Over the holidays I watched an interesting documentary called Minimalism, "people dedicated to rejecting the ideal that things bring happiness". It's about two guys who are good friends who decided to leave their high profile jobs to simplify there lives doing with far less material things and then wrote a book and traveled to promote it. They talk about the mass consumerism that society falls trap to, to perhaps fill a void and the impact on our environment to produce and transport these items we buy. They showed what I feel are incredibly sad clips of people who were literally beating each other up over items at what was probably boxing day sales and new product opening sales. I for one have never rushed out for those sales but it made me think how I approached bringing new items into our home and the money I am spending. Their spaces and the homes of some of the other minimalists filmed were definitely not what I could live with myself , although somewhat functional, void of all personality and individualism but one has to think that with little else to consider when you arrive home and walk in the door, what window of energy would open itself up to other endeavours.
We by no means are finished our home top to bottom, the upstairs is a work in progress but we have what we need. Need being the operative word, need not want. If we were to take this approach, it would most certainly conflict with being in the renovation, design world. This is an even greater challenge as those around us might judge our ability if our home was a minimalists home and not "designed"but just because the shoe maker may walk around in basic shoes, that does not mean that he cannot make outstanding shoes for others. I love our 138 year old home and love that it has beauty and personality in both architecture and the pieces of furniture that inhabit it. Lots of people say that our home is an "uncluttered home" when they see it for the first time and that is most definitely what I need in order to feel at peace when I walk in the door (clutter does not bother my honey in the least and so the constant badgering to pick up his "stuff" goes on!).
Everyone has a different threshold of amount of "stuff" that is acceptable and no stuff would not be an option for me but I do agree that I fall prey to consumerism, not for clothing, or shoes, or jewellery, or makeup but for our home, I did in the past love to go out on my days off and see what the latest and greatest is at the ever changing supply of stuff at the local Home Sense and would actually get a bit of an adrenaline rush at the possibility of what might be there that week but this documentary made me check myself and ask, why? Why do I need to go there every week when I could doing something more important and then what would that be?
So I have made myself a resolution, a life change that I am very excited about. I have announced to family and friends (so they can keep me on track if I falter along the way) that if there is something I would like to bring into our home then I must sell something we already have in our home to do that and there are quite a few things that can easily be sold and not missed at all. This means that I will be able to continue to create the spaces that we want in our home but not spend unnecessary money to do it and it also means that I must think very hard if I want that item as I will have to make my money go very far. I will also do everything I can to find the item second hand as opposed to brand new first so as to not contribute to the negative environmental impact of manufactured goods.
So first up, a while back I had made over this gorgeous french provincial cabinet breathing new life into it with a coat of Annie Sloan Pure White chalk paint and a robins egg blue interior. It has been in our master bedroom as a TV stand and so just before Christmas I decided to finally part with it selling it to a friend who's home decor it fit's perfectly with.
Last year we removed our kitchen table and I designed and then my honey built us a custom island which I absolutely am in love with and yes this material thing makes me very very happy!
(there will be a future post about the island)
After deciding that we needed the storage that the previous
(yes, we had an island before and we sold it, against my honey's choice and put in a 6' table )
island had but after living with the table and hardly ever using it, needed to find a compromise that would make us both happy, an island to sit at that my honey likes the height better than a table, storage that I need for pots and pans and an additional work counter. We had these two beautiful stools from the older island and never got rid of them so out they came from storage once the island was built but the problem was that I designed the new island to seat four where the old island only sat two. After searching everywhere for two more of the same stools and coming up short, I started a search for 4 matching stools in the range I could afford with the money I earned from the sale of the hutch.
And so yesterday I was thrilled to find and pick up 4 of these gorgeous X back solid wood heavy stools for a fantastic deal. Of course as you might know, the X in design is a favourite of mine. I like to use it somewhere in each room on our main floor. I even have money left over for some new cushions! They are scratched here and there and need a makeover along with a bit of a repair on one but nothing that won't be difficult at all to fix. My honey likes the black finish but I picture them white too so we will have to see. Nice thing about paint is you can always paint again!
So this is the challenge I set for myself, to finish up our home and not spend any more money except on renovations that are necessary for improving our home's value that will stay with the house such as roof etc but still make it look and live beautifully.
So do you fall trap to the interior design shopping addiction I once did?
Could you live with the very bare necessities in your home, a table, a chair, a bed, and be happy?