Another Fresh Corner. (And a few funky ones. As in icky.)

I've always viewed this blog as a place to come with the highlights of our day. Not a place for grumbling, for worrying, for strife, or to show off my shameful messes. This distilling down to the most magical, photogenic, creative, or meaningful moment of our day helps me see my life from a positive vantage point and helps me stay on track for the life I want to create.

Hopefully you find inspiration here as well. (I'd rather inspire you than comisserate with you on our parallel piles of dirty dishes, unfiled paperwork, or messy closets.) I've never attempted to present it as the whole picture, in fact I've alluded to this editing before, most notably here. Authentically my life, yes, but incomplete by design as well.

So today I wanted to share another freshly revived corner of my house with you. I am so stoked on the progress I am making and feel transformed by it. But then I realized that you don't have a baseline. Because most of you don't live in the neighborhood or know me in the flesh. And so to you perhaps a nicely arranged play-space or new white trim is just another room in someones house without the baseline.

When a friend dropped by this morning and saw two of our new spaces (the playroom from last week and the kitchen nook at the bottom of this post) she said something along the lines of, "Oh, wow. That is such a change. This space is so much better – my soul just took a deep breath."

Because yes, it is lovely and serene. But also because it was pretty crazy before. Cluttered. Overwhelming. Messy. Chaotic. To her these corners were magical because they look good but also because they have come so far.

So I mustered my courage and walked around my house and snapped a few reality shots for you to put the improved spaces in perspective. The baseline. I still have a long way to go, but room by room we're making progress. Here is a look at some of my shadows.




That's enough. I am deleting the other six photos. You have plenty to go on. As you can see a lovely space is really something for me to focus on. To keep me on track. I can aspire to being the person who lives in the space below and let go of the person who lives in the photos above.

Perhaps most convincingly it also occurred to me that I spend so much time cleaning up after my children simply because they are modeling what the see around them. Chaos. If I clean up after myself I truly belive that they will too and we all will have pride and love for our home. Self respect, really.

So I reworked a corner that was previously pretty crazy. It is now serene and grown up. And I love it. Behold, the kitchen nook:





Super mellow and much improved. I have a long way to go, but I just keep looking at the nook above the playroom and the bathroom and forging ahead. One corner at a time I'm getting there. 

Oh, yeah. 2011 is going to be an incredible year.

18 thoughts on “Another Fresh Corner. (And a few funky ones. As in icky.)

  1. Nicole W says:

    okay, okay…I’ll go unpack my clean laundry that’s been sitting there in the corner for days… 😉

    but seriously, looks great and inspirational!

  2. Alyssa says:

    It is totally amazing how one small change can lead to another…and another… isn’t it?
    Your new spaces are AWESOME! (and thanks for posting your shadows, too… it can get depressing to only see everyone’s perfect spaces all the time!)

  3. Kari B. says:

    I love it!!
    We are doing the same to our house and have managed the livingroom and kitchen so far, but are super motivated to forge ahead as well! I love your reasoning for doing all this work on your space, it relates closely to how I feel as well…
    Also, your shelves! The white collection is lovely! Your medium tea pot and the water pitcher- I have both of those! The tea pot was passed down from my great-grandmother, I’m thrilled to see it in your photos, and the pitcher I found years ago at a yard sale (although mine is orange). You have great taste ;D

  4. Rachel Wolf says:

    I couldnt agree more. The new cookbook shelf was the toy storage that I made go away because toys are overrated. And in the place where the toy shelves use to be I put the homeschool supplies chest, which use to stand where the cookbooks are. And now I need to organize the childrens closets becasue I moved the costumes there and the game cabinet to make space for the blocks. You get the idea. You can almost hear the click-click-click of the dominoes as they fall.

    All the best,

  5. Rachel Wolf says:

    Very fun that we have those pieces in common! Ive been collecting the pottery for years and having a place to beautifully display it where it doesnt feel like an afterthought is a great feeling. Enjoy the journey towards order and serenity.

    ~ Rachel

  6. Kim Miller says:

    Hey- Happy New Year! This post struck a chord with me because I struggle daily with the clutter. This past year I kept thinking if I could only get the other areas of the house cleaned (mostly the kids stuff) then I could focus on cleaning up my desk, room, office area. Once I got one thing cleaned then another area would get crazy messy. Recently occurred to me that maybe I have it backward and should focus instead of clearing the clutter from my space and then tackle the kids stuff. We’ll see how it goes.

  7. Rena Beyer says:

    Hi Rachel,
    What I see in the first photo is the wonderful contrasting color of the orange an the gray file cabinet. What I see in the second is the great owl fabric and the totally awesome vintage suitcase. What I see in the third are nicely hung prints and great lamps. (Also, of course,the new kitchen nook is totally beautiful and you have great vintage stuff!)

  8. Pamela R says:

    WOA!!! That’s coming from someone who knows your chaos and loves you to pieces! I can not wait to be in your space soon and bask in the beauty of it! Thanks, as always, for sharing the good, the bad and the ugly. (That is not easy!)

  9. Rachel Wolf says:

    Hi Kim! One thing I did recently that has been a huge blessings is to assign a space to clean each day. Monday living room/hall, Tuesday bathroom, etc. That way if the whole place gets out of control I can spend a devoted slice of time (be it five mintues or two hours) restoring that space. Ive been skipping a few rooms lately (obviously by the photos) but a recovery is possible for me with these little bites. Good luck beating back the chaos!

    ~ Rachel

  10. Susanne says:

    It’s nice to know that you’re a regular gal like the rest of us, too! True, it would be a bit of a downer to read a litany of all the things that go undone in a day or the messes that have accumulated, but sometimes I like a blog to reflect that those things are, indeed, a part of everyone’s lives (unless you’re Martha Stewart and have a staff of many and a room solely for vases). Sometimes, when I read Amanda Soule’s blog I wonder how I could ever maintain a farm, renovate a house, home school children, blog, photograph, raise 5 children, cook, garden, can, clean, knit, sew, and write two books without poking a fork in my foot! Thanks for showing us that you can create the family/home life you want with some elbow grease and patience!

  11. nannergirl says:

    Beautiful. I mean the new kitchen nook 🙂 I am also trying to tidy and organize one space at a time just so that things feel a bit more calm around here. Thanks for sharing your less than perfect spaces – it makes me feel a bit better about the many piles I have going around my house. Progress is good!

  12. Rachel Wolf says:

    Thank you for your thoughtful and humorous thoughts. Were all on our own journies to finding out best selves, right? This is part of my journey. A big part.
    ~ Rachel

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