Five years ago I ordered fabric for recovering chairs for the den in a house we just put an offer on in Camden, Maine. We didn’t get the house and the $200+ lovely fabric sat in a closet. When we actually did move to another house in Maine several years later, I brought out the stored fabric and discovered it was perfect in color and pattern matching the painted woodwork, chairs, etc., ideal for the living room’s needed window valances and sofa pillows. There could not have been a more perfect fabric for this house. Remarkable.
Our home in Maine is one-third the size of our previous home, yet we have need of the same functioning furniture so it has been a challenge. Space is at a premium in every room. Our antique English kitchen Manor House 10′ dining table just fits in our dining room along with the 9′ French buffet and 5′ Irish hutch. Amazing.
A couple years prior to moving here I purchased a lovely tablecloth from a Serrv catalogue which offers handmade items from around the world. I fully intended to use it for grand picnics in my previous home. When we moved, I turned the tablecloth into the perfect exterior shower curtain for our tiny master bath–the colors ideally matching the bathroom tile and hues in the adjoining bedroom. Lovely.
My reproduction Tiffany lamp, which I purchased over 40 years ago, now sits in our super-tiny living room on the antique Jacobean desk I’ve had for decades, right beside a window where I’ve hung the antique beveled stained-glass window that once occupied a unique architect-designed home we built on 5 acres where my now-grown children grew up. The antique transom I’d installed in that home, that I’d moved with me to two more homes, and had professionally repaired three years ago, now hangs on our entry wall–the only high wall in this little house. Both glass pieces are perfect where they now hang.
Two workmen and I came up with a partial solution for my lack of kitchen space by installing an antique beam across the kitchen ceiling from which all my copper pots hang. I also found an expert Maine cabinetmaker, prior to our move, to build a marvelous, though necessarily small, kitchen island out of lovely antique wood he’d been saving for a special job. I purchased a handsome granite slab for its top prior to our move to Maine, the cabinetmaker installing it on top of his beautiful woodwork. Ideal.
The same cabinetmaker built us narrow floor-to-ceiling bookshelves in the living room since we’d left enormous quantities of built-in bookshelves in every room–including a library–in our previous home and had to give away thousands of books knowing we’d have little room here. Though we still need more bookshelves, the ones he added to our living room are superb.
I still grapple with the kitchen which has only 4 small drawers, 4 small cupboards, and a pantry half as large as a British phone booth. The butcher block I’ve had for nearly 40 years adds a bit of space and I keep my large iron cooking pot on the floor for lack of any place else. But somehow I manage to make all our meals, French croissants, sourdough bread, cookies, cakes, and pies every week in these cramped quarters. Did I mention I once lived in a trailer? Things could be worse. We did purchase new appliances–small Sub-Zero, 30″ Wolf range, a Bosch dishwasher, and new microwave. I’m grateful for these appliances that enable me to function.
In this very small house, there’ve been many difficult issues, but ideas came to enable surprising congruity. Well, except for my basement art studio/gallery.
Right now I have 328 large, mostly framed, paintings and not enough walls for half of them. I am a prolific artist and work large. I have used every inch of space in the 2 rooms of this studio/gallery walk-out basement. After months of calling many contractors, finally one is coming to see what might be done to enlarge this space. Now if only the HOA would change their ruling and allow me a small sign–no bigger than 20 inches–at the turn-in so people can find me! My art space needs the congruity that enabled the rest of this home to find harmony.
I am holding to a thought that recently came to me: when we are governed by Divine Mind rather than a material sense of things, harmony is our rightful manifestation. Being spiritually guided in is the key to congruity, to growing good ideas. That is my job. I must not forget that.
Artwork: Damariscotta View at Sunset, framed oil,16 1/2 ” x 13 1/2,” $575. My most recent oil, this painting is the view from our little home’s West side–we’ve sunsets almost every night!– looking out to the ocean estuary, the Damariscotta River–one of the most harmonious sights to be found anywhere in Maine.