The Thing About Before & Afters

I’m featuring a lot of before and afters lately… and have several more coming at you in the line up.  I just wanted to share my heart with you in between here and give you kind of the “real life” and behind the scenes look at things.  Several of these are projects that I completed six months to a year ago for friends and clients that we are just now getting around to photograph for the blog.  Before and afters don’t really happen within one week’s time frame (for me, anyway) and they are very much a process.

The House of Figs

Here’s a lovely “after” picture of my kitchen I posted a few weeks ago. But maybe today we should call it a “before.”

We all know that real life doesn’t always happen in “before” and “after” and quite frankly, neither does design.  There is of course always a before, a starting point, but the after is a little different. One of my favorite blogs is called House Tweaking and the tag line is “because home doesn’t happen overnight.” Its so true, in many senses.  The “after” of a room I design is in a constant state of change.  I hope that its being used by the clients: the pillows being smushed, the books being read, the toys being played with, the remotes getting lost in the couch cushions.  Laundry gets folded on the couch, tables are used for homework, sofa cushions get worn in, feet get propped up on that coffee table.  Life happens.

Here’s my kitchen in its current state this morning. The “after” shot, if you will.

Then also, the client, having maybe newly discovered their style, finds freedom to make some new purchases in the future, change things around a bit, add in a new frame here, a new pillow there, change a few things with the seasons.

Here is an "after" of my living I put on instagram a few months ago.  Today we'll call it the "before."

Here is an “after” of my living room I put on instagram a few months ago. Today we’ll call it the “before.”

And the after picture, you know, the ones I post here and on Instagram, the ones that you see in magazines, the ones that get pinned on Pinterest, well those are a different story all together.  Those pictures are highly examined and styled from every angle.  My husband is a professional videographer and photographer and it is a whole thing to get those pictures just right.  I examine every accessory and bring in some of my own as props to style the shoot. Those props don’t stay with the client after I leave- things like a few of my plants, design books, etc.  I move things around a little to get the best angle, clean things up a bit, you know, fluff the cushions and stuff like that.  And we are just amateurs at this- from what I’ve seen and read about magazine shoots it is similar but on a much larger scale.  No one has a perfect house.  It just doesn’t exist.  If it did, it would be a museum behind glass. Untouchable.

Here’s the “after” of my living room I snapped today. Can you spot my daughter behind all that laundry?

What makes a house great and inviting are the people that live there, the way the home is used, and the way it makes you feel when you’re in it. Of course a mess doesn’t create an inviting atmosphere and that’s not what I’m saying.  I do actually need to spend some time today tidying up… just a bit, haha. But being real does create that atmosphere. And would you believe I’m even inviting a friend over for lunch today and hosting a small group here tonight? In spite of the imperfections.  They know me, we share life together.  That’s what its about.  It isn’t about perfect.

So the point of the “after” picture? The magazines, the eye candy?  Its inspiration, its beauty, its food for thought. But may we never be deceived into thinking its some perfect elusive reality that we cannot attain.

Thanks for reading. <3

Edited to add… I wrote this and took these snapshots on Wednesday morning even though I’m posting it on Friday so my “in real life friends” know that I don’t have small group tonight because I’ll be at a ladies’ retreat.  I’m super excited about it because the speaker is none other than Melanie Shankle from The Big Mama Blog!  If you’ve never read her blog or any of her books, you’ve got to check her out.  She’s hilarious and fun.  I’m so looking forward to the weekend!  Happy Friday!!

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