Growing Home

22 Feb

Inspired by recent emails between some lovely friends about interior design, I realized it was about time I spruce up my little space here in the city. I spent several hours yesterday hanging lights, posters and creating decorations that reflect my organic and minimalist design style. I’m a huge recycler/reuser, so the style elements in my living spaces generally tend to reflect that.

It takes me a while to settle into a new place before I really make it my own. Sure, I set out my more meaningful knick knacks, and the furniture reflects my style. But as time goes by, I’m continually assessing the space, thinking about what will fit where, what the vibe of each room is, what spaces look bare and need a little something. And then one day, creativity strikes and I totally and completely lose myself in building and transforming the landscape around me. After the wave of activity passes, I stand back and survey my renewed surroundings and it’s as if fresh life has been injected. The space feels more alive somehow. I’ve poured my love and energy into the décor, and it shines back at me, filling me with inspiration and a sense of self.

I love this process – observation, invention, action, evaluation. As former roommates can attest, I never really stop doing it. At least once a week I find some little thing I want to tweak in my kitchen or bathroom or living room – these pots make way more sense living in this cupboard! And once in a while I get hit with a huge dose of inspiration and undertake a major overhaul.

As I put away the tacks and scissors and was checking out the work I had done yesterday, I realized that not only do I go through this process with my living space, but also with my self. Like my living space, I too am a work in progress. I am regularly considering various aspects of myself – my thoughts, actions, beliefs, relationships, and so on. And now that I think about it, I realize I pretty much utilize the same process as I do when decorating – observation, invention, action, evaluation, repeat. I believe there is value in consciously assessing where you’re at mentally, emotionally and physically. Making small tweaks to how you think about yourself and interact with the world around you. Pouring your heart and soul into mindful efforts of change, and then observing the results of all your hard work. And when you see the positive payoff come back to you, in whatever form – a new friend, a smile from a stranger, money saved, a few pounds shed, a sense of accomplishment – it infuses you with a renewed confidence and inspires you to keep it up, to continue the process, because you know you can only grow from here.

All this from hanging a few strands of lights… Who knew interior design could be so illuminating?

with love, small


Posted by on 22.Feb.2011 in Uncategorized


7 responses to “Growing Home

  1. Jean

    25.Feb.2011 at 11.05am

    We must be related! 🙂 Funny how a room will look wonderful right after a rearrange, or I’ll fix up my mantel and feel totally pleased. Then a few months later, the energy’s gone out of it and it needs another bout of inspiration. I guess we like to keep things in motion. But for my “inner woman”, often just observing–resisting the urge to tweak–is mysteriously transformative. – Aunt Jean
    PS That window is gorgeous. I like the pics hung over it.

    • withlovesmall

      26.Feb.2011 at 11.01am

      I absolutely agree that resisting the urge to fill a space can be transformative in its own way. I read a bit of advice somewhere that said to always leave a shelf somewhere in your home completely bare. I’d been following that advice even before I read about it, but never really stopped to think about why I was doing it. For me, having that empty shelf always keeps my eyes open and searching for the happy little things in life – it teaches me to be mindful as I go about my days to look for those meaningful moments wherein I could, theoretically, collect physical trinkets or photos or whatnot. When I find myself in one of those moments, I’ll take a mental snapshot of sorts and on that shelf it goes. Though the shelf may appear empty, it is really an infinite space that is continually being filled with happy memories. That empty shelf serves as a reminder that I can simply look at to recall a flood of memories or cheer me up anytime I need cheering – and that’s pretty transformative, I’d say. 🙂

      Love ya!

      PS – If you could see the detail of the pics hung up over the window you’d like them even more – they’re all postcards from Italy that Paul sent me when he vacationed there about two years ago right at the beginning of our relationship (so not only are the postcards special to me because they’re from Italy, but because hidden on the back are memories, observations and beautiful, romantic words).

  2. Kimberly

    25.Feb.2011 at 7.27pm

    Your space looks amazing Mala! I really love the minimalist style and all that white, while you’d think it would look sterile just looks…clean…fresh…alive! What an inspiration you are. I’ve been on this major cleaning/purging kick lately and I have so much more to do. But it feels so liberating.

    • withlovesmall

      26.Feb.2011 at 11.10am

      Thanks Kimberly! Keep up that cleaning motivation – I totally know the freeing feeling that comes with it! I find it to be a bit therapeutic as well, makes me think of what is really important to me and to focus on what makes me happy. Keep me posted on your progress – would love to see an “after” pic of the kitchen nook thing that you posted on your blog. (Can I also say that just seeing that nook made me reminisce about hanging out with you guys and playing rock band and laughing and having a great time?! Love you guys!)

  3. broccoliandchocolate

    26.Feb.2011 at 9.32am

    super cute! excited to see your place tomorrow… 🙂

    • withlovesmall

      26.Feb.2011 at 11.11am

      I can’t wait to have you over! It will be the first time I’ve had company here, so I’m equal amounts of nervous and excited! 🙂

  4. runnersdelight

    28.Feb.2011 at 8.42am

    “Sure, I set out my more meaningful knick knacks, and the furniture reflects my style. But as time goes by, I’m continually assessing the space, thinking about what will fit where, what the vibe of each room is, what spaces look bare and need a little something. ”

    Exactly. Having a space that both provides comfort from the past and inspiration for the future is one of the fun things about decorating! I think, and hope, our generation continues on this trend rather than trying to keep up with the Jones’.


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