I am, and have always been, a space person. I’m a surroundings person, an ambiance person, the kind of person who notices the little details, and appreciates the extra touches.
I remember the year I discovered HGTV. I had just graduated from college and was living with a host family as a part of my internship at a church.
On my lunch breaks I’d come home and make a sandwich, and sit on the couch next to the family’s poodle, Ginger.
Together, Ginger and I would watch teams of designers transform a space from a chaotic eyesore, into a sanctuary.
I could not get enough.
Until we get married, most of us share apartments with roommates. Most of us don’t have a lot of time for decorating, or money, and our homes end up this cobbled together, “I guess that works” hodgepodge of whatever we can find. (Case and point: We found our couch next to a dumpster my first year in Georgia. Don’t worry; we cleaned it).
I’ve been waiting to decorate my very own home for years, and these last months have felt like being a kid in a candy store. (Except, I’m a newlywed in Crate and Barrel, which is basically the same thing).
Because we got married and moved at the exact same time, Carl and I came back from our honeymoon to an apartment that was new to both of us… and a mess.
Carl had to kick a pile of boxes out of our way to carry me over the threshold. He promptly put me down, figuring that injuring your wife isn’t the best way to kick things off.
Our lives had converged in our small two-bedroom apartment. For weeks we lived in a forest of boxes, wedding presents, suitcases, and furniture. We joked that we looked like hoarders, until we caught a few minutes of one of the shows and realized we really did look like hoarders.
We worked faster after that.
For the first two months of our marriage, we spent most of our free time working on the place. We spent nights and weekends at Target and Pottery Barn, measuring our living room, and Googling how to make the most of tiny spaces and a kitchen without a pantry.
We painted, and hung pictures, and organized, and moved furniture. We stayed up far too late, on many, many occasions, working until our muscles were sore, our eyes were bloodshot, and we still hadn’t made much progress. It felt like a gigantic puzzle, and each project seemed to make it worse before it finally got better.
But it was worth it.
Now, when I walk in our front door, I breathe an audible sigh of relief.
My soul unwinds here, because this space so reflects me when I’m at my best. It invites me to stay, to linger, and to remember. It is perfectly chosen and decorated to look just like us, to remind us of who we are, who we want to be, and to set the stage for the kind of life we want to live here.
Our surroundings, when we decorate them on purpose, are an expression of what’s inside of us. The creativity, love, and hospitality beating in our hearts gets to come out in the form of art, and a place at the table, and a spot to hang your coat. But they can also remind our insides of who they want to be. They can remind us to breathe, to rest, to love, and to notice. Our surroundings have power to change what’s going on inside of us, all it takes is a bit of hard work.
Who are you when you’re at your best? How can you create a space that reflects you and reminds you, and sets the stage for the kind of life you want to live?
I figured I couldn’t talk about our apartment without showing you some pictures… (forgive the quality, they’re all from my iPhone. 🙂 )