Whenever I check my news feed on Facebook, there will always be a post or two on home design, interior decorating and such. A part of me is glad that somehow those posts tell me that my friends are in the phase of becoming a homeowner, have just moved in, or perhaps saving up to purchase one. A lot of them tag their partners, putting captions like ‘My dream house’ and truly, I am happy for them, and understand the euphoria of moving into your very own home, paid with your hard-earned money or the happiness that comes from daydreaming.
Another part of me laughed at myself – where has all my excitement gone? My house is all practical and functional, nothing strikingly pretty or Pinterest-worthy.
When I think deeply – I admit that I introspect on matters of no importance like this – I think my relative lack of enthusiasm on interior decorating stems from the fact that I, for all the ambitious self, have never ever have one thing called ‘a dream house’. I’ve never had a vision on a future house, or a future car or anything like that. Ever. And I married an ultimate minimalist whose idea of owning a house is having a roof above his head and a mattress to sleep on, so we have some kind of parallel vision on what our house should be – sort of.
But I do have this one particular dream, ever since I was a small kid, that is I’d like to have my own personal library. Indirectly it means that I dream of owning a house with a size that allows me to build a room full of books, a comfy chair, a nice and appropriate lighting… but that’s about it.
So when my husband and I moved into our humble 1067 sq ft apartment, we allocated one room for that, which also doubles as a guest room. I started to fill the room with a bookshelf, an IKEA sofa bed, a study desk, an AC unit (should have known that we don’t need this), a nice floor cum reading lamp, a small table for coffee and finally I found that my dream has come true. My husband should really be thankful that I am so easy to please that way.
Beyond that home improvement for me means problem-solving, like finding the best storage solutions, where to put my (and the children’s) expanding collection of books (I’ve imagined a bookshelf in my bedroom, along the hallway and in the living room) , and the future needs of my children. I admit sometimes I have this periodical obsession about putting pretty decorations on the wall and stuff like that, but with a husband like mine, that kind of proposals will need to be vetted rationally. Well, that is unless I give up and concede that I want those things ‘just because’ – no logical reasons whatsoever – to which my husband will normally oblige (I think he’s just being thankful that his wife still has some feminine traits).
Sure, I got excited too when we were first moving in. Choosing the colour scheme, buying the furniture, designing the kitchen… you should see my home notebook.It’s full of ideas. But after we moved in with the house functioning as it should, the excitement wore out. Spending for little unnecessary pretty things is never justified – I’d rather buy books than that beautiful wall art.
Then again, the little that we have is apparently enough. I don’t think we’ll be happier in a different, bigger, fancier house. These days I even dream about downsizing, moving to a smaller apartment where the chores of vacuuming the floor or removing the spider webs won’t overwhelm me. The other day my husband ranted about how he could not understand the need for people to spend money on designer coffees. I told him people pay for the atmosphere of the coffee houses too hence the price tag, but he insists that unless you are unmarried (and generally could not care much on making your house a home, like him), anyone can make his or her house calming and inspiring enough to drink coffee peacefully inside it.
That remarks, to me, subtly means that even without those fancy vases, a nice kufi art framed, or a feature wall, I’ve somehow made this little abode a home, one that my husband (and son) eagerly return to, have a cup of hot instant Nescafe, and find peace in it.
p.s. I still need to buy more cacti though. I haven’t kill enough.