The time has come to sell our home and find something that serves our needs better now that we have adult children. And while I am excited to move on, I am also sad to leave the only home my kids have ever known, the home we have made an authentic reflection of who we are and how we live. A home I always felt represented the health, stability, closeness and well being of our family.
This was the second home we purchased as a married couple. To me it was the dream house — a story book center hall clapboard colonial with 5 bedrooms and 3 1/2 baths. We bought it with the intention of growing into it over time.We agreed that renovating and updating this beautiful house would be a labor of love -and that there was no rush. We wanted to enjoy the process of collecting furnishings, art and accessories as we went along. So, we took on one project at a time. I began by “prepping the canvas” so to speak. I needed to create the right backdrop to house the items we would put in it.
This was no small feat. It was a major project that included removing many rooms with wallpaper, choosing wall colors (including many mistaskes that required re-painting), sanding and staining all of the hardwood floors and removing many old doors that closed off various rooms on the first floor.
With our newly refreshed canvas I was ready to begin furnishing. All of the furniture we owned fit into just 1 room – so it naturally became the family room. But more accessories, art work and side tables were needed to give it a finished look.
With balancing a demanding career, 2 small chiildren and a marriage – my time was somewhat limited. Needless to say the budget also had limits. I began scouring antique centers, yard sales, house sales, local stores, antique shows, flea markets, and catalogues and pieced together the right pieces to complete the family room. I was very proud of the look and feel, but couldn’t believe all the work involved — and the fact that I still only had 1 room done. I had no idea how much patience, time and money this house was really going to take.
Over the next few years we saved for our next big project. While most of my peers were spending huge amounts of money renovating their kitchens – I felt that while ours was as ugly as sin, it functioned well, was spacious and even had a Sub Zero refrigerator. Instead, I wanted to invest in fine furniture, art, lighting, fabric and accessories. I determined my next challenge would be the living and dining rooms.
Because I wanted to access quality materials and designs and would be making major investments in furniture, I worked with an interior designer to assist me. I knew I wanted a timeless decor that would reflect my “eclectic” personal style.
Using a professional opened up resources unavailable without being a member of the trade. We shopped glamorous show rooms in the Decorator & Design Building and in the Architects & Design building. We met with custom furniture makers, fine carpenters and artists. These resources were so inspiring and their craftsmanship was actually better than I had imagined. Together we created a very serene, but rich feeling, using traditional pieces with modern fabrics and carefully selected both modern and antique accessories. We achieved rooms with high style without feeling pretentious or “over decorated.”
After the master bedroom, several years later we were ready to take on the sunroom – the room we knew we would probably enjoy most of all. It took me a while to figure out the look and feel for this special space. With its 2 walls of windows, cathedral ceiling and skylight, I was working with a really well prepped canvas. So I added wainscotting on a horizontal to give it added dimension, painted it high gloss Super white and re-surfaced the wood floor. I found the perfect table and chairs at a warehouse sale for Dakota Jackson (a well known home furnishings designer) in DUMBO (down under the Brooklyn Bridge). Using these pieces as a guide, it was easy to add the modern bright colored ultra suede couch, the Jonathan Adler pillows and the bright green Design Within Reach stools in lieau of a conventional coffee table.
Finally, last year (15 years after we moved in), we renovated the kitchen. While we had replaced the broken tile floor with hardwood and had replaced appliances as they broke, we were still living in what may have been the ugliest kitchen EVER! I wanted a clean, minimal look that combined industrial appliances and hardware with modern finishes and traditional/retro accents. The transformation was incredible and I have enjoyed every minute of cooking elaborate meals and entertaining guests in this magical space. As it turns out, my plan worked out well. Had I renovated the kitchen first it would already appear out of date to buyers.
So it stands to reason that I am feeling a bit melancholy about leaving. We have made 17 years of cherished memories at 7 Hoskier Road; including birthday party celebrations, holiday meals with family, dinner parties with friends and neighbors and best of all – the 4 of us just laughing our asses off around the kitchen table. To make myself feel better I try to imagine how we will all be packing and taking these memories with us. They will transcend the sale of the house at 7 Hoskier Road and live in our hearts forever. And, best of all, we will be making brand new ones in our next phase of life.