Enjoy the Process

If you've decided to invest yourself in decorating or re-decorating your home, have fun doing it! Invest yourself. Count the cost before you begin, and once you've decided to proceed with those costs, decide from the outset that you are going to enjoy the process. Don't second-guess yourself, or stay awake agonizing over your decisions.

I believe that every home should reflect the personalities of the people who live in it. When I sit down with families and ask them what they want their home to say about them, invariably they say something like: "Our family is the most important thing to us. We want our home to represent our love of family and the fun times we enjoy together." I then proceed to ask them about hobbies, favorite music, what the dinner hour is like, and how they spend their time in the evening and on weekends. I want to know what happens in each of the rooms: does the family eat at the dinner table, or watching TV in the family room? Do they play games together indoors or out? Where's their favorite vacation spot? What do they like to read, and where will the reading take place? All of these activities impact how a room is designed to support the goals and activities of each individual.

Homes are not stagnant showpieces. They become a part of the living organism that is the family that lives in it. I once bought a home that felt depressed. I couldn't shake the feeling when I first saw it, and asked the real estate agent about the family that lived in it. He told me that the couple was getting divorced. Of course. I could feel it in the house. It was beautifully laid out, clean, and up-to-date. Most people would think it was worthy of a magazine cover. But, it was sad. I wanted to cheer it up, bring laughter, color and music back to its soul, and that wasn't going to have a lot to do with how I decorated it.

Our home holds the day-to-day of our family life. It's where we put our feet up, let our hair down, cry into our pillows, invite our friends, and express our innermost feelings. We should show our homes the care and respect that we show to the individuals who are sheltered within its walls. That means being good stewards to those things we do have, and carefully choosing new furnishings that will support us in our family goals. . . . and that's why the process should be enjoyable.

If you pull out your hair in dread over choosing the new floor, or worry yourself sick over the cost (remember, we planned and accounted for it before we began), or feel resentful that you "have to do this" in the first place, that spirit of dread, worry and resentment will echo in your home. You will come to associate that new table with the emotions you felt at the time you bought it - positive or negative. I can guarantee you that if you felt any of those negative feelings when you bought it, you are going to have "unexplained" knots in your stomach at meal time. On the other hand, if you treated that table-buying experience as one of adventure, discovery and anticipation, you are going to have a sense of adventure, discovery and anticipation as you gather with family and friends around the table that will become a visible symbol of happy memories.

We infuse inanimate objects with meaning. A family heirloom is treasured or despised according to the feelings we have about the person who first possessed it. A painting on our wall may remind us of a glorious moment of serenity, and help to calm us and give perspective. A whimsical chandelier over the dining table may help to create a sense of fun, while for others, a hand-carved desk may be the anchor that grounds their vision for a home-based business. You get the point: each item matters, and it matters how we feel about it.

I have determined to enjoy the process with each of my clients, as I discover their specific needs and desires. One of my happiest moments was when a 9 year-old boy clapped with joy over the fact that I had "heard him" and put together a room based on his love of endangered species. When I go in to his room, I feel his excitement and his commitment to the dream of owning his own organization in the future that will shelter and care for the endangered species of the world. He'll do it! I know it! And, I'm so happy that his surroundings support him in that goal. 

I want to have that experience with each client; hearing them, and helping to bring their dreams to reality. Together, we can create a joyful environment. This is most assured if we have enjoyed the process along the way. Make the investment: yes, money is a part of it, but the most important investment is yourself. Put your heart into it. Love it. Your home will thank you for it.