Brand building through storytelling

Claiming the keys: a homeowner’s love story

At first we weren’t sure which key to use. The ring held three, none of them labeled and one stamped, “Do not duplicate.” My husband guessed right. The latch released with a soft click. The door swung open. We crossed the threshold and stood in the foyer, which still bore the dusty footprints of the movers. Sunlight filtered through the shutters onto a hardwood floor the colour of dried cranberries. The room contained nothing except possibilities.

When we were first smitten by this loft, a chaise longue sat under the window and the alcove held a brass-handled Chinese chest that fit the space exactly. The blurred pinks and golds of the carpet had a vaguely Impressionist abandon. As we pondered how much to offer, I had a brief spasm of doubt. “Maybe what we love isn’t really the place,” I said (or perhaps it was my husband who said what I was thinking). “Maybe it’s just the décor.”

That day we didn’t visit the loft with any serious thoughts about living there. If we had known how small it was, or that you walked in right off a downtown sidewalk, we wouldn’t have gone there at all. We thought we knew what we wanted, and it wasn’t this. But the space had a sense of harmony that expanded its physical size. Within 24 hours we were referring to the loft as “our place” and worrying that some other buyer might beat us to the punch. And so, six weeks later, there we were. Home.

A naked home, when you’ve just acquired it, is like a naked lover who has just left his date-night clothes on your floor for the very first time. You see every scar, every fold. If he’s going to be dear to you, none of this matters. So it was when the loft became ours. We saw a scratch on the floor and holes in the walls where a mirror used to hang. We saw crannies that hadn’t been cleaned for a while. We could take care of it all in short order. And in the act of caring, we would make the loft ours.

I’d like to think we’ll spend the next decade in the loft, but I’m usually wrong about these things. Our nesting cycle is getting shorter, from 14 years in the house where we raised our son to barely five and a half in the condo we’ve just sold. And meanwhile, of course, the time left to us has been getting shorter, too. I didn’t think about that while I was packing school lunches and trying to impress my boss, but let’s just say that things have changed. I have loved every home I’ve ever had. That is what matters as we decorate the loft with treasures we’ve had for years and other things we haven’t yet found.

What we create here will never be duplicated. When we go, it’s gone.

Click herehere and here to read more about disengaging from one home and looking for another.

If you’ve explored this site, you must have noticed my passion for books, especially poetry. I’m not sufficiently well read to have a poem for every occasion, but I do have a favourite in which moving inspires a meditation on time and change. I’ve talked about it on this site at least twice before, but that’s because I find it so transporting and so true. So here it is one more time, Thomas Hardy’s“During Wind and Rain.”

Posted by Rona

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