5 Game-Changing House Redo Lessons * Creating a Haven :: 4

Hey, welcome!

We've been having a blast around here this month, sharing our living spaces, our challenges and brainstorms, our visions for what our dwellings are just begging to become.

I'm glad you've joined us.  If this is the first time you've dropped in, please check out this Creating a Haven Mini-Series right here.  Links are at the bottom of each post to take you to the next topic in the series.  And do grab a frosty glass of iced tea and put your feet up, 'cause the dialogue that follows each post is most definitely the icing on the cake and well worth your time.

Every voice matters in this community and each reader is invited to the table to dialogue about the subject at hand.  All are welcomed and heard, celebrated and responded to.

No matter what's on the table.

Today?  A few lessons learned along the way ...

For years I tore out any and all magazine pictures of rooms that caught my eye.  These little keepsakes were tucked into a manila folder that soon bulged and became ragged with use.  Reams of hardware store paint chips joined the happy throng.  This collection of odds and ends has proven to be a treasure trove of luscious images and glorious hues that have served only to confirm that my taste has morphed and changed over time.

And that has turned out to be a very positive thing.

And then along came Pinterest and I created my very own little semi-private online portfolio that I don't think I've mentioned more than once or twice around here.  Care to see what catches my eye and makes my heart skip a bit of a beat?

When a dear friend raised a bit of an eyebrow as I shared my plans to paint every bit of wood white, I tucked her carefully chosen words inside to consider.  Because when she speaks I always listen.

Don't you just love those people in your life?

A few months later, the painter confirmed her discerning flare ... and my husband enthusiastically jumped on the don't-paint-the-doors bandwagon.  The end result?

Those doors are happily showing off their authentic golden tones, with a coat of poly highlighting the beautiful grain.  The white that's splashed from here to there throughout the house shines brighter against that deep contrast which was sorely needed.

I wanted to say good-bye to the popcorn ceilings.  He didn't think they were such a big deal.

He wasn't all that sure about white everywhere.  It was a non-negotiable for me.

The popcorn ceilings remain ... and you already know that Simply White reigns supreme.  We marked our 40th anniversary season with umpteen home redo powwows and have tried to listen well to each other.  {Not always, but often enough}. And that's worked for us.  {Usually}.

In the light of eternity, it's truly amazing how flexible you can choose to be.

For years, the horizontal mirror sat atop Grandma's dining room buffet.  A cobalt blue glass bowl and candlesticks saw their reflection in its steady reflective gaze.

Fast forward some 60+ years or so.  I'm fairly sure that Grandma wouldn't be all that thrilled to hear that I painted the mirror blue, then green, and two coats of white.  And then sanded it half to death.

But I think it's the star of the show above the brick fireplace.

You just can't display everything you've ever collected.  Yep, you can try, but your house ends up looking like some kind of an overstuffed museum instead of a cozy, welcoming haven.

After a decade or two of all that striving, the fruitless accumulating and amassing of vintage objects and tchotchkes, I bless the day that I began to dismantle my endless displays and started the long journey to rid myself of the unwieldy burden that my collections had become.

And even more important, began to figure out the nebulous whys and wherefores behind my obsession.  And chose a different path to tred.

It was a 2013 response to a challenge the fabulous Nester put on the table ... to de-accessorize our homes for a month.  And in the process, 105 little vintage kitchen friends found themselves off the wall and into a plastic laundry basket.

It turned out to be my biggest post ever ... and kicked off a 180 degree turn in how I viewed my home.  And myself.

Now?  Our decor has been minimalized, simplified, clarified.  I breathe deep and smile as I look around 'cause I don't feel smothered and oppressed by my stuff anymore.

This has been THE month where everything in our new home has finally been pulled together.  Newly hung are the best of all the family portraits, both ancient and new.  A framed vintage Cape Cod map from the flea market up the road.  A hooked rug from a dear friend and a sampler from 1984 when cross-stitch was all the rage.  A quilt from a former client, a seascape that hung over Grandma's piano, another sampler or two.

Three collections of vintage bowls are now scattered throughout the house.  They always were my favorites.  Old oak furniture from little shops and obscure flea markets and garage sales holds court without overcrowding.  And, of course, the catty-cornered-so-it-fits-in-this-dining-room table that my husband cobbled together from Canadian barn wood back in 2008 is front and center, just where it belongs.

Pretty much everything else has been shared, sold, or tucked away for safekeeping in big ol' Rubbermaid bins lined up on heavy duty basement shelves.

This has been a great big journey that's spanned years, not weeks.  But I couldn't be more content and at peace with where I am.  I travel free, I travel light.  When I look around our home, I breathe a contented / grateful, 'ahhh,' instead of a frustrated / overwhelmed, 'ugh.'

My stuff doesn't define who I am.  That ultimate gift of grace comes from my Savior.


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Sharing  life lessons with
Emily  .  Leigh
Anita  .  Kelly  .  Holley  .  Lyli  .  Leigh