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Learning to trust your vision

I am what I like to call a "collaborative decision maker." I like working on a team, making things happen together, building consensus, and crowdsourcing a vision. That can be a huge strength, but it can also backfire!

Five years ago, we closed on our first house. This place was a complete fixer-upper, requiring a pretty substantial renovation. All through the renovation, I sought advice from friends, family, and strangers on the internet--Should I do this tile layout or this one? Where should I put the dishwasher? What paint color would look best? The questions were endless. Clearly, I did not know how to simply have confidence in my own vision.

I knew I wanted a very open floor plan, with the kitchen feeling as breezy as possible. I decided to relocate the refrigerator from the end of the kitchen, where it blocked light and closed off the counter space, to the hall closet instead. The closet wasn't located particularly close to the entryway, but was adjacent to the pantry. By moving the fridge there, I was able to really maximize the counter space and openness and light on the main level. I added some really sexy vintage firestation lockers by the front door to function as an entryway closet, instead.

And this decision was no different. I asked everyone, Will it look weird to put the fridge in a closet? Was I being ridiculous? Would it just seem out of place? And generally speaking, the answer was a resounding Yes! Most people I asked thought the idea was a bad one. It would look like I shoved a fridge in a closet in the living room, it would look strange, it would be confusing and weird. I was so bummed.

But I kept coming back to that breezy, open space, so I decided to be a little braver than I would normally have been: I went for it anyway. And once I did, once people saw the finished kitchen, most told me they were blown away! Minds were changed when they saw the reality that I had only seen in my head.

There's a great line from Glennon Doyle, who said, "It’s not their job to trust your vision, it is your job to trust your vision. Let them believe it when they see it." My friends and family were unfailingly supportive throughout the entire renovation. They pitched in laying tile, lending tools, bagging trash, rolling paint, and so much more. They brought meals, company, and encouragement. They championed my ideas and plans for the space nearly all the time. But supporting my vision and talking me into it was never their job!

Building consensus is a great strength, but having confidence in your own vision and learning to trust yourself is just as important. Moments like these have come up more often as I transitioned from working on my own projects to taking on client work. Frequently, when I suggest an idea to a client about their space, their first reaction is to balk. At first, this pushback would make me doubt myself, but as I've grown, I've learned how to better communicate what I have in mind. Now, I much more often see clients willing to consider an idea that seems unconventional. One of my greatest joys is to see a client truly consider an idea that initially scared them, and eventually come to embrace it. We get to take so many more exciting risks that way!

None of this work was the job of the people around me. It was my work, my own development, and learning how to trust myself and communicate my ideas to others, that made all the difference.

All that to say, here are the before and after photos of the kitchen, as well as some stops along the way!

Remember to trust yourself, y'all.


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