The Craftsman Way vs. the Lipstick Way

Oak Tree in Field

Oak Tree in Field

Fading Echinacea

Fading Echinacea

I had a revelation recently. I have been trying to get my house done the wrong way.

Let me explain.

When I am working on my house, feathering my nest, as it were, I have always felt like there were basically two ways to go about it. (In a general sense. Of course there are myriad ways, these are just the two options that I seem to face.) I have the Craftsman Way and the Lipstick Way.

The Craftsman Way is the idea that everything should be done fully, completely, thoroughly and correctly before moving on. So, for example, when working on, say, my china hutch in the dining room, I would make sure to:

(a) Rewire the under-cabinet lighting. (b) Wire up the plugs that need to be over the countertop. (c) Wire the switch to the overhead light fixture because I need to do that before I close up the wall there. (d) Run the telephone wire while I have the wall open, so it's not tacked to the wainscoting. (e) Remove the extra layer of flooring underneath the lower cabinet so that my backsplash will be at the right height when we replace the flooring in the dining area. (f) Remove the wainscoting behind the lower cabinet so that the cabinet will sit flush against the wall as designed and not interfere with the backsplash

China Hutch in Dining Room

China Hutch in Dining Room

(g) Replace the wood-look formica counter top with a real wood one from IKEA. (h) Install a beadboard or other back splash with corbels to connect the upper and lower cabinet and make it appear to be all one piece. (i) Install beadboard in the backs of the upper cabinets. (j) Paint. (k) Style/Decorate.


On the other hand, The Lipstick Way says, "Holy moly, I do not have time for all that, and I refuse to live with a crummy looking china hutch in the meantime, so let's slap a coat of paint on that baby and call it good (for now)." In which case my plan of attack would be:

(a) Paint. (b) Style/Decorate.

Front Light Fixture

Front Light Fixture


Yes, it means embracing imperfection.

Yes, it means potentially redoing work later.

But yes, it also means getting it done.

Have I been following the Lipstick Way?



Because I've been too sold on the Craftsman Way. No rework, no waste, no flaws.

Plus, I've always been afraid that if I do the quick-n-dirty method, I'd never go back and do those detailed projects later (some of them fairly necessary) because it's too hard to face ripping something out that looks nice enough.

But here's the thing.

I don't have time for the Craftsman Way.

See, the Craftsman Way has one very major disadvantage. Unless you have a very healthy resources of time and/or money (and by healthy I mean shedloads), it's sloooooooooow. Painfully slow. Agonizingly slow.

S-L-O-W, slow.

Of course there's nothing wrong with that. Going slow is a good and healthy thing. If you are willing to live with things undone or half done in the meantime, and you enjoy the process, or if you have lots of time to spend to get it done, then it's a great choice.

Front Light Fixture

Front Light Fixture

But I've been living the Craftsman Way for 10 years now (13 if you could my first house, which I never did renovate), and you know what?

It's not a good fit for me right now.

I'm not saying it's not a good fit for everyone, I'm just saying it's not a good fit for me, where I'm at in my life right now.

Because you know what the biggest advantage is to the Lipstick Way? It's FAST. If you want to get your space looking nice so you can be happy when you are in your home, it's the quickest way to do that. It's also cheap (or can be), and easier to fit in around busy schedules with work, housework, kids and everything else going on in your busy life.

I think you see where I'm going here.

Craftsman Way, you are a wonderful ideal, and someday I hope to lovingly follow your path again.

But for today?

Me and the Lipstick Way are ready to rumble.


What about you? Which way do you do things?

~Angela :-)

~Angela :-)

DecoratingAngela2011, 2011-10