So, it’s admittedly taken me a bit to jump back into the the New Year. Or at least posting in the New Year. If you follow me on Instagram, you’ve seen that I’ve been on quite the purging kick around my house, which has taken a front seat to just about everything else around here. What is it about January that makes it feel so good to purge all the things? Getting rid of all of my junk has been something I’ve worked pretty hard on over the last few years, and I thought I was doing pretty well, but somehow I always seem to find more crap! And every January, I seem to be able to part with just a little bit more. I’m excited to share more about my “de-junking journey” in the coming weeks, because it’s something that I’ve become passionate about over the past few years, and even started several posts about it over the years, but never hit publish for one reason or another. Anyway, more about that coming soon, so stay tuned. Here’s a little look at my progress in that department (this is JUST from my laundry room, closet, and office closet–where does it all come from?).
But today, I have another topic on my mind that includes a little bit of my heart and a lot of what I have planned for the upcoming year around here. The end of the year had me thinking a lot about my home, and quite frankly, getting caught up in the comparison game of the Holidays with everyone’s beautiful homes all over social media land. Which led me to thinking a lot about one of my favorite things: REAL LIFE. Like the real life when I went to open a cupboard in my kitchen yesterday and the door just fell off. That’s the second hinge that’s just bit the dust in a month. Also, if you’ve been around here a while, you know I have fake drawer fronts that randomly fall off and a child who randomly decides that she wants to know what’s in the drawer she’s never actually seen open in her six years on this Earth (you can read that whole story here if you’re interested–it still gives me a good laugh). So I’m currently down two cupboard doors in my kitchen right now and it’s a really pretty sight.
And door hinges that randomly disintegrate is the perfect example of what’s been on my mind the last couple of months. This idea of “The Dream Home.” Let me explain a little. Eight years ago, we bought our first home. We live in a neighborhood where there about five different floor plans, so the only thing that really sets you apart from your neighbors is the color you picked for your house (and I didn’t even do that, because we bought our house when it was already 5 years old), and in some cases, whether or not you bother to mow or even water your lawn–our neighborhood looks nice, but there’s always “that house,” right? Anyway, it’s not exactly a picturesque farmhouse on 10+ sprawling acres.
So, when we moved in eight years ago, it was our five year(ish) plan. You know how it goes. Young kids, shiny new college degrees, the world at our fingertips. We were going to make a lot of money and have all the things. Then the World gives you a little kick in the ass and a reality check. And I have to say that my “reality check” has actually been pretty amazing, but man have priorities and life dreams changed as we got older. And lately, that’s had me thinking about this whole concept of the “dream home.” Our family has grown, our goals as a couple and a family have changed from where we were as those young kids with stars in our eyes (we still have the stars, they’re just different), and we actually have an amazing community that has grown up around us where we can walk to our favorite hangouts, my daughter has great friends at school, and biggest of all, I like what I pay for my house and would rather spend more money somewhere else in my budget than on a bigger mortgage. So, what started out as our five-year home, eight years later, we’ve decided to make our forever home. Basically, for us, a bigger, or even different house, just isn’t a priority these days.
Which brings me to this concept of “dream house.” I don’t know about you, but do you sometimes feel inundated with that phrase? And then look around and feel like your home is just so lacking? We don’t all live in our “dream home”. Or at least not what the world generally sees as a dream home. I don’t have acreage where I look out at wheat fields and horses (in fact, I can see what my back yard neighbors are watching on TV, and if they leave their floodlight on, shining into my bedroom one more night, I SWEAR…), I don’t have a formal dining room or a mantel I can dress up for holidays, I have builder’s grade boob-lights instead of pretty chandeliers, I don’t have a wrap around porch where I can sit and sip coffee on my porch swing…you know, the whole Pinterest definition of a dream home, but you know what? I LOVE my little home. And as I’ve given it more love this past year and really found my “style groove,” I walk in the door from the garage some days and think, “damn, I like what you’ve done with the place.” And other days I obsess over all of the things I hate (I’m looking at you Formica counter tops).
When I started blogging, I loved it because it was sort of the the real life version of what you see in the magazines. For me, magazines were always the inspiration or the, “jumping off point”, but blogging was where real life budget, skills, and time came into play. It was the “accessible” version of a magazine home. And all of us live on different budgets and different circumstances and what may be really expensive to me, is pocket change to someone else. I get that. But, somewhere along the way, things changed a bit. Just a hunch, but I think it was around the same time we all started feeling like our life had to fit into these beautiful, picture-perfect squares and be as pretty as that online “bulletin board” full of projects we never actually complete. In fact, remember that guest bedroom makeover that I was doing a couple of months ago? It’s done. It’s been done for months. But you know why you haven’t seen it here? Because there’s ONE spot on a wall that’s bugging me. ONE. And I didn’t want to purchase anything else for the wall yet with all of the expenses of the Holidays. It wasn’t “pin-worthy”. (Here’s a little peek and I’ll be sharing the full room SOON!) It was in that ridiculous state of mind that I decided where I was going this coming year with projects. Which actually leads me to the point now, PROMISE:
Now, I feel like I have to qualify this whole thing with this: I’m a big believer in focusing on the haves, not the have-nots. So please don’t mistake what I’m saying as being ungrateful. It’s actually TOTALLY the opposite. I am well aware that what, to me, isn’t considered a “dream house” is what some people do consider a “dream home.” To me, this year is about making the most of what we/I have. My goal is to show you that this concept of “dream home” is what WE/YOU/I make it. I don’t care if your home is 500 sq. ft. or 5,000, cookie cutter or unique, old or new, rented or owned, everyone can love where they live and it’s my goal this year to show you how and also do the same to my house. We’ve made some changes over the years like new floors, adding a backsplash to our kitchen, painting the cabinets, adding furniture we built–just to name a few–that have been budget-friendly ways to give our little cookie cutter home more personality. In fact, when I look back through pictures, I realize just how far we’ve really come. Just to show you, here’s a picture we took when we were looking at purchasing the house, and what the same room looks like now:
And since we’re talking about real life, here’s what my living room looks like at this current moment (why is there a blanket on the table?!!)
SO! This year, there will be more projects to make that old or maybe just blah home a little more custom and little more you. There will be more “real-time” room makeovers, because I know that budget is a reality (it is a major reality for me) and most rooms don’t happen in a day or even a month. There will be practical things like changing doors, door knobs, trim, light fixtures and even my favorite simple things like decor–things that seem small but can really have a huge impact on the look of a home. And, we all know that not all home projects can be done on a small budget. We’re possibly looking at a kitchen renovation this year (if budget allows) so we’ll talk about where to spend and where to save when it comes to big home projects. And, getting back to some of the smaller projects I love like recipes, printables, and easy DIY’s that seem to have become less frequent, and the everyday stuff like organizing, my more recent passion for decluttering, and just making the most of living in small spaces. I hope if you’ve been like me and been feeling a little down about your home after the holidays, you’ve found a little inspiration today, and that you’ll join me on this journey of really loving the home you have and making it YOUR dream home. I’m excited for 2017!!