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But Where Do I Start: Understanding the Purpose of your Room

*A note from the author: This podcast episode (as well as all future episodes) will be transcribed automatically. The author is currently aware of, and getting hives at the thought of, all of the grammatical errors she's finding as she proof reads her transcript. She recognizes that her former English teachers are likely rolling over in their graves, if that is where they currently reside, but also knows that some things just have to give. Please feel free to listen instead and be sure to read non-podcast posts so you can rest assured that she does, in fact, know how to compose written words into proper story telling.*

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Speaker 1: (00:00)

Welcome back to fig and permanent home where we design happy living today is the beginning of a brand new series called, but where do I start? And if I've been listening well to you girls, over the years, I have picked up on a few things. And one of those things is, I don't know where to start the idea of designing my home or decorating my home is really overwhelming, or I don't have enough budget to make that happen. To have a home that I think might look good to have a home that feels comfortable and reflects my family story and reflects it. Well, we're breaking through all of that in the next three weeks. It's a system I developed to help you girls work on your own. Of course, I'm always willing to walk that road with you and to plan out a beautiful room for you.

Speaker 1: (00:45)

But when you can do it on your own magic happens, powerful things happen. And when you can do one room, you can do the next room and the next room. That's what the goal is in the next three weeks. If you stick around starting this week, moving into the next week and the week after you're going to be able to walk away with a plan for whatever room it is in your home that you think you should start with, by the way, we're going to get to that today and identifying the purpose you have for that room. And maybe how it's not quite being met with the things that you have, or maybe it is. We're talking about that today. Next week, we're walking into this idea of using Pinterest as a tool and not as a trap using Pinterest as a way to help us define our aesthetic so that we can not just design one room, but we understand the aesthetic for the entire home.

Speaker 1: (01:32)

And then the final week is putting it all together, where we really dive into creating a budget, a budget that is a reflection of you. And it's not just some number that I set aside that tells you, well, if you want to beautiful home, you need to spend this much. We talk a little bit about the budget today, because what I'm worried about is you tuning me out because you already are thinking I don't have money to spend creating a home. I love creating a room I love and what I need you to know. What I need you to hear is that that is exactly why I developed the system. Exactly. It's because I don't go in with the assumption that any one of you with the design in place can go out and buy everything today. In fact, I assume the opposite. I assume that you might need to start small and work your way up.

Speaker 1: (02:19)

You might need to make small changes here and there until you get it just right. There's a structure that I developed to help us get there. The structure that I put into place that helps us understand what are the changes that you can make now that make the most dramatic impact, what will be next to make the next dramatic impact. And sure, it might mean that you have to save in between each change, but once you understand that you can make big change now with very little money and the next big change in the next big change. Even when you have the entire room to do, you're going to want to stick her out for week three, because that is how I've helped. Lots of women go from thinking about a home that they love to living in one and creating that space that is really a cozy space for them and their family and one that they love coming home to. So girls we're getting started today. My three P's of home design, but where do I start? And today we're starting with purpose. All right, you're going to want to grab a paper and a pen and let's take some notes. Enjoy today's show.

Speaker 3: (04:24)

It's here it is here. What you have been waiting for? We are getting started today in our series, but where do I start? But how do I start? That's the question? And some of you might be thinking, yeah, right. I have the entire home to start with, how on earth am I going to be able to start this process? Some of you're still so beholden to those limiting beliefs that have held you back for years. And what I want you to know is that we are breaking it down. So finally, that you are able to finally just get started, finally get started, but I do have two cautionary tales for us first. Some of you are already thinking about the budget. Some of you are already thinking about the money and the money that you don't have and walking into this with skepticism. Okay? I hear you.

Speaker 3: (05:15)

I understand that. And what I want you to know is that it is you. I am speaking to it is you. I want you to know that the formula and the system I developed all those years ago is because so many of you have said, I don't have the money to make the changes I want to make. So this is for you. I'm going to give you a quick preview for how that's possible. I am taking the idea of budget and I am turning it on its head. I'm doing that for you because so many of us have this arbitrary idea. That budget is a number. Budget is what is an excess in our bank account. And budget is oftentimes what we don't have. You're right. And so I'm saying no to that. I am saying, whoa, Nelly, that is not at all. What I'm teaching you, budget is a formula and budget for me, has to do with understanding the purpose of your room and understanding the timeline.

Speaker 3: (06:09)

We're going to talk a little bit more about that later, because timeline right now, you're already thinking timeline and timeline is we want to get this done in six months. That is not at all. What I mean, timeline is understanding what it is that you can do now to make the biggest impact in your room, in your home. Now, understanding what might be next, understanding what might be after that. Once you understand the heavy hitters in your room that are going to make the biggest impact. First, you're going to be appreciating this timeline. And the idea that budget is not just a number. So right now, if you are one of those mamas who are saying, I don't have room in my budget. Awesome. Neither do I. And I don't expect you to. What I want you to do is I want you to grab your paper.

Speaker 3: (06:54)

I want you to grab a pencil and I want you to take extra long notes, pause even more than you thought you should. And I want you to start taking actionable steps today because you can get started with what I'm going to teach you. Cautionary tale. Number two, some of you at the end of today's episode are in a, an opposite space. Some of you might have a little bit of extra cash on hand. Some of you are going to be so excited that you feel like, oh my gosh, this is fantastic. I'm ready to go. And you're going to want to purchase. And what I'm going to say now is right now, today is not the time to purchase. Even if you feel like you have made three steps forward, it's not the time to purchase. In fact, next week, won't be the time to purchase maybe the week after that.

Speaker 3: (07:39)

But in today's episode, we are breaking it down. And we're talking about identifying first, the room that you should start with when you feel like you have a whole home to do, we're going to be understanding the anatomy of a room and how in, not just the walls and the doors and the windows. We're talking about how I identify those, um, important pieces within your room so that you can take my terminology and apply it to you. And then we're going to start identifying the purpose of the room, not the purpose that you have currently, the purpose that you want it to be okay. Are you ready? So the first thing we're going to do is we're going to identify what room is the one that should take priority in your home? Which room when you have an entire home to design which room it is you're going to start with.

Speaker 3: (08:25)

Because sometimes that overwhelm is just coming in the whole bulk size of it, right? Identifying which room to start with is as easy as asking yourself a few questions. So what I want you to do is I want you to start by jotting down all of the rooms in your home. Maybe you only have five. Maybe you have as many as 15. I want you to jot them all down right now, though. Let's leave out the garage. If you have a garage, we're going to leave that out, but you can jot down the laundry room. Even you can jot down the kitchen, you can jot down the bedroom, be specific with the bedrooms, jot them all down. And when you're done, I want you to ask yourself these questions. Now, as you're asking yourself these questions, I want you to circle the room. That is your answer.

Speaker 3: (09:08)

For example, here's one of my questions. And then I'll give you the example. What room do you spend the most time in? So for me, the room that I spend the most time in is probably the living room. I'm going to circle the living room. So go ahead and ask yourself that question and circle your answer. If you have to, if you feel like, yeah, I spend equal amounts of time in the living room and my home office circle. Both of those. The next question you're going to ask is what room do I have guests in? If I love to open my home to people and they come in, what room, what rooms do they see? What rooms are they engaging in? For me in my home, it is generally the living room, the kitchen and the downstairs guest bathroom. So those three would be circled and you'll know that I have now circled living room twice.

Speaker 3: (09:59)

It was the answer to my first question. And it is the answer to my second question. And that's okay. That's the point. The third question I want you to ask is what room drives you the most crazy really? Because I'm sure there is one and you might be circling something completely different. It might be the master bedroom. It might be the laundry room. It might be the guestroom. It might be something else. Go ahead and circle it. And what I want you to think about is this. If you have circled a room because we've asked ourselves three questions, if you have circled a room three times, that is a good indicator for a place to start, start there. It drives you crazy. It is where the guests hang out and it is where you spend most of your time. Those that is a high impact room.

Speaker 3: (10:47)

It is going to make a dramatic statement. Each dramatic impact is also going to be one of those domino effects. You do the room that you spend the most time in. You design the room that you have guests in. You get compliments back from you get feedback from, or it's a room that drives you crazy. You're going to see those changes happening, and it's going to be a domino effect to me. You want to do the next room and the next room, if you have answered three different rooms for three different, three of those different questions, and you're not entirely sure you're not sold by this idea that, yeah, it actually should be the living room. In my case, I want you to continue asking these questions. You're going to circle the rooms that are answering that question. Maybe instead of asking which room drives you most crazy, you might say, which room would you enjoy working on the most?

Speaker 3: (11:37)

Which room do you feel like is going to be the least overwhelming to do? Maybe the living room is extremely large, but the bathroom is not. Maybe that wouldn't feel as overwhelming. Maybe you're hosting an event soon. Is that event something that you would want to have as a carrot at the end, you want that room to be done so that you can have your guests in that brand new space. Maybe that's your question. So taking those six questions and really understanding and identifying which room to start with is going to be important. Okay. Let me repeat those. What room do you spend your most time in? What room? Um, do you have guests in that they hang out most often in what room drives you? Crazy room would give you the most joy to work on what room would feel least overwhelming. And are you hosting an event that might push another room higher on the priority list, answer those.

Speaker 3: (12:38)

And we know which room we're going to start with. Now. I do want you to narrow it down to one room, one room only. And for the sake of today's episode, I am going to imagine that for me, it is my living room. So you're going to hear me talking about my living room throughout the rest of the episode. Now that you know what room you're going to work on. Awesome. Now we're going to start learning about the anatomy of the room, and I'm not talking about the doors, the floors, the windows, the ceiling. I'm not talking about any of that. And I want you to understand that when I talked to you about the terminology, that terminology is going to be used in future episodes. So really giving you the foundation so that you can use my formula. That's the whole purpose here. The anatomy of the room, this terminology is going to be able to be used in every room in your home, so that when it's time to go from designing the living room to the master bedroom, you're going to be able to use the same process in order to do that.

Speaker 3: (13:33)

It's going to be able to transfer from, from one room to the next. So here we go. I have two terms that I want you to keep in mind, the anchor piece and a peripheral piece. When I talk about anchor pieces, I am talking about pieces that are sometimes literally anchored to your room. In the case of my living room, they might be a built-in shelves, a built-in bench with two bookcases. They are built in and attached to my wall. Another example might be the mantel anchor pieces. Aren't always things that are structurally adhered to your building. Anchor pieces can be the most expensive items within your room. Like couches, sectionals, beds, bed frames. They are the pieces that you can't necessarily change every two years or when a season changes. So they are the, the ones that cost the most money and need to stay the course of time for 10 years or so.

Speaker 3: (14:36)

They are also the pieces that are physically anchored to your wall. Okay? So we have anchor pieces and now we have peripheral pieces and peripheral pieces are the heavy hitters. The peripheral pieces are the ones that can be changed. They can be changed seasonally. They can be every couple years or maybe every five years. They are the pieces that don't have as high of monetary investment. That if you want to make a change, it might be a little bit easier to do, but they are the heavier pieces because these are the pieces that are nuanced within your room. So some examples might be side tables, lighting, textiles artwork. There are some of the pieces that can be moved easily room to room. When we talk about shopping your home, where we're talking about shopping them with the peripheral pieces. So in the case of my living room, some of my peripheral pieces are my curtains pillows and throws on the couch, my side tables, my table lamp, and my floor lamp, even my coffee table and the rug.

Speaker 3: (15:36)

So keeping those ideas in terms in mind, as we move forward is going to be really important. Your anchor pieces and your peripheral pieces. Now that we understand what room we're going to be starting with, and we understand the idea that we are going to be using anchor pieces and prefer pieces in order to fulfill our design. I want us to really break down the idea of what the purpose of our room is and how those anchor pieces can help us meet the need of the room. So what I want you to do is I want you to grab yourself another piece of paper. And on this piece of paper, I want you to fold it into three sections, and I want you to label it. The section on the left. I want you to write the word, purpose, the section in the middle. I want you to write the word anchor piece and the section on the right.

Speaker 3: (16:26)

I want you to ask the question, doesn't meet the need. Now. Here's what we're going to be doing. I want you to think about the room that you've chosen, and I want you to imagine the purpose you want for the room. How do you want it to serve your family? What do you want to do in that room? And I want you to write it down and I want you to be really specific. Even if some of the ideas are a little bit bonkers, a little bit crazy, be specific. So for me, my room was the living room. I want to be able to host five to 10 people. I want to be able to have those people feel at ease and relaxed enough to eat snacks on the couches and have drinks. I want to be able to have movie nights. I want to be able to lounge a little bit, maybe do some reading.

Speaker 3: (17:13)

I want to be able to host little people, rambunctious, little boys, and big people, other mommas, and maybe have wine nights, book clubs, Bible studies. I want to be able to have cozy fires and play games. So those are the things I want the room to be used for. I'm not asking how it is currently being used. I'm wanting to know how I want the room to function. That is the whole goal. We want to be able to create and design a room that serves us, that serves our family. So being mindful of the things that you want the room do for you is super important so that you can make intentional choices moving forward. Now that we know what purpose we want for the room, we're going to take a look at our anchor pieces. And I want you to think about, are those anchor pieces supporting the purpose of the room well or not.

Speaker 3: (18:07)

So for each purpose that you listed, you're going to write what anchor piece you currently have, the supports the purpose of the room. So for example, on mine, I know that I want to host five to 10 people. So what pieces, what anchor pieces do I have to support that I have a sectional and I have two arm chairs. I also have one chair for the computer desk. So I have seating for maybe seven people. Now I'm going to tell you this because it's going to come into play later. But a couple of years ago, I didn't have a sectional. A couple of years ago, I had a love seat and two chairs. Keep that in mind. We're going to come back to that in a minute. Okay? I like to play games. I like to have places for snacks. So what do I have?

Speaker 3: (18:50)

What anchor pieces do I have in order to do that? I have a coffee table and I have two site tables. I like to be able to have movie night. So what anchor pieces do I have? I have the couch. I have the chairs and I have a TV. You're going to continue doing that until you answer each question. What anchor piece do you have for the, the activity, the purpose you want to have happen in the room? Okay. Now when you're done, you're going to go to back to the top of your list. And you're going to ask yourself this question. Does the anchor piece meet the need of the purpose you have for the room? And you're going to answer yes or no. So that example I gave, when I had the love seat, I like to watch movies. I like to lounge.

Speaker 3: (19:32)

like to host people. The anchor piece I had then was a love seat. Did it meet the need? The answer would be no. Right? Okay. Nowadays I have a sectional. The answer is yes. Yes. It meets the need. My coffee table. Doesn't meet the need. Yes. And you're going to ask that for every single item on your list. Does it meet the need as it currently is? Yes or no. Okay. Now be really, really careful that you're asking if it meets the need not do you like it? That's going to come next because needs and wants. Likes and dislikes are very different and that's going to help us once we understand that it's going to help us with the reality of our budget. Okay? Now that you have your list done, you have the list on the left. You have the purpose that you want for your room.

Speaker 3: (20:20)

You have the anchor piece that goes with that purpose. And you have an idea of, yes, it meets a need or note does not remembering. We do not have any likes and dislikes here yet. That's where this comes in. Okay. Now what I want you to do is I want you to circle the anchor pieces and I want you to circle them if they meet the need and you like them. Okay? So for example, in my living room, I have an anchor piece that is the sectional. It is the couch. It meets the need. And you know what? I like it awesome. But you know what? I didn't, I didn't circle. I do have a coffee table and the coffee table, I have, it does meet the need, but you know what? I don't like it. So I'm not going to circle that one. You are only circling the items that meet the need, the anchor pieces.

Speaker 3: (21:09)

If they meet the need. And if you like them, this will help us determine if it is a, if the anchor piece that we need to add to our shopping list is a need versus a want. Now on the back of that paper, you're only going to use two columns, but you're going to make two columns of anchor pieces. This is going to be the foundation of your shopping list. You're going to write on the column on the left I have, and the column on the right I need. So what pieces do you have that you both liked and met the need? You're going to put those in the, I have section and in the, I need section, you're going to put the, the items that did not get circled that did not meet the need and you didn't like it, or you didn't like it.

Speaker 3: (21:57)

I should say they didn't meet the need or you didn't like it. Now, the list on the, I need section, we really need to stop and pause for a second, because you might in a part of determining whether you need needed it or not was determining if you liked it or not. And so what I want to have happen here is for you to prioritize the list of needs versus wants. And I want you to be really mindful of putting the need on the top of the list and the want towards the bottom of the list, because the wants, we can add later, right? The needs we might need sooner than later. And that's going to help with our budget as we prepare our budget. So being really mindful that yes, there might be a really long list. You might have 15 items on that list, but prioritizing and really being mindful of the priority.

Speaker 3: (22:48)

Can you live with a two small couch right now? Sure. You can live with it. It's not great, but you can live with it. Can you live with a broken coffee table? No, you need that now. So making sure you have a prioritized list of needs down to Watts, that's it for the anchor pieces. Now we're going to talk about the peripheral pieces. Yeah. That we have our shopping list started for our anchor pieces and the pieces that we need. I want you to start thinking about peripheral pieces. I want you to make a list of all of the peripheral pieces you have within that room. And so, as a reminder, a peripheral piece, they are the nuanced pieces. They are the heavy hitters. They are small, but mighty. These are the pieces that might be a little bit more dispensable because they don't cost as much.

Speaker 3: (23:35)

Now, quick side note, because one thing that I said was an example of a peripheral piece, was a textile, more were textiles, were blankets and, and pillows and curtains, your, some of your textile or some of your, whatever might be on my peripheral list or your peripheral list might be someone else's anchor piece. Like if you spent $10,000 on a rug, that might be an anchor because you're not going to want to change it every two years, or you're not going to want to change it within five years. But for me, if I spent $250 on a rug, if I need to change it in five years, it's not going to be a big deal. I still might have to save my money in order to purchase a new rug, but it's not going to be as cost prohibitive to make that change. It is not in my case, an anchor piece, but it might be for you.

Speaker 3: (24:23)

So right now, what your job is, is your job is to write down all of the peripheral pieces on your paper. Peripheral pieces are the pieces that are, that are the nuanced pieces. They're the pieces that pack a mighty punch. They're the pieces that bring the style to your room. These are the pieces that can be changed with the seasons like pillows. These are the pieces that can be changed out within five years because the price point at the beginning, wasn't so high or wasn't high enough, that's going to affect you adversely. If you do change it out, these are the pieces that are not attached to your home physically. So some peripheral piece examples in my living room are the rug, the curtains, the blankets, the baskets, the pillows, the floor lamp, the table lamp. Some of the books I have in the room.

Speaker 3: (25:15)

These are all examples of peripheral pieces. I'm also putting peripheral pieces in my room as the side tables and the coffee table. Now the site tables were, I spent less than a hundred dollars on each of the site tables, the coffee table. I did spend a little bit more. I spent $400 on my coffee table, but I know that if I wanted to change that within five years, I might be able to purchase another one. If I spent $10,000 on my coffee table, that would be an anchor piece. Same with my rug. If I would have spent $5,000 on my rug, that would be an anchor piece rather than a peripheral piece. So sometimes you can judge your piece based on the price point. If you feel like that's something you can spend in five years, time to change out. And it feels like that's okay.

Speaker 3: (26:01)

Even if you have to save just a little bit for it or have a little bit of time to save for it, that could be a peripheral. If it can't, if it's too cost prohibitive, that would be an anchor piece. So now I'm looking at the peripheral pieces that I wrote down that are within my room. So we're asking ourselves now with a peripheral pieces, do I love those pieces or do I not love them? And I want you to really think about the joyful feeling about it. Anna Marie Kondo was onto something. When she said, pick up a piece within your room and see if it brings you joy. This is what we're doing here. If you love the piece, I want you to circle it. I love my curtains. I'm circling them. I love my baskets. I'm circling them. The plants I'm circling them.

Speaker 3: (26:43)

I don't necessarily love my pillows. I don't necessarily love my blankets. So those I'm not going to circle. Now you can imagine that the things I am not circling, those are going to go on to my shopping list. I might want to be on the lookout now for new pillows, new rug, new, whatever, major list. Those are the things that are on your shopping list. A couple of things I want to draw your attention to before we close out today's episode one is that I want you to hear me when I say I am not at all, promoting a keep up with the Joneses. A Maura's better a your stuff is disposable culture of home decorating. I am not at all promoting that. In fact, if you go back and listen to episode four, where I talk about does your home serve you, or if you serve your home, you'll get an idea of what my take is on stuff and how stuff can actually be a barrier to creating a home that you love.

Speaker 3: (27:35)

And if you haven't listened to that, go back and do. But what I want you to know is that the reality is we do have stuff and we also have very different financial situations. So your anchor pieces and my anchor pieces are going to look different because we have different incomes coming in, right? I just will not spend $10,000 on a couch. I am not that person, if you are. That's great. But I have a feeling that most of you listening are in a similar position because fig and farm at home is about creating big style without breaking the bank. But understanding our anchor pieces and our peripheral pieces is going to be really important. When we start talking about budget, some of you may be thinking, I just helped you create a glorified shopping list, prioritizing your needs versus your wants and the big pieces versus your little pieces.

Speaker 3: (28:27)

And sure, that's what that would be. If now I said, now you're ready go out and purchase, but we're not ready. We have a couple more steps yet to do. One of them is going to be creating a budget and that's not going to happen for a couple of weeks yet, but I need you to keep this list handy so that you're ready to do that. Because if you remember me talking at the beginning of the show, budget is more than just choosing an arbitrary number. Budget is more than just choosing to look at your bank account and, and see what is in excess and what you can spend on your room this month. That's not what I mean by budget. We're flipping budget on its head because once you understand the purpose of your room, which is what we did today and getting that prioritized list of things that you need, versus what you want.

Speaker 3: (29:10)

Once you understand that we're going to take that information and we're going to plug it into the structure of the timeline. Now, if you remember me talking about it and we'll talk much more in detail in a couple of weeks, but if you remember me talking about it, the formula I use to create a budget is purpose. Plus timeline equals budget. Timeline is the critical piece here. We already did the purpose, the purpose work. And that's important in any given day when you're designing a room. But the timeline is what sets me apart from other designers, because I'm not that you are able to create a room from start to finish in a weekend. I'm not assuming that in fact, I'm assuming the opposite. I'm assuming that you might need to do a little bit here a little bit there. And over time, you're going to create this magical space.

Speaker 3: (29:56)

That is what I'm assuming, because not everyone of us has a chunk of cash sitting around in order to spend, to make a room beautiful. So the structure I've created for a timeline really breaks down the biggest impact changes you can make. First, second, third, fourth, all of that. And that's going to vary person to person. It's not, it's going to look a little different for you than it is for me. It's going to look a little different for Susie than it is to Nelly. It's just going to be a little bit different. Also, it's going to be different because of your anchor pieces, what anchor pieces you need and want what peripheral pieces you need and want. So, so yes, debunk that idea that we just made a glorified shopping list that glory I'm air quoting glorified shopping list is going to be so important.

Speaker 3: (30:43)

Don't throw it away. Don't lose it. Don't give it to your kids as scribble paper. You're going to want to use that. And before we go, I'm going to leave you with one more cautionary tale. Okay? Some of you already are thinking this, having a list of prioritized needs versus wants is helpful. And it is. And if you started right there, that could be a starting point because now, you know what you might want, what you might need, and you could probably piece it together on your own, but you're missing a really critical step here. And the thing that we're going to be talking about next week is understanding your aesthetic. And I don't mean your style. I mean your aesthetic. If we started purchasing now without understanding our aesthetic, the thing that's going to happen is that we're going to end up overspending. We're going to end up buying things that actually we were not quite fans of.

Speaker 3: (31:36)

And we're going to feel like we might not be able to put it into words, but we might feel like something doesn't quite work here, or I don't know how to put it all together. So understanding our aesthetic and then plugging that into our purpose pieces is going to be really important. So this is a three part series. It's a three-part process, understanding your purpose, your aesthetic, and your budget, so that you can then create a room that you love. So girls put your credit card down. And if you need to listen to this a couple of times before next week, before we do the next step, do that, take some notes, grab your paper and pencil and do that. And if you have questions, I want you to ask the questions, make sure that you either pop into my DMS, just come join our Facebook group. That would be the easiest where the conversation is literally going all the time. You can find that at bit dot L Y forward slash design 1 0 1 group. All right, girls until next week. I'll see you soon.

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