You can dream about it every now and then,
But you can't go home again. - Wynnona
It's 4:23 am. I am wide awake.
I wish I had a good reason why I haven't shown up around here in almost three weeks.
But the fact of the matter is,
I just haven't felt like it.
But tonight (today?) it occurred to me that I've never shown much of our old house here.
The forever house that wasn't.
Since I've been in such a reflective state lately, I thought you might want to take a little trip down memory lane with me.
B and I built this house in 1997. The first morning we woke up there was our seven year anniversary.
Two months later, I turned 30
in our little pink house.
And so began a decade of living and loving. Of continual
Of trial and error,
I don't remember a time when we weren't doing something to that house.
These pictures were taken in 2007, on my 40th birthday.
Forty pink flamingos camped out in front of my little pink house.
Best. Birthday. Ever.
In 2005, what began as a simple refinishing of the hardwood floors turned into a major renovation.
Major, as in, there was plastic everywhere and drywall dust covered everything, and there was no subfloor in parts of the downstairs, and B had to fish the cat out from the crawl space with a flashlight after he (the cat, not B) got a little too curious and fell in the hole in the family room.
One thing we did as part of that project was to replace the builder grade front doors with custom mahogany doors. I had been to New Orleans a few years before and fallen in love with the way the light spilled out through the leaded glass doors in those old St. Charles Avenue mansions.
Not quite the same, but close enough to make me a very happy girl.
At that time we also added bead board wainscoting and a coffered ceiling (be still my heart!) in the family room and replaced some nasty looking, always uncooperative bookshelves on either side of the fireplace with two cozy banquettes. The tops were hinged so you could store lots o' junk in them. And store I did.
Just look at that ceiling.
Is that not the most beautiful thing you've ever seen in your whole entire life?
I had the cushions for the banquettes made out of an aubusson style rug from Homegoods.
They were King George's favorite napping spot.
At one time or another, every kitchen appliance except the ovens was replaced.
When we moved in in 1997, the countertops were black laminate and part of the island had a raised bar that I never could stand. It also never worked for our family, so that was ripped out and replaced with one flat surface of brazilian cherry. Aaahh, much better. The perimeter countertops were replaced with granite, although I think that was an earlier project. The maple island cabinet was painted twice. Its first reincarnation was a pale blue-gray faux finish. Then I had it, along with all the interior doors and the stair risers, painted chocolate brown. It was the most beautiful Sherwin Williams color. I thought I'd never forget the name of it. But guess what? I forgot.
See those window treatments? I saw them in a house on the Elizabeth Home Tour one autumn and had to have them. They were just unlined Pottery Barn panels, but for some strange reason I adored them. I left them in the house when we sold it.
Really wish I hadn't done that now.
The hardwoods in the kitchen, powder room and one other room were replaced with tile. I'll get to the other room in a minute, but let me just say I do not recommend tile in your kitchen if you spend any amount of time there. It's extremely hard on your back and legs and you will notice the difference. Hardwood is just softer and more forgiving. And I'm not just sayin' that because that's what B does for a living, either. I'm saying I learned my lesson the hard way (no pun intended.)
Original white ceramic cabinet hardware was replaced with bronze. White ceramic sink replaced with stainless, and ugly white faucet replaced with stainless gooseneck. White ceramic tile backsplash replaced with stone. Cheap builder grade dishwasher replaced with Fischer & Paykel drawers. Love those.
Looking at these pictures, I realize how much more cluttered my style was just four years ago. I also realize that my photography skills are just sad. But I didn't even know what a blog was back then. Hate me.
Speaking of hate, let's check out the dining room. I never did get that room right. The walls were originally papered in red damask (bah!) and the light was a bright, shiny, brass chandelier with black shades (bah again!)
I never could get the right shade of gray or blue or whatever on the walls in here. But I did like the ceiling painted robin's egg. I'd probably do that again.
Oh, there's a tiny peek of the front staircase there on the left. We replaced the wood with iron at some point. Loved that too.
* * * * *
This was my favorite room in that house.
This was the room that made me question my sanity when we were thinking of moving.
This room was originally a bedroom on the house plans. There is a decent sized closet in it and it had a pocket door to the powder room. We used it as an office for eight years and remodeled it twice for that purpose. Then, in the big project of 2005, the custom cabinets from a previous incarnation were moved from here into what had been the bonus room upstairs and the office was made into a laundry/mud room.
That's the powder room door on the left down there.
I was standing at the bottom of the back staircase to take the photo below. The walls were covered, gallery style, in black and white portraits, silhouettes, and drawings of our family. Oh, how I wish I had taken a picture of that. But I don't have a single one. No photos of all the work upstairs, either. But be assured, there was just as much going on up there as there was downstairs.
More of the chocolate brown doors, and my first foray into the world of white subway tile.
Still love that stuff just the same today.
Anyhow, here's the piece de resistance. The laundry. Oh, what my life has become, that I should swoon over ample space to wash stinky baseball socks and camouflage.
That my heart would quicken at plenty of elbow room to fold jeans and wrap Christmas presents.
I intended to make a skirt for the hamper cubby, but never got around to it.
The wall opposite the counter had a double window that was replaced with glass doors to the backyard.. I thought the boys would use it for quick access froom the pool to the bathroom. But no, they continued to traipse through the kitchen, probably so they could swipe a snack on the way to do their business.
Random pics of the yard in bloom.
There is a giant oak tree right behind the umbrella that shades a large part of the backyard.
Gorgeous dogwoods, and the roses in front of the fence that were a Mother's Day gift from B a looonng time ago.
Today, I am missing that giant oak and the roses and dogwoods. And the lavender and rhodies and the Lady Banks, and the crazy lantana by the mailbox.
I miss the wild critters we fished out of the pool on occasion.
I miss standing on the staircase to place the topper on 11 lovingly decorated Christmas trees.
I miss the snow days.
I miss the endless pencil marks on the old pine table where my boys did their homework.
I miss the coffers in the ceiling and the way the bathroom door squeaked when you opened it and the cypress on the back porch that we finally got right after multiple misses.
I'm missing the way you could sit in the big red leather chair at night and watch the airplanes way up in the sky as they glided silently past the window over the front door. Same place, every time, over and over.
Oh, and today is B's birthday.
So Happy Birthday, Hunnybunny.
I love the life we've made
in the tiny white house with the red front door,
in the little pink house,
and the gray stone dream.
And I love you.
Oh, but ain't that America for you and me,
Ain't that America, somethin' to see, baby
Ain't that America, home of the free
Little pink houses for you and me.