Monday, July 31, 2017

Living Room Lessons

The room that puts the "Cab" (Cabin) in "Cabagelow".

I almost can't believe I'm about to say this but The Cabbage Living Room, a room I have struggled to furnish and decorate since 2006, is finally a room that I love.

It has been quite the journey for me but now I can honestly say I am grateful for the challenges this room presented and for all the lessons I gathered along the way.  Here are just the five most valuable things I learned from this room:

1. How To Embrace Imperfection

You won't find perfection at The Cabbage but you will find lots of magical rugs!
("Only Magic" Welcome Mat available HERE)

I think my initial stumbling block with this room had to do with the things that I couldn't change.  That all or nothing perfectionist part of me saw things like the odd views and the damaged floors and just thought if I can't fix all of that right now, why bother?  I'm so glad I didn't listen to that part of me for long and it turned out that at least those two problems were nothing some plants and some rugs couldn't fix anyway!

Planter boxes help improve the view of our garage.

2. To Trust My Crazy Ideas

Removing the paneling from this wall allowed space to display books, photos and art.
(Bird Collage Art by Abby Sernoff of 111CollageDesign on Etsy)

I still remember the night I said to Hippie, "What if we just removed the log paneling from the fireplace wall?"

The truth was I had been mulling this idea over for a long time but thought it was just too crazy and impractical and I was sure Hippie was going to think so too.  If he did, he didn't say so and not long after that he helped me make my crazy idea a reality.

That idea and eventually painting that space black were the most risky decisions I made with this room but also the most rewarding and impactful.  It reminded me that my crazy ideas are often the best ones.

I originally painted these walls gray but eventually found the courage to "Paint It Black".

3. To Not Be Afraid To Splurge

Queen For A Day

When Hippie gave me the peacock chair I'd been coveting from World Market for my birthday I was grateful to receive such an extravagant gift but also concerned with how I was going to make such a big, bold piece work in the room.

The obvious solution was that I needed another big, bold piece - a second chair - to balance it but I resisted this solution for awhile because of the price.  It wasn't that I couldn't afford it, it was just that I have been so accustomed to shopping thrift stores and flea markets for bargains that buying something new and relatively expensive for myself was almost a foreign concept.

In the end I realized that I really couldn't afford not to splurge on the second chair and I've never regretted it.  However, I did wait until there was a sale and I had a coupon because that's just the kind of savvy shopper I am.

Two Chairs Are Better Than One

4. To Not Be Married To A Style Or A Color Scheme

Rick Springfield and Hippie are both proof that classics never go out of style.

This is something I have learned from all of my rooms over the years but especially this one.  When we first moved in, I thought that since the room looked like a log cabin I should decorate it like one.  The problem was that this wasn't really my style, so thank goodness that didn't last too long.

Then I thought I would stick to a blue and black color scheme, until I came across a cute red stool/cat bed (everything is a cat bed) for next to nothing at the flea market.  My plan was to paint it but when I got it home I realized I loved that pop of red which eventually inspired me to paint the coffee table red.

Actually, I guess the lesson is to really not be married to any one plan but to stay flexible and allow rooms to evolve naturally.  This works best for me anyway.

An eclectic mix of colors and styles works for me and my cats.

5. How To Create Rooms People (And Cats) Can Live In

What family game night looks like at our house.

I made a lot of mistakes trying to make this room conform to a certain style or look a certain way.  However, some of the things I like most about the room stylistically now were initially chosen for their function, such as a need for storage or surface space.

Not only has this made me accept the conventional wisdom that form should follow function (not always but most of the time) but it has instilled a confidence in my own instincts and my ability to make something work when I need to.

More importantly, it has reminded me what home decorating is all about in the first place, which is giving me and my family spaces that provide us with both comfort and inspiration.  It may have taken over a decade to get it just right, but I think I've finally achieved that with The Cabbage Living Room.

Every room needs a velvet Elvis.

Thank you, thank you very much for visiting The Cabbage Living Room.  Do you have a room in your home that has challenged you to stretch your decorating skills?  I'd love to hear about that or any other thoughts related to this post in the comments below.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Closet Fantasies And Realities

I will never be too old to play dress up.

I was going to call this post “how a recovering perfectionist cleans out her closet” and tell you all about the mental struggle that made cleaning out my bedroom closet take two weeks but that would take just as long. So let's just say that I had to scale back my dreams and expectations at every turn.

One Of My Fantasy Closets.
Source: - Photo Credit: Timeless Memories Photography

Now, don't think for a second that means I have given up on having my fantasy closet someday. It just means that at this time in my life it isn't a priority. Being able to find my shoes and actually get my closet doors shut without a struggle, however, is.

Reality: Photo Taken While Cleaning My Closet

The truth here is that even if I did have the resources to create my fantasy closet, I would have still had to deal with the clutter in there. Fortunately this wasn't my first attempt at doing this and I found it much easier this go around. Things I had been reluctant to let go of a couple years ago had by now proved their uselessness and I also realized I had gotten much smarter about my clothes and shoes purchases. I had to give myself a pat on the back for that.

What I did struggle with was all the things that didn't necessarily belong in a bedroom closet that had somehow wound up in there anyway. A lot of this was sentimental clutter and this is still a big stumbling block for me. I have to admit that I didn't get rid of very much of it but I did move most of it down to the basement for me to deal with another day.

And then there are just some things I am stubborn about keeping and want close to me for no logical reason. So even though it is taking up potential shoe real estate, my CD collection (kids, ask your parents if you don't know what CDs are) is staying right where it is.

Doesn't everybody keep their CD collection in the closet?

Once I had settled all that, the time came to organize everything. In my fantasies that would be someone else's job and would include the installation of a whole new closet system but in reality it was just me and the scrap wood shelves the previous homeowner installed. I did invest in a couple of shoe organizers though. The one below was a little pricey considering it required assembly (which Hippie did – god bless him) and in the end probably wasn't necessary but I'm keeping it around for now.

Motley Cat's "Shoes" Are Cuter Than Any Of Mine

My second purchase was of far more inexpensive shelves for the top of the closet which I actually like better than the pricey ones (and Hippie put these together too). The best thing about having both of these is that I now have room for more shoes. Hmm...maybe my fantasies are coming true after all!

Clearly I Need To Go Shoe Shopping Soon!

Except that in my fantasy someone would have painted the interior of my closet a bold, luscious color. I guess I could have done that myself but I have so many other projects going on that I decided it can wait and I just painted the inside of the closet door frame for now (a bold, luscious color called “Raspberry Pudding” by Behr).

Princess Poe is not impressed with that pop of raspberry peeking out from the closet
but I am really happy with it.

Oh, also in my fantasy I would have velvet hangers for everything but I settled for rounding up the insane amount of plastic hangers I have in my house for some reason and using only two colors (but I do plan on gradually replacing them with nicer ones when I can).

I hung a couple of thrift store mirrors on the back wall, more for depth and interest
than for any practical purpose.

Then it was just a matter of arranging things in a way that made sense to me and now I have a fully functional closet. It's not my fantasy closet but I think it has a certain charm and now I can find my shoes then close the closet doors with hardly any effort at all. Mission accomplished.

Not My Fantasy Closet But Not Too Shabby Either

So to recap, here are my three big takeaways from this project:

  1. Some fantasies can wait but functionality can't!
  2. Dealing with clutter is a lifelong practice and process. (I have come a long way but I still have a ways to go and that's okay).
  3. I can now buy more shoes!

Thanks for reading about my closet fantasies and realities. I'd love to hear about your fantasy closet or any advice you might have for dealing with clutter if you wouldn't mind taking a few moments to write a comment below.

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