design is hard, so cut yourself a break

I’m enamoured by those who appear to design their home effortlessly.

I have my moments. I think I’m skilled at the little vignettes, and coming up with ideas for other people’s homes, but when it comes to my own—I feel like a deer in headlights. Or, more aptly, a sloth in headlights.

But I’ve felt this unstoppable urge to create an “instagrammable” living room for the last couple of weeks. Even though this blog was started in absolute protest of such a goal.

So, here’s what happened.

For the last year and a half, I’ve been in an interior-design-straight-jacket. We couldn’t do much of anything to our place thanks to two ridiculously adorable yet excruciatingly difficult cats who would spray (aka pee territorially) every single day. Art was ruined. A beautiful couch was thrown out (literally) after we got back from vacation and realized it was their favourite litterbox. People politely said to us, “No, it really doesn’t smell that bad,” with the tone of saying, “No, the spinach in your teeth wasn’t that noticeable.”

And yet, I cannot understate how horrible it was to come to the decision that they just weren’t happy in this home, and that they needed new owners… but this post isn’t about that.

Really, now that we can start bringing in new furniture & art without worrying that actual urine will end up on it (that’s a normal sentence to write), I’ve realized that my coping mechanism has been to obsess over making my home as comforting and beautiful as I can—at least as much as we can while saving for a property of our own one day.

On top of that, as more people in my life have come across this side project/blog, I’ve felt more and more self-imposed pressure to have a home that would make them go, “Oh, wow, she’s great at this whole design thing!”

The only problem… interior design is fucking hard.

I’ve fantasized about hiring one of those virtual interior designers, like Modsy. (I’ll be even more honest. I thought about pretending it was all me, too! Lol.)

I’ve also tried to remove myself from it all and pretend this is a friend’s place, but it doesn’t work.

Lastly, I’ve thought about just moving out and starting over—even though we have extremely good rent for where we are right now.

But here’s what has helped me slow down and, well, take myself way less seriously.

When I remember that this home is just for me and my partner, and not for a feed of any variety, I love my home!

With this mindset, I get to think of my home as more of a canvas, as cheesy as that sounds. A space for me to play with, get shit wrong (horribly wrong) and unexpectedly right. It is a reflection of what we want in a home—rather than what I think others would approve of.

And, just like any skill, design takes practice and humility. So, I thought it would be funny to share with you a glimpse of my own frustrations/learnings.

Should I plan a gallery wall? Nah. I have “instinct.” (No, Miranda, you should’ve planned.)

Count the number of holes in this wall ^. Look closely (or not that closely). Note the vacuum that I cannot for the life of me figure out an elegant spot for.

Don’t forget the paint that’s intended to patch up previous nail holes that’s just not the same colour. This is beautifully pronounced in the evening.

This wall below is even better. It’s a constellation of my hasty attempts to hang things.

Should I look up some tips on where the heck to mount a TV? Nah, I’ll just mount it at eye-level. Because my preferred TV watching position is obviously standing up.

Should I put these plates on a wall because they’re way too beautiful to eat off of? Actually… yes. Yes, you should.

Yay, I don’t get it all wrong!

FYI: The plates are from one of my favourite shops in Gastown, 157moments, owned by an almost intimidatingly cool couple (fortunately, they’re also very friendly). The teeny scout off to tackle his latest adventure is by Canadian artist Jesse Bromm, picked up at August Studios.

Anyway, I’m trying to remind myself, my home is a canvas and it’s just for us. Not for anyone else.

So, here are some homes that feel like real, imperfect, seriously cozy homes—just how I like it.

Tip: Go to Apartment Therapy tours to peruse through homes that feel attainable yet still innovative.

Credit: Anna Membrino via Apartment Therapy
Credit: Lyndsay Malenfant via Apartment Therapy
Credit: Anna Membrino via Apartment Therapy
Credit: Allison Corona via Apartment Therapy
Credit: Clarice C. Hanna via Apartment Therapy
Credit: Miki Carter via Apartment Therapy
Credit: Clarice C. Hanna via Apartment Therapy
Credit: Nicole Lockhart via Apartment Therapy
Credit: Nicole Lockhart via Apartment Therapy
Credit: Nicole Lockhart via Apartment Therapy


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