So we moved into this house a little over a decade ago and I was thrilled to finally have some real space to decorate. I know, I know, what space? True, it's a small cottage, but you see, we had just moved ~ literally across the street ~ from a teeny cottage, just 975 total square feet. My new digs felt palatial.
Of course, what do people do when they have tons of wide open space?
Fill. It. Up.
And I did.
I shopped, thrifted, bartered with family and collected pieces from the side of the road, until I literally did not have one unadorned surface in the house. I have to say that at first, I loved it. My friends called me the accessory queen and I can recall some very fun times, loud music on, alone in the house, arranging and rearranging my treasures until everything was just so.
I had so much fun.
Don' t laugh. It was like having my very own dollhouse. Life-sized.
Then one evening I turned on the TV and fell in love with clean style and minimalist design. My house suddenly felt cluttered and overstuffed.
At the very same time, my mother took ill. She needed to be moved out of her home and it was a daunting job. She had so much stuff. Stuff that she had shopped for, thrifted, bartered with family for and collected from the side of the road and yet, very few pieces were really important or meaningful.
Sadly, the majority of it ended up in donation bins or the trash.
I started to think about simplifying my life in general, I wanted to keep only what I truly valued and with that, I began the great purge. I donated truckloads of accessories, extra bedding and furniture. In addition, my ideas about design were transformed as well. I wanted cleaner lines, less pattern and a more streamlined cottage look.
I wasn't ready to ditch my signature red or my beloved tchotchkes, but I certainly toned it down a bit.
Please pardon the photos, they are old and scanned.
My patterned couches were sent to live with my niece and her husband. I replaced them with white. While I adored those plaid sofas, the white ones allow me to create a whole new look just by swapping out a few pillows that pop.
Couldn't do that before...yikes, I'd get dizzy!
The old one is now in the basement family room.
My kitchen got an overhaul, too...or maybe it's an under-haul? This photo was taken shortly after the room was added. The electrical outlets are still uncovered, but that didn't stop me from decorating.
When we built the kitchen I felt the need to fill every nook with color and texture to add warmth.
After a while, I realized that too much was, well, too much.
My bathroom changes were subtle, but more of the same idea. I needed to streamline the elements. The green countertop was not right anymore. It was too much, too many competing focal points, the red curtain muted the red walls...and that blue tissue box was a point of major contention.
This was definitely a case where less color is more.
Of course, I still have a lot of work to do. My hall closet and basement remain stuffed, no matter how hard I try to empty them out.
So what's a girl to do?
Well, looks like I'll be visiting the thrift store again this weekend, but not as a shopper, oh no. It will be a drop off only kind of visit.
I am committed.
But, there is an garage sale in my neighborhood tomorrow....
How has your style changed over the years?
***P.S. I know that I often say the house has been relatively the same since we moved in and I believe these photos are a testament to that. The before pics were all taken sometime between 2002 and 2004. The afters are from this year or last. More than a decade later, there have been no major renovations and I still have some of the same accessories and decor pieces.
Check out the pig and the placemats. Yikes.
Maybe I should go shopping! ;)
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