The (un)original home

I was listening to a podcast today. Something I typically do when I’m cleaning one of our Arbnbs. It helps keep my mind off of dirty dishes.

The podcasts I listen to typically fall into one of two categories: Business or Home. I’m so varied I scare myself sometimes. LOL

Today I was listening to the Style Matters Podcast and the special guest was Heather Bullard who is an Editorial Prop Stylist and Creative Director who’s work can be found in many major magazines. Gorgeous work, by the way.

Zandra, the host of Style Matters was asking Heather about what her interesting job entails and one thing she does is find homes and rooms that can be photographed for magazines. How cool is that?

This is what struck me: Heather said that it’s getting harder to find original homes because there’s so much duplication.
Let’s let that sink in for a moment.
i.e. people have stopped creating original spaces and have started copying each other to such an extent that it’s getting harder to find original spaces.

She sites Instagram with the swipe up feature and Pinterest as the perpetrators of this ‘easier than ever to copy a look’ mentality that stifles our creativity.

Heather wondered if people have become less confident to do things original and on their own and feel a little more secure being one of the crowd, looking like everyone else. She believes there is a culture of timidity that’s paralyzing, where people are afraid to branch out and really do something that they love for their own home.

Y’all know how much and how often I harp on this but I’m not going to be done talking about this for a loooong time.

(Deep breath)

Friend, the easiest thing to do is follow the crowd. The path of least resistance is easy to walk down.

You are a unique creation as varied as a color wheel. Your home should reflect all your facets and flaws, where you’ve been and where you’re going, your personality and your personal style. You are unique!

I urge you, turn off the Instagram and Pinterest if you have to, turn off the ‘advice’ of a family member or friend, take some time to really figure out for yourself what you like and what works best for you and not what will get you the most complements or look the best in an Instagram square. (Sorry if that was too blunt.)

Be bold and courageous in your decorating! Have fun! Pursue the things you love and bring you joy! Who cares if no one else can tolerate the site of it, it’s not their home. :-)

http://allienyc.com/about/

Photo credit: Allie NYC

This is your home. It’s where you and yours go to be refreshed and inspired, nurtured and loved. When one walks into your home it should feel like a big ol’ hug from you because it so strongly reflects you.

I realize this is easier said than done. And it can take a long time to get our homes where we want them. But I always want to be the little bird in your ear that keeps reminding you and possibly giving you courage to… be you.

In your life and in your home decor.

Catrina At Home Milk Magazine

Photo credit: Milk Magazine, Graham Atkins Hughes

I, of course, do not encourage you to do the opposite of what you see everywhere just for the sake of being different but I alway encourage you to follow that gentle (or giant) nudge you feel towards a certain color, piece of furniture or nicknack. Explore it, play with it!
And most of all, think only of how you and your spouse feel about it.

That’s all for now, friends…

Thank you Heather for your insight!

Check out the Style Matters Podcast here and check out the episode with Heather Bullard here!

You can also find Heather on instagram here!

 

Blessings,

Catrina

 

 

 

 

 

Do what you can

As I was heading out the door today to clean one of our Airbnb’s, I realized the keys were missing. Ugh.. Then I remembered that I had the guest key in the lockbox. Whew!

Catrina At Home Keys

What I forgot when I got inside the Airbnb was that we recently put in a cabinet for our cleaning supplies, that had a lock on it. Even though it was clearly marked for staff only, guests were helping themselves to the previous cabinet’s contents, so we needed a new one. Double ugh.. I was back to square one, I needed the cleaning supplies to clean the house. I called The Husband and sure enough the keys were with him, it would be at least an hour before I would have them in-hand.

I was frustrated.

There were no guests coming in this evening so technically speaking I could come back later… but I knew if I went back home I would find a million things to do and the Airbnb cleaning would be put off, again.

I made a decision to do what I could till he got there.

I have a very specific order to my cleaning routine. It’s very efficient and I don’t like to change it up, it throws me off and takes longer.

But I had a choice to make, get upset about the keys not being where they were supposed to be or do what I could till the cabinet could be opened.

This got me thinking…

Isn’t this often the way it is with the work we want to do on our homes? We know what we want to do but frustration settles in as we are hit with roadblock after roadblock.

We can’t do this until we get that done and we can’t get that done because… X, Y and Z.

It’s one thing to be on hold because of fear of making the wrong choices but it’s another thing altogether to be stopped before we even get started because of someone or something beyond our control.

And so we don’t do anything.
Here are a few tips that got me through my mini setback today.

  1. Get creative
    My tried and true routine was out the window.  I like order but sometimes there is none to be found. It didn’t take a lot of effort but I made myself look at the situation differently and work on the things that I could.
    If you’re not able to start where you want to, find something else that you CAN do with what you have right now.
    Sometimes that may be planning, prep work or work on another project altogether.
    Basically, if we’re looking for excuses for not getting started, we will find them and if we’re looking for opportunities to get started, we will find them.
  2. Get busy
    I’m the first to admit that it’s so dang easy to sit and complain (and do nothing) when we’re not able to do things the “way we’ve always done them” or the “way they’re supposed to be done.” Making a decision early on that you WILL start and that you WILL do something on your project regardless, will help you get moving. And movement is all you need to get the ball rolling, whether we’re talking about a bathroom renovation or a closet organization.
  3. Chose joy
    I wish I could say I always win at this but I don’t.
    Joy is a choice. Happiness is a choice.
    I firmly believe we are in control of our own emotions. So when we hit a setback, large or small, we have a choice how we’re going to respond. And that choice has the power to make or break our day. I had no control over the keys not being where they were supposed to be, but I had absolute control over how I was going to respond.

choose joy quote CAH

I confess.. I basically wrote this post for myself. lol
I can get caught in the gripe zone and sometimes it’s hard to find my way out. As my kitchen renovation slows to a crawl, I must make a conscious decision to do what I can on other projects etc. until we are able to tackle it again. This isn’t a path I would’ve chosen but this is where I find myself. What I CAN choose, is joy, even in the midst of a partially renovated kitchen.

How do you deal with roadblocks and setbacks? What are your coping skills for when things don’t go as planned?

Blessings,
Catrina

 

 

5 Tips To Survive Your Home Renovation

Reality is never quite like its depicted in the movies or tv shows, right?

And this couldn’t be any more true than during a home renovation.

It takes much longer and is much more of a pain in the butt than you will ever see in a tv show. Is it worth it in the end? Absolutely. But let’s talk about a few things you can expect during your renovation to better prepare you for what’s coming.

Let’s keep it simple and discuss the renovation most folks would be doing, a kitchen renovation.

A. It’s going to be a mess

This is an absolute guarantee. Not only the mess of having to clear your countertops and move all of your cabinet contents to another room and having to live like that for a few weeks, but the fine dust from any sheetrock or wood work (that seems to get everywhere). You will think that hanging plastic or drop cloths will help contain the mess, but you would be wrong. You will still have to dust and vacuum everything when it’s all done. So just plan on it.
You’re basically going to be living on a construction site, if you’ve never been on one, it ain’t pretty. If you can tell yourself ahead of time and remind yourself often that its going to be a mess, and not fight it or try to control it, you’re going to have a much better renovation experience.
Just embrace it, (yes, I realize how difficult that can be) clean up when you can and remind yourself its part of the process. No, really!

B. It will be inconvenient

You don’t realize how much you use your kitchen sink until you don’t have one. You also don’t realize how difficult to is to cook without a sink. My best advice is to plan your meals way in advance for the days you will be without a sink and countertops, than add a few days so you don’t lose your mind when the schedule gets extended. Also, get paper plates, cups and plasticware and plan for as few meals as possible where you don’t have to use the sink or stove. (You want to be real careful with what you allow to wash down your bathroom drain.)

IMG_9680

I set up a few tables in my dining room (during our reno) with the dishes and cups etc. that we use most often but I ended up using disposable items the majority of the time.

Catrina At Home Kitchen renovation
Also, you will want to set up a table with food and items that you use everyday, like vitamins, cereal, bottled water, snacks, etc..

C. It’s not going to go as planned

This is probably more important than anything else I write here. The reason things will not go as planned is because you’re working with humans. Plain and simple. LOL
Get a schedule laid out with your contractor of what is happening and when, but understand that it will likely just be a guideline.
Let me give you an example, today is Wednesday, I typically write a post every Wednesday night in my downstairs office. But right now I’m in my dining room and the guys that were supposed to install my countertop on Monday (a date we set three weeks ago) are walking back and forth from my front door to the kitchen, installing my counters.
They didn’t work on Monday because it was Labor day, we found out on Monday. Then they called to say they weren’t going to be able to make it on Tuesday either.
So here we are on Wednesday, it’s after 5pm and I’m a little concerned. Why you ask? Because the guy who is coming to spray the exterior of our cabinets is coming at 6pm today and they still have a ways to go, plus I still have to tape off the cabinets in the kitchen. My painter/cabinet maker is coming today because he could’t come yesterday as planned.
These are all great guys, they do good work and we recommend them to others but things come up and other jobs take longer than they should and that means it might take longer to get to your house than planned.
Don’t take it personal, expect that there will be hiccups, plan for possible delays and you will sail through your reno like a pro.

D. If you are a DIYer, know when to hire out

There are no brownie points for killing yourself. I totally understand saving money when you can but know what your limits are and hire out when you can.
Another example, I knew we could handle sanding and painting the inside of the cabinets and shelves but I knew right from the start that I wanted the outsides to be professionally sprayed with lacquer paint.

Catrina At Home Kitchen renovation

I also knew we could handle floating the walls but wanted to leave the cabinet crown molding to our cabinet guy who does it every day. I wouldn’t let anyone but me touch our 100-year-old doors and casings that needed to be restored but we will likely hire out the floor refinishing.
It would be better to save up to have someone else do the jobs you don’t feel 100% qualified to do than to waste a heck of a lot of time and energy and still have to hire someone to come in and do the job properly, after you ‘finish.’

E. ‘Install day’ is going to be crazy

Install day is when your cabinets and counters are installed. If you want to help the process go smoothly, try to stay out of the way. lol
Don’t hover and watch their every move, let them do their work so they can get out of your way. Stay close by if they have any questions but this ain’t their first rodeo, trust them to get the job done.

Catrina At Home Kitchen renovation

Having said that, don’t settle if you don’t like the way something is going. Find out who is in charge and politely ask questions if something is different than what you agreed to. You don’t have to live with poor craftsmanship, communicate your concerns before they leave for the day.
Install day is also going to be when you want to go back and read A. again.

Remember, things often will look worse before they look better.

It’s going to be noisy, dusty and crazy pants. Your cabinet guys and your granite/countertop guys are all going to be coming and going and tracking dust everywhere. Try not to focus on it, it’s part of the process, let them finish and then you can clean to your heart’s content.

As with everything, keep your eyes on the prize! Don’t get distracted by the dust and inconvenience, much like it is, I’m sure with having a child, once the child is born the pain of childbirth is long forgotten.

I hope these tips have been helpful!
Have you been through a kitchen renovation? What would you add to my list?

Blessings,
Catrina

 

 

Leap, and the net…

This post might upset you.

Fair warning.

I’m going to talk about excuses we tell ourselves and how to do away with them and make progress.. if that’s what you want.

And I say “if that’s what you want”, because I fully realize that some folks are comfortable in the ‘whine and complain zone’ and have no desire to get out.

If that’s not you, I hope this post will get you unstuck and moving in the direction you want to go in.

So The Husband and I are in the middle of renovating our kitchen. This is what it looks like as I’m writing this post.

IMG_9646.jpg

Hot mess express and it won’t be done anytime soon.

But the renovation isn’t what this post is about, it’s about what happened loooong before we lifted a single paint brush.

Briefly, my husband and I bought this house in 2010 and renovated the kitchen to its current state, but it was never completed. We worked on several other turn-of-the-century homes in the last eight years and neglected to finish ours. The kitchen needed a ton of work. Two years ago I was fed up with our living room, so we restored it (monster project), a year ago we renovated the dining room and I decided in 2018, the kitchen was going to be done, once and for all.

When I sat down to tell my husband I wanted to set a goal to get it done this year, the first question we had to answer was- how are we going to pay for it?

Time and expense were my biggest obstacles. And they were what kept me saying “I’m never going to get this kitchen done,” over and over, for the past eight years.

I’m a Debbie downer by nature. Been that way most of my life. I have to work hard to be positive and focus on what’s possible rather than what is. But I knew if I didn’t set this goal and didn’t start working towards it, my Negative Nelly words would come true.

So we set the goal.

I did a Facebook live announcing what my goal was and asking to be held accountable.

As soon as I got off the Live, I thought, what the heck did I just do? This is going to be a ton of work and I have no idea how we’re going to pay for it! Lol

Leap….

In my teens and early twenties, I was living paycheck to paycheck. Most would say I was poor. But I never felt that way. Why? Because I learned even at a young age (I have no idea where from) that I could save up for anything in the world that I wanted.

Anything.

There were times in my life that I was only able to save $5 a paycheck after expenses.

And by expenses I mean, rent, food, toiletries, car insurance and gas.

That was $10 a month towards savings.

Slow progress is still progress.

When people tell me- I wish I could renovate my __________________. I always want to quote Mr. Hunt who says- “Decide what you want, decide what you’re willing to give up for it, set your priorities and get to work.”

Decide what you want, decide what you’re willing to give up for it….

Even if you’re on a very fixed income, you can still save a little bit towards your dream kitchen or bathroom etc. You can also do like we did and take on extra work, sell/flip stuff on eBay and craigslist and (gasp) go without renting movies/buying magazines/eating out/vacations/buying clothes/shoes/handbags/expensive coffee, etc. so you can have the home you want.

See, there’s something that happens when we set a goal. When we put away the excuses, we start to figure out ways to accomplish that goal. When we write it down and put it in a visible spot we start to think about what we can do, or stop doing to make that goal a reality.

Even if it took you five years to save up the money for _______________, in five years you’re going to get to enjoy the benefits of your hard work, perseverance and delayed gratification. Or you can NOT work towards that goal and keep complaining for the next 10, 20, 30 years. It’s always your choice.

I urge you to stop saying- I wish. And leap… set a goal and find a way to make it happen.

You know what area in your home drives you nuts, what are you willing to give up for it?
How long are you willing to save up for it?

You can get pissed at the world because what’s her face got a new _______________ or you can decide to go after what it is you want and make it happen.

Back to my kitchen

I’ve done enough renovation projects to know the big sense of satisfaction I will feel when it’s all done, but this one will be different. Because this one was a huge leap of faith for us. We set a goal that we had no idea how it would be achieved, when we set it. We put our minds together, scrimped and saved, worked our butts off and we’re making it happen.
Is/was it easy? Heck no.
But it will be worth it.

And so it will be for you.

Leap CatrinaAtHome.png

“Decide what you want,
decide what you’re willing to give up for it,
set your priorities and get to work.”
-H. L. Hunt

If you set a big goal for yourself, home related or not, or if you’re working towards a goal you set some time ago, tell me about it! I would love to hear your story.

Blessings on your home,
Catrina

 

 

 

 

 

 

See, there’s something that happens when we set a goal

 

 

Kitchen Reno Update 1

Finally, finally, finally!!!

I set a BIG goal in January to work on our kitchen in 2018. It’s a big job.

After lots of stops and starts this year and working on a few things here and there, I finally got the husband to agree to set aside a little time to work on it with me.

Our house was built in 1908 and we bought it in 2010. We’ve worked on lots of other houses in the last 8 years so I was more than ready to have MY kitchen done.

This is how the kitchen looked when we bought the house.

CatrinaAtHome my kitchen 1

CatrinaAtHome My Kitchen 2Fancy, right? Check out those micro upper cabinets and the exposed dishwasher! Lol

We knocked out the wall between the kitchen and the butlers pantry to make the kitchen a little roomier. CatrinaAtHome my kitchen 4

We also raised the height of the windows and ran the counter along the exterior wall.

CatrinaAtHome my kitchen 5

I had white cabinets for nearly seventeen years at my last house and I thought I wanted dark cabinets in this house.

I couldn’t have been more wrong.

Dark cabinets show every speck of dust and every single finger print. Period.

No bueno.

We also realized when we invited company over that everyone piled into our tiny kitchen and turned it into an oven! lol

So I needed to open up the entry into the kitchen.

CatrinaAtHome My kitchen 6

CatrinaAtHome my kitchen 7
I doubled the size of the entry so folks would feel comfortable being in the dining room yet still close by.

CatrinaAtHome my kitchen 8
This was back in November of 2016 and we have lived with all of our Tupperware piled into this hole at the end for long enough. I am so ready for it to be done.

This was my final shot on Monday before we started tearing off the cabinet crown molding and the granite backsplash. Farewell dark cabinets!!

CatrinaAtHome my kitchen 9

The granite is being removed on Sunday afternoon (we sold it on Craigslist), my new end cabinet comes in on Monday and all next week we will be painting the insides of the cabinets.

Lots to do but I’m so excited to finally be working on it!

More updates coming soon..

Blessings,
Catrina

Kitchen renovation continues..

We bought our Craftsman home in 2010, she was 102 years old then.

There were two rooms that needed renovation started on before we moved in, one was the (not so) master bathroom and the other was the kitchen.

1912 kitchen before

This kitchen gave new definition to the term- old school. Check out those tiny cabinets!

1912 kitchen before 2

We lived for nearly 4 months on a construction site (in our home) to get these two rooms livable. Plastic draped over everything with construction materials and dust everywhere.

The kitchen was small. These old homes have awesome living and dining rooms but the private areas are often tiny compared to modern counterparts.

We were fortunate that there was a small butlers pantry between the kitchen and the dining room, so down came the wall dividing the two and our little kitchen gained five more feet in width.

1912 kitchen before 3

When it came time to choose cabinetry and countertops, I confess it was a rush job. I was sick to death of the mess and wanted to move things along as quickly as possible. So I made big decisions literally in minutes. Bad idea.

1912 kitchen mid after 1

I had lived in a house for nearly 17 years with white cabinets and I thought I wanted the opposite. Good grief was I wrong. White cabinets might show smudges and spaghetti sauce over time but dark cabinets show every spec of dirt and have to be dusted every few days. Major pain in the butt.

Between then and now we renovated three other turn of the century homes and a few  ‘newer’ properties. So needless to say, our home renovation got pushed aside.

Fast forward to 2018. I decided that this was the year I was going to finish the renovation on my kitchen, even if it took all year. And I was going to paint those dark cabinets once and for all.

It’s a pretty lofty goal, I admit, it’s going to be a ton of work. But if we never start, we can never be finished. Amiright? So, dangit, we startin’! Lol

I will update the blog regularly with all baby step changes we make throughout the year.

Wish us luck! :-)

What projects are you determined to finish this year? I would love to hear about it in the comments below.

Blessings,

Catrina