Courage is the power to let go of the familiar. -- Raymond Lindquist
What stuff are you still hanging on to?
As I've gotten to the 9 month mark of my cross-country move to a new home, life & way of living many thoughts have crossed my mind: What the HELL was I thinking? WHY did I choose Charlotte of all the places in this fabulous country to move to? And finally, do I want to go back? Even with the nightmare I've been dealing with in the house I purchased, I can honestly say the answer to the last question is a resounding NO. I love the weather, my new friends, am as active physically as I've ever been on a daily basis & healthier mentally & physically than ever...even the doxie duo have lost weight!
In answer to #2, I do love life here in the Queen City...I can be at the mountains or the beach in a matter of hours. Great food, wine & craft beer...LOTS of outdoor activity as well. Plus it's a very dog-friendly city which makes me feel right at home. So even with all the troubles w/the current house, the choice of Charlotte as my new HOME was the correct choice.
Now...to answer #1...WTH was I thinking? I knew I wanted a change of scenery. I was never happy living in Milwaukee, let alone Wisconsin so I knew I needed out. I've lived in many places (Chicago, Boston, Tampa...) & have only really been happy where the weather was more co-operative (i.e. NO SNOW or COLD!)...I knew my days in WI were numbered. Through all of this living discomfort, I was also honing my business as to "my big business WHY" was...So, I decided to make myself my own client.
As part of the PRE-DESIGN interview w/clients, I ask them: What is your Design WHY? WHY are you hiring me? What isn't working? This was the exact process I went through in determining that YES I needed to move to a different geographical location & the choosing of the part of the country & ultimately the city, I would choose to call home. Doing this process required me to let go of much in my life that WASN'T working & not part of my BIG WHY. Everything from furniture (if it didn't fit in the POD it wasn't moving south) & clothes (it was awesome doing this part!!) to my security & support system. That was the part that I underestimated as being the hardest part. Finding a new stylist, the closest coffee shop...WHERE is a gas station (& who KNEW that if I went 1 mile to the east or south to SC that I'd pay 30 cents LESS a gallon!...seriously, you need a guide!)...how do I get ANYWHERE...& how do I make new friends. Once you get out of school & especially if you own your own business or are a free-lancer, you aren't FORCED to be in a specific local at a specific time every day where you see familiar faces. I was basically the "new kid" again like back in 4th grade when we moved from Milwaukee to Wind Lake...& I HATED that feeling as anyone who's ever been the "new kid in town" knows.
However, I knew that I couldn't keep the status quo going on anymore in my life...It wasn't bad, but I also knew that there was so much more out there to do & be. So taking the risk to pack up & move was small when compared to living w/the regret of not even trying. Afterall, I could always move back in case of a total disaster...& while that thought actually went through my head more than a few times, I knew I couldn't go back. The whole process of LETTING GO of my stuff & parts of my life that weren't working (like my soon to be obsolete winter coat) made space for the life I WANTED to start filling in the space. And while the challenges have been GREAT, I live a more full & happy life than I have in years. Doing activities I love, meeting some fun people & just enjoying all the opportunity that is being presented on a daily basis helps make up for the garbage (literally) that greeted me when I unlocked the front door.
And now, as the work is complete & the decision has been made to "let go" of this house to do a "do over"...I look back on how much I've grown over the past months, through my fear, & realize that this was merely another step to creating the life I dream about: I found out where I'm spending my time, where friends live, where the best shopping is & to a neighborhood that suits my lifestyle. Stay tuned for more on house selling, house hunting & moving (again)....good thing I kept most of the boxes!
Now...you ask...WHAT does any of this have to do with design? Well, first off defining your WHY is vital before making ANY decision! WHY do you want a change? What isn't working? I ask this of all my clients before we start a project to help define what the boundaries are: Is all of the furniture staying? Is someone moving out/in? Any health concerns? Lifestyle changes? All of this plays a part into the design process so you can effectively design/create a space that WORKS for the client.
Secondly, I got to implement a Clutter-busting Consult on myself when deciding what was going into the POD & what was getting sold/donated. You want to get hard-core, have a defined space & if it doesn't fit it doesn't get kept. Period. Do you LOVE it? Do you USE it? Do you NEED it? I had many boxes I had been packing prior to the move in anticipation & it was like Christmas time when my Mom & I were unpacking boxes here in the QC. And yes, I still made some stops to GoodWill even AFTER I moved as I had forgotten some of the things I packed. While I regret not bringing a couple of things, they can all be replaced & I did remember to bring the dogs so all is good! :) I was surrounded by the things that would support me in my new life as a southerner & I'm embracing & USING items that have been packed away for much too long a time.
Lastly, once I got to get down to actually designing a livable space (although by this time I knew I wasn't designing for me but for a future buyer as I wasn't going to be living here for any length of time), I treated this home like previous homes where I knew it was just a "stop" & not a destination for me. I treated this home like any design project: What was the energy of the space now that it was clean & safe? Who would this home appeal to? I love the color scheme in this home (pictures will be forthcoming) as it plays up the great architectural details AND the fabulous yard & view. Everyone who enters this home stops & goes "wow" as they take in the floors (LOVE!!!) & vibe of the space.
I know that this house is one of the best projects I've ever worked on & is just beautiful. It is now safe, up to code & will make someone very happy. So my job here is now done. I also realize that this house & all the work is also a metaphor for my journey the past few years...And THAT gets down to the very basics of why I do what I do & my design philosophy. I help my clients "design the life of their dreams"...& now I got to practice what I preach & design my own!
What's DeAnna up to?....
April is going to be busy, busy busy!! KBIS & High Point Market will take up the last part of the month so expect a LOT of updates in May with what YOU can expect for design trends.
DeAnna is also one of the featured speakers at KBIS in the inaugural Voices of the Industry line up of speakers. If you're at KBIS make sure to check out her talk, Getting SMALL Talk to Lead to BIG Talk on Saturday, April 20th.
On the Kick A** Women Making a Difference radio show there's Author Oana on April 1st who will speak about escaping communism & her upcoming book on the same topic. For the historical episode on April 15th, Irene Sendlerowa, who smuggled Jewish babies & children out of the Warsaw ghetto will be featured.
DeAnna On Design will be hiatus until after KBIS & High Point & be back in May with all kinds of fabulous interviews with industry leaders & trends.
Make sure to check out DeAnna's Author Page on amazon.com for new additions, videos & info on all ebooks available.
Lastly, make sure to sign up for our monthly DeeZine & see what the APRIL design special is!!
Springtime is the land awakening. The March winds are the morning yawn. ~Quoted by Lewis Grizzard in Kathy Sue Loudermilk, I Love You
OK...as I posted last time, I've moved. This was a move that much thought went in to...after all, you don't just sell off your stuff, pack up what's left & make plans to move you & your dogs across the country WITHOUT thinking it through. However, as Seinfeld said about his "security plan" when his apartment got robbed due to Kramer leaving the door open..."there's 1 serious flaw..."....My "flaw" was that I hadn't taken into account the previous sellers not believing in cleaning, maintaining or even simple caring about the home.
Now, I DID have a home inspection....but THAT'S for another column...What the inspector didn't look at (!) was the basic maintainence of the home. The HVAC filters not being changed (see pics) in I don't think years, the build up of soap scum on shower doors/tubs/surrounds, some sort of film that caked the windows, damaged screens & frames...(& seriously HOW do you bend a frame on a window screen that you don't have to change/remove?), incompetent caulking in the kitchen & bathrooms...It's been a truly stunning experience...Every time I clean/fix/repair something, it brings up other issues that were either covered up or never addressed. Ex: when all of the flooring needed to be pulled up & replaced, that led to my seeing the all the damage done to the molding & wainscoting from lack of cleaning...seriously, I've done more for Mr Clean Erasers this past month than any ad campaign in the past year!
When I look at purchasing a home, I look at the work in "phases" & their payoff in terms of ROI (return on investment)...i.e. if I just have to upgrade some fixtures, will that get me a higher dollar amount received when I sell the property OR buy a place that needs more updating/repair to get a higher % of return on my investment. This home was to be a "home" & not an investment. One of the reasons I picked it was due to it NOT needing a lot of "fixing up" but rather some updating of fixtures & letting me personalize it...alas, this was not to be the case. Now, what IS a bright spot is that this home was a short-sale (I do NOT recommend this as a purchase option unless you have time & the means to deal with any "unseen" situations that occur) & I negotiated a price WAY BELOW the listed value of the home. So while this is turning out to be a large up-front layout of money right now, I'm still ahead investment dollar-wise....Do you see what I'm talking about here?
But now back to the importance of MAINTENANCE of your home. Your home is one of the largest investments that you will ever make. So it only behooves you to take care of & add value to this investment so it maintains it's value...even in a declining market like we have right now. The market WILL rebound & you want your home to be able to adjust with the market. The investment value aside, one of the things that's part of my design philosophy (Integrative Lifestyle Design), is the ENERGETIC importance of taking care of your home from a physical, mental & emotional health standpoint.
****Your OUTER world is reflection of your INNER world***
From a physical health standpoint, lack of proper maintenance can lead to upper respiratory issues due to breathing in toxins, dust, mold & mildew, & the spreading of disease such as e coli & salmonella. (I truly don't know HOW the previous owners could BREATHE in this house, let alone sleep, eat & live in it). Now, this doesn't mean you have to spend an hour every day cleaning, dusting & vacuuming, however, if you have kids, pets and/or someone in the home who DOES suffer from any health issue, you DO have to take the time to clean more thoroughly than another who can let some things "slide" until they have time. Daily you should be wiping down counters, any spills & washing dishes/putting in dishwasher & taking out garbage. Weekly you should be vacuuming/sweeping the floor, cleaning windows/mirrors, wiping down sinks/fixtures/tub/shower. Monthly look at cleaning walls/doors, vacuuming curtains, dusting blinds/ceiling fans. This is meant only as a guide...adjust for your lifestyle/family/space. Failure to do these simple tasks can lead to mold/mildew build-up in kitchens/bathrooms/windows, dust bunnies multiplying under furniture, in corners & under appliances-which can become a fire hazard!-& a likely large expense in the future due to the deterioration of your appliances, furniture, flooring, counter tops & cabinetry.
From a mental & emotional health standpoint, surrounding yourself in dirt, disarray & clutter (see The Clutter Counselor division for more on this) can affect your goal achievement, life quality & outlook on your future. Remember, your OUTER world is a reflection of your INNER world...i.e. how you see yourself. If you don't feel the need to take care of yourself, why should anyone else? Your home is like another layer of skin or clothing...it protects you from the outer elements & the same care should go into taking care of your space, as you do taking care of your clothing & skin! What you neglect (whether on your home, your clothing or your body) can & WILL manifest into something larger & more invasive & more expense (neglect missing shingles you'll get water damage, which can lead to rotted roof joists, which can lead to mold and/or impaired integrity to the home's structure).
***I will discuss the Feng Shui correlation to lack of maintenance & what Life Area it corresponds to in another posting***
In closing of this post, while the past few weeks have been incredibly stressful & definitely NOT how I was planning on spending my time in my new home & new locale, however, I've been able to expand what I can offer my clients, add to my design portfolio (believe me, this is almost a complete gut job on this home & it will be a showpiece when I finish) & getting great material for the CasaVerde radio show, workshops & this column. So I'm trying to stay positive (everything is an opportunity on some level...ugh), treating myself when I am confronted w/something particularly disgusting (i.e. scrapping mold) or accomplishing something I've never done before (i.e. changing out the cord on the dryer from a 3 to a 4 prong)....Coldstone Creamery & CupCrazed cupcake shop are becoming an almost daily stop!
Here are tips I offer in my workshops (and radio show/column) to help people change "with the seasons":
Use spring colors to replace the winter color scheme in any accessories (pillows, throws, curtains, accent rugs/carpet tiles-which is a GREAT way to change up a room!). This includes: pastels in greens, blues, yellows & white paired w/any color.
Centerpieces made of flowers, grasses, baby breath and incorporating fruit (lemons, oranges, apples)
Clean the windows & let as much natural light shine in as possible.
Place mirrors at 45 degree angles to windows-that have a GOOD VIEW-to help disperse light in the space
Use essential oil Environment Sprays in citrus scents: lemon, orange, grapefruit
New eBooks by DeAnna now available on amazon!...Click here to be taken to her author page...
The above picture was taken on a recent hike in Mcaddenville, NC. I've done a lot of hiking since moving here & am loving it! While the decision has been made to move from this current home...the work is almost done & it will make some family VERY happy (I'll be posting before/after pics, along w/ the WHY of what I did). I'm not too psyched about packing & moving again, however, this time I've got a great realtor & know better how I spend my time & where I hang out to choose the right neighborhood for me (hint: NO HOA!).
As always, make sure to check the other tabs for new programs like the Healthy Down-Sizing program w/fellow designer, Linda Hunt. And, make sure to subscribe to the monthly DeeZine which will always have some offer for subscribers. Until next time...D :)