start with window treatments (pull a paint color from the fabric), paint, and small things like throw pillows and some decorative objects that you like. The big things like furniture, do when you can, but stay with neutral tones. That way, if you change your mind later about color schemes, you don't have to reinvest in changing upholstery. Just change out the throw pillows.

Do you have a friend nearby who digs this sort of thing? Also, I have a binder or two bursting with decorating ideas that I tear from catalogs. And sites like Martha Stewart (yeah, I know) probably have instructions for how to group wall hangings.

Wish I lived nearby! We could help each other.

Oh, and also start a writers group. :-)

Janet said...

Hmm. We have old cast off furniture (and I mean old - some of it would qualify as antique if it were in decent shape. Our couch and love seat were purchased by the Mountain Man's parents when he was in junior high school. In the late 70s.
So, what I do is work around what I have. I do not worry about looking like a designer house, because you can't live in those houses, especially if you have kids. (And don't buy new furniture until you finish the potty-training, and they learn to run to the bathroom to barf.)Frame Dylan's pictures for the walls. Pick a color from your couch or the picture and paint the wall that color. Christopher Lowell is my guru - his motto is "You can do it!" And you can.
By the way congratulations on selling your house. I can tell you this now, but it took us 2 1/2 years to sell my house after we moved into this one. And that was NOT a depressed housing market like this one.
And I love the new look of your blog, too. Sorry I haven't been here in a while. Things have gotten away from me. I'm trying to catch up this week. And next. And probably the next.

Shellie said...

I'm a very bad example, worse than you, I'm sure. I gave up decorating when the boys carried on a destruction derby behind the last makeover. When they are older, I'll think about it. I would just keep my eyes open for things I really like everywhere I go or in magazines, etc. Keep a file of pictures. Then really look at your house. Figure out what works with the structure you have and your lifestyle. Make sure that it's not only beautiful, but functional. Keep the kid factor in mind, indestructible too. Good luck and just move slowly, it's the journey...