There are homes put together in one perfect sweep. No sooner has the swarm of contractors stepped over the threshold, do the deliveries of furniture and décor begin to pile in all at once. Every corner, every wall is filled with haste and a house becomes a home, just like that.
It can be tempting to rush through the process of home-making. Sitting with something unfinished and undone, when we know what it could look or feel like, is difficult. Living in it, even more so.
Naturally, as humans, we are drawn to the novel. This trait is exploited by consumer culture to the brink of exhaustion (both our own exhaustion and that of our planet). We are encouraged to follow the latest trends and crave the newest seasonal releases.
When we put our homes together in one coordinated sweep, emulating something seen in trend-focused magazines or the latest image online, the initial excitement is exhilarating. But this excitement soon fizzles out. Before we know it, we are looking at new images and craving the next change.
There is an alternative. A slow, more considered approach to home-making that allows for the finishing touches in a home to unfold slowly, emerging from, and in tune with, the rhythms of our life.
Homes crafted slowly over time, in accordance with the values and rhythms of the people who live within them don’t tend to date in the same way that trend-focused spaces do. When we select what we bring into our home mindfully, allowing ourselves the time to find what we need rather than simply what the newest trend tells us we should have, we can begin to create spaces that are truly reflective of us and our lives. If we can learn to live with a home that is not finished to the very last piece of furniture or the last decorative item, we can create the space for our homes to grow and evolve with our life.
This approach is not for everyone and there are many reasons why a home might need to be completed in one go. However, for those for whom a slower approach to home-making feels meaningful, we have put together a list of tips that might be helpful in encouraging a slower, more considered approach to home-making.
- Taking our time – letting things unfold slowly, not rushing, not acquiring everything all at once is a psychological challenge more than anything else. To allow ourselves the time to collect items slowly based on how we live and what we need requires self-restraint. It can be difficult to live in a home that feels less than perfect when we know how it could look. But allowing ourselves the time to find just the right finishing touches, will allow us to create spaces that feel more personal. When Designer Ilse Crawford and her team were working on a project that involved converting a large Regency property into a family home, she explained that “the spaces were intentionally designed to be incomplete, to be completed by the family”. Where many interior designers would have felt the pressure to create a perfectly designed home, styled to the very last decorative piece, Ilse Crawford and her team recognised the merit in leaving enough undone so that the family had room to complete the home making it personal to them and the way they lead their life.
- Living in a space before making considerable alterations – whether we are renovating or not, living in our space for a little while before acquiring furniture and décor can make a considerable difference to our decision-making process. When we allow ourselves the time to live in a space, our understanding of the space begins to change, allowing new ideas to emerge about how we are likely to use the spaces available and how we might want to live within them. Although it can be tempting to make all design decisions prior to having spent time in a new home, where possible, spending time and ideally living in the new space is one of the most helpful ways of gaining an understanding of how it can serve us best.
- Moving furniture – once we have acquired some furniture, moving it around to create different constellations that encourage diverse use-patterns, or even moving certain items of furniture from one room to another can be helpful for gaining an understanding of what placement works best for our lives, functionally and aesthetically. It is very interesting to witness how differently we use spaces based on where objects and furniture are positioned. As it can often be difficult to visualise the precise consequences, moving furniture around can help us gain new ideas about positioning and use that we may not have otherwise thought of.
- Allowing time to tell its stories – from letting the natural patina of materials such as copper, brass or leather unfold to intentionally adding a few worn, vintage furniture pieces to our home, by not striving for pristine perfection we allow our spaces to feel more relaxed, lived in and soulful.
- Fighting the urge for perfection – homes that are authentic to the people who live within them are always the most interesting spaces to spend time in. If we can let go of striving for perfection and instead focus on creating spaces that are aligned with, and a reflection of, the rhythms of our life, we will create spaces that will keep us satisfied for longer. Rather than aiming for the perfect reproduction of an image from a magazine or Pinboard, we can allow the perfectly polished images to inspire us while accepting the financial and spatial limitations of our own circumstances. Spaces do not need to be large, grand, or perfectly presented to be interesting and soulful. All they need to do is capture the quirks and idiosyncrasies of the people who live within them. Our homes should serve our lives, not the changing trends of fashion.
A culture of speed and haste is the dominant narrative of our time. Things are done quickly and then often redone. While decorating a home quickly and in one go is sometimes necessary, if we have the luxury of time, allowing our homes to emerge slowly is more likely to result in spaces we feel satisfied with for longer. If we are patient and take the time to collect items on our travels, discover finds from small independent stores or antique markets and allow objects to come into our lives in other unique ways, our homes will not be a cookie-cutter representation of the latest trends, but a true and honest reflection of our unique family life.
Images above show our Hand Forged Copper Cup, Natural Shuro Palm Trivets, Organic Cotton Hand Towel in Natural, Copper Kettle (aged with time and use), Rough Scrubbing Brush small, Classic French Table Glasses, Firesand Snowflake Crackle Glaze Bowl, Belgian Line Throw Blanket in Ecru (used as a sofa cover) and Raw Umber, Hand Dyed Velvet Jewel Cushion Covers in Dappled Olive and Dappled Sage, Copenhagen Plant Pot in Pale Rosa and Parade Plant Pot in Antique Rosa, Heritage Brass Water Mister, Natural Hemp Palm Broom, This is Home book by Natalie Walton, Pearwood Dusting Brush, Hand Dyed Vintage Linen Cushion Cover in Linden