The (un)finished home

I follow a lot of other folks on Instagram who are also renovating and restoring old homes. Ours is a 1908 Craftsman Bungalow, others are renovating farmhouses and making homes of buildings that were formerly businesses.

There’s something we all have in common, that feeling that the work is never done. We cheer each other on, rejoice over the small victories and try to be an encouragement when the going is slow and rough, which is often.

This past month when I spent the majority of it in bed, I spent a lot of time looking up at the walls and ceiling in my room, that we have yet to renovate. Quite frankly, the walls are pretty lumpy. Lol These plaster and lath walls have been ‘repaired’ many times by folks over the years and boy do they show it. They’re difficult for me to look at.

We also need to remove the door and picture molding you see in the photo, and restore the walls, baseboards, floors and windows. You know, a weekend project! #not LOL

I wish I could say this was the only room in the house that needed this much work, but it’s not. We have done so much work on this house but we still have so far to go.

Having “so far to go” on a house can be discouraging.

Many of my instagram peers will have transparent moments where they share ‘behind the square’ photos and videos of what it’s really like to renovate a home in real life. It’s slow and difficult and absolutely nothing like your favorite HGTV home reno show, that’s for sure. Behind a few squares of super styled photos are rooms that are still in a rough state.

You know, whether you’ve started on one or two projects or you’re just dreaming about starting, I want to remind all of us that our homes, in their current state are worth celebrating.

I know it’s tough, believe me, I’ve had exposed lumber in my bathroom for over eight years. That same bathroom has never had baseboard and the vanity is too dang small. If you’re thinking, why don’t you just fix it, you’re a renovator for Pete’s sake?! I would say, I would love too!! But the reality is, before you fix that, you have to fix this, and before you fix this you have to fix that. You add in a busy schedule, and other rooms and projects that are a priority, and well, things just don’t happen as quickly as we want them to.

Maybe for you, it’s dealing with carpet you want to rip out, cabinets you want to replace or painting you need to get done, bottom line, it’s driving you nuts. And it’s impacting how you feel about your home and yourself.

I hear you.

Though I’m not advocating for just sitting in your mess and tolerating it, I am saying, during a season of ‘hurry up and wait’, try to remember all the good your home provides, even in it’s current state.

We love our home, I’ve said that many times before. But even I, if I focus too long on those lumpy bedroom walls will start to get down about all that still has to be done in this old home.

Our bedroom (though desperately needing renovation/restoration) still provides a warm and cozy place to sleep at night, what more can I ask for?

Would I love for our bedroom to be done and decorated the way I see it in my head? Yes, of course! But I also know that we’re not just sitting around and waiting for things to happen, we’re working as much on our home as we can, when we can.

I need to remember that this is just a season.. and seasons change.

I know I talk a lot about gratitude and focusing on the good and I don’t think I’ll ever be done talking about it. Lol The fact of the matter is this, regardless of what the situation is, everything will be better when we chose to look for the good and be grateful for what we have. The alternative, focusing on what we don’t have, brings nothing but anxiety, anger, frustration and even depression. Who wants that? Not me!

Even the rooms in my home that are ‘done’ are still not done being decorated, they’re not where I would like them to be. I still have a choice to make, to focus on the good, work on what I can and be grateful for the rest.

We have a few more (big and small) projects to complete before we plan to tackle the bedroom or bathroom so it will be awhile yet before I’m seeing smooth walls in my bedroom.

But let’s just choose together, to work on what we can, and rest in the season and home we find ourselves in.

Blessings on your home,

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

 

 

How To Style Series: The Nightstand

Your nightstand is the possibly the first thing you see when you wake up in the morning and the last thing before you go to sleep at night. And yet, very often, it’s the area of our home that lacks any style. It’s an afterthought at best.

 

When we take the time to actually style our nightstands with a few things that we love, it makes it nice to walk into the room at night and nice to wake up to. Style isn’t for others to look at and/or admire, it’s for us to feel more at home in our homes. When we are surrounded by objects (many or few) that we love and inspire us, that reflect our personalities, we feel ‘at home.’

When we feel refreshed and inspired at home we are able to recharge and regain the energy we need to go out and do what we’re supposed to do in the world.

Here’s a quick video on how to style a nightstand:

 

Here are the simple steps to a fabulous nightstand:

  1. Add lighting (a medium sized lamp of your choice)
  2. Add art or a mirror (leaning against the wall or hanging on the wall, your choice)
  3. Add a small stack of books
  4. Add in flowers or greenery
  5. Bring in personal touches (favorite collectibles or photos)
  6. Don’t overcrowd the space, leave plenty of room to charge your phone, etc.
  7. Use different textures and heights to create interest
  8. Style in odd numbers (three or five items)

Take a look at your nightstand, does it reflect you and your personal style? I hope these simple steps will motivate you to style your home in a way that refreshes and inspires you.

 

Happy styling,

Catrina

How to style your nightstand pic

 

 

Done is better than perfect

“I’m afraid I might mess it up.”

 

This is the “reason” I hear so often from folks who want to do that DIY project, pick a new couch or paint their bedroom… but haven’t started yet.

For some it’s been days but for others… it’s been years. They’re stuck.

There’s very few things in this world that can’t be fixed if indeed you do “mess it up” so I ask you, is that really the reason you haven’t begun?

Is there some perfectionism mixed in there? Maybe a little fear of what others will say?

When you leave the land of the Talkers and join in the land of the Doers, when you put yourself out there and take the leap to start your project, you quickly find out, that making mistakes is part of the process. It’s as common as dirt.

The difference is, I’ve been doing this long enough to know that I’m going to screw up from time to time. I get pissed, fix it, learn from it and move on. End of story.

Confidence and understanding are only developed through experience.

And the only way to get some experience.. is to get started.

Silence the naysayers and even the voices in your head, take a leap and START that project/job/weight loss program etc. that you’ve been wanting to and kick fear in the face, once and for all.

You got this.

 

Blessings,

Catrina