When we first started unpacking boxes, bringing order and that indefinable sense of “homey-ness” to that chaos seemed an impossibility. Although I would describe myself as a primarily visually-oriented person, visualizing a future project or even a room is a gift infrequently granted to me. Instead, I find myself with a feeling that I want to convey or surround myself with and then resort to moving things around, buying and returning objects, or–when the previous two actions end in frustration–moving on to something else for a bit (or longer than a bit). And yet, with all the starts and stops, I realized as I sat in the living room the other day, that it is coming together and forming my idea of home: a place where beauty and color draw the eyes, enlivening the heart; a place of comfort; a place perhaps best described by Mole’s thoughts in The Wind in the Willows, upon having come back to his home after some absence:
But it was good to think he had this to come back to; this place which was all his own, these things which were so glad to see him again and could always be counted upon for the same simple welcome.
Granted, a home is much more than a collection of things. However, these objects– furniture, books, hangings and photos — do bring a welcome in terms of the memories and, therefore, emotions imbued in them.
Our furniture includes the desk my parents gave me as a child, where I spent so much time writing and drawing, not always very carefully, as lines and scratches on the wood prove. Atop it stand an oil lamp (a wedding gift) and a fan from my summer in Daejeon, S. Korea.
The photos above the fireplace were taken at one of my favorite Dayton haunts on an early spring day when warm winds were beginning to blow, but before any of the true spring greenery was out. Instead, color was found in the golds of dead grasses and the greyish blues of reflected sky.
This slim, slightly shaky corner bookshelf holds quite a lot: a little red monkey that somehow became attached to our idea of us as a couple when I was in college and that has therefore been hung from ceiling fan pulls and light shades at each place we’ve lived, and which now has a home on a vase holding some hardy dried ornamental grasses which have endured two moves. The shell came from a recent Rector family vacation in Galveston, and the card was one I got for Jason on his birthday and then kept long past his birthday because I liked the touch of whimsy it added.
Below, the shelves hold a collection of library books and frequently read or recently added books that we own. This shelf provides a fairly complete summary of my current reading (excepting the library copy of Swallows and Amazons that I have as bed-time reading):
Across the room, another shelf holds many of my favorite books, along with a picture of us (soon after we started dating) which Jason gave me for our first Christmas as a couple. Next to it stands a trophy from his autocross racing days.
My current favorite–and most recent–addition is the product of one of those rare moments of inspiration in which I was able to both visualize and carry out my plan for a garland that would bring my favorite season inside the house. I love autumn colors, so I thoroughly enjoyed watercoloring my own fall leaves to display.
As I write this from the couch, I can look out the windows to a uncommon view of blue (blue!) skies above white snow, sun-brightened brown bare trees, verdant evergreens, and dark asphalt streets. It’s a surprisingly colorful contrast to the last few days, but still lacks the life and variety of other seasons. I find as we move more into the “bleak mid winter” I am more and more appreciative of the natural hues and elements of more colorful seasons that have come into our living room. This is indeed becoming a warm and welcoming shelter of a home.