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Home Truths: Because Not All Bloggers Live in Pristine White Palaces

I might not have a big to do list of resolutions this year, but I do have a big to do list. Or, rather: Steve and I have a big to do list. It's just that it's in my handwriting because I'm the one who likes to note things down and score them through.

The to do list is everything which still needs to be tidied up or finished off around the flat. We moved in eighteen months ago and, initially, we achieved a lot: four rooms, one hallway and one fireplace painted; a new boiler installed; various bits of furniture either bought or donated; some electrical work done; three rooms carpeted; eleven shelves hung; and a whole host of tiny jobs like hanging pictures and tightening the screws in the toilet roll holder ticked off.

Detailed to do list of DIY jobs written on orange paper. Not all bloggers live in pristine white palaces.

What with one thing and another, work ground to a halt for a while there, but with my second trimester came renewed energy and an awareness that we are working to a deadline. At the very least, we had to get the roof done and we need to overhaul the second bedroom.

I have had moments of panic. I'm very limited in what I can do at the moment and I don't like the lack of control, having to rely on help from friends and fit the work in around their schedules. Luckily, I've been able to be honest with everyone about how anxious this is making me and, between them and Steve and me, I feel like we're on track.

Messy second bedroom. Not all bloggers live in pristine white palaces.

While everybody else dismantles wardrobes and rips up carpets and carries heavy things up to the attic, I'm getting on with all the little stuff - the online purchases and the gazing thoughtfully at colour charts.

But I think it's worth repeating that we've been in this flat for eighteen months and it's still not done.

The internet is full of perfectly pinnable pristine homes with bright white walls and an artfully arranged eclectic mix of junk shop finds and designer furniture. I want to raise my head above the wall of flattened boxes and say, "Not all homes are like that. Not straight away. It takes time to make a place you're really proud of."

Eighteen months on, for example, we have two bare light bulbs and an uplighter which really has to go. We have temperamental plumbing, one door hanging off the bathroom cabinet and an inconveniently located litter tray. We have an ugly hall carpet and misted windows in the attic. The big cupboard study has holes in its walls, some hideous decor and - because we haven't hung the shelves in there yet - there are five big, ugly bags of DVDs cluttering up our living space. The shed is so leaky it's unusable and the dead plants in the kitchen wilted weeks ago.

Bare lightbulb hanging from starburst ceiling rose. Not all bloggers live in pristine white palaces.
Hole in a wall covered in orange 60s geometric wallpaper. Not all bloggers live in pristine white palaces.

Despite all of this, I love our home. If I turn my back on the messy bits, it's the most relaxing place I know of to be. The colours calm me; a lot of the contents have stories attached; there is a cupboard full of different kinds of tea and a shelf given over to big, rounded mugs which are perfect for hot chocolate.

My routines are built around this building. I know where to sit for the morning sun. From my current spot on the sofa, I can see artwork by friends, gifts from loved ones and mementoes of brilliant days out. My favourite books are gathered together; there's an ottoman full of music; my photos hang on the walls.

"This Home is Filled with Love" print by Freya Art on Etsy. Not all bloggers live in pristine white palaces.

Our home is not perfect. And it's an old building - we will always have to keep an eye on it; it will always need care and repair.

But it is ours. It's home. It's where we're starting our family and we love it.

So, at this time of year, when everybody's trying to live perfect lives - and this year in particular, when I have reasons to feel in a rush - I wanted to stop for a moment and appreciate the place where I am happiest, creaky floorboards and all.

27 comments

  1. I hope I can get to where you are with our new house! While we're still excited about it, I can't help looking around and seeing the multitude of stuff that needs done. Things that need repaired, redecorated, replaced... It will all come together in time (it's been not quite a month since we moved in), but I get impatient.

    There is something wonderful about surrounding yourself with stuff you love, that has a story. Too many people get wrapped up in what they want; it's important to focus on enjoying what you have. :)

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  2. We are almost 5 years in our house and still not done! I would not worry, it sounds like you are on track and will be nice and cosy in your nest for baby rooftops. x

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  3. Ah this is exactly what I'm saving (by living at my parents') for, a home I can call my own, quirks and all. I will never be able to achieve a white-walled pinterest house, I have waaaaay too much stuff (also I swear American houses are, on the whole, bigger than UK ones, or at least the ones I might be able to afford in London) so space and uncluttered flat surfaces aren't a likelihood. But that's cool, like you said, it's more important that your home reflects you. Hope all the renovations are going well! X

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  4. This is a lovely post - and so true! My home will never be like any of those perfect, pristine homes I see on Pinterest, and I would never want it to be. It's my favourite place to be and I love it how it is. Saying that, we do have a to-do list similar to yours (and thanks to the recent stormy weather we've now added 'get a new garage roof' to that list) but I quite like it because it reminds me that my home is an ongoing project. It will never reach a point where I can sit back and say, 'ahh, that's it' - there will always be something else needing fixed/tidied/replaced, but its our home and we're happy here, that's the main thing.

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  5. Absolutely! So many times I see what appears to be the perfect home and I think to myself 'yeah, right!'... usually I whisper this as I pick up another pair of my bf socks that he always leaves lying around or I'm ignoring the tiny squares of wallpaper that our landlord put up to hide the holes. But it's our home :)


    Good luck with that very comprehensive list of jobs you've got there!


    ~ K


    www.crumbsinthebed.com

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  6. Exactly. The best compliment our home has been given is that it feels so cosy people relax as soon as they come through the door.

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  7. Thanks! Yep, I can make our home look PERFECT in photos but it's all clever angles.

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  8. Yeah, I'd like to get to the point where all the repairs are done (for the time being) but we're always going to be adding new bits of personality - it's never going to be 100% finished.

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  9. Oh, they are - on average, we have the smallest living spaces in Europe! That said, my friends in Paris have a two bedroom flat which would just about fit in my living room but it's been so cleverly designed that the size barely matters.

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  10. I know the feeling! With my last flat (one bedroom) I told myself very sternly that it would take a year for it to be basically "done" - it took a bit less but over-estimating helped to calm me down.

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  11. Ha ha! Yeah, the second bedroom is already half buried under a mountain of baby things and the due date's not till April!

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  12. Haha yep and that doesn't change, you just end up with a room full of stuff the baby didn't use after all. On the bright side, Amelia's swing makes a nice surface to pile crap...haha!

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  13. I quite often see *those* white walls on blogs and instagram and feel sorry for their owners for having to live in such a boring and soulless place. I love homes like yours which clearly have character. There are always things to be done, and making a list is the best way I've found of trying to tackle that at least.

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  14. Hello, I used to lurk around here a while ago. But then blogging rather disappeared under a mound of nappies and washing when our small person arrived. Now he's old enough for a good long afternoon nap and here I am back on the internet to offer my congratulations for your impending arrival.


    On decorating; it's taken us eight years to get our house 'nice'. And now we're moving.

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  15. All those little bits just make a house a much more interesting home :-) We've been in ours 5 years and still haven't finished mending and decorating (including a Baxi boiler in the living room which was condemned 2 years ago (we don't use it) and a broken dishwasher in the kitchen with a fully working (but not fitted and installed) one in the middle of the garage). I'm taking the view that the longer to takes to finish a job, the more I'll appreciate it in the end :-) xx

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  16. Nothing like a list to make you feel productive! :)

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  17. Oh, then congratulations on YOUR small person, too! Are you changing towns or just homes?

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  18. Ha ha - let's hope that's true! I'm DEFINITELY going to appreciate the shelves when they go up.

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  19. We're moving in to the Shire. Once you have a small person you start to get all these funny ideas about lifestyle and primary schools and even (worryingly) secondary schools. And then you realise that you have to do something about it before you need to think about forms for ante-pre-school (I love that name) places. So off we go to a house in the woods, on the edge of a small town with 15 minutes walk to everything day to day.

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  20. And it'll be ten years before that house is anywhere near Instagram ready.

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  21. Ahhhhh. I get that. This pregnancy is the only time I've ever even considered moving back to the small town where my mum and my sister live - there are all sorts of reasons we prefer to be in Aberdeen right now but I do understand the appeal (as much as that would horrify Teenage Me).

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  22. Hmm, I'm tempted to do some sort of truths project on Instagram...!

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  23. I like to unpack and work quickly. It really bugs my husband. But if I was pregnant and immobile things would grind to a halt and I would get really antsy. Things are always a work in progress anyway as tastes and needs evolve though.

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  24. I'm usually the same (and it bugs Steve, too). This flat was so big and such a project, though, that we had to prioritise - we got the bedroom and living room done in the first week and the plan was to work our way round everything else over the course of a year (when we had time and money). It's ended up being more like two years and I am so ready for it all to be done!

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  25. I'll have been in this house nearly 10 years and it's still not finished!!

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  26. I have never lived anywhere for 10 years! The plan is to be in this flat longer than that, though, and I expect we'll still have vague, unaffordable ideas about improving the kitchen and bathroom.

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