It’s the time of year when I add spring bulbs, plant the potted mums, and complain to myself about how much I didn’t get done this summer. I know Rome wasn’t built in a day, yadda yadda, but you’d think two full summers here would yield more more, y’know? It’s another one of those times where I force myself to focus on what I have done, to think in terms of accomplishment and gratitude, because it’s way too easy to bitch about what’s still not done, and that escalates into fear those things will never be done, and I could easily overwhelm myself and start flitting about, freaking out, when in reality, these things are of little significance and I just need to chill the fuck out about it and focus more on eliminating these run-on sentence thoughts that scramble through my brain and spill out into my blogs.
Outside, it’s woman vs nature, and nature always wins, y’all know that, right? The unwanted weeds grow faster than the carefully chosen perennials. The apple trees don’t have the forethought to grow in a way that increases their bounty and avoids power lines. The house never rolls so the moss grows. I could go on, but I’m focusing on gratitude: Shut up, Joey! You have a house with gardens and apple trees!
It’s also the time of year I turn inward and visualize indoor projects while the earth rests. Like finishing the trim in the back hallway. Ferreal.
Inside, there are also run-on sentences that would chase me and eat me alive if I let them, but at least inside my house it is woman vs herself and I always win.
There’s a lot involved in decorating a house to fit your comfort and style, never mind your budget, but these aren’t serious issues. It’s like saying you’re working on your golf swing or you’re on a quest for the best burger in the city. People get mildly obsessive about those things, and I get mildly obsessive about decor choices. I probably wouldn’t read more than 500 words about golf, and I understand if you don’t want to read 1200 words about home decor, but I simply must write them.
Oh the woes of paint. Selecting a color palette for unity and repetition. Choosing colors that are livable in the long-term, that reflect the historic value of my home, that suit the light in each room, that fit the mood and boost the chi. It’s hard. Not like enduring a child’s illness hard or removing the behemoth microwave over your range hard, but hard.
I always laugh every time I read, “It’s just paint. If you don’t like it, you can change it.” It’s true. So is, “It’s just hair, it’ll grow back,” but you still have to live with it for a while. Given the amount of time and work it takes to paint a room properly, it’s not somethin I wanna do five or six times, thanks. Also, are you buying the paint?
Buying the paint is not my favorite, either. If the guy I like isn’t at the counter, I get disgruntled. I don’t like engagement in defense of my paint. The Deep Onyx is for Moo’s bow and arrow set, and Flemish Sky at 75% is for my ceiling, not that it’s any of your business, Mr-Who-Died-And-Made-You-Paint-God.
I swear the next time I order paint and some asshole benignly asks me, “Whatcha paintin?” Imma roll my eyes, lose my mind, and tell him, “My other sex dungeon.” Because their questions are not benign, they’re to open a can of worms wherein they tell me what they think I should use or to sell me more stuff, and yes, I know, I look too young to have painted three houses and a fuckton of furniture, but if I wanna paint my kitchen Flemish Sky with Deep Onyx polka dots, it’s really none of his concern.
“All the trim in your house? Wow. I don’t envy you. That’s a lot of work. It took me almost four months to paint all my trim.”
Either he paints as slowly as The Mister, or he lives in a big-ass house. I did all the trim in my last house in two mornings, and I had two little kids to deal with. This house is smaller, the kids are bigger. Paining trim is not climbing Everest, for fuck’s sake.
Gawd I hate small talk.
You know what else I hate? I hate how the entire world is being painted fucking gray. Gray has its rightful places, but the everything gray trend is killing me. Remember how everything used to be tan, beige, taupe and fawn because they’re classic colors? So dated now. Now everything is fucking gray. You simply cannot go wrong with a gray sofa against the weathered gray wall of reclaimed wood surrounded by three other gray walls, in your gray house. Until it’s all dated, anyway.
Right now, someone is shouting, “I love gray!” and that’s fine. Your house should reflect what you love and what makes you comfortable. But I refuse to believe that all that gray is a reflection of personal choice for so many people. To me, walking into a gray house is dreary, as I suspect it is for many, which is why designers are always saying, “add pops of color” and they tell you “yellow and orange” or “gold and coral” because opposite of gray, so people like me don’t feel like we’re dying to leave as soon as we arrive.
If your house looks like Restoration Hardware threw up in it, keep that liquor cabinet stocked. Do you also buy clothes off the mannequin and only listen to new music?
I must say, neither vivid brights nor an oatmeal palette are my thing when it comes to decorating, but I’m always relieved to see a home with notable personality, because let’s face it, layers of white on gray on ivory on bisque on pewter on ebony don’t have any personality. And lemme tell you, I freakin love white. I’m known for asking, “Does it come in white?”
Don’t paint it all white.
Don’t paint it all black.
Don’t paint it all gray.
It all says the same thing: I have no idea what I’m doing.
OH wait! Is it a cry for help?
And for the love of puppies, don’t paint all the wooden pieces. This kills me. KILLS ME. I understand painting furniture. I do it all the time. I get it. But it’s important to understand that certain pieces lend themselves to stain or wax, not paint. When people paint a walnut credenza, replete with inlay, I cry. It’s a fucking travesty. Now it’s not beautiful walnut credenza, it’s mediocre gray desk. Congratulations on ruining an antique. I’m sorry you were raised by wolves.
People with words all over your house, what is that all about? Can you not figure out the room’s purpose without directions? I love words, more than I love white. I’m not sayin a letter here, a word there, a stencil here, a sign there is a bad thing at all. I’m sayin that LIVE, LOVE, LAUGH, BREATHE, EAT, DINE, REST, RELAX, CHILL, WINE, SLEEP, DREAM, BATHE, WASH, DRY & FOLD may have gotten outta hand. I’m waitin for the sign that reads POOP & FLUSH.
I blame Pinterest.
I have Pinterest. I have amassed more than 10 whole pins in two years, and I like Pinterest for the way I get to see other people’s creative ideas. I discover double-sided screws and that someone has taken the time to list all of the current white paint colors with yellow undertones — Yay! But too much of it is the same. I mean, room after room, versions of same. I look at the decor photos and my brain goes numb from lack of interest.
Everything has been ‘updated,’ which loosely translates to ‘Used to be warm, is now cool.’
Dated is a very strange word to me. Dated is old, but so are vintage and antique. Dated is old and undesirable. Can I tell you a secret? If you wait long enough, dated shit becomes cool shit again. If you like it, just keep it. I don’t care if it’s a fanny pack or a macrame plant hanger, if you love it, keep it! Be authentically you. Be cool or uncool. Or be uncool before being uncool is cool again.
(I really want some macrame plant hangers, by the by. I finally have a cat that destroys plants. You can all laugh now. Some macrame plant hangers would really cheer me up…)
When people walk into your house, they should get a sense of who you are. If I walk into your house and all I see is white, gray, and black, hanging words, and painted furniture, I’ll know you are a person who spends too much time on Pinterest, and that you do not appreciate the colorful flowers I’ve brought to your Basic Bitch abode.
It’s never surprising to see a ninety-year-old woman wearing a printed headscarf and bright lipstick. We say that look is dated, it shows her age. It’s true. Yet it’s always delightful to see a nineteen-year-old woman wearing a printed headscarf and bright lipstick. You know why? Style.
Style is real thing. Actual style doesn’t go out of style, it just is.
Hurrah for people who still embrace the sweet curves of their Queen Anne pieces! Hurrah for people who still buy Eichler homes! Hurrah for people who still love their Tuscan kitchens! None of these things are my style, but I honor them all the same.
Basically, not to sound like some kinda Home Decor Hipster, but don’t take on every trend. Pick the trends you like. Keep them as long as you like them. They’re all going to become dated, but are they still your style?
Do not listen to your contractor when he tells you no one does this, or everyone is doing that. If you’re going to live in it, make it what you want.
Follow the rules, break the rules, enjoy the journey. Abandon popular opinion as needed.
Drive yourself insane with color choices and coordinating textiles and wood grains. Lie awake at night wondering if you should recover that chair in stripes or plaid. If anyone suggests gray everything, just slap them silly.
That’s where I am now, in the weeds, wondering if I’ll ever get anything just right, thinking about Oxford Gray for the master bath…
Still, homogeneous should never apply to your aesthetic.
Do you have a good sense of your personal style? Do you have a single room that is now perfection? Do you love something uncool?