Wednesday, July 16, 2014

The Not-so-perfect House

In blogger world folks will apologize for a scuff on the floor or the weeds in the garden (I'm guilty of this, too), but the mess, the stuff, the scuffs…well, they tell a story of how you live and play and work.

A few weeks ago we went to some friends' house for dinner. They have suffered financially in the last few years and down-sized significantly. Their taste is impeccable, though, and what truly wowed me was how lovely this smaller, cozier home was, and how much I liked it, maybe even more than their larger, more lavishly-appointed previous home. I know my friend probably doesn't see it that way. I wouldn't either, I'm sure. But it was a happy night of good food and warm conversation, the kind of gathering where people lingered a little longer than they normally would.

When I browse magazines or websites, I get a feeling from a room. Does it reflect love? Warmth? Togetherness? Do you get a sense that good stuff happens here? Do the people in this house even like each other?

Lately when I get too fussy about picking up and cleaning up and striving for perfection, I remind myself that it's the lack of perfection that is most welcoming.

Years ago when I was on the coffee hour committee at my church, I had Sunday morning duty. I was busy wiping and spiffing, etc., when  a woman, ironically named Daisy, said, "Leave it a little messy." I said, "What?" Not to be rude, but I was serving food, and it was church. "What do you mean?" I asked in all seriousness. Daisy kindly explained. She said, "I used to be a bartender, and I learned that people settle down and talk and feel more comfortable if the bar has an empty glass here and there or a half-eaten bowl of nuts. If you're constantly cleaning the bar-top and putting things away, you make folks feel on edge."

Daisy was absolutely right. I love my home. I love decorating. And I even like cleaning. Sometimes. But occasionally I have to remind myself to stop and sit down, to actually live in the space. 

And those dishes in the sink? They can wait.


  1. Great post and good for your friend for making the most of her current situation. It is definitely hard to downsize. We did on purpose, however it is still very hard and I would love to have my old home back. Like her, I do try to make the most of where I am, so I really appreciate her efforts.

  2. Kind of a stop and smell the roses moment! My mom was so fussy about her neat home she never felt it was enough. I never got to own the big home I wanted so I'm already downsized. I imagine your friends struggled to adjust but it sounds like they've made the best of it. I agree with Daisy's logic!

  3. This is just a great post, Suzanne! You made it more significant with your photos. Dish soap in the sink, tasks not completed...a home very lived in!

    I'm loving that you're posting more!

    Jane xx

  4. Perfect post, Suzanne. I am most drawn to blogs that are real, that unapologetically show their homes being lived in. We all have dirty dishes that may not get washed the minute dinner is over because we are busy living our lives. xo Laura

  5. You are right! A very good friend of mince once told me that my house was too perfect and it made her nervous. That's not how I want people to feel at all! It's hard when you are a perfectionist though.

  6. So true! A house shouldn't look like a showroom...and any excuse to leave things less than perfect sounds good to me!


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