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Decorating and Perfectionism

I can already hear the snickering at that title (ha, she thinks what she has done is perfect!?), but stick with me.

I’m slowly working toward my overall vision for the house. Certain things (like wallpaper) are on hold until the rewiring of the house has been finished, and the rewiring is on hold until at least after we host a bridal shower here next month. Holes in the walls and ceiling are so distracting at parties, you know?

Because our plan is to be here for a long time, I find myself obsessively fixating on getting things just right. I finally ordered the Dawson pedestal table that I’d had my eye on for over a year. The upside to fixating on certain pieces and keeping track of them is that you’re aware of when they go on sale, so I was able to grab the table at 30% off. I’m kind of kicking myself though for not having bought a pair of Deeda chairs when the pink ones went on clearance a while back. They can still be ordered in that fabric (farrow-strawberry linen), but I didn’t buy them when they were $500 instead of $1500 because I didn’t have the cash on hand at the time, and I’m not going into debt over a couple of chairs.

I borrowed one in the stock fabric so that I could check the scale and photograph it (because hi, I’m a blogger and my job is weird). Through the magic of Photoshop, I turned it into a pair.

Pair of Deeda Chairs in Making it Lovely's Home Library

Is it really everything I’ve imagined for the past year? Yes and no.

I love the table. I love the chairs with the table, and that farrow-strawberry fabric would be the most beautiful shade of pink for our library. But the chairs are tall, and the pair of Lincoln armchairs in the adjacent room look bitty when viewed together. So, go for the chairs I’d wanted all along, and sell and replace the floor model chairs in the living room? The house has already been photographed for publication — why not switch things up? Or stick with the ones I got, find something else to work with the table in the library, and stop spending so much damn money in pursuit of some silly inflexible vision? The room would still look good. It would still work. It just wouldn’t match what has been in my head.

Living Room, Looking into Home Library | Making it Lovely

I’ve been working toward this arbitrary idea of what our home should look like, without taking time to stop and reassess. What has changed? What can I move forward with, and what can I let go?

I’ve been here before. I included these phrases in a post from seven years ago, and they still apply now.

A good idea today is better than a perfect idea tomorrow.

Don’t let best get in the way of better.

Done is better than perfect.

I think that with the first house, there was less pressure. I always knew in the back of my mind that we would move on some day. Instead of ‘perfect’ I would go for the ‘good’ and the ‘done’ with the idea that it might be replaced eventually. It came together over time, and I loved it every step along the way.

Changing Living Room, Making it Lovely

And if we were still in that house, no doubt it would already look different.

I’m always aware of what is available and what’s coming on the market, so I’m constantly finding myself drawn to new! next! now! I could create an entire room design around the latest whatever because it’s far easier to pull a room together all at once, but how many of us can realistically do so? Most of us, myself included, are decorating over time, which means that your vision has time to grow and change. We create cohesion and a home that reflects our style while leaving room for things that may not even exist yet. In theory, each new piece for your home should bring you closer to the finish line, but in practice, that line is always moving.

We’ve lived here for almost two years. That’s crazy to me! The time has gone by so quickly. I’m coming out of the fog of caring for an infant as the baby gets a little older (and a little easier), and I’m excited that I’ve got this big old lovely house here just waiting for me to go nuts with it. Time to revisit my initial vision for the home, reassess, and move forward. Even if it isn’t perfect, it can still be pretty damn good.

All Tree, All Shade

Clearly I do not know how to prune roses properly because ours, especially the climbing ones, are looking leggy. I’ve been reading up about how to correct them, and it sounds like late winter is the time to do any major reshaping. They are blooming at least, but not in the pretty, profuse way they were when we first moved in.

Climbing Roses

The trellis that they’re growing on fell over a little while back. We tried to right it as much as possible, but it’s not easy with all of the thorns! It’s up, mostly, and tied to the porch for more support.

In other garden news, the boxwoods got a big trimming. Please, please, please fill in, hedges! I’ve read up a lot about them being able to bounce back, even after drastic pruning, but I could never find any information on how long it takes and I do know that in general, they’re slow-growing. Also, the right side is much taller than the left but I’m afraid to trim off the top. I figure I’ll wait to see how they fare after this first attempt at cutting them back.

Pruned Boxwoods

(You can see the leggy climbing roses in the background, along the left side of our porch. And our stroller really complements the color scheme, does it not?)

We’re giving a little attention to the lawn too. There’s a beautiful mature ash tree out front, but it throws more shade than the ladies on Drag Race. (That was contrived and cheesy and for that, I’m sorry. Not sorry enough to delete though.)

Ash Tree

Ash Tree

We got a quote for new sod, which was something like $600, and there’s no guarantee it would take. We could do the labor part ourselves to bring the cost down, but again there’s no guarantee it would actually grow, so we passed on that and overseeded the lawn with shade-tolerant fescue.

Sparse Lawn

It has been about two weeks and we’ve watered every day that the rain didn’t do it for us. I don’t think it’s doing much, but those little spindly blades may turn into something if we’re patient, right? That’s the hope, anyway.

New Blades of Grass

One Coffee Table, Styled Three Ways

I recently worked with Make it Better to create three different looks around one coffee table. The main elements stayed the same (obviously the table itself, but also the rug, the sofa, and even the main photo angle), while the items on the table changed, along with the pillows on the couch in the background.

The piece was written by Rachel Brown Kulp and all of the photographs were taken by Kelly Allison. We shot in my home using many of my own pieces, mixed with additional props brought in by both Rachel and myself.

Masculine Glamour

One Coffee Table, Styled Three Ways

The idea for this one came together around a palette of black and brass, and I knew I wanted to style around that articulated horse (an artist’s model, borrowed from CarefulPeach for the shoot).

Masculine Glamour Coffee Table Styling

It’s pretty fantastic, right? Definitely the star of this group.

Articulated Horse Artist's Model

Gaff’s unicorn, under the bell jar, references the larger articulated horse. It’s also a good way to work in the nerd objects your husband may collect (*ahem*).

Gaff's Origami Unicorn from Blade Runner

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Feminine and Fun

One Coffee Table, Styled Three Ways

Unofficially, we referred to this one as “our Kate Spade table.” Some black and white stripes or gold polka dots (or pink flamingos!) would have really driven that theme home, but we were just pulling inspiration — not going for a blatant copy.

Hello

“Hello!” This was definitely a fun look. And isn’t that red clock great? I found it on clearance for under $20. Sometimes props are borrowed, or items are bought and returned for shoots, but the clock is a keeper.

Feminine and Fun Coffee Table

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Rustic Elegance

One Coffee Table, Styled Three Ways

We wanted to work in more natural elements for this look. Rachel brought in the rocks and the wooden bowl, and I liked playing them off of the shine of my brass pieces and the lovely blue glaze of the vase.

Brass Apothecary Bottles

Blue Glazed Vase with Hydrangeas

Styling is funny. Always match your books to your decor when setting up your vignettes, kids.

Wood and Brass

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You can visit Make it Better for my “three steps to a stylish coffee table,” and for more tips and information about each look. And I’d love to know: do you have a favorite?

One Coffee Table, Styled Three Ways

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