Sunday, May 18, 2014

Reflections on the ORC

You can catch up on all the posts here, starting with the reveal.


Back when I was, oh, 17 or so, I wanted to become an Interior Designer.

At that time, there was one program (maybe two) in the country--the closest one was two whole provinces away from me. The program would take five years. Five years! An eternity to a 17 year old. And the brochure made the fatal mistake of suggesting that my work, at the end of it, would be more about office design than residential.

Much to my lasting regret, I never pursued it. I had no idea just how stretchy a fabric life really is. I didn't know about forks and paths and how opportunities can come up--but only if you start.

My bedroom. It lanquished for a few years until I just made the decision to just start, already!

I was thirty when I thought of it again. There was a much less ambitious program from the faculty of extension here at home. But there came a point in the program when I was told the truth. It was highly unlikely I'd ever actually be an interior designer. In fact, because of provincial regulations and the building code, all I could be was an interior decorator. No, actually, it was even worse than that: all I'd likely be fit for at the end of it was working in retail. You know, at a kitchen design place, or a flooring place, Ethan Allen, whatever--and without becoming an interior designer, I wouldn't be able to move walls.

We moved a wall to make this.

And I didn't how how to sell. Hated the very thought of it.

So, that's not what I wanted, either. (And I'd just had my first child, so the timing was really bad to continue anyway.) That was, oh, about seventeen years ago.

When I said doing the One Room Challenge (hosted and trademarked by Linda, of Calling It Home), was an experience of a lifetime, this is what I meant:

For me, it is like I have been plunged into an apprenticeship in head on real-life full service design.


1) There are a million choices for every single detail.  A million decisions to be made. It is utterly overwhelming. Unfortunately, I am the sort of decision maker who likes to consider all her options before deciding. For example, the RAST nightstands. I googled RAST. I looked up RAST on Pinterest. I found all kinds of them. I decided, finally, on what we'd do. But then, then came the hardware. Lots of things to look at. Lots of things to think about. What choice to make? How?

2) Every decision I made was built on the one before it. What if I made the wrong decision? Not only would that particular decision be wrong--but all the ones which came after it. Good grief. At times it felt like I was just flinging bits and pieces together with no rhyme or reason to them and hoping it all worked out.

3) The client, especially when it's your own Mom, is a challenge, too. They say renovations are a test of a marriage: I don't know why I thought mothers and daughters would be immune! Fortunately, we have an excellent relationship and can figure out our boundaries as we go along. For example, we made a rule early on that we could call each other only five times a day, each.

As well, Mom has an amazingly creative brain. So, after I thought I'd considered all the options and made a decision, she'd almost inevitably say, "You know, we could....." and "What about this?" Eventually I had to tell her--when I've made a decision (finally) I've made a decision! It's not that I didn't want her input, not at all, but we had to approach it delicately. My poor brain had been about to explode.

4) When your handyman is your hubby, there's a certain amount of finesse that has to happen there, too. I was shocked by how much he took on and did for us, though. That part was wonderful.

5) Before this, every single time I have approached decorating, it has been with things already in place. It has NEVER been from scratch, considering all the elements all at once. Terrifying. Now that it's done, exhilarating.

I had a vision, I brought it to life.

Mom's bedroom on the left, the inspiration, from Amber Interiors, on the right.

I want more.

Just as soon as I recover.

2 comments :

Christina O said...

So happy for you that you got to have that experience, and I hope you get to have many more!

I believe in degrees and certificates, but not to the point that it keeps people with real talent from doing what they are so good at. You definitely have the talent to be an interior designer, and it will be great to watch you keep using your skills.

Alana in Canada said...

Thank you!

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