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Home Is Where the Wallet Is

May 15, 2010

The Indianapolis Decorators’ Show House is in its 49th year.  Local interior design firms and landscapers give a facelift to a large, usually historic home for this springtime charity event.  The house is then open to the (paying) public for two weeks.

I’ve gone to the Show House with my mom since I was 7-1/2 years old.  (Hint to moms everywhere: if your son chooses to go with you to show homes instead of going with dad to baseball games, he might be gay.)   When I was young, I thought the Decorators’ Show House was how life was supposed to be, how life could be, if I got a proper job and became rich.  I thought that all old houses were charming, that faux finishes went up in an hour and that mulched flower beds miraculously remained weedless all season.

Since home-ownership smothered what used to be my life, I found that older homes come with a dizzying array of problems.  I found that faux finishes take a minimum of two weeks and never turn out the way you intended.  I found that weeds never take the day off, no matter how much money you wave at them.

Homes come with their own agendas.  There is always another project, another improvement, another repair, another maintenance item.  All of which require another cheque, another loan, another day off of work, another argument about why completed work is not right or late.

These days, I understand the obstacles that St. Margaret’s Hospital Guild and the decorators face in mounting their dazzling fortnight display.  I have a lot more respect for the effort itself, regardless of whether I like the style of the finished product.  I would need a well-fed army to achieve such results.

I still enjoy finding out how designers work with the large and small spaces.  I like to see the latest color pallets applied with fabulous painting skills.  I still look for tips I can use to delude myself into loving my house for another year.  (I have my doubts, however, that I will ask a taxidermist to mount and frame a bat for my kitchen any time soon.)

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