Tuesday, September 2, 2014

back to life, back to reality

i feel like i've been on a blog vacation. i had an absolute blast indulging frivolity and fantasy last week and giving an old cabin a virtual facelift.

but in case any math geeks out there started adding it up, we spent...well yeah, there's no way i'm adding that up. let's just say, it was a lot. more than i'll probably ever have, and certainly more than i'd spend even if i did have it!

it was a lot of fun, but it also made me very thoughtful about design and real life, and how they need to co-exist. to some, making a home pretty is a waste of time and money. to me, it's really really important. i'm totally affected by my surroundings. i can (and daily do) live with clutter, but i'm sooo much happier when things are pared down, picked up, and neatly organized. i'm content with (and do currently have) dusty, broken, burgundy mini-blinds from 1991 (#bloggerconfessions), but a lovely curtain fluttering in the breeze truly lifts my spirit. i crave and need beauty around me. i know that some people don't value it, or appreciate it, or think it's a noble pursuit.

but here's where i need to talk about where beauty came from, and why i think it's ok that it's important to me. if you've visited me on twitter (seriously, visit me on twitter. i feel like i'm talking to myself in a mosh pit on there), then you may have seen my profile. i thought long and hard about what i wanted to say to define myself as a designer. i came up with this: "the Lord is my portion. beauty exists because he is beautiful. design exists because he is a designer. may i delight in the Creator above any created thing."

i started homeschool with my daughter, my old-soul-kindergartner, last week. and for sure we were starting with creation. (naturally i hear jack mcbrayer's voice in my head saying, "science is my most favorite subject! especially the old testament!) but it's true. i want her to know that the foundation of everything she sees around her, everything she touches, smells, enjoys, loves, studies, and experiences, comes from God who thought it up and spoke it into being. without Him, there is nothing, and without Him, there is no point to anything. when my surroundings are beautiful, they remind me of that. order is a reflection of him, and so is peace, and so is a nurturing home. think of the garden of eden that he designed and gifted to his beloved adam and eve. he said it was good. everything in it. can you imagine?

i maintain that God was not only the first designer, but he was the first interior designer too. have you ever read the instructions for how moses was supposed to build the tabernacle? God straight up geeked out over gold overlay and purple linen. seriously! on my most anal days, i am not that bad about how things are supposed to be styled. my point is, he cares what things look like. and even if there isn't value in it to everyone, there is value in it. it's all about him. the heavens declare the glory of God.

now how does someone who so values beauty in her surroundings live in a fallen world (and my house is so fallen), where there isn't enough time or energy (or coffee) in a day to make it the haven she wishes it was, where her toddler will spill blue paint on her new rug within 24 hours of her owning it (yes he did), her daughter obsessively changes her clothes and leaves the trail on the floor, her dog pukes in her bathroom, and her son (no joke) hits himself in the face with his wii controller, knocking out his loose tooth and spattering blood all over her family room including her newly washed sofa slipcovers?

how, i ask you?! well, for starters, she lives as a half insane person. after that, she does her best.

you have to know that the world of magazines and blogs and the world of real interior design are like, distant cousins. the former is a shadow of the latter. you have no idea how much staging and styling goes into shooting a room and making it pin-worthy. (and don't even get me started on instagram...it's art, it's fun, but it is NOT real life). the actual interior design field seeks to meet people where they live, but then sadly, collectively, they're not doing much better. as one friend put it, "i saw a playroom where there was a $5000 sofa and one bin of toys tucked neatly in a corner. what kind of a playroom is that?!"

and even further removed than that is the world that real people actually live in.

someone told me shortly after starting this blog that i should think of my "target audience." i knew right away it was people like my dear friend stephanie (who is basically me with better hair and social graces). we love beautiful things- rooms, clothes, parties, you name it. if it's pretty (and preferably pink) we are automatic suckers. we also have both chosen to put our careers on hold in order to stay home and have babies. that is a huge monetary sacrifice, and though worth it, it leaves us both having to be way more creative than we'd like to be in decorating our homes. lastly, we both have to live with all those babies we had (and did you know those things turn into kids?! big ones, that smell like boys and eat you out of house and home?! why doesn't the rh baby and child catalog warn you about that?!) anyway, we have families. joy-giving, love-filled, belly-laugh-inducing families.

the last thing i want ringing in my kids' ears and memories is mom yelling, "don't touch my rug!" so my quest as a blogger is to merge the worlds. yes, i have the highest-end taste on the planet, which my husband frequently reminds me of, and so i'm going to keep rounding up the best of the magazines and spec pillows from zinc door. does the expense of those things make me sick? yes it does, but who cares? it's entertainment, an escape. voyerism into the lives of the 1%.

and after that i'm going to tell you what i'm doing at my house, or what i want to do, which will also sometimes include delusions of grandeur, but will usually be more down-to-earth. and then i'll share with you my dollar store projects and all my garage sale finds, hopefully to inspire you that you can have a beautiful home without spending a lot of money. take the one as inspiration; put the other into practice.

the spaces i design have to be for real life, real families. people have to live in it. and my kids' version of living is jumping on ottomans, setting lego booby traps on the staircase, and eating like animals at the zoo. (seriously, at least 50% of the reason i got a dog was to have him clean up under the table after meals. hence, his name: dyson). i'm trying to walk the fine line between teaching them to respect their surroundings and care for their possessions (and please, oh please, do not jump on other people's furniture), but i also want to let kids be kids.

so, what i post here may never be worthy of a magazine. it's never going to be high-budget. it's going to be comprised of ikea and hand-me-downs and the good will. but i'm going to do my best to make it pretty, and to share my tips for how along the way.

it sometimes feels like the "year" starts in september. i wish i could say i was ready...with a full blog editorial calendar, brimming with ideas, and lots of plans in the works. eh, not so much. we've started tinkering in the powder room, but we always need some time to decompress between projects. i'm slowly moving things around in the family room, but at this point i'm emailing emily henderson for design advice because i'm so stuck. i do have my girl ellen coming to take pictures of the office, as it's almost done, and i am really excited to show you the results. but as for big plans, i don't truly have any. we'll just hang out together and see what comes.

'till then, how about some pictures? some a little too real, some of life and house in progress, and some just for fun.

the mudroom...one of our house's many dirty little secrets. shudder.

this is our powder room. and the two sinks i can't decide between.

our spectacularly non-designer playroom. i swear i cleaned it after this was taken.

my kids leave the screen door open a lot. also, our screen door has a lot of holes in it.

i eat donuts every thursday. every. thursday.

i don't know how to finish this.

the untouched version of this photo includes coffee dribble, which actually looked much more menacing in real life.

i don't usually look like this. my fridge always looks like this.

i'm grateful every day for my office, where even messes look pretty.

i take a lot of selfies. i would make kim kardashian proud. my bedroom ain't makin' anybody proud. (that giant grey thing against the wall is a homeless box spring).

this happens. every hour on the hour.

yesterday i ate two of these.

thank you for reading this blog and for coming along on this journey with me. and hey, don't leave me hanging...anyone else have some real life going on at their house?!


  1. one, did you just write, "God straight up geeked out over gold overlay and purple linen"??? Cuz I just busted out laughing and two, where is that print from? i must have it!

    gots to keep it real girl, gots to keep it real =)

    1. yes! you can see the original here https://www.facebook.com/skoopehome/photos/a.584595354916203.1073741828.258627614179647/684417814933956/?type=1&permPage=1 - i wrote about getting it in march (i think), then procrastinated and by the time i went to buy it was sold out. so i made my own...but i wanted to make sure she gets the credit for the awesome design. i would have bought it if i could! it was by skoope home and sold through brickyard buffalo. :)

    2. um, i have no idea why the spacing is doing that in the top line of my reply. apparently i wanted to say "you can see the original here" in a very emphatic voice!?! lol.

  2. Love this Post Laura! Love that you're keeping it real and honest. Instagram isn't real life and I think people forget that sometimes. Most of us that have children don't have magazine worthy clean and perfect homes. I love when my house is clean and neatly organized but most of the time that isn't the case and I've learned to deal with it. Oh well! Great post. Thanks!

    1. thank you noelani!! and such funny timing, i was reading your sweet blogland tour post today and when i saw your editorial calendar isn't too full either, i was like, "so glad i'm not alone there!" ;-) it is good to have company in all of this. thanks again!

  3. I heart everything about this post. That's all I have to say. Hearty heart heart.

  4. I just loved this post, Laura. I value and treasure your honesty so much. And I love getting to personally witness how you take the insanity of motherhood and always find the humor and the beauty in things that aren't always so funny or pretty at first light. Your perspective on God and life is an inspiration - love you, love your style, love this blog! Gotta run - speaking of raw motherhood, my two-year-old just showed me a pencil and asked if I would stick it in his ear, and then ran away. Eeep! (this is Holly)

    1. hahaha...oh man, run quick! that is hilarious. thank you so much, sweet friend!

  5. Laughing out loud as I read your post. You are right on so many levels. As a mom who has been there, I'm so happy to know that you realize the importance of living (and enjoying) the here and now. Believe me, there will be plenty of time for a "decorator dream house."

    I am pretty crazy myself about what my house looks like, (imagine that!) but I will never forget reading somewhere that your kids will never remember the new chair or new pillows but they will always remember the time you spent playing, reading, cooking with them.

    In hindsight I would have spent more time playing and less time cleaning. A quick story for you. I used to get my haircut at a friends home. One day I noticed there were multiple balls in the living room. They have three grown daughters so I asked what all the balls were for. She told me her husband liked to thorw them back and forth when they watch TV because when he was growing up his mom constanly told him he couldn't throw balls in the house. I thought that was so awesome! And a gentle reminder of how much our words affect our kids, and their future. Right then I decided that my son would only be told to stop throwing the ball in the house if it was hard ball that could hurt someone. I never keep anything in my house I wouldn't mind if it broke.

    Now that I only have one at home my house stays much cleaner, and I fully admit I love it. But I wish I hadn't worried so much about it when my kids were younger. I let some go but I could probably have been A LOT more relaxed if you ask my kids. And beleive me, it has no bearing on how messy they become when they gorw up. That's a whole blog post on it's own!

    1. pam, this whole comment is a treasure to me. thank you. i was talking to another mom the other day whose kids are also almost grown. she said, "my house is cleaner now. and. so. what." i may never forget the sound of her voice as she emphasized those words! another one-liner i'll always remember is from my friend adrienne who said, "i'm not taking clean toilets to the kingdom!" hahaha. thanks for taking the time to write this- such good words!! xo! :)

  6. You make me smile and laugh as this is my life! Thankful for my bloggy friends like you who share in the same loves that I do (God, family, and pretty things) in that order! Oh and your twitter description reminded me of my sweet friend Darlene Weir of Fieldstone Hill Design.... #masterdesigner. Check it out!

    1. thank you kayla! yes, so good to have empathetic friends. :) i will look her up! :)

  7. I love all those clear bins in your playroom...looks organized to me! Thanks for sharing and being honest..I love me some people who keep it reals ;)
    ~El Bishop

    1. haha yes....it was some sort of organized chaos for sure!! happily those bins are now full of toys that were relegated to the basement and you can actually see the playroom floor again. well, sort of. ;-)
      -L. Pope

  8. Mofo, it ate my comment! Argh.

    I can't believe I missed this. I'm horrible.

    Anyway, I love it. I love your ideas and the way your brain works, and your writing is so simple and eloquent. I can hear you saying this.

    You are such a wonderful person. I admire you so much.


    1. dude! blogger eats comments like cookie monster eats cookies. grrr!!! i am so sorry. {and blanket apology to everyone else who tries to comment and can't- google! you, like, own the world...fix this!!} anyway, thank you sweet laura so very very much. you are wonderful too. xoxo.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Blogging tips