Monday, November 23, 2009

A Bit of Colour

Regular readers will know that when we moved into our newest home nearly two years ago now, it was a difficult time in our lives. Although we were moving for really wonderful reasons and things were going well for us professionally, I was so sad I felt numb. My Dad had just died and my Mom was dying. We had also lost three other family members in the four previous months. It was an awful time.

Normally when I’m presented with the blank canvas of a new-build home (which has happened twice before) I can’t wait to get going on it, but this time I did only what I had to. Frankly, it was all I could manage. Curtains for every room had to be chosen and we needed to get a new sofa and chairs for our living room because of the way our own furniture had gone into the new house. (I’d used my living room sofa in my lovely new kitchen for starters.) In the end, I mostly chose things I felt pretty safe with. The only step out of my comfort zone that I took was when I chose the new sofa and chairs for our living room. I had seen some lovely red and gold furniture and curtains in my Laura Ashley catalogue and had fallen in love with them. With some trepidation and a lot of encouragement from my husband, I ordered them and a couple of co-ordinating bits of furniture. We were all really pleased with the results.

However, in terms of decoration, that was all I did and our living room, like much of the rest of the house, has a bit of an ‘unfinished’ quality to it. It looks great, but there is just a little something - a sort of “je ne sais quoi” - missing. And not only that, but I have still been struggling to get enthusiastic about actually decorating - you know, painting, wallpaper and that sort of thing. But finally, quite unexpectedly, something changed.

On Friday, when I was running some errands in Pangbourne, the window of a lovely furniture and accessories shop caught my eye. They had decorated it for Christmas and it was just beautiful. As well as baubles and sparkling decorations, they had used lots of lovely red things - including the vase I’ve photographed above - and some charmingly retro Christmas tree-shaped decorations. I had walked past it many times before, but this time, the window display was so pretty it drew me straight inside.

The shop is in a very old building, with incredibly low ceilings and slightly slanting walls. It seemed to be deserted and I wandered round happily for some time. Eventually a salesman, accompanied by a small and clearly very elderly dog, appeared to help me. I purchased both the vase and two of the red Christmas trees.

It was odd, but I left feeling strangely euphoric. As I walked back to my car, I was incredibly eager to see how my purchases looked in situ and my head was suddenly full of decorating ideas for our home. It was the first time since we had moved in that the idea of decorating had made me feel anything other than overwhelmed. Since then I’ve been busily making plans - I’ve even got some paint swatches. Isn’t it strange how a quaint little shop and a red vase can change everything?