Our house in Venice was unique. Split between an original two-bedroom beach cottage in front, built in 1927, and a steel and concrete guesthouse, designed and built by Morphosis, in 1979, it provided nook after cranny for our collective shared and individual histories. There was such varied space, from the tiny back bedroom with its wooden ceiling in the front house to the 25-foot tall, wall-to-wall bookcases of the backhouse that was accessible by an old sliding library ladder. Nothing in our home looked out of scale and it ambled along the length of the property.
By contrast, my new apartment is brand new with sleek lines and two rooms, other than the kitchen and bath. It has an odd circular design, in that you can enter the bathroom from the foyer, then go into the walk-in closet that leads to the bedroom and there you are, right back in the living room. It’s a French farce waiting to happen. This provides Bob endless exploration as he tries to decipher the physics of entering one room only to haplessly find his black butt in an entirely different one. I believe he thinks it as another elevator.
Things that seemed small, tucked away, and not calling attention to themselves now scream from the walls, “Look at me, dammit!” Ernie, a century old stuffed hawk I inherited from a neighbor many years ago, was an afterthought in our Venice home. Now he stands naked, the center of attention above the desktop computer, and he’s a little embarrassed. A wooden sled from the late nineteenth century that was lazily propped up in our living room is now clinging to the wall with all its might and over takes any sense of proportion.
I spent Saturday and Sunday painting, all the while with our networks’ TLC’s Trading Spaces and While You Were Out on an endless loop of reruns in the background. I have brought the warm khaki green, the smooth ocean blue and the cuddly soft yellow that dominated the old home into the new apartment, and I look around at my finished work and I feel safe, as safe as I’m going to feel, considering.
I have found new ways to reinvent the things Billy and I collected over the years. Unlike my previous bachelor pad, my apartment on the beach before I met Billy, I have brought a fresh and familiar perspective to my decorating choices. How would Billy like this here? or What would he think of this color and that one together? It’s a fun game, one that he would have done in a reverse situation, and as I sat back on Sunday evening watching the Emmys, I had candles burning that made the light dance all over the newly born home, and I know he would not only approve of what I’ve done, he helped me do it.