Some women lust over designer shoes and handbags, some lust over diamonds and pearls. I lust over farmhouse sinks and pendant lights.
I’m addicted to home improvement—and home improvement shows—much to my husband’s dismay. Used to be, every time I watched one of the HGTV or DIY shows on Netflix, I’d get the urge to start a new house project—ka-ching, ka-ching—or do a little redecorating and rearranging furniture.
I come from a long line of rearranging women. It’s in our genes; I’m a “Miller girl.” My mom and her five Miller sisters all like(d) to rearrange and decorate. Growing up, it seemed every few months Mom would move the furniture, which drove my dad crazy, especially when he came home and tripped over the ottoman like Dick Van Dyke.
The thing is, as much as I love watching those shows, I could never be on one because you have to sign the design decisions over to their designer. Not gonna happen. I have very definite design ideas that I like to implement myself. I know what I like (farmhouse chic and cozy English cottage with lots of books, art, flowers, and touches of whimsy) and what I don’t (modern, minimalist, and sleek.)
I’m so not a modern girl. I like pops of color, but trust me, there will never be a pop of chartreuse or orange in my our house.
I love decorating and making things pretty. It’s one of my favorite forms of creative expression. Back in the day when I got to stay home and write books for a sort-of living, every time I finished a book—after weeks of being hunched over the keyboard during deadline crunch—and hit ‘Send’, the first thing I did (after a celebratory lunch) was jump into a new decorating or home-improvement project.
That project almost always begins with cleaning. I can’t stand a dirty house (another Miller-girl trait) but during deadline madness, normal household chores fall by the wayside; it’s all about the book. All my time and energy was devoted to writing, so by the time I finished my latest not-so-magnum opus, the house would be in serious need of a good cleaning. Michael regularly kept up with the basics—cooking, dishes, and laundry—but scrubbing toilets and dusting isn’t really his strong suit.
Once the house was sparkling clean, I’d jump into a new decorating project. Sometimes it was painting a room, sometimes rearranging the living room, sometimes ripping up carpet to expose gorgeous hardwood floors, sometimes repurposing an old piece of furniture, and sometimes it was simply moving a bookcase to another part of the room. (The latter always took the longest since I had to remove every book then re-shelve them. That was very distracting since each book called to me, “Read me, read me!”)
Although I love all those decorating shows (especially Fixer Upper; Chip and Joanna, subway tile, and shiplap, be still my heart) I must confess I see red when the designer displays books with the spines AGAINST THE WALL—hiding the titles and showing the pages facing outward. Sacrilege! Why would you have pictures of the backs of your friends’ heads? Clearly those designers aren’t readers.
As I said in my novel Daring Chloe (I don’t usually quote myself, but when I Googled my name to see if my brand-new blog came up, several quotes from my books appeared. Pretty cool. I’m not used to being quoted.) Anyway, as I said in Daring Chloe, “How do you explain to a nonreader that books aren’t just things but treasured friends? Companions
No way will I ever hide my book spines. Nobody puts my babies in the corner. Are you with me?