I have never been what you would call a very domestic person. I earnestly expressed disdain for anything that could be construed as “bric-a-brac” and could not feign interest in drapery or nice furniture. Words like etagere, sconce and valance were not a part of my vocabulary. (I’m not entirely sure I know what they mean now.) If friends or family talked about matters of the home, my eyes would glaze over or I would excuse myself from the room to play with the pet cat. All of my spending impulses revolved around shoes, music, books and travel. I never had the need for landscaping skills, and my cooking skills have trended on the rudimentary side. An independent girl who married late in life, I never imagined I would live in any abode much more significant than the quaint and simple townhouse I purchased with Kevin when we were still dating.
Kevin, however, always had a different plan, and as a result, everything has now been completely flipped upside down. Kevin aspired to purchase a larger, newer house with a yard, one that we could own forever. He started saving for this goal almost as soon as the boxes were unpacked in our little townhouse six years ago. Carefree and oblivious, I lived my life as I always had, spent money as I always had, and grew comfortable in the small space we shared with the cats and the Sprout. This past Christmas, one of my family members asked Kevin how he planned to spend all of the Lowe’s and Home Depot gift cards he had received, and he casually mentioned that we would be buying a new house in 2015. While I had been focused on staying blonde and fashionable, Kevin had paid off our debt and collected a sizable nest egg for our transition to a house with a capital H.
A short six months after Kevin’s holiday announcement, my life morphed into one I had never before imagined. All of my excess income is now devoted to bric-a-brac. I walk around our new house, and walk around again, rearranging items, enjoying the wide terrain of open space, admiring the accoutrements I have rabidly accumulated in a frenzy of spending since our offer was accepted. It’s a shock to the system to never need or care about interior design, and then suddenly become obsessed with it. My google searches have gone from “Jimmy Choo spring line-up” to “upscale modern design”. My phone is filled with images of decorating ideas, many of which I have implemented with moderate success in the new House. I haven’t yet spent time on Pinterest, but I see it as an inevitable result of wanting to make the new space one we will be proud to show off.Other Homeowners tell me that my quest for the perfect home “will never be done.” That depresses me slightly, as I want it done yesterday. When we moved in, I instructed the movers to put all furniture in designated rooms, and all other items, including boxes, in the garage. The entire double garage (my first) was filled to capacity, shoulder-high, with only narrow walkways in which to navigate. It looked like an episode of “Hoarders”. I wanted everything that went into the house to be placed thoughtfully and neatly, and the house to always be immaculately organized. The garage-to-house unpacking was the only way I knew to do this, and I would come home from work each day and arrange items, one at a time, until I was so exhausted that I couldn’t move. It took me exactly one month to complete, 2 weeks ahead of my self-imposed schedule. At that point, I could park my dream car in my dream garage. Life was becoming surreal.
Since unpacking, I have worked room to room, tweaking and re-arranging and cleaning and planning. I love this Home in a way I never thought possible. I love caring for it, sitting in it, adorning it, and talking about it. In the same way I did when I first started driving my dream car, I almost have to pinch myself to believe that it’s real, to grasp that it is ours. (See blog When You Finally Own Your Dream Car ). I think back to the sometimes-selfish, superficial girl I once was, and wonder how this quick evolution occured in such a short span of time. Suddenly, I can never find time or money to update my blonde highlights, and my shoe collection sits neglected on the organized shelves. I don’t talk about grand trips in our future or drop triple-digits in the bookstore. And while the cooking and landscaping skills have not yet been developed, it seems reasonable to expect that these activities will be a part of my new future. Kevin says there are no more surprise major purchases in our future, no more shocking Christmas announcements, and I’m thankful. This one is as satisfying and transformative as I can handle. Now, would someone please explain to me the difference between a valance and a sconce?