My friend Jake sent me a 30-minute house tour video by someone named Christine McConnell and I was confused. Why was she waking up in a forest? Was she cosplaying Belle from Beauty & the Beast? Was this a goth parody of home tours? WHY DID SHE HAVE A SCYTHE?
Despite my initial confusion, I was immediately sucked in by her soothing voice and scrappy creativity. She couldn’t afford wallpaper, so she painted her own. She makes a lot of her own clothes. She woodworks (oh, to have her saw collection). Buying things new seems to be a last resort–she gets things from eBay, friends, thrift stores, even the side of the road (that’s where the chair in her vanity came from).
I consider myself a creative person, but dang. Her videos and Netflix show (which I devoured) made me realize how lazy I’ve gotten. I spend hours poring over Pinterest and lusting after beautiful things online, when I could be watching YouTube videos and teaching myself how to DIY. I’m so quick to discard things (Marie Kondo, I partially blame you) when maybe I should keep them around longer and repurpose them, or at least see if they come in handy.
You know that saying, “Fast, cheap, or good–pick two”? Christine definitely picks cheap and good, then invests a LOT of time. She seems to have endless patience: baking things, waiting for them to cool in the “chiller” (her adorable name for the fridge), decorating them painstakingly, waiting for them to chill more, etc. Not all of us have the time or desire to spend hours on a cake that looks like a house. But it made me realize I’m pretty hung up on instant gratification, or at least this idea that my life would be perfect if I could just afford XYZ. She’s like, “Whatever, I’ll figure out how to make it myself!”
For example, I LOOOVE arched doorways. Obsessed. But I’d resigned myself to thinking, I guess I’ll just look for a place that has arched doorways the next time I move. HELLOOOO I could make my own! Inspired by Christine, I watched some videos about how to convert a normal doorway to an arched one. I have ZERO carpentry experience and literally had to google what drywall is (not to mention owning zero equipment besides a hammer), so I don’t have a ton of faith in myself, but I love the idea of at least trying to figure things out myself instead of defaulting to “I guess I have to pay an expert hundreds of dollars to do it.”
Another bonus is you end up with things perfectly customized to your desires and that are totally unique. Soooo many home decor “influencers” (barf) have exactly the same style: white walls, bright and gold accents, stuff from Target and West Elm (with affiliate links, of course). It’s so copycat and devoid of personality and vintage flair. I won’t name names, but you probably know who I mean. Their homes look perfect and Insta-ready, rather than having some charming clutter and imperfections. Christine embraces her “weird old Grandma’s house” aesthetic with zero apologies AND I LOVE THAT.
Overall, I like how Christine’s videos make me FEEL. She makes me want to be a little more graceful, patient, and gentle, to slow down and savor little bits of beauty. To dial up my unique weirdness instead of being like everyone else. And once it’s safe, I’m gonna hit up ALL THE ESTATE SALES. Maybe I’ll even bake something–what a concept 😉