My dear friend Lindsey and I became friends when we moved to the Bay Area. We were both young newlyweds, living in an unfamiliar city and our husbands were gone a lot with school and work. We had a lot in common and really hit it off. We were both surprised and pleased when we learned we were both expecting our first babies within just a few days of each other! We spent our days walking back and forth to each other's apartments, just a few blocks from each other, to chat about "what to expect when you're expecting", laying out in our maternity swimsuits on her apartment rooftop, reading magazines and eating cadburry eggs. It was a carefree time.
Our apartment was 800 sq feet. We had a gigantic sofa we scored at a garage sale with a slipcover that didn't fit, a tv stand we bought at goodwill, a bookshelf someone left on the corner, and our dining chairs were thrown out from the dental's schools clinic waiting room. Everything else we had were gifts from our wedding. And we loved it. Sure, we dreamed of bigger and better, but for then it was enough and the excitement of living away and on our own, and making new friends, made being away from family bearable.
I had a binder with sheet protectors full of pictures I had ripped out of magazines.....decor ideas, and ways I wanted to decorate my dream home....someday. We probably rearranged our apartment 5o different ways in the three years we lived there. Thats just what I did, and still do. Anyways, I would do the same thing at Lindsey's apartment. Her ceilings were exposed and the walls were cinderblock. In the winter on the weekends, the four of us would huddle around a space heater, wearing beanies and gloves while we watched movies and had milkshake making contests. During the week, when the hubbies were gone, a lot, we would stare at the four walls of her apartment and I would tell her, "you should put that there", or lets move this over here." Even then, I thought I knew a lot about design. Not long after our babies were born, we braved a trip with them to IKEA and loaded up her VW with boxes and boxes and more boxes. Not sure how we fit the babies in there. And then we got them all home, unloaded, and took hours putting them together. ( I love Ikea, I hate Ikea) We hung an enormous mirror above her couch and some floating shelves on the opposite walls. I talked her into painting her dining room set red! And then I bossed her around some more and acted like I knew what I was talking about. Oh....and we ate more cadburry eggs. When we came back from Christmas break, the mirror was on the couch and the floating shelves were about 1mm from falling off the walls. (I'm not great at anchoring things to walls). We laughed until our stomachs hurt.
Ten years later, I have 5 kids and she has 4 and a lot more life experiences under our belt. She now lives in beautiful New Canaan, CT on the east coast, so far from me. We keep in touch by texting in between diaper changes and carpool rides. To me, decorating comes naturally and its fun. To Lindsey....its anxiety! I think we all go through funks in life, and for the last few years, Lindsey was in one. She didn't really know it, but she was. About a year ago, they had moved from their tiny one bathroom duplex (with 4 kids) into a beautiful home with east coast country appeal and lots of space to spread out... and she just didn't know what to do with it. And so she didn't do anything. Making those decisions didn't come naturally to her. It just gave her more anxiety. There were too many other things on her plate that took up the time in her day. She would call me and ask my opinion on what to buy or where to put things. I missed her, so I hopped on a plane to spend the weekend bossing her around, telling her what to buy, and where to put what. It was a blast! I learned a lot spending the weekend with Lindsey. I learned something about sharing our interests and talents with others. We didn't make any huge changes to her home. But we made some. I helped her make decisions that changed the way she felt about herself and her relationships in her home. To her, her home felt completely unorganized because nothing really had a home. And in turn, her life felt that way. She really felt weight lifted off her shoulders after the weekend was over and we had made lots of progress. I'm not patting myself on the back here. I'm simply stating that I realized how much of an impact decor and design in our own home has on us, emotionally, and physically and mentally.
At the checkout line in Home Goods, where I made her buy a bunch of stuff. She can't handle making decisions....so I would say, "do you like this? YES OR NO!!??" hahahha.
Some of the main tips I gave Lindsey:-Buy pieces you love, that speak to you.
-Don't feel like you have to put up everything you have.
(In the girls room, I showed her how to put their knick knacky stuff in a "special spot" in the closet!)
-If you don't love it, get rid of it.