Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Loving What You've Got

Today's post is a candid look into my thoughts towards my home.  I want to be open and real and put it all out there in the hopes that my little story might help someone else. I've been having an unhealthy relationship with my house. I've spoken negatively about it to others, not felt proud to be its owner and have secretly delighted in the thought of eventually moving out of it one day in the near future.

I have the wonderful privilege of often times working in some very expensive and beautiful homes -the kind you see in magazines. And while my clients hire me to transform their already lovely homes into something even more beautiful, arriving home after spending my days there has sometimes left me feeling a bit deflated when it comes to my own home. For 3 years (of the first 3.5 years that I've lived in this home) I have disliked many aspects of it and could easily list a hundred things that I'd love to change from landscaping to structure and finer details like the doors, kitchen flooring, etc.

Nearly four years ago (before we were married and before I moved down here from Toronto) we had planned to buy a beautiful, new home together. I was so excited about going through that selective process and anticipation of our first home together as a couple.We did begin the house hunting process within a new home development but quickly realized with the housing market in FL being what it was at that time, it just didn't make sense. So, we currently live in what was my hubby's grandparent's  3/2 home and the home he grew up in, which includes some of their vintage furniture (thankfully I was able to talk him into dontating the ugly floral sofa)-sentimental for him, not so much for me. During our first married year I did have some limited resources to change the paint colors and make some very minor changes, but not much else. I had started to wonder if it would ever look and feel the way I had envisioned. Working in the design industry doesn't help I suppose. Likewise, I love reading design magazines and blogs but after seeing such beautiful transformations and not always having the time or personal design budget for such projects myself, it at times has made me feel that my house is inadequate. That was until about 6 months ago.

So what all of a sudden changed you might be wondering? I had to make the decision to see things differently. I read the book 'The Secret' for the first time 6 months ago after hearing about it for so long and realized that this was an area that I really wanted to work on if I was ever going to love my home. If you haven't read the book, it is all about bringing what you want into your life by visualizing it, the laws of attraction, power of positive thinking and not only dreaming of it but whole heartedly believing you will in fact receive it without a single ounce of doubt. I'm not into new age stuff, I believe in God and the power of prayer, but I thought this couldn't hurt, after all it's about changing your thoughts in a profound way.

Every day I started to focus on what was 'right' with our humble little abode. It's 50-year-old flaws started to become charming, and little by little I started to see the older hand-me-down vintage furniture from P's grandparents (that I was dying to get rid of before) as wonderful DIY transformation opportunities. I've even changed my design style a bit to allow for more vintage charm and have even embraced our 90's oak kitchen cabinets which I may or may not paint out at some point.

What's funny is I am always able to have this positive point of view within so many other areas of my life but was having such a hard time when it came to our home. I think it had to do with something deeper though-pride. Even though they've seen my portfolio, I felt that if clients or even my new friends saw our home they'd wonder how it was that I was a Designer. LOL. But the truth is that we spend our money on world travel, not home renovations. Hopefully one day we will have enough for both. For now, it is just us two so we like the freedom of travel. ;)  As I spent more and more time writing my books (and this blog) and less time working in large, elaborate homes in favor of smaller and quicker design projects for the everyday home owner, I started to feel more myself. You may have noticed that I added an  e-Design services page to this blog. I really enjoy creating mood boards for DIY home owners and those that are just looking for some fresh inspiration for their home. While I've always worked within all budgets, somehow I am enjoying working on the smaller, more challenging homes so much more. Hmm, maybe because they remind me of my own home and all of the endless possibilities!

Once I stopped fighting my house and started shifting my mindset, I started seeing so much more possibility. Part of it was embracing the fact that we were NOT moving any time soon, so I just accepted it and I am now embracing what I do have. I love that we have a home with a new roof that keeps the heavy Florida rain out day after day each summer, a floor plan that allows us each to have our own home offices while still making room for guests and a kitchen that is small yet is the hub of so many wonderful meals. I may not have my dream kitchen, a stunning backyard for entertaining or a large walk-in closet to house my clothes, but to me this is home. It is where we laugh together, work at our own pace, live boldly and love deeply.

It's so easy to find all of the imperfections in our home, our life or ourselves. but as I learned in the secret and more importantly my relationship with my home, the more that we dwell upon what we don't want, the more it will actually appear in our lives, because we are in essence calling upon it without even realizing it. This is because in life whether it's something we desire or dislike, what we focus on and think about is what will come our way. So, why not focus on what we do have, what we do love, which aspects of our body that we're most proud of instead of the ones we always feel still need improvement.

I'm not suggesting that we cannot think about what we'd want to improve upon-we should. However, instead of saying 'I really need to lose 10 lbs' or 'I have to quit smoking'. Think of it in a different way- 'I'm working towards a more fit and healthy body. I'm detoxifying my body now for a future of health so I can enjoy my life and my family.' Then, visualize what you want to look like. In the case of weight loss you can cut out images from a magazine if that works for you or pull out an old photo of yourself from years gone by. This involves focusing on what will be instead of everything that isn't right at the present moment.

How about YOU? Have you had to shift your thinking about your car, job, house, your body, spouse/children or another relationship that wasn't everything that you wanted or dreamed it would be? Have you read The Secret? Did it help you in a positive way? I'd love to hear from you!

P.S. Sorry for the long post, sometimes background information is helpful when telling one's story. I'm trying to work on making future posts shorter so you won't all fall asleep. *wink*


  1. It's funny but there are so many area of my home that I don't love and this was a custom built home. I picked everything myself, but my tastes have changed in the six years we have been here. I really should adopt an attitude like yours. After all, it's just a home and possessions. The people living here with me, perfect in every way.

  2. I'm not sleeping! Very interesing, I have had thoughts of not liking my home lately. I needed this and I have not read Secrets but I will. Thank you for bringing this up.
    Enjoy your day!

  3. Hi Karla!
    Such a great post (as always) I love how you have embraced your home and making the best of it! What a positive outlook to have! I feel like we finally finished the downstairs and what about my upstairs...well it took 8 years to complete the downsairs and it will most likely take 15 years to complete the upstairs LOL! I look at the carpet and gross out but have to remember we are so fortunate and someday it will get replaced for now just keep scrubbing :) I'll have to check out the book! Have a great day!

  4. Karla, I have so much to say, but tomorrow is Alex's graduation party so I need to get making food and decorating! I will be commenting this weekend !
    great post!!!
    Have a pretty day,

  5. I love the way your prefaced this by the fact that you believe in God and are not into 'new-age'. That's exactly the way I am but I still practice visualization and self-affirmations. It's that 'being content in whatever state I am', as Paul says. Thanks for this great post.

  6. Karla,

    Please do not make it shorter. I wish some of your posts are longer because it's really interesting to read at.



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