Sunday, September 06, 2009

How to Make a House a Home

I am now living by myself on a tree-lined, sun-dappled block in Park Slope. There are old houses and artisanal cafes and food coops and the park. At night, everything is still, cars drive by quietly, couples walk together, dogs wag and the air feels clean. Inside my section of the brownstone, it's 90% decorated--all with my mother's antiques: French ash buffet, Persian rugs, lamps made of stone urns, gilded frames and old flowered prints. A big soft blanket folded on the couch. My desk is a marble table top over an iron base, there are fluffy towels in the bathroom and outside, my patio has a rattan chaise with a big square suede-like pillow tossed on it. It looks over the little garden, the blueberry patch and the mint plants.

The kitchen is eat-in, the dining room table looks outside and my bedroom is a little cove, painted sage-green. Cream drapes fall from the windows, the bed is overstuffed with white linens and a stiff dust ruffle. My favorite white lamp draped with the beaded pearl necklace and a lambskin rug on the floor. It feels like sleeping in a layered wedding cake, an igloo made of fur, a room at a Vermont bed and breakfast. It's the first time I've lived alone, and I made the smallest room my bedroom so that my office and TV and everything is away. For so long my bed was my desk, my workspace, my entertainment center, even my breakfast nook where I sipped coffee.

Now the bed is sacred. And the apartment too. I find myself bouncing around, playing with the dimmers, cleaning the windows, sweeping the wooden planks endlessly. My clothes are in closets, not hanging over chairs, my papers are in folders instead of strewn across the floor. It feels like a beautiful home, my parents' maybe, my great-aunt's whose house is all white and spotless. Here the walls are pale yellow (except for the bedroom), the ancient fireplace irons flank the mantle, and not only does everything feel so adult, it feels full of possibility and promise.

I wanted a gorgeous place to be for so long, to work, to create. I didn't realize how much I wanted it, maybe even needed it, until I was blessed enough to get it. If I can't get my books published here, get into grad school here, flourish my freelance career here, then there is no hope for me at all.

But today I am positive. I just got here, but it feels like home. Only when I stop and really think does it occur to me it took 27 years for me to find it.


Anonymous said...

How funny. I'm 28 and coincidentally it's my first night living on my own. So far I'm vacillating between overproductivity -- must clean the refrigerator and organize my closet, NOW -- to lying on cushions in front of the TV. I'm kind of scared to turn off the TV and get off the internet...wondering whether the silence will be scarily unnerving, or a big relief. Trying to stay positive. Thanks for the inspiration!

Maeko said...

This house sounds inviting, homey, mature, feminine and charming.

I would love to see photos of it soon. It sounds too sumptuous and lovely not to see!