When we first moved into our current place I had visions of grandeur in terms of the design. I basically wanted this, so of course I dove right in and began painting everything light and bright.
We needed a little extra storage so we picked up the Rast dresser from Ikea (who hasn’t?). And because I was on the “light and bright” train, I decided to paint it white.
I knew from the moment I finished the last paintbrush stroke it wasn’t right. It was too much white. We had white bookshelves to the left of that door and that dresser was just boring and bland, no matter how much I tried to dress it up with colorful books and decor.
So what did I do? I ignored it. For months. I didn’t want to admit to myself that I was wrong. Did people even notice that dresser? Probably not. But did I notice? You bet. That dresser grated on me and ran through my mind on the regular for half a year.
Then, one bright morning, we had to run an errand at Home Depot. Hmmmmm I thought, hmmmmm. “I need to paint that dresser a different color,” I blurted out to Tom. He looked at me half-smiling (he knows me too well) and said, “Ok, pick out the color.”
Something dark and moody. I needed to anchor that space and I knew I wanted to use these knobs, so I chose Temptation by Benjamin Moore.
It. Is. Perfect.
Seriously, now I walk by that dresser and think, “Why didn’t I fix this sooner?” Oh that’s right, because I would rather live in the discomfort of a mistake than admit I was wrong.
If this project had been for a client, the client’s happiness would have outweighed my ego. I wouldn’t be offended and I wouldn’t think twice. I would simply fix it.
But in my home I am both the creator and the consumer. And when I’ve designed something that isn’t perfect, I have to admit, “I’ve designed something that isn’t perfect.” As a perfectionist, it’s hard to tell myself, “I messed up.” I’m a harsh critic, and therefor my own worst enemy.
I believe the mark of a good designer (or for that matter, a lawyer, a doctor, a parent, or any human being) is the willingness to admit mistake.
We are not flawless; we are imperfect. Only when I am willing to admit the mistake am I able to move beyond it.