change is good

I may have mentioned this before, but when I was young I moved a lot. I was raised by a single mother who had to struggle to make ends meet for herself and her four girls, and well, sometimes that meant we had to move. Luckily we stayed mostly in Orange County, so it was never too far away from childhood friends; but let’s face it, when you’re too young to drive, you may as well be separated by oceans. My mom always tried to make up for that fact, by making moving fun. At each new home, we got to pick a room, decorate it and arrange our things anyway we saw fit. It made the transition easier and allowed us to be in control of at least a small piece of an otherwise lousy situation.

When we weren’t moving, my mom was constantly rearranging the furniture. She’d put on her favorite album, turn the music up real loud, and get us girls involved in pushing the furniture around the room. We’d struggle and laugh, and revel in beauty of the newly adorned space with a sense of pride and accomplishment. To this day whenever I hear Carly Simon, James Taylor, or Christopher Cross they conjure up found memories of my mom cleaning house, or rearranging furniture.

As an adult, I’ve been fortunate enough to not have to move quite as often. I’ve owned two homes, both with my husband Josh. Our first home, in Orange, we gutted and started from scratch. It was trying on our relationship, and was terrible to live through, but when we were finished, we both had a space we truly loved. Well, that is with one exception… it’s location. It was in a not so desirable neighborhood. We were too close to a busy street, had a neighbor with a shopping cart constantly on their front lawn, and we faced another neighbor who started to grow corn in their front yard. When the corn growing neighbor painted their home a bright turquoise, and had several other families move in, we decided it was time to go.

Josh went to watch a football game at his buddies house, and I started browsing the internet for houses. I think I looked at three profiles, before I found the listing for our new house. It was in Tustin, a place Josh and I both had a desire to live, since most of his family lived there, and it was only a few blocks away from his parents home. The photos showed the interior only, which I thought was strange, but the interior was beautiful. An interior designer had lived there and done a ton of upgrades to the home, and after seeing them, I was smitten. I called the realtor, and scheduled an appointment the very same day. It took some serious convincing to get Josh to leave his football game, but it was worth it. We made an offer that day, and moved in a few weeks later. Oh – by the way – the outside was a tragic pumpkin orange stucco, and was horrific – but we managed to fix that a year or so later.

We’ve lived here five years now. I think it’s the longest I have been in one location at any time in my life, and I plan to stay for many, many more. I’ve always been envious of people who had a childhood home to visit, and who’s parents lived in the same house their whole lives. There must be something so comforting about visiting a place that brings back a lifetime of memories for you. I’ve always wanted to re-create that for my own child, and hopefully, I will someday.

It’s hard for me to even imagine being in one place that long.  I get bored with my surroundings much too quickly. (I mean we take the Christmas décor down the day after Christmas because I can’t stand to look at it any longer). And so I do what I know best. I redecorate. I’ve been switching artwork from room to room, selling off vintage finds that I tire of, and scooting furniture from place to place. All while blaring my own favorite music, of course. My front room (above) has seen the most change in the last year or two. The image above is only a few months old, and already it looks out of date. The suitcases now reside in my studio (see post below), and the tulip print is very close to heading out.

My Romanian hutch (above left) is still a favorite, so it has remained unchanged for quite some time, but the piano is something I keep toying with selling. I’m torn, because I love that it was a gift from a family friend, and the display space it gives me, but other than acting as a display piece for my cloche’s it’s completely non functional (at least to us non-piano playing folk) .

My little white sofa has been decorated with all sorts of pillows over the last several months (mainly to keep Hannah off the couch), and it’s made it’s way to my bedroom and back. My dining room shelves (above right) also see quite a bit of change when I’m bored, as they look nothing like this anymore. Thankfully I sell vintage goods, so I can constantly change my decor, while technically “stocking the shop”.

I’ll need to snap some new images of they way they look now, but I’m afraid by the time I get around to posting it, it will have changed  ten times by then. At least I have fun with the changes. Just don’t peek in the windows when you hear my music blaring, I can’t dance to save my life, but I sing along (rather poorly) like nobody’s business.  :o)

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Zita - Mlle Magpie - February 2, 2011 - 11:33 pm

Great post, Sara. Always love seeing photos of your beautiful home. p.s. maybe you will have a child that is interested in piano lessons…?

Elizabeth - February 3, 2011 - 1:05 am

Gorgeous home! I love how bright and cheerful your home looks, and not overcrowded, yet full of meaningful accessories! I especially love the floral art above the dresser (in the image with the sofa). Any info on where you found it would be wonderful! Thanks for the beautiful inspiration!

Sadie Olive - February 3, 2011 - 1:22 am

Thank you Elizabeth. I bought that several years ago from Ballard Designs.

Whimsy by Victoria - February 3, 2011 - 6:21 am

Sara,

Love your new look! Your home is beautiful and I loved reading your story. I can relate to this in many ways. Growing up we moved often and I always envied my friends who grew up in a childhood home. Then as an adult I married my husband who is in the Air Force…as you know with military, you never stay in one place very long. Maybe my childhood was preparing me for the future. :) I too turn on the music and clean and re-arrange furniture…just so motivating. I love your beautiful piano! I at one time bought a piano from my aunt, then decided to put it in my sisters home because I didn’t have a spot for it…I now regret that I don’t have one. My kids play and wish we had a piano of our own. Thank you for sharing a peek into your life and home…it is beautiful!

Hugs,
Victoria

onagracenote - February 3, 2011 - 8:36 am

What a lovely home! The soft, muted colour palette is beautiful and I love the blue and white china – Di.

Kelly Ash - February 3, 2011 - 10:54 am

Thanks for sharing some pictures of your house – its lovely! I think worn, loved pieces always make a home warmer.

I change my house around alot too – I am in the process of repainting … everything! Be sure to post some more pictures if anything changes – you do such a nice job of decorating, I love to “peek” in your window! :)

Jennifer Rizzo - February 3, 2011 - 2:55 pm

I’ve always loved your home and your style Sara. You have a great eye. Where did the pink couches go to? Did I miss that? BTW you did an awesome job on Jeanne’s web page and blog, they look amazing!

deb prewitt - February 3, 2011 - 3:11 pm

Your decorating style is wonderful. I love the softness of it all. And your photos are fabulous.

Marta - February 3, 2011 - 7:31 pm

Beautiful pics!! Do you mind sharing where you found you’re botanical print in the last picture. I have been looking for something like that for my living room, and I am having the hardest time finding something!!! Thanks! Marta

melissa - February 3, 2011 - 7:37 pm

gosh your post brings back childhood memories. We did not move alot, but I was also rasied by a single mom and she would move the furniture around or sew new curtains out of sheets to give the place a new look. Looking back that is what made me “crafty”. Trying to make something out of nothing. LOL
Hope you are feeling better…

Leah C - February 3, 2011 - 7:59 pm

No matter how you decorate…your home always looks gorgeous!! Love your style:)

Lolo - February 3, 2011 - 9:50 pm

That Romanian hutch is so romantic….you can get a hold of me if you want it off your hands ;)

Denise @ A Bun Can Dance - February 4, 2011 - 6:47 pm

Hello Sara
These few posts are fascinating, as it’s always fun to have a tour of somebody’s house, isn’t it? Thanks for sharing your home with us :-)
I love your style, furniture and decor – you have a very tasteful home and obviously have an eye for gorgeous things to put in your house!
Have a lovely weekend,
Denise x

kasey - February 5, 2011 - 1:09 am

This is the Sara i miss.
I loved how you opened up…and please don’t sell that piano..you never know if when you have that little girl..she might want to play.
I’m looking for a piano myself..a free one on craigslist.
miss and love you.
xoxo

Carla - February 9, 2011 - 10:48 am

I’ve always admire your blog and I have to say, this story is just so wonderful. My parents couldn’t afford a house so we would always had to move every time the rent would end. I remember thinking how lucky my friends who always had a “home” to go to and I would be embarrass to have them over cos we lived in small flats. But every time we moved, I would always put pictures up on the wall and decorate it in any possible way I could to make it mine.
Now I’m a mum, and I cannot wait when my husband and I buy a house so I can give my own child a home to grow up in and come back to after school.

Spencer - February 13, 2011 - 7:30 am

Yummy! Everything looks so pretty….even if it’s only a momentary glimpse!

I take everything down the day after Christmas too…. (in fact, sometimes on Christmas night)…..and my sofa is VERY similar to yours….

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Warm blessings,
Spencer