Monday, October 17

There is nothing like staying at home for real comfort. [Jane Austen]

Is it a little bit pathetic to admit that I think my passion in life might be homemaking?

Lest I pretend to be June Cleaver, I should start by explaining exactly what I mean. I don't love cleaning (the understatement of the year). I am perfectly capable of overlooking dust and clutter. In fact, I will admit that our house can be a bit of a disaster sometimes. And by "a bit," I mean dirty dishes in the sink, dog hair on the floor, laundry that hasn't been done for weeks days. Usually our happy home isn't quite that bad, but it's been known to dip a toe in the pool of grossness.

See what I did there? I made "our happy home" the subject of the sentence, "dip" the verb, and "pool of grossness" the object ... so it removes me entirely from the equation, and absolves me of all fault. Grammar lesson of the day (I hope that's correct!)


While I know literally millions of people do this very thing every single day, I think working a 40+ hour week and managing to maintain a lovely, spotless house seems like an insurmountable task (and of course, this isn't even counting children - yikes).

If I didn't work full-time I actually do believe our house would be consistently clean, Bailey would get one long walk every single day, dinner would be excellent night after night, and Kyle wouldn't have to suffer through DVRed episodes of The Young and the Restless.

But alas, the bills must be paid and the constant flow of cheese and wine must be maintained, so until we win the lottery, I am a modern, exhausted career girl with a weed-choked garden and a hyper puppy. And so my homemaker dreams are mostly dashed.

I think we've established that I have a problem with tangents. This is all to say that I hold a passionate love for decorating. And cooking and having a clean house (if only it stayed that way). But today's lack of focus is decorating.

Our house has its share of faults. It only has one bathroom, which -- judging by the size of the toilet -- was apparently designed for Lilliputians (works out great for 6'4" Kyle, by the way). There is no garage, and there are lots of steps. We technically live on a mountain, after all. Oh, and no air conditioning. Old houses have an abundance of charm and a plethora of inconveniences.

In spite of all that, I still adore our place. The wood floors and the paint colors and the white trim and the (non-working, whaaa) fireplaces and the massive baseboards and the checkered foyer floor - I just love its bones. I promise I'll post pictures soon, after I've gone on the decorating bender that I'm currently plotting.

But for now, I'll continue my tangential, wordy post that is supposed to be about decorating...

My mother-in-law sent me a Pottery Barn gift card for my birthday last week (thanks, Sue!) so my mom and I spent an hour or two roaming the store on Saturday. Pottery Barn is one of my favorite places on earth, retail-wise at least. It is the place where my decorating dreams go not to die, but to be made into concrete form and then priced slightly out of my reach -- which I why I only shop there with a gift card in hand.

Anyway, I found smart little mismatched silver coasters (to replace the Dallas Cowboy ones that have graced our coffee table for the last two years) and a wonderful, cozy pillow cover that looks and feels like a cream cable-knit sweater. I was very budget-conscious and practical -- no small thanks to my mom's presence, with whom I should apparently always shop for home decor.

But the dirty little secret that is a secret no longer is this: I also found approximately 20 other things that our house now "needs." I'll tell you this much - I would be a danger to our national economy with a Pottery Barn credit card in my hand. I would need to work a second job to support my PB habit, and then I'd have no time to enjoy my lovely home and hyper puppy and endlessly patient, long-suffering husband.

So how will I make this work? I'll tell you how. I intend to return to a magical place called the Wexford General Store.

If I had to define my decorating style, it would be rustic traditional with a touch of vintage. Clear as mud? There's a lot of wood, some leather, a few textured drapes. There are touches of glass and crystal to keep things light and sparkly. Some of the furniture is from family (thanks Aunt Louise!) and some is fresh off the shelves (thanks, Levin!) No furniture comes from Pottery Barn, because are you crazy? Maybe someday, but probably not.

Luckily, this mishmash of a style is very compatible with antique stores. Sure, it takes some digging and probably some dusting too, but there are gems (literal and figurative) in these shops. It's important to realize that if you are more of a modernist you probably won't appreciate the goods. For instance, Kyle loathes my mink shrug from the 1920s -- mint condition, if you must know, and featured in our engaged pictures -- and though he says he likes the golden 1940s cuff links and tie clip I found for him, they remain sadly shrouded in a drawer at home while his boring modern silver cuff links flash with crass pride in the sunlight.

I'm not bitter. Anyway...

I plan to go back to the Wexford General Store for the good of my home and the good of our bank account. I must achieve Pottery Barn style on an Ikea budget. I will only return to Pottery Barn for several store events this month and next, classes like "How to Entertain with Style" and "How to Decorate for the Holidays." And I will not bring my credit card along, for I am a weak mortal.

At least that's the plan in an ideal world. I have a heavily dog-eared copy of their latest catalogue, and I have to say... some of those other pillow covers and faux fur throws and welcome mats and gravy boats (no, I'm not joking) are too beautiful for words.

Happy Monday!

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