Let’s banish bad home days

2 May

Yesterday I read a great post on Cowboys and Custard (brill name huh?) about how looking at other people’s blogs can make you feel “woefully inadequate” about your own home. This really struck a chord with me as I’ve feeling a bit like that myself lately – I have been having a few bad home days. (Kind of like bad hair days but house-shaped.) And I know I’ve not been the only one.

For me I think it started with the Orla Kiely wallpaper… Basically the wallpaper in the bedroom looks lovely, it really does, but by comparison it’s made the untouched floor, my old chest of drawers and that Ikea wardrobe I was never fond of look, well, pretty rubbish. I have to keep reminding myself that everything takes time – and that the outcome of all this effort isn’t so that we can have a Living Etc-style perfect home, it’s so that we can have a perfectly imperfect home that we love. One that suits my very patient tidy other half, our two little loco cats and my own level of un-minimalistic chaos I seem to create around me.

But as Cowboys and Custard said in her All in the mind post, it’s “so easy to become complacent with our lot”. As much as I love my new home, and I know I am very lucky to have been able to buy it, I do get frustrated at the difference between what I have in my head versus what we can afford and what we can actually achieve outside of our full-time jobs.

I also feel slightly stressed whenever the other half says he’s invited friends of ours round – my friend Orla calls this ‘visitoritius’ – so I always try to delay it until “next week” when we’ll have finished painting that wall, when I’ve rearranged the furniture, when we have a kitchen sink (yup, still not got one of those yet!). Which is a bit like saying you’ll only ever go to parties when you’ve lost that elusive stone. Thankfully the other half just ignores my random stressing (he knows me too well) so we’ve had loads of people round whatever mess this place has been in. So our friends have seen it all from the nicotine stains to the time when we only had half a window in the front bedroom… and it’s not really mattered one jot to them. (There should be a lesson learned right there.)

However, I’m still hesitant about posting any of my ‘during’ pics of this place. So far I’ve only really put up a ‘before’ picture from before we even did a thing to the flat… and although we have made great progress with the place (if you look at my flickr pics you’ll see what we started out with), I feel like I’m waiting until it’s finished and ‘perfect’.

But what is perfect? Is it being able to compete with a home in Elle Decoration? Or one that’s been featured in those sneak peaks on Design Sponge?

I mean really, what does it take for a home to look like that? Where is all their stuff? Surely there must be a cupboard, out of sight of the camera, that’s rammed full of their clutter?!

So I’m taking Cowboys and Custard’s post as a wake-up… to stop freaking out about being ‘finished’ with my new home and just enjoy/celebrate it as it is. And as a mini tribute to her post, I’ve decided to post a few pics of my favourite corners of my flat this weekend. So here’s to us all remembering to be proud of our homes whatever (and ignoring programmes like Kirstie’s Homemade Home which tell us otherwise).

Perfectly imperfect is the way forward!

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8 Responses to “Let’s banish bad home days”

  1. Lynne, Tea for Joy 02/05/2009 at 12:56 PM #

    Well, I looked at your Flickr set and I think your flat looks amazing! The main thing is it has tons of potential. I love the light, the views – and the front door! I think it’s best not to rush into decisions anyway. I had no curtains for 18 months, then bought some from ikea as a temporary measure – and I hate them. Who cares about it looking perfect anyway. I always try to remember that actually not that many people I know read blogs, read Elle Decoration and so my flat will probably look perfectly nice to them! It is better to take your time – and the only reason houses in Elle Decoration are done up within a few months is that they have thrown tons of money at the project! Can’t wait to see your pictures so far.

  2. Conversation Pieces 02/05/2009 at 6:14 PM #

    Aww thanks Lynne. Yeah, ‘potential’ is a word that’s used a lot around here – especially in respect of our kitchen and bathroom. I think everyone is their own worst enemy when it comes to their own place – you would never go round to a friend’s place and critique it against one from elle dec!

    I also know what you mean about getting stuck with ‘temporary’ ikea stuff – we pretty much ended up leaving all our old ikea stuff in the last flat and promising to try and not buy anything new from them as you do always end up hating it. But they do have good veggie hot dogs though!

  3. Julia 02/05/2009 at 7:29 PM #

    I think we all give ourselves too hard a time…I have never noticed inadequacies in any of my friends houses, only in my own. Unfortunately think it’s a female trait to see your home as a direct reflection of yourself. Main thing is that you have a clear & individual idea of what you want & won’t ended up with a dull beige ‘Ideal Home’, and you are way more sorted than i was at your stage in life. I tell myself my home would be fabulous if I had married a banker – but I married an art teacher, so I am sitting here with a bad laminate floor covered in GCSE photography work – and skirting boards that are stll unattached after 3 years – but I wouldn’t swap for the world.

    • Conversation Pieces 04/05/2009 at 10:25 AM #

      Julia, totally agree that’s it a female thing… don’t think the other half stresses even a tiny bit as much as I do over flat stuff.

      Think there are always going to things that need ‘done’ in a home… My first flat always had a tile missing in the bathroom – and I only got round to fixing it when I was putting it on the market 😉

      Smiling at your ‘wouldn’t swap it for the world’… that is the most important thing after all.

  4. Patchwork Harmony 04/05/2009 at 9:27 AM #

    hey, checked out your pics and you should be so proud! I admire you for taking on a big project… we looked at so many houses a few months ago, and even though I could see potential I was too chicken to take it on!!
    It must be so rewarding to see it taking shape! well done x

    • Conversation Pieces 04/05/2009 at 11:58 AM #

      Thanks Patchwork Harmony… we did always say we were looking for a project, so it has been a real labour of love so far.

      Did you find a place in the end? I wouldn’t call it chicken not taking on this much work, think I would call it sensible. 😉 At one point we had no heating and no hot water in the middle of one of the coldest winters there’s been!

  5. Meg 04/05/2009 at 9:37 AM #

    Great post – I totally agree! I love design blogs and mags. They are a constant source of inspiration and feed the creative part of my brain that doesn’t get fed at work. However, it is so easy to get sucked into the idea that your home should be perfect and that objects and things really matter when in the end it’s who you are with and what you do that creates deep down happiness and not really material objects however pretty and desirable they may be – they are just the cherry on the icing on the cake. I’ve suffered badly from Living Etc envy in the past but these days I really enjoy our flat being a work in progress. If it was finished I wouldn’t know what to do with myself after all!

    Your home looks absolutely stunning – such amazing period feautures and views and what you have done already looks fantastic. As Lynne says, anyone can make their home look like the cover of Living Etc by chucking a load of cash at it but I think there is far more pleasure to be had in a home that reflects your personality which yours clearly does (whilst still looking pretty darn stylish I might add!). I also think there is a lot more fun to be had in turning an old bit of junk from eBay into something lovely than in going out and buying a bit of designer furniture. Those are the things that you will treasure for years to come and even if they aren’t 100% perfect, they will be 100% unique and yours.

    • Conversation Pieces 04/05/2009 at 12:04 PM #

      Aww Meg loving your comment. “Living Etc Envy” sounds like it should be a medical condition! Agree with the not knowing what to do with yourself when it’s done, me and the other half have often discussed what it’ll be like to come home one day and there’s nothing left to do… we can’t even imagine it!

      And ‘100% unique’… I like that sentiment. It’s certainly a much better theory that buying up all the design cliches and filling your home with impersonal items…

      You always have such great ebay finds too… still so jealous of your revamped telephone table 😉

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