Last week I arrived home to find a gift bag containing truffles and a bottle of wine. It was from my friend Eileen, who works at Camden Falls Gallery (and sells my pictures). The note read, “People in Maine never use the front door.” I smiled, because the front door in our new house is pretty much vestigial.
When I was six, my parents bought a tired old Victorian house near Buffalo, NY. Over the years, they restored and renovated it, but there never was a key to the massive front doors. Everyone used the kitchen door.
That house had high ceilings and long, light-filled windows. There were so many rooms that my kids could act up in the living room and their grandmother couldn’t hear them in the kitchen. When the house was readied for market, people said, “It needs a complete rehab.” This troubled me because it had been so well maintained for the fifty years my parents had owned it. Then I realized it wasn’t the systems they were thinking about; it was the Grandma wallpaper, the Grandma trim, and the Grandma color schemes.
What indefinable quality made us pick this house in Rockport? It has beautifully-maintained systems, is in a perfect location, and has a fantastic studio, but the answer may be more primal.
My eldest walked in and said to me, “This house reminds me of Grandma’s house.” I could ignore that, except that her twin and their younger sister each said the same thing.
My husband heard this and groaned.
There’s one primal difference: my childhood home was chilly and indifferent to its living occupants. It was, in fact, a classic “haunted house,” and enough inexplicable things happened there to make me doubt my own skepticism about ghosts. At one point my father had it exorcised, but that didn’t seem to make much difference. Even as an adult, I approached closed doors with slight trepidation.
In contrast, this house has a happy vibe. “This is Grandma’s house, but without the creepy and spooky,” my daughter amended. It’s also a lot smaller, but I’m afraid it’s true. I’ve bought myself a Grandma house.
Let me know if you’re interested in painting with me on the Schoodic Peninsula in beautiful Acadia National Park in August 2015. Click here for more information on my Maine workshops! Download a brochure here.