Sunday, May 13, 2012

Cleaning Out, Paring Down

I was making good progress on the bedroom but I've hit a few road blocks.  I decided to use the drapes and rods from the living room but the rods are too big for one of the windows.  I'm missing some hardware for the bed and West Elm says they're not selling the bed anymore so they don't have it.  (Maybe it's because it was all missing the hardware?)  I also decided to move the chairs from the dining room so the possibility of an accident with red wine or tomato sauce is eliminated.

But when I started to remove these things from the living room and dining room, I came to a realization.  I like them better.  Less is more.  

I like this cleaner look.

So I've been on a major cleaning and paring down binge.  Closets are being cleared out.  Dresser drawers are being emptied.  I bought 14 plastic bins and I'm sorting through every last thing in the house and basement.  Sell.  Donate.  Discard.

In the front bedroom, the bamboo blinds are down.  The bedskirt is gone.

Nothing left but the bed, the dresser, a chair.  

I need a better bedside table but I might only add
a wall sconce and a reading lamp in the corner.

I think it's perfect for summer at least.

I'm not sure where this new desire to scale everything down is coming from
but it's liberating and I'm going with it.

The rest of the house is a disaster.  Sorting through everything is a big job.
The basement is packed full of things left over from projects and renovations.
So I'll be around but probably won't be posting for a little while.

Happy Mother's Day to all the moms!

I'm also linking to Nita's Mod Mix Monday.


  1. I've gone through some serious Spring cleaning, too. It is a liberating feeling, though I tend to look over my shoulder, knowing full well that the universe loves to fill a void — particularly with those of us who are collectors!

  2. Love it! Less is totally more and I think the bedroom looks great. Keep at it. I know it's a big job. I feel like I am forever trying to keep it simple, but I like the simplicity.

    Spring always means deep cleaning and getting rid of stuff. Who wants to clean it all?

  3. I went through that same faze a few years ago and I have to say it makes life so much easier. Not sure why we put things in attics or basements to "save". I say if it isn't valuable, being used out it goes. It feels great to have less clutter in my life.

    I hope you've enjoyed your weekend Steve!


  4. It feels so good to get rid of things doesn't it! Your rooms look great pared down.
    You haven't been blogging for awhile. Are you okay? Have you finished your bedroom yet? Have you painted the floor? How's your garden? Your cats?

  5. I love it! Clean and liberating, space for things to happen in these rooms.

  6. ...and what a beautiful hospital corner ~

  7. I need to do some MAJOR purging of my own. I am definitely trying to accomplish a cleaner, crisp but still warm and personal look with my decor but it is so hard! The progress you are making looks amazing! I love those wingback chairs....

  8. When you're done there...can you come over here? I have lots to sort Good job!

  9. Hi - Spring is a great time for paring down! Love your home and renovation!

    I've been enjoying your blog since January, when a friend emailed it to me. We both loved how you pruned your X-mas tree. I'm going to copy that for this X-mas. And, thanks for the tip on paint color to cover up all the cut marks. I think you mentioned it.

    BTW, what is the painting over the bed? I love contemporary art.

    Cheers from DC,
    Tone on Tone

  10. Loi,

    The painting over the bed is called "Low Tide" by Tony Vevers. Except for the small bits of turquoise, white and red, it's almost entirely sand. Layers and layers of sand. It's quite heavy.

    I'm looking forward to seeing your Christmas tree!


  11. this is huge steve!
    the minimalist look actually becomes you but i detect a hint swedish. all good and especially like you said "a good look for summer'

  12. That painting is stunning! Good luck on the clearing out. It does feel good.

  13. OK, I'm on vacation and I'm trying to stay off the Internet or at the very least, just lurk and not comment but...
    I gotta say this -
    I ABSOLUTELY love that bedroom! It looks so clean and perfect. Don't fall over but I actually LOVE the artwork above the bed! I agree, you need a different bedside table (something mid-century modern) but I do love the new pared down look.
    I'm trying to do that myself. But I think I will just stick with donate or toss. I always think that I will "sell" something but I never actual do. It justs sits there taking up space and how would I sell it! Ebay? Yard sale? Craigslist?
    Nah, I'm feeling lazy and I just want it all gone!
    Anyway, good luck with your projects! I'm doing my bathroom project when it rains and the outside stuff all the other times.
    (such a fun vaca!?!?)
    :) - Cindi

  14. Thank you! So it's actual sand? How cool. Must have great texture. Loi

  15. Steve! That bedroom is unrecognizable the "cottage" look transforming into...? Sleek now and neutral.

  16. I did this same thing to my house 10 years ago and I'm due to do it again! It's amazing what creeps in over a decade of living! haha.

  17. love it steve. i blame the whole thing on our age.

  18. Well, paring down guy...I do believe you have a case of spring fever.

    It is quite contagious.

    Particularly when you have a blog...and we all, now, notice we need to do this too.

    Dayum...I need an aspirin.

  19. It looks great! I need to do this too. It will take me forever, but it's time to start chipping away.

  20. Looks beautiful Steve! Love the paired down thing. I know when I'm in my next place, whenever that is, I'll really pair everything down.

  21. Thanks for the inspiration.

    Unfortunately this time of year all my perspiration is spent in the garden.

    But we need to arrange a monthly drop off at Good Will.

    Drop off only I repeat.

    I love a light bedroom in the summer.

    We will be talking 100's soon.

    xo Jane

  22. It is liberating, isn't it. I'm amazed at the amount of stuff I have everywhere and I thought I was good at getting rid of things!

    I like the new look...a little modern and edgy. I like it paired with the old house.

    Hope spring is treating you well. :)

  23. The painting is just perfect for the space-calm, minimal and clear. Have you posted anything on it before? Perhaps you have some mot goodies stashed in the basement. It sounds like vignette fodder to me!

  24. Cleaning out is a huge job. I love the look of the bedroom, it is bright, light and lovely. Good luck with the rest of the cleaning out.

  25. I ma feeling the same way - it is so nice to create some mental space in the house...!


    Everything looks lovely.

  26. You might like the book Gift From the Sea by Anne Lindebergh..I love to pare down in spring

  27. Once I pare down a room, I wish I were better at getting rid of things, but it's harder for me to get rid of the valuable things. I like to have things on hand for when I want to switch things around, but I need to go through some of those. Maybe on a rainy day, I'm too busy working outside in the garden lately.

  28. love - love - love your pared down, refined & simple style. You are speaking my language, Lori

  29. That urge to pare down/rearrange is a sign that change is a-comin'.

    I think it's the subconscious getting us to redirect our energies, now that summer is upon us. With less to deal with house wise, one can enjoy the outdoors and other pleasures of the season.

    My Mom always changed the curtains and accessories, and pulled up the rugs, when spring came along. I still remember her putting up the white Swiss dot sheers in my pale blue room in May. I knew then that school would be out soon!

    The only thing on my June to-do list is our basement. We probably won't have one in Cali, so everything has to be dealt with. Yikes. Glad I have the summer off to deal with it.

    If I am not commenting again here by July 1st, please send reinforcements :)

    Love the streamlined look-in any season. Cannot wait to see more!

  30. I'm working on less clutter too. I took the rug out of my dining room and love the cleanness of it so much I'm not getting a new one! I am getting anxious to get a dumpster and haul stuff out. I know many people feeling the same. I actually think it's a result of all the stress in the world affecting our need for simplicity.

  31. I love the new look. It is perfect for summer.
    Good luck with all the sorting.

  32. YES! Sometimes less is more. I think that should always be the final (and most repeated step). Furnish/decorate. Edit. Add. Delete. Delete. Add. Delete. :)

  33. I need to follow your example! My life would be far less complicated with less "stuff". I am your newest follower. Stop by any time and nag me about paring down.

    Susan and Bentley

  34. I love the look for summer. Looks very cool and calm. If it were me, I'd put the shades back up in the winter though. But that's just me...

  35. You inspire me again Steve. I've been feeling a bit overwhelmed as well with all my "stuff". Starting tonight I'm paring down as well.

    I too love the art work in the bedroom and I do like your more spare look but would like to see a few more 'things' around from your great collections. I'm sure they'll creep there way back in there at some point. : )

  36. I am a non-clutter person and generally prefer 'less' to 'more.' Traditional Japanese rooms appeal to me. However, I guess I will be the lone dissenting voice - it is just a little too spare for my taste. To me it looks unfinished and still on the way to wherever it is going… if that makes sense.

  37. JW,
    You're right; it's an overcompensation for sure. I wanted to start with only the pieces that were essential to the room. I've already switched out the chair for an upholstered chair that would be more appropriate to sitting to read a book. I've also put the bamboo blinds back up which block the morning light. But it's a good exercise that helps me consider each thing that goes into a room.

  38. Hi Steve,
    You've embarked on a worthy course.
    I'm doing a similar thing and I find it gets worse before it gets better. It's amazing how much stuff can be squirrelled away in closets, trunks and drawers and what a mess it makes when you take it all out.
    We seem to have a lot of extra, non-essential things.
    I'm also dealing with those items that I stashed away saying, "This will be nice when I change it in some way someday." I'm actually taking the things that I want to keep to be fixed, framed, rewired or whatever.
    As for all the rest, it's - out the door with them! And it does feel so much better once you have sold, donated or discarded things you don't really want or need.
    Well, good luck and have fun!
    Best regards,

  39. Two questions, Steve (I had three, but the one about the painting has been answered):

    1. you don't drink red wine in the BR ?!?

    2. can I come to your yardsale ?

    Good luck w/your decluttering project... I couldn't do it, myself, but I'm sure it produces a zen-like calm in those who can.

  40. Paring down has been on my things to do list for months. You just gave me the inspiration I need. Thanks!


  41. Miranda,
    I don't drink red wine while sitting up in the bedroom. I keep a sippy cup on the nightstand. Might be a long way to travel for a yard sale.
    This is really hard process for a collector.

  42. Your taste is impeccable! I love every photo.

  43. Your taste is impeccable! I love every photo.

  44. Good for you, Steve. I like the spare look.

  45. I hate when I get on a tear like that. It interrupts the whole "Eco-systen" of my life :). Will miss your hurry up already.

  46. The pictures are a bit too pared down for my taste--glad to read you have since added some things. But a question: How do you get past that nagging voice in the head saying "You might want this again later--or a niece might need it"? Maybe you don't hear it at all and I'm just a borderline hoarder! (The voice usually speaks about antiques/family pieces, rarely about anything I bought new.)

  47. i like it pared down. also, i really like the piece above the bed.

  48. hey Steve will you come to Kansas city and help me!! I want to move to a smaller space and I have no idea how I have so much stuff (denial)

    2012 Artist Series featuring the gifted Decorative Painter Theresa Cheek

    Art by Karena

  49. Ha, ha, I know what this is all about! Don't kid yourself that you are Mr Minimal. It's a lovely blank canvas that you can fill with new ideas!

  50. This is just so soothing and fresh. I love it too.

  51. Wow, didn't even have to move to get the less is more bug. Usually this desire to scale back comes from packing to move. Believe me, I know. I love the look of your rooms. It does feel very summery...Also your art just pops. I love the pieces above the gorgeous chair in the front bedroom. And the drawing with the small mirror above...just perfect in every way!

  52. This is so inspiring.

    On a different note, could you tell me about the painting over the bed. it's lovely.

  53. Nicole,

    The painting over the bed is titled "Low Tide" by Tony Vevers. Except for the small bits of turquoise, white and red, it's almost entirely sand. Layers and layers of sand. It's quite heavy. Vevers did an entire series of sand paintings that including rope and other items found on the beach.

  54. I featured this today on Mod Mix Monday!

  55. Its wonderfully simplistic. I think it looks amazing.

  56. Impressed, a nice european feel.

  57. I am so drawn to the minimalist decor and love your new parred down rooms...but I will have to wait to a few of my kids move out to really go for less. Kids like clutter! But you have inspired me.

  58. I have also been paring down. You are correct, less is more. I've never liked cluttered interiors and lately, mine has become that way. I find cool things - driftwood, egg cages, unusual rocks... sell, donate, etc. Same here!