photo friday: fragments

Posted by on September 14, 2012

I am very absorbed right now in arranging our home. More things seem out of place than in place right now. All I want is for it to feel cozy and at rest, and for the placement of things to feel right. I am working with a lot of disparate fragments and I keep arranging and rearranging them until some permutation feels balanced and right. Sometimes my mind is so stubborn, and slow, and the obvious arrangement of things eludes it day after day because the steps required to reach that arrangement require my mind to do something that does not easily occur to it, like realize that one piece of furniture just needs to go, however fond of it I might be.

I do not want to wow anyone with my interior design sense; I just want to come into a room, and feel that I can be at rest there, and that the shapes and objects there are in harmony.

I miss my friends right now. I am tired of keeping in touch with friends by only the internet. Today I wanted an excuse to waste the morning. It was overcast and my house felt cozy in spite of being unsatisfactorily arranged. I made tea and thought of calling someone, but didn’t. I wanted someone close to me to walk through the front door and waste the morning with me drinking tea and talking about life, or furniture arrangement, or where I should hang my pictures, or if perhaps what I really need is to magically acquire one huge picture that would totally blow all the others out of consideration, but there is no one qualified to fill this position within several hundred miles.

Only God knows how we came to possess so many heavy, oversized books on icons, but right now I find them handy for their shape, and how they might possibly balance out the shape of something else. And books on icons do look rather dignified. The persian rugs that are now in our living room also lend a look of dignity, but the one further into the room needs to be about three times larger to really feel correct. We need something huge, that will spread like a body of water beneath the legs of all the furniture, but it will be a while before we can afford something like that, even one made of sea grass. I am contemplating the possibility of a large sea grass area rug.

Getting a home into order with all the things that I have– fragments that I acquired years ago– like some prints that I got framed our first year of marriage, which I still love but might not now be my first choice for wall art, or the bookshelf that my dad made for me out of scrap wood when I was a kid, or these persian rugs passed down from my grandfather after he moved into an assisted living home– is a process that seems to be stretching out interminably. After an entire summer of living on savings, our budget is extremely tight, so looking at the West Elm or Crate and Barrel websites is absolutely pointless, but ask me if that deters me.

Yesterday I finally had a light bulb moment in which I hit upon the arrangement of furniture in the living room that finally felt balanced and right. It involved getting rid of one piece that was adding unnecessary bulk to the room, and dragging it down into the basement, which, you can be sure, is starting to look like the Room of Requirement at Hogwarts. But I’m just glad that I finally figured it out. So our living room is starting to feel like a cozy place where I want to have tea with a friend, notwithstanding that most of my oldest and closest friends are not likely to knock on my door.

The basement is quickly becoming just A Project for Another Day. Or year. But that’s ok. I’m creating order out of chaos, as usual, like a mythical being doomed to start again each day, only I’m not dealing in boulders, pushing them uphill. My work is much less sweaty than that. It involves infinite amount of lightweight fragments, nagging to be arranged, cropped, and edited, until they reach the privileged status of a picture–not the most beautiful or prize winning or pretty-as-a picture-picture. Just a picture.

Photo Friday

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  1. Martha
    September 14, 2012

    Your home looks beautiful even in snippets ♥ Sadly, I'm blogging about something that I broke this week.

  2. Manuela
    September 15, 2012

    I miss you.
    More than anything right now, I would love to stroll with you through the streets of Saint Paul, look at antiques, have coffee, and no concept of time.

    I think you are really good at taking pictures of interiors. I love the colors of your home, the blue with the brown, some gold, and touch of red. It feels already cozy to me.

  3. Kate T.
    September 15, 2012

    I love those Persian rugs. I would love to be left a rug like that – they seem like the sort of things that ought to be inherited rather than bought.

    Also, I wish my mantel was as minimalist as yours right now. It's currently the dumping ground for everything Norah can't be trusted with.

  4. Evelina
    September 17, 2012

    I should stop commenting on your blog, because I just always find it totally funny and inspiring to live-your-life as it is, and to love it. So I can't really provide veru substantial comments, just this maybe, that your posts are often brightening my day up. And this one in particular makes us all feel invited for a cup of tea.

  5. Julia
    September 17, 2012

    I was lucky with the Persian rugs. I didn't remember they existed, and I guess that none of my grandfather's three children or EIGHT grandchildren did either, because they were left behind, rolled up and getting dirty in my parents' outdoor shed. Hmm. But it's just like me to inherit the forgotten odds and ends of my ancestors. But they are probably my favorite of the odds and ends that came my way.

    Evelina, thank you. I wish you lived closer (i.e. across the hall or in this case street).

  6. A M B E R
    September 17, 2012

    I love these fragments of your new home Jules. And I completely know the feeling of not being able to be at rest until the fragments–art, furniture, rugs–are arranged just right. So that the movement from one room to another is harmonious, easy, just so.

    And I wish I were there to go from room to room with you, cup of tea in hand, discussing shapes and colors.