"It feels like home to me, it feels like home to me
It feels like I’m all the way back where I come from
It feels like home to me, it feels like home to me
It feels like I’m all the way back where I belong"
Chantal Kreviazuk – "Feels Like Home"

I am in.

My old home is sold. I am no longer responsible for a mortgage I can barely afford and an acre of property I care not to tend to. The walk through went well and while proceeds weren’t what I had hoped for, the truth is that I have avoided a possible foreclosure action and I have relocated to a wonderful thriving town and community.

My boys spent last night with their father so it was my first full night alone in the apartment. I should have unpacked boxes and organized. I should have played with the cat. I should have gone grocery shopping.

I didn’t.

Instead, I laid on my bed and listened to the sounds of the neighborhood, the passing cars, and took in the environment. Nick, the golden lab upstairs, paced the floor as my mind wandered through thoughts of my children, the neighborhood, and what lies ahead of us in the days and weeks to come.

I found myself most amused at the fact that I really like this old place. The building, a three flat, was built in the early 1900’s. The floors, while outstanding, are uneven. The closets are small and oddly shaped

When you walk from my bedroom, past the bathroom, down the hall to my sons bedroom, the floor creaks and sags and it makes me smile. Many of the doors don’t fully close as their old hardware has been painted over one too many times. They are solid wood doors with ancient knobs. They would look beautiful with crystal door knobs on them. I consider a visit to Restoration Hardware.

The kitchen, while updated with modern day maple cabinets and appliances also has interesting floor elevations. It is likely why the owner chose a vinyl floor covering versus tile for the kitchen. I pass through the kitchen into the butlers pantry and I stop to rest as I admire the shelving and old cabinets. The walls have been painted a sage green. My burgundy colored fiestaware contrasts nicely against the wall color and the white shelving. A vision of red toile flashes before me for a possible window covering.

Into the large dining room, filled with natural light from the three windows, I stop and admire the neighbors home clad in dark green shingles. My eyes wander to the high ceilings where I note the older lighting fixture, chandelier type, dangles haphazardly. I must fix that. My eye is drawn to the built in china cabinet with the old leaded glass doors. Should I put my Mikasa china in there or something else? I am anxious to create backers to the shelves with vintage wallpaper. Being a rental unit I cannot do much with paint and permanent changes but I can certainly get creative with cardboard and wallpaper to create a colorful faux wallcovering to the back of the china cabinet. Perhaps I should decide on what I will put in there first. Then I can use a color that compliments the contents of the cabinet.

The glass on the cabinet reflects the image of the french doors that join the dining room to the living room. How old are these doors? How many children have slammed them and been hollered at by their parents? How many hands, and in what eras, have grasped the old pulls and welcomed guests into the dining room?

My jewel toned oriental type rug looks quite nice on the high polished floors in the living room. I had previously planned on making this living room into a chocolate brown, ivory, turquoise color palette. That old rug, placed their yesterday by me, is now messing with my design vision. This old place might not welcome a contemporary design style. I will need to sit with the place for a few weeks to let it speak to me and let it tell me how it should be decorated. It should be a joint effort, this home making. The apartment, with its many years of history, will work in tandem with me to create a place we are mutually comfortable with. I am a visitor here. A new addition. These walls, these high ceilings, the wide moldings, they have been here for generations. They know better than I what they need. I will listen and learn and respect the design energy of the architecture and the previous inhabitants.

The windows flanking the fireplace wont need coverings. They are small enough and high enough that security is of no concern. In addition, the way the sunlight comes into each window creates lovely streaks of light across the living room walls. Who would ever want to block out the sun?

There is character here. History. Color. Flavor. Vibes.

I like it and I am surprised by that. Yet I understand why I like it.

I am a not a fancy, pretentious person. I have had fancy and pretentious. I have lived in it. Less than ten years ago my ex husband purchased what many refer to as a McMansion. An enormous center hall colonial in a new development, it was indeed lovely. But it wasn’t me. The neighborhood was filled with stay at home moms with executive husbands (one of the neighbors was Jack Welch’s press secretary). The moms had play groups during the day. I wasn’t invited. I worked. The moms (as they told me) "raised their own children" while I hosted au pairs from Europe and beyond to help me with my sons. The moms played bunco at night. I was invited once but I did not fit in. While they sat and discussed their latest strand of pearls and the newest line at Ann Taylor, I talked hair color, tattoos and literature. During the progressive dinners that were held annually, I found myself on the outside decks with the men doing shots and discussing business and politics. This alienated me from the women who preferred to discuss recipes and diaper cremes.

I did not fit.I tried for my husbands benefit (he did fit and wanted me too as well) but honestly I did not try very hard. It wasn’t me. I did not want to fit.

I fit in this new place.

The neighborhood is multicultural, diverse, many ages. There are single moms with children, there are older couples with glorious golden labs. There are graduate students from UConn, Trinity College, UHart. The homes are close together and people readily introduce themselves and watch out for each others children. Yesterday, the older gentlemen from upstairs (the owner of Nick the golden lab) brought my sons a plate of home made cookies he and his wife had made. My sons sat with Richard on the large from porch and played with Nick the dog.

I fit.

9 Thoughts.

  1. The apartment sounds perfect, as does the neighborhood. I’m really glad you are feeling good there – hopefully you’re also feeling better from the bug and exhaustion.
    What fun to look forward to decorating, too, especially a place with character. No doubt you will have it even more perfect in no time!

  2. Congrats on the new home its gorgeous, cant wait to visit. I always love the first night in a new home.
    Just a note, if you come to Chicago this year I will take you to one of the antique shops that sell fixtures etc…by the bucketfull, and are a damned sight cheaper than RH….
    hugs to you and the boys….and much happiness in your new home!

  3. It all sounds so wonderful Suz: A wonderful way to self-expression. Love the hardwood floors and all your decorator plans sound great.
    It is a special feeling to “hear” the sound of your calmness.
    Go with it, Suz.

  4. Suz,
    I am so very happy for you. You post brought tears of happiness to my eyes. It was so very sad when we came up on Sunday. But now, it is all good. Again, I am glad you found your niche. Your post was so beautifully descriptive, I felt like I was there with you.

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