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The journey toward a beautiful and functional home ….

by | Sep 25, 2012 | Authentic Living, Decorating Inspiration, My Life, Organization

The journey toward a beautiful and functional home ....

lovely kitchen via BHG

I have been on a mission for quite some time to get my home in functional shape, as well as getting it in shape visually. This is not an overnight journey, of course. When we moved here three years and nine months ago (HOW could it be that long ago?) we weren’t really in a position to do much with our house. I mean we literally had to pour almost all of our time and energy into the reason why we moved here, which was to start a church.

So we kind of started out our life here under some stressful and extremely busy circumstances and money wasn’t really available for working on our house. That’s why we bought a NEW house, because we know we wouldn’t have time or money for much home improvement in the first few years of being here. Which was totally fine with us, it was just one of those seasons of life! I still did what I could and enjoyed my home!

Now our life is all settled and perfect and our house is DONE!

NOT. Sooooo not.

Ha! But, this was kind of “my year” to be able to spend a little time and money to get my house into some sort of order and get a start on my vision for this home. I REALLY needed this. Seriously, it has been so good for me to get this time to just focus on my home. It is still not DONE but I am focusing more on how far I’ve come!

In blogland we tend to celebrate the before and afters. I love those! But I think for most of us, creating a home is a journey of progress, rather than the one big ta da moment of reveal. Even if we do have the big reveal, we still have to stay on the journey because no house stays in ta da! order for long. Am I right?

Of course, the goal in my process is NOT to arrive at PERFECTION. And if I ever get thinking that is my goal I need to reign myself in because perfect isn’t going to happen. I’m still working within limitations and any time you’ve got limitations on what you can do, you’ll have imperfection.

But when you are realistic about what you can do and you make peace with it, imperfection is really so much more fun and ultimately more charming and authentic, IMHO.

I’ve been realizing something about myself as I have been thinking about all I’ve accomplished around my house lately. I have had almost as much fun working on the functional and foundational elements of my home as I have on the creative visual side.

And of course, when those things all intersect, it is fantastic collision of beauty and function that is so much more rewarding to me than just creating a pretty room by adding accessories or furniture.

This process has been worth the added thought and effort I’ve put into making our home really work for us! Like I said, my home will always be FAR from perfectly organized or decorated, but I’ve made so much progress this year I’m excited to talk more about each of the rooms I’ve made progress in and why they are all so significant to me and my family!

I’ll be sharing more of what I’ve been up to during our Fall Nesting Party & Series starting next week so don’t be late! Cause NESTING is what it’s all about in October! Can’t WAIT!

But meanwhile, let’s chit chat in the comments about that happy collision of beauty and function within a home.

Do you enjoy creating both order and beauty as much as I do, or are you more inclined towards focusing on one or the other?
Which area of your home needs the most attention right now, the “order part” or the “beauty” part?


  1. Lynn Kellan

    For years, we were all about function while the kids were little. Now that they’re older, we are starting to focus a bit more on the beauty aspect. I can buy a more expensive coffee table knowing the kids won’t break it!

  2. BJ

    I’m still mostly in the function stage, but so working towards the beauty stage. My goal is to be organized (mostly), and then I will focus on the pretty. We’ve moved into my in-laws house, which they had full of “stuff.” We are still getting through their things, as well as purging our own – wow, can one family hang on to too many things!

    For me, the fun part is when function and pretty come together. Making my laundry room function better for me means making changes that are also pretty. It’s a win-win situation!

    I so enjoy your blog. I need the encouragement to keep moving forward in my journey with my home.

  3. Jenny BC

    I decorate for order and beauty; however, I have to say some rooms have more beauty than order. We tend to incorporate storage in many of our rooms through window seats with storage or built ins with cabinets and shelves and or cabinets. But I also want to put pretties on or around that storage!

  4. susan

    both is always good, i love the beauty aspect….on the other hand it must be in order to make me happy. i tend to try and do both which is a challenge with a family of five! susan

    • Melissa

      Yes, it is a challenge for our family too! And add two dogs to that? OY.

  5. Diane

    For me, there is no beauty if there is disorder. Maybe that is an issue of mine. Haha! Living a busy life often means the ‘stuff’ of life is all around….and that feels disorderly to me. I’m a visual person and beauty with order is more beautiful to me. I can’t believe it…in just 20 days we will have lived here a year now! Everything is NOT in order, yet, but it’s getting there. But, what’s left is the ‘unseen’ part of the house….my decorative ‘storehouse’ in the basement. It will feel so good to finally have that finished. Just so I can make a mess of it when start a new decor project. Haha!!! Every room in my home needs more beauty. Compared to what it looked like when I moved in. It looks good. Not great. And trying to do things without spending more than a dime is challenging. BUT…that’s what I am learning to embrace. As the Nester calls them….”Lovely Limitations.” That term ended up freeing me to make the most of my limitations. I now believe that’s where the real creativity and beauty is birthed. You are certainly proof of that too, Melissa! Thanks for your continual inspiration.

  6. Sandy

    We have an empty nest now and I can focus more on beauty but I too love when beauty and function intersect. My fall projects are clearing out stuff to simplify, not bringing a lot more in BUT making some changes so that our home is less beach cottage and more cozy fall nesting place. Nesting is the right word for fall.

  7. Martha

    I woke up this morning looking at my home – we’ve been here now 11 weeks,- and thought, how can I design my home in such a way that it looks Beautiful,, yet organized enough to keep my kids and hubby happy? A tricky balance, as often we can accumulate too much junk. BTW, is that your kitchen? I’m going to have to send you my kitchen pic, – it’s eerily,similar !!

    • Melissa

      No, that isn’t my kitchen. But it is BEAUTIFUL, I think! I’d love to see yours!

  8. Jillian {Her Split Ends}

    I Love the “journey” of a home. I am constantly shifting and moving things around our house. Not only does it give us a fresh perspective, it allows us to enjoy our home from different angles and to really see all of the personal items that bring us joy!

    ~ Jillian

  9. Anne

    Definitely function. Empty nester now and happy to being clearing out the unnecessary ‘stuff’. Photographs, good comfortable seating and my brood at home when they are on break is all I need now!


    I am with you on this one. Order is beautiful to me. When my home is in order I breathe easier, I feel at peace inside!! To have the functional and the decorative elements collide in beauty is a job well done in my book.
    I love following your process and I also love the fact that you seem to enjoy the process along the way.
    Thank you for always being real and sharing your journey with us.
    By the way, your kitchen is AMAZING.
    I have been in Paris for 2 weeks so I am trying to catch up!!
    xo Kathysue

    • Melissa

      I hope you had a fabulous time in Paris!! I was there quite a few years back and I would love to return! Lucky you!!

  11. Carrie

    I like creating both order and beauty, too, and which is why you are one of my favorites I think. :) The most beautiful room will bug me very quickly if it doesn’t work for my life (kids, dog, busy busy). Right now, though, I think our house needs a big dose of beauty. We’ve been in the season you described for awhile and are also starting to emerge from scarcity to abundance. It’s been great in many ways to have to live with less, but now I’m excited to start making our home pretty.

    • Melissa

      A kindred spirit on the same journey! YAY! I love that! :-)

  12. Ginger

    I enjoy the process, so I’m always looking for little ways I can make my home more peaceful. For me, that encompasses both beauty and order. My family cares little about the beauty aspect – at least, they do not think about it the way I do; I think they do appreciate it. They do care about orderliness – being able to find what they need, having a place for their things – so I tend to pay closer attention to that aspect of my home on a daily basis.

  13. Lorrie

    I aim for a balance of both. If it’s not orderly, I can’t enjoy the beauty. And if it’s not beautiful, it just bugs me. I can’t always have everything just the way I like it, but I can improve it enough for the time being that I can live with it. Of course, there are some things that I can’t change and just have to ignore as best I can.

  14. Claire

    I am grateful that I have learned how important every moment with my children and grandchildren is. After losing one of my sons suddenly 14 months ago, I not only know how fragile life is ( I thought I knew that before), but I do my best to thank Heaven for every moment daily. Material things have never been super important to me but now, I am grateful that I am so conscious of how unimportant they really are. And I am grateful that I have my home, even with it’s flaws, to feel secure in, especially during this past year.

    • Melissa

      Claire, I am so sorry about the loss of your son! My heart goes out to you.

  15. Amber

    My home needs sooo much “order” right now! Juggling four kids (3 in school) the kitchen turns into a giant paper mess every afternoon. Also, it looks like we will be moving next spring/summer and I desperately need to start decluttering a ton!!!

  16. Garden, Home and Party

    I’m so happy for you and what you’ve shown us of your changes to your home look great. I am in need of some organizational work right now. I started on the spice cupboard and will move forward over the next few months…need to pare down and weed out. :-)

  17. Suzi Dia (The Pillow Studio)

    I think it is hard to separate the two. I generally start with order and end with beauty when I am designing a room. But, either way, a room with one and not the other never feels complete to me.

  18. Valerie

    To me, beauty is function! While my own children are grown, I run an in-home daycare, so I still have to focus on function. But I’ve learned over the years that there is no reason that function can’t be beautiful! For instance, I keep our play dough and tools in a wicker basket with a flowered liner. Drawing paper is in a box covered with pretty paper that matches the basket liner. While my home is far from what it would be if I worked elsewhere, I look for ways to add beauty wherever possible. It keeps me sane!

  19. Mandy

    I need the order for me to appreciate the beauty. Even if the order is a tote that things are “sorted into” (haha! Love that cleaning trick!). When the order is there, with beautiful things, then I can breath and love the flowers on the table, the throw pillow… I love this blog because its helping me start to think about one corner and the moments I can take to make that more beautiful in my busy busy schedule! *sigh–where’s my cup of tea!* When I can just sit and relax, I can really bond with my husband, daughter and pets! :)

  20. JoAnna

    I agree with most everyone the balance is key. I’ve spent the last 3 years making our rental “beautiful” with the owners furniture. Now I’m in the process of planning & hoping to change a few “big” thing that will make a huge difference.

    Enjoyed this post!

  21. Caoimhe

    Hi Melissa I stumbled across your blog a few months ago & have to say I find it very inspiring. For me there is no beauty without functionality. Storage is vital to me as I live in London, plus everything needs to be affordable. Trying to find things that tick all these boxes is extremely difficult, well that’s how I comfort myself as Ive only managed to get one room decorated in 2 years!

    • Melissa

      Thanks so much :-) It takes time to decorate and get settled, doesn’t it? Especially if you have a life or a budget! HA! :)

  22. Sallie

    Yes – order IS beauty in many ways! It HAS to be, for me, because I try for both but am much better at creating order than beauty. For some reason, my “decorating” just never quite seems to come together, but I can organize a closet or pantry in a jiff! I love watching your projects so I can try to begin figuring out how to make a room look as good as it functions! Thanks for sharing your kitchen makeover! It’s ALMOST as exciting as having my own done! haha

  23. {darlene}

    loved EVERY word of this post. I was all like, “yes. YES! yes!!! Y.E.S!”
    hugs, sweet girl!!!!!!!

  24. carol

    Forgiveness and Life in CHRIST would be my biggy.
    My loving, devoted husband of 39 years would be right up there.
    Our 4 married children and their spouses and grandbabies would fall in right behind.

  25. how2home

    Wow! The new kitchen its looking so good! It is definitely magazine worthy!

  26. Clayton Gray Home

    great bar stools!

  27. Lisa

    We have lived in our Condo for 11 years now. We still own the furniture we got when we got married 15 years ago. And have added a piece here and there. We were disillusioned about the storage space. We have NONE!! We are on the path to a remodel that has me excited at times. I step back and think oh this is crazy. We should look at buying something more upto date with more space. We like to entertain but our couches are awful and it’s just BLAH!! I’m also dealing with major health issues and feel like a change of focus (New Place) would be better. The cons are money do we go back to house poor or stay and be able to do more traveling and having fun. We can’t do any structure changes that I’m seeing in my mind to make this more inviting. So we’ve put all of the options in Gods hand and are anxious to see what layes ahead.

  28. Caren Cantafio

    I am extremely grateful for my 31 year old son, one brings laughter into my life, and is always a blessing in disguise! I am grateful, too, for my sweet 28 year old daughter. She is always concerned, caring, and loving towards others…and she is carrying my first precious grandchild…due next Spring! And, last but not least, I am grateful for my 85 year old mom. She lost my dad, her best friend in a marriage of fifty years in 2000, but steadfastly continues on!

  29. Julie D

    Melissa, do you have any suggestions where I can get stools like that? I have been LOOKING everywhere and have found them at $500 each, but that’s crazy.


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