LIV­ING COL­UMN Caro­line Rowland nds plea­sure in a work in progress.

Ac­cept­ing that our homes will never be ‘ nished’ frees us up to just en­joy the changes

In the Moment - - Contents - Words: Caro­line Rowland / Il­lus­tra­tion: Amy­isla Mccom­bie CARO­LINE ROWLAND is the found­ing ed­i­tor of in­te­ri­ors and life­style pub­li­ca­tion 91 Mag­a­zine (www.91mag­a­zine.co.uk). Turn the page to dis­cover Caro­line’s ren­o­va­tion projects.

Be­ing a rel­a­tively new owner of a doer-up­per, I’ve of­ten found my­self frus­trated with the ar­eas of our home that are not yet ‘done’. When friends and fam­ily visit they ex­claim: ‘You’ve changed so much al­ready!’, but lay­ing eyes on those hor­ri­ble bath­room tiles and dated kitchen cab­i­nets on a daily ba­sis does put strain on my de­sire for aes­thetic perfection.

Lately though, I’ve started to come to terms with it, with the real­i­sa­tion that our homes are never ‘ nished’ – they are con­stantly chang­ing and shift­ing. It’s learn­ing to ac­knowl­edge this evo­lu­tion of our sur­round­ings, em­brac­ing the process of change that real life brings to our liv­ing spa­ces which can make a di er­ence to our well­be­ing.

Day to day, it might sim­ply be the ac­cep­tance that some­times our homes are in dis­ar­ray. Other com­mit­ments eas­ily re­sult in clean­ing be­ing ne­glected and the kitchen ta­ble be­com­ing a dump­ing ground. Yet, with a morn­ing free to tackle it, the space is back to one of or­der and clean­li­ness. Un­less you have masses of time to ded­i­cate to keep­ing your home spick and span, it is al­most im­pos­si­ble to keep an im­pec­ca­bly tidy house – so give your­self a break and re­alise that at­tempt­ing perfection is fu­tile!

When it comes to ren­o­vat­ing or re­dec­o­ra­tion, rather than des­per­ately striv­ing for the end-point, why not try to rel­ish in the de­vel­op­ment of the project? With each room we’ve trans­formed, I’ve doc­u­mented the changes with my cam­era, which helps when I need to ap­pre­ci­ate how far we’ve come.

I’ve also ap­proached each room as a mini in­te­rior de­sign project – rst spend­ing time on Pin­ter­est, gath­er­ing ideas, then scour­ing the in­ter­net for the per­fect pieces of fur­ni­ture, wall­pa­per or art work, and then build­ing a mood board. (I’ve shared some of these on my blog www.patch­workhar­mony.co.uk/blog if you are in­ter­ested.) Not only has this been lots of fun, it’s helped me to vi­su­alise the room be­fore com­mit­ting to buy­ing items, and once I’m ready to pur­chase, I can eas­ily lo­cate the links to place my or­der. I used to hate the next stage – the ac­tual man­ual labour of dec­o­rat­ing, or hav­ing trades­peo­ple in the house – and well, I still do a bit, but now I tell my­self that soon we will have a beau­ti­ful new room to en­joy – it’s just all part of the process.

Even if you are not in the throes of ren­o­va­tion or big change in your home, mak­ing even small al­ter­ations to a space can ac­tu­ally un­leash a sense of re­ju­ve­na­tion. You don’t nec­es­sar­ily need to spend any money do­ing this ei­ther – it can be as sim­ple as re­ar­rang­ing the fur­ni­ture, edit­ing your man­tel­piece dis­play or swap­ping around art­work on the walls. There may be things you’ve fallen out of love with, your per­sonal tastes have sim­ply changed, or per­haps there’s been a life event that re­quires things to be al­tered. The ar­rival of a baby or the mov­ing in of a par­ent de­mands the re­as­sign­ment of rooms or sim­ply mak­ing space for an­other hu­man’s needs.

Our homes shift with the sea­sons too, crav­ing warmth, can­dle­light and cosy resin win­ter and door sung open, cool bed sheets and nat­u­ral light in sum­mer. I of­ten en­joy look­ing back at pho­to­graphs I’ve taken in my home over the course of a year – the di er­ent sea­sonal ow­ers and fo­liage I’ve dis­played, the change in the light qual­ity or even can­dles burn­ing at break­fast time. As with doc­u­ment­ing a ren­o­va­tion, I nd snap­ping daily scenes in your home is a lovely way to con­nect with these shifts and the ever-chang­ing pas­sage of time that a ects our spa­ces.

Yes, I will con­tinue my quest to re­move most, if not all, signs of pre­vi­ous own­ers’ dé­cor choices from my home, bring­ing me much sat­is­fac­tion, but I will no longer feel frus­trated with the progress. I will em­brace each day as our home ebbs and ows with life and what it brings.

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