creating a well-furnished life

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Beauty and Spring Sights

The Shelves

The kitchen selves are finished!  And I am in love!  They turned out so beautifully, thanks to Greg’s skill and ingenuity.  We decided to use the same butcher block that we used on the countertop for the shelving.  We had left over pieces in the garage and I just love the contrast that it brings.  Greg welded the brackets and then we sprayed them with this spray paint, which is such a good dupe for real un-lacquered brass.  The really tricky part was the outlets.  I really didn’t want to cut into the gorgeous cle tile, and I also didn’t love them being visible hanging under the shelves (picky I know) so Greg routered out the wood so that the outlet bar could be set flush underneath the wood.  He basically made magic happen and now you cant see the outlets but there are four of them as well as four usb ports.  Genius husband.

The Why

Finishing this project has really got me thinking about why we have been doing all of this and what drives us, besides future resale value, to complete the house in a beautiful way.  For the past few years my world has mostly consisted of taking care of the girls as well as designing and working on our house.  Both have been exciting, exhausting, fulfilling, and at times extremely frustrating.  During the times of frustration, when it comes to raising the girls, there is an obvious purpose and importance that has compelled me to continue to do my best or at least to show up again.  For the most part, the same can be said for creating our home.  I have always felt an innate drive and purpose around creating a beautiful space for us to live.  Recently, however, I have found myself really questioning the “why” of our ever-continuing home projects.  I have been feeling like that whole idea of making something beautiful is a bit frivolous and unimportant.  Really, in the grand scheme of things isn’t it?  There are so any important things to be thinking about and contemplating; choosing lighting or a paint color just doesn’t seem to register on that scale.

Yesterday I took the girls to the river for breakfast again, one of our favorite things to do.  There is a peacefulness that all three of us so obviously feel when we sit on our blanket under the canopy of mature trees, feeling the sun twinkle through the branches.  We all feel a sense of joy when we look out onto the river and enjoy the beautiful scene in almost silence, save for the birds and mom’s voice reading “The Twelve Dancing Princesses.”  The beauty of that place allows us to breathe, to take each other in, to feel at peace and to truly focus on being content.  Not unlike the way I feel when I take a last glance into our kitchen on our way to bed; the light low the counters wiped clean, the tiles reflecting the last bit of light.  I may be projecting a bit to say that the river scene does all of these things for the girls, after all they are still so little and could probably be content pretty much anywhere.  But I know for a fact that my surroundings affect me.  They influence my mood, both positive and negative and can provide inspiration or annoyance pretty readily.  Whether this is the same for the girls or not, we will have to wait to find out, but at the least, my mood affects them and our days together greatly.

Having this realization yesterday at the river, brought me back to when I was a girl, and all of the ways I would go about this same search for beauty even then.  I would rearrange my room continually, pinning things to walls, organizing my closet, moving my two twin beds into different configurations.  I would also sit in the same tree, the one that I found beautiful and that had just the right split in it to prop me up comfortably while I soaked up a book.  In college, I would walk the dozen or so blocks downtown to the Davenport, the old historic hotel, to write papers or finish my reading.  While the lobby pianist was playing, I would get a coffee, cozy up on one of the couches and breath deep.  The beauty of the place steadied me, calmed me and inspired focus.  For as long as I can remember, I have been seeking out or creating places that are beautiful to me.  It is in these places that have been cared for and thought out, created with purpose and beauty in mind, that I have found the most solace and inspiration.

So I have rediscovered my fledgling purpose for finishing our home.  It all makes much more sense now that I have traced its roots back to something true and important, not just the frivolity and comparison that can accompany these sorts of things.

I also think I have discovered where I went wrong and why I lost this sense of purpose.  I was confusing, conflating, beauty and perfection.  A dangerous game.  The more I thought about why our space was so important to me, the more I realized that little by little I had started to search more for perfection and less for beauty.  And the more I returned to my original purpose, the more I realized that those things are completely incompatible.  Perfection is unattainable and no where to be found.  It is ever a disappointment.  Beauty is just the opposite.  It is within everyone’s grasp and at any moment it is all around us.  Beauty is uplifting and inspiring and can always be counted upon because it is created or found in the ordinary.  Not the perfect.

So out with perfection and back to beauty.  Back to taking the process slow; intentionally creating a space that inspires and excites all of us.  Back to creating our own version of beauty and never forgetting to find beauty in the process, the messes and the mundane.  That is the real challenge and the greatest reward. MEB 

A similar window sconce can be found here.  I don’t think they make this one anymore.

The dishes are from Williams Sonoma and can be found here.

The tile is from Cle Tile and is one of the zellige tiles called weathered white.

Note the outlets.  Genius hubby. 🙂

For more design inspiration check out “Entryway Design

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