I hired a decorator.
Let me give you a little background. My parents spent most of their marriage on the brink of financial disaster. When they parted ways in 1988, they left our childhood home with a suitcase each–cars repossessed, house sold for less than they owed–to take up residence with friends and family. They never saw each other again.
When my husband and I married, his family was very concerned that I wasn’t Jewish. My folks just wanted to know if he would have a job. I married for love, with brave, romantic notions that we would both work all of our lives to secure a home for us and our children. Yes, I knew he was in optometry school, and yes, I knew that he would be a doctor with a practice, but what did I know from optometry? Next to nothing. It had to do with eyes.
Turns out that building an optometry practice is really–no, I mean REALLY–hard work. For many years my husband worked seven days a week. Our neighbors called him “the Phantom” because they would come out in the morning and our yard had been mowed, but they never saw him do it.
Now, twenty-two years after he bought his optometry practice, I hired a decorator.
He wants the house to look like he has been successful. I don’t know how to do that. The last truly successful person in my family was my grandfather who died in 1973. I’ve been living so long in the land of “Make-do” that I don’t know how to exist in the land of “Have Enough.”
So, I hired a decorator.
Now you’ll want to know how did that work out? Actually, sitting here near the end of the process, it worked out great. If you had asked me a month ago you would have received a very different answer. We moved Kevin home from Georgia Tech on May 5; on May 7 the painters arrived. In the two long nights in-between I had to virtually pack to move so that they could move the furniture, including bookcases. My brief reprieve piling stuff in rooms that weren’t being painted expired in a frenzy of “those rooms must be empty so they can put down the carpet.” I was still working at school, so I came home every day and worked into the night trying to get all of our stuff out of the way. Three of the four of us are hoarders, so you can imagine the chaos.
One day when I was at school and my husband and sons were home, the decorators came in and took over. My three men helped them move old stuff into the basement and new stuff into place. Then, while we were in Alaska, they came in and really did their thing. The result is amazing.
After seventeen years of very little change this is what we had done:
- every room except 3 painted
- new carpet downstairs
- new kitchen counter and backsplash
- bead board installed around the kitchen counter
- mantle refinished
- wall units custom built for either side of the fireplace
- significant amount of furniture replaced and rearranged
- new light fixtures in foyer, dining room and kitchen
- some new pictures; all others stored or rehung in different places
- etc, etc, etc
I was very apprehensive about having our home taken apart and reassembled to someone else’s specifications. Though I knew it was what my husband wanted, I was afraid to wind up with a place I didn’t recognize and didn’t feel like home. Instead, the decorators were actually listening when I talked. When I told them I wanted something included, they made it work even if they were not completely in agreement. They hung my husband’s eight-foot marlin and the dozen 8×10’s of his travels. They found a place for many of my tchotchkes so that I still feel happy and at peace with the memories of our lives.
In short, I hired a decorator, and I am thrilled with the results. I am, however, equally as thrilled that it is almost over.