For the past seven years I've been hoarding. Well, I've been hoarding a lot of things (tablecloths, dishes, spare change), but mostly I've been hoarding magazines. My precious mother in law was the first to introduce me into the world of decorating. I always loved houses, even as a child, but it was Linda that opened my eyes to the fact that I could do something with my own home. I was 21, newly married (I know, I know, we were babies) and had the perfect little rent house. Magazines became the equivalent of candy.
My husband and I had never lived on our own, other than the dorms, and our personal house assets were small. We had; one hand-me-down sofa, a coffee table, a little dinette and chairs, a full bed purchased for a grand total of $100, a chest of drawers and a TV. The little house we moved into was on an old tree lined street named Walnut. The university was a block away, and the city had encroached on this little street, a car lot crowding close, a fast food restaurant nearby. But it still had it's original charm, with 40's style cottages and children on their bikes.
Our house was a little white, wood sided cottage, with grey interior walls, big white trim, and huge sunny windows. A lot of my decorating decisions can probably be tracked back to the insiration that house gave me, I've alway tried to recreate it. It was probably 900 square feet at best, but we loved every inch of it. It was there that I began to hoard my magazines, too poor to buy anything, but still dreaming. It was there that I tried to sew my first curtains (with disastrous results). It was there that I began this book.
Originally it was only six or seven photo album pages, and it has grown past even this binder and into a box of clippings. I never get tired of it, it's my own personal design book. Every time I look , I find something different to think about or get inspired by.
On a recent trip back to our college town, we drove by our old house. It was still there, although now it has lime green shutters and a sign that says "Key West Bakery." We gasped in horror, stopped and went inside. Walls were torn down, cabinets and baking equipment standing where our old furniture used to be. The only thing familiar was the white painted brick fireplace and the bay window in the old dining nook. I just stared at the woman behind the counter and said, "We used to live here." She gave me a "Oh, great, so you're not buying anything" smile as I fought back the tears, pointed to the floors and said, "I knew there was hard wood under those carpets."
It was a really sad day, and it still makes me sad whenever I look at my book and think about where my decorating love first started. Matt and I had a lot of firsts in that house; first dinners, first fights, first movie nights, first anniversary. It was the place of a lot of beginnings for me, and I think a tiny part of me will always miss it. Except that 900 square feet... no WAY we could squeeze all our stuff AND Mabel in a space like that. Goodbye Walnut Street. I guess there are advantages to growing up and moving on.
P.S. My friend Mrs. Fox is having a design conundrum with her entry hall. Please feel free to share any ideas you might have!