Monday, January 25, 2016

My Personal Fixer Upper and Budget Decorating Background Story

Apparently I live under a rock. A couple of weeks ago when I was sick I found Fixer Upper on Netflix and started watching. My sister had told me about it and about how she wants to move to Waco, Texas now, so I was intrigued. About five minutes into the first episode I was hooked.  It's right up there with The Great British Baking Show for me. I went through the entire first season (all the episodes they had on Netflix), a whole box of Kleenex and a gallon of orange juice in about two days. It helped me keep my mind off of how my head felt like it was going to explode. 

You are probably wondering how the heck I hadn't heard of this show--unless you also live under a rock. We don't have cable TV. We don't even have a decent antenna. When I want to watch Downton Abbey I have to bundle up in a parka and mittens to go up in our refrigerator of an attic to watch PBS since that is the only place we can get any TV reception (or heaven forbid--wait until it is on-line). I was not to be deterred though. I went searching for Fixer Upper episodes on-line and I ended up downloading the HGTV app and have been making my way through seasons 2 and 3 to get up to date I'm trying to show a little restrain and pace myself though. Plus I'm not really all that sick anymore so I don't have a legitimate excuse to lay in bed and watch Chip and Jojo all day. 

Chip and Joanna Gaines. Aren't they adorable?!

The point of all this is that Chip and Joanna Gaines lit a fire under me. I'm practically aching to do some home projects now. I'm not a professional designer or interior decorator by any stretch of the imagination (although I did take that one class in college. . .), but I do really enjoy trying to make my house cozy and inviting. I have lived my whole married life on a pretty tight budget--some times have been harder than others--but I have been extremely blessed. I don't want to understate this. Our family and friends have helped us through some really hard times on so many occasions. People have been so generous with us and God has blessed us more than we could hope for. But, even though I know we are blessed, we are still a one income family whose primary bread-winner is an academic (i.e. still on a tight budget), so I have tried to learn to make do with what I have and I have tried to make my house a home where my children want to be and where I am happy to spend my days. 

Most of our furniture was handed-down or given to us as gifts. We bought bunk beds several years ago at Sam's Club when my two older boys were little. We purchased a headboard from IKEA a few years ago for the master bedroom and we bought a kitchen table and bench from K-Mart for $100 when our old secondhand table died several years back. We have a couple of bookcases and accent tables that I have gotten good deals on over the years, a few thrift store finds and that's really about it for furniture purchases. We've also managed to score a couple of road side rescues. A lot of the things we have aren't what I would choose if I had unlimited resources, but they were free so I am extremely grateful that we've been able to fill up our house with furniture in this way.  I'm learning to embrace the budget decorating life; it takes patience. Things don't come quickly. We have been married over 18 and a half years and we still have never purchased a couch (don't worry we aren't sitting on the floor though. We've been given several hand-me-down couches over the years). Contentment does not always come easily to me. I'm trying to cultivate gratitude in my life and not to compare my life and situation with others' lives and situations (especially when I see some of the gorgeous homes that Chip and Jojo have created for the folks in Waco).  It's a work in progress.

I guess I'm telling you all this as a disclaimer. I've started taking photos of my house as a way for me to inventory each room so that I will have a visual record to help me decide and prioritize projects for each space. I know I don't have Joanna Gaines's magic touch, but I was thinking I would post some of the pictures on this blog. Some pictures will be "before" pictures so that I'll have something to compare to as I complete projects and improvements. Some rooms are already as good as they are going to get for awhile. I can't afford to do any drastic remodels so my updates are likely going to be of the a-gallon-of-paint-here-or-a-new-light-fixture-there variety. I'm not sure how many people are actually interested in seeing where we live, but I know we have some family and a few friends that might appreciate it. There are a plethora of updates and changes that I want to make but even though my husband is a bona-fide professor now and we aren't starving students anymore, we still have four growing boys to feed and the budget is still a little lean at times, so these things are going to have to happen gradually. I figure it might be interesting to look back in a few years to see the progress we've made.

These will be some pretty honest photos (think fingerprints on the mirror that I didn't notice until after I took the picture). Our home is humble. It is definitely a fixer upper. We have ugly dropped ceilings, uneven floors and some pretty shoddy workmanship from previous homeowners attempting DIY projects. Even so, I love it. I love that it is ours. I love it for its potential. I love it for what it represents for our family. I love the memories that we are creating here. I love that I get to share it with my favorite people on earth. So, if you are interested, stay tuned for some room-by-room photographs.


Heather Oxborrow said...

Yes, I can't wait for more pictures! And what a great idea to take pictures room by room to prioritize. Good luck, sometimes my changes are a quart of paint at a time. ;)

Tanya said...

I like Fixer Upper, but I have to do it in small doses or I get depressed that I simply canNOT do that. :) Perspective is extremely important and it sounds like you have that down! :) But little changes can make a huge difference!!!