Okay, I am going to let you in on a secret. I don't like going to our old neighborhood. I avoid it. I am still friends with a few of our neighbors, but I try to meet them at neutral spots. Or my new home, the modest rental.
Because it pains me to see our old home. I know I've droned on about this before, but that home haunts me. it was the culmination of months of honing my vision. It
And someone else is living there. They have the window treatments I designed, the backsplash I created, the landscaping I dreamed up...but, they don't know the story behind them. And there is a story.
When I was planning this home, somehow a narrative began to form in my mind. I wanted my house, despite the fact that it was a new construction, to feel as if it'd been there for years. Decades. Centuries. I also didn't want it to be a run-of-the-mill European knock-off that so many McMansions favor. Furthermore, our eclectic taste in furniture and art didn't lend itself to that style, even if that'd been our first choice.
I've never told anyone this before, because it sounds pompous and self-aggrandizing and silly and perhaps even annoying. But I need to get over this house, and maybe telling the sordid secrets we kept (keep?), us being the home and I, will help.
Whenever I was stumped with a decision regarding the house, no matter how major or minor the detail, I put myself into the following scenario:
I am a spoiled socialite from European old money stock, but the money is starting to run short. The family isn't yet actually budgeting with any sincerity, but we aren't spending as lavishly as we once did.The thing is, I am none of those things in my story. I come from old debt, not old money.
To that end, I am living in an old family home in X city; it used to be a pied-a-terre for the family's biannual weekend jaunts, but at 3,500+ square feet, it suits me just fine. It is full of architectural details that my ancestors would have chosen, but aren't in tune with my modern style. I can appreciate the beauty of the stones, the silks, the mosaics, the pedestal sinks, but frankly I have a more edgy bent.
So, as I can't afford to replace the hand-carved corbels or brocade draperies or anything, I decide to funk it up with color and artwork and furnishings. That is, I would infuse my personality onto the palette I was dealt.
What I was left with (actually, what I was striving for), is a home with an old-world backdrop full of tumbled marble, ivy-covered courtyards (well, it took a few years for that ivy to take off), formal furniture and medallioned ceilings...while at the same time sporting bursts of modern furniture, and non-traditional colors, avant-guard art, and a totally relaxed atmosphere.
Maybe that's why it never worked. Why I always felt so fucking grateful to be in that house every single day of the five-plus years I called it home.
Maybe because while I created it from stem to stern, it wasn't my story. It was a fairytale I told myself, and I designed so I could live my dream.
Before my daughter was born, after I'd lived in my Dream House for less than a year, I bought a carved wooden placard for her nursery (whose room is now?). It said (and, still does, as it is in her new room), "Fairy tales do come true."
Am I lying to her?