There’s a shelter blog I found a while back that I think I’m seriously in love with: thissortaoldlife.com. It’s a blog that definitely jives better with where I am in my life than other blogs I’ve had love affairs with in the past. Like just about everyone on the interwebz who loves shelter blogs (these are blogs about home design, DIY, etc.), I’ve loved YoungHouseLove for a long time. I also like BowerPowerBlog and MakingItLovely. But in the massive, chaotic changes I’ve experienced in my life the past few years, I find myself drawn more to a blog like ThisSortaOldLife, which focuses more on living with what you’ve got and improving on it in little ways, instead of making big changes (and big purchases).
I live in a rented house in an old mining town. I truly adore the house. But it’s not mine, so that means no big changes of any kind. Especially the kind that costs a lot of money because someday we’ll move out. The bloggers of ThisSortaOldLife, Rita and Cane, recommend “undesign”. Undesign focuses on process rather than end result. Rita and Cane write:
It’s not that we don’t have visions for the kind of home we want. We do. But our visions are more about how our home feels and works than about how it looks. And they are more about the how of design than the what.
They continue with:
There is time to reflect, to discover new paths, and to change course. With the traditional design process it’s tough to do that. You don’t want to make changes if you’ve gone out and bought the sofa, drapes, flooring, and 5 gallons of paint all at once. (We know this from hard experience.)
But UnDesign is not simply a different way to end up with pleasing spaces. It’s a way of interacting with our environment that allows us to grow in healthy ways. We want not only our home to be transformed by the process, but for our lives to be transformed as well.
My husband and I are definitely at a point in our lives where we need to reflect, change course, and grow in healthy ways. We’re coming off a pretty disastrous attempt at owning a business, and while I’ll save that subject for another post, we’re looking to renew our lives. We’re young (20-somethings), so we have time to recover, but we want to learn from our experiences.
This period of our lives has included moving our family back to this old mining town, where we lived before. And we LOVE it here, more than we ever did. It’s hardscrabble but trying to reinvent itself. Sounds a lot like us! It’s back to school for my husband, to pursue a degree in a field that will actually make a decent wage. It’s back to journalism for me, and I’ll admit it, I’m so glad to be back. I love my job! Don’t recall the last time I could say that.
But the home has always been an important place in my life. Home to me is more than where I sleep. It’s where I cultivate a garden. It’s where I play on the floor with train sets with my son for hours. It’s where my husband and I try new recipes and learn to love new foods. And I need my home to feel home-like, even if I don’t own the structure.
So we’re embracing the historic nature of the house and of the town we live in. And sometimes that means flinging ourselves headline into the kitsch. And what could be more kitsch that curtains with pinup girls on them? Especially pinup girls who are apparently outdoor enthusiasts.
My son’s room has two windows: one looks outside, the other is inside, looking out into the entryway. At some point that entryway was just a porch, and a prior owner of the home enclosed it. It’s a nice window, but it lets a lot of light into our son’s room during the day when he’s trying to nap, and at night when we’ve got the light on out in the living room after he’s gone to bed.
So this past weekend I made curtains for that window, which are on the porch side of the window so our little guy can’t pull them down on himself. I used fabric that a friend bought me a few years ago: the aforementioned pinup girls. I also used some other fabric from my stash, that has sort of impressionistic trees on it. The entire project took me about an hour, and couldn’t have been more satisfying.
So yeah, it’s pretty kitschy, walking into my house and there are pinup girls looking back at you. But it fits the character of where I live and makes me smile. So what if the curtains aren’t from Pottery Barn; I made the curtains and I think they’re pretty rad.