When Pinterest first launched, I will admit, I was not enthusiastic. I saw it as an example of so many of the problems we were facing as bloggers (a lack of crediting, the devaluing of original content and moving traffic away from original independent sources) and, to me, it represented a larger change for which I felt wholly unprepared. But over the years Pinterest has become the main way most people find, share and use design imagery online, so I’ve gotten more used to it and have honestly enjoyed seeing how helpful it is for people looking to create meaningful spaces of their own. And while I expected it to be a useful design tool, I didn’t realize it would end up helping me better understand myself, what I wanted from life (and home) and how to be more appreciative of the present.
I’ve kept plenty of Pinterest boards for myself over the years, focusing on things like shoes and clothing and jewelry. But I never really used them to shop — I just wanted to catalog things I thought were beautiful or fun to look at. I’d check in on them every now and then and marvel at how much my style or interests had changed and laugh at myself for being so prone to huge style shifts. But it wasn’t until I started a Pinterest board for my “one day dream home” (below) that I noticed a more meaningful change.
Soon after Julia and I bought a house and left Brooklyn, I started a (then) private Pinterest board for myself of all of the things I’d hope to one day have in a house, from rugs and paint colors to lamps and gardening ideas. The act of owning a home was already a dream realized, and in a pinch-me state of gratitude I went about imagining what our home would be like with a little more love. I pinned willy-nilly for months, hunting down images from old magazine shoots and catalog pages that had always stayed in the back of my mind. I gathered them without any goals or agendas — just pinning whatever made me feel happy and “at home.” I knew we couldn’t afford or do half of the things I pinned, but I thought they’d be fun inspiration for years later when we had the time and budget to, say, redo all of our old wood floors with a harlequin pattern (a girl can dream).
Unlike the other boards I’d made, I visited this board daily for almost a year, looking for colors and patterns and layouts we could try to DIY in our space. And after about a year and a half of working on the house, we finally decided to take a break and settle in to see how we liked the space and the decisions we’d made so far. Not only did we need to take a financial break from renovating and furnishing, but we needed a mental break from over-thinking design decisions that shouldn’t be rushed. I felt so much pressure to have the house “done” so we could share it online, but after deciding together that we wouldn’t do that, we eased into a lot of blank walls and unfinished spaces and just let them be.
This fall will be the start of our fourth year here, and both Julia and I have been feeling the itch to start working on the house again (like our back dining/living room, shown above and below). So out came my laptop and my trusty “dream home” Pinterest board that hadn’t seen the light of day for two years. I fully expected, like always, to laugh at how much my interests and style had changed, but I found something very different.
While I scrolled through the pins and looked more closely at each picture from a huge range of sources, I felt like I was looking at our house. I recognized so many of the small moments and decisions we’d decided to try (from nautical rope sconces to striped banquette seats) and realized that not only had we actually followed through on so many of these ideas (and made them our own) — they all still felt like exactly what we wanted then (and now). Sure it might be covered in dog hair now or ripped up from use, but that house we’d wanted to create actually existed and we were lucky enough to be living in it right now.
In that moment I realized that I was actually living in the house I’d dreamed of. I needed to stop, soak it in and be appreciative of what we had in this very moment.
So much of the online design world is about new, better, more and what’s next. And while I love that momentum and excitement, I think sometimes we forget to stop and realize what we have right now — and how good that can be. And I have Pinterest to thank for that.
Seeing a visual reminder of my ability to settle into myself and my interests, carry ideas through to fruition and to make big decisions that are practical and livable was powerful. It’s not often in design that we get to stop, pause and enjoy things exactly as they are (without planning the next upgrade or overhaul) and today I’m going to do just that: be grateful for where we are right now, pet hair and all. xo, Grace