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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.

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

Life (and Projects) Lately

Oh hai there! Train of thought post, coming your way.

I feel like I’ve been running around doing a million things, but I have as yet to document them all here. So here goes! Stuff that has been going on and will continue to go on and that will make it here in the form of photos and words and whatnot. Ready? Ready!

My coffee table was styled up and shot three ways for Make it Better magazine. I have some outtakes and different angles that are super pretty, so I’ll put that together as a post for next week.

One Coffee Table, Styled Three Ways

• The wallpaper in August’s bedroom has been stripped and the room has been painted green. I am not in love with the green, but it is an improvement over peeling wallpaper.

Green in August's Room

• Speaking of wallpaper, two rolls of the stuff are en route for the upstairs bathroom. Also, art has been chosen and ordered for the downstairs bathroom. I get all weird about not sharing things until they’re done, but sometimes I think back to the random little updates I used to post ages ago when I first started this blog. I mean, seriously? My Pinterest and Instagram kind of replaced all of that, didn’t they? I’m digressing here. Blogging is weird, and so is this post.

No photo! Unless you want a screenshot of my receipts?

• Some new art went up! Here’s a preview.

Art for the Hallway

:)

• Not too terribly long ago, I setup the prettiest dang Easter brunch. (I know, we’re nearing summer now. Hush. I’m proud of the way this turned out and I’m sharing. We also decorated eggs, if you’re inclined to see.)

Juice and Coffee
Paper Lanterns and Pinwheels
Easter Decorations: Paper Lanterns and Pinwheels, Garland, and Easter Bunnies

• I visited another designer showhouse, the Merchandise Mart’s DreamHome 2015. Do we want pictures? I have some pictures. These were from my favorite room, designed by Anne Coyle.

Merchandise Mart DreamHome 2015 Dining Room, Designed by Anne Coyle
Merchandise Mart DreamHome 2015 Dining Room, Designed by Anne Coyle

• I spent some time in San Francisco last month with a few of Target’s Made to Matter brands (Soma, Olly, and Suja) and a bunch of fellow bloggers. Always nice to be back in one of my favorite places, and in such good company. (I love this picture of us, taken by Thayer Allyson Gowdy.) I’ll be seeing some of these fine folks again in a couple of weeks in Salt Lake City when I’m back there to speak at Alt Summit.

#sunrisesf photo by Thayer Allyson Gowdy

• We had a birthday party for Eleanor, not at our house. (First time!) She loved it. At the last minute though, she asked for a science theme, so I went to the nerd store (ahem, science surplus store) to buy favors and decorations. Flowers in beakers and flasks, and voila: science theme! Kids are easy to please. Me too, judging by the amount of happiness these signs brought me.

Science Store Humor

• Two new additions joined our household after Eleanor’s birthday, bringing our total of living beings here to ten. Meet our guinea pigs, Speedy (the white one, so named because she is quick), and Gingerbread (named in advance, so we tried to find one that matched the moniker). They squeal and make little noises and are cute, and I like to pet and pick them up as much if not more than the kids do.

Guinea Pigs

• The pantry closet in the kitchen got organized. The old man on the oatmeal box no longer stares at me each morning as I make my breakfast and I’m not sure how I feel about it. I miss you, oatmeal man! I do like the matching containers and colorful bins that have replaced him though. I wrote about the whole thing on Crate & Barrel’s new blog.

Wrapping Paper Sheets and Clear Shelf Liner
Pantry Shelves with New Liners

• I’ve been fattening up a baby all day everyday. I know this is not news, but dammit it takes up a lot of time!

Calvin

• This happened between the time I went from upstairs to down, and back up again. Every stuffed animal (and daughter) in the house had a party on our bed.

So many stuffed animals.

And with that, I think we’re all caught up. Phew!

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