Thursday, June 26, 2008

My reno inferiority complex; otherwise known as rambling.

Sometimes I look at all these houseblogs and ogle the beautifully staged spaces. In the first place, many of them lack clutter of any kind. I could never be so neat and tidy. It's not in my nature, and I'm sure some of you relate. I take detailed notice of things all over the house, and generally know where somebody set something down while passing through the dining room, or where I watched someone else put the unopened jar of pasta sauce; I'm even particularly OCD about weird things, like how the towels hang in the bathroom, and the way the kitchen is cleaned after cooking with chicken. But if I go on a massive spring cleaning, I'm stumped. And frankly, I've let my life get to the point where I'm not sure I could ever get completely decluttered and remain employed.

And I also often take note of whether someone hired out the work or did it him or herself. I have been known to get a little discouraged when I hear how quickly some project or other got finished-- until I realize that the work was hired out to someone who didn't learn how to do the job off the internet (coughcough like we did coughcough) while we pitifully muddle our way through. I feel a little better about my snail's pace. I'm in the midst of a learning curve!

But today I noticed this: a lot of the After pictures that look so professionally staged? Those houses contain "nicer" stuff than I have at the moment. I'm still slowly weeding out the college furniture and collecting the heirlooms, so I've got a ways to go before my stuff looks polished. Oh hell. It'll never looked polished. I don't have polished taste. Not to mention, by the time I get through replacing the crap stuff, the initially nice things I bought or the antique I inherited will be ready for replacement or refinishing, respectively. And actually, I prefer to live in that kind of mismatched space. The few times in my life where I have made the place immaculate, I spent all my time getting a stomach ulcer over everyone else's inability to clean after themselves.

So while this was an initially depressing thought-- as in an, "I'm not sure I'll ever have the money to have nice things AND fix up the house"-- I've decided it's actually a comforting thought: It's not because I suck at this! It's because I'm still not a grown-up yet. I like lots of quirky things with sentimental value; I still like to sleep in my clothes on occasion, and hang pictures on the walls with pushpins.

Not one for polish, I suppose.

And you know, maybe that leads to a larger theme-- that there's a pretty big difference between renovating or remodeling, and interior design. I like to try and separate the two, at least initially. I know that the design dresses up and theoretically shows off the reno, though really, it ultimately comes down to taste. But it's such a fun part of the project...

So props to those of you with beautiful, polished spaces-- I envy you. I still love to ogle your finished projects and use them as a bar toward which to strive. I'm just content knowing I'll likely never quite get there!

9 comments:

Jennifer said...

I have the same complex!

Truthfully, I think some things look BETTER in pictures! I know our handmedown couche and table sure do!

We clean right before a project, so clean up isn't as bad... plus then I can take a clean pic! If I wait, the area gets cluttery again, and the world will never see it.

Green Fairy said...

I think we all feel the same way. I know I've read your blog and felt like a slacker for not getting things done around here. :-)

Jenni said...

We really could be friends. I mean really... what is the point of dusting when more dust is gonna fall down from the holes in the ceiling?

A house is suppose to be lived in.

Amalie said...

I know what you mean, Jennifer-- things also look better to other people. I've got a little humidor stand that's completely falling apart, and my mother and I fight over it for sentimental reasons-- But I've had compliments on it. I only thought it looked good to us because we each grew up with it...

Ditto on your blog, Joanne!

Jenni-- it's like making the bed. hello? You're just going to sleep in it IN A FEW HOURS. And you'll be gone all that time, so you can't even enjoy it. Ok. Maybe it's nice to get into a tucked in bed...But I don't sweat it!

Friendship made.

John said...

I know what you mean. The only time we've ever got our house pristine looking was for the real estate appraiser. That was two or three years ago? We make a pretty respectable showing for Thanksgiving and Christmas (since the family comes to us). I'm pathologically incapable of keeping a house neat and clean, but I always make my bed. It's not a clean issue, it's to keep bugs and spiders out. You only have to find a brown recluse under a pillow once to start tucking the sheets in tight every morning.

Green Fairy said...

Amalie, I'm with you on the bed making--it only gets done when a)the sheets are freshly washed or b) when company's coming over. But John's brown recluse comment has had me creeped out all afternoon...

Stephanie said...

I never make my bed either (but had never thought of spiders sneaking in!) I'm just like the Green Fairy - I make the bed when I change the sheets or if I know someone is coming over.

Yay Jenni - I hate dusting. Almost as much as I hate vacuuming, and I REALLY hate vacuuming.

As for the rest of our messy house, we always take photos of our completed projects RIGHT away because we know they are never going to look that good again!

casacaudill said...

I could have written your post. I've even stopped reading some house blogs because I feel so badly about our progress afterwards. If this house has taught me one thing it's that I'm not good at the restoration of an old home. We get into projects and just find ourselves so overwhelmed and unable to do what we wanted to do because we just aren't equipped. So far we've paid someone to tear out a tree that was 65+ feet tall, install new electrical wiring and that's it. Everything else is just waiting ... and day by day I feel worse and worse about it. I can't even get a picture hung back up on the wall because our lathe & plaster is soooo finicky so now I've started leaning them against the wall and pretending that's how I want them.

Amalie said...

I guess I'm just always amazed when I go into a house that looks like it came out of last week's Better Homes & Gardens...I just don't have that kind of time or money.

And now the spider thing is freaking me out too-- I found a black widow in my hard drive the other day!

It's easy to get excited and then overwhelmed. But we'll all get there eventually (HA! Yeah right! Houses are NEVER done-- that's how they get you!!). In the meantime, I think propping up photos and paintings is a perfectly acceptable, and fashionable way to go about your decorating. Keep it up.