This is the one time of year when I get a bit obsessive about the apartment. And when I say obsessive, I’m talking about major procrastination on everything else in my life, including work, just so that I can rearrange some knick-knacks on a shelf, stand back, mull it over, and rearrange the stuff on the shelves some more. I re-pot and move plants, put them back, organize drawers, shuffle books, pillows and maybe even the art on the walls. I’ll spend hours looking at old interior magazines and furniture websites and start bookmarking things – I’m talking Pinterest, people! And I’m not even a Pinterest user AT ALL.
I don’t give the apartment too much thought the rest of the year, but when January rolls around this weird nesting compulsion comes along like Pow! So I run with it because it just might mean that I’ll actually be motivated to get things done around here. I’m not a home decor addict or a resourceful DIY wizard who can Ikea hack a HEMMA cord set into a chandelier, so it’s always a bit surprising when I get this consumed by home projects. I think it’s the combination of taking down the Christmas tree right after New Year’s and all the furniture sales that happen in January that triggers it. After a month or so of fussing around, the interest fades.
I like to live in a nicely decorated home and I try to do the best with what we have, but our apartment is never going to be magazine feature-worthy or anything (oh wait…remember in 2009 when Mia was on the cover of a Japanese lifestyle magazine photographed in our kitchen, the one area of the apartment I like the least, of all places?) I always say, give me a decent budget and I’ll show you what I can do, but I’m definitely not under any illusion that I’m an interior designer; one design discipline doesn’t necessarily translate to another.
But I do have a strategy when it comes to decorating the house. I usually update one big thing at a time every year to keep it affordable and less overwhelming (although this year we’ve tackled 2 projects with the girls’ room, it’s true). Some rooms are taking longer than others (never mind the fact that we’ve been living here for nearly 9 years, yikes). Our bedroom, for example, is perfectly fine, but it was never really styled or designed to begin with and is the least of our priorities. The office is another room that has never been properly thought out. It’s functional, but it’s a mashup up random furniture discarded from other rooms over the years. I’m about the most indecisive person when it comes to things house-related, so the slow process of updating things room by room, piece by piece is a necessary way to prevent indecision insanity. We were without a kitchen faucet for 2 months last year because I couldn’t decide which one to get. We washed dishes from a little trickle that came out of a hose in the sink for those 2 months until I finally bit the bullet and made a decision. Likewise, it took me nearly 2 years of searching until I found a dining room table I liked. I would be an absolute mess if I had to undergo a home renovation. The decisions!
Which brings us to the couch.
A scenario that goes down in our house everyday involves the girls racing to the couch with one girl plopping herself in the coveted end seat while the other begrudgingly accepts that she has to sit in the middle. Everyone acknowledges that I have a permanent spot on the end of the sofa by the window, so much so that even when I’m not there, the girls will respect my spot as if there’s an imaginary barrier that’s off limits (even if I’m not on the couch, my computer is often parked on my spot). Fact is, now that the girls are bigger, we need a bigger couch. I’m betting on the speculation that if we had a bigger sofa, our quality of life would improve immensely, if only because we would avoid the skirmishes around who will sit where everyday.
I never thought we would consider a sectional in our apartment because initially I didn’t think we were sectional-types, but the more I thought about our seating needs, the more it made sense. But just like when we had the rather unexpected addition of the piano a few years ago, I’ve been walking around with my tape measure trying to figure out how a sectional might fit. Ironically, it’s the piano that is making this challenging. Without it, space wouldn’t be such an issue and we could get the largest sectional that would allow everyone to spread out, but the piano is making the fit challenging in the space that we have.
A sofa is a big commitment. Currently, I have about 35 swatches from various stores spread out on my coffee table. Like paint chips, it’s hard to visualize the color impact a couch might make from a little 3×3 inch swatch. I’ve dragged the girls to half a dozen stores, sometimes revisiting them twice in the last 2 weeks. I have as many photos of them slumped on various sofas, their body language bored and uninterested. Just pick a sofa, they say impatiently. And sometimes when I step back and look at myself, I do have to laugh at the way I’ve fussed over a particular arrangement on a bookshelf or agonized over a purchase, especially because there may only be a handful of people who might ever come over. We don’t entertain much, mostly because our work schedules make it difficult to do so. Home decor isn’t blog fodder either, so why all the fuss? Who is it for? But it’s true that saying, home is where the soul is. We make our homes cozy and nice, not for other people but ourselves. That’s what counts anyway.