February 25th, 2010



How much I love my space, love making it mine, love surrounding myself with ephemera and the pleasing shapes of furniture and items that speak to me in some way. Ever since I had my first own room, I've loved making my space mine. Choosing the colors around me, which paintings to hang where, which items to set out for admiration. Arranging books on shelves, picking out pillows for sofas, rearranging things until they are just so.

My first own room was in Belgium, in the house we rented for 3 years in the little village of Overpelt. Isn't that a great name for a village? Almost as good as Flyinge. What I loved about that first OWN room: light blue walls, a tiny sink nook with mirror, under-eaves attic closet.

What I loved about my second own room in Landstuhl, Germany was that our apartment was on the 12th floor of a high-rise building. It was like living in the clouds. There was no closet in my room (or in any of our rooms); there were amoires out in the hallway instead. Which meant lots more room for my own furniture and stuff and more opportunities for rearranging!

Then I went to college at Michigan State and shared a room, with 3 other girls. Then another one with 3 other girls. Then I had a room in a house with 5 other girls: the smallest room, with a loft bed. It was like living in a closet, but it was cozy. My rooms and apartments for awhile after college were nothing special (except for the one with the fireplace: I still miss that), until I got my OWN apartment. It was like having my own room TIMES FOUR! Living room, kitchen, bathroom, bedroom: all mine to do with what I pleased.

I loved my first OWN apartment. I loved the dark dove grey carpeting and the built-in glass-front cabinets in the kitchen and the huge walk-in closets and the high ceilings and the wall of paned windows. I loved the view over the rooftops to the trees by the lakeshore. I've written about it before, I loved that place so much.

It's harder to make your space your own when you share it with a family, though. I have still managed to do it to a great extent, and to feel like I am surrounded by things, as well as people, that mean something to me. I liked our old house in Flyinge, but I LOVE this one.

What do I love about it? I love:
  • the way the tiles in the foyer are cut diagonally because I asked Anders to do them that way and he did, even though it's harder to cut & fit tiles diagonally, for a birthday present for me
  • the way the windows in the big room go all the way to the ground
  • the way the kids's department is separate from the rest of the house: containment!
  • the fact that my husband did all the work in the house from the spackling to the wallpapering, from the tiling to the flooring
  • the choices that we made in tiles and wallpapers
  • the big bay window in the kitchen
  • the moose bathroom
  • the porch and the deck
  • the rounded paving stones at the end of the corridor between the house and the garage
  • the stylish hipped roof, unusual in Sweden, that we really fought for
  • the wallpaper border in the computer room; one we had in our old house which I liked it so much I had to have it again
  • all the closets
It might seem silly to go on about the structural design and minutiae of this house, but finding the right house plan, having it built, choosing the interiors makes it so much ours, so much mine, that every now and then I just want to put it out there for posterity; I love this home of ours. We've lived here in this house for over 7 years now, and I still notice these things: they still thrill me as much as they did when the house was new and we had just moved in. Walking through the foyer and noticing the tiles again fills me up frequently with love.

Do you love your space, your place in the world? What about it causes you delight?
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