"Ohhhhh, I cant wait for the reveal!!" "When you going to invite us around for a tour?" have typically been the comments received as the conversation comes around to our recent renovation. I'm not sure if it's because it's my house and I'm an interior decorator, or whether other renovators experience it too, but there's considerable pressure for a grand reveal when you've finished such a project. Where has this reveal phenomenon come from? What constitutes a reveal? What happens if you dont do one? Does anyone notice?
For me, the end of our renovation was a point in time when the builder stopped letting himself in and returned the keys. However, I'd hardly say that the renovation was, or is, "finished". As beautiful and fantastic the new extension and renovated part is, when the builder left, we actually had to start the hard work. As we moved in, the list of things we needed and wanted to do grew large. And keeps growing.
There's the large scale projects, like organising and installing blinds and renovating the garden back to some sort of health. The installation of bamboo paneling in the lounge room, which was a post design decision we made, hasn't even been designed yet. I have visions of plants creating a green wall and even a ceiling. But growing these 'green' installations takes time!
Then there's the smaller things, like improving storage in the cloaks, sorting out which art work goes where, same with the furniture, putting up shelving and hooks, sourcing a new lamp or rug that I both like and are happy to buy. Again, all this takes time.
We've also culled as we've brought items out of storage and back into the house. Which is funny, because I could have sworn we culled before it went into storage. But it's amazing how six months living with the bare basics can really give you a different perspective on what you actually need.
So our house due to the cull, the increase in size, and a few changes to out ideas, means it does look a bit empty. Possible unfinished. It feels like home because we're happy and comfortable in it and are enjoying the new space. So to reveal or not to reveal, that is the question.
It was at this point I realised there's almost a reveal route, with key milestones along the way. There's the revealing of the renovation and / or extension when all the rooms are empty, clean and sparkly. A complete blank canvas for you to look at and drool over. Our poor builder didn't get the opportunity to do this. We we're living on site and slowly crept back in once the cleaners vacated! We loved the new space none the less. But do you share this moment with others?
Then there's the reveal at the new home stage. Where it contains your belongings but is clean and tidy, if you ignore all the unpacked boxes neatly stacked and the contents of which are still looking for a new home. You have most of your possessions out where you want them, but a few you might move once you get to feel the new space. This is where we are.
Then there's the reveal a styled home stage. The ultimate holy grail for some. Where everything is carefully selected and placed. You know the look, it's in all the magazines and TV programs. But unless your planning on selling the home, or having a photoshoot, it seems an enormous amount of effort to go to in order to feel 'finished'. Especially when you consider that you're not likely to maintain the arrangement as you go about your everyday life. Homes are living spaces, where things happen and things change. Constantly. Is this an unnecessary finishing line we draw for ourselves?
Does it really need to be finished (AKA styled) to cross the finish line and be revealed? If we thought about a reveal, less as a finish point but, more like a quick review, with a chat and an update, then maybe the pressure would be off. A more 'this is what we have done so far' approach.
A Progress Report
By the end of this weekend, I anticipate that all the packing boxes will be empty. So I will be between the new home and styled home position. What to do, what to do? My home is far from styled. "Things" are not even how I would like them. I have a vision in my head which doesn't match what the eyeballs are seeing. So I guess it's not finished and not ready to be 'revealed'. But when I think about it, I always have a list of things I want to do or add to a space. I'm always tinkering with my interiors and the furniture and fittings within. All those 'when I get time' projects. A chair I want to paint, a lamp I want to refurbish, some wall paper I want to put up. But the beauty of this is, that no one else can see the moving end point and the list of 'to do's' in my grand scheme. If they don't know what the end point is, then surely they don't know that it's not finished. It's just me that knows that. Which I can live with.
So that's it then, Reveal time. Well kind of. You might get a finished reveal in the reality TV world, but perhaps in the real world its more of a progress report. I hope so. We're opening our house up for the Sustainable Home Day again this year, and people will have to take us how they find us. Finished or unfinished. My home wasn't built in a day.
For more information on the nationwide Sustainable House Day on Sunday 17th September visit www.sustainablehouseday.com