[Bookend] The Day 2 prompt for Writing 101 is about place: “Today, choose a place to which you’d like to be transported if you could — and tell us the backstory. How does this specific location affect you? Is it somewhere you’ve been, luring you with the power of nostalgia, or a place you’re aching to explore for the first time?” [/Bookend]
Let me tell you why I love our house.
It’s not all that easy to find a place with contemporary architecture up here in Boston: that heritage of the “center-entrance colonial” runs deep. So, even though I’ve been in love with that style since I was 13 and first visited the Frank Lloyd Wright room at the Met, I made peace with myself when we started looking at listings 15 months ago. If I held to that particular fantasy too tightly, we might never find a roof to place over our heads, so I was going to have to show some flexibility.
(And yes, I know there’s officially a difference between Frank Lloyd Wright’s style of architecture and what we usually call “contemporary” architecture. Still, something about them both — the cleanness of line, the use of natural textures, the big windows that elide the boundary between the natural and the lived environment — have always felt deeply resonant with one another. And they make my heart sing.)
This is why it feels a little bit like a miracle every time I come up the driveway to see our house on the hill, beautifully asymmetrical and nestled in the woods. There, to the left of the front door, is the rock garden. It’s weathered two tough winters and a summer’s neglect during the 2013 house-selling season: I’m still trying to figure out what’s plant and what’s weed, but it’s lovely to see things coming in, green and pink and purple. The bird feeder outside Mr. Mezzo’s office window is a new addition this spring: we’re pretty sure word is getting out, because the time between “full” and “empty” keeps getting shorter and shorter.
Once inside the door, you want to head left to see most of the place. First up are the two extra “bedrooms” outfitted as relics of the 21st century, two-career family: his and her offices. Mr. Mezzo’s is office-only — he telecommutes every single day, and the gorgeous built-in desk here was one of the ninety-eleven things that made us knew we were home as soon as we toured the place. I commute to an office office most days, so my home “office” is more of a reading & writing nook that can do double duty as a guest room. My little desk is flanked by two tall bookshelves — which I heard once somewhere is horrifically bad feng shui, but I don’t care. They make me happy. In everyday usage, the daybed and trundle can be a place to sit and read, and they’re also ready to serve as a place for a sleepover guest to lay their tired head.
After these two doors is a small spiral staircase going up — we’ll come back to that soon — and then the heart of the house: the living room, kitchen and dining room.
The living room is open to the roofline, with high transom windows on one wall, and then a bank of (almost) floor to ceiling windows where the room juts out just a little farther than the rest of the house. The carpet is soft and plush and blue, and the sense of light and air, sun and shade is a treasure to me. This room is sunk a few steps down from the main hallway and separated from that hallway by these stairs and a wood railing.
The hallway opens to and ends in the big room that is kitchen and dining room. Tile and hard wood floors mark a clear distinction between the two rooms, but they open directly one to the other without wall or barrier. Again: light and air and an elision of boundaries. The tile patterning on our table reminds me of the designs Wright would design into stained glass, and Wright also comes to mind with the way you can sit at the table and have windows always in view. Whether it’s the kitchen windows and the back door to the vegetable patch, the living room windows (which are still in eye-line from the dining room), or the sliding doors that lead out to an enormous deck overlooking the lawn and the trees, the sense of living in beauty and comfort and nature are very present.
As a final stop on this abbreviated tour, let’s backtrack to that spiral staircase and head upstairs. Here, our “meditation loft,” is another gem that led to the instant recognition of house-on-the-market as home. If I’d been more alert, I would have taken a picture during daylight hours so you could see how this room rests in tree and sky, green and blue. (And I might just come back tomorrow and do an image swap.) No matter what other tendencies towards entropy crop up throughout the rest of the house, this room has been something we’ve held sacred. It’s the seed of how I imagine the rest of our home can be, as we continue to unpack and declutter and settle in.
Now, I’ll admit: there’s lots of the messier details of life and home that I’ve been glossing over in this tour. You’ll notice, for example, that we didn’t head down to the basement and “unpacking central.” Some other night, another visit.
Nevertheless, a core fact remains: however much I would enjoy the opportunity to travel the world and see new places, what I most treasure is the nesting sense of having a home I love coming back to.