live where you live

2011 is my year to let loose. Have a little more fun. Be daring and crazy.

You probably won’t find me sky diving or shaving my head, but I do hope to take life a little less seriously.

Take, for example, decorating my home.

I really love decorating, rearranging furniture, creating displays on our kitchen shelves, changing out pillows – it is a favorite hobby of mine for sure.  As far as I can tell, it seems to be a favorite hobby of yours as well.

So maybe you can relate with me on this one.

I get an idea {however unconventional it is} for my walls or cabinets or lighting, but I’m afraid to actually follow through with it out of fear that it will somehow ruin our home.  We love where we live, but we don’t feel like it is our ‘forever’ home. So in the back of my mind, the term ‘resale value’ is always lingering when these crazy ideas pop up.  And if it isn’t ‘resale value’ it’s the thought that I should just wait until we are in a house that is our dream home and then I can really make it ours.


But here’s the deal.  I need to embrace where we are now, fully live in the house we get to call home and enjoy it despite what a future homeowner might think.

{I’m not advising destroying your home or being unwise with what you have : I’m just talking about living in the present and allowing your home to reflect your family – even if you don’t plan on being in it forever}

We learned a bit of this lesson when we remodeled our perfectly fine kitchen to make it look more like ‘us’.


It didn’t cost much and we did most of the work ourselves, but it totally reflects our style and has become a room that I really enjoy being in.  Was it necessary? No. When it comes time to sell our house will every prospective buyer love the open shelves? Probably not. Do we love it? Yes. Plus we can now fit lots of little bodies around the table which makes hosting parties that much easier {which we also love}. And that makes it worth it.

So if you are anything like me – stifled in your decorating by the what-ifs of the future sale of your home or waiting for something better to come along – I say let loose.  Have fun. Take some risks.  Really  L I V E  where you live.

If that means putting a hole in your wall to hang some artwork – go for it.  You can always fill a hole.

It it means using a sharpie to draw the most amazing wallpaper in your bathroom – by all means, go right ahead.

And if it means painting the wood floors in your kitchen with a distressed checkerboard pattern like you’ve been wanting to do for years {honey, are you reading?} – then do it!

Here’s to 2011.

Can’t wait to see what it holds.

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74 Responses to live where you live

  1. Kelly January 16, 2011 at 11:38 am #

    All of the glimpses of your home are so beautiful. It’s reassuring to know that even great stylists can also suffer from a little bit of self-doubt before tackling those big make-over projects. :-) Love the kitchen.

  2. Elizabeth@BlueClearSky January 12, 2011 at 4:51 pm #

    First of all, great advice. Secondly, I love your kitchen. Functional, stylish and pretty too.

  3. Kelli January 12, 2011 at 3:15 pm #

    LOVE the projects you post! Thanks for sharing. Was wondering what color that is in your kitchen…beautiful.

  4. Shannon January 11, 2011 at 7:38 pm #

    I love this idea! My husband and I recently began redoing our bedroom – and probably chucked a bit of that resale value out the window….but I couldn’t be happier with the result!

  5. Debbie Dabbs January 11, 2011 at 6:06 pm #

    As always your site is my favorite! I can’t wait each day to see what you’ve done. Thanks so much for your inspiration as we all work on our projects. As you say, live now, in the moment! Thanks Emily.

  6. Shelley Heck January 11, 2011 at 4:25 pm #

    P.s. Where did you find the cool black and white rug? Love. It!

  7. Shelley Heck January 11, 2011 at 4:25 pm #

    I think I may have told you before, but your kitchen is the inspiration for our kitchen re-design! I actually just started the project today! It may take me a little while, but I will post pictures for you when it’s done. Once again, your kitchen design is AMAZING!! Thanks for all your design awesomeness!!!

  8. Katy Lunsford January 11, 2011 at 2:32 pm #

    { LOVE } your home! Thanks for sharing.

  9. Joanna Kay January 11, 2011 at 12:17 pm #

    Thanks for posting this. My husband and I live in an apartment and we know we’re going to be moving in a year (Lord willing) for a job change. So I keep thinking, naw, I don’t want to do that. I shouldn’t. It’s not worth it. But after I read your post I went out, bought some shelves and put those screw holes into my wall!! It instantly made my apartment look like a home. Thanks for reminding me to live where I live. Psalm 37:3

  10. Darlene January 11, 2011 at 11:07 am #

    so many of us can relate. the line between taking a risk and playing it safe is always in the balance. If we can take a chance in our homes, we will reap the rewards! great post.

  11. Annette January 11, 2011 at 10:28 am #

    This is exactly how I feel about our house! I keep holding off on doing things because I do not want to do all the good stuff to this house just to leave it. Here is to living like no tomorrow.

  12. Shannon January 11, 2011 at 9:33 am #

    I adore your kitchen. It’s timeless. I just found your blog yesturday…and you are already linked to our list of blogs we heart!

  13. Lynne January 11, 2011 at 8:33 am #

    You hit it out of the park!!! Young and wise! You can’t live your life waiting for your dream house…make the home you have into the dream! That’s what I love about the women I have met in blogland! Some have big homes and they are beautiful…but it’s the smaller homes, “the little tract abodes, cottages & bungalows” that I view that are transformed into magic that continue to blow me away! I was wallpapering with handmade paper gift wrap 20 years ago… guess what ? We are painting over it now and it looks fine! {Our home and our life is our canvas}…I don’t need to tell you that…Emily…you are already there! Your home is lovely and inspirational…and today’s post I will use to continue to sell my idea of gutting the cabinets to my husband! =0) *L*

  14. Lynda January 10, 2011 at 11:11 pm #

    Great advice Emily! Also, use all your good china, burn your candles, and wear your great jewelry and clothes. So often we save so many of our things for special occasions or the future.

  15. Susie Q January 10, 2011 at 10:18 pm #

    I feel like this is my dilemma with my house. Such freedom to live where you live!

  16. W Design January 10, 2011 at 9:46 pm #

    Amen to this! “Love Where You Live” is the tagline for my blog, and I agree wholeheartedly! Life is too short to be afraid to take risks and simply like where you live. We deserve to love it!

  17. Katy January 10, 2011 at 9:11 pm #

    Do it!!! I’ve seen that before and LOVE it!! I’ve never commented before, but I loved this post so much, so I thought I’d chime in! This is exactly how I think of my house, I just need to do what I love to make my house the dream home I want it to be right NOW. Thanks, Emily! I love your blog, your style, and your sweet little family!

  18. Tys January 10, 2011 at 8:47 pm #

    What a great post, glad I read it!! We moved into our home almost 2 years ago and for too long I’ve let the kids, budgets, and mostly the fear of getting transferred again ruin my decorating enjoyment. I’m tired of it. Here’s to the new year! ;)

  19. Britt @ Gus + Lula January 10, 2011 at 7:40 pm #

    Thank you so much for stopping by my blog and leaving such a sweet comment. I am so glad you did, because I have spent waaaay too many hours of the last two days looking through your archives! Your home is absolutely gorgeous, you have so many GREAT projects, and your family is just too cute.
    I am so jealous that you have the option of going to Mars Hill! We do love our church, but I have enjoyed listening to Driscoll’s sermons lately. I would go there in a heartbeat if I could!
    I can’t wait to see if you do your own version of the Farrow & Ball paper. After seeing your office “wallpaper” I’m sure yours would be SO much neater than mine (still has pencil marks months later).
    I’m adding you to my blogroll and will definitely be back! :)

  20. Rachael January 10, 2011 at 7:23 pm #

    I needed to hear this! I’m in an apartment for a short time and it’s so tempting to leave all the pictures stacked in a corner, rather than taking them down and filling holes in a few months. No more hesitation, though…it’s time this placed looked like home!

  21. Kirsty January 10, 2011 at 5:43 pm #

    My floor refinisher thought I was crazy ( and so did most everyone else) when I said to leave the kitchen floor unfinished so I could paint it. My checker pattern turned out awesome, I love it, get lot of compliments, and the more it wears the better it gets. Go for it! ( plus doing it at an angle makes my galley esque kitchen seem wider)

  22. Stephanie Johnson January 10, 2011 at 4:24 pm #

    I think you have made a wonderful resolution! But may I ask a question? I too love to re arrange my furniture, and move things from here to there, and play with the placement of things. I just feel like I have hit a major road block because we live in a rental home, and my husband doesn’t want to take down wall paper, paint, or change fixtures because the home isn’t ours. But I’m drowning in ugly wallpaper! By any chance do you have any miracle advice?

  23. Adrianne January 10, 2011 at 3:44 pm #

    just the advice and resolution i need to stick to. it’s just paint. it’s just nails. it’s just fabric.

  24. Dawn January 10, 2011 at 3:33 pm #

    I so get this! I have been waiting and waiting. Well maybe I should follow your advice and go for it. I can always change it again right?!

  25. Kelly Rand January 10, 2011 at 3:19 pm #

    Don’t worry, Emily. I’ll buy your house :)

  26. Angela January 10, 2011 at 3:01 pm #

    Thank you for sharing! I couldn’t agree more. We bought a 150 year old home that needs more work than we ever dreamed of. We have taken on many projects here including wall repair and painting of 5 rooms so far. When each project is complete, I find great joy in seeing a little more of our style in these old walls. We don’t plan on living here forever, but I find that the restlessness for that perfect home abates for a while every time we add a little love. I think I might like the outcome a little better this time around when we sell. Before we sold our last home, we painted and made some changes and got it just right before we listed it on the market and it was snapped up within 2 weeks. {God had both of His hands on that one.} But in my heart I was like, “Why did we wait so long to make it like we wanted it and then sell it?” Thanks for the encouragement! I LOVE your kitchen, btw. I would buy your house just for the kitchen!

  27. Jamie January 10, 2011 at 2:19 pm #

    Love your kitchen! Thank you for the inspiration to know people can do home improvement projects themselves!

  28. Barbara January 10, 2011 at 1:55 pm #

    I hear you Emily and I agree to a point! I am living in my dream home. Me and my husband saved every penny to buy 15 acres and have my brother ( who is an architect) design our home! I love my house, BUT, now I am afraid to take the plunge because I know I have to live with it a long time so I have to LOOOOVE whatever I do. So I think it is easier when you arent in your forever home because you know in the back of your head you can change it later. With us, any change I make I better love because we put all our money into our home and property. No regrets though. Yet!!!!!!! All in all, I agree. I just need to make a decision and DO IT!

  29. Kathy Martin January 10, 2011 at 1:29 pm #

    Very cool remodle! Do you find you have enough storage space with shelves instead of cabinets?

  30. The Queen Vee January 10, 2011 at 1:28 pm #

    Great post except one thing you wrote really caught my eye. I’ve moved 18 times, wallpaper removed and repapered walls many walls, painted cabinets and whole houses. The most difficult and frustrating wall that I ever painted was one that a black magic marker had been used on, I wouldn’t recommend ever using sharpies on any wall….that’s just me though.

  31. Joann January 10, 2011 at 1:25 pm #

    Looking at the pictures on your website bring out the woman in me:-)

  32. Shelley January 10, 2011 at 1:21 pm #

    I’m so guilty of this!!! We’ve lived in 5 different homes in the 6 years we’ve been married. Between my hubby being in the military and later moving for job offers in the civilian world, we were always worried about resale. Thus, we didn’t do anything and were bummed out by our blah walls, cabinets, and decor. Now that we’re going to be in one place for a while I told myself to GO FOR IT! I’m so happy I took the plunge. And eventhough this house has become more “us” than typical builder’s style, I think it has dramatically increased its resale value. Score! So here’s to taking the plunge!

  33. Michelle Colasante January 10, 2011 at 1:01 pm #

    Absolutely! It’s your moment, so embrace the now, girl!

  34. Robin January 10, 2011 at 1:00 pm #

    I can totally relate to living for that prospective future buyer…our house has been on the market for 2 1/2 years now! I am so ready to be in a house that I can make into a home again! I admire your “go for it” attitude even though I cannot afford to adopt it for my own until we sell. But when we get into a new house, I plan to really live where I live and try things I have not been able to try here. Thanks so much for the encouragement and inspiration!

  35. dianne January 10, 2011 at 12:55 pm #

    my thoughts exactly ~ and trust me, your new kitchen has PLENTY of resale value. not so sure about mine, in a charming state of plum, but i LOVE it and could care less whether it’s in style or not. it’s me. with ya in 2011! :-)

  36. Leiane January 10, 2011 at 12:54 pm #

    When I did my kitchen several years ago, I wanted black cabinets with a rubbed finish and hand-distressed floors. I was told over and over that the floors were a terrible idea and we would never get our money back out of the cabinets.
    We sold our house over the summer in less than six weeks…the most repeated comment was how much people loved our kitchen because it didn’t look like everyone else’s!
    I also had a blood red powder room that eventually became the reason our buyer signed the deal :O)

  37. Megan January 10, 2011 at 12:32 pm #

    I totally agree. I think 2011 is going to be my year to really go for it when it comes to my home. I went for it awhile back and hung a portion of an old windmill in my stair well…haven’t looked back since. I love it and so do most, though every once in a while I’ll get the raised eyebrow and the question…”What is THAT?”

    Happy decorating in 2011!


  38. I Live in an Antbed January 10, 2011 at 12:29 pm #

    Absolutely! Go for it!! I refuse to worry about resale while we live here! If it comes up, I will deal with it then. But for now, our color palette is definitely NOT “buyer neutral”! And we love it!

  39. Aimee@ the Functional Space January 10, 2011 at 12:20 pm #

    I have this conversation with myself constantly. We just sold my townhouse last year and put a lot of money into it doing the things I always planned to doing “one day” so that it would sell. It was a great reminder to make the changes you want now so that you can actually enjoy them when your living there!! Here’s to making that happen in 2011!!
    Love your kitchen revamp. What a wonderful refresh on a basic kitchen.

  40. Cheri January 10, 2011 at 11:52 am #

    LOL!! A spell check on here would be great! LOL Oops!

  41. Cheri January 10, 2011 at 11:51 am #

    I agree! Now, I just wish my husband did!!! Every 2-4 yrs we move for my hubby’s job. No not military, he works for a company that owns malls. Granted he has done a fine job on climbing that corpoarte ladder but we have lived in 4 states, 3 houses and since have had a child. He is worried about putting holes in the wall (doesn’t matter if it IS our family portrait or not), hanging anything on the walls (such as curtain rods) or painting in bright colors. I’m ok with not putting money into all the different landscape because well, we will be moving eventually. But I would at least like to make the “temporary” houses OUR home. Now…the next problem…when we finally do get to stay put I won’t know what to do with myself every 2-4 yrs since I’m used to getting a new home! LOL!!!

    Loving the ideas for your 2011! You go girl! Someone has too! :O)

  42. Dina January 10, 2011 at 11:43 am #

    Wow, you could have taken the words right out of my mouth! My husband and I have been having this conversation nonstop since the New Year started! And how fitting is this to my response email this morning, I hadn’t even read your post yet…here’s to painting my dar wood molding, cabinets, and judge’s paneling!

  43. Rachel January 10, 2011 at 11:10 am #

    I just made myself the same decree. And now finally after 3 1/2 years in my home, I am starting to make my first DIY design improvements so I can live in the now and love it.

  44. Megan January 10, 2011 at 11:06 am #

    Amen sista! I still regret not doing the things I wanted to our first house. We always said it was temporary and only live there three years. If I could go back, I would of painted the ugly oak cupboards that I didn’t want to paint because they were new. I would of painted the rooms in pretty colors and not beige. I would of painted the front door a bright color. I would of added more landscaping. All things that would of, in retrospect, help sell the home faster. I know this home isn’t our forever home either, but it’s our home now and for at least the next ten years. I’m having a great time playing house this time around. It’s all about making your home, right now, yours.

  45. Lorrie January 10, 2011 at 10:56 am #

    I hear you! I’m so tired of thinking of “resale value.”

  46. Stephanie January 10, 2011 at 10:54 am #

    What a great post! So true! If you can’t live in the moment and do what you want to do (within reason) then you might miss your chance. Thanks for sharing!

  47. Angie Ray January 10, 2011 at 10:36 am #

    So true and OMG do I envy you for that kitchen! It’s gorgeous.

  48. shawna [of styleberryBLOG] January 10, 2011 at 10:25 am #

    love this. as a military wife & creative…this is something I struggle with too. ;) i just went for it recently & have a giant chalkboard wall in the playroom…someone is going to get a fab space when we get our next set of orders! love what you’ve done with the kitchen!

  49. Christina Bartz January 10, 2011 at 10:17 am #

    I love your philosophy…and your kitchen…and your paint color. :) What color is that on the walls in your kitchen?

  50. Amoreena January 10, 2011 at 10:13 am #

    Thanks, Emily. I needed to hear that. Just this morning, I was dreaming of a fun (but totally unnecessary) renovation that I want to do in my family room. Then logic set in, and I started to think about re-sale value, how much longer we are going to live here, and my ideas were quenched. Then, I wonder why I feel so unsettled in my current place because I so badly want to be in a “forever home.” After we remodeled our kitchen, I had a more settled, content feeling about the “now.” Maybe a family room update is just the thing that I need to calm my anxious heart (at least that’s what I’ll tell my husband).

  51. LLH Designs January 10, 2011 at 10:05 am #

    TYPOS! Darn iPad!

  52. LLH Designs January 10, 2011 at 10:05 am #

    Oops. Some types in there, but you get the idea. :)

  53. LLH Designs January 10, 2011 at 10:04 am #

    Just a thought: you are blessing those who will own your house next with each bit of love and creativity you pour into it. I’ve been really struck by that lately. I thought we were in our forever home (its gorgeous and perfect in every way), but the Lord has been tlling me to have a loosest grip…to realize that it’s all His (even my creative ideas). I am starting t get the feeling this may not be our fir ever home (not because we aren’t satisfied, but because the Lord may have different plans), but in the mean time, I consider myself a steward of this home for someone else.

    Have a great week,

  54. Amanda @ Serenity Now January 10, 2011 at 9:44 am #

    One of my “home goals” for 2011 was pretty much what you’re doing. We are not in our “forever” home (oh, lordy, I hope we’re not!!), and I always wonder if I should bother. But you are right about embracing where we are now. :) Thanks for sharing!

  55. Abby January 10, 2011 at 9:20 am #

    I am sending this post to my husband! He always cringes when I bring up the words resale value! I want to just go for it, but many times I find myself trying to think like a professional home flipper and not a creative, nesting mom. Thanks for the push in the right direction! Love love love your blog too!

  56. Rachel January 10, 2011 at 9:07 am #

    I love this post!! You just inspire me daily. Your kitchen makeover is fabulous. I would love to redo my cabinets in my kitchen. Did you buy new cabinets or did you redo those? Thanks!!

  57. shannon berrey designs January 10, 2011 at 9:02 am #

    Emily–so very very true! I have shared this sentiment with many a clients. And I have actually been contemplating the sharpie on my own bathroom wall for a couple of weeks now-I’m just not willing to shell out the $ for the wallpaper I want!

  58. Brenna January 10, 2011 at 8:53 am #

    Amazing! I was just telling someone about my internal fear to commit to hanging photos, painting, etc., etc…. But coming to the realization that this place is ours, and I want it to feel that way. I want a haven, not just blank walls and boring nothing-ness. All to say, I totally relate and I look forward to taking the plunge in terms of home creations and decor this year!

  59. Amanda M. January 10, 2011 at 8:43 am #

    Loooooooove this post. This was one of my resolutions this year to LIVE in this house and USE it.

  60. Michele January 10, 2011 at 8:33 am #

    Emily, I needed to hear this more than you know. You really have a gift for putting thoughts (my thoughts are similar to yours) into words. We’ve been in our house for a little over eight year and I haven’t really changed anything since we moved in. We hope to build our dream home in about five years so I feel kind like we’re in a state of delay just waiting until we can build. It’s made this house just feel like a house and not a home. I see so many great ideas and get great inspiration from blogs, but I’m afraid to take the leap of faith and make a change. I think this is the year that we are going to make some changes in our house to make it feel like a home. Thanks for always being so open and sharing what’s on your mind and heart and thanks for inspiring me.

  61. Jen January 10, 2011 at 8:24 am #

    I couldn’t agree more with this post… in fact it’s something I have been struggling with for awhile. I constantly want to redo something but then I wonder what otherswould think when we do sell the house in the future. I’m going to start one of the projects I’ve been debating for awhile THIS week! Great post!

  62. Julie January 10, 2011 at 8:10 am #

    Oh my goodness Emily! You are totally reading my mind! I have said those same exact words many times! I have even done posts about the same dilemma and about my ‘forever’ house! And just last night I told my husband ‘let’s paint our cabinets’! I am ready to jump in! Can’t wait to see what you come up with!

  63. Moriah @ Please Pass the Salt January 10, 2011 at 7:56 am #

    Amen! My kids are a little crazy though, so if I WERE to really decorate like I wanted (and say, had all the money I needed) – I’d either spend ALL my time saying “DON’T TOUCH!” or picking up broken pieces. So mebbe when they are say, in college. :)

  64. Heather January 10, 2011 at 7:28 am #

    My husband and I fell into the “resale trap” in our last house. What we did was for the future buyer and not for ourselves. In this house we are doing for us, what we want. Take advantage of owning your home. Make it yours. It’s your now. This is certainly not my dream home. But we are embracing it one day at a time.


  65. Emily Humphries January 10, 2011 at 7:07 am #

    Love your kitchen and we just bought a house and I’ve been so afraid to do things to it to but after what you said I think there is going to be some decorating going on!

  66. Melissa January 10, 2011 at 7:03 am #

    I love this advice as so true and a great mantra to live by. Your kitchen looks so much better now!

  67. Stacy@RedDoorHome January 10, 2011 at 6:39 am #

    Great thoughts! Your home should be reflection of your family and how they live and not planned for the future people who will live there.

  68. Janell Beals January 10, 2011 at 6:35 am #

    I’ve always decorated our home pretty much how I’ve wanted, thus far it also paid off when selling the past two homes, very quick sales, lots of interest and offers. Of course things have changed, real estate wise! While it is important to keep the value of the house in mind, you are so right…live today and make your home yours! Looking forward to seeing what you do! (And your kitchen in wonderful!)

  69. Erin January 10, 2011 at 6:31 am #

    please tell me the stripe rug is a runner. please? if it is, where oh where did you find it?

  70. Polly January 10, 2011 at 6:28 am #

    I’m going to go get my hammer and nails right now!! Nail holes can be filled, you’re so right!! I am so bookmarking this post as a reminder to just “go for it”! Thanks Emily!

  71. Nanina January 10, 2011 at 6:20 am #

    Yay! I would totally buy your house with the new kitchen! The old one, not so much. We rent a house and we painted one living room wall crimson red, one hallway wall and several walls in the basement in a deep berry shade, and other walls in different bedrooms apple green, light yellow and crimson red again. We know we may have to paint that white again once we leave the house, but that is then and this is now! :-D


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