Hello? Hello? Anyone Home?
My daughter (Maurya) told me today that in the very near future, the inconstancy of bloggers will seem so constant as to become a cliche. She is hoping to post on her own blog about it. Sometime. She’s not sure when. But she’s not announcing this publicly; she’s wise enough to avoid the potentially ironic position of breaking a blogging promise herself.
I laughed, wryly. Since I chronically lack the foresight and restraint that my daughter (less than half my age) so wisely practices. With just a little more than three hours left of this week, it looks like posting my promised house tour before week’s end is on the nether side of impossible. What was I thinking? I don’t even have time to ruminate before my deadline. Or write my excuses (which is tempting, because honestly, I documented them particularly well today,…from a perilously teetering cake to a bow tie crisis, and beyond).
But I can at least show you the foyer. And, while I’m at it, the living room (they are intimately connected, as Jane Austen would say… and yes, I’m unabashedly reaching back to Jane for….uh…something. Social proof? Snob appeal turned on its ear? I don’t have time to explore this. Jane is just good company, let’s leave it at that.)
Bon Jour, Y’all
Somewhere (maybe on Oprah?) once upon a time, I caught glimpses of a breathtakingly beautiful home, decorated and lived in by a lovely woman whose wondrous Southern accent fascinated me. I think her home was in New Orleans. Beyond the fact that it was all beautiful and very classy, I don’t remember details anymore. But I do remember a notion. I remember that the woman wanted her entry hall to say (metaphorically of course), “Bon Jour, Y’all” . I loved that. The concept of welcome in design. And I decided I wanted my welcome to be warm, inclusive, beautiful, gracious. I wanted loveliness without pretention. This concept was on my mind when I designed our current home… particularly the foyer. Which is where we welcome people to our home, or where we find welcome ourselves. I feel outlandishly lucky.
As I think about designing a smaller home with a more conservative budget, I am totally comfortable with the idea of a much more diminutive entry. I believe I can relinquish quite a bit of space without compromising the sense of arrival and welcome. I’m intrigued by the challenge.
Yo, Darlings. It’s Gonna Be a Bright, Bright Sunshiny Day
Of all design elements, I think light may be the most important to me. If I had to choose. Which I rather wouldn’t, because really, I want it all, at least snippets of it—Light, space, form, function. Anyway. Light. A light, airy place feels both welcoming and beautiful to me. Particularly if it’s natural light. Which means windows.
In the foyer, I tried to make the doors as window-like as I could. Transoms over the doors, privacy glass in the doors, and especially (the icing on the cake and one of my favorite parts of the house) the round window way up high. The living room’s shares sunlight from tall south and east windows with the foyer. Light reflects off of white trim (inexpensive mdf,, painted by yours truly) and a solid oak floor (not trendy when we bought it; therefore, less expensive. But it has the classic vibe I wanted. We installed it ourselves, saving even more).
It’s Got Soul, Babe
I decorate with my own art and found/rescued treasures partly because I can afford it, and partly because I crave meaningfulness. Homemade, passed down, rescued stuff has a history, a past. It offers connection, a sense of inclusion in something larger than myself. And I love the stories (the fire bitten second hand baby grand deserves an entire post of its own). I paint things I love, often wistfully. Paintings are displayed in frames I’ve either thrifted and refurbished, or Frank has built for me. We (the girls and I) covered pots and jars in a mosaic of broken dishes (this is how I comfort myself when something pretty breaks…use bits of it in mosaics) and agates and seashells that our family collected at the Oregon coast, our favorite vacation spot. The pew is a splurge Frank bought on a whim to surprise me when the kids were little and owning it seemed as far fetched and luxurious as an exotic vacation. We rescued the old desk during those same happy, lean years, refinishing it together. When it was set in place, we sat on the floor in front of it and just looked at it. How pretty it was. How the wood seemed to glow. The sewing machine cabinet was my Grandma’s. She and I actually sewed a dress together with it; a dress I never finished, pinning it shut in the back until my mother kidnapped it and threw it away.
Welcome home, dearly beloveds.