Trusting Your Taste.

Thursday, January 30, 2020

One thing that has been occupying a lot of our time lately is home improvement. Well, that's kind of misleading because "home improvement" is not "one thing" but many, many (MANY) things. Neither Joe nor I have ever owned a home before, so we are really enjoying working on this home we bought together.

When looking for a home in our area, our choices really boiled down to two things: a brand new home, completely updated, with modern fixtures and paint colors (subway tile, white kitchen, etc.) that has absolutely no yard to speak of and is 8 feet from neighbors on either side or an older home in need of updates, fresh paint, and landscaping but that has a huge, fenced-in yard and space to breathe between houses. Combining our knowledge of our personalities with the fact we have a child and two dogs, and the choice was simple: older home. The way we see it, you can update and modernize your home over time; however, you cannot add a yard to your house.

That being said, Joe and I have a long list of things we'd like to do around here: all new interior paint, landscaping in the front and back yards, updated kitchen and bathrooms, hardwoods upstairs, new lighting fixtures ... the list goes on and on. (In fact I completely see now why my parents always spend so much time at Lowe's and Home Depot!) We cannot afford to do all this at one time, and honestly, I kind of enjoy it that way. Sure, it'd be great to have everything done at once, but also it's been really fun to focus on different projects, taking time to decide what we like and saving up for it. We have been updating and decorating as we can, doing things like updating ceiling fans and adding things like new rugs and decor. If you read my post the other day, you know that we have taken a lot of time to decide on paint colors, and we hope to have the interior painted in the next month.

One area I really struggle with is interior design and decor. I can see items and examples and tell you individually what things I like and what things I don't like, but when it comes to designing a room, I can't say I really have any vision. I watch design shows or see photos of other people's rooms and homes, and I think -- wow. That's amazing! But when it comes to trusting my own taste, I'm not really sure I have any.

There are so many opinions out there about what paint is in, what tile is in, what colors do and do not go together, what kind of style curtains you should have for the windows you have. It can be overwhelming, and, let's be honest, also a little defeating. Complicating matters is that on design shows the "reveal" never shows the homeowners' real lives: it doesn't show the baby's Exersaucer or play mat. It doesn't show the box of crackers or bag of chips on the kitchen counter. It doesn't show the school reminders tacked to the fridge or the dog toys on the floor. In fact, every time we watch one of these shows and the reveal happens, Joe always (without fail!) asks, "WHERE IS THE TV?!" And you know what, he's right! The finished homes almost NEVER show a television. How many people do you know that don't have a TV? (Joe also always wants to know where the ceiling fans are. The guy loves a ceiling fan. We have several.)

The thing is, with our home, we've just really had to jump in and do it. Joe and I both really like visiting our favorite stores -- both chain and local -- to see what they have and what we like. We also like to talk about other people's houses that we've visited and what we like about those homes. (In fact, Aunt Jen, when we're faced with a decor conundrum, Joe often asks, "What would your aunt Jennifer do?" So if you're reading this: he really likes your house! So do I!) What we have realized during the past few months is -- we don't just like one thing. We like that modern farmhouse bedroom set, we like that mid-century modern lamp and chairs, and we like that traditional couch. Heck -- we even love that industrial table we randomly see over there. Joe and I kind of laugh about our lack of design cohesion, but then it hit me one day: we should be filling our home with the things we love. Sure, it might make more sense to pick a style, find things that match that style, and go on with it. But I realized that the most important thing is to fill our home with the things we love because then we will really enjoy and appreciate them. I told Joe that sure, we could go to one store and see what room ideas they've got set up and take all that stuff. But when we slowly acquire things we find that we love -- whether mass-produced at Target or individualized at my favorite place in Metro Atlanta, Status Home Design -- then we will truly LOVE our things. When I sit in the chairs we recently bought for bedroom after looking and saving for months, I'm like DANG I LOVE THESE CHAIRS! Not that we need stuff to make us happy, but when we find things we do love that help make our house a home, it brings us joy. It makes us feel cozy and comfortable and gives us a haven to come home to.

Perhaps the best example I could show is the following pictures. Our mid-century modern mirror, our modern farmhouse wreaths, and our industrial table. Friends, all three of these things are in the same hallway. But we really like them!

No idea yet what we're putting on this table. Chances are it will absolutely not match the industrial style at all!

Other people might look at our decor and be like: this is terrible. This corner needs a taller object, this mirror is too big for this space, this rug doesn't match the one in the entry way. And, realistically, they are probably right. But we really like our little home, and we have fun figuring out what works and what doesn't as we get better at it. (In fact, I am stalking these chairs for our library on a daily basis for a price drop!) More importantly, we really enjoy the time we spend together updating it and finding new things for it. It's a hobby we can do as a family.

I am working harder to trust my own opinion and taste. And I'm really having fun.

Metro Atlanta stores we like:

Status Home Design -- I could seriously LIVE HERE
C.C. Liquidations

Chain stores we like:

Target (specifically the Project 62  and Hearth and Hand brands. Give me all the things!)
Home Goods

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