It goes without saying that we should feel at our most comfortable in our own homes. I moved from an apartment that I literally felt was my refuge to an apartment that still does not truly feel like my own.
For the last 15 years, I had been living with my sister in a condominium apartment we purchased together. I loved this apartment and coming home to it. The living room, with it’s hard wood floors, was spacious enough for the two of us to work out together if we chose to, and we often did. The open kitchen provided us with generous counter space and an area where we could both comfortably prepare our meals at the same time. The all white bathroom had what is called subway tiles with a pedestal sink and a shower that had a removable shower gun for convenient rinsing. My bedroom— I spent many many hours in this comforting room that was my solace on many an occasion. I had the room painted a rustic burgundy when we had just moved in and although my sister felt the color was too dark and depressing, I found that it served as a source of peace for me on the days when depression did not want to let me go. This was my home; it was my sanctuary.
So imagine the heavy heart I carried with me as I said goodbye to my days of living there. Of course I was and am excited to move into my husband’s home, but the melancholy did make its appearance as I packed up all that I needed to take with me to start my life with Dan.
I moved into an apartment filled with its own history. Compared to my apartment, Dan’s seemed a little cluttered. With quite a few pieces of furniture in the living room and a cramped kitchen, I quickly got used to it. There were even times before we married that I felt more comfortable there than in my old apartment.
However, something in my mind shifted once I became Dan’s wife. I moved in with Dan and suddenly found myself questioning the art pieces on the wall, the arrangement of appliances in the kitchen and the usefulness of the furniture in the living room. The bookcases suddenly seemed haphazard to me. I must admit, though, that Dan worked very hard to make the bedroom comfortable for me. He cleared a space on one side and suggested we purchase an armoire together, which we did. I later bought a wooden shoe case that holds 36 pairs of shoes. Those two items keep me quite content.
Then for Thanksgiving, Dan suggested we invite a colleague and his wife over. That’s when it hit me. I didn’t want to entertain anyone in my new home because it was not home to me yet. It was Dan’s home, and I just moved in with my clothes and shoes and little else. Sometimes, I felt more like a visitor using the spare side of the bedroom and spare pieces of furniture.
Nothing in the apartment except the armoire and shoe case represent me, and those are only functional items. The art that line the walls, though quite fascinating, do not cater to my taste. Nothing on the book shelves represent what I like. The furniture is not the kind I would prefer. That’s when I recognized that my attempt at bringing new furniture in like my shoe case and the armoire was not going to make it feel like home. In an attempt to not offend him, I had not communicated my feelings about this with Dan, so there was no way he could have known that I needed something different. If I were to truly make the space a place of comfort for me, I’d switch out the small glass tables for a wooden coffee table. I’d fill the bookcases with my favorite books that I left behind in my old apartment. I’d find art that both Dan and I can agree on. Storage can serve as a temporary home for the things that are too dear to let go. Still, I think it will take more than just new furniture, the purging of old, and extra storage space to make me feel at home.
I realize now that I want a completely new apartment that Dan and I can furnish and decorate together. An apartment that is as much a merger of our likes as it is of our lives. Just as I purged what I no longer needed in order to move in with Dan, he’ll have to do the same when we decide to buy a place together. I believe it is then I will finally be in a place that will truly feel like my home.