Today marks a year since we moved into our house. Last February 9th we were staring at mountains of boxes in all the empty rooms while a vicious snowstorm beat the outer walls. Even though there seemed to be an awful lot of boxes, we quickly realized how little furniture we actually owned! We also understood how much we’d taken for granted while living in pre-furnished rentals and with our parents: “I want to hang up this painting. Let’s go buy a hammer.” I couldn’t even sweep the floor because I didn’t own a broom! After a few chaotic weeks and quite a few more expenses than we liked, we settled into our beautiful century home.
We love it more than ever, complete with all its quirky features. There’s an outdoor claw-foot tub and shower, tucked into a corner of the stone patio. The idea is to rinse off after spending the day at the beach, but on especially dark summer nights I use it for “real” showers whenever I feel particularly daring. There’s a lovely front porch painted snowy white and sky blue, perfect for those tea parties I like so much. The shiny modern tin ceiling in the kitchen, combined with the bold black-and-white floor tiles, is supremely funky. As the real estate agent said apologetically, “It might be a little much for some people,” but not for me!
My husband and I were overjoyed to find this place that satisfied my desire for an old home with personality and his requirement for one that didn’t need any work. You see, we’d had it with rentals. After leaving my long, skinny apartment in Toronto with slanted floors that enabled a ball to roll from the living room all the way down the hall to the kitchen, we moved into a miniscule summer cottage. It had a single main room, with two closet-sized bedrooms and a bathroom the size of an outhouse. Everything was fine until the day the toilet clogged and the shower wouldn’t drain. For two days we were peeing in the yard and making emergency excursions by car elsewhere whenever necessary, until the landlady finally responded. One rainy afternoon we were startled from a nap when we felt the cottage tremble. Looking out the window, the yard was completely gone. In its place was an excavator ripping it to pieces and a team of men hunting for the clogged sewer pipe.
Our next place was truly unforgettable – a bungalow that was frozen in time, decked out in all its spectacular 1960s glory. Picture faded pink carpets, hanging lamps with stained glass shades sporting puppies, an orange-and-brown flowered wingback sofa, pink velveteen recliner, an entire fake brick interior wall that felt spongy when you poked it, and wallpaper everywhere. A friend joked that she couldn’t find her way out of the bathroom because even the door was wallpapered! This place was so unique that we decided to host a 1960s theme party – see accompanying photos! The hit dish was “Saucy Franks & Rice” from the 1967 edition of Better Homes and Gardens recipe book. With a few fabulous garage sale finds, like “Pendulum Pool” and Herbie the singing pig, it was a gas, so to speak!
So, with these kinds of places on our track record, you can understand why we were more than ready for a normal house! A year later, this place remains as awesome as it was when we first laid eyes on it. Theme parties are a bit more difficult to orchestrate, since the decor is not particularly bizarre, but I can’t say I mind!