Monday, December 21, 2009
It has been 13 years since we moved into our house here in Fredericksburg,Virginia. We loved the house early on even before the addition of a new kitchen with a fireplace and a backyard pool. Built in 1930, the Dutch Colonial has had many reincarnations since the first family lived within.
I was not so jazzed about the house at first, it faced a parking lot , the only one on our otherwise quiet street. It was in semi-restored state the previous owners had decided to start from the top down so even though the attic had been wonderfully converted into two charming bedrooms complete with eaves and built-in bookshelves. The rooms on the first floor however were in a sad state. No kitchen to speak of and roughly plastered walls ( I laughed to myself a couple of years later as more than one client paid a great deal money for craftsmen to replicate an effect that I was so eager to get rid of) the floors in very bad shape and a really hideous living room fireplace mantel.
Through the years we have slowly made it our own, from our “Aubergine” ( designer-speak for purple) painted dining room to the new mantle in the living room, the house has slowly become something that feels “right”. Having married a public servant, all projects had to be done on long slow schedules, and my patience and design vision sometimes did not fall in step with the reality of our meager purse-strings.
. However, this wonderfully quirky house had become our home and with two children we have had many wonderful memories here. Some of our best times in this home have been during the Christmas season and we have been honored to have been on the local Historic Homes Christmas tour as our home is one block from the famous “Sunken Road “ of Civil War fame. I have long been teased by friends and family for the 15 plus boxes of decorations in the basement. However once they have been brought upstairs on the first Saturday after Thanksgiving , the tissue papers are unwrapped, boxes emptied and as everyone sees beloved decorations that have been a part of our Christmas memories for the 29 years of our marriage the grumbling soon stops . As the decorating progresses and ideas flow, I must confess usually after I get my hands on the newest issue of “Southern Living Christmas”, the house takes on the glow and shimmer that only Christmas reflected by candlelight can achieve. I usually take a moment at some point during the month of dinner parties, cookie baking and manic gift wrapping, and walk quietly through and savor the beauty of this wonderful house that has been such a blessed home.
Remember, your house should take many layers of memories and life in order to create the perfect home for you and your family. Patience does truly rule the day when decorating your home whether it is a historic home or your first house. Hopefully life is long and the story of your family and your own traditions need time to develop and take hold within the walls of your home .Whether you are the first family to live there or one of many families that have hung stocking s from your home’s mantle, your story is but one more chapter in your homes history.