Friday, May 18, 2018

Doing the Math ...

Decorating is fun. 
Decorating is an outlet for creative souls. 
Decorating is expensive. 

It doesn't matter how frugal or resourceful, how inventive or how talented you are - decorating, is expensive. Don't let anyone tell you that it isn't. We all want people to believe we aren't wasting money over and over and over again decorating and then redecorating every time we get a bite of new inspiration. But the truth is, we are - and we are programmed to do it.

Even something as simple as paint, a chore that used to be relatively inexpensive if you were a detail oriented do-it-yourselfer, is no longer. Have you shopped paint recently? Can someone tell me why a gallon of paint, the SAME paint that used to be $30/gallon 2-years ago, is now $63? And how exactly do you plan on putting it on the wall? Rollers, brushes, dropcloths, paint trays, painters tape ... it all adds up. Painting a 10x10 room yourself is going to cost you no less than $200, and that's labor free!

And then you have what I like to call the domino effect. You see, you can't just change one room, you have to change all of the rooms that adjoin that room, and then the entire first floor, the hallway to the second floor, and before you know it ... bam, you've spent $25,000 redecorating a house that was perfectly lovely before you started because you wanted a white sofa like everyone else and it didn't look good with your swiss coffee walls and trim.

I have fallen victim to the domino effect dozens of times. I've spent more money than I care to admit to, all in the hopes that it'd bring me clients, a magazine article, a book deal, a fabric line, a puppy. Ok, not a puppy. But those things never came. I excitedly watched as bloggers picked up book deals, started printed their own fabrics, started writing for magazines and get pilot episodes for their own shows on HGTV, and I wondered, what exactly am I doing wrong over here? I'd change one thing, and then another and then another and then eventually - I painted everything blue.

Now, don't get me wrong. I like blue. I wear a lot of blue. Once upon a time, I had a blue car. Arlo has a blue collar ... I like blue. But I was so eager to change my surroundings, I literally dove into a sea of blue to get there - and that was a mistake. A BIG MISTAKE. Was it pretty? Yeah. I mean, for a client I would be happy to put my name on it. It's a lovely room, even as unfinished as it is.

But I walk in and think, I don't live here. This isn't me. 

You see, I realized something when I was able to leave the house I spent so much time and money decorating and then redecorating when I started this blog. I like neutral spaces. It doesn't make me boring. It doesn't make me a sycophant to the machine that is the internet or main stream magazine. I like the ease of a room that has a white sofa. I like the feeling of a seagrss rug underfoot. I like collections of art, and stacks of books, leather, and linen, and velvet. I like brass lamps, and fresh flowers, orchids in terracotta pots and layers upon layers of things that are there merely because they're pretty.

I looked around this half-finished blue room and I began to do the math. Not only is it going to cost me a considerable amount of money to finish THIS room, it will cost me three times that to finish the spaces adjacent to this blue room which now make no sense at all. I sat down, and I had this conversation with myself:

Artie, don't be stupid. This place is temporary. 
If you stop now, you'll have wasted money on wood and paint. 
If you keep going, you'll have wasted money on a bunch of blue crap you don't want in a new place. 
Hit reverse. REVERSE! REVERSE!!!!!

So, I listened. And I hit the reverse button. And I feel more confident than ever that I am making the right decision. Will the room be ooed and awed upon this blog, or my instagram page? Nope. I'm sure it won't. But, for as long as I'll be in this apartment, I need to feel like it reflects me. And for as long as I'm looking for a house, I don't need to waste money on needless decorating - just because.

What's next? Well - a few things. If you're looking for an 11x15 blue tabriz rug for cheap, let me know! I've got one! The seagrass rugs never left, so they'll come back. That beautiful gray oushak will layer upon the seagrass in the living room, and the sofa will go from blue to white. That's really about it. Simple. Inexpensive fix. And I'll live with it ... clean, and finished, and beautiful - until I find something else I can make mine.


  1. You are so right about the expense. And the frustration. Good luck going forward. Your past places have been so spectacular, I am sure you will find just the right thing for your new space.

  2. I completely understand, but oh boy, that room as you've been showing it on Instagram is gorgeous. I'll miss seeing it finished according to your original vision, but you're right to save the money when the goal is a new house. Good luck and best wishes!


  3. You crack me up. My
    husband had to come and check my pulse, I was laughing so hard.
    I agree with neutral. Everyone knows I like any paint color, as long as it is white.

  4. Indeed, it is expensive. That's why it's taken me 30-plus years to decorate my home. I suspect it still won't be completely decorated on the day I die!

  5. I don't get what's going on with paint either. There hasn't been any new colors invented..... I think it's because DIY has become so common that the paint companies can now cash in on pricey paint since we aren't out the expense of paying a professional painter.

  6. You're so funny - I totally get where you're coming from though, truly. I like neutral living spaces. I have a busy family, and it's a restful background - it lends a support to the objects I love, but more importantly highlights living things - the garden, the pets, and of course the people who live here, rather than being noisy competition. I deal with enough pattern and color all day to prefer the strong silent type when it comes to home furnishings, color, etc. And it's all so flipping expensive, yes!

  7. Artie-
    I'm new to your blog and your candor is refreshing! It's a problem we all have--we love it and have to have it until we have it and then promptly forget how much we wanted it. Then we start the whole design process over for the "new" look. I think ALOT can be said for designing with a palette that allows for changes and adjustments without reinventing the wheel! You're on to something I think most of us design snobs can agree makes all the sense in the world! By the way I think you're incredibly talented and funny. Your day is coming.

  8. You're so right on. I looked forward to seeing your blue incarnation but alas, it's not to be. This post has come exactly at the right time while I'm trying to figure out how to update, but not change everything. Love your work.

  9. I agree with Gillie, your day is coming.

  10. I think give it some time for the "dust" to settle. Your playing with the opposite of what you are accustom too from neutral, clean, light color with lots of texture to broody blue may take a bit of time for you adjust. The space your creating looks interesting. You are a very talented designer. Whatever you decide I have no doubt it will be stunning.

  11. Hi Artie!
    When it comes to design blogs, I almost never read the entire post unless I want further info on the photos included. However, you write so well that I find myself reading your entire posts. Truth be told, I thought the blue looked great and looked forward to the completion as I had no doubt it was going to be spectacular. However, at the same time, I was so sad to see the beautiful light,neutral and yet dramatic space go away. I really loved it and thought it was a timeless look. It reminded me of the stylish penthouse apartments you see in big cities such as NYC. Looking forward to seeing the finished look on the change my friend.

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