the house was perfect. fluffy, color coordinated towels in the bathrooms. the faded and stained green mess in my bedroom replaced with a rich, brown, plush carpet. tile and grout steam cleaned. new paint on the walls. refurbished kitchen cabinets. shiny granite counter tops. new drapes in the living room. all fans dusted. furniture and paintings artfully arranged. a bowl of lemons on the kitchen counter.
everything beautiful, spacious, clean, and organized. a perfect house. perfect for selling.
and i hated it.
which suprised me.
it wasn't the showing of the house that drove me crazy. it was the perfection, the staging. to sell my house in this tight housing market it had to be absolutely perfect. no mess. pictures and furniture in places i wouldn't have put them. paint colors that brought out the color of the granite, but colors i wouldn't have chosen. a house for selling but not for living.
yes, it was mostly "my stuff" the decorator used. my furniture. my paintings. my house. of course, there were also things we had to buy to make it more appealing, some of which i never would have bought. things like throw pillows, mirrors, candles and candlesticks. i'm not a pillow-mirror-candle person. never have been. but i knew the decorator was right and that those little touches would add that little something that might mean the difference between the house selling quickly and it dying a slow death in the waiting.
here are some pictures.
honestly, that was the coup de grace of the whole thing-- hiding my cool table because the decorator had implied it would detract from the sale. (as i recall, she looked at the table, maybe raised an eyebrow, and said, "I'll let you decide what to do with that.") the table embodies who we are in this house--fun-loving and free and a little bit reckless at times.
i thought i'd enjoy no clutter, especially after living with the mess of moving furniture and other stuff around while we'd painted and recarpeted and rearranged. at first it was a relief. the jobs were done. i could move through the house in a straight line instead of winding my way through stacks of stuff. i could see my living room floor and sit on the couch.
after living in it for a couple of days, it became uncomfortable. it wasn't my house anymore. there were no signs of life. no getting messy, no clutter. it was almost suffocating. we couldn't live in the house. it wasn't us. and the Gregorys, if anything, are all about living in authenticity and being real. maybe that's why it was so uncomfortable. we were putting on an act.
(when i looked up "charade" this was one of the definitions: a blatant pretense or deception, especially something so full of pretense as to be a travesty. it wasn't quite a travesty and it wasn't deception. buyers know you've staged your house. when we looked at houses in Butte, i appreciated the staged ones and didn't really like the unstaged ones. staging ours still felt fake.)
it wasn't all bad. i learned some things about decorating and arranging furniture. now i know what i can do in my next house and what i won't do. i know i won't put off using color on the walls or adding little touches. we won't put off those home improvement projects till the last minute. we'll keep the house a little less cluttered so it's easier to pick up when company comes.
the most important thing i took away from the whole experience was learning more about myself and what i'm willing and not willing to do in the pursuit of putting out a book. you may wonder how the two tie together or maybe you've figured it out. i'll post the rest of this in a day or two.
(the second half is now up: why i'll never sell to a publisher)