Saturday, April 14, 2012

decorate with the things you like

I feel like there's an expectation that your home is supposed to be a direct reflection of who you are. This is the place and these are the things that you've chosen to surround yourself with, so they must say a lot about the person you are, right?

I look around and I wonder all the time, Does our home really feel like 'us' when people walk in it? Does it evoke the same feelings to other people as it does to me? Could a stranger walk around in my house and get a sense of the things I like and that make me happy?

These are things I've always wanted my home to do. But when I take all those expectations and I think about decorating or improving our place, sometimes all of that can seem like a lot of pressure.

I compare it to that same feeling when you show up to class on the first day and the teacher asks, "Okay, now everyone go around the room and share one interesting fact about themselves." What?! Just one. Holy crap, I better not screw this up... Or it's the same reason that I get anxiety just thinking about the design of my blog. I'm never happy with it because it's my one solitary place on the internet, and I want it to just scream Caroline. (Maybe not scream. You'd probably prefer no one scream Caroline at you. Whisper? State? Express? Yeah, one of those will do.) Point is, it feels like the way you decorate is your one shot to tell your story when people walk into your home. (Okay, so I understand that home decor should not have such dire stakes, but hey, these are the voices in my head and if you haven't noticed already, they can be a bit... dramatic.)

Since Jason and I moved in together over a year ago, I've had this nagging desire to make our house better. More us, more inviting, more interesting. However, the problem for me is that there's no end result I'm really working toward. I don't have some inspiration picture that I'm following to a tee or a definitive vision I'm trying to realize. I just want to keep trying to make it beautiful, reflect our personalities and be a place of delight and comfort. Easier said than done.

As you may recall, I like themes. patterns. purpose. When I started decorating, I wanted so badly for it to be like all my favorite HGTV shows (Property Brothers? Color Splash? Income Property? Oh, I love them ALL) where I have this color palette and plan and inspiration board, and I simply do everything I can to make it look like that. Um... yeah... as it turns out, it doesn't quite work like that.

Unless you have buckets of money or are a trained interior designer, life is actually nothing like those shows. (Life? Not like how it's portrayed on TV? Mind-blowing, I know.) You have to prioritize, make manageable changes and see it evolve over time. That's why it's impossible to have it all look like a magazine right off the bat, as much I want it to. I realized early on (in one of my first blog posts in fact) that if I simply focus on buying/incorporating things that we both just like, then an overall look and feel will develop on its own. And I'm so happy to say that I think it has.

Things have really come a long way since I moved in. We've done several projects that you may even remember from earlier blog posts - perhaps the epic sanding battle of 2011 or my pride and joy our shadow box clock ring a bell - and through it all I've managed to care less about sticking to any one theme or aesthetic and simply decorate with things that make Jason and I happy: bold, bright colors; black and white accents; unexpected art; clean and modern lines. It's so fun that I can finally see our sense of collective style emerging, a sort of "modern quirky" as I like to describe it (Jas provides much of the modern, I predictably supply the quirky.)

We definitely have a long way to go (like, an infinite way to go, since we established that this process never truly ends), but I'm really happy with the space we've created for ourselves. There are a few nooks in particular in the house that make me smile every time I pass them (check them out below!) They are filled with funky accessories, gifts we've bought for each other, a few of my crafts, and what I think is a fun, colorful energy (like us!)

Although the whole house may not scream 'us' yet, I feel like if we focus on creating more spaces that give us the same reaction that these few do, we'll have a house full of personality in no time!

In the kitchen...

Random assortment of fun shelf accessories. IKEA wine rack. Clock with a mustache.
Fun fact: The wine cork letters were one of my first craft projects on this blog,
and in that post I talked about wanting a shelf to finally display them on. Hooray for following through! 
Coffee bean owl. What the fork? Empty bottle of double-barrel tequila from our dear friends Don and Debbie
over at TacoLu. Vintage camera print that Jason gave me for Valentine's Day this year. 
All of my actual wine bottles were too big to fit in this cool wine rack from IKEA so instead Jason and I went to World Market and simply picked out four bottles with unique/interesting labels. They make me happy, and I love the contrast between the light and dark.
Our new sharks' teeth holder - a giant mason jar. Swoon.
Above our bed...
I love the shelf above our bed. It was Jason's idea to turn this shelf sideways and hang it up there.
Each nook is like its own little cubby of whimsy to me.
Love this print and our fun little bird...
This is a crochet Plaxico doll that Jason commissioned someone on Etsy to create.
It is so darn precious it gets its own cubby.
I adore the bright teal color of these vases and love the juxtaposition of the tall and skinny
with the short and stout. When the sun pours into our bedroom they just sparkle. 
And just so you have the full picture, this is what it looked like when we first put it up
with the new bed/rug we got each other for Christmas last year.
And to give you an idea of how much personality we've been able to add...
here's right after we refinished the bedroom set.
And of course, let's not forget how far we've come. Here's how it all began right before we decided to strip down the furniture. Crazy to look back at how each small change has made it a different room!
My desk...
I love my workspace in our office upstairs. The bright colors and natural wood desk, coupled with the natural sunlight that comes through those windows (when it's not dark of course) make it an extremely pleasant place to get work done. (I usually have my laptop up there as well and use the extra monitor/keyboard as needed... which ends up being every day.)
Trying to add bits of whimsy wherever I can...
Our bookshelf...
For some reason this bookshelf makes me so happy. Maybe it's all the bright colors from the books below, or maybe it's the Calvin and Hobbes print I bought Jason for his birthday last year that I FINALLY got framed.
Whatever it is, I heart it.
Also love the awesome coffee table book that Jason's sister got him for Christmas - lots of original sketches of classic automobiles. Since Jason is such a car buff it's fun to see one of his interests so prominently on display.

Do you feel any of the same pressure I do to make your place express you? Do you have any favorite spaces that seem to make you smile? 


  1. great job as always love reading your stuff!!!!

  2. Thank you so much, Cindy! I really appreciate it!