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!!