Those Tiny Tweaks

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Maybe more than I’d like to admit, I’m digging deep into our own blog archives to remind myself of a paint color we’ve used, where we bought something or – and probably most importantly! – showing contractors what’s behind our walls. The hunt for the exact type of lumber we used for our dining room fauxdenza will, in turn, churn up old photos, and it never seems to fail that this will happen the day after I say to Scott, I feel like we’re moving so slooow. In moments of standstill or indecision, I’ll compare ourselves to friends who have recently moved and are already sipping their wine in a completely pulled together home, and he’ll remind me, sure, but we both know you love this.

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This. ‘This’ is the process of making our house our home – slowly. He’s right. I was reminded of ‘this’ again when I stumbled across a photo of our living room one year after moving day. The layout remains the same today, but all the small changes have added up! Never underestimate the power of those tiny tweaks. In 2014, our walls were a soft blue-gray (Behr’s Pensive Sky), the nook was a greenish teal (Behr’s Blue Fir), and we were still in figure-out-what-we-really-like mode:

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Today, the walls are less blue. Last year, I re-painted them Benjamin Moore’s Intense White. It was subtle, but my heart and the house let out a long, happy sigh. We recently toned down the rug, too, and after accidentally finding this adorable dining table in an outlet, that also changed. The laminate media center was painted, and our gallery wall grew in both art and style of frames. Slow and steady.

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The in-between photos remind me that we’re rarely in a standstill; yes, slooowly, we’re making progress. I found this one, below, where the walls are still blue, although the gallery wall had started it’s evolution. The kitchen, with the exception of a new refrigerator, hadn’t yet been touched:

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Now, the view towards the back of the home feels so much more like ‘us.’ Simply adding a houseplant to that between-living-spaces gap was proof that greenery is everything, and the afternoon sun through our dining room windows always adds so much warmth.

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As trinkets from travels, a shiny new vase and pottery collected from local markets started to gather, things start to feel new all over again. And a few months ago, we finally found a home for our winter elk photo (still one of our favorite thrifty scores to date!):

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Off the living and dining spaces, our funny little nook didn’t last long as Blue Fir, and soon after, I got a wild hair to go dark. We landed on Benjamin Moore’s Narragansett Green (which appears much more navy in our home), and yet it still feels so upbeat because of that window. Here it is before and after:

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If I’m being honest, I doubt we’ll ever call this room done, but as I sifted through old photos and gathered new, I was reminded that there’s proof in moving slowly (there’s that word again!). We’re still figuring out what we love, and there are also things we’ve talked about changing – one day. There’ve been the small changes that get us in our guts, and there are some that, maybe, are placeholders. I’m looking forward to seeing how this room looks in another 5 – 10! – years, because as we continue to grow, so will our home.

(And just for fun, remember this?)

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How do your rooms evolve? We’d love to learn more about you, so if you’ve opened up your home with a blog (or any corner of the web you enjoy sharing), please leave a link with your most recent tweaks!

Most items are sourced directly under photos in this post, or shop our whole house here!

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  • SEM - October 6, 2016 - 9:34 AM

    Great post. You two are truly tweaking and finding home along the way. I must really hand it to you for all of your patience and attention to detail…you’ve really built a space that is fully you. As a person who is chomping at the bit to own a home, I really admire how the two of you savor the process as much as the completed project. You really seem content in the process and that is something to be celebrated!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - October 6, 2016 - 9:47 AM

      This is so kind and so well said (I’m not exactly known for my brevity, but you hit the nail on the head). Thank you! I don’t know anyone who has regretted savoring the moment.ReplyCancel

  • Mrs Mike - October 6, 2016 - 10:07 AM

    what I love most about your blog is you make me feel normal! I’ve painted, lived with the color a year…and realized it wasn’t the right color. I’ve re-arranged my living room a half a dozen times trying to figure out the right layout. I don’t go out and buy new rooms of furniture, but as I update pieces as my tastes change, I find other tweaks are needed. It’s not that I’m not happy with what I have (my favorite pieces I’ve had for years!) but sometimes I just need to refresh my house. Excepting that homes are a work in progress doesn’t mean I don’t love my home and allows me to make small changes from time to time that keep my home fresh and happy!ReplyCancel

  • Steph M. - October 6, 2016 - 10:17 AM

    This is perfectly timed today. Since we bought our house in June it’s been hard to figure out what to focus on first. We also have a hard time of just wanting everything to be “perfect” before doing anything else, but that can also make things feel so incomplete. So now we’re taking a stance of doing what feels right as we live there and working towards what we want overall slowly. We have to keep reminding ourselves this is our home and not a rental that we’ll be moving out of in a year or two.ReplyCancel

    • Kim - October 6, 2016 - 11:00 AM

      Absolutely. I remember feeling the exact same way 3 years ago though! It can be tough at times, for sure.ReplyCancel

    • Regine Labossiere - October 6, 2016 - 2:53 PM

      I totally relate on the “what to focus on” conundrum. Sometimes budget has been the deciding factor and that, as much as I hate it, has been helpful in prioritizing what to do. And now that we’re about to end our second year in the house, I’m realizing that it’s okay to go months without finishing – or perhaps even starting a project that you’d thought of a while before. So now I’m creating mental timelines as to what year I’d like to tackle which renovation and what smaller projects can I do on my own on a budget in the meantime.ReplyCancel

  • Lauren - October 6, 2016 - 10:44 AM

    Such an encouraging post! As a new homeowner of a 1919 fixer upper, I simultaneously want to enjoy the process of making the house ours and be done at the same time. As people, I believe we are made to be creative and what better canvas than a house to make a home.ReplyCancel

    • Kim - October 6, 2016 - 11:01 AM

      Love this, and congrats on your ‘new’ home!ReplyCancel

  • Courtney - October 6, 2016 - 11:37 AM

    I totally understand where you are at! I sometimes get overwhelmed with how far I want to go, but when I look back I am so grateful on how far we’ve come! (this applies to life and our home ;))

    I posted an evolution of our living room so far here: http://www.alwaysrooney.com/2016/02/how-our-living-room-has-changed-this.html

    Thanks for sharing your journey, it is so encouraging to see other people aren’t instantly living in a “perfect” home!

    CourtneyReplyCancel

    • Kim - October 6, 2016 - 12:21 PM

      Thank you for sharing!! What a fun look back at your space. It has come so far! Love your newest chairs.ReplyCancel

  • Laurie - October 6, 2016 - 12:29 PM

    Your house is so fun and I adore the quirky wall art you find! I keep a blog (www.marceymadness.blogspot.com) and recently tweaked our living room (new couch eeeee!) and guest room!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - October 6, 2016 - 1:40 PM

      Loooove your new couch! So exciting.ReplyCancel

  • Meg @ Meg Acts Out - October 6, 2016 - 2:23 PM

    Guys. I SO needed to read this today. We’re thisclose to closing on a new house and the further away from it we’ve been (thanks to, y’know, banks doing bankish things), the more overwhelmed I’ve felt about decorating a whole new (currently outdated) space. Thanks so much for the reminder of a home’s evolution…as well as for the awesome eye candy and inspiration for my own space!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - October 6, 2016 - 3:29 PM

      Such an exciting time!! Good luck with everything!ReplyCancel

  • Jen - October 6, 2016 - 2:30 PM

    I’ve never owned a home, and given that I live in one of the most expensive housing markets in the country, might not ever, but I try my best to make my rentals into a home. I used to think that it was possible to reach a point in decorating when you were “done.” But I’ve realized that even when you get to “done,” that state is just temporary. We all change and evolve, so why would our homes stay static? Sure there are those pieces that will likely be with you for a very long time, or even forever, but there is so much that can, and I now believe, should change as we do (provided those changes are made in a mindful way, verses thoughtless and wasteful way). Part of that mindfulness is really understanding how you use a space and how certain decor choices make you feel. That takes time, and involves mistakes/changes, so I think your home is all the better for the “slowness” and “tweakiness “of the process!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - October 6, 2016 - 3:29 PM

      Thank you, Jen! Every rental I’ve lived in has received all the tweaking and decorating as any other home (minus any permanent fixtures). Rental or owned, home is home. :)ReplyCancel

  • Regine Labossiere - October 6, 2016 - 2:49 PM

    We just bought our first house almost two years ago and we (mostly me) have been in redoing, styling, dreaming mode ever since! I document it on my blog, The256Project.wordpress.com, and I have just so many ideas and so many projects and so many things I want to do, including tiny tweaks to rooms that are just not done and maybe never will be. I totally understand!ReplyCancel

  • Brandi G - October 7, 2016 - 8:18 AM

    Oh I don’t have a blog to document my progress, but we’ve been working on our house for 9 years. It may never get done between two kids and two full time jobs. It has been a complete remodel, not just small projects. Now living with two gutted bathrooms for over a year!! Kitchen, living, and dining rooms were completed years ago and now I’m wanting new furniture and curtains. It never ends. I’m always looking at pictures to validate all the work.ReplyCancel

    • Kim - October 7, 2016 - 9:22 PM

      Looking back at photos does help, haha! It never ends, but sort of in the best way.ReplyCancel

  • AlisonG - October 7, 2016 - 11:21 AM

    All homes evolve I suspect. I tire of things and need a change. I have to say your miss matched curtain rings would bug the heck out of me. I am curious, why did you make the finish different from the rod? No offence meant at all, different strokes..Just curious. It really is amazing the difference re painting it white made. I really like your vintage clock. Great before and after.ReplyCancel

    • Kim - October 7, 2016 - 9:24 PM

      Originally it was because the rings weren’t available in brass, and we ended up loving the look!ReplyCancel

  • Heather - October 7, 2016 - 1:29 PM

    Kim-I love how small changes can have such big impact. I am constantly tweaking my space either by swapping out throw pillows, rearranging the furniture or adding new houseplants. I love how it rejuvenates the space without costing a fortune. I don’t have a blog, but my current home is currently featured in our local New Orleans newspaper. I bought a Mid Century Modern last year and have been making “tiny tweaks” ever since. Let me know what you think! (I hope the link came through!)ReplyCancel

    • Kim - October 7, 2016 - 9:25 PM

      GIRL. Amazing!!! I’ve seen your home before I feel like – has it also been featured by another blog?ReplyCancel

      • heather - October 10, 2016 - 1:13 PM

        Not this one. Dana over at House Tweaking featured my previous home on her blog about 3-4 years ago. You and I have also talked a bit on Instagram when you were picking out velvet for one of your furniture pieces…so you probably recognize some of the furniture!ReplyCancel

        • Kim - October 10, 2016 - 3:45 PM

          Ahhh, I thought Heather + NOLA sounded/felt familiar! I do remember that feature over on H*T!ReplyCancel

          • heather - October 11, 2016 - 2:49 PM

            That was so much fun! Eek.:)
            I don’t know if you noticed, but one of your Pet Shop portraits made it in the shoot! It hangs on my gallery wall in my kitchen- my beloved pooch, The Baron, passed away unexpectedly and your portrait is a wonderful remembrance to my best buddy.

          • Kim - October 12, 2016 - 9:15 AM

            Aw, I need to take a closer look! Thank you for sharing Baron with me. :)

  • Cat - October 7, 2016 - 7:58 PM

    I remember a friend (who doesn’t have the renovation-DIY-decorating bug) once asking us (about the constant, work-in-progress nature of it all), ‘but when will you ever be able to just enjoy your house?’

    I said, ‘oh, but don’t you see, this is HOW we enjoy our house.’

    I wouldn’t know what to do in a ‘done’ house except sell it and start again!ReplyCancel

  • Eva Burgess - October 11, 2016 - 11:01 PM

    I don’t think any of my rooms will ever be finished either. I love moving things around a bit. I love looking back and seeing the how much things have changed.
    My fave is the living room, adding the fireplace made all the difference.
    After here: http://buildhousehome.blogspot.com.au/2014/08/success-fireplace-before-and-after.html
    Before with plans here:http://buildhousehome.blogspot.com.au/2014/06/gas-fireplace-plans-for-living-room.html

    Love these before and afters of our cottage living room too.
    http://buildhousehome.blogspot.com.au/2015/01/cottage-renovationthe-living-room-part-1.html

    Satisfying when you realise how far you have come after all.ReplyCancel

    • Kim - October 12, 2016 - 9:17 AM

      That fireplace is so pretty! I love the cement.ReplyCancel

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