About a month ago I called my Mom in total frustration. She picked up the phone in her usual, “Hey Hon, whatcha up to?” voice and I just blurted it out. “I feel overwhelmed by all of my stuff. I need you to come and stay with me for a week. Will you help me? Can you come?” She didn’t miss a beat when I heard her say, “Whatever you need, I’m there.”
Fast forward a few weeks later and she was at my front door, suitcase in hand. I knew her coming to stay for an entire week would be a sacrifice but honestly, I was desperate. As I looked around this little cottage aptly named Journey’s End I hated almost every room. I know hate seems like a strong word but that’s how overwhelmed by all of my stuff I felt. Somewhere between treasure hunting, running a successful booth and expansion planning for this business it started feeling I lived at one giant estate sale.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m all for the collected look. Mixing new finds with treasured family favorites is literally how I live – that’s not just a tag line – but I was starting to feel like I couldn’t breathe because there was so. much. stuff.
In the few weeks I was waiting for my mom to arrive I got a game plan together. I started going through the things I loved and the things I just liked. I wrote down to do lists, priorities lists, bought paint and supplies. The day she got here we walked around to each room. I told her what I liked and what I didn’t like about each one. I was almost in tears at the embarrassment from all of my messes when she looked at me with steel determination and said, “We can do this.”
An hour later we started working to give the kitchen simple decorating updates. You may remember we painted the kitchen and added white subway tile back in March. I still love the paint – Valspar’s Cream in my Coffee – and I still love the white subway tile but the more we used the space the more the “staged stuff” starting getting in the way.
The first step was starting with a clean slate. We took everything off the counters that got in the way of everyday cooking and baking and piled it on the kitchen table. Then we took down the things from the tops of the cabinets that weren’t working any more. With a clean canvas, we started slowly layering items that made the space look refreshed.
For example, we took down the white hydrangea spilling out of one of the baskets on the top of the cabinets, replaced the collection of found items next to the coffee bar with a potted plant and added the watercolor of a treasured barn that had been buried in a closet for 6 years. Before:
This is a shot of the menu planning station before:
The kitchen island before:
The upper cabinets on the opposite side of the kitchen underwent the most significant change. I used to stare at these all the time and think, “so. much. stuff.”
Of course, I saved all of my favorites like the breadboards,
the vintage chalkboard and the Suwannee Sugar Cane Farm sign,
and the hedgehog.
With my Mom’s help in one afternoon, I no longer felt overwhelmed by all of the stuff in my kitchen.
I learned a really big lesson by working with her on this space.
Sometimes, all you need is a fresh perspective.
See you guys back here tomorrow. Once we changed out things in the kitchen we had to change things around in the living room too. It’s all part of living in a home with an open floor plan.