Design Apologies – You’re breaking my heart

Well peeps. It happened again just now. On the phone. Another apology casually and sheepishly thrown my way by a new client. ‘Old’ clients do them too. These unwarranted apologies always swoop in out of the blue and always make me feel bad. So – once and for all, I am taking blog in hand to put a hopeful end to these design apologies. You’re breaking my heart.

The scenario is something like this. When I’m invited to a client’s home for the first time to remedy a problem or ignite something ‘vunderbah’ together – somewhere along the route of our walking tour of the client’s home, there are self deprecating remarks and apologies thrown my way like, (and these are direct quotes as best as I can remember them…buckle your seat belt)

* “I know this living room needs a lot of work, but it is what it is”
* “Sorry this table is so bad here, but it’s what we have for now.”
* “This house is nothing special I know . . . ”
* “My kitchen is not so great – it’s really small, but there it is…”
* “I know this chair looks terrible, but it belonged to my Uncle Willy”
* “I’m sorry these walls are so scuffed . . . ”
Ouch! My heart!

Then there are the phone apologies from new clients who are sniffing me out.
* “My house is small…”
* “Our house is nothing special. . . ”
* “As I said before . . . my house is REALLY small…”
Ouch! You’re killing me peeps.

Invariably, somebody, somewhere – at least when speaking to me – live or in person – will apologize for the size of a room, the size of a home, the existing decor in a room or about Uncle Willy’s chair. Ouch.

I’m getting that feeling in my chest just recounting this to tap out this blog. So let me say this: Girls! You have to stop! You’re breaking my heart. Who is judging you? Not I, said the fly. Neither should you.

Your home is your haven, your spot, your nest and retreat. Your accumulated things, your colors and textures to date, your fabrics and patterns – your furnishings and all – these tell a rich story about you. They are your history, your journal. They are where you’ve been, who you were and how you felt at one time. Some of these may also be a reflection of who you are and how you feel now. Some of them may no longer be. But that is OK…that is remedy-able. People change. So do wardrobes as a result. And so do interiors….that “domestic sum total” that reflects what you want to feel and what you want to look at.

Your actual house – that conglomeration of wood, nails, drywall, HVAC. plumbing and so forth, that you single handedly turned from a house into a home . . there is blessing and gift in that alone. Lucky are you to live in it. It protects you from the elements; it shelters you from the cold; it gives you a door to close to the world when you need it closed, and a place to welcome the world when want to invite the world in. It is within the walls of your home that you dream your dreams, plan your plans, mourn your losses and celebrate your joys. That’s pretty big. Your home. YOUR home. Don’t ever apologize for your home. Not to me. Not to anyone.

And if by chance – you are feeling a little ‘grass is always greener’ about your home – that’s OK. But do this for me the next time you have a quiet moment. I want you to walk through your house, from top to bottom, but on this walk though, I want you to take it all in with fresh eyes. I mean it. Take stock of all that is in each room; the meaningful things; the beautiful things; the useful things; the inherited things from your “Uncle Willy;” the things that come from different time periods in your life. Take it all in. This is the half-full part of the glass that I am setting before you and I am inviting you to drink it well.

Your home is your gift and treasure; a privilege well earned and something in which you are blessed to live in this lifetime. Not everyone has that privilege – not in this country or others. You know the what I mean.

So embrace it all – Uncle Willy’s chair, your 10’x13′ living room, your total square footage, your wonderful melange of living room furnishings – whatever. Feel like making enhancements? That’s fine. Make them. But first, bless what was, be grateful for what is and how it served you and your family, then let it go and make your change. But own it. Own all that you are, everywhere you’ve been.

In some cultures, its considered an honor to invite a stranger into your home. Let it go at that. Be grateful. Be proud. And let it go at that.