Messy Progress

living room scene

Unpacking a house always looks worse before it looks better but things are coming together. As you all know I’m a manic unpacker so I’ve been up at all hours busting down the boxes and rearranging things. My knees feel like I ran a marathon and maybe I have. I’m drinking coffee at the oddest times so that I can stay up even later (or earlier) to get my usual work that I do in the daytime done at night

It’s like a giant tetras game to fit all my dishes into cabinets and craft supplies into closet shelves that do not fit all my usual baskets and storage methods. Stuff is everywhere and it’s driving me crazy, of course. It’s so hard to not want to go out and spend a zillion dollars on more things to make the space perfect.

But perfect is not worth an empty bank account and now that I have a substantial rent payment looming, you can imagine what keeps me up at night. Well, that and the over-consumption of coffee…It’s a constant battle between my inner banker, inner decorator and inner caffeine junkie. But I’m not complaining! It’s a crazy fun place to be.

kitchen zone

So I’m really showing you these photos so you can see what a mess it is. That way when I’m done it will be super fun to see the improvement. I’ve actually made a lot of progress since these photos and I’m starting to feel like this place is home.

nearly empty dining room

Look at all those boxes! That’s called CRAZY PROGRESS.

office mess

Amazingly I’ve been keeping up with my work deadlines too. My new office is strange. I’m not sure about the temperatures here. It starts out cold in the morning and then heats up pretty quick in the afternoon. It’s perfectly manageable without using the air conditioner if you keep a careful schedule of window opening and closing but I’m not sure I’m going to love having my desk in the afternoon sun come August. We’ll see.

Also, I can’t see Bug out the window as I had hoped. The outside patio wall is too high. All I have to do is stand up and peer over it or take a walk to the kitchen window and look out there but I kind of miss the old house where I could quickly glance up every once in a while and see her playing happily. We’ll work it out.

The neighborhood is also about a thousand times safer here and she’s already made friends with the family across the way but you can never be too safe so we are taking it cautiously. She plays inside most of the morning and then I turn into the frantic window-watcher in the afternoon when the friendly sounds of children outside become too much for her to bear. She seems really happy though. She’s already organized a scooter gang with about four other kids which is kind of awesome.

Bug helps

Here she is putting Pink Kitty down for a nap in our very-much-in-progress bedroom. I have visions of a giant white puffy comforter with big white pillows stacked up at the end like a real bed for a change. I’d love an equally giant print of Paris over the non-existant headboard but we’ll see. I have this amazing print I bought off etsy a long time ago that’s all dreary and gray with the Eiffel Tower off in the distance but after I bought the giant rectangle IKEA frame to fit it, I found out the print was sadly too square and too small. I really should have measured first. Blarg. I see a lot of merchandise returning in my future and I HATE that.

bathroom mess

Here is my messy bathroom vanity which is actually all unpacked now. Bug and I gave ourselves pedicures here sitting on the counter with our feet in the sink. I see lots of future girly bonding going on here. Another thing that is weird about this place is there are mirrors everywhere. So along with future merchandise-returning, I also foresee working out. I can’t stand looking at myself all the time and seeing all that flab hanging out. Hopefully the mirrors are motivational and don’t send me into a spiral of self-hate.

I had that happen to me once back in my college days. One day I was a perfectly happy, healthy twenty-something and then I moved into an apartment with one wall that was completely covered by mirrors and a window beaming sunlight in from the side. It was nice until you stared at your body every waking moment and saw every flaw in the light of day. I thought I was so ugly all the time and then one day I moved into a new place with no mirrors and I suddenly became ten pounds more beautiful in my mind. Funny how that works. So I’ll have to be careful with all these vanity mirrors going on.

coming together

Back to something that won’t give me a complex: the turquoise wall! It’s a funny thing, so much color in one space. So far I really love it but it’s intense. I can’t wait until I hang all my art on it. But I save that for last because that’s the best part, also the hardest.

Breakfast in the garden.

Another happy place is our patio. We had breakfast out there yesterday morning and it was so nice. I finally figured out that the cats can’t get out of the patio without jumping six feet (which they can and will figure out eventually, unfortunately) so we let them join us. I really love it out here. I might not have as much room to garden but that just means that what I do garden will just get more attention. I think my plants are going to love it here.

still to go

And that pretty much concludes our tour of the half-way unpacked house. As you can see I have a lot more work to do. But I’m getting there!


  • bethany

    awesome progress!! it’s such a fun puzzle to fit it all together, and hope the returning is minimal. that porch is awesome, I think I’d want to live out there :). happy settling!

  • Christine

    It looks so spacious, and clean and white, and I know I said it already but the blue wall is absolutely beautiful. I bet any of your neighbours who see it will be fuming that they got stuck with boring chocolate brown or whatever. I think you and Bug are going to be really happy there.

  • Colleen

    Congratulations! What a happy new start for you guys. It will be amazing and I am confident that the universe will watch over you and your rent worries. You have paid your dues and are on to bigger and better, not that the sticks weren’t their own kind of good. Unpacking sure beats packing!! : )

  • a chris

    Whoooo. So nice. And Bug’s already making friends? That’s so sociable of her! That’s something to be proud of.

    Your dining table looks a lot like ours. Ours is in the conservatory surrounded in boxes and covered in art stuff. We do eat as a family at the table occasionally, though — the coffee table! Two of us are short enough for that to be reasonable.

  • nicole @ deliajude

    i am so happy for you. i have a thought about the mirrors. you could washi tape or hang or prop up art against the mirrors in some places. maybe typography words to remind yourself of who you are in christ. just a thought that passed through my brain.

  • Heather

    I imagine you also troll the anthropologie website for craft ideas and inspiration for thriftstore/estate sale shopping. Because I do, and its awesome.

  • Kate

    It looks great! So happy for the update on how everything is coming together. Paris print idea: spray adhesive and foam core?

  • A different Elizabeth

    Thank you so much for sharing these photos! I just love seeing the progress — you could do a post like this every day until you’re done unpacking, and I would be in heaven. The turquise wall is DIVINE, and your paintings are going to look wonderful on it.

    Since you ladies are sharing a room, for Bug’s bed I was thinking it would be super cool if you got her a giant cushion to sleep on and then got one of those “fairy tent” things that attach to the ceiling on a hook and make sort of a triangular tent that goes all the way down to the floor. That way she would have her own little private space in the bedroom, and I think she’d love it.

  • A different Elizabeth

    Also, are you still going to do a “craft closet” in that bug closet with all the shelves? I can’t wait to see that!

  • Jen

    I’m in a hotel room in Oklahoma City on my way to our new home. I hope I’m as good an unpacker as you are! You’re giving me a lot of inspiration to just get it done! I love your new place and I’m glad that Bug is finding fast friends there.

  • Amy

    OMG I love moving into a new space and making it mine, loving that you are giving us a peek here and there. Cannot wait to see what you come up with for the teal wall as far as art goes.

    Ikea has just what you need for the Paris print. $50, HUGE and a gorgeous shot. http://www.ikea.com/ca/en/catalog/products/10132340/ (I got the Amsterdam one for my birthday! Great memories of our trip there and the red bike totally goes with the red couches in the living room :)

    All the best to you and Bug in your new home!

  • Jeanie

    Oooh, coming along NICELY! Good for you, Brenda!

    Like the others who said it, I love seeing your progress but I really love these great steps for your family. Wonderful, wonderful! Congratulations!

  • Janna

    My favorite picture in the post is the last one with your identical aqua flip flops (albeit on pair is much tinier than the other) stacked on each other. The place is looking great! You’re going to thrive here!

    PS- I love love LOVE the turquoise wall.

  • Hil

    Oh, I could just swoon over the mama flip flops and the baby flip flops. Your apartment is really shaping up! I love the turquoise wall. I will be moving soon and maybe I will copy you and your punchy blue wall. Only good things come in turquoise, no? Hugs to Bug.

  • Hil

    Ps. I paint on my mirrors. Acrylic with dish soap mixed in washes off easily. Or dry erase markers. Draw a garden or inspiring words. At Xmas I drew a Santa ha and beard so I’d look like Santa in my reflection.