It’s a thing people. A thing. And we have HGTV, Instagram and other forms of social media and all those sneaky ads that pop up on our phone or Facebook or whatever.
My home will never look like this–first of all, I can’t afford custom design. Secondly, I can’t afford custom design.
Let’s have a little backstory first.
I grew up, before moving to Long Island in a duplex in Ozone Park, NY. My immediate family lived on the bottom floor, and my grandparents and aunt lived on the top. That house, to me, still remains close to perfection.
This was actually the house next door but you get the gist.
The living room was in the very front of the house—and being in a borough, one could look out the window and see all the goings on of neighborhood families and friends. So much that when a stranger was spotted skeptical eyes stared at the image—even from inside the house.
I don’t have photos of the interior of the old house but the living room walls looked just like this with a beige-ish wall color.
My mother had this room decorated beautifully. Not extravagantly—but incredibly tasteful. She had curtains hung with care, a big fluffy sofa that was dressed in slipcovers—in very 1950’s prints during three seasons and in the summer, the sofa, along with two club chairs that were formerly dressed in the same slipcovered fabric, were all naked. As it should be during those hot months.
Enjoy this photograph of my Aunt Tessie and my mother (right) in front of our house in Ozone park. You can see in the background my mom had a thing for window coverings.
The next room, another large room, served as a dining room—a rather formal one at that. And one that was rarely used. The walls of these rooms were thick. No sheetrock. No drywall. You could say the building was as strong as a brick shithouse.
Me, on the far right in the coat and beret with the neighborhood girls on the stoop! We all had a stoop!
Next was the kitchen—and it was large enough to have a table, chairs, and incredible space for the appliances and my mother to cook the daily meals. Next to the kitchen was a pantry and stairs that led to the “cellar”. We didn’t have a basement. There was no fancy furniture. No area for a “she shed” or a “man cave”. We all dwelled together as one family unit. So back to the cellar. There was a little area where my father installed Popeye the Sailorman linoleum. It was the area that I, along with my sister, played while my mother did the laundry—the machine being in that same cellar. Also in the cellar was an area of utter mystery and intrigue. The coal bin. Back then our home was heated with coal. I remember the coal deliveries and I remember my dad, shoveling coal into the furnace that would bring heat to the radiators. Simple. No technology needed. And the heat in the home was outstanding.
Look at that glistening coal! It’s so funny because I remember the coal bin so well!
The design of the house was also a sort-of shotgun style where the front rooms, to the kitchen were walk-through. The floors were all hard wood that my obsessive mother would wax and buff once a month and they were absolutely beautiful. There were no decorators. The TV stations showcased Jack La Lane teaching stay-at-home wives and mothers how they could stay in shape and in the afternoon, I remember my mother watching a plethora of cooking shows. But TV didn’t run our lives. We were more active and our homes were more pragmatic back then. An abode for families to enjoy each other and as long as the house was clean and tidy—that’s what mattered.
And over the years, I’ve lived in studio apartments as a young twenty-something in NYC, in larger NYC apartments, and in larger homes. All decorated to my taste but nothing elaborate.
The Chattilion aka 214 Riverside Drive. Living in this building was like living in a dorm. It was so much fun! And the rent was only $275 a month for a one-bedroom!
Fast forward to the home The Frenchman and I currently own. As I sit here writing this post, I am looking at the two long and narrow windows that are in the living room. Blinds are drawn in the evening for privacy and during the day, the light flows in from the opened slots.
Our townhome. I love it because it’s a corner unit!
LOL. Almost every day I ponder window treatments then I get stressed out because of drywall!
So, this is where I started to establish low home-esteem. My windows, other than the blinds, are naked. There are no window treatments. But before I move on, please allow me to explain this low-home esteem. Then I’ll show you what I mean.
HGTV. Remember the old-school House Hunters? Back maybe ten years ago? People were actually in search of homes that worked for them and within their budget.
House Hunters–the show where one half of a couple doesn’t work and the other one is an influencer and has either two million to spend on a home or….they want a custom mansion for $450K
Now—you have couples, many of them looking for a home way outside their budget of affordability. They want all the bells and whistles. Updated kitchen, spa bathroom, pool, land far away from neighbors. Basically, they want a custom-built home for, on the average of $450K. Uma. Then they end up buying a fixer-upper. Proof that House Hunters is scripted and further proof that, unless couples are looking for future foreclosure, their grandiose plans are lowered a notch.
When the budget is $450 K but you want a custom mansion!
Then we have Chip and Johanna—the infamous curators of Shiplap. Granted, I do like her taste in home furnishings but let us take a small step back. The couples are paying to have the homes they are purchasing to be fixed up. They are also paying for all that staged furniture, if they chose to do so. This would lend itself for a substantial amount of money for all new items.
Possibly one of the nicest Fixer Upper interiors I’ve ever seen, but the home owners have to pay extra for this–and can they even afford it?
I used to like them but honestly, now their brand Magnolia is nothing but overpriced crap sold at Target.
I do find the shiplap inviting though. I’m getting ideas…..
Don’t get me started on The Property Brothers. I used to really love them. I mean, twice the amount of adorableness—but even they jumped the shark with the furnishings.
I can’t watch these two cuties anymore. Why? Because Vincent and I are NOT Property Handypeople!
Actually, the only home decorator I enjoy is Nicole Curtis. She of the restorations to old homes in the Detroit area. I love watching how she takes a torn down, abandoned home and restores it. Rather than knock down walls to make a “living space”, she reconstructs rooms.
Now Nicole has a show where she restores old lake houses. I freaking adore her!
She restores old, Detroit homes and turns them into visions of beauty.
It’s amazing and her taste is impeccable!
And to be honest, I am a room person. I love those designated, separate spaces.
So yeah, I definitely experience low home-esteem. And I shouldn’t.
We have a townhouse. Both my husband and I had single-family homes when we were younger adults raising our children (child in his case). Now, as empty-nesters it’s a more practical choice to live in a townhome. We purchased nine years ago and have hardly made updates.
The walls can be painted but we’re just not sure as to what colors we want. It’s an expensive undertaking and at my husband’s age, he certainly doesn’t need to be getting on a ladder and risking a fall.
Don’t even broach the verticals in the sun room. I hate them. And while I realize that “hate” is a strong and offensive word these days, I have no shame nor do I apologize for using that word to describe these vile window coverings. They make me cringe. But I love our sunroom so much that I’ve dealt with this for almost ten years. And they, although outdated, don’t make the house look trashy.
The verticals. I can’t stand them. For almost ten years, I’ve been complaining and still–they hang!
Carpeting. Shhhh! I’m secretly waiting for the Frenchman to go to France by himself on family business so I can literally rip the carpeting off the stairways, sand the wood that lies underneath, and paint each step with a shiny enamel then add an oriental runner. Carpeting is the bane of my existence. It is a petri dish for germs and microscopic bugs and other nasty beings. No matter how many times these disgusting lays of fabric are vacuumed or cleaned, they bother me.
I want to do this to our stairs. Two stairways. Yes. I do. See how much prettier the stairway without the filthy carpeting looks? Now I have low stair esteem!
We did have crown molding added to the upstairs bedrooms.
Crown molding was added to all upstairs bedrooms.
And, last week, my husband paid a small fortune to have the toilet seat in my little bathroom replaced.
This was a big deal to my husband. It bothered him that the original toilet seat was the wrong size. Here’s the thing–he doesn’t even USE this bathroom. I do. And I never noticed the seat was the wrong size. I thought it was just my fat ass.
Our home, when we don’t have visitors, has blankets strewn on the sofas in the living room due to Chippy’s love for being a couch potato canine.
The normal state of our living room sofas. And you wonder why I have low house esteem..
Obviously, Chippy has a different point of view!
However, THIS is the way I want to view our sofas!
Is that so much to ask?
Our dining room table is my work space—a delightful mélange of laptop, journals, pens, paper, and whatever I can pile upon it to create an artistic mess. When guests arrive, the table is properly cleared and then set for meals.
I’m beginning to think that dining rooms are just another word for workspace! When the kids were in school, the dining room table was project city. Nowadays my blogging and journaling stuff rests on it!
But it cleans up nicely…
…and looks even nicer when dinner guests arrive!
The downstairs family living space? It hasn’t changed since we moved in. That’s because the only time it’s used is when the kids visit or when I’m ironing and want to watch TV. There is a bedroom down there and my husband decided to purchase a cabinet to store extra bed linens.
The downstairs guest bedroom is clean and comfy. And that’s all that matters–it doesn’t need to be like a hotel room.
And when the kids visit, they can always relax here and even watch..
Sadly, this small cabinet didn’t fit in the bedroom and is now standing flush against the door leading to the common space outside. A door! It drives me crazy to look at it but then I think—well, if someone tries to break in, they won’t get too far because the cabinet is protecting the entrance.
This thing. I can’t stand looking at it flush against the door. WTF? I would rather paint it and bring it upstairs.
The kitchen area. Okay. This is a large area and even though it’s looking nice and airy, there’s a lot of wasted space and my workspace for cooking and baking allows only for one person. Since I don’t want anyone in my cooking space, I’m fine with this.
The work area in the kitchen is small..
A major lack of “good” working space but still, I’m able to bake and cook –I just need to work with the space I have.
The small table and chairs are part of the kitchen space..
..and this vintage cupboard is also a part of the kitchen space..
But when I see these magnificent kitchens with all the latest and greatest in appliances and aesthetics, it makes me feel that there’s something wrong with me in the fact I’m not going into debt to make my kitchen more “guest” friendly.
Now, THIS kitchen has a ton of work space. However, I will not go into debt to remodel our kitchen.
But..the kitchen space also leads to my favorite nook in the house–the sunroom. And if I was going to do ANY updates it would be to add french doors so the sunroom would be shut off from the rest of the house into it’s little designated space of a separate room!
My favorite space in the house. I love to cuddle up with a book or cup of tea in here!
The little room where I apply my makeup in the morning that doubles as a guest bedroom? During the week, it accumulates into an untidy mess—I waste so much time drinking coffee and getting ready that if I take the time to tidy up, I’ll be late to work.
Yeah. The mess accumulates daily..
But on the weekends or when guests arrive, it’s all tidy!
And then it gets cleaned up again on the weekends or when the cleaning people arrive.
It’s a nice little room!
Our bedroom. It’s large. Very large. And I’ve been meaning to purchase an area rug to warm the room up a bit, but just haven’t gotten around to it. Other than that, the furniture fits the purpose.
The bed? The Frenchman loves any bed coverings with blue. I do not. If it was up to me, I would have bed linens with no color or pattern at all. But one must pick and choose their battles.
Not my choice for bed linens. It’s too fussy!
The Frenchman’s favorite item in our home. The huge TV in the bedroom!
I love this oriential cabinet in the corner!
And when push comes to shove, yeah, there are updates that we can make but then we would have to give up travel. And while we are physically able to travel, making life memories comes first.
Whether domestically or internationally, for now, the money is better spent on traveling and the memories that travel brings.
The window treatments, the painting, ripping out the remaining carpeting, updating the kitchen—that can all wait. And it is simply because I love my home the way it is. It is comfortable and inviting.
Yeah. From the welcoming hallway as you enter to the rest of our home–all you need is what makes your house a comfortable and inviting home!
Hmmmmmmmmmm. Maybe I don’t have low house esteem after all!