My Home

Keep on keeping on

This is my dirty little secret. A little room off of my bedroom that I shove stuff in and then forget about. When I started my purging journey my friend Dan asked me how this room was doing and I said "What room?" I completely forgot the room even existed. 

I managed to clean up my office, but with all of the stuff affiliated with my design and vintage business it kept getting messy. I love selling vintage but it requires boxes, packing materials and tape along with all the goods. I kept piling things on top of things but then I would sell something at the back of the closet and have to take everything out in order to get at it. 

I moved the big cabinet that was tucked in the left corner over to the window, which meant I had to clear out all of the tubs. Next, I'll move the clothing rack from upstairs in the office (which I have to swing out of the way every time I need to get into the closet) down here. I'm going to add some shelving to store boxes, shipping materials and vintage goodies. 

I made a lot of progress over the weekend. What you don't see is the sheer amount of chaos I created in the rest of the home. Most of the stuff in the tubs was clothes. I gained 65 pounds over 6 months a few of years back so I had about 3 different wardrobes tucked in here. I am accepting where I am at today and recognizing that holding on to all of those clothes was just causing me anxiety and not helping me get healthy so out they go. 

There are now piles of stuff in the office to be photographed and sold in the shop. I've got a couple of piles of books to give to people. Getting rid of my books has been the hardest part, but they've been sitting in boxes for years and I would rather know they were out and about in the world getting used. 

I got worn down by all the stuff partway through cleaning out this space and mentioned it when I posted this photo to Instagram. Someone sent me such a kind message encouraging me to keep going that it gave me the energy I needed to keep clearing stuff out. 

I'm getting there. There are still some piles that I haven't quite had the courage to go through. There are a couple of sewing machines tucked in here that I'm not sure what to do with. I need to get rid of the entertainment center that is in here, but I haven't had the energy to deal with taking pictures and trying to sell it. 

Slowly but surely I am getting there and it feels good. 

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How to Pick Fabric

This post is part of a larger conversation about color, which I'll be talking about more on the blog because I know picking colors can be overwhelming. 

I am usually a pretty decisive person. People who like to shop hate shopping with me because I want to be in and out and done. My couch is ten years old and it is still in really good shape, but it needs new upholstery. The fabric withstood the test of time, but I don't recommend dropping chocolate or spilling wine on your couch (apparently I was having a bacchanalian party). Therefore I needed to find new fabric. 

I knew that I wanted to keep the couch relatively neutral because it is easier to change up accessories then to change a couch and I really did like the existing grey color palette. I thought I wanted velvet, but I also wanted to test the notion of pattern.  

I went on a search for fabric. I checked out West Elm,, House, I searched Etsy for fabric, and I googled organic upholstery fabric. I was really trying to find something that was made out of organic textiles because the fabric industry is so wasteful and harmful to the environment. FYI somebody needs to make a portal for people to buy organic fabric. It's not easy to find and it is not easy to purchase. 

When I received all of my samples I laid them all out on the back of the couch. 

The green and pumpkin fabric went, along with the lighter greys and a cream with grey print. I really liked the dark grey with the geometric print, but I wasn't sure about it all over the couch. I had the same issue with the grey and star/cross pattern, which was organic. Plus that fabric, while upholstery weight, was not heavy enough for the wear that a couch receives. 

Moving on then I am left with the velvet's. I liked the color of the swatch on the right and it was organic, but I wasn't sure about the quality. 

I then tested the options against the rug and the top left was a little too gunmetal grey. The other two work really well. The West Elm fabric could work well, but the top right sample is Gibson fabric. While a couple of dollars more, I had already upholstered a chair in the fabric and I know that it looks great and wears well. 

At one point I had a fabric sample that was velvet, but the exact same color of my current couch, which is cement. I texted a friend and said I was thinking of playing it safe, but I wanted to go darker and she said change it up. 

To recap:

  • Get a lot of samples
  • Try to go outside of your comfort zone, but recognize that it may not work.
  • Make sure you have the right fabric for the job. For furniture it needs to be heavy weight upholstery. For pillows you use medium. Sometimes you can use light weight, but you will need to line the fabric for stability. Curtains can pretty much use any weight depending on the look you want.
  • Sit with the fabric for a couple of days.
  • Slowly take samples away. This took me almost a week.
  • Check the color against existing pieces or textiles in the room.
  • Bring in a second opinion.

So, now that I have picked a sample I need to order the fabric and reupholster the couch. I am going to make a snug fitting slipcover because I'm not sure I am up to reupholstering the couch. That will be an adventure for another day. 


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Making space

No I'm not auditioning for an episode of hoarders, but I am pulling aside the curtain and revealing the chaos that was hidden behind door number one. I still have to go through door number two. Sigh. 

The end of 2014 for me was about making space. Clearing out relationships that were not helping me grow and thrive. Clearing out the detritus of the first iteration of Meandering Design. Cleaning away things that I had an emotional attachment to for all the wrong reasons. 

I don't believe that you need to sell all your belongings and live out of a back pack in order to have a clean, happy, healthy relationship with stuff, but I do believe that you need to come to terms with your closets. 

This journey started a couple of months back when I started playing the Minimalism game. In a little over a month (it took me a couple of extra days to finish up) I had removed 496 things from my home. 

I had just been coming out of a bad bout of depression and sadly the state of my home office reflected the state of my mind. Having a challenge issued to get rid of things really helped.  It worked so well that I started it again and I'm on day 22. Just 243 more things to go. 

Doing this has made me see that I hold on to things even when they are no longer a) useful or b) make me happy. I had gifts from people that I no longer speak to that I was keeping because we were once friends- gone. I had scraps of paper and notebooks filled with ideas for a business that is no longer functioning- gone. I had projects started that I never will finish- gone. 

It took me a couple of weeks of cleaning out this room but finally it is clean. I could barely walk into the room and all of the stuff was so overwhelming that I kept ignoring it. Finally I went in and picked one corner and cleaned it. I kept moving around the room and then the desk got cleared off. 

This room will be getting a revamp, which will definitely include a coat of lighter paint. I'm still getting rid of things. Next up is the kitchen (oh dear) and then after that is the room I keep forgetting I have. 

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A little bit of magic in the hallway

There is a very tiny passage between my living room and bedroom. On one side is the linen closet and the other is this little nook. The neighbors before me had shelving there and when they yanked it out there were some big holes left behind. 

I bought this metal filing cabinet for $35 a couple years back and it fit here perfectly. It also acts as my coat closet for sweaters and mittens.That is part of my pile of books to read! The radio was my grandfathers and the paper weight was made by me. 

I had ordered these Blik wall decals for the wall behind my bed in my bedroom, but they weren't quite big enough. For this little space they work perfectly. Plus they hide the holes. 

I do apologize that these photos aren't better, but I was pretty much standing on top of the toilet trying to shoot them! Oh the joys of blogging! 

These were pretty easy to put on. I did manage to make a small fold on the first one I put up, but the wall is all janky anyways, so don't pay attention to that one spot. I haven't tried to take them down, but they are supposed to be removable. 

If you have ever contemplated wall decals I highly recommend them. 

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Onward to the Dining Room

Now that I have the living room finished, well except for maybe reupholstering the couch and painting, it is time to turn my attention to the dining room

Here's what works in the dining room-

  • I have a table that seats eight (yes I do have people over for dinner). 
  • The room gets a lot of natural light
  • I have a fireplace
  • There is awesome art
  • My favorite chair is tucked in the corner
  • It is filled with personal mementos
  • I have a mini 'landing' zone

Here is what is not working in the dining room-

  • It is cluttered and over run by fabric
  • The lighting is horrid
  • The fireplace does not work
  • There is no cohesive color scheme
  • The chairs are broken
  • The rug is too small and one end is unraveling (When I bought the table and rug the table was in a small kitchen and for daily use the leaves were lowered and the table oriented differently on the rug).
  • It's beige (imagine this said with dripping disdain)

This room functions well as both a dining room, entertaining space, and craft space, but it needs a little help. Here is the plan:

  • Declutter
  • Deep Clean
  • Fix the chairs
  • Hang a chandelier (I have a chandelier that a friend's parents gave me)
  • Loop the cords for the hanging pendants
  • Paint the chairs (now they will be one color)
  • Get a new rug (I'm looking at FLOR carpet tiles)
  • Get a fireplace insert 

Hopefully this room won't take me as long as the last one. Stay tuned. 

If you are interested in taking on a room in your house yourself then I highly recommend that you come to Interior Design 101. You'll learn basic interior design, styling tips and tricks and get feedback on your space. 

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