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RECLAIMING THE TIME AND TIDYING UP THE MESS

MY ADVICE OF THE DAY – LIFE IS TOO SHORT

In the old days of decorating…

….defined by me as “before the INTERNET  revolutionized, transformed, demolished…

changed the way we decorate”…

I loved to decorate and could talk, read, learn  about it for hours …but I was not in the majority and was often (affectionately) teased and called “Martha Stewart”.

JENNA LYONS - DOMINO MAGAZINE
JENNA LYONS – DOMINO MAGAZINE


 

In the EARLY 2000’s , I stuck with my beloved magazines for decorating inspiration and advice, I was raising very young children and really did not have time to indulge my passion. More often than not, I would have to wait for a stomach flu to give me time to look at all the beautiful rooms and dream about what I might do…some day..when I have time.

Somewhere, around 2006-2007 that all started to change. It is weird the way it all happened. It is kind of like the first ones who got to the store, got to BUY the store. Some were GREAT and had talent and some, not so much.  Some were genius at marketing themselves while others kept it small and followed the “if you build it” they will come path. And in the early days, which did not last long, it was considered “selling out” to monetize your blog…but like I said, that did not last long. Because right about then….the economy tanked and some of my favorite magazines disappeared…including my beloved newcomer DOMINO, and we all turned more to the internet than ever for guidance.

DOMINO BEST FRIENDS
DOMINO – BEST FRIENDS

Then, seemingly overnight,  the internet exploded with design blogs and stores, and blogs became Stores and Stores started blogs…New babies named Pinterest and Houzz AND INSTAGRAM  were born, You-tube grabbed a hold of the visual learners and we won’t even talk about HGTV and all of it’s relatives. LITERALLY –  You can spend all day, everyday, reading and  watching all the possible things you could do….make, fix, paint, design, ditch, change, love and hate.  I KNOW THIS…BECAUSE I HAVE!

IS IT NOT KIND OF FUNNY THAT THE COLOR OF THE YEAR IS NAMED SERENITY...NOT EVEN JUST A LITTLE BIT???
the colors of 2016…

Colors are now IN or very OUT.…LIKE poor old Marsala… and if they are really really lucky they get to be “the COLOR OF THE YEAR!” !! Lots and lots of money is being spent and made helping people have the perfect house and everybody has the tools they need to become their own decorator – even if they don’t have the time or really – deep deep down don’t really care.

ALL OF THIS HAPPENED IN A RELATIVELY VERY VERY SHORT SPAN OF TIME….

 – AND oh, one more thing …. NOW –  EVERYONE has a book…and I OWN MANY of them…

DOMINO
DOMINO

I categorize my books.THERE ARE the 1. ART BOOKS (My personal Faves), 2. the “HOW TO” books, 3. THE DESIGNER PORTFOLIO BOOKS,  4. The “KEEP IT SIMPLE ” books, and the 5. “COLLECTION of GREAT rooms/EYE CANDY” books. I like many of them…some I even would go so far as to say, I LOVE and have given as gifts….but I do find it pleasantly ironic ….and …..

IT IS NO WONDER THAT THIS  IS THE BOOK WE ARE ALL RUNNING FOR NOW!!!

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing - MARIE KONDO
The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing – MARIE KONDO

WHERE AM I GOING WITH ALL OF THIS? WHAT IS MY POINT?

MY POINT IS THIS – In a very very short span of time we have gone from a culture of people who lived and were quite content in our “undecorated” and “un-styled” homes.. And while “keeping up with the Jone’s” is not a new phenomenon…MOST people did not judge themselves as unsuccessful because they did not have an up to trend kitchen or the right color Gray walls. You decorated more for yourself…because for the most part…you would be the only one who saw your home.

Now everyone sees everything.

SHERLOCK
SHERLOCK

You home is where you live. YOU. Not me. It is YOUR home. Fill YOUR home with what makes YOU happy. If you need guidance, look for it, or hire it, but don’t get lost in the looking.GET A FEW GOOD BOOKS…but again, try not to overwhelm yourself.  This, I know is NOT easily accomplished. Sometimes you just need to turn it off.

I spent hours online last night and was frightened to see how homogenous home decor is becoming. And even if they don’t say it, and believe me, some do…there is being touted a RIGHT and a WRONG way…and that, my friend , is the number one killer of creativity.

My goal…my NEW PLEDGE with this blog is to help you find  the YOU in your home. If you have a favorite color…USE IT. FIND YOUR STYLE. It does not matter if it is not “THE COLOR OF THE YEAR”  – Go crazy! IT IS YOUR HOUSE. If you like plaid with stripes and florals with shabby chic faux aged furniture…that is YOUR right. LIKE what YOU LIKE not what your THINK you SHOULD like  or what you think or what they tell you …would make you more HIP to like…like… like… like…we cannot “like” everything!.

Take a break from all of it and find YOUR style and YOUR taste. KEEP IT IN PERSPECTIVE.

LIFE IS JUST TOO SHORT.

This is me and tate. In his nursery that I am sure would now be called "dated and tacky" but you know what - who cares...I don't. In the end, it all went too fast I would love to have back some of that time to go back and not care so much about how it all looked.
This is me and my baby tate. Circa 1996. In his nursery that I am sure would now be called “dated and tacky” but you know what – who cares.!!!!..I don’t. In the end, it all went too fast I would love to have back some of that time to go back . I would give anything to hold him like that again.

XO

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31 thoughts on “RECLAIMING THE TIME AND TIDYING UP THE MESS

  1. I agree with what you say. Decorate the way you like. I also agree that the volume of information is overwhelming. I like to sew and realized that I subscribed to so many blogs and newsletters that I was spending all my spare time reading and keeping up with everything and not sewing. At all. Crazy. I’ve had to rethink how much time to spend reading vs. doing.

  2. You preach it, girl! What you’re saying is so true.
    I’ve been asking myself each time I do a project or buy something, “is this really me or a trend?” It’s made me really think about my likes and dislikes and guess what? Some of my dislikes are things in style right now. Nope not me so it’s not going in my house. Whew! Glad I got that off my chest. Lol.

  3. Well said, Lesli!
    Personal style is about being an individual, and going with what works for YOU, not everyone else. You have probably encountered this, as a fellow artist: someone wants you to paint something for them, but aren’t sure what color to select for a part of it. SO they ask you, “What’s popular right now?” I secretly cringe and think, “Who cares?! It’s going in YOUR home… pick what YOU like!” If your home doesn’t reflect the personalities of the ones who live there, then we may as well all move into the homogenized PB/RH/C&B catalogs…UGH!!

  4. Your post literally made tears well up in my eyes. Lesli, this is so true. Sometimes it looks like people’s bookshelves are just holding a collection of purchased items from Homesense rather than precious items filled with memories and love…

    Everything is ‘styled’ and curated. But life is messy and beautiful.

    Thanks for writing this blog. My favourite posts are when you share your philosophy on life and family!! All the very best to you and yours in 2016. Keep being a lighthouse, ok? We need you.

  5. Just sending a big “thank you” hug to you for sharing your creative talents with all of us. I just had new counter tops installed and after many sleepless nights, it was because of your help and choice that I went with Calacatto Formica. Can I say how fabulous they are and how excited I am. Not only that but the bonus of being so affordable. Thank you Lesli for your patience with my email questions. ❤️Patty

  6. Well said, perfectly said. And I was raising littles about the same time you were, my Emma’s nursery was about the same color palette as Tate’s – but done in Laura Ashley ‘the cow jumped over the moon’ border and thinking back now, I can’t even imagine I put up a wallpaper border in my house! BUT, I long for the days I spent rocking my baby in that room, life was simple – think about it, we didn’t have an iPhone to distract our attention away from our babies like momma’s do now! Blessed!

    Working with clients now, I often find myself saying, ‘I want your house to reflect you and YOUR family’ – so many are swayed by what they see on the internet! They feel like the design police will show up and arrest them for a mistake that might not fall into step! Crazy!!! My can’t help it – I too have fallen for trends and ended up regretting not following my own instincts.

    xo~Jill

    1. Thank you Jill. I love that cow over the moon pattern. Back then, laura Ashley was pretty much it for me anyway in terms of accessible decorating ingredients. They had great furniture and fabrics and I would look at the catalog for hours!

  7. I have always loved decor. Clear back to when I was a kid & spent hours playing with my doll house. Back in the day, the only way to learn anything was to watch This Old House. And read the home section of the Sunday paper.
    In 2008 I discovered decor/DIY blogs. It was the best thing ever! And the worst.
    I learned a lot but also made myself miserable. I was comparing my home to theirs. They say comparison is the thief of joy. And it’s so true. I spent so much money trying to bring my home up to their levels.
    But I kept reading my blogs. Then I found Pinterest & Houzz. Now Instagram. I spend all my time seeing how other people live. But I’m not living. I have come to the conclusion that I’m addicted & I don’t know how to stop.
    Dam internet!!!

  8. Thank you so much Lesli. You put into words what I have been thinking (and cringing about) for awhile now…granite countertops/stainless steel appliances/open concept/bring the outside in — makes me crazy! I am one to change wall colors on a whim and move furniture around when the mood hits. Maybe you can help us find our style and redefine it ! Love, love your blog!! thank you —

    1. It has just gotten so removed from the point…a blog post by a fellow blogger last week, calling a certain style “cheap and tacky” really got under my skin. Sure, everyone has a right to their opinion…but I found it hurtful. Who made her Queen of perfect is what I wanted to say!!!!

  9. Can somebody give me an “AMEN!”? Like Mary, I’ve been fascinated by decor since I was a child. I can remember making ” houses” out of shoe boxes and decorating them with scraps of fabrics and odds and ends. I made houses for the fairies and gnomes out of moss and twigs and acorn caps out in the backyard. As a young wife, I decorated my 14 x 70 trailor home with refurbished cast offs and more passion than money. A copy of Country Living was a special treat and if I found a decorating book at a yard sale…….I was in heaven! The thing is, I knew what I liked and what I didn’t. I knew what made our home feel like us and what worked for us and what didn’t. I’ve always been a tad perplexed by people who decorate their homes according to what’s “in style”. I loved to look at different styles and trends but if I didn’t like it…… well, I sure wasn’t going to put it in my house just because ” they” said to! Your house isn’t just a house. It’s your HOME, your SANCTUARY, your CASTLE! How can it be those things for you if you’re letting others dictate how it should look and feel and function?
    Wow! Sorry, can you tell that this is a subject that I feel strongly about? If I NEVER hear the word “curate” used again in conjunction with the word “home”, it will be too soon! Can we go back to just living in and enjoying our homes and our own vision of what our home should look like?
    I can’t wait to see what you’ll have in your upcoming posts! We’ll likely all have the design police coming after us! Lol! Thanks for the great post and the chance to vent a little to some like minded people!

  10. Oh, thank heavens- you nailed it! I sometimes wonder if all the followers (of current trends) realize they are just
    LEMMINGS!!!!! When, and why in the world, did it become a good thing to follow what everyone else is doing? I also wonder if folks are simply being led by marketing or if their brains are shrinking, you know?! Anyhoo. So glad you posted your truth – keep it up. It’s the truth for so many of us out here and oddly enough, our homes are the ones people love to come to because they are different and reflect us!

    1. Lemmings is a great analogy! My daughter put it perfectly when she said…”Mom, teenagers do what everyone else does because they don’t like to be different, but then they grow out of it. All of this technology has reduced us all to teenagers!”

  11. Amen! We had an “Ah Ha” moment several years ago along this same vein but, still, you do get sucked in for sure!! I love your home, we love our home which I can assure you does not look like most of the top blog homes out there and we are good with that!! I love your line about creativity!! Years ago when I was training teachers at conferences all over our state my focus was encouraging creativity not sameness!! I was contemplating a blog post about our home décor shift and decision but I don’t think it could be better said than this!!! I may just say read Lesli De Vito’s post and take note 🙂

    1. Marcie, feel free to reference me. I think the homes I have always loved are homes that are unique,and lived in and smell good. Though who does not drool over the perfectly equipped kitchen. Still…maybe it is my kids getting ready to leave for College and their new lives and I think…was it worth the time? the worry? the obsessing over a faucet? Oh well. I tell the kids, life is a series of curve-balls and rebounds (like my two-sport metaphor?) and the rebounds are what make you but you don’t get there without those damn curve balls.

  12. Great post! I have been thinking along the same lines lately. I used to enjoy the idea of decorating my home more back in the day when I only had my beautiful magazines and the “old” HGTV with shows that featured real ideas instead of the formula reality type shows they have now. I can’t help but notice too all the new design gurus telling us what is right as if they are the only authorities with taste. You are so right, creativity is killed be that kind of thinking. Recently came across a quote from a woman who decorated her home according to what she liked. When asked if she drew inspiration from Pinterest or hours she said, “why would I when I have so many ideas of my own? Well said I thought.

  13. I love this post. I love to see in the homes of real people and the blogs I really take notice of are ones that are willing to do their own thing. Everyone does not need to have a white kitchen, subway tile backsplash, white sofa, gray walls, etc etc. I really want to see how people make their homes cute with hand me down or meaningful furniture pieces. I want to see how someone incorporates color. I want to see where the toys, papers, and general stuff goes. It doesn’t even look like anyone lives in some of these rooms. I want to see spaces that work and look good even if you have sweaty teenage boys eating on your furniture and using your kitchen. 🙂

  14. I’m a few days behind reading this posting. I so agree with you. Have you ever gone on Apartment Therapy. I always go to it after I check in with your blog first. People post pictures of their living space, they put their heart into work they have done, decorating they finished. You can post comments and I can’t believe how negative some of the comments are. I would never insult someone like some of the commenters do. We love what we love and that’s the way it should be.

    1. I love Apartment Therapy but yes, the commenting section is a battle zone and people can be truly cruel and awful. I find it ironic in this “more evolved” equal rights, age of acceptance…people are, in opinion, MORE judgmental and classist a dn critical and competitive than ever…or maybe people use the anonymity of the internet to vent all of their insecurities and grievances. Oh well…I will only promote kindness because the world is a mess and we need all the kindness we can wrestle up! xo

  15. Thank-you for this post! It was exactly what I needed to hear as we embark on a full house renovation that we have been planning and saving for the last 4 years. It is hard to filter through all the clutter and ideas and find your own voice and what speaks to you. I love and read many design blogs and though I love the inspiration and the different voices and styles of the bloggers, it’s easy to get sucked into the comparison trap! I am a very limited social media user so why am I driving myself crazy over every decision as if the whole world was going to see our home and judge it? Thanks for the reality check- I am moving forward with a new perspective!

  16. Just want to say that this is a fantastic post . I am in the process of redecorating my home which has been stuck in a time warp for the last 20 years. Unfortunately, I fell into the black hole of Pinterest and design blogs and started to question and second guess every decision. What started out as a fun venture, has turned into one of dread and anxiety. After reading your post, I made a vow to stay away from Pinterest and to just go with what I like and to trust my own judgement. Again, thank you so much for this post, it has truly opened my eyes.

    1. Liz, I love decorating and the very last thing I think it should ever feel like is a chore…like a birthday party should never be NOT FUN! So I applaud you taking a step back. Everything in moderation I always say..it is so easy to Overdose on all the “shoulds” and choices…it sounds like you are on the absolute right path to a home which i yours!

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