HOUSE: Newburgh

Sometimes “good enough” is good enough.

Office

When we bought our fixer-upper of a house just over four years ago, we entered the renovation process with a mind for perfection. I’m the type of person who either does something perfectly or doesn’t do it at all (resulting, unfortunately, in a great number of things that I never try for fear of “not doing it right”), and Evan, while not quite as obsessive, does like to see things done right and done well, without corners cut.

I can remember thinking that we should strip the old paint (all 3-10 layers of it, depending on the room) off of the moldings before repainting them. I remember looking up historic masons who would do chemical analysis of our mortar before re-pointing our bricks. I remember wondering exactly where we would find horsehair to use when doing proper plaster restoration on our heavily water-damaged kitchen walls.

And then I realized that I did actually want to live in our house (and even enjoy it!) at some point and not just admire it from afar like a museum piece. Ultimately, houses are for living in. Of course I appreciate quality craftsmanship and try to use good materials that won’t need to be replaced or repaired for a good, long time, but sometimes you just have to call “good enough” . . . good enough.

Case in point, the photo above, taken yesterday in my home office. It took us three years (much of it in a state of abandonment/junk storage status) to complete this room, and you’d think in that amount of time that we’d have gotten everything “perfect”. Nope. As if it’s not bad enough that there’s a giant chunk missing from the bottom of the window casing (it had rotted away from water exposure—I cut away the rot and did a quick patching job with Bondo before painting), there’s an entire length of baseboard molding missing behind the chair. Did you notice? Probably. Oh well. It’s good enough!

In order to replace this section of molding, we’d have to bring a sample of the intact pieces to an historic millworker to match. Then, I suppose, we’d have to glob on about 8 coats of paint (peeling it in areas between coats) so that it wouldn’t look “too new” when fitted into place. Ugh, and THEN we’d have to get out the miter saw and match the interior angle of the existing molding . . . math would be involved . . . ugh.

Forget it. I’m calling this “good enough” and pretending it gives the room character. You barely notice it when you’re standing up, anyway.

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98 Comments

  • Reply Jeremy June 21, 2010 at 2:00 pm

    in the world of interior design and shelter mags we live in… it’s nice that you are willing to put this post out there. i think there needs to be a lot more reality in design.

  • Reply Amber June 21, 2010 at 2:02 pm

    The funny thing is, I didn’t notice either flaws at all. I was drawn to the poster and chair with the similar colors. I’m totally not type A, but I think the imperfections are lovely.

  • Reply Ludmila June 21, 2010 at 2:02 pm

    oh well, when I first had my eyes on the picture of the room, only one word came to my mind and that is ‘gorgeous’. loving the floor, the rocker and the MJ cover and I’d say this room isn’t good enough at all – it’s perfection!

  • Reply Colleen June 21, 2010 at 2:03 pm

    I love this. I just love it. It’s so easy to get caught up in perfection and never just be happy with all of the hard hard work we put into our homes. Thank you.

  • Reply Cubic Dreams June 21, 2010 at 2:06 pm

    I actually didn’t notice it until you pointed it out! I just thought it was a lovely room and was admiring your floating cabinet and MJ … :)

  • Reply Adam June 21, 2010 at 2:08 pm

    I never noticed the missing baseboard until I read it. I really appreciate this post. My house has a lot of “character”.

  • Reply Rae Munroe June 21, 2010 at 2:11 pm

    Oh man, Anna. I know the feeling! I’m the same way. Do it perfectly, or don’t do it all – more often leading to not doing it because I obsess over process and details. After buying a second house, I have to say I have had to “give a little” Our second house had an elevator in it (yes you read that right) and after its removal there were missing chunks of baseboard, very similar to your situation. One day Ill get around to matching and fixing it, but right now I have just accepted that it doesnt make the house less wonderful that every little detail isn’t absolutely perfect.

  • Reply james webb June 21, 2010 at 2:21 pm

    actually it was the first thing i noticed and i like the missing bit of board.
    what would have made it really special is if you cut back the remainig board so it lines up with the centre of the storage unit. its just 2 or so inches off – which would bug me.

  • Reply Karrey June 21, 2010 at 2:28 pm

    I always wonder how the people in shelter mags or blogs live in their houses, and think that they can’t possibly keep them perfect all of the time and still enjoy their lives, especially if they’re actively renovating. Little details that you feel you can let go make it real, and cheers to that.

  • Reply riye June 21, 2010 at 2:31 pm

    I didn’t notice the baseboard until you pointed it out. For my apartment I admit I did not start off thinking I’d fix everything “perfectly” but I did leave a lot of things undone because I was afraid of doing them “wrong.” Well, one year later no one has died or been permanently scarred by my “good enough” fixes, I’m happy to report. Now if only I could convince my perfection obsessed family that good enough is just that…

  • Reply Brigitte June 21, 2010 at 2:33 pm

    I love that you shared this. So honest and realistic.

  • Reply tara June 21, 2010 at 2:47 pm

    Just found your blog yesterday. Wow! Is it too soon for me to offer up advice/opinions? Anyway, it sounds like maybe you tend to “shave the yak.” It is a whole phenomenon where to do one simple thing, you must do 83,000 other things. If nothing else, it might give you a good laugh. You can read more about it here : http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2005/03/dont_shave_that.html

  • Reply Anna at D16 June 21, 2010 at 2:52 pm

    @james webb: You are a psychopath. :D p.s. I thought EXACTLY THE SAME THING!!!

    @tara: It’s never too soon! :) That article is hilarious — I’ve shaved a lot of yaks over the years, that is for sure…

  • Reply sári June 21, 2010 at 2:54 pm

    I think little missing details like this one just add to the “perfection” of a space – I am definitely loving the calm glow and the small golden details… such a pure and welcoming atmosphere!

  • Reply Holyoke Home June 21, 2010 at 2:55 pm

    Um….the only thing in this photo that weirds me out is the giant Michael Jackson Vanity Fair cover. Sorry.

  • Reply Rebecca June 21, 2010 at 3:03 pm

    I love it (especially MJ!) I am getting so much better at imperfection in every facet of my life. I remember reading someone’s blog that said “Done is better than perfect”, and it really is!

  • Reply Nat June 21, 2010 at 3:03 pm

    personally, I think the imperfections (tasteful, clean, and cared for) are the best part, both in places and people. the room is absolutely lovely

  • Reply Yolanda June 21, 2010 at 3:03 pm

    I agree with you Anna – there comes a time when you want to just enjoy your space. Yes, I love the hard work and I’m a bit of a perfectionist, but the rest of the house goes to heck at the expense of the project du jour.

    The MJ Vanity fair photo is the thing I *love* about this room! Anna, how did you get the blow up? Is it mounted? It is stunning. And, so “Anna”.

  • Reply Anna at D16 June 21, 2010 at 3:09 pm

    @Rae Munroe: An ELEVATOR?! Wow. What are you doing with the empty space left by the shaft? Bonus closet on every floor??

    @Holyoke Home: If you’re so “sorry”, then why did you bother saying it in the first place?

    @Yolanda: Yes, it’s a huge blow-up dry-mounted on foam core. It was a gift from a Vanity Fair employee who knows my love for MJ (and for Annie Leibovitz, who shot the photo). It previously hung in the VF lobby.

  • Reply monika June 21, 2010 at 3:15 pm

    Hi, Anna, I love this room and being not ‘perfect’ makes every place more homely. I always have big plans, but most of them remain plans due to all kinds of reasons. But after all we have to live in our house and enjoy it just as you said. And accept it just as it is.

  • Reply amy goodhouse June 21, 2010 at 3:17 pm

    You COULD make everything perfect, but then it would remind me of this blog – http://unhappyhipsters.com/ – I think I’d rather have a little imperfection myself.

  • Reply Patti June 21, 2010 at 4:14 pm

    Any ideas how those of us with no Vanity-Fair-employee-friends could obtain the same cover poster look?

  • Reply Anna at D16 June 21, 2010 at 4:27 pm

    @Patti: I would scan the cover at as high a resolution as possible, have it output at a place that does large-format color prints, and then bring it to a frame shop to have it dry-mounted. That’s essentially what magazines and publishers do when they make these big blow-ups, anyway! :)

  • Reply coral June 21, 2010 at 4:40 pm

    Um, yes. I totally know what this feels like. 3 years into our remodel (we’re now about 4 years into it) I very tearily told my husband “I don’t want a perfect or awesome or the coolest-ever-house! I just want a house I can live in!” Maybe if we weren’t trying to live here I could be a little more patient, but I’m starting to think a certain amount of compromise is just a part of life.

  • Reply j June 21, 2010 at 5:11 pm

    love the cabinet there- can you share where that’s from?

  • Reply Anna at D16 June 21, 2010 at 5:21 pm

    @j: It’s the Aspvik wall cabinet from IKEA.

  • Reply simone June 21, 2010 at 5:25 pm

    Well things get better and are finished quicker when you get more experience with these kind of chores. Also you know better in advance what you need to finish it and what you have to do.

    I thought I’d add my quote of the day:

    “I see simplicity not so much as a disregard for complexity but as a clarification of the significant.”

    Glenn Murcutt

  • Reply Pangaea June 21, 2010 at 5:31 pm

    My business coach keeps telling me good enough is good enough, so I’ve been hearing this a lot lately. Realize I’ve been living with a kitchen I really don’t like because the funds aren’t available yet to do the whole remodel I want & didn’t want to “waste money” on things I would re-do later. Just the last few days I’ve decided to go right ahead and waste that money on some good enough improvements. I think this is a great way to look at things. At least I’ll enjoy my space more in the meantime. Putting that into perspective – current enjoyment of a space vs. waiting for perfection – seems to really help tilt the scales in favor of doing things in a fashion that leaves time & money to enjoy life. Nice post!

  • Reply Brismod June 21, 2010 at 5:32 pm

    It’s true you don’t notice it immediately. We had some molding in the corner of our lounge room which was the wrong profile to the rest of the room. We ended up replacing it. I thought it would be good enough but my husband didn’t think the same. Fortunately there is a timber merchant who stocks all the historical moldings for older homes, so it was very easy to match.

  • Reply Barb F (Australia) June 21, 2010 at 5:56 pm

    Funnily enough, I didn’t even notice the missing baseboard until you pointed it out. There are too many other gorgeous things in this room to take our attention away from something that fades into the background like that.

    I think part of getting older is realising what the important things in life are. Whilst it’s great to strive for perfection and to uphold certain ideals, it shouldn’t stop us from taking things on, living our lives and giving ourselves a break! Your house is utterly beautiful Anna, missing molding and all.

  • Reply tamstyles June 21, 2010 at 5:56 pm

    I LOVE THE MJ PHOTO…of course you know that since we share a love for him. Great, love it!

  • Reply Nina June 21, 2010 at 5:58 pm

    Hey Anna! *waves*

    I love this room, and I didn’t even notice the missing baseboard until you mentioned it. I think I already told you that I love the way you’ve kept your house clean and simple, in terms of design.

    And of course…MJ makes the room that much closer to perfection.

  • Reply Janelle June 21, 2010 at 6:33 pm

    I actually noticed it but I didn’t even think about it until I read the post. I was too focused on everything else. I like imperfections in a place, if things are too perfect, they can get stale.

  • Reply life in a pink fibro June 21, 2010 at 7:31 pm

    Great post! Old houses are graveyards for details people. By the time you get it all ‘right’, you’ve rebuilt the house and, you’re right, it’s a museum. You need to make your house into something you can live in – and live with. I think your office looks terrific. As Janelle said, it’s the imperfections that sometimes give a home its heart.

  • Reply AHJ June 21, 2010 at 7:42 pm

    If you want to create a pseudo-molding, all you’d have to do is cut a piece of mdf or wood to size, and then rout out some grooves. Fake, won’t match, but nobody will be able to tell.

    Not that it’s not totally fine now! Heh.

  • Reply Caroline June 21, 2010 at 8:24 pm

    good for you! love it.

  • Reply Katie June 21, 2010 at 8:29 pm

    All I thought when I saw this photo was “swell”–trust, no amount of unnoticeable missing baseboards will decrease my love for your interiors! However, when it was pointed out, my brain immediately saw the intact baseboard as a little tiny radiator (similar to the heating system in the house I grew up in), and I like that :)

  • Reply Maggie June 21, 2010 at 8:36 pm

    didn’t notice till you pointed it out. You can take a profile of the baseboard with one of those things that looks like a row of needles or nails. Googled it, they’re called profile gauges, there is a picture of one here http://www.woodturningvideosplus.com/measuring-tools.html

  • Reply the domestic fringe June 21, 2010 at 8:52 pm

    Didn’t notice the molding at all! The room looks great.
    -FringeGirl

  • Reply annette June 21, 2010 at 8:59 pm

    yes indeed
    I started reading the post, looked at the picture, finished reading the post, looked at the picture 2 more times before seeing the missing molding!
    Life’s not perfect, why should our houses be?
    Enjoy your house, it’s more than “good enough”!

  • Reply megan June 21, 2010 at 9:20 pm

    LOVE the mj poster. love. and love this room exactly as is.

  • Reply b June 21, 2010 at 9:21 pm

    saw some baseboard in your attic

  • Reply Sue June 21, 2010 at 9:46 pm

    I, like Adam, didn’t even notice the baseboard until I started reading your post. I love the room and even though I’m not into Michael Jackson as much as you are, I think the enlarged magazine cover is super cool. First the table from DWR with the chipped marble top, now this….I’m glad to see you’re not as much of a perfectionist as I thought-not that that’s a bad thing :)

  • Reply Vicki @ Piccolo Takes All June 22, 2010 at 12:22 am

    When I saw your picture, I totally knew what the post was going to be about.

    If we ever get around to fixing up our back bedroom, we’re going to have to get all the millwork custom made. A previous owner thought it would be a good idea to put in drop ceilings, cheap dark wood-look paneling and light blue shag carpeting (a friend dubbed it “That 70’s Room”). In the process, they replaced all the original wood trim in the room with BLACK PLASTIC (with a woodgrain texture, mind you) trim!

    Sigh. I am *totally* a “do it right, or don’t do it at all” person…Sometimes I think I would be much happier if I were a “normal” person.

  • Reply cristin June 22, 2010 at 1:33 am

    coming from you, this post means so much to me. just what i needed to keep morale up around this old house of mine.

  • Reply Lena June 22, 2010 at 1:59 am

    I only looked for a short time at the picture and so totally didn’t see the missing baseboard. After you pointed it out I of course went back and saw it but I have to say I don’t mind it, I might even like it. And I think not replacing it is kind of more honest to the architecture and the history of the house (you know, nothing is worse than faux-old). But if at any point it will bug you again as an alternative to trying to match the replacement exactly with the remaining rest you could deliberately leave some differences so that it is visible what is old and what is new (I have seen that approach in several historic buildings and always liked the honesty of it and how it tells me something about the history of the house).

  • Reply Nicolette June 22, 2010 at 2:08 am

    LOVE. Particularly the wall-mounted cabinet and the MJ poster – what a cool story behind that one!

    Also love the chair and the floors and so on… but I’ve been following your blog for a long while now so I had seen them before.

    I was just looking at IKEA kitchen wall cabinets yesterday to be used for a simple media cabinet. Thanks for sourcing this one. I think it may be perfect!

  • Reply Niina June 22, 2010 at 2:42 am

    All I noticed was a beautiful space and MJ (lovely poster, btw).

  • Reply Lena June 22, 2010 at 2:47 am

    Oh Anna, what to say, there are 2 blogs i check out every day, yours and Chez Larsson ;-) and this room is perfection from the light to the missing baseboard. And the picture of MJ is just the ” pricken över i ” . I bought that VF mag. at Chicago airport on my way back home to Sweden last august. It´s such a beautiful picture and blown up like that, It´s just wow, so thank you and have a great summer.
    best regards
    Lena

  • Reply Marthe June 22, 2010 at 4:03 am

    you don’t have to pretend it gives character. It does! And from what I can see, that room looks PREFECT to me.

    What you say is important though. I’m also a perfectionist, and I’m often afraid of starting (or finishing) something out of fear that it will be not good enough.

    I’m slowly coming to terms with myself on this matter too. :)

  • Reply Marthe June 22, 2010 at 4:04 am

    It should have said PERFECT, of course. But isn’t it sweet irony that I spelled PERFECT wrong? ;)

  • Reply Fiona June 22, 2010 at 4:50 am

    Gorgeous shot. What a great place to work. MJ’s anniversary is coming up any day now, you must be feeling low.

  • Reply helen tucker June 22, 2010 at 5:07 am

    I have renovated on a similar scale too and it is hard, hard, hard work. Being true to the building has always been my aim but also practicalities (and budget) have to come into play. We have little bits here and there that are not perfect by any stretch of the imagination but hey they really are what stops our home looking like a new build ( or so I like to think) and gives it the home equivalent of the wrinkles of life. I think your room looks perfect – serene and a bit quirky. You and your husband have done a great job in bringing this lovely old house back to life.

  • Reply Sammi June 22, 2010 at 5:10 am

    I actually didn’t notice the things that are “wrong”.

    That room appears to be much more than good enough. It’s wonderful, but thank you for sharing that with us, Anna x

  • Reply flutterbymama June 22, 2010 at 5:36 am

    It wasn’t the first thing I noticed but having the same problem in our house it did, eventually, pop up. What you have done to your home is amazing and good to know it’s taken over 4 years to achieve. We have been in our house just over 2 years and with a small child and ridiculous sized garden it just feels like it’s never going to get finished! I have noticed that when you start one room you tend to finish it to perfection? Unfortunately we never seem to get to ‘finished’ in any room whether it’s painting skirting, filling floorboards or re-furbing sash windows. You & Evan deserve to pat yourselves on the back and say job well done! :-)

  • Reply Cat's Meow June 22, 2010 at 6:04 am

    I didn’t even notice them – and when I did notice I liked them :)
    I prefer some imperfections, it is far more interesting! Like in art, you should always shake the perfect composition a bit, so it is not boring :)
    This looks super lovely, calm, minimal yet interesting.

  • Reply dew i June 22, 2010 at 6:42 am

    I’m trained to notice. I saw it immediately.

    However, I adore and constantly think about and research
    the “flaws” and mess of a real home so sets look authentic.

    That is a bit too authentic for me :)
    It would never work in a photo shoot. or set. Unlike the perfection of a set or a styled room it’s a beautiful real home that you live in. Filled with lovely flaws from a real life.

  • Reply dew i June 22, 2010 at 6:48 am

    here is my paranoia.
    I’d be so afraid of a mouse or some other rodent crawling in through the space where the floorboard meet the wall, i would make due with a facsimile piece of molding.

  • Reply mallix June 22, 2010 at 7:18 am

    sounds more like an excuse to me!! :) We’re into year 3 with our study – keep at it!

  • Reply MKH June 22, 2010 at 8:14 am

    Very beautiful! I remodeled a house and I was able to find a good match for moldings using composites, if you still want to try here is a link:
    http://www.architecturaldepot.com/c/moulding/

  • Reply Ceci June 22, 2010 at 8:26 am

    I ♥ it! I think it looks great! And as taste’s & trends change another gorgeous piece of art would look just as nice!

    What is this room used for? Is it part of your home office?

    There’s nothing better than perfection, especially when it comes so naturally!

  • Reply Anna at D16 June 22, 2010 at 9:40 am

    @AHJ @Maggie @MKH: It’s not that I don’t know how to get replacement molding or what’s involved in installing it, it’s that I simply don’t feel like dealing with it. That’s the whole point of this post — this is good enough for me. At least for now.

    @b: I’ll keep an eye out. ;)

    @Marthe: Your misspelling of PERFECT was, indeed, PREFECT. :D

    @flutterbymama: Oh, I wish it were true that we “finish” rooms. We really never do. There are unfinished projects all over the house, and it’s very hard to prioritize and organize. Remember that this blog isn’t updated all THAT often with photos of my house…you only see the positive, and seldom see the unfinished/messy/blah.

    @dew i: We’ve never had a problem with rodents (aside from the ones that are in cages/pets!), and there are so many holes and gaps all over this house that I can’t imagine this particular area posing any additional “risk”. I’m not concerned about that.

    @Ceci: Yes, this is our home office.

  • Reply Cheryl June 22, 2010 at 9:59 am

    MJ fixes all of those problems.

  • Reply danielle June 22, 2010 at 11:09 am

    ha, weird. i just saw this photo on tumblr via some other design blog and thought to myself: that looks like something the gal who writes door sixteen would have in her home!

  • Reply Anna at D16 June 22, 2010 at 11:35 am

    @danielle: Was it posted without a credit? That’s kind of a bummer. :(

  • Reply Brigidanne June 22, 2010 at 3:10 pm

    Anna – I don’t know if you tried this before you declared “enough” on the baseboard … Johnsons Millwork on South Dix St. The current owner and his father have been in the business years, so he may have the knives in stock to cut you a piece of baseboard to match at a more reasonable price.
    Then there is salvage or give a photo to Chris at Habitat Re-store she might keep an eye out for some. Just ideas for when you feel like you just want a little more for “good enough”. :-)

  • Reply jessica define June 22, 2010 at 3:15 pm

    I honestly didn’t notice the missing baseboard, haha. My fiance and I are moving into a new house this weekend that needs a lot of work, this was a great exhale moment for me to read. :)

  • Reply Natasha June 22, 2010 at 3:36 pm

    Perfect imperfection.

  • Reply Anna at D16 June 22, 2010 at 4:21 pm

    @danielle: Thank you, and thanks for your tumblr post, too — I appreciate it. :) I don’t mind my photos being reblogged, but I think it’s important to credit the original source (especially when, as you said, it’s coming from someone’s personal home).

  • Reply Agnieszka June 22, 2010 at 4:55 pm

    I barely noticed the difference, Anna. At the first moment I thought it is what it’s supposed to be, as if nothing’s wrong with the picture.
    I know what you mean by obsessing over perfection, I am pretty much the same way. If I don’t do it the way it fully satisfies me, I scrap it and start over, sometimes many many times. I think that is a design OCD of sorts.

  • Reply erin lang norris June 22, 2010 at 5:29 pm

    i didn’t notice the baseboard until you mentioned it!

    it was so nice to read this post. i used to be a perfectionist. everything took me so very *#&@ing long to do, with so much stress, money and time going into everything i did.

    then one day i realized that i would be happier without all that waste. the thing that really brought this to my attention? the fact that we lived in our house for almost a year without me noticing that the trim on one wall is white and the trim on the joining wall is wood. i started to realize that most people don’t notice the small things like that, and the only reason i was always so perfect was in case somebody noticed that i screwed something up. now i don’t mind as much, and i’ve been much happier.

    ps- i love the title of this post. it’s like a sigh of relief!

  • Reply Shelley June 22, 2010 at 7:33 pm

    Right on Anna.So relieved to hear you say that. We also bought a very similar house to yours a little over 4 years ago and did some things to the point of thinking we’ll go broke and crazy if we try to keep up w/ the bloggers…lol. I think that sometimes we just get bored and can’t stop ‘changing’ things. You and your husband have done an AMAZING job on your lovely home AND an apartment too! ENJOY.

  • Reply Madie June 22, 2010 at 8:18 pm

    Anna I am so glad you posted this. Our house is in desperate need of re-pointing and I have tried to find a mason who knows how to match the old mortar. Every single mason that I have found seems to want to use Portland Cement and they just look at me like I am totally crazy when I suggest getting the composition of the old mortar. I really need to just get things done and move on. I really needed to read this!

  • Reply Jessica June 22, 2010 at 8:31 pm

    I think it’s perfect the way it is. Didn’t even notice it and was looking longingly at the furniture.

  • Reply Lissa@AfterAdornment June 22, 2010 at 9:11 pm

    Anna….I totally get your idea of “good enough” but I don’t agree that that’s what it truly is. Part of buying a fixer upper is to get the great mouldings and character that the new build spec or builder homes don’t have. Having things imperfect comes with the territory and staying true to the house (like you are doing) is the best thing. I think what you have done so far is great and don’t worry about the missing moulding…it’ll get there someday :)
    Keep the pics coming!

  • Reply Tamisha June 23, 2010 at 8:53 am

    Anna,

    Having been in our house just shy of a year, I get the “good enough” reference in my bones. Sometimes doing it the “right way” is beyond our means or abilities. Often, finding someone who is able to do it the way it was originally done is well neigh impossible. The foyer of our house has plaster moldings. The area above the entry doorway had to be taken down due to water damage. I’m having a hell of a time finding anyone who can replace/repair the plaster. I’m not willing to rip it all down and put up wood, but having a gaping hole doesn’t look so hot either. Sometimes, I simply aspire to “good enough”.

  • Reply Jaimie June 23, 2010 at 9:47 am

    We have a problem getting to “fully finished” at our house too. Trim that needs touching up, a section of hardwood that needs to be stained, lightswitch covers that somehow never got replaced … We have done SO MUCH, and yet sometimes I can get bogged down in all that we haven’t yet done. This post is a good reminder to pat ourselves on the back, and enjoy what we do have. Isn’t that what it’s all been for?

  • Reply angie w June 23, 2010 at 11:21 am

    great post and i love the room! i live in a 100 year-old house and the words “quirky” and “funky” come to mind often.

  • Reply D.k. June 23, 2010 at 11:28 am

    in your your case, sometimes “good enough” is “really good”.

  • Reply Julie June 23, 2010 at 11:29 am

    Thank you for posting this Anna. I have a 140 year old house and I was just thinking about how I’d like to strip all my moldings and trim and repaint. And I even thought of you and what you might have done since your house always looks so perfect. This post was the voice of reason I needed to hear.

    Also, I didn’t even notice the baseboard until you pointed it out. I’ve been told the same about issues in my house when I give tours (pointing out the flaws I need to fix). People tend to look at me like I’m nuts. At least now I know I’m not alone.

  • Reply Ali June 23, 2010 at 5:42 pm

    I love your blog and your house Anna. When I first found your blog a little over a year ago I spent an entire weekend reading back-posts! We have a lovely old Victorian that is “good enough” and its quirkiness (including some great earthquake-induced asymmetry) is what I really love. That said, we just replaced some old baseboard and IF you decide you’d like to do so the key is to remove the baseboard from the entire length of that wall and then replace the whole piece. Like you said, it’s otherwise impossible to get it to blend in. Again, love your house and I think it’s gorgeous just the way it is :).

  • Reply Jurgita June 23, 2010 at 8:47 pm

    Being an interior designer myself I lived in my apartment for about seven years without turning it into MY living place, becouse I did not know what I want for myself, I was afraid to do something wrong, etc. There were always few projects runing for my clients and I was puting all my ideas into it. Finaly, after ten years I managed to do something with my interior and I had an almost perfect home. I just said to myself: “It is good enough”. Finaly I loved my apartment! I was so proud of it! But things changed and I moved to another country. Now I live in a new house that is “bad enough”. Again . . . Another ten years to get “good enough” ? Or just to get something cosy, something that is “me” at the moment ? It will never be perfect. Enjoy “good enough”!

  • Reply Jean Molesworth Kee June 23, 2010 at 9:00 pm

    Old houses are imperfect, people are imperfect, life is imperfect…don’t sweat the small stuff. I know an architect/interior designer team who NEVER finished their house for their kids to enjoy. They lived in a crummy apt. and finally moved in to their “masterpiece” after kids were in college– every tiny decision was fraught with the quest for perfection- this went on for 8 years . Now they need to downsize!

  • Reply Anna at D16 June 23, 2010 at 11:08 pm

    @Madie: Good grief, don’t let them use Portland cement!! I may be loosening my grip a little bit, but I have my limits. That will destroy your bricks!

    @Jaimie: What is it with the lightswitch covers?! Sometimes it just seems like a monumental task to put one on, even thought it takes, like, 8 seconds.

    @Julie: That’s the thing, though — you’re just seeing photos, and not really getting the reality. I’ve got lumpy moldings and peeling paint and gouged floors just like everyone else. Obviously I want things to look as nice as possible in photographs (yes, even the one in this post!), but that doesn’t tell the whole story. I promise you it’s not perfect by any stretch!

    @Jean Molesworth Kee: Wow, what a sad story!! That’s part of the reason I can’t imagine building a “dream home” from scratch. Ultimately, I think having limitations forces you to make do and give in to imperfection. And that’s a GOOD thing. :)

  • Reply Anna at D16 June 23, 2010 at 11:09 pm

    @Julie: And another thing — STOP POINTING OUT FLAWS WHEN YOU’RE GIVING HOUSE TOURS!!! I know it’s hard, but trust me, it’s better for everyone. ;)

  • Reply Erica June 24, 2010 at 6:10 am

    I live in an old home in a neighborhood of old homes. Many of us neighbors help each other out with renovation projects and we call our crew Gudenov Construction. The perfect is the enemy of the good (enough). You’re right — we have to live in our old houses, and good enough is good enough. I know some people who don’t make much progress on their projects because they’re so fraught with indecision about making the right choice. My take is more, slap a coat of paint on and if you don’t like it, change it later.

  • Reply Kaytee June 24, 2010 at 9:53 am

    Perfection is the opposite of DONE! I wish my husband would realize this.

  • Reply Suswhit June 24, 2010 at 10:51 am

    fyi, regarding the missing millwork. We had a knife cut for the molding at our last house and then were clued in to the fact that there are probably already multiple knives cut for the same molding at the local lumber store. At our current house we were able to use someone else’s knives because it was the same molding. But they probably won’t offer up the fact that your neighbor already had a knife made because they make a couple hundred dollars every time they make a new one. So, if you keep your ears and eyes open you may find out someone nearby doing work on their house has the same molding. Especially now that you aren’t in a hurry. :-)

  • Reply Madie June 24, 2010 at 8:25 pm

    Anna, that is precisely why the house has not been re-pointed. Either no one knows how to do things anymore or people just hire the wrong people without doing any research. The masons tell me that all the houses have been re-pointed with Portland Cement with some sand mixed in. I will keep searching for the right mason!

  • Reply Tami June 26, 2010 at 1:11 pm

    Thank you for “keeping it real”. As I stand on chair trying to cut out a bad caulk job and sand down woodwork while my kids are yelling at me to play with them I am realizing that you have to draw a line and decide how much of your life is going to be devoted to achieving woodwork that is as smooth as a baby’s butt.

  • Reply kim June 28, 2010 at 10:54 am

    THANK YOU for this timely piece! we are in the middle of remodeling our 70s apartment and i keep getting caught up in the little details that are hard to perfect. i think i am motivated now to go paint the bedroom, knowing full well that no one will notice my slighting askew taping job on the ceiling ;)

  • Reply Joe Shoemaker June 28, 2010 at 11:27 am

    Thanks for this. Inspiring. Honest. I posted it to my Facebook page for all my Mid-Century Modern-loving friends. They sometimes need permission – as do I – to have something tun out imperfectly.

  • Reply mkforster@yahoo.com June 29, 2010 at 12:24 am

    I must say it really bothers me and it was the first thing my eye went to. This coming from a non- perfectionist. Could you compromise with a piece of plain white wood the same height and thickness just to continue the line. of maybe a collection of progressively smaller pieces of historic mouldling stepped down to the corner – like a funny little art installation./moulding museum.

    But as always lovely colors and feel
    NM.

  • Reply The Borrowed Abode June 29, 2010 at 9:15 pm

    Thank you for the reality check!! :)

  • Reply Kristin July 19, 2010 at 7:50 am

    like everyone else, i didn’t even notice until you pointed it out! :) looks great!

  • Reply Grumble Girl July 25, 2010 at 10:08 am

    That room is awesome. And I TOTALLY get you on feeling the need to do something perfectly, resulting in “a great number of things that I never try for fear of ‘not doing it right.’” Oh yes – I live there. (And husband is a perfectionist, so we’re often caught in the downward spiral of it all…)

    I totally dig this room. And your poster is just delicious.

  • Reply sRa August 16, 2010 at 8:05 pm

    I noticed but I LIKE it! too perfect is….too perfect.

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