Tuesday, November 17, 2009

modern country

It was about this time last year that I rushed to meet the real estate agent showing the house Trout Chris and I live in. The whole thing was very embarrassing. I am 24, I work in retail, I can't manage a savings account for longer than it takes to save enough money to buy a dress. I had no business looking at this house and the agent and I both knew it. I desperately wanted to look like I should be there, so I asked Chris to give me some pointers and questions to ask (I probably googled "questions to ask for first time home buyers" as well, i can't remember). I was in a hurry so it never occurred to me to have the importance or meaning of the questions explained... There I stood, knocking on the WRONG door. Eventually the woman sitting on the stoop next door, figured out what was going on and introduced herself as Laurie, the agent. I stumbled across the lawn and forcefully shook her hand- I take great pride in my handshake, since many of my friends' dads have commented on how strong it is and I used this opportunity to show it off. Not knowing what the questions I had written on the back of a receipt meant resulted in me not understanding the answers, and subsequently never giving an appropriate response... It's kind of blurry but I might as well have said "oh that's perfect!!" when the agent told me about the lead pipes in the kitchen.
I spent the twenty minutes being shown around the house trying my hardest to look like an adult and staying out of the light so she couldn't see how red and sweaty my face was getting. Both of us doing each other the favor of acting like it wasn't a waste of time for her to drive all the way from Kanata for this. Chris made up for my incompetence and befriended the agent, eventually asking her how I did. He broke it to me nicely but the gist of it was that I had every right to be embarrassed. We looked at the house a few more times, finding new depths of love for it and miraculously months later it was ours. As proof of our love for the home, we haven't shut up about it since this time last year. Our sincerest apologies in advance for not stopping.

I have spent nearly every waking moment trying to make this place more comfortable. Chris finds himself in a brand new living room every other week and to an excited me telling him about my new favorite colour scheme (currently a series of complex grays). Thankfully he is addicted to shopping and when I display even a slight enthusiasm in something for the house, he rushes out to find that thing or an inexpensive alternative. Evidence is in the 100+ picture frames he found in about a week for my, to this day incomplete, rogues gallery.
If Chris were a different kind of man, one who didn't know the thrift store employees on a first name basis and how each of them prices items, one who didn't frequent design sponge and apartment therapy, and who didn't stop to look in people's trash on Sunday evenings if something catches his eye, things might have turned out badly. I probably would have spent every weekend going to antique markets, like a chump paying the ticket price for pieces that I would have clumsily thrown together with Ikea furniture only to have them look like a home sense add (I am not suggesting that that is what happens when antiques and Ikea are put together... but it's what would have happened if I put them together). Chris has opened my eyes to mid century design, and in spite of myself I've embraced it- so long as there isn't any glass and a few more primitive pieces to warm it up. I don't have a special gift for decorating, so almost every idea comes straight from the homes of people I don't know, but who to me possess gifts for design and composition. The list has gotten shorter, and we (I) have narrowed it down to about ten things we either need to do or purchase over the next few years. Thank you Chris, Sally Ann and the Internet for working so hard in building this home. Tomorrow I might get a chance to take "after" photos to accompany the "before" photos and post them, but right now I have to go answer the door.

Thursday, November 12, 2009