22.1.09

~ Changes ~

finds from urban barn, pier one, lee tripi design, momoy.com
A collage of ideas from the internet.

It is when January temperatures prevent me from being outdoors that my thoughts turn to my home environment. In the forty plus years that we have had our own (family) home, it has seen many incarnations. In the early years of our marriage, we set up home with very traditional furniture, all bought and chosen carefully, in blues and greens. It never felt right to us, so over the next few years it was replaced with Danish modern, in reds and oranges...the 'in' thing in the late 60's and 70's. Then it was a country look, going from old to new to old again. Thus it see-sawed over the next few decades. Until, that is, in the nineties, when I began to collect things, lots of things.
It seemed I could never have enough stuff. About five years ago my SIL introduced me to the delights of vintage linens, and of course, I was away again...something new to collect. I couldn't pass an antique store or market, without making a purchase. I even purchased books so that I could identify my purchases, and spent many happy hours bidding online for pieces I 'had' to have. I'm not sure what brought about the change, but one day we looked around and felt overwhelmed by what we saw. Slowly, but deliberately I began to give stuff away. My children begged me not to give them anything else, so it was offered to blog pals, given away as gifts, and what was left went to the charity shop. I kept sentimental pieces and packed them away carefully, along with the dainty china I rarely used. A decision was made not to have anything that was not useful or pleasing to my eye, and then not to excess. It is an ongoing project. I really thought about what I wanted, what colours and styles, what made my heart beat faster. In fact I realized that after many years I had probably found myself, and no longer cared about other peoples opinions of my home as long as I loved it. I was no longer shopping to fill a void.
My choices were in fact Simple Indulgences.
  • Pale walls.
  • Pale ceramic tile, pale Berber carpet, or pale wooden floors.
  • Dark wood furniture.
  • Red and chocolate upholstered furniture and soft furnishings. 
    Pale or sheer curtains and blinds.
    • Items with an ethnic edge, hand made and minimal.
    • Texture and plants.

    Using this formula I have been slowly making changes, while trying to utilize the things we already owned. My husband is an expert upholsterer, so the soft furnishing and furniture were economically reinvented. I make collages using finds from the Internet, and use them as idea boards. I no longer make impulse purchases and save the money I would have spent on knick knacks for bigger items.
    I still love to look at blogs whose owners post photos of their collections, they always look so cosy and welcoming, it's just not for me. I realise that paring down is not for everyone, but if I harbour any personal doubts about my own home, they are banished on occasions when I have to clean. No longer do I spend ages dusting tiny china ornaments, starching lace doo-dads, it is so freeing, and I highly recommend it. 





    Our dining room above, is still evolving, still being edited and added to. I find that since I have stopped watching HGTV I have more of a mind of my own. If anyone ever thinks about sending my name to Justin and Colin forget it! If I came home and found wallpaper or garish colours anywhere under my roof, I would be beside myself! But perhaps that would be your dream come true? If so, please answer a question. What makes your heart beat faster when it comes to your home? It doesn't have to be something you have, it could be something you dream of. Since this seems to be a 'quiet' blog time, do a post about it, and link to me. I would love to see it.

    22 comments:

    1. I love your dining room! I'm a person who doesn't have any original ideas or decorating style. Just once I'd like to be able to fix a room to look like one in a magazine. I figure those rooms aren't very livable though. I don't like a bunch of stuff around any more either. Who wants to do all that dusting! lol

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    2. I'm another person who just did not know what they liked or wanted. I have become a minimalist for all those reasons you outlined and boy has it become freeing!! I am into the ikea look - simple and minimal and yet you can add a little to it to make it cosy if you want. I love your dining room. We are in the process of doing ours and so far no ideas just yet. this post is going to inspire me!

      I used to love the cottage look too in the seventies, pine etc... lots of it ! lol... and the only thing I've kept from those days is the pine dresser.

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    3. Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm!
      I fully went along with this post Sheila...I guess the kitchen is my "room" yet it constantly needs tidying up! I have a plan however!

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    4. I too love living with less! It is an on going battle though!
      we repaintined and got new carpet last spring. I was very careful about what was allowed back in.
      I love your new look.
      Perhaps more peaceful environments will soothe our spirits too!

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    5. Hi Sheila, Hope all is going well for you....I like the look of your dining room, It is funny how our taste change through the years. I have always been one to like any thing that looks old ,I have been that way for ever in my decorating ideas. But in other things I have changed. I do have to do the ( through it out thing pretty soon) My closet where I put everything I am not using looks quite full. Hugs Sharon K

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    6. I like your dining room. But to answer your question about What I love to come home to. . . it isn't a thing at all, but the fact that people and animals that I care about are there. All I want is for them to be somewhat tidy and then happy to see me. That is what makes my heart beat faster and makes coming home a joy.

      For me a house that is not lived in is not welcoming. I have to laugh at the people on HGTV who can't or won't 'do without granite countertops, wood flooring, and stainless steel appliances.' Cookie cutter houses, that is what they want. Be so individual by being like everyone else! Good grief!

      You've chosen a much better route to live in.

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    7. aloha Sheila,
      Right now, the walls in my patio/ dining room are blue. I spackled the walls and am returning it back to a creamy taupe. Even a small variation in colour is bothering me right now, lol. I need clean lines. Simple. Unindulgent. Peaceful.
      I like your dining achievement. :)
      peace, Kai

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    8. Dear Sheila,
      We have pared down our belongings, not in the way I would have wanted though! We have less stuff now but we use what we have, even if it is "too good" for everyday. A few months back my MIL sent me a tablecloth that we bought her some 20 years ago, saying she never used it because they never had any company. There it was packed away in a closet. I have it on my dining room table ~ it has become our everyday tablecloth. I am sure she would have a fit. But I figure what's the use of having stuff if your not going to use it?
      I still have too have my lace around me ~ but its pieces I truly love and use.
      Decorating comes from the heart, your home should feed your soul and truly be a place of comfort ~ forget HGTV ~ ugh!!

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    9. me too, me too!! I was in a collecting frenzy for many years, collecting vintage everything.. I had so much country vintage that my home was in a magazine once or twice. I was outta control.

      but the past few years I have been decluttering big time and am now at a point that I love my home passionately. It is peaceful & simple... a spiritual haven.
      although I do have a very soft spot for vintage religious paraphenalia.. but I believe this helps to make my home the spiritual place that it has become.. I mean, with all those prayers said on the rosaries that I have and all the prayers said in front of the vintage statues over years and years.. well, some of them must have stuck, don't you think?

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    10. I don't think I have a theme. I have a mixed lot of furniture, & I am quite happy that way. I guess I put comfort first.

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    11. Ah, I can finally sign in again. I tried to comment yesterday or the day before and no window would come up. I have collected like you (big in the late eighties and nineties). But over time it all feels like "stuff" and so I have really started to change in my taste too. Beautiful ideas and picts today!

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    12. Well Sheila, I could go on and on. I love your dining room for starters!
      I'm married to 'Magpie Man' who collects clutter. (My bears don't count!)Every so often I hide things in the loft. I suppose eventually the ceiling will fall in!
      Our walls are a warm, pale neutral. I'm allergic to dust mites so our floors are mostly bare wood, some are painted white upstairs. Our sofas/chairs are dark green leather. I'm a Laura Ashley kind of person, I guess.

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    13. Your place looks lovely and restful.
      I will never have a clutter free home whilst married to my husband, he has boxes for all sorts of things and will not be parted, they are in the shed, under the stairs, in the bedroom, behind cupboards, under wardrobes, and filling the attic. I just hope we never have a fire!!! lol!!

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    14. I'm still trying to decide what I like! HB and I have very different taste so that presents a problem. We have compromised on things I think neither one of us likes very much. The one thing I love about my home right now is the fireplace. It makes everything seem cozy, no matter what.

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    15. Hi! Been off for the weekend...Ahhh
      I am interested in doing this. Still watch my HGTV but love purging and clearing clutter too. Did I think the things would make me more or better?? Nooo but I do love looking and touching pretty things. Oops I almost sent you some linen with a monogram on it LOL!Most things I get now I think of in terms of who can I give this to??
      :-)

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    16. I love that dining room!
      I live in an old Victorian house c1895, so lots of my furniture pieces are antiques, but I'm starting a huge decluttering project so that I can sell in a year or two... and then I shall get some more modern furniture. I love your colour scheme.

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    17. Hi Sheila,
      Your simple indulgences are beautiful, as is your dining room, just lovely (looks like it's right out of a magazine)!

      Hugs,
      Donna

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    18. I love your rooms Sheila. I wish I was more of a mimimalist! It would make my life easier! *smile*
      I am actually paring down...bit by bit. I have given away so much and changed things so often to simplify. It may not look like it but I have!
      :)
      I have stopped the collecting however. I don't shop as often and when I do, I usually just look and I am happy doing that!

      HGTV is so redundant anymore and I have tired of it...: (

      Love,
      Sue

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    19. love your DR. just showed it to my DH who agrees it looks like a magazine. I have also had changing ideas on decorating.

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    20. Sheila! I have been here several times before and for some reason could NOT post comments??? I am thrilled now that I see that I can..I will..just know that I have been by reading your previous posts but just unable to post my comment. With that behind me I will now comment.

      I love the idea of editing our "things" after watching my mother lose fragements of her belongings little by little..I realized that ..these material things that we put so much value on..isn't
      important in the end.I am really going through my home as you have and editing much!
      Love your choice of decorating..Pottery Barn if I was starting over everything in my home would be from there!
      Nice being able to post a comment ..love and light anna xo
      BTW..thank you for the card xo

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    Thank you for visiting. It's always good to have company!