"Our life is frittered away by detail...simplify, simplify." - Henry David Thoreau

I know I said "blog like no one is reading" but it's nice to know these people are

Monday, October 29, 2012

Read, Purge, Post, Repeat

This weekend I attacked the kitchen after being inspired by The Nester and Pancakes & French Fries. The former posted about not waiting for "the next house" to do things and she is so right. I am guilty of this big time. When we moved out of the city we doubled the size of our house and have the most gorgeous piece of property. Of course, I hate the pool, but we have a pool! And I hate our eighties grotty bathrooms with the fibreglass built-ins but we have four and I don't have to share mine with the boys so at least there is one seat that I never have to check before I sit down. I hate the fact that when we have a party our kitchen really isn't big enough to hold everyone and they'll never move into the rest of the house but it's bigger than the last one. I joke that all I need is 4 more feet off the back of the house but really, why?

Jules at Pancakes & French Fries has been doing The 31 Days of William Morris Project, you know the one inspired from the quotation, "Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful." I find that living up to that may be a little difficult living in a house of boys (although I think she has two boys herself) and I am definitely not up to 31 days of it but I did do some rearranging in the kitchen which will drive my OH nuts when he gets home next week, but it now makes so much more sense, to me. And then I tackled the pantry closet and purged a few things so that I can see what all is in there and I don't buy any more chicken broth. It was very satisfying and this morning when I made my toast and there was the bread, right next to the toaster. Wow, what a concept. Next up, I will bake something and not spill all the dry ingredients across the flour as I move from the flour container on one side of the room to the mixer on the other side. Only took me five and a half years to figure that one out. I know for those purists out there, my best friend included, I have way too much stuff on my counters but I do use it all, all the time and if we are having people over I just put it in grocery bins and stick it out in the garage. Et voilà, clean countertops. Of course, this is key as everyone is crammed in the kitchen and need places to put their drinks. 

Of course the purging had me scattering things all over the house in my typical method of operation. Rearranging the kitchen counters lead me to the pantry to move the most opened tins closer to the can opener (hello tuna and tomatoes), then to the laundry room where my cookbooks are and debating the merits of print in the age of iPads and Epicurious (sorry eighties Entertaining Martha) and then to the  dining room sideboard where I took out some serving pieces to put on the now-freed-up shelf space. I even went down to the basement to retrieve the crock pot (where I did avert my eyes in the Boy Cave as that is an area that requires my undivided attention some day in the future) so I now have no less of an excuse to not meal-plan.

As for the rest of the house, I also read Fieldstone Hill Design's post on Words of Reason where she talked about finding words to describe your home. Here's what I came up with:


Then I asked myself these questions:
  1. How do I want my home to feel? Calm and natural. 
  2. How do I want my home to look? Interesting, cozy but uncluttered. I don't want it to look overdone.
  3. What purpose do I want my home to serve? To welcome everyone from my boys hanging out with their buddies to grown up dinner party guests or a big group of kids and adults together.

I'm drawn to texture like cable knit woolen throws, linen slipcovers and rough wooden surfaces. I love patina whether on wood or metal. I like clean lines, white kitchens but with the warmth of wood accents. I want things to be classic and timeless not trendy. I hate matchy-matchy (although my teenage-self dreamed of coordinated bedroom suits). You can see my Pinterest choices which are surprisingly consistent even though I keep thinking that I need some funky and eclectic Anthropologie-like pieces with lots of crazy colours, although I did let two of my sons choose the colours to paint their rooms. So finally, after five years of the boring beige I chose when we moved in, they now have wild and crazy colours on their walls.

Number Three chose bright yellow and flame, the colours of the Canadian Ski Team Downhill suits, of course and as horrified as I was initially I love how it looks. He has covered the walls in posters of his ski racing heroes (and a few of himself), an old Swiss flag that belonged to his Dad hangs over his bed. The whole thing works, it's happy and energetic, the things I hope my youngest son will always be.

Number Two chose lime green and bright blue, not for any particular reason and he says only after did he realize that the colours match the ancient IKEA duvet cover that is on his bed (duh?) But again, I have to admit, it looks great. He isn't as into decorating so he still has a few posters and frames waiting to be hung. But it is also energetic and vibrant like him.

I like things in my home to have a story, not one told by a decorator but a story that's our own like that both our pine corner cabinet and sideboard came from my Dad's advertising agency's boardroom, he collected early Canadian pine both at home and for his office and we have arranged each house around where that corner cabinet fits. The paintings on our walls were not chosen to go with a colour scheme but rather my OH and I have chosen each piece to represent a part of our lives from the sublime - a water colour of Maine and the collection of landscapes by his grandmother to the ridiculous - the "Doors of Hayhurst" poster my mother made by taking photos of all the doors our family has walked in and out of over the years (outhouse included). 

Not sure how to really finish up this post, it's one of the longest I've written in a while and I did try to document all my hard work but you wouldn't really see any difference in the Before and After pics, still just a lot of shelves with a lot of stuff placed on them with no rhyme or reason. So I am hoping that that my OH makes it home safely from Florida (he is planning to leave tomorrow afternoon and has to drive straight through all Hurricane Sandy affected in-land areas and they are forecasting two feet of snow in the mountains) and unlike his sons he better will notice, admire and appreciate all my hard work.

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