I was reading an article entitled ‘the love you never forget’. It was talking about an old flame or affair you have a hard time letting go of but it made me think about the first house I fell in love with and the feelings that surrounded me. It was spring of 2001 when I saw a listing for an old, slightly crooked heritage house on a tree lined street in my hometown and I couldn’t call the realtor fast enough to go and have a viewing.
This charmer was a skinny two-storey with a glassed-in porch, it was painted dark green with white trim and had an eye-catching brick red door and fence. As I toured the house and took in the textured wallpaper, maple floors and heavy wood accents I began to feel a beating in my heart and a stirring in my soul like I have never felt. I wandered upstairs on the hardwood stairs and looked in the homes single bathroom to find a large, cast iron clawfoot tub and a master bedroom with a fireplace sitting at one end.
The stirring turned into a full-fledged want and I knew I could not bear not living in this house. I put an offer in immediately with the condition that my dad and husband approved on a second viewing. They were both out of town but I gave no thought to the fact that I was launching this on my own – I just HAD to have it! When my dad returned to town I took him over and he said, “Oh no, not this house.” He had done the taxes for the man who had abandoned it over a decade before and had watched the home get boarded up and inhabited by squatters and vagrants. A couple had bought it a few years prior to my discovery and had put some work and a bit of paint into the home yet the property still kept most of the original décor and features, right down to an old telephone hanging in the kitchen.
Fast forward a few years and we have re-landscaped and dressed up the interior to make the house our own. Was it a drafty old place? Absolutely. Did the space work any better for us than our old house? A slight bit, it wasn’t bigger but the layout was perfect and it had outdoor space and charm and an owner who was in love so the house worked very well. I was to be found painting or crawling around on my hands and knees hand stencilling the 100-year-old hardwood as I went from room to room improving how it all looked. I knew I was in love when I almost got my head stuck under the clawfoot tub while painting the small claws silver to make them stand out.
There are loves you never forget and there is sometimes a home you have a hard time forgetting. Falling in love can be a dusty and expensive mess but through it all you keep smiling because you are working on a project you love and are creating a home interior that will stay with your heart forever.
Kim Wyse is a Central Alberta freelance designer. Find her on facebook at ‘Ask a Designer/Ask a Realtor’.