We all need a place to feel centered in our homes. Especially when this means escaping the confines that momhood can impart on us, and we desperately need a break. For some of you, this respite can be found in the kitchen (for me, it’s definitely not). For others, it’s the bedroom or a home office or even a dreamy walk-in closet. For me, it’s a room that has surprised me as my favorite because it has no doors with locks on them. 🙂
Up until recently, we lived in a very cramped Portland house. And it didn’t have a living room because, well, some of our kids were actually living in it. Let’s just say we got a little carried away by spending five long years living inside of our investment. It wasn’t until we moved to a home four times its size (which is actually the right size for a family like ours), that I realized I had no spot to call my center. And likely, neither did any of the kids.
Now that our location has changed, I’ve found my center–a place that I’m surprised I spend so much time in. Of course it’s the living room. The beauty is, we have enough rooms to keep this one free from television. Since I spend so much time here, the objects that have landed in this space are very me. I think there’s a pretty good blend of custom, practical, interesting, free and silly. These are the qualities that also make up my personality and so it feels pretty authentic to hang out here so much.
Disclaimer on my So-Called personal style: I’m a big time believer in cultivating personal style on a budget. The more constrained you are financially, the better off you will be decor-wise. I don’t know why this works, but it does. The best things I have ever owned have also stood the test of time. They have been objects and furnishings I could not live without. They’ve been a culmination of my ideas and dreams and the unusual outcome of letting my mind off-leash (like the Burberry Chair my friend was game to reupholster using trench coats I saved from years of visiting estate sales). These objects are labors of love–both mine and of people I know/don’t know (paintings and pillows). And they’ve been free (like the sofa–found on the side of a Portland street, just as it was beginning to rain). I’m not in love with the band-aid colored walls and some day, when I have the time and patience to watch paint dry, I’ll change it. For now, it can remind me of non-stop healing, haha.
Because of our big, messy, chaotic family, having a sense of humor is key. It helps to surround yourself with things that remind you to loosen up, to let go, to be nice or leave. I recently got a Fender Squire Mini electric guitar for Mother’s Day and I love to play it until my fingers hurt. Leaving it out reminds me to drop everything and jam. This helps me live the kind of example I want to be demonstrating for my kids: try everything and have fun.
While I do believe in practical, I’m most in love with patience. This means we might spend months eating on the floor before we find the right dining room table or that I might acquire a plant before it meets its match in the perfect pot. I can appreciate the convenience of IKEA and the immediacy those things bring, but they ultimately do not add much else (besides the reminder that I was impatient) to the kinds of spaces I want to hang out in. This sometimes drives the kids mad, especially as I take my time searching for the right couch for the TV room. For now, it’s all sleeping bags and pillows and cookie crumbs.
The reason these things work for me is because there is a story embedded in everything. And it all creeps in and curls up, each of them finding a special place in your soul. The Chanel pillow is a reminder that even a poor orphan can skyrocket to the very definition of timelessness and style. The photo of my grandfather’s best headstand keeps my perspective in check. A copt of the Outsiders prompts me to take a chip out of the glass ceiling every single day (for those of you that do not know, S.E. Hinton wrote that book as a young girl, age 16, in 1967). A tiny Paris ashtray both pats me on the back for never getting caught up in things like smoking, but also shames me for never making time for travel. The vintage King Kong gives me permission to get a little angry and beat my chest from time to time. And the Theresa Booth painting above that free tufted sofa is a very solid and heavy reminder that the best things in life really are free, so long as you can take it.
I hope you enjoyed my little corner of the universe–how do you surround yourself with things you love and where do they wind up?
Infinite Frills and Frippery,