Megan and I bought our home in June of 2005. For nine years, it was “our” home. I had the outdoor spaces…lawn care, gardening, the garage, and landscaping were all mine to take care of and shape into something I enjoyed. Megan had the inside. Knick-knacks and decorations, paint colors, organization, and general decor were hers.
The system worked. I’m not exactly an interior designer, and she wasn’t exactly a farmer. We both appreciated and enjoyed what each other had done with their respective spaces, and there weren’t any conflicts. We complimented each other well.
It would be all too easy to just “mothball” what she had done with the inside of the house. Her decor was pretty much set already when she died. We hadn’t been talking about doing anything in particular with paint or furniture before the transplant rejection set in, so I was content that she was happy with what she had done up to that point.
To be honest, I didn’t really care what her “style” was. It was clean and consistent…”Americana”. Wall hangings with rudimentary, simple houses, in varying shades of dark blue and maroon. Resin figurines resembling carved wood, without detailed faces. Small tapestries that looked like faux needlepoint. It was “homey”, simple, and it all matched.
Then, there were the holidays. Christmas was the big one. We had no less than 10 large plastic bins, stuffed to the gills with Christmas decorations, plus at least two dozen ceramic houses, three more large boxes of ornaments for the two different trees we put up (one in the basement, and one in the living room). Snowman and Santa themed covers for the dining room chairs, and countless strings of outdoor lights and extension cords.
Halloween and Easter followed closely behind in the sheer amount of “stuff” we had. When you’ve lived together for over a decade, you tend to accumulate things to fill the space you have.
We have 1,000 square feet of floor space, and roughly 3,000 square feet of “stuff”
Megan loved and enjoyed it though. The house is small enough that it is easy to take care of, yet just big enough that you could fit any decor you wanted inside. It’s “cozy” to say the least, but it worked for us, and I never protested.
But something changed after she died. It took some time, but I started to project some of my own “style” into the house. I didn’t make it a bachelor pad, but I decided to use the top shelf of the china closet, where she had dozens of figurines, for my beer glass collection (don’t judge me). I moved a few of the family pictures from the wall of the living room to our upstairs hallway. I rearranged some furniture, and put some plain black curtains up in the kitchen. Bit by bit, I started to put my own style into the interior of the home.
Then along came Sarah. Since she’s moved to Ohio, and spent more time in the house, there was always a bit of anxiety that she would want to make the space “hers”, which could mean tossing everything that Megan had done and starting fresh. I’m sure this isn’t something that only I considered. Megan’s parents are here, a lot. They come to visit Shelby at least weekly, if not more, and having some of the things that Megan placed still around may bring them a small bit of connection to their late daughter.
It is apparent though that Sarah’s style is very close to mine. It’s totally different than what Megan and I had. Both inside and outside of the house, we discuss what we would like to do, hang, install, place, plant, and color. Shelby gets a lot of input. There is no “you get the inside, I’ll take the outside” agreement here. Most importantly, although Megan and her styles don’t line up, she respects and considers every single piece of Megan that is here. Nothing is being tossed, stored, or otherwise gotten rid of without careful analysis of the meaning behind it, and how it may merge with her own decor.
It’s both odd, and comforting at the same time. It has become just as much “our” home as when Megan and I lived here. That is something that had been lacking since late 2014. It no longer felt like a home, but rather a “house”. It was simply the shelter that Shelby and I lived in. As little changes have continued to occur though, ones that the three of us are making together, it has become our home. One that has renewed life and love for those both here, and gone. .