Sunday, April 3, 2011

What I Learned from my Curtains

We moved into this house almost six years ago. It has been over six years since we saw it for the first time. The real estate market was definitely a seller's market back then-we were buying in January and houses were flying off the "shelves". Before we looked at our house, we looked at another house down the street. The seller had definitely set the "trap". Candles burning, beautiful paint colors, everything coordinating. It was beautiful. And at the very tippy top of our price range. Just after seeing that house we looked here. Quite a different story. A bachelor lived here. In what is now the dining room there was a gun safe. Upstairs there was a lovely oil painting...of some guys on a dock...with a bucket of Corona. His spacious bathtub was filled up with dirty laundry, and in the hallway, visible as you first walked in the door, a velvet-y sad clown painting. A sad clown!!! But the family room was by far the worst. Dark navy curtains. An animal head. A place for the BIGGEST dog you've ever seen. But, as we looked around, we realized the floor plan was the exact same. It was the same house! This house was just dressed more for a day at the lake than a nice dinner out. Throw in a huge deck, fenced in backyard, and woods behind the house and we were sold. And not for a price too far out of reach.

I moved in with the other house always in my head. That dressed up fancy, beautiful, smell good house. It was a trap alright.

I have spent a lot of time thinking about what might be instead of appreciating what is. (How obvious is it that this pertains to the rest of my life??) There is nothing wrong with dreaming a little. But sitting in a room and being bitter over the horrible navy curtains? Really not helpful. I decorated (and I use the term loosely) my family room based on my fantasy curtains. My decor did not match the room. But, it went perfectly with the room in my head. Curtains (or "drapes" as the more sophisticated set refers to them) are very expensive. And we have lots of windows. And we always had other priorities. But I still kept living in the room of my mind instead of giving into what actually was.

Recently, when I was in Knoxville, I was invited to visit my Grandmother's house and claim anything I wanted. My sweet Ga-Ga is in a nursing home. She won't be going back to her house. It is still shocking and sad to think about. She deserves (and will be getting) her very own post. But, while I was there, swimming in such fond nostalgia, I came across one throw pillow. One throw pillow that changed everything.

I immediately loved it. And at first, I thought, "This doesn't match my family room." Suddenly, and I can't really even explain it, a whole vision for the room appeared in my head and ,get this, it included the curtains! I took out all of the things that existed coherently only in my mind and replaced them with things that bring the room together. It's pretty remarkable. I was blessed enough to get some great pieces of milk glass (also from Ga-Ga) and found a perfect piece of fabric for $7. Seven dollars is what it cost to let my family room finally be who it is meant to be.

It sounds dramatic, I know. But it kind of was dramatic for me. In my eyes, it's beautiful, and truth be told, I've never felt that way about anything in my home. I think my family room is beautiful. Skanky old couch and all.

All around me is the call to embrace what IS. Not what I wish was, or not what so-and-so has. If I embrace my life as it unfolds, letting go of the choke hold I've had on it always, if I just stop. And breathe. And watch...



WendyB said...

I've had that same type of experience, and it's so freeing! Home is so precious when you let yourself love it.
I remember my aunt saying years ago, "I spent so much of my married life trying to get my house perfect so when I had friends over I'd be proud of it, and then one day I realized my friends don't care!"

Jen said...

I love you, and I love this post.

Katy said...

i must tell anyone who is doubting - it really is beautiful. kel, you should post some before and after pics. I love it!