House and Home (continued)
My goal for my house has never been to have a particular look or style. Sure I have a weakness for mission style furniture and dark woods, but beyond that my tastes are fairly eclectic. Generally, it is good because randomly collecting hand me down pieces from friends and family is pretty much the only way I get furniture. The goal for my house has always been a feeling. From the first time to now, there isn’t a time when I have walked into Dr. Phoenix’s house without immediately feeling at peace and at home. In fact, it is her house and that feeling which started me thinking about welcome as much as it was the scholarly work in graduate school. It is the idea of welcome and the feeling I have in Dr. Phoenix’s home that I try to create as I pull together my new house. My scholarly work tells me that in order for me to create that sense of welcome for someone else I must first feel welcomed and at home in my own space. While it certainly isn’t all there yet, since I moved in back in August I have been trying to turn this house that I love into a home.
One of the best and first “visibility” inspired decisions I made this year was accepting He Who Shall Be Named Later’s (HWSBNL) last minute invitation to have dinner at his friend’s house. His friend happened to live very close to me, and I needed to make friends away from work, so I accepted with the intention of stealing his friend for myself. Amie volée was indeed a friend worth stealing, which is proven by how often we chat and hang out these days. She has also proved invaluable for helping me make this house into a home.
During one of our first hang out sessions, I mentioned that I would have to make a trip to the laundromat. It was perfect timing because her parents had just gotten their own new washer and dryer, and agreed to sell me their old ones for a pittance and pizza during delivery.
Though I had washer and dryer on my “must have” conditions for the year, I expected them to be something I got by the end of the year. I’ve lived in places with a washer and a dryer before and I have lived without. The time saved by getting all the laundry done at once always seemed to at least balance out the dread of a full day of laundry or the load that has been in the dryer so long it needs to be washed again just to get the wrinkles out. How much time and peace having a washer and dryer in this house would give me was something I didn’t expect at all. Doing just one small load here or there has been a lifesaver for me. Even the ambient noise of them running makes me feel good.
Dr. Revolution also keeps filling the house. It’s become a thing. I can’t leave a visit to her house without something in my car like a desk chair, a baker’s rack, crystal glass ware, or even just cds burned for me. Mr. Revolution joked that the goal is that at least 65% or more of my house is stuff that has come from hers. Since we have similar tastes, I don’t think this is terrible at all. The result is that, with some furniture taken from other rooms, the living room is starting to look much less bare.
The couch and tv area still look like a back to school dorm room ad, but they are livable for now, or until I find a couch I really like. Actually, the dorm couch will probably be around until one of my friends gets a new couch and hands me down their old one. That is fine by me. (Freelance Researcher says she is replacing her couch, which I love, in five years. I can be patient.) Nearly everything in this place has come from family and friends or through a friend. The hutch my father made. The art on the walls drawn by the DH. the antique rocking chair given to me by Mags. The recliners and other things from Mag’s aunt. The baker’s rack from Dr. Revolution, the TV stand is the cribbage board coffee table my father made for me. My most recent acquisition, my beloved kitchen table came from HWSBNL; and even picking up the table was a wonderful trip with the Freelance Researcher. To furnish my house the only new things I have purchased are rugs, a cheap desk and bookcases from Aldi, and one little plaque.
Even the plaque comes with a story attached to friends. I found the it at the Chocolate festival Amie volée invited me to attend. Given her penchant for birds and the proximity to her birthday, I thought perhaps I would give it to Dr. Revolution. When I got home however, I started looking around my kitchen. Remembering November, when the Freelance Researcher drove the hour and a half to my house with all the supplies to cook for me, and how during my northern exile she routinely sent care packages of food always with the message that food is love, I knew where this plaque had to go. I wouldn’t call it my style necessarily, but the message is absolutely true. There is nothing I like more than cooking or baking for the people in my life.
Last weekend when HWSBNL stopped by to take a walk to my bridge and stayed for a cup of tea, we sat in the living room chatting and he mentioned that my house was very peaceful. We’ve never talked about it, so HSWBNL had no idea what a compliment that was to me. Hearing from someone else that my house felt peaceful amazed me. I haven’t had a house warming, or even had many friends over to the house, which are some of the things I think make a house a home. If there is a sense of peace in my house, I think it comes from the pieces of my friends new and old that furnish it, the pieces they have loaned and given me, their help moving things in and around. Nearly all of my friends live at least an hour away and we may only talk or see each other every few weeks, but they have all contributed to making my house a home. They have all made me feel at peace and welcome here, which my scholarly work tells me makes it possible for me to extend that peace and welcome to others.