I am between two houses. Caught between two worlds. For as we remove all traces of personality from Chez Brocante, in order to appease buyers who struggle to visualize living anywhere other than inside a magnolia box, we find ourselves retreating more and more to Dad’s bungalow, reveling in the space, and marveling at how easy it is to keep clean in comparison to our dusty old Victorian cottage.
But the vintage interiors fiend living inside me cannot quite come to terms with the existing decoration in this very modern bungalow. Can’t forgive the green bedroom carpet laid throughout the entire house, nor quite adapt to the size of the teeny bathroom after one I could swing several cats in.
As I scurry around the bungalow, mopping this and vacuuming that, in my head I am re-decorating. Laying wooden floors throughout the main living space and hanging my own pictures on the living room walls. Banishing the flock wallpaper in the hallway and fitting floating shelves on to the blank wall of the white kitchen to pile with stacks of white china and sparkling glassware.
Imagining myself living elsewhere.
For that is what this is about. Practicing being away from home. Making a transition that doesn’t shake Finley and I to the core. Letting go.
This then is an affair. The test of a failing marriage: to see if I can transfer my heart to pastures new. It is a dalliance that has astonished me in the degree to which it has revealed how very stale my once instinctive interior design dreams had become. How stifled they had been by lack of space, and the hushing of an imagination that once ran riot.
Today I am writing to you curled up in the conservatory. It is a dark day, and I have got a floor length lamp switched on, suffusing this glass room in a golden yellow light. On the far wall is a self-portrait of my Grandad, wearing a trilby and painted in oils. I am sitting on a Knole sofa, watching birds hurry between bare trees and imagining the garden filled with pots full of lavender in the Spring and I am thinking that I could be happy here. That I do not feel suffocate. That I love it that there are so many bare walls just begging for shelves and a huge garage in which everything I own could be organized. I love the possibility of it. Of this, or another house just like it.
I am ready to move house, Readers. Ready to stack my books in boxes and turn what has been a beloved home in to a magnolia box ripe for someone else’s dreams.