do this instead of moving (again!)

It’s the official day of spring and with that comes a burst of readiness to make big changes in your life. I’m actually getting this post done a bit late because I’ve come down with a cold and have been wanting to get some rest. I guess that’s what happens as the weather fluctuates. But back to my purpose of this post.

You may be ready to spring clean your home or make even bigger changes one of them being actually moving to a new abode. This may be for a number of reasons for moving:

relocation to a new city/job offer
growing family
your lease is up / rent goes higher
wanting to upgrade

(hint – and I’ll talk about this below – when you want an upgrade, your first move shouldn’t be to move)

Now let me tell you a bit about my experience living in 10 places other than my childhood home since I graduated high school including my grandparents, a college dorm room, a ministry dorm, a church, 3 apartments with roommates and 3 apartments since I’ve been married.

Most of these moves were because of major  life changes or wanting  a better life experience – that’s what happens in your twenties I suppose. As you discover what you really want in life you make drastic changes to get there and that can involve a lot of transition.

Then one day your realize that you want to settle into life a bit and not be so erratic with your ability to nest. The last big move we made was to our current place and this is what it looked like on move day:376429_248251701904711_1309168010_n

Yup that’s me and my hubby. We purposely gave those blank stoic stares because we were pretending we were on a show about hoarders. That’s what it felt like with all of our stuff scattered about. But looking at the pic now it doesn’t seem so bad (you can still see the floor!)

My desire to upgrade to a better apartment has been growing practically since we moved in but we’ve stuck it out here for almost 3 years. And we don’t have any immediate plans to move. Here’s my reasoning:

If you have no real reason to move, why not stay and make the most of things?

We live in a good location in terms of getting around – short bus ride into Manhattan and a long leisurely walk into nearby and mellowed out Hoboken, and although we’re not in that trendy of a neighborhood, it has its benefits (in very reasonable rent). We’ve thought about moving to Hoboken which is a bit pricier but we’ve realized that we don’t want to do that until we are doing considerably better financially to get the best place possible.

Waiting it out is giving us the ability to really sit down and consider what we really want in our next place. We can prepare now for the life we want to have down the road.

And what can we do while we are waiting?

Make some great investments into our current home that we can take with us to our dream home.

Now we haven’t really made many changes in the time we’ve been living here but we have plans to restyle things since we’ve decided to stick it out. This means a new couch, painting the walls, a new book case, curtains accessories, etc.

Cultivating the ‘stuff’ we own is a great thing to do now while our rent is so low because we can develop the style we want and acquire things that we really want. No we can’t take the painted walls with us, but we can play with color to start seeing what we really mesh with.

It seems that most of us who want the dream apartment/condo/house obsess over what we don’t like about our current space and think that having higher rent or a bigger mortgage means that we will instantly have an upgrade. But once you move into your new place, what will you be taking with you? Will you have to start from scratch because what you currently own doesn’t live up to your fancy new digs?

Why not be smart about it and start investing in your new home environment now, before you even discover it?

Don’t move because you don’t care for the lighting fixtures that you can’t change or because you don’t have granite countertops rightthisinstant. Your time will come for those things, if you don’t currently have them, upgrade your life now instead of complaining about your home’s flaws or wishing for the day you are rich enough for [enter your dream home desire here]. Take a look around and be grateful for all that you’ve been given in life. Then see where you can improve things right now.

Because if you can’t make your home feel great now you may get to your new place and find that you have the same problems (or bigger problems) cropping up.

Remember this:

“Do not despise the day of small beginnings…”

~ Zechariah 4:10 NLT Bible

And if you do have to move for any of the reasons other than upgrading listed at the beginning of this post take this wisdom with you if you find your new place isn’t what you’ve truly dreamed of.

It all comes down to this:

What do you envision for your life? How can you reach that vision? What changes to you need to make to get there?

Now I want to know, have you been itching to make a move? What is your biggest reason behind this desire?

Leave a comment and if you liked this post, please share it with your friends 🙂

And have a happy spring!



design vs. decorating vs. styling (oh my!)

The more I have dug into the world of interiors I’ve discovered that there is a whole lot more to this design business that I realized.  Like, to do interior design in commercial settings in most states requires a bare minimum of an Associate’s Degree in the subject and a combined 7 years of education and experience before you take a test.  Then you have to be licensed.

The reason for this is that you need to be very knowledgeable about building codes and how to work with architects and construction managers.  This is a far cry from arranging a pretty vignette.

The truth is there are actually 3 categories for making interiors look great and function well.

Interior Design + Interior Decorating +Interior Styling

Each of these has its own distinct meaning but there are a lot of overlaps between the three.  This post is my effort to try to make sense of all of this.  By no means am I an expert, but I like to think that I’ve learned a thing or two as I’ve ventured into this field.

To show you what I mean by each of these being distinct but with overlaps let’s take a look at the photo below and analyze the elements.  This is a photo of my living room/entryway that I recently took:

my blue living space

If I hired an Interior Designer to work on this room she would have worked on more of the foundational elements such as installing the french doors and the molding, picking out the flooring and creating a floor plan to create a space that is highly functional above all.  Then she would move on to deciding on a color scheme and style of all of the furnishings and paint to create a cohesive environment.  In the end she may add some decorative items to the space but for the most part her job is to deal with interior projects that have a more permanent effect on the space.

An Interior Decorator is a bit different.  She would mainly focus on picking out the furnishings, paint color, drapes, and decorative items for the primary purpose of highlighting the aesthetics of the space  The organization that does testing for Interior Designers describes the difference between the two:

Interior design is the art and science of understanding people’s behavior to create functional spaces within a building. Decoration is the furnishing or adorning of a space with fashionable or beautiful things. In short, interior designers may decorate, but decorators do not design.

Then we come to the Interior Stylist who works very much like an Interior Decorator but in a much more specific way.  She would work with a space that may already have some of the elements in place, such as the paint and maybe a few pieces of furniture.  She would add in another piece of furniture, and take out one that didn’t work well, then incorporate a number of decorative pieces.  The main goal is to arrange all of this by editing and fine-tuning everything in such a way that it would be easily photographed – beautiful enough to put in a magazine or in my case, on my blog!

To explain this a bit more, I dug up a teaser from the first episode of HGTV’s Secrets of A Stylist with Emily Henderson:

Now why am I explaining all of this?

Well, its because I’m trying to define for myself exactly which path I truly desire to take… and for me it’s developing as an Interior Stylist.


Because its decorating in HD, so to speak.  Working with clients to create a space that is truly theirs using a variety of elements that show off their style sounds like a blast.  Getting to share it with you here on my blog sounds even better.  My aim is to work both locally and globally finding ways to style spaces no matter where my clients reside and investing in high quality photography, whether it is me taking the photos or I hire it out.

I truly want this blog to be a place where we can celebrate the ‘graceful havens’ we each reside in and relish in their glory!

On a side note, I just finished up the Blogging Your Way course with Holly Becker of Decor8 and I have to say it was a blast 🙂  This course was entitled “Blogging with Intention & Style” so it was the perfect motivator to truly dive into starting this blog in the way that I feel good about.  She has a few courses coming up in 2014 – so stay tuned because I will let you know when they run.

Finally its my turn to ask for your input –

Who would you hire to work on your home – a Designer, a Decorator, or a Stylist?

Leave your response below and let’s get the discussion started!