Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Cheerleader for Change

You guys are too great.  I had so many people email, comment or stop me on the street regarding my last emotional blog posts regarding painting my trim!  I think the post resonated with people because we, especially as women attach emotion to our surroundings.  I remind myself of this often when I start feeling like this design gig isn't making a difference in people's lives.  Women constantly reassure me that it is.  We seek solace and comfort and sometimes approval in how we decorate our homes and many times I hear people say that some small updates gave them the confidence to entertain or offer hospitality to others. 

I've always told you that's what I love best about doing what I do. Connecting with you guys and hearing your stories.  I feel honored that you also validate mine through this blog and in person.
Thank you!

On that note, I gotta show you some of the amazing things you do-without me! I try my best to render you helpless so you have to hire me to help, but some of you are just too talented. :) Or some of you don't know you're gifted with decorating and hire me anyway for confirmation. What? Yes, it's true. Many times, I've entered the homes of you Champs and asked "What am I doing here"?

As was the case here:

This is Jennifer's living room.  
Breathtaking.  Subtle color scheme, just the way I like it.  Calming and beautiful! She hired me for help with her pre-teen daughter's room, but as I left, I wanted to ask HER to come home with me and help me with my house! :)

I actually left this place that day, went straight home and scrubbed my baseboards for three hours!! I was cleaning manically trying to get it to shine like her house did. Why do I do this to myself? 
How does her trim look brand new 9 years later? 
How do her slipcovered sofas stay spotless and dog-hair free?
How many more years will it take for me to stop coveting people's homes and lives? :)

And another example:
This one I can at least take a little credit for.  This is Sheila's main floor half bath & laundry room which used to be oak.
You can tell by the outside trim in the left of the pic.
Sheila is also meticulously clean and everything in this house shines as well. Her husband is an amazing craftsman and retro-fitted this space with new upper cabinets and crown molding.  The small cabinets to the left and right were oak but we added the beadboard and upper cabinets to give this room a bit more presence. 
Sheila and I finally convinced her husband to keep right on rolling into the kitchen and paint all the oak and trim in there too! Time consuming winter project, but it will be so worth it!
Super talented people. 

 These were all oak.
And Tricia's house which I posted before. 
This girl has great vision and organizational skills, not to mention incredible artistic talent. 
Again, "Why am I here?"

And this one:
Nephew Physical Therapy-
I had so much fun getting to know Melissa this summer. She had asked for help with some custom signs and some accessory advice and she is so faithful about shopping my booth at Not So Shabby. She had Diane Becker, a local interior designer and all around great gal, together worked on this character rich build -out. 
Diane and Melissa had a vision for a warm, welcoming office space that isn't sterile or commercial. Mission accomplished.
The only thing I contributed is the rolling industrial cart and lots of ooohs and ahhhs while viewing this space. :)

 This girl is awesome! Go see her for your aches and pains or if you want another friend you pay to have. She's worth it.

And yesterday, walking up Heather's driveway I spotted a welcoming fall vignette on the front porch of her amazing vintage farmhouse.

Again, can only take credit for Ken's custom cut pumpkins, but it was her order that prompted him to make a full pumpkin patch to sell.
This is the same house I walked into three years ago to this rustic and beautiful dining room and adjacent living room.
Once more, "What am I doing here"?


And Marcia's condo: Don't even get me started on her ability to SHOP and accessorize! Everytime I see her, I ask if I can shop in her basement! She has fabulous taste AND has the skill to DIY it!
Here's her condo's full bath:
She framed that mirror herself, people! 

Sometimes I think you guys hire me for my dramatic reaction of appreciation for all that you do. I am reluctant to admit I was a cheerleader in high school and college and frankly I don't really think I've ever outgrown that role. Maybe that's why you need me. To see your skills, your vision, your spaces and cheer you on in the right direction. 
If that's what you need help with this fall, I'm the gal for the job. 

A big ol' shout out to all you Champs who teach me a thing or two every time I'm with you. 
Now fire up!! There's some rooms that need changing!

"Change on 3! Change on 3! 1-2-3 Change!!"


Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Trim paint and Tears :)

 I did it! I finally did it! It only took me eight years and lots of self-talk and motivation to work up the nerve, but I finally did it!

I painted this old bungalow's nearly 100 year old historic trim.  Eeeeekk!!  I had been wanting to do it for the longest time, and anyone who knows me, knows that I am not afraid to slap paint on ANYTHING! I have painted hand-crafted amish furniture, 120 year old pristine antiques, custom kitchen cupboards, sentimental oak pedestal tables that have been around for generations, but this was personal!!

Some of you know our story from 8 years ago, of us building what we thought was our 'forever dream home', when reality, depression and a mid-life crisis hit and we nearly collapsed under the weight of it all. 
We quickly sold our newly constructed home in the country for much less than face value and downsized to this petite and darling bungalow in the city. 

Fast forward to three weeks ago when I was about to swipe the first stroke of latex primer across the surface of this windowsill...

 and I cried. 

Real tears. 
So hard that I couldn't see straight.  I mean this turned into the 'ugly cry' and I became nearly inconsolable.  

So I did what I usually do when I'm having a melt-down and texted my friend, DC.  She asked me why the tears? 

And all I could come up with is that in some strange, inexplicable way, I felt like I was de-facing the place that accepted me just as I was.  The house almost felt human to me and that if I was good enough for the unconditional reception it offered to me when I walked in the door 8 years ago, why wasn't IT good enough for ME?

I felt so strongly that I owe this place a debt of gratitude that I won't ever be able to repay and that somehow with every brush stroke, I was wiping away the memories. The safety.  The security.  The embrace.

I love this house and all that it has meant to me and my family.  I feel enveloped neighbors, by the town, by the history of it all. 

I'm not a superstitious person, but I didn't want to do jinx any of that. 

I am however a sentimental and spiritual person, so I said a prayer of thanksgiving out loud as I climbed up and down that rickety ladder.  I thanked God for an attitude of gratitude...something that I never felt in Esker Creek when we lived there.  

I thanked Him for the symbolic reminder that with every layer of white paint covering the rusty-red, I too, have been washed and made as white as snow within these walls.

I wiped away the tears with my paint splattered sleeve and never looked back again.

I had work to do.  And with thankfulness in my heart and excitement of all that will still be here in this drafty parlor, I got it done.

I ordered a new sectional sofa for this corner.  I'll post that when it comes in.  I'm selling this farmstyle table that I've had for 10 years if you're interested.  Gotta go before I get sentimental about that too.
"If these walls could speak. They would tell you that I owe you. More than I could ever pay".