So – home. I don’t decorate. At least not in the make-a-plan-buy-everything-at-once-and-see-it-through-asap way. I want to, but the time (?), the resources (?)…so I just gravitate towards things I love and they show up all around me. Eventually, a “look” emerges.
I love the clean modern, minimalist lines of current showhomes. Every decorating show on TV displays an “after” room that is neat and clutter-free and fresh and has basically no visible signs of life (toast crumbs, shoes by the door, you know: life). Everytime I watch one, I want an entire new house full of furniture that has never actually been used. Right now I could have that and not even have to pay until January 2012!!! You gotta love furniture showroom advertising!
We used to own an antique/vintage furnishings/home decor/custom framing/gift-type shop downtown in another state. When we left that place, I kept only the things that had meaning to me. True antiquers would point out the chips and cracks in what I have, which may give them less value. They might flip the aged plate over to read the markings, find out where it came from instead of enjoying the beauty of the piece or remembering the friend who gave it. Yet these are the things I love. The pieces of the past that bring meaning to my present.
If the house was burning down and I had already secured my family & dog, home videos and all of my photos, next I’d want (not necessarily in this order):
My antique oak buffet (“sideboard”) with the curved legs – the very first “old” thing I ever got when a lady wanted to show her thanks for a pastoral visit by giving it to Dave and I. It was black with oxidization and had a broken and bolted leg. A friend stripped it back to expose a tight wood grain and repaired the leg. It sits in the family room, still, against a red-pepper-colored wall. Iinside is artwork-not-yet-framed, candles, video equipment and table linens. Underneath, sometimes, are 2 more modern-shaped ottomans.
The very large pine library table we found in the garage of a house we bought years ago. The previous owners had attached a 4 x 8 sheet of plywood on top to use it as a work bench. It was filthy and beat up. It is now the very roomy, shiny desk at which Dave does all his wee-hours-of-the-morning writing in the master suite.
A small drop-leaf desk with doors which are so warped they will never properly close again. I bought it for $5 at a garage sale and my all-time-great-friend-for-life, Lisa Bierer, painted a European castle scene on it. Open market? Probably couldn’t get much, but it houses my stationery and family photos and the loving touch of a good friend and I wouldn’t sell it to save my life.
The old-school-window coffee table. All 5 of my children attended, for at least 2 of their elementary school years, Northern Hills in Norfolk, NE. Not long before we left there, they were doing a remodel on the old 1920s building and were throwing out the big, old multi-paned windows. A teacher friend called us (knowing we like weird things) and said, “You should come and get some windows!” We did and a few years ago, my husband bought an old bed at a thrift store and used the legs and other distressed wood to create a coffee table. It is a piece of my children’s past through which they once gazed toward their futures. And in the Twilight-Zone-category, they all now attend and do ministry at Northern Hills Church here in Colorado. I have no idea what that means, but there it is.
The Victorian family cut-outs representing us that my husband created in the 1980s. I was in to “Victorian” then. Hey, our shop was “Victorious!” Dave cut out almost-life-sized Victorian people representing each of us, and we painted them and used them as part of our yard display at Christmas. We lived in a great big 1860s Queen Anne Victorian then and we won a Christmas lighting display contest in our city the year we made them! They are rarely seen now, unless you happen to glance up into the garage rafters, but they are our own family “antiques.”
Some days I’d like to throw everything out and start all over. But I also like that which says: we have been creating a life for almost 28 years!…much came before us….these things are part of our foundation, our long-lived and continuing commitment. Maybe due to the somewhat rootlessness of my childhood (we moved around a lot) I want proof that my life and home didn’t just appear on the American Furniture Warehouse showroom yesterday. It didn’t just end one place and start over the next. Home carries the proof of deep roots, sometimes slightly-tattered and time-worn, but beautiful in their reflection of the green, life-giving blessing of God. The effect of the things accumulated? Real people in 3-d, not a magazine shoot. Safe. Nurturing. Home. Sweet. Home.
If the house were burning down – mainly the family and dog, the home videos and all my photographs!…Jeanie
NOTE TO SELF: But editing, very aggressive editing is way OK, too! It is January – a good time to edit ruthlessly!
pictured: the buffet, the Lisa-Bierer-painted desk, the school-window coffee table, a branch I just painted…orange! :)
“For me, home is the coming together of my past memories and experiences, of my love for my children and husband and friends;…my optimism tangibly expressed in life-enhancing ways – room by room…” Alexandra Stoddard in Creating a Beautiful Home