Accessory Recovery


The first step on the road back to into normal life after taking the 30 day accessory free challenge (or as Alana called it, the Tchotchke Challenge) is to introduce your forlorn accessories back into your home. When you do you will be surprised at what annoys you. You will experience a mix of grief and sheer happiness that the things that you assumed made your home finished and pretty don’t matter as much as you thought.

breakfast area

Currently at the nest there are very few accessories out and I’m trying to find the place where my plants are happiest, and keep my surfaces relatively clear.


One item on the mantel. When I do have an accessory, I don’t mind that it’s accessorized.


family room

And naturally, this wall is now driving me crazy. Firstly, it’s driving me crazy because it’s been like this for a few years which I’m pretty sure is a world’s record for me. Secondly, there are just so. many. things. up there. One way or another I feel a change coming on for the gallery wall.

holding areathe holding area for accessories on call for the cover shoot over the weekend

I spent much of the last month taking more photos for my upcoming book. Then I found out that I took most of the photos on the wrong setting and the resolution was too low. I warned Zondervan that I was no photographer, this is our punishment–this is what happens when an imperfectionist takes a bunch of photos–sometimes they have to be done over. Y’all, I totally have to take a huge amount of photos over!!!  I don’t have the strength to laugh or cry. So even during accessory-free month, I had one room that looked like that one above.


But all of the other rooms are so peaceful. I found that even having one crazy room right smack in the middle of the house was still worth it so the other rooms could be normal and quiet at the end of the day, I had days where the front room looked like someone broke into a cute store and then threw all the whares in that room. But I didn’t mind since the rest of the house was so calming.



bonus room

For the record, I’ve already packed that round tray away, I thought it would help corral stuff but it just got in my way. It’s now a sickness. Also, the hot pink pillows are a phase, I’m sure, I hope my boys forgive me–this is their  hang out room.


So this is my house right now. Plenty of life, plenty of character, fewer things setting around. So far I really like it.

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  1. It’s looking picture perfect to me. Can’t wait for the book! Thanks for keeping it real.

  2. Cannot WAIT to own a copy of that book….it’ll be my Christmas and birthday and Mother’s Day presents all wrapped into one little package!! And really love the “uncluttered” look, although all you do is inspiring Nester. ~ Kim

  3. bummer about the pictures!! ugh! hate stuff like that. but your house looks beautiful and also I like surfaces cleared off to…it is a sickness sometimes. its called ocd. :)

  4. The sight of this makes me just breathe deep … and smile a bit. Peaceful, serene. And motivated to gather up a few more things and send them packing.

  5. was the tv considered an accessory? house looks great!

    • Nope :) it’s upstairs in the room with the leather sofa, we moved it before Christmas but I’ve had a painting in its place & just removed if do it might look a little nekkid

  6. you’re making me regret all of the stuff I just hauled back from PA and my grandparents house lol

  7. I am like you POST experiment. I love things on my wall and can handle SOME things up high (on top of cabinets for example) but I love clear surfaces. I am loving seeing you house this way and interested to see what else will come back. :)

    Good luck with the re-shoot!

  8. I love it. I’m not loving that you have to redo all the photos though. :( What a bummer! But I can’t wait to own a copy of your book, girl!!!!

  9. The acessorized bust on the mantle is exactly why I love you so. I put out so candle sticks and taper that I had packed away during June. I actually lit the candles last night and enjoyed the warm glow while I sat on the couch.

  10. I’m so sorry to hear about the photo-redo. You are in my thoughts and prayers!! love ya

  11. I did the 30 day challenge, but not on purpose. We moved a few states over. Our non-necessities were packed away in February so we could put our house on the market. I loved the clean surfaces of the house while it was on the market and “show ready”. We are currently unpacking in a rent house. We only plan on being here a year or maybe 16 months. We are in the process of deciding what to unpack to make it feel like home, and what to just leave in boxes until we get more permanently settled. My goal is to stick closer to the “show ready” look and further from the busy, stuffed, overflowing look.

  12. Your house looks beautiful as usual just even more airy… your office looks so peaceful and pretty. I am so sorry that you have to reshoot the photos!! I will pray you have renewed strength and joy. It will be worth it… I know your book will be beautiful : )

  13. Your home looks simple and serene with just a touch of pizzazz! There is a delicate balance between stark and over accessorized and I think you found it.

  14. I love it. I grew up in a home where every possible surface was covered with knick-knacks. Now in my own home, I just can’t bare it. I hate to dust and really all those things do is collect dust ;). I have a few things to “make it look pretty” , but I have been wanting to re-evaluate those for a while. If I don’t love it, I don’t need it just to fill a space. Thanks for sharing your peaceful space :)

  15. Still beautiful – and such an inspiration to me as I work to clear out the excess from my place.

  16. Where did you get your polka dot bedding?

  17. Myla Kaple says:

    Sometimes less is more – other times more is delightful. So nice to find peace and happiness in both scenarios. Love all you do and your authentic sharing!

  18. I love what you’ve done with it. And I can’t wait to see what you come up with for the gallery wall.

  19. Thank you for the shout out. That’s very kind of you. What can I say? I love alliteration. And thank you for the pictures! Hooray! Such a lovely “restoration” of the tchotchkes. I want to study them closely. I totally understand about the gallery wall: I’ve ripped mine apart, too. I will be replacing it–I think–but with photographs I’ve taken and that mean something to our family–once I can find a sale on 8 x 10s. I started with a couple on the wall above our night stands and they re perfect. Looking forward to your book. Sorry about the extra work, though. They really ought to send you a photographer.

  20. Gorgeous as always. And I can’t wait to see your book!

  21. It’s funny you mentioned the gallery wall driving you crazy. I felt the same way! I even took mine down and patched the holes already. I’m not going back. :)

  22. So calm and beautiful! I love everything but loving especially how your china cabinet looks with several large white pieces. Perhaps you can do the same with your living room gallery wall? Replace many small frames with fewer and larger pieces for a less busy look? Thanks for sharing!

  23. I’m a little shocked at how great your home looks. Ha! That annoying saying, “Less is more,” is totally true and it’s silently shouted throughout your home. A few things I love… your living room, it’s so earthy! AHH, it’s making my heart beat faster. I lurve it! I also love the pop of pink in your boys rec room. I doubt they even notice, isn’t that the room they use to get on top of the roof? To amp up their street hockey games? Yeah, they don’t even notice the pink.


  24. Allison says:

    You have inspired me so much when it comes to decorating my home. I’ve been taking risks and am enjoying the results… even the failures! I realize that life goes on even when I make a decorating mistake. The result is a home I’m starting to love.

    Where did you get the bedside lamps in the master bedroom? Flash sale site? I want one for my piano.

  25. Lisa M. says:

    For the record, I love that gallery wall and it has become an inspiration of sorts for me. And all your antlers have too! My dad (whom passed away 5 1/2 years ago) was a HUGE hunter. My mom still has all of his mounts (Elk, white tail, antelope, mule deer, bear, mountain lion, turkey…) in a game room. And because I have lived with these animals practically all of my life, I really never “saw” them any more. Then you came along :) I have since confiscated two mounts (horns and skulls) and have them in my house!! My husband thought I had lost my mind! But they are beautiful and free!! And it’s a part of my dad in my house now. I have just recently (past few months) found your blog and have been scouring it for ideas and inspiration. I love that things don’t have to be perfect to be beautiful. It’s like you’ve given permission for that and it’s awesome!! Cannot wait for your book and for the BHG Christmas special magazine to come out!

    • Lisa, chills! You are decorating with antlers your father hunted years ago?! How much do I love this?!

      • Lisa M. says:

        It is kinda cool and I also put one in my 7 year old’s room (he was only 2 when my dad passed) and he just thinks it’s the most awesome thing! So thanks again for introducing this!

  26. Love your peaceful, less-accessory home but I have to say that I am totally digging the plate wall! I know it’s a lot of plates…but it’s gorgeous. :-)

  27. It does look peaceful and calm…..Personally speaking I like more ‘movement’ around me, more things for my eyes to look at and enjoy. I’m on a forced accessory binge as we’re in temporary housing awaiting our new build. I don’t feel settled unless I have a few of my favorite things hanging around collecting dust :) I know there’s a balance, though.

  28. You changed my whole approach to clutter when you wrote that post a couple of years ago about clearing off your surfaces. With a tiny house, few walls, and an open floor walls, my spirit lives or dies by the surface clutter. {Dramatic, but true.}

    Your house is so lovely in all its phases but I must say, I love the streamlined look you’ve got going.

  29. Picture redos…ugh, what a bummer. You’re house is always warm and beautiful but I just love the simplified look.

  30. So peaceful and beautiful. I love your home like this – and now I so want to clear off a few more surfaces in mine.

  31. Christine says:

    I love this post and all of the photos! Although I have loved everything from the last few years of reading this blog, these pictures of your home really shows how far you have come. Everything looks so “homey” and comfortable! This is certainly inspiring me to do ditch the beloved tchotckes as well. Is that rug in your office a jute? I love it!

  32. You have my dream home, love love love!

  33. Love the uncluttered, simple look. I realize I like that more and more. I’m ok with my gallery walls and some things, but overall I enjoy clean surfaces. I think it’s due to my hatred of dusting and the more stuff that’s out, the harder and more time consuming to dust.

  34. Your home is so lovely!
    I so admire people who ALWAYS keep their homes looking like they are having company. ya know? Yesterday, I completely cleaned off my desk. It was so beeeeauuutiful! So, what’s here now, just 24 hours later? lezzzsssseeee… the dishes from my dinner (a salad) and an (empty) coffee cup. A snack bowl with pistachio nut shells, a bag of garbage from the bathroom(!!!)(that one is very unusual… i was trying to figure out the source of a funky smell and FINALLY realized that my cat had crapped!), a little sweater, a glass filled with melted ice from my afternoon iced coffee and then all the normal stuff, like a pencil holder, rolodex (yes, I still use a real one that I got when I started my biz in 1996. (talk about hangin’ onto stuff!) There’s also a pretty modern Chinoiserie decorative box from Bungalow 5, which I use to throw little fabric samples in. (very useful!), Then, there’s a knife and two pens. Hold on… I’m going to tidy it up, but first I’m going to set my oven timer. Hold on… okay, I just set the timer for one minute… Alright… I’m back and it took exactly, one minute. One minute and it looks very neat again. The rest of the room is (almost) always very neat. Its just the desk, but I figured out that if I would just spend a minute or two before going to bed, putting everything where it belongs, then it’ll stay neat— until the next day and then it’ll be a mess again. I’m just a messy person and I’ve come to accept this about myself.
    The secret to reigning it in is so obvious, but for us creative but not necessarily highly organized types, takes a conscious effort. But, its just keeping on top of it a little bit at a time. I think I have a tendency, to ignore the stuff on my desk (until my cat knocks it onto the floor), but… what I’ve discovered is that when most of it is gone, I feel so much more in control of my life. (well, a smidgy more in control) ;]

    Thank you for letting me write a blog post on YOUR blog! haha! best ~ Laurel

  35. Where is the cowhide from?

  36. I had a friend come and stay this last week and I had to clear some space for her, so that she could put things where they would be handy. When she left, she left those surfaces clear, and I haven’t stacked things back where they “should” go. I’m feeling a little inspired to do my own accessory-free month, perhaps!

  37. aaaah.
    I truly love it too!
    reminds me of this little cabin in the woods. space to think and breathe.


  38. I love how you accessorize that bust on the mantel. The sunglasses, now the eye patch…hilarious. I need to find one of those so that I can do quirky things like that. I love that you don’t take yourself too seriously- it’s refreshing!

  39. i LOVE it! And those modern office chairs are such a fantastic surprise in the space!

  40. Megan Mattinson says:

    I was just going to mention the molded white chairs in the office. Where are they from? Too cool! And your house really is fab with the zen cleared-off-ness.

  41. Accessories or none your house always looks so warm and inviting. I used to assessorize, well, a lot. But over the past couple of years I have gotten rid of a lot and went with a more simple look and for us it is working well.

  42. I am obsessed with the mirror over your fireplace. I would love it if you would tell me where you got it. Thank you! Thank you! You house is adorable.

  43. How did you do the bedroom accent wall? Is it a wall paper or did you paint it?

  44. Love the ‘less is more’ look of your home.
    I’ve been searching for the perfect mirror for above our bed.
    Can I ask where you found yours?
    Thank you!

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