OMG I have a mantle.

The biggest, most gigantic thing in my life—literally, actually, if I pause a second to consider actual sizes—is the fact that we bought a house, Eben and I. We spent months and months looking at house after house—about 80 of them. And we spent months and months arguing and negotiating and complaining and being stressed and occasionally hopeless.

Then, we put an offer in on a house! We drove by it once or nine times a day to admire it. After the inspection, we withdrew our offer when it appeared that the house was actually ready to crumble into a soggy heap, and froth into the earth from whence it came. Then we were extremely sad.

Then we had a Showdown: Eben wanted a house with a terrible kitchen and an odd basement; I wanted the pristine showplace in which a seventy-three-year-old Mormon woman had lived her entire married life without ever once redecorating. But it was <i>very clean</i>. Plus it had a fabulous yard! Also, a sliding door that led from the dining room out to a little patio, and for some reason I clung to that as being deeply important to me.

He won, and oh, I’m glad he did. I love our house. It is cape-cod style, with two stories plus a basement. It has a perfect number of bedrooms and a ridiculous overabundance of bathrooms. There are hardwood floors and a working fireplace  that I spent most of the winter in front of and beautiful molding and a terrible kitchen but so many windows and so much light and mountain views from almost every window and it is our house.

Maybe later I will talk about What It Means To Be Staying in Utah for Now, but at the moment, that doesn’t seem especially important—which basically sums up the issue to this point. What is taking up all the real estate in my head is being a grown up. Grown-up plumbing and grown-up electrical work and grown-up cleaning the gutters and grown-up mowing the lawn, and sometimes it sucks to be a grown up, and sometimes it feels like the dumbest thing we ever did is sign up to care about mulch and whether our outlets are grounded.

But there’s also decorating, which involves buying real, grown-up furniture and choosing paint colors and considering the various varieties of throw pillow and spending real energy considering the various merits of an assortment of colors and patterns. And while I know that every person who has ever picked up an issue of <i>Domino</i> considers themselves a decorator with an eye for color, possessed of a knack for whimsy and a well-developed taste and a carefully curated art collection, there is still a little part of me that thinks I am pretty good at it.

However, the beautiful part of the whole deal is that I don’t care if, objectively, I am actually very poor at decorating and have all the taste of a buttocks-shaped Jell-O mold; I love it, I do. I love picking out chairs and deciding on night stands and choosing the perfect shaped-lamp and sometimes, I even think phrases that I’d never say out loud, like “pop of color” or “well-balanced arrangement” or “add a layer of texture,” and I am filled with glee. <i>Actual goddamn glee.</i> I am comfortable admitting that, because it is an honest and pure glee, born of an honest and pure love for colors that warm up the walls and light fixtures that really make a bold statement, by god.

I have a bookmark folder titled “House” that has—oh, god, I don’t even know how many links. To shops and individual items and decorating blogs that talk about decorating techniques. I’ve got so many lists and have so many ideas and I want to talk about finishes and my ideas for curtains (a pattern, yes, of course! But contrasting apple green, or blending-in turquoise? <i>I am so torn.</i>) and go on and on and on (yes, exactly like this) about how I found the best end table ever and how I’m still deciding whether to paint the kitchen cabinets white or green. Eben has strong opinions about many things (NO GRAY WALLS. WE KEEP THE SHUTTERS. I LIKE THE COLOR ORANGE) but in general he has been content (afraid enough?) to let me steer the Good Ship Crazy Pants straight into stormy waters.

And it has been swell. When I’m done down here, I will start arranging the upstairs to my satisfaction, and then the basement, and then the outside and then I will come over to your house and shout things about the color wheel and softening sharp angles with textiles and adding fun pops of graphic prints until you lure me into the yard with back issues of <i>Elle Décor</i> and lock the door.


  1. Congratulations!!!

    I’m a little jealous. I have a house but I still don’t have mantle. A fireplace with a mantle is on the must-have list for our next house.

  2. Thank you thank you!

    We didn’t realize “fireplace” and “mantle” were on our wishlist until we were lucky enough to end up with them. It is also another area to decorate! So you know I’m excited.

  3. Well, well! Congrats! Not to just pimp my company, but Kaboodle does sound like it would be perfect to help you keep track of house stuff! :)

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