We passed our one-year anniversary at the new house last week, and as is common to milestones, it’s given us an opportunity to stop and take stock of how far we’ve come, and how much we still need to do.
In short: we’ve done so much; we have so much to do. Putting a house together is hard work, much harder and more time-demanding than I expected.
But it feels like home. It’s been months since I accidentally made the turn to go to the old house. I love the floors and the light and the two bathrooms (and a half, that it turns out we never use), the easy layout and easy park access.
There are drawbacks, too. I miss the library more than I thought I would. And the kids miss the backyard—the giant backyard that Will and I hated (HATED) taking care of—more than I thought they would.
But all in all it’s been a good move, and we have learned so much—not just about paint colors and furniture and decorating priorities, though of course we have—but about what our lives look like, and what we want them to look like, and how our home can help or hurt that, and what makes a place feel like home, anyway.
We’ve learned so much about white space and clutter and organization. (Moving and doing a Kondo-style tidying up in the same six month period is a revelation.)
Progress has come in bursts: there have been months, even just weekends, where we have gotten so much done. Then there have been months with nothing to show, house-wise, because our real life couldn’t accommodate one more thing. Such is life.
Here are a few pictures of what things look like around here, right now.
The living room
This is my favorite room, design-wise, and it’s the room we had the most help with. (Coincidence? Probably not.) We need to hang a few pictures, paint a bookcase, add a few more pillows, and we’re done.
We also need to have the electrician fix an outlet that’s been broken since day one. (I was mortified to realize we’d hit the one-year mark without fixing that, and tempted to beat myself up about living like this is our home.)
We added one of these wingback chairs to the living room right after we moved, and another one six months later. I added the disco ball because of the Nester. The way it reflects the light is dreamy.
We’re still loving our library area. It’s given me a new hobby: constantly reshuffling the bookshelves.
We’ve been conflicted about how much to do to this room, because we’ve known since Day 1 that we’d probably be doing a major remodel. It looks like that’s coming late summer.
It took us five months to find a kitchen table, and another 6 months to get a glass top for it. But it’s done.
Just last weekend we finally hung up these frames. I love them, but I had no idea where to put them. Now they’re in the kitchen, and they may not be perfect there, but at least they’re up.
During this whole process I’ve discovered that while it’s hard for me to face a blank slate like an empty wall, it’s much easier to make changes once the ball is rolling. That realization has made it much easier for me to just hang the pictures already.
(My mom found those L’il DaVinci store and display frames and they are awesome. Each frame holds up to 50 pages of artwork, and they’re hinged so all you have to do is open the frame’s cover—while it’s still on the wall—and add the latest piece of artwork. Spring-loaded corners keep everything in place.)
I’m reading Design Mom’s book (love it, full post coming soon) and one of her offhanded suggestion was to create open cabinets by removing the doors. Simple as that (and nothing to lose since these cabinets are coming down in August anyway) so we did, and I love it.
We didn’t remove all the cabinet doors: there are some cabinets I’m much happier to keep covered. But this was such a fun change to make.
The entry holds this rickety thrift store table, a lamp, and an oil painting my mom did of our first house.
I still want to find a cute bench (or ideally, church pew) for seating, and I’m hoping I can find a way to hang twinkle lights that doesn’t look stupid.
The backyard has been in great shape from Day 1, which is why it’s the best room in the house. (I’ll love it even more when the seasonal pollen explosion is over.)
Notably missing from this round-up: the dining room (so boring right now!), the kids’ rooms, the office (we just hosted a tween sleepover there—you understand), our bedroom.
More about the bedroom: when we first moved in, I was adamant that our giant bed only looked good on one wall. After a year, I was completely sick of the bed on that wall, and we spent last weekend rearranging all the furniture, including moving the bed to the wall I swore it looked horrible on. I’m loving it so far, but it is not photo-ready.
That’s where we stand today, after one year and one week. I’m hoping to make much progress in the coming months, when I expect to have more time for the house than we’ve had this spring.