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It’s important to keep your head in the game right to the end of the project, because you might run into challenges as you round that final bend. Your end of project mindset will take you over the finish line in style.
Coco Chanel once said “Before you leave the house, look in the mirror and take one thing off.” She was referring to editing, which is the notion that there is an inherent balance if you can find and combine the right elements. And an economy of detail can speak volumes. When we get dressed to go out, it’s easy to accessorize enthusiastically, out of a desire to really stand out. We have cherished accessories we’ve acquired through the years (gifts, heirlooms, old favorites that suit us perfectly). The idea of removing one item before you leave the house is that you probably can do with a little less than you think.
Creativity is both liberating and intimidating. The possibilities are endless, which can paralyze us with too many choices. Editing makes such a difference in the final product. Even if you want a home that is rich with detail, and full of exciting colors and art objects, there is still a perfect amount of detail that will make the difference between curated and crowded. (I covered some of this in the series on Minimalism and Maximalism.) Balance is key, and this is a big part of designing your perfect space.
Despite that, I believe the danger for some of us is not putting in enough detail during the accessorizing phase. I think that’s because, as I’ve mentioned, you are probably exhausted by the time you get to this part of the project. You may just want to reach the finish line. But I urge you to spend that time at the end, so that your final project is not just complete, it is polished.
Setting deadlines is a great motivator for most of us, but it can also work against you. It’s easy to give ourselves endless time for something like planning (because there is no mess yet), but then get tough when you’re in process. You may set deadlines that are too tight for the actual execution, leading you to wrap things up too early, out of sheer exhaustion. I suggest you find an achievable middle ground, so you don’t shortchange any stage of the project.
There is a reason we don’t always allow enough time for the messy phases: once portions of your home have been rendered unusable, things can feel topsy-turvy. It’s natural to urgently want a return to normalcy. Try to allow for flexibility during the execution phase (within reason, of course!) And don’t rush at the end, or treat the finishing touches as an afterthought.
Maximize what you can accomplish in your space, and be driven in your goal. But remember to have fun. And know that at the end of the road you will have something wonderful to come home to every day. What you learn about yourself and about the design process will stay with you forever. You may even get the design bug once you’ve seen what you can accomplish. Before you know it, you will have new renovations planned!
I’ve been doing this for 17 years, and I’m still learning every day, so I recommend that you treat this experience as an opportunity to expand your knowledge and your aesthetic awareness. Learning is not necessarily a linear process, and it will pull your attention in many directions with many new concepts and challenges thrown your way. But if you keep your eye on the prize, you can achieve your personal oasis. A strong vision combined with determination will lead to great rewards.
Take time to accessorize, focus on editing and balance, and remember that it will take as long as it takes – perhaps longer than you’d like, but you will get there. Give yourself the gift of a perfectly curated space, designed for you, by you, and executed with love.
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