My House? Not So Book-Worthy

by Katy on April 10, 2014 · 13 comments

CPR baby

I love playing with my hundred year old house. Swapping out the furniture, fixing up thrifted finds and doing my  best to keep it organized in an attractive yet creative manner. Some rooms look great and other rooms . . . let’s just say they’d look cool if anyone took the time to declutter them and finish up the projects.

One of my favorite designers is HGTV’s Emily Henderson. Her aesthetic is the perfect mix of bright and funky, with enough vintage and curbside finds to please my trend-abhorent snobby self. So when she announced on her blog that she was seeking stylish houses in Portland to photograph for an upcoming book, my mind started to whirl. What would be more fun than the chance to have my house professionally styled by Emily and  then photographed?

And then I looked around the house.

The living room is crowded with soccer gear and CPR equipment, and not just a regular amount of soccer gear either as all men in my house play on teams. Plus, my husband coaches and runs a high school Futsal (indoor soccer) league. A league people, an entire freaking league! And if there’s anything creepier than boxes of limp resus-a-babies in one’s living room, I have yet to hear about it. (Horror film idea — CPR manikins come to life and exact revenge on any and all who once crunched them with chest compressions. . . but I suppose I should save that for another blog post.) I like the idea of being a decor trend setter, but I don’t think the design world is ready for CPR manikins as the new vintage globe.

Like my life, my house is cluttered and imperfect.

But I don’t really want a photo ready house that shows no signs of projects and evidence of the four people who live here. In a few short years we’ll have that empty nest and a house that stays clean and tidy. I’ll be able to stash the CPR gear in one of our empty bedrooms, and I’ll yearn for the days of mess and whirlwind activities. Days when our living room reflected the complete family who inhabited our home.

So I didn’t send any photos to Ms. Henderson. My house is what it is. Full of awesome thrifted finds, soccer gear and creepy CPR babies.

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”

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{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

Jan April 10, 2014 at 3:48 am

But that’s what makes a house a home! I personally don’t like all those HGTV remodels where all the owners’ stuff has been removed, or stored oh-so-neatly in a walk-in closet, and the furnishings are staged precisely and perfectly. Just once, I want to see a tube of toothpaste in the bathroom or a few dirty dishes in the kitchen sink! I would rather see your house, Katy, CPR dolls and all!


Linda M April 10, 2014 at 4:32 am

I agree with Jan….your house actually functions as a home…..not an unreal, unlived in house! I often wonder how much “living” goes on in those “perfect pictures”. Sounds like you have it figured out. You are living a genuine life and making lots of memories as you go……doesn’t get much better than that.


Diane April 10, 2014 at 4:44 am

You’re right….a home really is the people in it, not the stuff. And people have lives that bring with them all the accoutrements of those lives. You are lucky to have such a family. Enjoy!


patti April 10, 2014 at 5:39 am

Yes, a house is a home with real live people in it. Enjoy every minute before those boys leave home because it is NOT the same afterwards. My house is still terribly cluttered though – somehow “empty” hasn’t hit this nest. We are busier than ever before just in different ways. When my son comes home from college, we are on opposite schedules so it is definitely a different vibe. (He sleeps until 2:00 PM and then stays up half the night). Like I said, ENJOY those sweaty soccer clothes and creepy CPR dolls ….


Maggie April 10, 2014 at 10:04 am

I’m always perplexed by my friend’s homes that have no toys out, no clean laundry sitting on the couch waiting to be folded, and no diapers stacked in a laundry bin waiting to be stuffed. I secretly wonder if they lock their kids in a closet before people come over so they can clean without having it all undone?


Barb April 10, 2014 at 12:15 pm

Ah yes, CPR mannequins. gotta lovem-or not!


Kelly in MA April 10, 2014 at 1:05 pm

My creepy CPR babies are silver and blue and none of their joints bend. My 4 year old calls them her alien babies, she doesn’t even freak out when the heads pop off on occasion. I do luck out by having a large closet in the livingroom that is half storage and half office. At least that way they are out of sight.

I’m fond of telling people I don’t live in a magizine so don’t mind the toys and stuff that seems to accumulate. My house is clean but not always clutter free.


Beth April 10, 2014 at 1:45 pm

Get workin’ on that screenplay! Why has no horror writer ever realized the inherent creepiness of CPR babies??


Joyce April 11, 2014 at 3:58 am

You are right. We are at the point now with all three gone except one who comes home from college for the summer. Bittersweet.


Diane C April 11, 2014 at 7:40 pm

I love this post so much that I hardly know where to begin. If you get any funnier, I am going to be in need of CPR. It will be no stretch to be the dummy.


CanadianKate April 12, 2014 at 7:47 am

” In a few short years we’ll have that empty nest and a house that stays clean and tidy. ”


You have time to disavow yourself of this delusion. I found when my kids were grown the time spent organizing, managing and transporting my children was filled with organizing, managing and transporting myself to community projects. The evidence of all those committees and projects are piled all over the house. And I have three more rooms in which to pile them! Don’t ever think you’ll catch-up once the kids have left home.

The only difference is when I get the house company ready (by doing a dash and stash) it will only be messed up by me so it stays great looking several hours to several days longer than before. But it always reverts to its lived-in look and I don’t care!


Carla April 17, 2014 at 2:45 pm

Agree. Agree. Agree. Agree. Agreeeeeeee…


Carla April 17, 2014 at 2:45 pm

“In a few short years we’ll have that empty nest and a house that stays clean and tidy.” Good luck on this. I don’t think my husband and I are built in the clean-and-tidy mold, although you and yours may be.


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