One of the March Break Madness events we took part in was Visiting Friends’ Houses. VFH is a big deal for my daughter because of the H part. We are among the few she knows who live in a non-House. She always makes it a point to go up to the VFH host and say, “I really like your house.” What she means is “I really like ANY house.”

She was too young to remember that we lived in a house once a long time ago. A house in a very nice part of Ottawa with a swing set in the backyard and an old piano in the dining room. With pick up baseball games in the park nearby, family biking trails right beside the house and neighbors who had cute little dogs. And white peonies, white lily of the valleys and white sweet peas in the garden (beauty: white flowers on dark green foliage).

That white-picket experience was one of the many diverse home situations I’ve experienced in my life and at the end of it all, I like the simplest home experience of all. I like not having to feel that I need a new this or that – besides saving money, it saves valuable energy and head-space trying to keep up with the Hassans (with apologies to all the Hassans out there). And I find it exhilaratingly challenging to my interior-design loving brain to make the things I have look good together somehow. As a good friend who came by and looked around yesterday said: only you artsy types can put together stuff like this (stuff like what? un-cookie-cutter, mismatched, weird? fusion, that must be it) and make it work.

Now I finally get to try to put William Morris’ rule to use: Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful. It’s been a LONG LONG time since I bought anything for the condo. As for near future plans: a coat of white paint and 2 chairs re-covered and I’m done.

It’s only when we’ve been VFHing that my daughter starts wistfully talking about a white picket life. At all other times, she’s grateful for the making-art space I set up in the corner of the living room and most especially, for the sunlight which always visits and crowds our condo – the most beautiful interior design of all.

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