Sunday, February 20, 2011

Home is Where You Are

With Taylor in his second year of law school and our eyes firmly fixed on a long road trip to Washington without looking back come May 2012, I've been giving some thought to the idea of packing (ick), moving (ick), and leaving our Boston home...

I didn't realize it until a few months ago, when we really started planning to leave Boston, that we have grown up a lot together in our small apartment here.  We had been married just over a year when we moved in and started our life so far away from family.  Our previous apartment was a small stone's throw from our college days and our alma mater and our previous dwellings.  Not much had changed except that we were now blissfully married.

And then we came to Boston.  It was hot when we moved in, and humid.  So humid--sweat dripped down our backs as we lugged box after heavy box (mostly books) up the three flights of stairs to our "penthouse."

There was a BC football game that day.  We had parked too close to campus and our car was towed.  Welcome to the city, West-Coasters! Our first night in our home we had a house guest.  We didn't have any of our furniture yet, and so he slept in the living room on the camping mats we had used in our cross-country drive.  The door-to-door storage crates weren't due to arrive until the next morning.

And, as we've changed, we've made changes to our home over these past four years.  Has it been four years already?  Almost... almost.

The first thing we changed to make our home "our own" was the bathroom.  There was apparently a trend in Boston in the 50s to tile bathrooms all manner of strange solid colors (some folk lucked out w/ just white) and give them a strong contrasting tile border.  We got a black border and (are you ready for this?) salmon colored tile.  It was... interesting, to say the least.

But it had to go.  So we spent our first Christmas break tearing shower tiles off the wall and going days without bathing.  (That was interesting too.)  It's lovely now, though!  It's possibly my favorite part of the house.

I hardly remember the icky salmon color at all.  Though there is one spot where you can see the old tile, under the sink, right next to a pipe where I couldn't get the paneling for the walls quite high enough.  It's a nice reminder to me of how much better the bathroom looks when I'm ardently scrubbing the rough and uneven mosaic slate tiles we picked for the floor.

When we moved in, other than the bathroom, of course, most of the apartment was in really great shape.  I mean, it was a bit, shall we say, loved, but it was really loved well, so we didn't change anything (other than the bathroom, of course!) for a while.  The next thing in our budget, once we realized we'd be here for three years of law school, was to get the tub and the sink in the bathroom re-glazed a nice shiny white.  It made the whole bathroom sparkle.

But it got me thinking, what else could I change while we're here for three years?  I built a bookshelf into the wall by the front door to maximize space (let's be honest--we have lotsa books to shelve).  And I'm rather proud of those--they do look like they came with the house, if I do say so.

My attention focused next on the kitchen, which was a winter-butter yellow with medium-tone wood cabinets, beige appliances, beige counter tops, and the dirtiest-looking linoleum I'd ever seen (at least I don't have to mop that often--you can't really tell either way).

I wanted a white kitchen--bright white cabinets with stainless steel hardware.  I wanted white appliances so that they blended in with the cabinets and opened the space.  I wanted rich, dark counters, and a rick, dark brown floor.

So this summer, while Taylor was in AZ for lawyer-training parties, I painted the kitchen and added cabinet hardware.  We are still waiting to get a white stove and re-do the counters and floor.  But it's a big improvement, I'd say. Perhaps next year or this summer we can have that done.. we'll see!

That still wasn't enough, though!  The pale "zen" green in the living room was growing so tired to me, with the fresh taupe and white in the kitchen and the cool, natural feel in the bathroom.  I thought about colors and changes and tried to envision my living room in all sorts of fun shades, trying to keep green (I love green, I'll admit) and still keep the "feel" of the room w/ all our furniture and accessories.

We settled on taupe for the walls (to tie it into the kitchen), bright (way bright) green for one wall, and a dark brown for the ceiling beams (are you seeing a theme here?).  I love it.  And I kept going.  One wall in the bedroom got a lovely coat of dark blue to match the window shades, and we re-arranged the furniture (1) to make room for a baby and (2) to give us more floor-space.  It feels so much more grown-up to me now.

And I'm not done, yet.  I've added shelves to the computer closet nook, and I want to paint the inside (and the shelves) to tie everything together.  I want to paint the inside of the entry closet so that it doesn't feel so dark in there for guests.  I've built a radiator cover in the living room to hide our (well-functioning, but) lopsided, poorly-painted radiator.  I'll paint the cover white to match the trim in the room, too.

I'll build a cover for the radiator in the bedroom, and perhaps one in the kitchen. I'll paint those, too.  When we leave, we want to get the floors refinished for the next tenant.  We might get new windows.  Maybe when I get my act together, I can share some more pictures with you...

We've done so much in this apartment.  We have truly made our home here.  We have welcomed friends and family, hosted and fed many people (could they be hundreds if we counted repeat guests?); we have prayed and laughed and cried, left and returned.  And we want to welcome home a baby here, too.  Our first experience as parents will (hopefully) be in our own little apartment, where we have grown so much.

I know that when we are in Seattle we will make our home just as wonderfully there.  But I can't help but begin to miss our little Boston home, already.  I really feel like a grownup here, now.  And it will be hard to leave a home that has sheltered and loved us so well for so long.

Home is where you are, because you make it your home... but isn't it true that when you leave a home, you leave part of yourself there, too?

We will miss Boston when we go.  Without a doubt.


  1. ok, this post made me think of this song
    the kids who sing it are a crazy bunch, but it's a great song.

    And I just want you to know we're praying for you, Taylor and your daughter!

  2. Kelly, that's awesome :) thanks! (T especially loved the song!)

    And thanks for the prayers! We'll take all we can get!