Writings about

the many life lessons

unearthed when we dig

in the dirt . . . and pursue

a range of other interests

in the constantly evolving

garden of life.


Wednesday, December 11, 2013

When a house starts to feel like home

No news to those who've done it: Moving is hard. After a move, it can take a mighty long time and a whole heap of work to get comfortable in the new place, to stop wondering if it ever will feel like, look like, and be home.

For me, the house is separate from the garden, which I always start anew, killing grass and planting what I like, thus immediately making it mine.

Not so with the house, which began as a stranger when we moved in during summer. While the 1959 ranch always was appealing in some ways – slung low, sturdy feeling, good layout and room sizes – it also felt unfamiliar, unbelonging to us, somehow disorienting. I felt it was a good house, but I didn't feel good about it. Moreover, I did not know if and how it would accommodate the countless indoor plants I had hauled from Connecticut to Georgia.

Much of this dissonance I felt after the move came from seeing everything out of place. Furniture, rugs, plants, dishes. They all seemed not to fit, not to be placed in exactly the right spots. I felt like a stranger in a strange space.

Until recently, when we finally – after six long months – completed essential repairs, had walls painted and, most important, got all our belongings placed. Including television sets, this after a long, contentious, disappointing experience with big-promising-little-delivering Comcast, ending with my eventually getting loose from it and hooking up with AT&T U-verse.

Feeling we had made a successful transition, Lyn and I looked around, clinked our glasses, sighed deeply and agreed that it felt like home.

This realization set me off on a round of picture-taking, documenting pieces of our environment – a nook here, a space there, akin to moments or puzzle pieces. Daily, as we walk about, our minds' eyes' see these parts as a whole. A whole home.

Here are some parts, starting with two views of the living room:

Right side.

Left Side.
A corner of the dining room.
The diner, or breakfast room.
The media center, for reading, watching television – and being.
My writing room.
I did not make any "before" images of these spaces. That does not matter. Like so much in life, it's the now that counts. And the future. Here, in this home, the now is better than the past. And, I hope, not as good as the future.




40 comments:

  1. Welcome home. Truly home, as you describe so well. I like the way you've made it your individual space, full of character, and complete with a writing room. And I absolutely love the red dining room walls!

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    1. Laurrie, I appreciate that. And I'm glad the color resonates with you. You know how it is; until you see paint up on the walls, you can't know whether it works.

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  2. Everything looks good, I love the cheerful and cozy colors on the walls. Lots of plants too. It's nice to know you finally feel at home with all your stuff in place.

    Good to know ATT works for you in case we actually make good on our threat to get rid of Time-Warner.

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    1. Amazing at how important one's stuff becomes after a move.

      On changing technology providers, sometimes that's the last sensible option. We felt stupid paying big money and getting no service. Ironically, Comcast service in Connecticut was wonderful. For us. It's always luck of the draw.

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  3. Welcome back to Ga. WSB my friends. Enjoyed the visit.
    Fudge may come your way if you are nice to the "Elf on the Shelf"

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    1. Heyyy, Kurt. Good to be with you – and to have you and Carol visit. Fudge? Rest assured, Elf will be treated well.

      WSB: You have to be a long-time Georgian and radio listener when you know those call letters stand for Welcome South, Brother. Thank you, Brother Kurt.

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  4. Your home looks so cheerful, vibrant and welcoming. The plants look healthy and happy in their new home too. I am sure you will flourish in your new digs. Getting the internet hook up straight would be of utmost importance. Aaahhhh now you can settle in and enjoy winter. I can imagine you sitting there in your writing room thinking of garden chores etc. This is the thinking time.

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    1. Lisa, your good words about our doings in the home bring much cheer. Thank you.

      Ain't it grand to create that perfect garden in your mind, made exquisite by hard labor and big thoughts. I should call it my writing and thinking room.

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  5. It looks and feels so comfy and that's all that matters. I love the artwork of the knight next to the modern sculpture. Very cool!

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    1. You won't believe the machinations over whether we both liked that sculpture well enough to put it next to Sir Robert, a gravestone rubbing from England that has become a family treasure. I'm glad you like the pairing.

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  6. Your home looks so comfortable, welcoming, and yes, it looks lived in and loved! I love the colors! Have a wonderful holiday season!

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    1. Deb, finding and deciding on colors was a huge part of making the home ours. Thanks for your good holiday wishes, and same back to you.

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  7. It looks very comfortable and soothing, Lee.

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  8. I can see you practice the fine art of layering. It's the layers of things that make a house a home in my opinion, and they don't come quickly.

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    1. Layering does establish one in a place, providing a homeliness, or domesticity, that cannot be gotten during speed-shopping at the mall. So many pieces we all collect take us to times and places long passed, still cherished.

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  9. Thrilled to see your eclectic and beautiful furnishings in place. You and Lyn finally *own* it. You done good, my friend. A reminder of of Connecticut, but fresh and new. Love the paint colors.

    I now see a home, a haven; you present a warm, comfortable, welcoming space. Don't be surprised if you hear a knock on the door....

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    1. Greetings, Carol. You know how much we love pushing limits on paint colors and furnishings. I like your emphasis on owning it; we certainly paid the price in time and labor to own it.

      Come South, Sister (see Kurt's comment above); we look forward to the knock.

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  10. I love all the light-especially the livingroom with double French doors. Enjoy the holidays in your peaceful new home, Lee!

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    1. Hey, Sue, I know you're with me when I say, without adequate light, I'd be seriously deprived. All good wishes back on you.

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  11. How warm and inviting your new home is. I love so many things about it. One of my favorite rooms is the Diner. The black and white floor and red table cloth is classic. I have to laugh about your many house plants. They must have taken up most of your moving truck. You have always talked about how neat your wife Lynn is and how you had to change some of your ways after you were married. Every thing has come together beautifully.

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    1. Hey, Rose Lady. We just had to have that black and white floor in a space we think of as a diner. Yes, without the plants the truck would have been a bit lighter. As would the house; finding the right places for them was difficult – but satisfying.

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  12. Lee,i totally feelin it..your unique personality..love your art...love the color on the paneling in the study..that black and white check is cool !was that there/?...I am coveting that chest in the dining room..love your eclectic taste...when summer comes your garden will start to emerge and you will get that warm homey feeling there too as well in a couple of years...

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    1. Sharon, your appreciation is appreciated. We had the floor changed to the dinerish pattern as part of our settling in. And as with you, that chest spoke to us the minute we laid eyes on it.

      Eclecticism is us, and unrelenting matching is not; in the garden and in the home, I believe there are no rules that can't be broken. And from my visits to your delightful blog, I believe you agree.

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  13. You've done it again, created a warm, sophisticated, welcoming space that is totally you and Lyn. It was a pleasure to revisit the pieces I so admired in your Beebe Road home, but honestly, it looks like each was chosen for its place in this home. No doubt about it, once again, you and Lyn have found home. I was thrilled to see my painting of the CT barn above the ornate corner chest.

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    1. We were fortunate to have a good many pieces that work well here, including your evocative painting, which feels right at home. So, your fine art and your fine words continue to inspire – here as they did in Connecticut. Many thanks.

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  14. Replies
    1. Thanks, Southern Brother Aaron.

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  15. Can I move in with you? and bring all my orchids?

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    1. Absolutely. All I ask is that you also bring some of that beautiful Rhode Island moss you write about. (It's legal to prune a little, isn't it?)

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  16. I love all of the color. I will be selling my home of some time to retire in late spring, and your home may serve as inspiration for adding abundant color to the walls of my new home. While I honestly hope you regain your full vision, I wanted to say my husband of 19 years gardened to the hilt even though he attended the School for the Blind as a child. Hi limited sight never stopped him. He could "see" with his hands and his garden is/was beautiful. He's since passed away.

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    1. Hello, Anon,

      Congratulations on retiring. I'd be delighted if you found inspiration in our wall colors.

      And much appreciation for the inspiration you give back to me in describing your husband's ability to see in ways many do not think about. I will.

      All the best as you prepare for this next chapter of life,
      Lee

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  17. It does indeed take about 6 months to feel settled in with everything in its place. You have a lovely home, and the plants each look like they have found their best spot. Love the lamps!

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    1. Thanks, Lana. I paid attention to your accounts of moving and settling in – and learned from your experiences.

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  18. Hey , Lee,

    How right you are. Moving is the hardest thing I've ever had to do.

    You must feel relieved and so happy it is over. And so proud, because it has all come together so beautifully.

    The solution to the many houseplants equals a small greenhouse in back?

    You said it'd never happen. As well as you grow them indoors, I understand.

    Happy Holidays to you and yours. Enjoy your well deserved rest.

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    1. Hey, Barbara,

      I'm happy you like it and can see the progress. Relieved and happy to get to a resting point, yes, indeed. But you know how it is – with a garden and a home, and life itself, it ain't ever done. Until you are.

      Your wonderful greenhouse made me think again about having one, especially in this hospitable climate. Fortunately, I got over the idea and am happy to find places for plants without another structure. Hey, maybe I can fit a few by windows in the shed.

      All best holiday cheer back on you and yours.

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    2. Heyyy, the shed does have nice windows. As long as some things stay above freezing they'll survive. Next thing will be some peeking out at you, from the inside, waiting for Spring.

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    3. If I decide I need more plants to care for, I'll have to do a whole lot of organizing in there. Spring will be here any minute.

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  19. Your home looks so inviting! And how nice to have so much light--what an impressive display of houseplants! I love your writing room; it looks like a great place to get inspired and, of course, think about next year's plans for the garden.

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    1. Light is a bonus for both plants and humans, especially this time of year, when it is so fleeting. Thanks on my writing room; I do spend a lot of time here, enjoying gardens of the mind.

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