When we made an offer on this house back in July I worried that within a few months we’d have this little house all fixed up and I wouldn’t ever have anything to write about ever again. {I’ll pause here for you to stop laughing}. I wondered if I’d start to have a new fresh message now that we FINALLY were buying our own house. Hmmm, maybe I’d become a minimalist or a woodworker. After 7 years of blogging about decorating a rental, I didn’t know what I’d talk about once we moved into our own house. Now that we could do ANYTHING we wanted would I deal with the same kinds of feelings and struggles I felt when we were renting?

Here’s what I’ve learned:

The only difference between owning and renting is that now, I can’t pass the blame onto the landlord.

Now that WE are the ‘landlords’ everything is our fault and anything is a possibility. Oh the pressure! Before, I couldn’t refinish the floors or knock down walls or paint the cabinets because the owner wouldn’t let us. Oh well. But here, it’s all a possibility and sometimes, when there are no limits, we are overwhelmed. Lovely Limitations at their finest, right?

In a way there is a rest that comes with renting because there are some things that you just can’t do and you roll your eyes along with your friends about your dumb landlord. There are more limitations and limitations can be a good thing.

When you own your house, you are the dumb landlord. No limits! Too overwhelming!

boy's room

Luckily. Luckily? We do have a few limits. One is money. So everything really isn’t an option is it? We also have time limits (I could totally use 4 more Chads here on this land).

power lines

So I have a confession. I was completely wrong.

I have never had to stare imperfection in my home in the face more than I am right now in this mess of a fixer upper that we bought. Apparently, I’m not done learning to live with the imperfect, the undone, the slow change. I’m still learning about hope.

This could very well take a lifetime.

 one of many junk piles we inherited

And I have decided to be okay with that. And? I actually CHOSE this. I adore fixer uppers, I have a heart for potential and green roofs and wide plank floors. I’d be sad in a house that was all finished to perfection–what would I do all day?

What does being okay with our imperfect, beautiful, potential filled mess look like in real life?

For me, it looks like inviting people into the midst of the mess. Just like I talked about here. Only it seemed more acceptable to invite people into the mess months ago when we could still claim that we ‘just bought’ our fixer upper. Now it’s been 9 months and there is STILL so much to do. There’s been change but the to do list has only grown.


I said yes when Edie was in town. Decorating guru Edie with the gorgeous house that was featured in Better Homes & Gardens.


I said yes to Ellen. Ellen whose design skills always impress me. Ellen who teaches groups of women on a regular basis. Ellen, who has been one of our biggest cheerleaders in buying this house and celebrated with us that FINALLY, it happened.


I still said yes to a brand new friend, Lisa. Who has never been to any house of mine before. She’s an author. Of a bunch of books. Does she know me well enough to not be shocked by the rough, unfinishedness of this place? Will she accept me? Will she be okay using a bathroom with cardboard walls?

I struggled with wanting to impress them all with our little fixer upper and wishing we had more parts finished and wondering if they think we are insane. We bought a house in the country an entire year earlier than we expected. Which means we didn’t have a tractor and we won’t for a while and I am shocked at how many uses we have for an actual tractor. We didn’t even have a big mower until a few days ago. Our pool is green again. (hides in shame). Some old buildings at the sawmill fell down in the snow this winter and are still in pieces on the ground. We are learning how to live here.

when things aren't perfect

I am constantly having to tell myself that yes, these friends that I’ve chosen, that I’ve been gifted with can be trusted. They are to be trusted with this imperfection because they too have been there. Maybe not in the state of their home, or maybe that too, but somewhere. They know what it means to fight for beauty. To see past the worst and focus on the better. They are fellow beauty hunters. You are a fellow beauty hunter. I rarely meet someone who isn’t.

beauty hunters

I have to fight to remember the truth. Every day. And I’ve been in magazines, and I’ve written a book too and I think I have pretty great style. But it’s still a struggle for me. And I’m guessing it’s a struggle for you too. One of the ways we fight the perfection plague is by inviting people into our imperfectness. Because imperfections actually have a role to play in our lives, when we forget that, we become unapproachable.

Let’s fight for the beauty. Let’s hunt for the beauty. It’s there, we just have to choose to see it.