Keepin' it Real
One of the things I have discovered about myself in my thirties is that I am really, really interested in interior design. I have always avoided admitting this out loud, because the word 'decorator' makes me cringe, and I always assume people are picturing balloon valances and Designing Women when I bring it up. But you know what they say about people who assume. . .
I have come to realize that most people now understand that the world of interior design is incredibly broad and diverse, and is populated by very smart and creative people. I am finally comfortable admitting out loud that I am into home design. In the last year I have become obsessed with following a handful of designers online, and I have a small but growing library of design books.
Mostly, though, I am deeply passionate about creating a home for myself and my family which reflects the interests, quirks, and aesthetics of each of us. I used to assume that people would think I was frivolous if I admitted how much satisfaction I get out of this process, but I am now old enough and confident enough in my beliefs to assert that it is not shallow to care about what my home looks like. I have come to understand as an adult that I am a deeply aesthetic person, and that my mood and productivity are profoundly improved when I am working with a clean-ish and functional space that I find to be beautiful in some way. Above all, I want to give my kids the gift of growing-up in a home that inspires creativity and self-expression at every turn.
At the same time, I think that in the age of Instagram and Pintrest, we need to be careful not to overwhelm each other with images of perfect homes, styled and staged to present an image of 'lifestyle' that does not resemble what living actually looks like. I totally get wanting to post pictures of you house when it is looking its best. There is nothing wrong with wanting to put your best foot forward. But living creates mess and clutter and dirt; let's not pretend it doesn't. We clean up the messes, and then we make more of them. Repeat, repeat, repeat. There is no shame in it.
Our homes are a lot of things: they are laboratories, workshops, and galleries, a series of surfaces for us to lounge on and throw our junk. They are physical, multi-dimensional representations of the patterns of our daily routines and habits, and of the incremental ways we evolve and change over time. They are the spaces in which we can be most ourselves. What they are not is a serious of perfect images frozen on Instagram.
Long ago (at least it seems that way), I remember Ree Drummond posting a picture of her kitchen sink, unglamorous piled high with the dirty dishes and debris that were the by-product of the beautiful post she had just created. The honesty of that image had a profound effect on me. And so, while I plan to eventually populate the 'design' section of this blog with more polished images of our home, I want to start in a more humble place. This is more or less what our house looks like on an average morning after Michael has headed off to work and Zoe has been handed off to the bus driver and I finally have time to look around and catch my breath.
It is not always pretty, but it is not the end of the world. Some of this will get cleaned up over the course of my day. Some of it will not. Oh, well. Living in a house with children--or with any humans, really-- involves constantly swimming against a tide of laundry and banana peels and paper. Life is clutter. So what?