You have to churn somewhat when the roof over your head is at stake, since to sell it is to walk away from a cluster of memories and to buy is to choose where the future will take place. And the place, never neutral of course, will cast its infuence." —Frances Mayes
We recently bought a new home, a place we hope to stay for a very long time. We've been here a little over six weeks and are still getting acquainted with it, between the two of us, we've stuck a hand in the bedroom ceiling fan three times (Ben twice, me once) and Rufus has face-planted into the back slider four times, once nearly taking the screen door off the track. It takes awhile to settle in and allow a place to become "home" but we are very excited to see that process taking place, it's fascinating how the personality of a home develops until it is as much as part of the family as a dear relative.
Our house has a beautiful front door, the previous owners replaced the ordinary original door with a charming Arts & Crafts-style door that has a lovely stained glass insert, very Frank Lloyd Wright. The aggregate walkway is flanked with phlox and boxwood and at night, the landscape lighting softly illuminate the path. There's even a darling little plaque with geraniums on it framing the doorbell. Once you step through the door, you're greeted by an expanse of gorgeous Brazilian hardwood floor and a stunning piece of original artwork done by a local painter. It's truly lovely, so you can imagine my chagrin when I realized that all of our friends & family are going to use . . . the side door. <sigh>
When you come in the side door, you walk up two concrete steps flanked by the niche where our trash can resides. The door is in need of a paint touch-up and the window is likely to be spotted with a little dog drool since we haven't yet broken Rufus of the habit of standing on his hind legs to see who is in the driveway. Once you come through the door, you pass the laundry room on the right, which usually contains a pile of moldering cycling clothes and whatever projects I am currently working on such as the latest garage sale find waiting for a coat of paint, the baby gift that still needs wrapping or the plant I've tried unsuccessfully to kill for the past five years that I've finally decided deserves repotting. There's a foam football wedged between the washer & dryer in an effort to keep the washer from walking out the door to visit the neighbors (I'll save that for another post). Next is the pegboard where Rufus' leash awaits our next walk around English Point, Ben's wallet & keys sit on the shelf above it, a welcome reminder that my Boy is home. You enter the kitchen, which given my love of baking & cooking, is likely to have a pile of dishes either drying on the counter or piled in the sink, the smell of garlic or fresh cookies hanging in the air. When you come in the side door, you see us as we are, where we live, without pretense.
As I pondered this, I realized that all the homes that hold a special place in my heart to this day were "back door" houses. My grandma's house, my best friend's house, the house I grew up in. They all had lovely front doors, but those were mostly used by delivery people & Jehovah's Witnesses, we rarely entered by them, sometimes at Christmas or a special occasion. These were the houses I felt comfortable in, I knew them, I shared every detail of life with the people that lived in them. Some of my happiest memories were created within their walls and some of my saddest are related to being parted from them and the people they contained. Having considered these things, I'm now delighted that the house we chose ended up being a "back door" home. I want the people we invite into our home to see us for who we really are and not for any image we may endeavor to put forth, consciously or otherwise.
So, come see us, friends. The tea kettle is on the stove and the guestroom is ready. And when you do, feel free to use the side door.