In true Year of the Lioness Living I am doing me!
Here’s what I realised as I began to understand and unpack myself as well as my career a little deeper…
For the longest time, in fact almost my entire career I thought that my role as an interior designer was simply to help place furniture around a room and assist with colour and proportion in a space. But there came a time where I no longer had the drive to do that anymore.
I took 2 years off to rediscovering myself and my calling. I believe that our careers are our calling and how we serve God. Mine was not making sense anymore and the passion and love for it was fading fast. I am so intertwined with what I do and as it died, it honestly felt like a piece of me was dying too. I had to do the work to find out where this major disconnect was coming from and what I needed to do to refill my own cup.
In simple truth I was burnt out. I had given too much of myself on all my projects to a point that I had nothing further to give. I as a creative, I was fully depleted and one cannot design on empty. And that is where the real work from within had to be begin. I literally had to redesign myself from the inside to release all the trapped energy, confusion and anger towards my chosen field of expression. My unexpressed emotions over the years had all bottled up in a corner and were preventing me from further moving on without clearing that blockage.
And that was a major epiphany, it came to me that as an Interior Designer I not only wanted to create beautiful places, I also wanted to help myself and my clients feel beautiful from within. Because if you are right inside, your exterior will be right too.
So as one of my major 2019 project, I am taking on being right with me from inside my own home – which is both my physical and spiritual body as well as my bricks and mortar home. Each area I need to work on decoratively, I am going to carry that lesson through to an even deeper understanding of myself and that space I am fixing up and revealing. That is what I call #TheRealInterior…
This month I am starting with my kitchen. The kitchen is considered the heart of the home. We all gather there as a family, with friends, share meals, catch up and do the most activities in during a typical day. I have lived in the same house with my son for 11 years, and though it has served us well ever since, it along with its occupants needs an entire freshen up. January finds most of us regretting all that we ate over the festive period and needing to detox and clean out our bodies as well as commit to a better and healthier eating plan and general way of life.
January is a great month to empty out the entire pantry, fridge and cupboards – check expiry dates on all dry and frozen foods, give away the sweet snacks and reseal all the empty packets. I also use this time to take stock of what I have, what I still need and what I can honestly and with all sincerity give away. Decluttering I have discovered is the best start to any decorating project as it reveals the full body of works right up front.
My mother came to babysit for me one evening and when I returned from my function, the first thing she said to me was she thought it was time that I put all the baby pictures away of my 10 year old son and stop hanging every single one of his artworks he brought back from school. You couldn’t even see the walls anymore, everything was covered with my little prince’s Picasso creations. We even battled to find the light switch behind all the stuff he had hanging and glued on all the walls.
So I did that immediately over the weekend and sat starring at the blank walls thinking what I could fill them with next.
But being the end of the year, I was nice and tired. So I went away for a break and returned with fresh gusto and ready to finally get into figuring out my own home and how I wanted it to look moving forward.
The dark wood in the kitchen was not touched by the painters and now sat glaring at me like a sore thumb. It took the whole of two days before I phoned my painter and asked how soon in the New Year could he commence with painting the dark wood out. It was terrifying, what if we made an outright mess of it and me having to live with that decision for another 10 years. My funds did not allow for a new kitchen and painting it out was the quickest and pain free route I could take for now. I was at the hardware store with my favourite consultant mixing up tones of grey to try out. I took only 3 pots of small paint samples to try out, not wanting to confuse myself too much back at home.
I painted different sections out with my fingers because my dad had recently just helped himself to all my paint brushes. But I was desperate to see the colours and couldn’t wait to go and buy new brushes. I tried in dark corners and where the kitchen received the most light. I was also very specific about trying the new paint colour near the existing stone top as that would be remaining, so the new paint would have to compliment it just right.
My painter had mentioned that to make the colour hold even better, he would order the primer in the same colour as the final paint.
So I decided that I would use that initial paint time to see if I did in fact like the colour before ordering the final colour. But as things go, that didn’t work out because where we usually order from was still closed and the local hardware he was using sold only white primer.
I hesitated for just a minute before giving the full go ahead, all sorts of knots forming in my stomach.
I stayed home for that first day, willing the primer to magically whisper to me that what we were embarking on was a good idea.
Already just seeing all the cupboard doors carelessly brushed with the primer made me wish I could put the entire job on hold.
But it was too late, the dark wood was sealed. My designer fate already in progress.
I considered dashing off to the store again to reselect other grey options. But I told myself that process had already been done and what I had chosen would work out.
We let the primer stay on to dry overnight and the next day the painters resumed with their prep work and began painting a few cupboards in my final colour. I was ashen with fear, but on closer inspection the new colour looked absolutely perfect. I danced around my small kitchen like a little kid! I have never been so happy to see a paint colour work out so beautifully. It was only then that I was brave enough to leave the painters to carry on with their work, while I went out in search of new fabric for my kitchen blind.
As the painters had opened all cupboards, some that I hadn’t looked into at all in the 10 years, I also took that moment to just empty them out and throw out everything that I had not even looked at in so many years. I cleaned the shelves with soap and water and left the drawers and cupboards wide open during the painting process, to air out and dry properly and to also receive new energy after being closed up for so long.
My brother had said moving forward, he hoped that I would bring in some colour into my safe interior. Well getting rid of the dark wood was a big step for me, adding colour would be an even bigger one. I like to believe that I am a very colourful personality and in fact dress very colourfully anyway, so I personally enjoy my toned down home. The colours are very soothing and help me and my son and all our visitors feel relaxed. But I’ve always enjoyed adding a splash of colour when selecting fabric for a kitchen blind – usually all done for my clients, and hardly ever for myself. I decided this time I would allow the fabric to have more life.
My brief to the gentleman assisting me was to look for something with green plants, but slightly more cheerful than my usual palm trees and jungle scenario. He set off looking through the shelves and the first fabric he pulled out was the one I ended up going for. It was just the right amount of bright and cheerful for me to cope with. There was another shopper passing by and she too agreed with our selection. So I ordered what I needed and wait straight over to my mom’s place to show her my recent purchase. She was thrilled that this space that had caused her to intervene was finally getting a proper look over. When I returned home, the painters were done with the wet works and my helper had tidied up and set up our kitchen. I was thrilled with the outcome. It felt like a brand new home.
Everything looked so fresh and open – it felt like an entirely new home. I just wanted to hug every piece and thank the design gods for their creative favour.
It was minimal work, I did not have to gut out my exiting kitchen and have building and shop-fitting works take over my home for weeks on end. I used what I had and simply brought out its other hidden beauty.
And as we laid back all my previous accessories, the beauty of my new found space even became just a little bit more special. Most of the items I already had in my home, but I just repositioned them in different places this time and left a few more things in the cupboard that I really did not need to still have on display.
My kitchen shone brighter, even the down-lighters seemed to come alive.
My son and I have been starring at the space for days – the only meal we have cooked so far in there is breakfast. But I am certain many more happy meals will be shared in our new and revitalised space.
• Mark all handles and or door knobs before removing and carefully put away along with nails and all hardware.
• Clean kitchen cupboards doors and drawers with a slightly damp cloth and soapy water.
• Wait for drawers and doors to dry thoroughly.
• Sand if necessary till smooth and fill with wood filler where required.
• Apply one layer of wood primer to all areas to be painted.
• Allow at least an overnight drying period.
• Select desired paint colour for wood surface – I asked for mine to have a slight satin sheen finish.
• Paint first layer using small soft paint brush for corners and small to medium roller brush for rest of open surfaces.
• Wait at least a half a day for first coat of final paint to dry before applying second coat.
• Keep all lights on in the kitchen to ensure sufficient light during work progress.
• Paint second layer if desired.
• Leave to dry overnight.
• Gently clean kitchen and surrounding areas with a feather duster and dusting cloth.
• Clean counter tops as per usual.
• Lightly dust new doors and drawers. Wait a week for a wet clean.
• Decorate as suitable.
• If not sure of paint colour, sample up on a big piece of board from the hardware store and place in kitchen for a few days and monitor colour options at different times of the day.