Tuesday, August 14, 2012

on happiness and waiting for things you want


I’m going to surprise you.

You might think today’s post is about my latest heart-throbbing find, the four vintage, Chippendale chairs I recently discovered in the garage of a local antique dealer. And how happy it felt to finally cross them off my “wish” list because you won’t believe how long I’ve been waiting to find these chairs!


But today’s post is NOT about these cool additions to my home. It’s actually about the topic of waiting and doing without something, which is sort of about decorating and sort of about happiness.

And I’m curious about you.

What kind of decorator are you?

Are you one of those driven people that tackles one room-at-a-time, and hits all the stores and plows through all the catalogs and doesn’t stop until the very last picture is hanging in that one empty spot? And your room is completely done?

Or…are you…


… someone who likes to collect your pieces like I do… slowly, over time. Sure, some of it is budget, and about being a thrifty shopper. But mostly it’s about your personality, and enjoying the thrill of a good hunt.


Maybe you’re like me, with a wish list you keep somewhere in the back of your mind. And you toss that “thing-you-want,” into the creative stew going on inside your head. And it keeps simmering in there, with the color themes and projects you’re adding and subtracting. And then one day you happen to be walking through a crowded shop or a sunny antique faire, and voila! There it is. Unbelievable. The perfect piece for that one spot in your house, that you’ve been waiting for!

Just like these two Chippendale chairs at the end of my dining table.

Ahhh…how exhilarating does that feel?


Recently, I read an interview with Rachel Ashwell, the creator of Shabby Chic, who said that one of her pet peeves is, “people being too quick to complete the decorating process.” That’s because she likes to surround herself with meaningful pieces that reflect who she is, and things she absolutely loves, that accumulate over time.

And while I see her point, I would never call it a pet peeve. Because everyone’s different, and they should do what feels right for them. Personally, I’m happy for you. If you want to call in a professional and complete your room in thirty days, great.


But here’s the old happiness question. It’s something I thought about when I read, I Shop Less When I Blog Less over at Postmodern Hostess.

Is there always that one-more-thing you need to buy, or one more thing you have to be, before you can be content?

What happens after you rush around like a mad woman buying all your coordinating furnishings and artwork and even books, to fill up your new bookshelves, and the whole room is completed. Whew, done.

How do you feel when you stop?


Take me for instance. I’m always on-the-look-out for something, and for a long time, it happened to be a couple Chippendale chairs. And in my mind, my dining set always felt a bit unfinished without them.

Only here’s the question I need to ask myself, as a DIYer and as a person: “Is is OK for my house-room-project to be unfinished, even unattractive for awhile? Or—does it make me feel too uncomfortable, imperfect?

Because, there’s nothing wrong with wanting things, it’s the relationship we have with our things that becomes a slippery slope.

Does that make sense? Because…

tumblr_m6x0zzpY4d1rvm063o1_1280inspi[2] inspirational girl

It’s when you don’t have that One thing you want….

and you can still say, “I like myself and I feel happy right now, even though my house isn’t done, or I haven’t lost my weight yet, or found a job that I really love; it’s when you can still be happy, even when there are empty spots in your life, just waiting to be filled …

That’s what’s important

Waiting and going without something we want, is hard. It requires that we be OK in our own skin. But it can also help us grow.

Now. Back to these darn chairs. And yes, I realize I could’ve bought them brand new, and ended the whole waiting thing, But personally, I prefer old, slightly scuffed-up chairs, that I stumble on at a great price.

Objects that I still need to paint white.

Maybe. I think (Decisions, decisions).


In the meantime, isn’t it funny how home decorating is a lot like Life?

The process of creating a home teaches us how to deal with the uncomfortable parts of living, of wanting things and waiting for them, and that yucky feeling of incompleteness. .

And it keeps us asking the right questions about our possessions.



Today, you have it all. I really hope you enjoy it .



p.s. You can read about my latest (unfinished) foyer project right HERE…. the good news, it’s almost done. ..

I’ll be linking up at these parties:




Anita at Cedar Hill said...

I featured up on my FB page, so grab a cowgirl up featured button if you like.

Unknown said...

Found you via the blog hop!

I love this post. I am the slow decorator. It takes me a while to figure out what I want in what space, what the color scheme will be. I just recently found some new items for my bedroom... and it's taken over a year to get here! I don't like being in a space that doesn't feel complete. I can't wait to finish my bedroom.

By the way, those chairs are gorgeous!

Judy Biggerstaff said...

Beautiful, glad you found the chairs. I do like a finished look but seems like I am always searching for things to add to.

ℳartina @ Northern Nesting said...

Beautiful chairs, beautiful room and beautiful home!! Your newest follower :)

Unknown said...

Great post! I love the chairs and your dining room. It looks like it's out of a magazine!

Kristin said...

Those chairs are beautiful. I am like you, I take my time finding the right pieces {at the right price}.

Pamela said...

Leslie it looks beautiful!

Linda@Coastal Charm said...

Oh...they are beautiful and lok outstanding in your room. I buy things when I find them a an awesome price (I'm very THRIFTY). Thanks for sharing at my party this week.


Ladies Holiday said...

So well said about wanting and waiting (and recalibrating!)

We'd love for you to link up to our new weekly blog hop- photo friday- any of your fav. pictures from any posts are welcome!

Sharon @ Elizabeth & Co. said...

Oh how I enjoyed reading this Leslie! I'm definitely a girl who keeps things for a long time and slowly recdecorates bit by bit. I love finding the perfect thing and I actually think homes with items collected over time look much more interesting. For the most part, I really enjoy the process! ... And your dining room looks just beautiful!

Tanja @ Postmodern Hostess said...

Leslie, I love this post. You have such a poignant way of blending the every day with the larger questions in life, and it's such an enjoyable read.

Of course thank you for the shout out for my post, too!

Though I've never actually put it into these words before, I think of myself as an 80/20 decorator. I can't live in a TOTALLY unfinished house for very long without getting antsy, so I try to get it to 80 percent "finished" in short order, and then let the remaining 20 percent evolve over time. Of course, I also believe that rooms are never finished, so that's a rough approximation.

I have a lot of your blog to catch up on... off to do that now!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...