Sunday, August 2, 2009

In the Living Room

Before my grandfather died, just over a month ago now, there was the question of what would become of the furniture that occupied his apartment in the retirement community.

I wound up inheriting most of the items. This morning my brother, his wife, their good friend, my mom and my adorable niece rented a U-Haul and loaded it up with sofas, tables, lamps, a bed. Driving two hours under menacing, Kansas-tornado skies, they brought pieces of my childhood through the front door and into my family room, living room and kitchen. There were items from my grandparents' home that I remembered from my very earliest years.

In some ways, our house - which we've lived in nearly two years now - still retains some of the characteristics of our first day here. Only the kids' rooms are painted. There isn't a single photo or decorative item on any wall. And yes, in most of the rooms, there's still at least one unpacked box or two from the move.

And while this was perfectly fine, I'd recently started getting the urge for something more than stark white walls. To live with a little more color, to declutter, to put up a photo or two. Or three.

I'm not an interior decorator, not even close. I don't know what works in a room and I can't decorate to save my life. I don't watch the likes of Clean Sweep and Extreme Makeover and Trading Spaces because I know I lack the ability to do even the simplest of projects, so what's the point? As a result, I tend to be content with the domestic status quo, almost to the point of being ... well, blah and uninspired. And yes, cluttered.

But tonight, there is a palpable difference as I write in a family room filled with new-to-this-house furniture, from a slightly different vantage point and view than I had last night. And it strikes me that, while this room will likely never make the pages of House Beautiful, there's a coziness, a comfort, a warmth that had been missing.

I'm surrounded by the possessions of loved ones gone.

And this living room has never felt more alive.


Lori said...

How sweet and how very true!! And what a gift you received. Sounds like real treasures came to you! I would love to have things from my grandparents and even my parents. Enjoy your gifts!

Alipet813 said...

Me likey...I have a couple of pieces from my grandparents and my mom that don't really match my house, but I just feel good when I look at them.
BTW, are you in KS?

Niksmom said...

Ah...and thus you have hit upon a universal truism in interior decorating: It has to make you happy. Homes designed for magazines and TV aren't always home designed to be lived in. So glad you feel the warmth and alive-ness. :-)

Anonymous said...

How wonderful to have those family items and to take such great pleasure in adding them to your home. What an amazing gift!!

Dawn - She is Too Fond of Books said...

How lovely to have even a few pieces that carry such happy memories for you!

Melissa (Betty and Boo's Mommy) said...

Lori, Kristen, and Dawn - thanks!

Alipet - I know exactly what you mean about the pieces not quite matching (same situation here) but feeling good about them nonetheless. Exactly what I was trying to capture in this post. Oh, and we're not in Kansas ... not anymore.(Although I have spent a little time in Kansas, it is true ... a few weeks here and there a few years back.)

Niksmom - indeed, you're so right.