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IKEA Thonet chair minimalism monochrome
part of my multi-function living room

As an architect and a breathing human being, I find it hard to live at peace with the ever going conflict between a flawless designed space, and a real lived-in space.

The architect in me strives for perfection and meticulous design. The breathing human being in me happens to be a hands-on woman who struggles to keep her kids-affected surroundings in good shape. It is an unfortunate combination, I tell you. But it does help me understand what it takes to make spaces look the way they are presented in blogs and magazines. Or maybe it's the fact that I'm an Xennial, meaning I have enough antibodies to fight fake images and social media bullshit. Or so I want to believe.

A loyal Design Sponge reader back in the days, I still remember a surprisingly refreshing post written by Grace Bonney in 2016. She was brave enough to raise a discussion about this conflict and challenged her readers to post candid photos of their homes, hash-tagged #dscandid (shown below is one of the photos).

It's true, no one wants to see a "real" house, because you already live in one. You don't scroll down your Instagram for a reality check. For that, all you need to do is wake up, open your eyes and look around you. We can't evolve staying put in our familiar self-like surrounding. To get better and grow, we have to explore and search elsewhere for inspiration. high-end images are there to refine our taste, like a goal perched up high, waiting to be realized.

However, being a fanatic design-substance consumer, I've noticed how some content elevates and inspires me, while other discourages and makes me feel inadequate and inferior. When the latter occurs, I involuntarily pause my browsing and raise my head, only to find out how light-years far away I am from those presented images. And it's not that my house is a mess, or that I'm clueless. On the contrary. So why do I still feel that way?

A dear friend of mine has just bought me a book, "The Home Edit - A Guide to Organizing and Realizing Your House Goals". We were flipping through its pages, admiring Gwyneth Paltrow's color-sorted playroom (above photos), where books and stuffed animals lined up in rainbow order.

How does your kids' playroom look like? Any resemblance to the above? My poor girls don't have a playroom. Instead, they are destined to play in our multi-function living room, and not only that, but they need to memorize where their toys are, because guess what? They are not labeled OR categorized by color! They are simply organized (well, mostly, disorganized) in IKEA bins. The horror!

Moving on to Mandy Moore's jaw dropping pantry (above photo), defined by unrealistic symmetry and abundance. I can only assume it is not because she necessarily needs 34 paper towels centered as an isosceles pile, above at least 54 Mountain Valley Spring Water bottles (yes, I've counted), but because symmetry and repetition are basic keys for a winning image. Apparently there are 5 secretes for an Instagram-worthy pantry, according to The Home Edit.

Unless you live in a blissful ignorance (good for you!), You get the problem. It is not real. Or at least, if it's real, it is unfortunately not my reality. This outrageously wide gap, between reality and what is presented to us as one, gives a misleading perception of what home is. Your home is designed to serve you, and not the other way around. Don't you think?

So after venting out some of the frustration, stay tuned to see how we can make our (real) life beautiful (ish)!


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