Life is a journey and you never know what’s around the next bend in the road. Last spring, I began to recognize the signs of burnout in myself in regards to my furniture painting business. My intentions to start blogging again fell by the wayside as I struggled to deal with that and what it meant. It was hard to feel the frustration and feeling of “blah” about Storywood Designs come over me because I love furniture and love refinishing pieces, love creating new life where there was old and love helping people fall in love with their furniture and in turn their home just a little bit more. BUT. There’s a side to furniture painting and refinishing that you don’t see on Pinterest and blogs. It’s physically demanding… the repetitive movements of the paint brush and a sprayer are hard on the body. It’s all consuming. My house was taken over by painting supplies, paint and everytime I walked through my garage doors, I saw the backlog of client’s furniture I needed to work my way through. Days were full of onsite work at client’s houses – bigger pieces like built ins, vanities and kitchen cabinets. Nights and weekends found me scrambling to catch up on smaller furniture pieces that clients left for me to paint in my workshop. I hit that point in my business that in order to continue on, I would have to hire someone to work with me on pieces. And I was faced with deciding… is that what I wanted? To grow Storywood Designs to the next level? To take on the business and management issues that came along with that? Did I really feel like I could trust someone else enough to paint under my name? Did I want to?
The answer was no. I cared too much about my work and am too Type A to feel good about allowing someone else to paint with me. Plus, I didn’t want to take Storywood Designs to the next level. I didn’t want to become an administrator and manager of my company and let someone else have all the fun painting and working directly with clients. On top of that, I’d dealt with a few physical injuries that resulted from repetitive overuse of my hands and knees on some of my bigger jobs. I know that as I get older, those injuries will be more likely to happen. In fact, I’ve been off the tennis courts for almost 2 months nursing an injury I sustained on my last kitchen job.
And so, with that, I rounded a bend in my journey and had a heart to heart with myself about what came next. When I thought about the things I loved about painting furniture, it was envisioning and experiencing the transformation of a piece. I loved working with people, helping them with their home… whether it be a furniture piece, a bathroom vanity or their kitchen cabinets, a transformation that I was involved with helped them love their home a little bit more. And that my friends, was my lightbulb moment. Furniture, kitchen cabinets and bathroom vanities weren’t the crucial element of my business. Working with clients on their homes, helping them make their home life a little better was.
Want to know something about me that I have never told many people? The first time I attempted to look at real estate as a career, I was 24 years old, in the IT world and a new homeowner. I back away from it then because I wasn’t in a place that I could be without company benefits and a monthly salary. The second time I looked at real estate, James was 6 months old and I knew it could be a career that would allow me to do something I love and set some of my own hours. That time, I actually got my license. But afterwards, I realized that while you set some of your own hours, it’s a full time job (and then some!) and I was ill prepared for that with an infant at home. The third time I looked at real estate as a career was this past spring. This time, I went into it with eyes wide open, with the experience of running my own business under my belt and with kids who are old enough for me to feel good about stepping back into working full time. This time, I looking at real estate knowing that my 10 year obsession with the residential real estate market and homes in our area wasn’t a phase or a passing fancy. It’s what I was meant to do.
Armed with that newfound knowledge, I finished my last pieces of furniture, built-ins and one last kitchen under Storywood Designs. I emptied out my workshop and my stash (bordering on hoard) of furniture and supplies. I felt a literal weight being lifted off my shoulders once each piece was done and delivered. I parked my car in my garage for the first time in 6 years. And I reinstated my license and found a firm to affiliate with that feels like home, full of people that make me happy. I get to let someone else deal with all the administration and business details and I get to focus on what I know that I love… helping people find home.
The most ironic fact of all these changes? I’m may not be hunkered down, refinishing furniture and kitchens for clients anymore, but I’m back to blogging. I’m missed it too much on a personal level to let it go. I tired of blogging about my furniture pieces, but I never tired of blogging about home and there were many times I’d write a blog post in my head as I repurposed a room in our house or worked on a DIY project. Now that I don’t spend every waking moment in my house feeling like I should be working on a piece of furniture for someone else, I have time to write about home again.
I’d love for you to join me at Five, Fifteen and Change if you’d like to continue on this journey with me. It’s a no fuss, simple little blog… my little corner of the blogging world to write about one of the things I love most… home. Storywood Designs and all of its content will still be here and searchable but I won’t be posting here any more. Most of all, I want to thank you for being here, for supporting me and cheering me on these last 4 years. For those of you here in Raleigh that have given me the honor and the privilege to work on your furniture pieces and in your home, your trust and faith in my work means more than you will ever know. I hope that you will think of me if you ever have any real estate needs and we will have the opportunity to work together again.
And with that, I sign off one last time from Storywood Designs. It’s time to write the next chapter of my story.
Much Love, Holly