Wednesday, April 09, 2014

#YEAR OF YOU! Lesson Three: A Place to Call Her Own

Dear friends!

Hello! I just wanted to tell you about a blog related decision that I've made to try to make most of my posts a little bit shorter.  You see, I've never been a girl of few words. In fact, when I was small, my pediatrician nicknamed me "mouth" because I had an early gift for gab. And just like my perchance to ramble on by mouth, my typing rambles on too. I just have so much to say! But, I realize that sometimes a long post is well.....just too long. So, I will try to be more to the point when I can. Less tangent-y too. Thanks for sticking with me though, through thick and thin posts. It means so much to me. :)
Ok, let's begin!


Welcome How Bourgeois pals!  Welcome to the third installment of the YEAR OF YOU mini- series! A collection of eight posts, each with a tip on learning to LOVE  and care for YOURSELF. 
Let's make this year YOUR best year yet!

This is all about being gentle and patient with the "inside" you. We put so much effort on the way we look and come off to the outside world, (our outer needs) now it's time to devote that much attention and effort to our inner needs. 

I overheard a great quote on the radio today, it went something like this: "You need to feel good about yourself before you can feel good about the word.

Don't you think that's kind of true? If you wake up in the morning and look in the mirror and say: "I hate my hair" or "I look terrible in this outfit", you're going to bring those negative emotions with you as you go out into your day. And, it's not just a single day, if you wake every morning and are hard on yourself time and time again, in the long-run, that negativity will color how you see everything else.  It genuinely will alter the way you are in the world and with other people. If instead, if we learn  how to more readily accept and like ourselves, (gray hair and all) you end up bringing that POSITIVITY along for the ride!

So what is one of the most FUN and CREATIVE ways that you can easily bring a bit of self-nurturing and positivity into your life TODAY? 

Why by carving out a small space of your own of course! It's easy! 

It doesn't matter who you are, EVERYBODY needs a special spot where they can relax and have a moment of serenity. Even if space is very limited, that's ok! I have some suggestions for you. And even if your budget in non-existent, that's ok too, let's use what you already have! Finding a little space for you soul is simple, and I'm here to show you that today!

Picture this: It's the end of a long week. You're tired, you've had it, you just want to slow down and relax.  What are you having? A cup of tea? A mug of  fresh brewed coffee? Or how about a glass of wine? You grab your favorite snack which is chocolate of course! And then you search for a nice, enjoyable activity....snuggling up with that book you've been reading? Picking up the knitting again while watching a movie? Or would it simply be kicking back and taking a wee little nap.....ZZZZzzzzzzzzzz............

(We can all find SOMETHING to slow down with once in a while!)

Whether it's your teenage son and half his hockey team, loudly scouring your kitchen for Hot Pockets, or your boss' endless calls that you need some respite from, creating a special space will help bring some more tranquility into your everyday life!

As a quick reminder, this mini-series is based on principals from the FABULOUS book called "The Art of Extreme Self Care" by Cheryl Richardson. I owe Cheryl so much for all of the great wisdom she has taught myself and countless other women from this gem of a book. Please find a copy for yourself if you are interested in more information on some of the topic we cover here!

So your soul nourishing space, it can simply be a comfortable chair in the corner of the room. That's all the space that you need. I've even heard of people turning tiny, not very useful closets into special spaces. You don't need an entire room, so please know that!

For me though, we've had a tiny front room in our house that has never really been utilized. I asked Jon first, if he might want the space for anything, and he graciously said: "No, you take it!" (What a nice guy.) :)

Why don't I tell you a little about how this "me space" came together, and hopefully my story with some tips and suggestions, can help you to  make a special place of your very own!

Originally this room was going to serve as a guest bedroom/office, but believe it or not, the room is too spall for even a little couch! Our house was built around 1860, a time when rooms were smaller, and this particular room was actually made even tinier at one point, when a little hallway and two closets were added.

Here is a before-before photo. Before we moved into our house, before the "my space" makeover.
I'm not sure what this room was originally used for, maybe a tiny bedroom? Here is a funny story though. When we walked into this space, my stepfather said that if there truly was a water leak in the upstairs bathroom, that there would be water damage in the ceiling of this room, as the bathroom was right above. He pointed to the ceiling and BONK! HIS POINTED FINGER WENT RIGHT THROUGH THE CEILING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I'm not joking. I really wanted to cry at that point. There was so much going wrong with this place at the time. But, what did I expect? It was 150 years old and had been vacant for a couple of years. No problems though! After ten months of renovation and a handful of projects afterwards, today, she's doing pretty good! Phew, what a relief!

When we moved in, I decorated the room both A.) on a budget, and B.) in a pretty simple, neutral way, as I wasn't quit sure what we would eventually do with the space. So many other projects jumped to the front of the line for attention with our house after moving in, so the room just stayed the same for two and a half years. Until one day......I decided to make it into my special space!

For the record, from before the makeover...........  The wall paper is from Hygge & West, who at the time was just two young designers in Brooklyn, but now have expanded to several designers on their team and it looks as though they've moved to San Francisco! Please take a look. I'm in love with their whimsical work. And, the best part for me, wallpapering a SMALL room can be as cost effective as buying paint! It really can! Score! The framed  P. Buckley Moss print was my Grandparents, so it was free!

I found the chandelier at the home improvement store Lowe's. It was cheap! You don't need furniture or specialty shop to find things for your home. Look around. Sometimes you will find the perfect elements where you least expect them.

The lamp, clearance at Home Goods, as was the little, blue table. And the chairs, $99 each at Ikea. I didn't even bother putting a rug down in the end and it was Fiiiiiiine.

The desk and chair was supposed to be just a place holder until we found something to permanently put here. Two and a half years later and it's still there! I think it works, and the best was a hand-me-down! This is my Mom's desk from the late 50's/early 60's I believe. It was so awesome, inside one of the drawers, I found inscribed : "I love Bobby......" Isn't that funny!? :)


Now for the after!

Here's what I asked myself and how I got started, things that you can do too.

#1.) What kind of space would make me feel happy? A room of my own, a corner sitting area, something outside? Light and airy or dimly lit and cozy? Sleek with work surfaces or soft and comfy?
Envision a general idea of what you best space would be, and figure out what you have to work with.

#2.) What purpose do you need your area to fulfill? Is it a place just to kick back and relax, or do you need a place where you can create? Would you like it to fit just you, or do you need it to be large enough to accommodate a friend or two?

3.) Design details! It's time for the nuts and bolts. What do you want in terms of - color, print, texture? Do you picture warm tones or cool tones, stripes or florals? Things like that! Would you like soft lighting, or plants or things to hang on the wall? What design detail would you like to highlight? Your love of crochet or all things yarn-y? You get what I mean. Brainstorm all these little details to your heart's content.

4.) Make a budget! Here's the deal, it doesn't matter if you have a limitless budget or ZERO cash. It really doesn't. MOST of the time, if you get a little creative, you can use things that you already have in the house to create your special space!

5.) Plan ahead. Where are you going to source "feathers" to feather your nest!? This planning ahead stuff, it really makes life easier. What I usually do is start by scouring my home for treasures. Are there knickknacks, throws, decorative pillows or even furniture pieces that I can borrow from one room and move to my new space?

After I've exhausted the "already" own possibilities, then I start going farther afield. This sounds a little silly, but your family and friends might have key items that you need and they are ready to part with for a small price, a trade, or even for free!
For example, I needed a wicker ottoman. I knew that my father once had one that he mentioned wasn't working for his house and that he was on a hunt for a new type of footstool. So, I called him up and asked politely if he was still open to giving it away! In the end, he was still using it, so I bought  my own, but you never know! It doesn't hurt to ask.

The third step in planning ahead is taking a bit of time to explore your favorite stores online. For example, for this room, I was interested in shopping at Target and Ikea. I went to both online, found some items that I wanted, like a shelf and an ottoman, made note of the prices, and was even able to see what was currently in stock at my nearest location! It made everything so easy.

Of course you will most likely want to see things in person before you commit, and not every store had all of their merchandise online, but going into the shopping phase with you homework done can really save you hours and even days worth of shopping trips all over town!

Here's  the master list that I came up with after some brainstorming. It doesn't include all of my notes, but you get the idea.......

I wanted the room to serve several purposes:

1.) To be a relaxing oasis when I could sit, relax, daydream and read. (Comfortable seating. Something soft and cozy.)
2.) To have an area where I could set up my computer and write! (Need a desk and chair. Internet.)
3.) To store all of my crochet gear and have somewhere nice that I can sit and crochet! (Storage space, again, cozy place to sit.
4.) To store my craft supplies. Originally, I wanted a larger work surface so that I could do my paper craft in here, but the room is so small, and our big kitchen table is the perfect spot for that kind of thing. (Storage space. Maybe something organizational for the closet.)
4.) To have just enough room to host a friend for coffee and a chat. (Two chairs! A little table for our coffee.)

So in the end, here is what I changed up just a wee bit...........

First I gathered up my yarn and put some in storage, and the rest out on display in a big wicker basket that I found in the basement. Wicker is great by the way, it brings some texture into a room! I stuck a few of my crochet hooks and knitting needles into the yard for easy accessibility and to make it look fun! Then I found a crochet heart garland and threw it over the print hanging on the wall, just for some whimsy and to signal that this is a creative room!

One of my goals was to make it feel softer in here. Rugs were kind of expensive, so instead, by using my yarn, and one of my favorite, warm shawls thrown over a chair, that brought a cozy feeling into the room for free!

As noted before, these chairs have always been here. I must note, at only $99 from ikea, washable covers and all, I'd say they were a deal! Since I didn't have any bookshelves that fit my favorite books, I stacked them to add height and detail to this little side table. I also set out my cactus and new succulent plant, and a tiny ceramic, antique phone that was given to me. Use what you already have!

The entire special space makeover began with a total clean-out of this desk and the small closet in the room.  How can one really relax with clutter looming over their head? At least for me, I can't. I need order! So I took a day to clean any clutter from the room. Completely! In the end I was left with a very functional desk and closet. I even organized my markers by color, which looks nice and comes in handy during projects!
Plants and books always add interest and happiness to a room. At least, that's what I think.

A fun and inexpensive way to add interest to your wall, AND to bring a little personal touch into YOUR personal space, is by making what I call a daydream board! This cork board was found at Target for under ten dollars. I had some nice tacks already lying around, and I purchased a small pad of scrapbooking paper to add some texture and interest. Then I collect a few pictures of my family that I from around the house, and tiny creative elements that sing to me! Mostly silk flower barrettes, ribbon roses, and tiny crochet that I've done. For $10 or less, you can make a personalized daydream board to post hopes, wishes and dreams ! It's so much fun.

This corner of the room is a bit odd, but I had to work with the nails that were already in the wall, not wanting to put anymore into this paper! The large safety pin is a bit silly, especially hanging next to my calendar, but hey! Who said that I wasn't silly!? An essential part of life I believe, is NOT TAKING YOURSELF OR YOUR STUFF TOO SERIOUSLY! :)
The safety pin was a gift, and the watercolor calendar is one that I love by artist and author Susan Branch. You can find it here!

My little shelf came from Target and I adore it! The best part was, that I looked through all of their shelving online at my leisure, chose a few that I liked, and then found which location they were in stock at. It couldn't have been easier! Went over, put it in the cart! Then I filled the cubbies with little knickknacks that I felt were interesting or told a story. (It's still a work in progress though.)

And that's, that! I feel like in total, I spent less than $100 to make this room feel more cozy, more useful, ad more like a lovely retreat.
Since brightening up this small space, everybody has seemed to want to spend time in my sunny nook. Noah especially. For homework and for...........

...... lounging and keeping me company when I'm working on a project.

So, as you can see, having your own, little sliver of the world can be so restorative. It's important and doesn't take much. Remember that taking care of yourself is one of the best things that you can do to insure that you have more to give to others. It just works that way! You are worth it, and so much more. :)

Until next time, BE GOOD TO YOURSELF!!!!



stephanie bean said...

your room turned out super-cute!

Lauren said...

Hey Stephanie! Thanks so much. :)

Valerie said...

What a lovely room!I love the wall paper. =) I also love the thought of not taking ourselves or our stuff too seriously. What a great thought! Thanks for the smiles. Your blog is always so encouraging! =) Have a super week.
Your friend,

Lauren said...

Hi Valerie! Thank you!

Yes, everything is so much easier without the pressure to be "proper" or "on trend." Why be serious when you can be silly sometimes! ;)

I hope that you're having a very nice week too!

Your friend,
Lauren <3