COLUMN Kylie Jurgensen

While imagination is a great starting point for many projects, Kylie Jurgensen finds out that too much renovation inspiration can be, well, simply too much.

It took me a while to get round to writing this column. The problem was not, as one might have expected, a lack of creativity. Quite the opposite in fact.

It all began with a few child-free hours a week. Or more accurately it began with twins eight years ago, who started inhaling my leisure time within days of conception and, after being joined by another three siblings within the following five years, successfully ensured that my daily (and nightly) hours were more than accounted for by an endless succession of urgent trivialities.

Then my youngest finally reached the age of free childcare. Hallelujah. I spent a few weeks decluttering the house. I updated my blog. I visited friends for coffee without kids around, and then the day came when I was just sitting around idly surfing and I discovered Pinterest.

If you haven’t been there, don’t. An ever-changing stream of design, home décor and renovation inspiration beamed to your fingertips and captured in a tantalising gallery of at-a-glance photos. Culled by a tireless multitude of surfers trawling the web around the clock and selecting the best of their finds for your convenience.

It didn’t take long for all this inspiration to translate into action. For the past few months I’ve been positively spilling over with creative projects. Which is great, right? Except never being one to err on the side of moderation, soon it wasn’t just me that was bursting with creativity, it was my large garage-cum-studio. As it should. Unless, like my long-suffering better half, you believe that a family garage should also be able to accommodate a car or two, tools, the dryer, a chest freezer and assorted recreational paraphernalia associated with the other six members of the household.

I discovered recycling centres and op shops in places I’d never ventured before. I trawled Trade Me with a vengeance. I spent my weekends and precious child-free hours gathering promising raw materials for the increasingly complex vision that was forming of what my home would look like when all the transformations were complete.

By and large I managed to contain my enthusiasm – as least insofar as the incomplete works (most of them) were concerned – within the garage, occasionally spilling over to the driveway and carport. At the beginning anyway. As the summer wore on and the days grew shorter and the evenings began to have a bit of a nip in the air, I began to feel less inclined to project away in the garage and more inclined to set up on the dining room table.

But even under the influence of the gods of repurposing I could recognise that a young family has to eat somewhere. So I moved into the study. I am a writer and I am a mother. There’s no hierarchy here, but my study is sacred ground. It has a bolt on the door, up high. It’s (mostly) a kid-free zone. It has a big desk. It has two big monitors, which are known in our family as the Control Centre. I am not a fan of miniaturised technology when it comes to my study. Control Centre aside though, my study is (mostly) a functionally spartan place. Well I try anyway.

But as the summer holidays progressed and the ideas continued to flow heedless of the many children underfoot and the distant whoosh-whoosh of the waves calling us to the beach, my study slowly began to sprout neat piles like barnacles on its previously clear surfaces. Then I sourced a huge pile of fabrics for a song and soon the sanders and the paintbrushes and the cabinet fittings were draped in kelp-like swathes and tendrils of soft-furnishings in progress.

Each morning I’d have to battle my way through to the Control Centre for my daily Pinterest fix. Eventually even that became too hard and I abandoned my desktop entirely to the cause. I took to the deck lounger with an iPad. In which, as so often happens with technology, lay the seeds of my creative cycle’s self-destruction. Pinterest on the iPad just wasn’t the same. The photos were grainier, typing was awkward, it took too long to sift through the galleries. My enthusiasm waned and then faded completely. My family rejoiced.

That was a few months ago. I’m sure some clever person has improved on the app. But I’m too busy to check. I’ve just made it back to the Control Centre, and when this column is done I’ve got a mountain of DIY UFOs to take care of. Wish me luck!

For inspiration and design ideas visit our projects.

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This article by Kylie Jurgensen featured in Issue 003 of New Zealand Renovate Magazine. New Zealand's first and only magazine solely dedicated to home renovations.
 

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