Monday, June 16, 2008

Suite Dreams


"A welcoming home is a place of refuge," writes Emilie Barnes in The Spirit of Loveliness. "A place where people worn down by the noise and turmoil and hostility of the outside world can find a safe resting place. A welcoming home is a place that you and others enjoy coming home to" (p. 15). These words speak to the deep need I feel for a serene space that at once relaxes and invigorates me.

The last few weeks of summer vacation have really taken a toll on my house. With our family of six home most of the day, I often feel that my day is consumed with chores. I am not a natural housekeeper, so just trying to stay on top of meal preparation, kitchen clean-up and laundry often leaves me with little time or energy to de-clutter and clean the rest of my house.

I have been focusing most of my attention this summer on maintaining the public spaces in my home, but last week I realized that my bedroom was in need of some attention. Half-empty suitcases stood against the wall as reminders of recent vacations and business trips. The children's toys and shoes littered the walkway, and piles of laundry covered the floor -- some clean and folded, some sorted for washing, and some gradually working their way from the clean to dirty pile. In an effort to take control of the laundry, I had temporarily set up the ironing board in the bedroom, but now it had been there for a week.

Soon I realized how much my neglected bedroom was bringing me down. Rather than providing a nourishing place of refuge, my bedroom was actually draining me of energy and joy. Awaking to the site of my ironing board, my first waking thoughts were of the mountains of housework awaiting me. And I arose already feeling defeated.

So last week I set to the task of creating a personal sanctuary. First I emptied my bedroom of clutter, then I vacuumed, dusted and cleaned every surface. Invigorated by the newly restored sense of order, I remembered the inspiration I have gleaned from my daily visits to The Nester. In her creative blog, she shares design ideas in her trademark witty, unassuming style. Always striving to balance home and family, she reminds moms like me, "It doesn't have to be perfect to be beautiful."

So I thought about the rolls of fabric tucked under my bed. Years ago I fashioned window treatments out of sheets and pillowcases. I played with fabric -- looping, pleating and fluffing it until it looked just right -- then tucking under the selvage edges. But then we bought this house, and somehow I felt the rules had changed. I dutifully lined my curtains, sewed pretty trims on pillows, and invested a lot of time into every home improvement project I tackled. I had intended to make a canopy for the four-poster bed in our master bedroom, but I never could seem to find the time to make all the panels I would need. So I pushed my pretty pink chintz under the bed, and there it sat for more than five years.

Until I visited Nester's site and was reminded how much fun "mistreating" my home could be. Viewing her lovely windows, I realized that in the five years I have waited for a canopy, I never once even pulled the fabric back out from under the bed.

So last week I gave myself permission to let go of perfectionism. I brought the fabric out and played with it. I unrolled it, draped it, gathered it and cut it. As I allowed the fabric to puddle gracefully onto the floor and tucked under the selvage edges, I smiled realizing I had found the place of refuge my restless heart had been yearning for.

Emilie Barnes explains, "A refuge is not a hole where you disappear to eat and sleep and then emerge to go about the business of life. A welcoming home is where real life happens. It's where personalities are nurtured, where growth is stimulated, where people feel free not only to be themselves but also to develop their best selves. That caring, nurturing quality -- not the absence of noise or strife -- is what makes a home a refuge" (p. 16). When I created my bedroom oasis, I worried that my efforts might push the rest of my family out of the space, but instead I have found that the softness and tranquility have actually drawn them in. Our whole family has shared story time, devotional time and snuggle time under our canopy of dreams. And now each morning I awake ready to venture out from my sanctuary, eager to embrace the imperfect beauty that waits to greet me beyond my bedroom doors.




27 comments:

daisy said...

Funny. I have been thinking along those same lines. Although, I must say, if I cleared out all the clutter from my room, there would be no space to walk anywhere else in the house because there is just no place for it to go!

I have been tossing out little by little those things I do not need, but I've been haunting the bargain fabric bins, just waiting for the perfect fabric to happen along for me. Curtains and fabric do dress up your living space so nicely. When I look at the picture at the top of this post, I can feel the peace. It looks delightful. I am newly inspired!

I love your blog. I can't wait to read more of it.

Katy Lin :) said...

absolutely beautiful! what a wonderful little retreat you've created!

Rachel said...

I am a new visitor to your page and I am impressed with the time you spent on your bedroom. very lovely!

Melanie said...

I love the Nester! My sister just finished "mistreating" her dining room and I have been inspired to begin finding fabric for my living room windows....FINALLY!
Your room is simply YUMMY. Seeing your pictures made me miss my four poster bed.
You amaze me, Melissa! :)

Susie Harris said...

I am so in love with that bedroom. I dont think I would ever want to leave the room . Awesome.. Susie H

Sarah Mae said...

That is a lovely room...a refuge! You have inspired me! I think that will be my next challenge...

sweeter and the bubbas said...

Very shabby chic...I would want to be in there all day!! No kids allowed, huh. :-) I also have enjoyed looking at the Nester's blog every few days thanks to your suggestion.

Cindy ~ My Romantic Home said...

Wow! That is a beautiful bedroom!! The canopy looks gorgeous and I love the plates over the bed!

aswewalk.com said...

Oh, beautiful! But it would never fly with my hubby. I'm forever trying to find beautiful things without flowers. Lol.

Joanne Kennedy said...

I love how your room looks now. It looks like something in a magazine or model home. Beautiful.

Hugs,
Joanne

Shannon said...

At first I thought that was a magazine picture. It looks great! Thanks for stopping by!

Dawn said...

This was very inspiring. And, I must say that I LOVE all pink rooms. They are just so warm and inviting. So girly, too!

Debbie said...

Ah...I need to do this...our master bedroom is the last place I have put any attention, and it really should be higher on the priority list. You have really given me pause to get going on getting that room in shape. Great great post!

Robin Taylor Holley said...

After reading your title and seeing the picture I thought you had been traveling...like to a bed and breakfast!!! It is so beautiful and inviting.

Nancy Hood said...

Beautiful, Melissa!! And you rock for taking action~

Jennifer P. said...

Yup--IDHTBPTBB!

Although your room looks pretty darn perfectly beautiful :)!

Mod Girl said...

I couldn't agree more! In order to insure that our bedroom remains a haven, a retreat, I routinely try to declutter and keep it fresh. Doing so really makes a difference on how I feel. If my house is cluttered my brain feels cluttered and then I'm altogether dragging about.

You have a beautiful, beautiful blog! Thank you for paying a visit over at my place via the Nester's carnival. Wasn't it fun?! The best part, by far, is finding so many new-to-me blogging friends.

And, what delight, you're in my home state! I'm looking forward to reading more of your thoughtful musings.

LaurieR said...

wow. i was happy when i got a bed and got my mattress off the floor! good for you! thanks for keeping my friends in your paryers.

Sarah Mae said...

"31 Days To Clean" Bedroom Sanctuary Challenge is now up! Thank you so much for your inpiration!!!

:)

Cindy ~ My Romantic Home said...

Hi Melissa, the flowers you liked on my blog are fuchsias. They look like little ballerinas!

Courtney said...

Thank you for stopping by Nesting Instincts! What a warm, lovely, and touching blog you have here. I've enjoyed my visit! :-)

TAMI said...

Your bedroom is SSOOOO beautiful. I was sure it must be a photo from a magazine - but no. You sleep there every night!! WELL done. Thanks for stopping by and peeking in on my imperfections.

Rhoda @ Southern Hospitality said...

What a pretty bedroom and good for you for getting that fabric out & going for it. Nester is a lot of fun to visit.

I don't remember if I've been by your blog before, but I seem to remember your name, so maybe we have crossed paths. And I see that we are both in AL (I'm in B'ham). I love to meet other AL girls. Your blog is really pretty & you are a wonderful writer.

Rhoda

Kris said...

I thought that was a magazine picture when I first saw it! How lovely that you get to wake up to that gorgeous room each morning.

I feel the same as you do about the house and chores - I'm not a natural at it and the thought of all of it when I first wake up is daunting. I keep hoping that will be different when the oldest goes to school and there are fewer kids in the house during the daytimeto make the messes! We'll see!

Renee said...

This room is so lovely like a spring garden. Who would not want to wake each day with such beauty surrounding them?

You did a wonderful job!

Renee
Mama to four- 14,6,4,and 2 yrs.

Roseny Crisp said...

Repousante,confortável,agradável.
Maravilhoso quarto!
Hugs.

Relaxing, comfortable, pleasant.
Wonderful room!
Hugs.

Happyhome said...

Absolutely beautiful! Love your oasis and love Emilie Barnes too!

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