Julie Solomon Schaech’s Blog: Finding the Function in Dysfunction – Tales from a Home Makeover
Please welcome back guest blogger Julie Solomon Schaech!
That September, the couple welcomed their first child, son Camden Quinn, 3 next month.
Schaech, 46, recently appeared on Legends of Tomorrow.
It’s not every day you set out to redo pretty much every space in your home in the middle of summer travels, while working from home full-time as a PR consultant and blogger, with a toddler at full speed and potty training attempts underway (hello, pee on the floor)!
But that’s exactly what my husband and I did last month and it turned out more amazing than expected. And not just because of how open and airy it now feels or how “pretty” it looks or how “designed” it may be. It’s amazing because it finally feels more functional!
I don’t think I realized how dysfunctional I thought my home was prior to this undertaking. Granted, I did the best I could to create a space that was conducive to our family needs. But hey, life happens! And as children grow and demands take place, priorities shift. I found myself, over the past two years, just kind of “getting by” with our space. As long as the laundry was done (kinda … ), dishes were clean (sorta … ) and I wasn’t stepping on a Lego every five seconds, I was doing fantastic!
Earlier this year, during some spring cleaning, it hit me … my house is a dysfunctional, hot mess. And not because my son Camden just spilled GoGurt in his hair then head-butted the couch … but our home wasn’t truly reflective of who we are as a family or individuals. If home is in fact, where the heart is, shouldn’t it be reflective of those hearts that live and breathe it every day?
I started to think, “Other than each other, what would cheer us up when we walked in the door?” “What changes would excite us to share our home with family and friends?” “What would make our out of town guests most comfortable when staying with us?” “How could I create a space that was truly functional for my family?” “How can I implement small changes that will help our son grow, play and create in his bedroom?”
I have always been a major fan of Cost Plus World Market. Not only is their site filled with amazing quality pieces, but also at a budget-friendly price point that is perfect for growing families. I knew they would have a lot of what we needed so partnering with them made perfect sense!
Then, we teamed up with Decorist, a company that offers easy and affordable online interior design services via their online site to make sure that “functional” was properly executed. Our designer from Decorist, Ashley Redmond, immediately went to work with our need of function in mind.
What I love most about the Decorist design concept is the convenience of working with Ashley right from our house. It was very simple. I emailed my design goals, photos and measurements; and Ashley got to work sourcing product online from Cost Plus World Market. Then we shared final design boards for each room, ordered everything online, had it all shipped and installed. It was super fast, easy and fun — which was great for my busy summer schedule! I was amazed that Decorist could do the entire design process 100 percent virtually.
I told Ashley we really wanted a relaxed and inviting space throughout the house with lots of life. Along with some great new furniture pieces, she added a ton of gorgeous plants and succulents that are easy to maintain that brought much needed life into the home.
I was happy that Ashley had the idea to cut all the darkness of the floors by adding each area with layered jute rugs — they are inexpensive and durable, which as a mom are major pluses for me, and they feel good on the feet, especially in a place where Camden is romping around.
Camden has grown a lot since we first created his room as a newborn and was ready for more storage space. Like most families, we’ve accumulated more trains, animals, coloring books … more things over the years. It was time to give him his own creative space in a functional and organized way — or as organized as we can try and make it for a soon-to-be 3 year old. We made sure to add storage pieces and bins that were accessible to his reach while also keeping toys stowed.
One major issue we needed to tackle (and I think my husband and I were avoiding like crazy due to fear of the unknown) was transitioning from his crib to his “big boy” bed. No parent wants their kids waking up unhappy due to a restless night’s sleep. When updating Camden‘s room, we wanted to make sure he had a mattress that ensures once he falls asleep, he’ll stay asleep! We chose a hybrid mattress from Beautyrest because, in all honesty, it felt like a cloud and has a cool to touch surface that I thought would help with the crib to bed transition. The mattress also fit removable bed rails that made it easy to climb in and out of.
We added pops of color with a fun animal gallery wall, some of which were made my family members, and animal prints on his bedding. We also added a desk for painting and a tee pee, found on Etsy, which he is extremely proud of.
What I’ve learned throughout this process is that we just have to trust and be flexible. Give your input, but let the designer you trust be creative and do what they do best. I had never worked with an interior designer before and I was so beyond thrilled with the results Ashley pulled together!
Of course, the day the project was complete, my son immediately spilled something on the new rug, I dropped a Sippy cup of green juice and our dog tracked mud in the house.
But it made me think about the impossible standard we sometimes hold ourselves to as parents when it comes to function and having things in — what we feel — is some sort of better system of order. About our desires to have the best for our families, the best for our children, even for our good friends! I know one thing for sure and it’s that we all experience this at some point in our parenting journeys.
Our home will never be perfectly functional as I know function is relative. But maybe if we learn that there may in fact be a little function to our dysfunctional way of living. That perhaps my son doesn’t even know the difference between his baby room vs. his big boy room. And that, perhaps, my desire to try and attempt a more functional home is only an attempt to make me feel a little more capable and secure as a mom?
I’m not afraid to admit that. After all, “function” is just about operating in a particular way. And if I am mindful of the never-ending need of love, patience and grace needed from a mother, that will be all the function my family may ever need.
— Julie Solomon