Thursday, May 11, 2017

Perfection, the Remodel Project, and Being Happy With In Between

I am learning this:

If you force a choice between perfection or nothing, you'll usually get nothing.

I can put off tasks for just like ever, fearing to begin because I won't do it RIGHT.

Such was the case of our bedroom, that little room in the back corner of this old farmhouse. It was still decorated in mauve and green. It's not like I had time to redecorate every other year, but still. It needed a redo.  And redo's involve Decisions. And Change. And Shopping, that horrifying task.  And worst, Maybe Getting It All Wrong.

But I was slapped into action by The Flopping Elbows. We had a small bed in that small room, and I sleep with a large husband with long arms who swims in his dreams, and leads zumba classes, and wins the American Ninja Warrior challenge.

So there was less and less sleep for me.

The husband likes solutions, and fixing, and diving into projects like eagles swoop down from great heights at the leaping trout in Clear Lake.

If we knocked out part of a wall and moved the doorway, we would gain enough extra square feet to move the dresser over there and get a bigger bed, he said.

So we did.

This meant that I had to make a long, long, list of decisions. EEP.  And I had to think about colors. Gaaaaah. And I had to shop.  Noooooooo!!!

And I might get it wrong.

Those blogger/Instagram/Pinterest people who have what is called an "effortless sense of style" in decorating--how do they do it? How do they choose that arrangement? Those neutrals or colors? That basket?

I asked for ideas.

A number of readers weighed in, and gradually I got a sense of what I would try.  As much as possible, we would take things back to their 100-year-old basics. And I would go for plain wood and lots of white.

Slowly, I would add color. It didn't all have to be polished and perfect when the last nail was pounded in. I could do it little by little.

I could even use my old, too-small spread until I found something I liked better. Imagine that.

We moved back in, and I love it.

I'm going to show you pictures even though it isn't finished, and even though adorning and coordinating a room are not my strengths at all.

But guess what: I let go of perfection, and I find the room restful and welcoming.

The result is neither perfection nor nothing, but something in between, and that feels like a big accomplishment to me.

This is the original floor that was under a carpet and a layer of linoleum.
I love it. Paul finished it exactly right.
The dresser is one he had someone make for me several years ago.
My mom crocheted the rug.
One bifold closet door still needs to be attached.
Why does that lady have a fan by her bed? Maybe she is Of That Age.
The laundry hamper was Mom's. The wastebasket is one of Dad's old milk buckets.
The handle still clanks just like it used to long ago.
Another of Mom's rugs is on the left. It is one of the few colors in the room, so far.
The corner of the sheet is hanging out.

I found this light fixture at a garage sale for $5.
It fits right in, I think.
That's the original ceiling.

This is my little Eck [corner] in the area under the stairs. I want to have my Bible and prayer times there.
Right now it holds an old school desk of Amy's, but I think I want something different.
It also holds a few decorative things that haven't found a home yet.
Do you see the shiplap?

On Saturday, Paul cut that hole in the wall and then crawled under the house and shoved a wire up inside the wall.
He is very brave.
I crouched over there and grabbed the wire when it appeared, and pulled it through.
That didn't take so much bravery.
I think the chair was Emily's. I can't decide if I like it and need it in that corner, or not.

The lamp is one of Mom's old jars, filled with wooden spools of thread.
Should I get cream-colored curtains? Do all the whites have to match?
I found these for $2 at a garage sale.
It was a cheap way to test the color-waters before I invest in serious curtains.

The nightstand was another garage sale find. I decided to use it for a little while
before I put in the work of painting it.
Sadly, it's too tall.
But I'll use it until I find something better.
Paul's construction tools are still on top of the dresser.

So there is the result of Paul's hard work and my going ahead with decisions and choices even though
I didn't know what I was doing.
Also, that lump in the bathroom is a pile of pajamas and personal things I took off the hook behind the door
so they wouldn't show in the photo.
And then I forgot to shut the door.

Remember: if you insist on perfection, you'll get nothing.
At least if you're like me.


  1. I love your bedroom! And I know what its like to avoid starting something for fear of not doing it right - that's me, too. Thanks for the encouragement to not insist on perfection...but just do it.

    And I had a thought on your too-tall bedside stand. It looks like its about one drawer-depth too high. Is it possible to cut off the bottom drawer and reattach the bottom of the stand back on and then be able to use it? I suppose that shows my lack of carpenter skills, but I just thought if your husband was able to do this whole-room remodel, maybe he could do that too! :)
    - Mary Beth

    1. Great idea! And Paul agreed. So he sliced off the bottom 4? inches and we'll see how that works.

  2. I LOVE the floors and the ceiling and the shiplap! This is totally my jam. I would have a ball decorating this room if we were neighbors! Great job for giving yourself permission to be you in your decorating.

  3. Good work, Dorcas and Paul! I especially love the floor and the dresser (all that storage!).

  4. Goodness, it's wonderful to know that I'm not the only one who takes a long time to decorate. Over the years though I've come to know that for me decorating slowly is the right way. Each thing I add is something I really like and is personal to me. I usually begin with the wall color and go from there. Having a white room can be lots of fun as you can change accent colors to fit your mood or the season. I gave up trying to please those mythical "others." I please myself! After all, I'm the one who lives with it day in and day out. One last thing. I ask God for help in finding the right things and then patiently wait for his timing; making do until the perfect item comes into my orbit and I can purchase it, or it is given to me, or I find a way to make it. Your room is lovely! Restful and very personal. Thanks so much for sharing.

    1. Love the idea of praying for the right things and then waiting, rather than endlessly shopping and dithering.

  5. Looks perfect and all-finished to me! So many Pinterest-type rooms are either filled with way too many zero-skill crafts (let's stencil "DREAM" on a huge pallet) or with so many antique store trinkets that you'd be afraid get up at night without turning on all the lights. What a beautiful old floor and you'll never have to do it again!

  6. I'll add my opinions to the mix, which is way easier than deciding how to decorate my own rooms. I like it so far, wood, and whites--yes. I don't think your whites need to match; cream curtains, good. I was going to suggest removing the bottom drawer and shortening the night stand, but someone already did. Perhaps the drawer could be repurposed as a shelf on the wall. And I love the bedspread!!

  7. Oh my. I can so identify with your problem of never starting for fear of doing it wrong or something. That is a major problem of mine. There are SO MANY things that I would love to have done, but they're not something I understand how to do and I feel too intimidated to start. Or, worse, I start and when I run into a snag, I just stop and never start again. :( I am glad to hear that decorating isn't your cup of tea either......sometimes it feels like I must be the only one who does not have any creative streak when it comes to decorating. I know if I like something or not once I see it done, but I cannot envision something and then make it happen.

    I love your room! Especially love the old milk bucket. :)

    1. Yes, that's it exactly--"I know if I like something or not once I see it done, but I cannot envision something and then make it happen."

  8. I enjoyed the photos very much, and your captions even more. Your being willing to share your experience may give more of us courage to do the same. Sarah

  9. I'm surprised that someone with your love of (addiction to?) beautiful fabrics would have such difficulty with decorating. You know what you just don't know how to translate that into adorning your living space. I'm pretty sure you'd be uncomfortable with anything elaborate or highly embellished, but I also think you would love your space even more if you scattered around some of the fabrics you love... And you KNOW how to sew!

    1. Good point. I'm thinking about a quilt and wall hanging. Funny, though, how sewing and decorating feel like two very different fields in my mind.

  10. I enjoyed the tour. I am glad it turned out as you hoped. I do not enjoy change so I never redecorate.