Friday, February 15, 2008

I Am No Martha Stewart

My knees are knocking as I write this post. My palms are sweaty. My heart is pounding. I am about to write the most embarrassing post to date. You might think that all my posting about my postpartum issues might have been a wee bit embarrassing, or that my post about my down-to-my-waist boobs might have caused me to blush. Oh no. This is the big scarlet A. I am going to share pictures of my house. My very, very disheveled and undecorated house. Now I will freely admit I am not the world's best housekeeper, but try to look beyond the mess and focus on the lack of decorating.

For the past few years, I have gone into other people's homes and felt a twinge of jealousy. These homes are decorated in what I call "furniture showroom style." The scent of new leather perfumes the air. Lampshades and throw pillows are festooned with beads, jewels and feathers. Walls were decorated with scrolled mirrors, ironwork, or manufactured prints. Generic doodads are scattered artfully across coffee tables and bookcases. Mantles hold faux greenery, candles, and bronze sculptures of horses or elephants. Bed are dressed with matching bedding and have pyramids of pillows placed just so. Windows are draped in puddles of curtains. Dining room tables are set with a service for 12 and a massive fake floral arrangement spiked with feathers and other oddities anchors the table. The home literally looks like the owner went in to a furniture store, pointed to the little room arrangements they have displayed and said, "I'll take that. All of it."

I am not jealous of the actual decorating because furniture showroom style is not my taste. But I am jealous that these homes are decorated with something at least, as opposed to the very little decorating going on in my home.

We are lucky to have very generous family members who have given us furniture, which is fantastic because Lord knows how we would have bought it ourselves in these years of me not working. And the furniture is great stuff and I am very grateful for it. Unfortunately though, we haven't added much to these gifts and we have some nice furniture interspersed with Tarjay junk and stuff from our single-days apartments.

On top of that, I have no talent for choosing all the other little stuff that would make the house look more put together. I see stuff in stores and it just doesn't do much for me. I never know which candle holder to get or which knick-knack would look good where. I never feel inspired.

I also am a wee bit of an art snob. I admit it. I just really don't like mass manufactured art. I would rather display original or limited prints of real artwork and I would rather my geegaws be things picked up on a vacation or at an arts and crafts fair or someplace with a meaning connected to it (kind of like my Christmas tree philosophy) or at least be so gorgeous I can't stand not to have it. Unfortunately, these things are usually more expensive than the generic vase at Tarjay and my art budget is well, nonexistent.

Let's play a game. Compare the pictures below and guess which ones are my house and which ones are from Southern Living. Don't worry. It won't be difficult.


Dining rooms

Living rooms




How did you do? Yeah, pretty sad isn't it? We are obviously in need of a home makeover. Any suggestions would be appreciated. Just don't tell me to clean up. That's like battling a force of nature. A 16 month old and 3 year old can put any tornado to shame.

Just in an effort to redeem myself, I will share the three pieces of real art that we have:

Willie by a Nashville artist and friend of my sister and TC.

Robert Johnson's Last Gig by a Nashville artist

My parents gave us this as a wedding present. It's by an artist in New Mexico.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I can't believe no one commented on this?! I'll just have to make a really long comment to make up for it :P I guess your readers all have those fancy picture-perfect homes or something. Me? I TOTALLY feel you.

First, let me say that your home is ... well, it's just that - YOUR home. You should not feel any pressure to make it anything that isn't comfortable or natural for you and your family.

I've always had a struggle with this. All my friends have houses that not only reflect who they are but that are cool. Cool in a way that I just couldn't seem to make happen. And besides, I hate being all monkey-see-monkey-do. In my first marriage we lived in a townhome with zero decoration. Why? Because he liked Southwestern and I would rather live in stark white walls and hand-me-down sofas than the most expensive Southwerstern money can buy.

A few years after my divorce, I bought my first house and my dramamtic visions for making it mine were fabulous. Except that for the life of me, I could not make them come together. Most of the time I lived there the walls were plain and the art was sporadic and in some cases very Tarjay flavored. It wasn't until just a few months before I moved out that I was able to make progress on it. Reflecting back on that, I think it may have been a reflection on my emotional state.

Anyway, I met Homer and we bought a house together 2.5 years ago and I started all over again with the struggle to reconcile the differences in our styles. Thankfully there were more points of agreement than before. Slowly, slowly the house is taking shape and starting to have an "us" flavor. It's um, unique, and I feel weird whenever someone comes to our house for the first time because they see just how quirky we are. But I am finding comfort in knowing it's real, not just emulating some magazine photo or fashion trend.

Hang in there. Focus on what do *you* like. Buy a used stack of your favorite home-oriented magazines (I like Dwell and Metropolitan) from the local library and take a pair of scissors to them, making a "scrapbook" of look-and-feel that you like. After doing that for a while, you'll start to see your "flavor" emerge. Style is not a function of money. Once you know what you like there are a ton of cheap, even free ways to bring that feel to your home.