Have you ever walked into someone's home and you just knew you didn't need to take your shoes off if you didn't want to, but that you totally could throw shoes and socks to the wind if your pretty little heart desired? I think that's our house in a nutshell. At least I hope it is.
I often look at the Pottery Barn catalog. Actually, I pine over it every time I get a new one in the mail. I adore The Pottery Barn. I want every single item I see in those catalogs. I pour over every sleigh bed in a variety of finishes. Every day bed. Every bedding ensemble and organizational piece of furniture. The items in the Pottery Barn catalog are elegant and expensive. They are rich in fabric, in texture. The pieces that look like they are made with real wood are actually made with real wood! Everything has a color coordinated everything else!
In my mind, I imagine a beautiful and amazing Pottery Barn house where each and every item is put in the place perfect for its display. Everything in that house is meticulously organized. The junk-drawer-that-everyone-has-but-can't-admit-to-having is actually a beautiful fabric lined basket tucked neatly away. All the kids have monogrammed polos which are folded nicely and put in the proper monogrammed bin in the closet. Every time I imagine this nonexistent house, I can't help but think of all the things I would do if I ever visited someone there. Of course, I would be wearing something linen, my hair would be perfectly windblown and my freckles would be glowing from having just stepped off my boat from an afternoon frolic on the ocean with the sun beaming on my face. I would probably be wearing sandals that may be a bit sandy, but I would enter the house with them on anyway. My host would generously offer me a cup of tea, because despite weather befitting an afternoon on the water, the wind blowing up from the beachfront is just enough to create a chill in the house. A light breeze that perfectly accompanies an afternoon cup of tea. My host would politely remind me that the tea will take "just a few minutes" and that I shouldn't hesitate to "make myself comfortable." This will immediately bring a bright smile to my face, because I am already in her living room with my sandals kicked off and my feet pulled up onto one of those beautiful armchairs, happily flipping through the most recent Pottery Barn catalog.
Gosh, that image makes me so happy! It makes me miss my dearest friend in the whole world--the one who would be furious if her husband brought an important guest home without at least giving her the 20 minute warning so she could whip around the house desperately trying to create just the right order and ambience. This is the same friend who would be delighted if I popped in just to say hello and spent the whole afternoon gabbing with her instead. And the order in her home at my random pop-by is basically the same as the special guest would receive. Because her home is that elegant and comfortable all at the same time, all the time. Everyone is always welcome, and everyone feels as if the environment is just perfect for whatever the occasion.
When I think of my friend, I realize her house isn't full of expensive catalog furniture and accessories. There are neatly organized areas for kids' things. The furniture is nice, but comfortable. And there is always a cup of tea brewing on the counter. It's never perfectly neat and clean, but it's never a disorderly mess either. It's not about creating an image for her, it's just simply living. Everyday, it's the same way--a day full of games and fun with the kids or an afternoon gab with a good friend. It's simply a home filled with love.