Greetings from the tropical rain forest that is my neck of the woods.
Horrible humidity, lots of rain, intense thunderstorms, and mosquito bites if you dare to stay outside longer than three minutes.
We’ve been inside with the air conditioner whirring away in the background. I’m grateful for A/C, but I really don’t like being stuck indoors at this time of year.
One good thing has come of it. I actually cleaned a bit yesterday. Do any of you find that you are far less inclined to do the normal dusting, swiffering, vacuuming, and cleaning in summer? It’s just not on my radar. I’m outside a lot of the time. I do it, but my daily schedule becomes pretty flexible, which is putting it kindly.
We don’t mind a little cozy clutter around here, but we’re basically neat. This is the way the living room looks on pretty much any given day. Don has stacks of books and his Kindle and his iPhone and guitar picks on the coffee table. I like that. I will sometimes straighten up the stacks and dust the table, but otherwise….that’s his particular space. He sits in that yellow chair and plays his guitar, reads, or goes online. There is a quilt on the floor in front of the sofa. That’s for Scout, who has achy joints most of the time these days.
There’s also a quilt on the floor in front of my blogging chair in the den. Little Miss Scout likes to hunker down there when I’m working. The quilts on the floor might not make for a fabulous ‘decorating magazine photo op,’ but they are real life. And real life is about comfort, for Scout and for us.
I’m not someone who needs to change things up constantly. I’m careful about what I add to a space. I think long and hard about furniture placement. The color scheme comes from the colors I love – it evolves naturally. I never buy accessories just to add something to the room and I shy away from mass marketed pieces, especially wall art. I want our personalities to be reflected in our space. I’ve collected pottery for years. It naturally follows that it is a key element in every room of the house. The paintings by the front door were painted by my father and great-aunt. The vintage lithograph above the piano was a major find for us and we got it in a local antique shop. The coffee table was refinished by a close friend of ours. The chair with the red cushions reminded me of a chair in my grandmother’s house. The dollhouse is a major project and passion of mine and it has become a decorative element in the living room. The piano was my grandmother’s and is a family heirloom.
Since most of the pieces of furniture were chosen one-at-a-time over the years, the living room and den have evolved into a space that makes us happy every day. I may tweak a thing or two, of course. But neither of us needs or wants to change things up all the time. I’d like a new sofa in the den someday. And a new blogging chair. And by ‘new,’ I mean, in better shape. I want to build bookshelves in the den.
Other than that, we like it the way it is. It reflects our personalities, our likes, our quirkiness. Everything in that space is something we’ve chosen together, as time and funds have allowed. You know that I’m big on the stories behind things. I think everything in a room should have a story – where we found it, when we found it, did we inherit it, was it a gift…that kind of thing. For me, there’s not really any story in something found in a chain store.
But that’s just my particular take on decorating. I’m sentimental. If something is in my house, I want to look at it and immediately be taken back in time to the point it came into my life. The ‘how’ of it. The ‘when’ of it. The ‘discovery’ of it. The ‘joy’ of it.
Speaking of stories, there’s my vintage lamp (a Country Living Fair find) on my desk. There’s a story behind that piece. That shade is only temporary, by the way, I had it stashed in a closet. I’m looking for the perfect shade and I’ll find it. But that takes patience.
I liken decorating my home to planting and tending a perennial garden. It takes patience. It’s easy to fill up every available space with something you can grab off the shelf in a store. And that’s fine, if that makes you happy. But I’ve developed patience about this sort of thing. The perennial garden is the way it is because I let it slowly take shape over eight years. I added to it a little at a time. And now it’s lush and beautiful. It may need tweaking at times. It may need some cleaning up and clearing out. A few plants may need to be moved.
Same thing with a very personal living space. Patience. Slowly adding pieces that have meaning. Letting it evolve over time. We live in a world of instant gratification. But some things take time. Slow and steady wins the race.
I’ll announce the winner of a copy of Elizabeth is Missing tomorrow.