A warning label should accompany this post. Though it contains a few "before" photos, you won't see lovely "afters." This post isn't about decorating.
When we buy a home, it is only natural to add our own touches and to create a new story. But mostly, we crave comfort and a sense of belonging.
Last weekend, Bandwidth and I loaded and unloaded the Jeep many times, bring our old belongings to the new house, hoping to find the burger's heartbeat. Well, that was my goal, anyway; Bandy did the heavy lifting and set up a television--his contribution to making a house a home.
It doesn't help that I'm woefully out of shape. If I were a hen, a farmer would say that I was suffering from the "pip." In some ways, that's an apt description, because I have chickened out on decorating. True, the house has wonderful views, but a view has no heartbeat. It can't wrap itself around you like a tartan blanket.
First, a little history.
When I look back on past moves, my goals were to "set up" the house with basic necessities--clean sheets, food in the fridge and larder, fluffy towels, and clothes in the closet. I was never critical of clashing colors or styles. Shoot no--the house was new, or newly remodeled, and I had plenty of time to tweak. I put K-Mart comforters on the beds, and they stayed there for months--sometimes years--until I figured out what to do.
Some rooms were comfortable, but they were never finished. I didn't mind. The house was a home.
Fast forward to the present.
I'm not sure why, but I am much more critical of my progress at the ranch (especially my bad decisions and the lack of progress). I know that it takes time to build a nest, but what can you do when the nest feels alien? I find myself tiptoeing though the rooms, feeling like an intruder, half expecting the real owner to call the police.
It hadn't always been that way.
I remember the first time I saw the burger. A chef lived here, and her personality was evident in every room.
Using a Pottery Barn unit for inspiration, we added a beadboard panel to give the pieces a built-in look. But would I have done this a decade ago? I don't think so.
The "old" me rose up and said, You can do this, girl. It's a small space, so take small steps. The goal had been to add color with accessories. But when did I confuse nest-building with accessorizing?
The "old" me said, You've got what you need. Use two pillowcases as a makeshift cushion cover. Add your pillows. Find the coat hooks later. You have plenty of time.
When building a nest, it's important to not compare your new, trembly ideas with a polished, decorated room.
Now it was my turn to "decorate."
Since I felt very much like an intruder in this house, I thought a little whimsy and holiday cheer would help make this room into a happy place.
The bedding had been my only purchase for the house: I'd spent money, and it hadn't really helped. We'd had a monkey wrench or two thrown into our plans to move the furniture, so I just had to wait. And use what I had--and what we could move without injuring ourselves. (I may be the only person in the world who can get hurt while tucking in a dust ruffle! A born klutz, I is.)
The crux of the decorating matter wasn't the decor. It was my unrealistic expectations. All by myself, I was piling on the pressure, and it was totally unnecessary. This wasn't a One Room Challenge that I'd created for myself. It was a challenge to take a blank canvas and create a home. Why in the world did I think I could bang it out in a weekend--or even a year? Did I really think I would feel at home if the space was furnished and decorated? I'd never needed that before. Why now?
I called my mother. We chatted a bit, and she told me to stop beating up on myself. I asked if she would like me to spruce up her bedroom for the holidays. She was so happy. So I think this bedding will find itself in a warm, loving place very soon.
The state of the burger kept nagging at me. And I just couldn't understand it. What was different about this house? Or was I different? I walked around the house, my shoes clapping on the floor, making hollow noises. Oh, what had I done? The 1990s Georgian had always felt like home, even though it had never been decorated, much less staged for blog photos. But that house had been sold to people who loved it as much as I had (and that is always a blessing and a joy).
The Burger had become daunting and so unfamiliar. I am still recovering from my first real illness in 62 years, and stuffing a duvet wears me out. Decorating isn't for sissies or hens with the pip.
But really, the emotional stuff is much more tiring. That night, I dreamed I had broken into our old house. Just as I was making myself at home, the owners arrived. I woke up before the police took me to the pokey. The next morning, I dug through my "pillow ho" stash and found the comforter that I'd used at the Georgian. I'd lost the plaid dust skirt and a few pillows, but surely they'd turn up. Luck was with me: I found some old, white bedding. I also borrowed a few plaid pillows from the living room sofa.
You know, it's funny how things look better in person. A photograph will bring out the warts, real or imagined. Maybe that adds another layer of pressure? Whether you have a blog or not, most of us have phones that take pictures, and while this is a good thing, it has put a different spin on how we decorate.
Hello, Mr. Sea Turtle. Surely you will make us smile.
A cream bathroom and a cream comforter.
At this, I had to sit down and laugh at myself.
This isn't decorating--the camera in my phone is calling the shots.
The space is calmer and "matchier," but is it home?
What is needed?
Not a hastily patched together room.
Time and patience is needed, or the space will never acquire true warmth and true comfort.
When you moved into your house, what did you do to make yourself and your family feel comfortable and "at home?"