the learning curve

When Joe and I first got married we had a wide variety of home decor.  And I’m playing it fast and loose with the word decor.  Josiah moved in with his grandfather after he left college so he had a healthy assortment of bachelor pad and college…junk.  A mini-fridge shelf that was falling apart, an Xbox, and some John Wayne signs were the cream of the crop.  I had a hope chest room of things I had collected for my future home.  I had our kitchen well stocked (pots and pans, dishes, baking dishes…) but not much to hang on the walls other than a large collection of black and white posters.  The really cool kind that only has one thing in color.  Remember when that was cool?  Yeah, dorms are so much cuter now.  Needless to say, we had a way to go before finding our style. Let’s take a little walk down memory lane…


Elementary School:  Polka-dots, checks and stripes.  Yikes!


(the only picture I could find of the gallery wall. Our first New Year’s eve as a married couple)

Our apartment was cute, pleasant and welcoming but a glorified co-ed dorm.  A mix-match of everything we had leftover, like an elementary school student who doesn’t care what they’re wearing as long as everything’s covered.  For Josiah’s first birthday as a married man, I gave him a gallery wall of reproductions of historic documents (the Constitution, Martin Luther King Jr’s. “I have a dream” speech, maps, etc).  It was cute but heavy and didn’t play nicely with anything else in our 900 sq-ft apartment. 

Middle School:  Trying hard but “bless her heart”

living room

Our first house was something like middle school.  You’re looking up to people who are older (more experienced) than you but you just can’t quite pull off their style, yet. I started trying to find our style when we purchased our first home.  We carved out a small budget and I headed straight to IKEA.  Yeah, it seemed like a good idea at the time.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m a big fan of IKEA. I love the place.  But you shouldn’t decorate your entire house from their showroom.  I remember when I was playing with design in our living room and a friend of Josiah’s (and me) walked in and asked if I knew the frames were empty.  Yes, yes I did.  But, I was too chicken to commit to the wrong thing—again.  Awkwardness abounds. 


High school:  Starting to get it together, but you still have some growing to do.

When we moved to our beautiful little blue house I finally started to hit my stride—ish.  At first Pinterest was like candy when you’re little.  You’re so excited you just grab (pin) anything you can get your hands on, even if you don’t love it.  When you grow up you save your calories for the good stuff.  I remember one afternoon when I was rocking Haddie I decided to start weeding out my Pinterest.  Then “Fixer-Upper” hit the scene.  I’ve always loved midcentury design but I didn’t want our house to look like a costume party.  Enter “Jo-Jo”. 


College:  A clean slate to reinvent yourself.


Moving back to our first house was like starting fresh.  It was fun and daunting.  There is a vaulted ceiling that spans our living room and kitchen that is scary to a novice designer like me.  But other areas weren’t as intimidating as they were the first time around.  I’ve still got a ways to go.  Like working family pictures into the mix—hopefully finding room for a gallery wall.  But I’ve come a long way from married housing.

Grad School: Maybe someday…

I’m certainly not finished fine tuning my style.  Areas where I spend money on silly things or things that are cute at the store but don’t seem to find a place at home.  Ever done that?  It was awesome in the store but you bring it home and move it from place to place until you finally realize it isn’t meant to be?  It happens to me too often.  I want to perfect the art of finding the perfect sized rug.  Grouping things without them being too much (or not enough).  And the list goes on.  Ah, well.  One thing at a time.

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