Design Envy

I like the design blogs. I occasionally read Oh Joy, Frolic, Bloesom, Decor8, DesignSponge, Black*Eiffel, and some others- They have fantastic ideas, creative uses of vintage finds, and even though I don’t generally subscribe to the mid-century design thing, I love their aesthetic. But I have a problem…

With a few notable exceptions, I think so many of the photos and vingnettes featured on these design sites come from homes that just don’t have children. Of course that doesn’t apply to Gabrielle Blair at DesignMom, or Jordan at Oh Happy Day, but by and large, you can’t have a house full of kids, and keep a menage of styled glassware on your end-table, no matter how pretty it looks.

Tablecloths are not kid-friendly. Anyone ever put a pretty tablecloth, set the table with vintage dishes, depression glasses and hand lettered place-cards, only to have a toddler come along and grab the corner of the cloth as he makes his way to the kitchen? I have. It’s ugly. And sad. And causes lots of tears.

Ever put a glass bowl on a windowsill? Or a bowl of pinecones on a coffee table? Or put up really expensive wallpaper, only to have your potty-training kid pick it off the bathroom wall while waiting for the pee pee to come? I have. It’s ugly. And sad. And causes lots of tears. *sigh*

Now, to be fair, some of these women do have children. In photos you often see a delightful little nursery, with cutely stacked shelves and toys places just-so, or a tower of modern wooden blocks on the floor in the kitchen as set-dressing to show a child lives there. But I’ve never seen this at my house- at least not since my oldest became mobile seven years ago.

I’m just jealous. Because either they have a secret I don’t, or they lock their kids in the closet. At my house, the creativity and mess take over the house. There are no neatly stacked shelves, because I would kill myself trying to keep them that way. There are projects spread all over the house. Right now, Jeffrey is putting together a wooden model, and the table is covered in tiny pieces, paint and glue. Beanie is painting a sculpture of a triceratopss-  is now in his room for hitting his sister, and Abby is on the naughty-step for scratching Beanie.

Maybe someday I will have a nice, pretty, decorated house. For now, though, do enjoy the eye-candy of others. If someone has their secret for orderly shelves, pretty tables, and unchipped glassware, could they let me in?

Oh, and p.s.- I’m a big fan of FreshVintage. She’s a thrifter and garage-sale junkie like me, and she shows her finds.

8 thoughts on “Design Envy

  1. This is great, Tracy. I’ve been thinking all week that I need something new to sit on the middle of my kitchen table throughout the day. But everything I think would be pretty and just right would scream “touch me! BREAK ME!” to my kids. And I just can’t deal with that right now. One day, right?

  2. Amen sister. To every thing there is a season, turn, turn, turn. This is definitely not the season for fancy tablecloths and glassware at my house either. I do have a couple of projects in mind right now, but they are for things that go up on the counter (or higher) and mostly out of toddler reach or interest.

  3. Nobody listen to Tracy, her house is a beautiful collection of intriguing knick knacks and assorted treasures…. Those blogs and magazines only HOPE to be as cool as her house

  4. Awww! Mo’s my peeps, so she has to say that. :)

    I do like my house, and I do have some interesting things going on, but it’s not a design center- and, well, I guess I don’t ever really want it to be- I like the creative clutter- just not a creative avalanche.

  5. Amen Sista!

    I am especially mindful of this when I visit someone who doesn’t have a toddler. Because my toddler will begin to point out where they should childproof, by breaking and dirtying things. Why do people hire baby-proofers? Just hire a 2 year old and pay ‘em with fruit snacks.

    Although, last week Baby made a beautiful modern art piece on the hallway wall by sticking purple bits of clay up there (the clay belongs to her older sister who was not impressed). Her ambition in this endeavor was impressive, there were about 30 little pieces up there. That had to have taken her a good 10 minutes, which is longer than she’ll hold still for anything else. A person without a child in their home could not appreciate cutting edge art in such a fresh new way ;)

  6. I too enjoy those sites. I can spend hours lost in the ideas from them. I must say though, I am grateful my children are way out of the toddler stage and that they actually like some of the things we see there.

  7. Thanks for the mention. I’m a big fan of your blog, too. I never tire of seeing other people’s yard sale finds!

    I totally know what you mean about real-life decorating. My house is so sparse because I don’t want anything within reach of little hands. Most of my pottery is displayed on high shelves in the kitchen.

    And I always crack up when I see perfectly-styled coffee tables. Mine is covered in sticky yogurt and has crayons and paper scraps strewn all over it.

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