Love Your Space

Whether or not you’re sharing today with someone special in your life, I believe it should be possible for everyone to enjoy a home that’s a comfortable and nurturing space.

So, even if you have a long list of decor projects you’d like to complete (that’s me) or if you’re feeling somewhat disorganized (like many of my clients), why not show your home some love today?  You can take one small area, tidy the clutter away, put a few objects there which please you, and simply enjoy the space you have.

Or, do what I did here: take your camera and snap a picture of the parts of your home you find pleasing – most likely, you’ll end up with quite a collection:

Love Your House

(My house isn’t really as artistic and creative as the above collage would have you think: I’ve zoomed in on the interesting bits and cropped out the beige walls!)
Read on to see more things I love about my home…

Peacock Party

Normally when hosting a party, it goes against my principles to buy special decorations. Not only is there the financial angle, but it’s more fun to be creative with things already owned and to resist the urge to acquire new clutter.

This weekend, however, we are hosting our neighborhood’s winter holiday party – hopefully for the last time, since 3 years in a row seems plenty to me :) .  And because I’m busily getting the word out about my business offerings, I confess, I want our home – and the way a Professional Organizer lives – to look particularly appealing to all my guests, who are surely going to be falling over themselves to hire me!

So, I admit, I fell for the gorgeous images here:

Pier 1 Imports

…and here:

Hostess with the Mostess

…and decided that a peacock theme meets my requirements for being festive but not too in-your-face Christmassy.  Even better, I can drag out some of my regular bits and pieces and hopefully make a display that looks far more expensive than it actually is.  But I did treat myself to some (not all) of these:

Sources: My Paper Shop, Save on Crafts, Crate & Barrel, Pier One.

I should mention, since we are providing the venue, the rest of our neighbors are bringing almost all the food and drink.  That’s the only way I could contemplate putting quite so much thought into the decor.  You might recall, my usual entertaining style is to cheat, by doing the bare minimum that makes the house look OK and still leaves me some energy to enjoy myself.

What’s your view on themed parties?  Are they far too “Martha” for you, or a great way to show your guests you care?

Three New BFFs for Decorating

Sometimes, it’s the smallest things in life which can make you happiest.

It’s 13 years since I first painted a room, in my tiny London flat where you could practically stand in the middle of the room and reach all 4 walls. Even now, I’m still finding gadgets to make the job just a little easier and less of a trauma. Here are three that I’ve added to my toolkit this year, and best of all, not one of them costs more than a few dollars.

1. Flexible Paint Spout
My new BFF happens to be yellow, but this guy looks pretty similar. It allows you to pour paint easily (from different size cans) without dribbling it everywhere, and improves your chances of getting a good airtight seal when you’re finished. It’s really easy to wash and costs around a dollar. If you hate yukky dribbly cans, you need one of these.

2. Paint Edger
I was totally skeptical about this, and you could have knocked me down with a feather when I tried it and it actually worked. Previously, we had taped off the ceiling before painting the wall in an attempt to get a reasonably straight edge. This chap makes it faster and better, as long as the thing you’re edging meets the other surface at a right angle and if you’re careful to keep the paint off the little wheels. Best $4 – $5 I ever spent on decorating: I’ll never tackle another room without one.

3. Mini Paint Roller Kit
Not only is this cute in such a mini size, but it only costs $3 – $4 and will get you a more professional finish, faster than a brush, when painting furniture or similar sized small projects. I used one of these for my bedroom armoire and loved the quality of the outcome. If, like me, you hate washing larger rollers, this makes clean-up much easier too.

At this point, I could put in a nice, fancy disclaimer about not having received any incentives to promote these products. However, if you think for one moment this blog is influential enough to attract promotional requests, you’re totally deluded (but I love you anyway and thanks for the flattery).

Suffice to say, any manufacturer who sends me dark chocolate in bulk will receive a product plug on this blog. For everything else, opinions are entirely my own ;)

Home Office Mood Board

I suspect there aren’t many of us who can decorate completely according to our own tastes, without considering other household members.

Having (more or less) finished the master bedroom, the next room on my list is our dismal home office. It’s where we spend a huge amount of time and, as with many work spaces, was thrown together in a hurry when we bought the house, with function coming waaaay ahead of form. And since Beloved Husband is the techie genius in our marriage – not to mention major payer of our mortgage – his bits and pieces (by which I mean server, firewall, Cat 6 cabling and other gizmos which would look totally at home on the International Space Station) are pretty much ruling the roost.

A more sensible wife would abandon ship and go stake her claim on a little work area somewhere else in the house (probably making it look like this, pictured right). But since I actually really like hanging out with him (yeah, soppy), I decided to attempt to construct an office which works for both of us, meeting his requirements for practicality as well as mine for attractiveness.

He adores his rather ugly Ikea desk and won’t part with it because it’s height-adjustable and a perfect size. Fair enough. I’m in love with cubes so I’m sneaking some of those in somewhere, probably with a gazillion baskets to hide his electronic necessities. Happily, we both seem to think maps would provide a good style starting point and I’m hoping a very muted, neutral color scheme won’t spook him too much.

Here’s roughly what I’ve come up with:

Likely purchases at Ikea:
Galant Desk
, $160; Expedit Bookcase, $70; Drawer unit on casters, $160; Newspaper rack; Vase, $30; Clock, $5.99
And other items I may sneak in there when he’s in a good mood:
Poetry Rug –
, $429; File Storage Ottoman – Ballard Designs, $239; Map – National Geographic Store, $5.99; Office Chair – Target, $50; Missoni Home Erode Cushion, $102; Silver Ocean Globe, $45; Origami Platinum Fabric – Calico Corners; Signature Pattern Binders – Russell and Hazel

In true Struggler style, you’ll be amused to know that after three-and-a-half days of exhausting weekend effort, the paint is complete. That’s all. No stylish new furniture, clever accessories, oversize maps or nifty window treatments. Just the walls.

At this point I could refer you to Young House Love, who assure me it’s perfectly possible for one person to paint a room in about 4 hours (leaving time to complete the rest of the decor and get a manicure before lunch). But I’m feeling quite inadequate enough, without you all heading off to worship at the altar of YHL before leaving a comment here.

So, please share, if you have to take someone else’s taste into account, what’s the biggest point of contention? And how long did it take you, the last time you painted a smallish bedroom? Just please don’t say 4 hours. :)

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