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
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.