Decorating Ruts: Stuck In One?

I hope it's okay that I make a confession, me the decorating queen, because I'm a bit embarrassed to say it but I've always been a very open person so why not? Plus, I think blogs lose their zest when they become too perfect so I'm about to reveal a great, big issue in my life currently. I Am Stuck.

Gifts for Students

(Working on the floor with a friend, sorting through piles of fabrics, as I decide which to use for the bags that I designed for my students in Morocco.)

I feel creative, ready to execute on all of my work-related projects, empowered to kick start some fresh ideas, and launch a few new treats for your enjoyment next year. When it comes to my job and what I do, I'm pumped and love my life. I couldn't be happier or more ready to get moving on decor8-related initiatives.

But when it comes to decorating... lately... I don't know. I feel stuck. I'm not sure why exactly. I moved into this gorgeous, massive flat with all of the most beautiful details and in the eyes of most, I live the dream life in my swank new digs. But sitting here, on the inside of my world, the perspective is different. I feel like I can't get started. I don't know where to begin. I don't know where to shop even, I got so pampered and babied in the states with all of my resources and friends and connections there... and now I'm starting from absolute zero with hardly any furniture, no place to store everything in my boxes which are laying all over the freaking place... And I feel frustrated and sorta overwhelmed.

I'm going to work on my house slowly but I cannot work as slowly as would feel the most natural to me as I have a huge magazine that wants to shoot here in January and I don't even know where to begin to prepare for that. I just want to collect over time, be true to myself, put into action all of the things that I have taught so many of you throughout the years... But I need a giant kick in the butt to just DO IT and I have no real time to do it so I have to throw it together within a few months in order to make the magazine's deadline. Oh my.

What I plan to do is this --  start working on mood boards and rent a car and see where I can find things for my home. I have a big entry room, living room, dining room, kitchen, office, massive hallway with a nook, two bathrooms, two wintergartens, a balcony, a bedroom, a guest bedroom and my husband has an office (which he is nearly finished decorating and it looks so lovely!). I have 2,200 square feet of HOME to decorate in two months. I think that is what has me frozen - the sheer thought of it. When I go to Istanbul next week, I'm going to bring back treasures for the floors -- large, gorgeous rugs -- because a good rug is such a great start to decorating a room from scratch.

I have SO many great ideas, so much to accomplish in just a few months (my book publishes in the UK in March and in the U.S. in May!!!) and so many reasons to get this place whipped into shape and so I will march onward, get this place together, and work a little Holly magic. But wow, I sure could use a few of my "safe zones" to shop at over here. I feel really lost but I also feel like I need to pull from within -- tap in to my ideas and get my home together already!

And so... I've confessed this publicly before the masses to say that well, I'm REAL and I get stuck sometimes too. I can't wait to share with you how my project here on the homefront turns out. It was hard to sell everything that I spent YEARS collecting to move to a new country realizing that things are not only much more expensive here but a lot harder to source and without a car, I've been a bit up a creek. I know, excuses, excuses. We always have plenty of them when we are not doing what we are meant to be doing, don't we!?

How do you get out of decorating ruts? If you are an expat, how did you build your new home from scratch without resorting to IKEA for everything or mail order (I'm trying to avoid mail order finds because the few things I have ordered via catalogs have been a disappointment). I've been shopping local boutiques, but spending hundreds on things that normally would have cost me $30 in a states. Which is another consideration -- I need to find great things on somewhat of a budget. Every single sofa I find is in the thousands and I'd like to ideally not go over 2,000 Euros for one. I want to have FUN with this great process of decorating a home in a new country, but without a car and limited time (my schedule has been nuts), I fear boxes will go unpacked for a very long time and I'll continue to sit on the floor working on my projects as you can see in the image above!

Any advice to share? Any encouragement to lend? Some virtual hugs would be lovely -- anyone who settles into life living abroad faces similar challenges and so I know that I am not alone. Even those who have never left their homeland find decorating projects surely induce much stress and often discomfort whether it is budget-related, limited resources, time constraints, etc. I'd love to know how you grin and bear it.

I'm having company this evening so I need to go sort through some boxes and clean up a bit to make my beautiful home presentable. I'm going to light a new candle from L'Occitane that I picked up at a home fair this past Sunday in Hannover, it's called Candied Fruits and is a scent that one of my first decorating clients tipped me off to back in 2004... Whenever I feel in a decorating rut, I always try to find this candle because it reminds me of Julia and how I transformed her Boston condo into a lovely home during a time when I was so new to design and so anxious to get started. The scent brings me back to her apartment, I always smelled it the moment I entered her home, and for some reason I feel empowered and ready to do stuff whenever I smell it - the pressure just rolls off my back and I get into my Holly zone. Do you have a scent that does that? If not, get one. It's crazy helpful.

You know, just putting my feelings out there -- unedited -- felt really great. I already want to get decorating -- and go forth with some of my ideas. And so there is the result of a natural, no-BS post -- I feel encouraged, no doubt you feel like someone gets you as I'm guessing you've been "there" before, and now we'll all feel a bit more invigorated to stop whining and start making our magic at home. I so love you guys.:*

(image: holly becker for decor8)