February 17, 2011

There's Nothing Wrong With Beige.

As regular readers of this blog know we are planning a house move soon.  The New House needs a little bit of work and I have been thinking a lot about what needs to be done.  This will be the third house I have "done up" in 9 years and I am struggling to find the enthusiasm required.  I realise that saying this is akin to sacrilege in the blog world...   However I have learnt a few lessons along my renovation journey and I have decided on the following approach until my decorating mojo returns.

The New House desperately needs a repaint.  I now know the Dulux "Whites" catalogue by heart and my approach this time, is to pick one of their creamy warm whites and do the whole inside of the house.  A bathroom is going to be mended and the kitchen tarted up a bit with a new benchtop and knobs.  And then we are going to move in and work out what else we want to do.

I don't want to do anything in a half assed way because I figure a half assed reno is always going to look like, well, a half assed reno.  I also want to get a bit more of a feel for the house and how we are going to use it.  There are lots of nooks and crannies in our current house that I only really appreciated after living here a while.

The last few years have shown a huge wave of interest in home decor and renovation in Australia and I presume the world.  To be honest sometimes I think we get so obsessed about how things look, that we forget that our house must first and foremost be a warm, cosy home.

Often I feel people decorate more to create the perfect image, rather than to please the occupants of the house...  I have been guilty of this in the past, and it was brought home to me forcibly on the occasion of Farmgirl's second birthday.  We had planned a Champagne and Cupcake party that started at 4pm (the adults were still going at 1am but that is a story for another post...)  Farmgirl is born in winter and hence I had lots of cosy, nanna style hand crocheted rugs and cushions around the lounges in our kitchen room.  At the last moment I decided to neaten all of this up. I stuffed the offending items in the linen press and tidied the room until it was all matchy matchy and magazine perfect.  Farmgirl walked in, burst into tears and said
"I want to go home."
I promptly replied
"This is home darling" 
She said
"Not my home." 

Needless to say I whipped all the mismatching soft furnishings back out and Farmgirl was happily "at home" in time for her party.   Now I make sure my first priority is making our house somewhere The Farmchildren feel cosy and safe.  Farmboy reinforced this for me too when he showed me the picture he had drawn of his "safe place" at PrePrimary.  I asked him what it was and he replied that it was our kitchen.  That brought tears to my eyes.  I must be doing something right in the decorating department...

In December Maxabella posted a fantastic post about our lives and how they can be overstyled.  It is well worth a read and makes an excellent point.  (Quick, pop over there and read it.  I'll wait....)

My favourite bit of her post was
"It's sands and taupes and camels.  It's definitely never beige."
She had obviously read the Dulux catalogues too.

Window In The Farmhouse Bathroom Door, Not Stylish But I Love It

19 comments:

Make mine Mid-Century said...

I just read that Maxabella post. She does make a good point. We (I) do put pressure on ourselves (myself) trying to perpetually make our homes magazine perfect. And that's impossible unless you've heaps of money and living solo. So we spend our lives feeling disappointed with our abodes. I've stopped buying Interior Magazines because they are impossible to emulate and they're all styled and cropped.

Simple, comfortable and personal is the way to decorate, I think. And definitely leave those penguins on the bathroom door! They're hilarious!

Fussy Eater's Mum said...

I reckon that when it come to home decor, it's like deciding on whether to get a tatoo. Ask yourself, "Are you going to want to be living with that in a few years, when it's a little more faded and worn?"

ANB said...

Oh, I know the feeling of staring at the Dulux whites, varying between being very very impressed that there are so many shades of one colour in the world, and wanting to kill whoever came up with all of them. In the end, we two predictable lawyers went for "barrister white." It did suit the house best, funnily enough!

Fiona said...

I absolutely love the sentiment reflected in this post. It certainly isn't the picture-perfect, magazine-ready stylised house that your children will one day fondly remember. It's the warmth and love they felt that will come back to them. (At least I have to keep telling myself that, as I look around at the mess and chaos that is our home).
From a very beige kind of girl.

Sarah said...

Yes, I know that Dulux Whites catalogue too, in the end we went for 'white opal' for all our trims which is the best shade for me.. a warm winter white, but still fresh looking.

I agree with your post - I remember feeling so cozy, comfy, warm and safe in my mother's kinda daggy lounge room - she was op-shop-chic before her time. It was uncool and worn, but it made me feel at home. How gorgeous that your farm boy drew his kitchen - you've obviously done a great job!

We resisted the (strong) urge to turn our Victorian 'rooms' into a big open plan area - I think rooms (as opposed to vast spaces) might just the next big thing! Adore the penguins by the way!

Emma M said...

Wow, that is a lot of 'doing up'. We have some reno's ahead of us and I must remember your approach and rather than agonise over every little door handle or border tile option - which I am prone to do - just go with what is a comfortable fit with us and the budget.

This Mid 30s Life said...

I so miss our 'done up' house, I hope our tenants are enjoying it because this beige rental is just so... beige. The walls, ceiling, curtains, furniture, light fittings, carpet... the lot. Except for the crazy-arse bathroom which is maroon.

I didn't think beige could drive you crazy, but take it from me - when EVERYTHING in a house is beige, life is that less fun.

Michelloui | The American Resident said...

When I brought my daughter and step kids to my parents house in Minnesota for the first time they were in the middle of a MASSIVE house redo and things were all over the place, wall were missing, furniture was completely mismatched and covered in all kinds of different quilts to cover old worn places... My parents were a bit worried that the kids' first impression of their home would be negative. But when they kids left they talke about it all the time--it was apparently 'like the Weasley's house (harry potter, in case you dont know!:) ) and they asked if we could make our house a bit more like theirs--fun and cozy!

A Farmer's Wife said...

MMMC - The penguins are staying believe you me. When we leave this house we will actually still own it and the new tenants will get STRICT instructions re the penguins.

FEM - Loving the tattoo analogy. Tattooed rose buds become full blooms in a few years...

ANB - Those whites do my head in.

Fiona - Thanks Fiona. Glad you "got it".

Sara - I agree with you totally about rooms. We also didn't make our current house completely open plan. With kids it is handy to have the occasional door to shut...

Emma - Probably too much "doing up" which is why I am a bit jaded with it now. Anyways...

Mid 30s - That is too much beige. Way too much beige. Remember when that taupey colour was in for restaurant walls and women also wore lots of camel with caramel hair with blonde highlights? I used to worry they would go into a restaurant and be so camouflaged no one would ever see them again.

Michelloui - Kids like cozy. Don't get me worng - I wouldn't let them decorate the whole house. But it is nice having little kid friendly nooks here and there.

Maxabella said...

Chortle. You know I know what you're talking about!! Thanks for linking back too, I really appreciate that. x

Emma said...

I loved Maxabella's post! I actually know someone whose house was in a very popular home magazine. Knowing the house and then seeing how it was styled and then the way the photographs appeared in the magazine was fascinating! Most importantly, it was a massive eye opener, I realized that people don't actually live like that. There is just great photography, photoshop (ie fade out the neighbours house in the background) and great styling (with items that are being borrowed from shops, the stylist, your friend.... )

Andrea said...

I have a friend who lives like that (OSL). All whites and beiges, and immaculate. I lived next door to her for a while, which made me over conscious about my place. The fact that I was/am? a designer of sorts made it worse.

Now that we have moved, I notice when she comes over...she always goes through the house to check everything out. Does an inspection, as if to prove that yes, we are messy, and not styled, and not up to par. And yet she is still my friend, but in noticeably smaller doses than previously.

But I still like nice things. And no matter how much I love some rustic white spaces, and love 'sands' and 'caramels' and 'elephant' and....etc, I can't seem to stick with them.

As for the high design that Mazabella talks of... We will be putting the $120 teacup on the wedding registry, along with the Allessi bottle opener. Because I like fine design. And because we love the idea of heirlooms and collector items. But.. OSL. way too disorganised for that.

A Farmer's Wife said...

Maxabella - Wouldn't dream of doing it without linking back....

Emma - I have been in houses which have been in mags too. It is scary what they do to make the pictures look good. Lovely to look at but sad if people take it too seriously and try and emulate that life (because it isn't life)

Andrea - Thank you for your comment. It was really nice to hear what someone who is involved in the design industry thinks. I could possibly do minimalism but only if I got rid of the kids. I am pretty smitten with them though so I guess that's that! I, too, have lots of special things because I love them. I think this is perfectly OK as long as they don't assume too much importance in your day to day life.

A Farmer's Wife said...

Would so never get rid of the kids (just in case someone didn't realise I was joking!!!)

Life In A Pink Fibro said...

You had me at 'beige'. I agree that our houses must always be homes. And as someone who visits those magazine houses before, after and during photo shoots, I can tell you that there's a LOT of stuff shoved in cupboards.

Thanks for Rewinding at the Fibro. I really love your blog. It's always such a pleasure to pop in for a visit.

Kellie said...

I love that your boy's comment brought tears to your eyes. That's beautiful. I must admit that our house has lots of *ahem) cream, camel, sand etc, but it also looks very homely and ``lived in'', as is inevitable with two li'l terrors!!! It's definitely not up to magazine standard!! LOL!!! ;)

Hear Mum Roar said...

You're so right. I also wonder, as much as I love blogging, if blogs can put a little of this pressure on, too?

So Now What? said...

We've renovated 3 houses now. First one was bright blue and yellow. My God. Then the next house we bought was already yellow, (we had a thing for yellow, I think something was wrong with us) and then we suddenly copped on that neutral and less is more.

Same with life. Less is more. We don't need it all to be happy. xx

Over from the Fibro xx

tinsenpup said...

We're not much for decor here; we're more of a neatly arrange a bunch of stuff we love and want to look at, family, but for years we had a loungeroom and a playroom that we only used when we had visitors. Now we have a single bedroom, a workroom/studio, a bigger, brighter playspace and a lounge/dining room. It's a little eccentric in practice, but it works for us.