What Happens in the Hallway

comments: 22

DolldressesWhen you live with a nurse, you occasionally get phone calls at 4:45 a.m. asking the nurse if he wants to work that day, or telling him that he doesn't have to. This morning it was the latter.  In the dim light of bedroom dawn, I noticed whitish . . . clumps . . . on the floor next to my bed.  Too tired to care, I lay back down and tried to fall back to sleep to no avail. As it got lighter, we could see what the clumps, connected by long thin lines, actually were: yarn, winding into the bedroom from the hallway, from all the way up the stairs, from around every corner into the downstairs hallway, into the living room, from Andy's chair, where last night he'd been sitting knitting another pill (this one "K," for potassium, a lack of which makes people "floppy," apparently). The dog seemed vaguely obsequious, as if she had her own dim memory of having done something naughty, and knew it would be best to flatter, and look as cute as possible.

Hallway2It seemed like a good time to show you some of the things I've been working on in the hallway. I bought a few decorating books I've been really loving this past week: Style on a Budget and Flea Market Style, both by Emily Chalmers, a London stylist whose aesthetic I really like. The photography, by Debi Treloar, is so lovely and evocative. It's got me trying to go more multi-dimensional than this ubiquitous Pottery-Barn-ish photo wall (though I kind of like the look, and it is a convenient, casual way to display pictures in a really skinny hallway, as ours is). I mean multi-dimensional in a literal way -- like, what's not flat. Little installations, still lifes connected to real life.

HallwaySomething that I really like about having the blog is the way that it causes me to look at things differently than I had been. I organize what I see and what I think about it, and then I put it somewhere (i.e.: in the blog); I find this activity incredibly satisfying and very calming, this ordering of ideas, and images. It makes me think about what kind of stuff hangs around in my life, and it causes me to edit that stuff, the same way that I naturally edit my words and photos in the blog. Having a better-edited space feels to me like having a better-edited life; I know that I am thinking more carefully about what I need, what I let in, what must go, and in almost all cases, "less" has added up to much, much more. Less has been so much better. I sort of distill it now; I strip it, and figure out exactly what it is, and why I have it, and how to present it so that it means something to me. (Excuse the abstract quality of this heavy-handed metaphor, but of course I mean this is true of things both material and not-so-material.) I know, absolutely, that I wasn't doing this before.

Around_the_house_021 When my parents left our childhood home and moved here to Oregon eight years ago, they packed up the house themselves, and I wasn't able to go back to help. They brought us some boxes of stuff, including each of our trunks (given to us when we were very small by our dad; in them we were supposed to keep things that were important to us). I moved the trunk and boxes into my basement, and haven't opened them yet. I feel, most days, that that Pandora's box of memories would be more than I really want to handle. Nevertheless, I do feel strangely disconnected from my childhood without most of my things, without having ever really gone through my things -- I keep thinking that someday there will be a right time for it, and I will know it when it arrives. My mom gave me several of those doll dresses in the photo above the other day. I felt no connection to them at all, even though my mom and my aunt made them, and I apparently played with them. I couldn't remember it. But I don't even care. It makes me happy to have them, and have them out where I see them every day, and know that they were mine. I think that even though I don't remember it, my life now is connected to my life then, elsewhere, long ago, far away, because these souvenirs brighten my wall.

I don't feel like that has to happen a lot, just a little. I have never felt even a twinge of guilt about painting wood trim, or updating a house by remodeling, or any of that kind of stuff. I respect old things, but I don't ever want to live in the past. Nothing feels creepier to me than places that have been "renovated" to be exactly as they were in the past. Oh man, that creeps me out completely, and I don't even understand why anyone would want that, unless it's like a museum, or something. Even when "vintage" goes dusty, or lacy, or Victorian (eeeeww -- I don't even like typing that word -- let's never speak of it again), I get very uncomfortable. I like a combo. Moderation. Margins for error. Empty spaces waiting to be filled. Filled spaces waiting to be changed. Always, always an empty drawer, in case a new craft project appeals and needs a place to be stored while in progress.

22 comments

Lovely pictures! I love the crocheted piece of cake- so cute! Funny you should post these shots this moring as we have been painting swatches of green all over the walls this morning and the greens you have are what we are going for-bright but not the "atomic vomit green" (yes, an actual color) my hubby wants! I would love the paint names so we could give them a whirl.

I stopped by your shop this weekend. It was such a treat! My girls were mesmerized by all of the pretty things. Maybe a bit too much. It's hard to shop when my 19 month old is trying to redecorate the store. I'll have to stop in again by myself soon. I saw some lovely baby hats, and we will be needing a hat for our next addition this winter (suprise!). I love the photos of your house. The doll dresses are very sweet. I never knew what to do with the lovely little baby dresses I have.

beautiful photographs and beauitful words, as always. I have some tiny clothing hanging on the walls here too, and love the look of that. Yes, moderation...a mix of old and new, and space for the new. I like that.

Does your dog have its own bed at the end of your bed??? That is about the cutest thig I have ever seen!

What a beautiful post to read today as I'm enjoying my coffee and a break from sewing. I love the green on your walls, and know exactly what you are describing. The way a blog helps to organize my thoughts and my surroundings, gives me a different perspective. I love that this process happens with me not having to consciously think about it, because if I do I will inevitably overprocess it. Your home looks so warm, so full of thought in each little vignette and piece. So you. Thanks for sharing it.

I'm really liking the dimensional thing, the cake grouping is so cute. I'm with you..the old and the new. Always leave room for the new. Nice thoughts today :)

yes, moderation in everything turns out to be just right, after all.

and thank you for the link. sweet of you to do, and unexpected.

wow what a lovely hallway! i love the wall color and the doll's dresses hanging and the cake installation - it's all great! i love the old and new always making room for change to happen.

What a lovely home you have! I'm in total love with your wall color selections!And all your pretty things... Simply gorgeous.

What a lovely post!
The pics of your hallway look amazing - I love your colour choice for the walls. Im going to check out the links to those books!

The green walls show how creative and daring you are, the framed photos perfectly put, such a inviting home, Thanks for the tour and ideas and encouraging words!

Hey there, I'm Lindsey from Yankee Girl Designs :) I've been a lurker on your blog for a few weeks now. I have to say that the pic's of your house are amazing! So cozy and sweet *sigh*

Look at how cute the dog looks in that first picture! I love these views of your home! It looks lovely!

i love the photo of your pup peeking out. and your house is so beautiful. i am dying to see it in person. xxoo

Thank you for sharing photos of your home. I love the dresses hanging on the wall. It took me almost 1.5 years to hang anything up our walls after we moved in to our home. I love that everything in your home has meaning and purpose.

what made this post so peaceful for me to read this afternoon? the colors, the lack of clutter, your words? it was wonderful to sit back and enjoy some glimpses of your home and what it means to you. and thank you for the idea of the doll dresses on the wall. i have a few from childhood that my girls use with their dolls now--but when i see them flopped on the floor, or see the girls pulling at the buttons to get them over a doll's head, i wince a little bit...maybe they belong on sweet hangers on the wall instead...at least until the girls get a little older...

The doll dresses are wonderful! I just bought 'flea market style' too. I also found 'Comfortable Country' by Enrica Stabile, very inspiring as well! What color are your walls? Our dining room is painted in "pear puree" which looks almost the same! and the cake! how wonderful!!!

Love the dresses and cake and yes, the hallway pics too. You know, Pottery Barn is forever ripping off Martha Stewart. She did the picture wall before them- I remember years ago she had a how-to for making picture ledges too, and the next Pottery Barn catalog was selling them. Though I don't know if the Martha influence makes it better or worse for you.

Such beautiful photos, colours, things. I'm so impressed that you can run your shop, have so many pets, bake, make and still have a home this tidy!

THIS is what happens in the HALL??? (other than the yarn, I mean) What beautiful spaces you have!! Thanks for the inspiration.

How funny: check out the vintage children's art on our site. We frame orignial images from vintage nurserybooks and this one (scroll down to C for Cake)is my absolute favorite and best seller.

http://www.pixiedustdecor.com/wallart.htm

Fun!

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About Alicia Paulson

About

My name is Alicia Paulson
and I love to make things. I live with my husband and daughter in Portland, Oregon, and design sewing, embroidery, knitting, and crochet patterns. See more about me at aliciapaulson.com

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Since August of 2011 I've been using a Canon EOS 60D with an EF 18-200mm kit lens and an EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro lens.