I’ve got a not-so-secret, secret. This isn’t my first go around the blogging block. About two years ago I started a blog called “Pinterior Designer” which was a DIY home decor blog. It doesn’t exist anymore because I forgot to pay the fee for my domain name and now I don’t even remember the password to login to my account. Ever since buying our home five years ago, I’ve loved painting and decorating so much so that I looked into interior design classes. I even spent a few days interning with my aunt, an interior designer in New Jersey, one summer to see if it would be a good fit for the next career for me when I was feeling burnt out on teaching. I’ve created mood boards for friends and helped them reimagine spaces.
Knowing that you can imagine Nate’s apprehension when he brought up the topic of home decor and how we would approach decorating our house through the lens of minimalism.
My wife has made a beautiful home for me to live in and us to raise our daughter in. She has decorated it beautifully, picked out paint colors, furniture, lighting and everything else. She once spent an entire day painting the entire first floor of our house without me even knowing. I got home one evening and it was a different color. Our home and its decor have always been a source of pride, inspiration and hard work for Chelsea. However, I also saw how it was a source of stress for her, and certainly a source of a lot of spending.
Chels would get a certain set of shelves or area in our home decorated just right, only to become unsatisfied a few months or a year later. She would want to throw things out or pack them away and start over, more time, more money, more effort, and stress. So knowing all this I was nervous as we sat in our family room one afternoon a few months ago talking about the new direction our material lives were taking. I tentatively said, “I think maybe we should talk about the decor in the house.” She paused and said “ok…” I used the built-in shelves in our family room as an example. I told her they were beautifully decorated with books we never read or plan on reading, knick knacks we didn’t need and didn’t mean anything to us. I asked what she would think if we just completely started over and decorated our home with memories. What if every piece of decor was either an original piece of art painted by my mom (an amazing watercolorist) or a picture or memento from a special moment in our life. What if everywhere we looked was not filled with disposable decor that only lasted a brief time, but with memories and moments from the best times of our lives?
Much to Nate’s surprise, I was 100% on board. Years ago he built me a wall of shelves in our living room and for the last few months, I’d grown tired of all the knick-knacks on the shelves and have been itching to replace them. I realized this would be a never-ending cycle. I’d constantly be on the hunt for the next vase, bowl or candle to replace the “outdated” vase, bowl or candle I already had.
I don’t want to keep spending $10, $15, $20 on those things. I’d rather have the extra cash to buy tickets to the zoo, aquarium or museum for an outing with my family. Bye, knick-knacks. It’s been nice knowing you.
When we mentally walked through our house, all of our favorite decorations we already had were ones that were sentimental. Decor that makes me smile every single time I see them and have no intentions of ever swapping them out for something newer, flashier or trendier.
Here are some of our favorite meaningful ways we’ve already decorated our house that we’re using as our bar going forward:
In our living room, we have nine frames that display letters Nate and I wrote to each other over the years. While not overly beautiful, they’re extremely meaningful. Every single guest who visits our house asks about them. They’re an example to the students we mentor. It’s a reminder to Everly of her parent’s deeply rooted relationship. It’s a throwback for Nate and me of simpler (and more embarrassing) moments. Those frames have been up for three years and will be up for 33 more.
We have several pieces of watercolor art painted by Nate’s mom. We love to tell people that his very own mother painted them. A portrait of us on the adventure of a lifetime in Paris, smiling on our wedding day and beautiful flowers framed throughout the house. My love for those paintings has only grown over the years. I’ll never take them down.
When Nate and I were just friends back when we were 16, he wrote a note saying he loved me that he had hidden in his room just in case he died and was never able to tell me how he felt about me. I have that note framed by my bedside.
On our first anniversary, Nate typed and framed his vows to me. They’re sitting on our family room shelves.
Everly’s certificate of her dedication is proudly displayed in the living room. A visual reminder of the commitment we made in front of our friends, family, and church to raise Everly to know God.
Framed in Everly’s room are three pressed roses Nate bought for me and his girl before she was even born.
Back when Nate and I were dating, we loved going to concerts. While we were cleaning out our cabinets, we came across his old CD collection. We saved four CDs that were from bands we saw in concert together and now they’re held in a shadow box as a throwback to those early days.
My home is and will be filled with reminders of memories and experiences that enriched our lives. It’s going to be void of meaningless items that I’ll grow tired of and throw out.
I don’t think I could design a more beautiful home for my family than that.
So we’re breaking the rules. Our goal isn’t to have a “Pinterest-worthy” home that seems to be the norm these days. I still have a few pieces of random decor that don’t have any meaning behind them, but I’ve changed my mindset. If I grow tired of them, there’s no replacing them with something else from Homegoods. I’m no longer buying trendy items just because they catch my eye. Remember, our goal is to love people not things. Our house will be a reflection of that mindset.