Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Case in Point: Finding the Front Door

I've loved design since I was knee-high to a grasshopper. How many six-year-olds want to renovate and refurbish a Victorian house in the wilds of Connecticut and open it as a bed and breakfast? I even had the "uniforms" (well, they were more like costumes, and must've owed something to "Mary Poppins" and the marching suffragettes...) all planned out. 

Even then, I knew this was not quite normal, this house obsession. I don't think I breathed a word of the bed and breakfast scheme to my parents. But everytime we drove past a certain dilapitated Victorian house on the way to see my (fabulous and very stylish) grandparents in Norwalk, I was quite sure I would make it happen someday. That Victorian would be mine, oh yes.

Well, there is no old Victorian in my life, and my tastes--although they haven't really changed that much--don't tend toward bustles and furbelows anymore. If there was a bed and breakfast that I could call my own, it would be some sweet cottage near the sea, no costumes allowed, only flip-flops and khaki shorts.

Victorian or no, I have loved houses all my life, loved them to distraction, really, and lived in 26 of them, total. Some as an Army daughter, some as a Navy wife, some as a mom settled in Silicon Valley. 

Helping people make homes brings me great happiness. It is the house as vessel of the souls within that fascinates me, not the house as window-dressing or the house as perfectly-picked-up-paradigm. A receptacle of life, a good home is, and what could be much more important than that, other than life itself?

The reason I throw this into the book blog today is just to say thank you. Sometimes a dream can start to disappear, and walking away seems to make sense. I was pretty sure--several months ago--that I was over design and it was time to move on. It was a bittersweet feeling. 

But I am with Maria, a.k.a. Julie Andrews, who tells the von Trapp children, "When God closes a door, somewhere He opens a window." Case in point: a window I myself closed a few months ago seemed only to be the predecessor of a lovely door that landed in Palo Alto two short weeks ago. Glad it was there. Glad someone removed it carefully from it's first abode, propped it up against the right wall, and glad someone made sure it opens. 

I love doors and windows, kitchen tables with family all around, books and children, design, houses, odd little cottages...and dreams that are worth holding onto. 

Photo was taken during our trip last summer in Weimar.