Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Hardest Thing About Home Improvement

Is the waiting.

D and I are still waiting for our destiny to fulfill when we win a huge jackpot in the lottery.  So until then, we need to be selective as to how to properly pretty up our home.

Yeah, I bet we are all in that same boat, right?  Right.

Back in the day, when I was a single schmoe, I couldn't wait to decorate my first apartment when I was a post grad young professional.  I lived in the most adorable flat in a house you could imagine.  It was freshly remodeled and white white white.  Clean.  Fresh.  A new canvas.

So I started look snoop around stores, itching to buy myself some decorations to deck my halls.

What I got?  Sticker shock.  I was paralyzed.  They wanted how much for window treatments?  Rugs cost HOW much?  What is that pillow filled with, GOLD?

The one thing I remember I got for that adorable apartment was a beautiful shower curtain.  It was fabric and shimmery and had all these softly colored purple and teal butterflies all over it.  That was it.

And so began my decade of completely not decorating my home.

Every last thing was a hand-me-down or a gift.  Which is not to say my stuff sucked.  I remember that place being cozy.  I had my mom's couch and pillows, an old comforter from home that was well loved.  It was cozy.  But plain.

Then I moved into a room at my great grandfather's house.  The place was already decked out due to my Aunt with whom I lived.  She had an eclectic and clean style.  Think leopard print and cats.  She knew her style and had 20 years on me to afford such luxuries.  Still, not my style.

Then I moved into a large apartment in Oak Creek where I inherited a glass dining room table from my grandmother, which I had every intention of spray painting and recovering the cloth cushions.  Still, I did nothing.

Over the years, I would find something at a rummage or an art show that inspired me and I would quietly thumb through my wallet, carefully deciding on whether or not buying that item was worth it.   One was  a Dave Badger pencil print called Bubble Bath purchased at a GenCon.  Proved to be a worthy item, because after 10 years it still hangs in my bathroom.

Even after D and I got married, our first apartment largely remained the same with the exception of his father and brother's beautiful artwork.

Then: the first house, where budget seems to fly out the window.  We bought a rug (which we fought over.)  We bought drapes (which we fought over.)  We bought a couch, over sized chair, and ottoman (largely argument free.)
That damn rug and drapes.  Both of which we still have.  Still have the furniture too.

Trouble is, when you live your life with someone, they get an opinion too.  And they have an opinion about budgets.  So I was doubly paralyzed.  First, will he like it?  Second, will he flinch at the cost?

So, yeah... did nothing.

Our first apartment out here was void of any possibility because it was stacked to the gills with boxes.

Then this home.

This glorious home we have now.  A new blank canvas.

It's taken me 6 years and a green light blessing from D to start work on decorating this thing.  When I falter on a decorating challenge D issues, he'll just go out and buy what he wants.  And while he does have a great eye, I would have picked something different for our living room drapes.

I've painted.  We've bought art.  Window dressings.  Throw pillows.  Selective trinkets.  I've been cautious, true, but I've also not sacrificed what I envisioned.  The curtains for my dining room?  Perfect match to the color of the room.  Looked for years for those things.

I can't believe it... but now we are at a place where, while we are hardly flush with money, we can afford to invest in the luxury of decorating a home.  We have big plans for renos,  but we still move forward with the cautious frugality of our 20's.  It took us 5 years to put a porch on the back of our house.

We have slowly invested in truly making this place a home.  Softening the bare walls and windows, getting new sheets for everyone, a warm comforter for us, a new bed for G.

What's funny is that I just went through my smugmug and I haven't really taken pictures of what we've done.  It's all in the background in holiday pictures and such.

What does that mean, then?

I suppose that the decor of a house isn't supposed to be the end all, be all.  It's meant to help create an ambiance, a feeling of home.  It doesn't define your home, but it can set the stage.  You don't need $1000 chandeliers or silk curtains.  It's the picture of G smiling on the wall.  Jerry and Rob's art in a few rooms.  The warm comforter on the bed.  The few knick knacks sprinkled throughout, that when my eye lands on the item, it sparks a happy memory.

Maybe that's what I've been missing all these years.  Maybe I don't need the matching furniture or the perfect set of window dressings.

I don't need a massive budget to make this house feel right.  I just need a man named Dave and a little girl named Grace.

Let's be honest...This face also helps.