Between the trees.

When I was in college, as a perk of being in a small honors program, I had the privilege of working with a Hemingway scholar; someone who had not only written extensively on Hemingway his Lost Generation tribe members, but who knew the Hemingways personally.

As an English major, this group of eclectic expatriates became the subject of great fascination and admiration for me. From the texts my Professor assigned to the anecdotal richness she contributed, I decided to focus the majority of my studies on this Lost Generation, even composing my thesis as a cubist piece through writing.  

As a class trip, the five of us in my honors class were led on a special tour of The Barnes Foundation (when it was still in Merion) and she told us about the paintings, the artists, the gallery and the placement of pieces; she told us about Gertrude Stein’s salon; She showed us a Cezanne landscape and told us that it was Hemingway’s aim to write like Cezanne would paint with the light that shone in between the trees; that it was what was not there that was more important than what was. I will never forget that lesson, about looking for what is in the space in between the objects, rather than just at the objects themselves. Hemingway, my favorite, mastered that, in his elegant sparseness.

Today I was overwhelmed by the beauty of nature; the light between the trees took my breath away, as the world was filled with white.

photo (48)Layer upon layer of white.

photo 1Today was slow and quiet and still in many ways, as if the world stopped at the feet of the falling snow.

It gave me a second to look, to notice, what was between the trees.

The light between the trees.

Little bathroom, big change.

The transformation to this bathroom is like night and day; literally,

(as I snapped some photos on a snowy night, and some in the snowy morn).

But the change to this small bathroom was particularly striking;

When I found the house this bathroom was dark and depressing. The walls were covered in a wallpaper that was deep colors and printed in ivy. The vanity was a dark wood and the light fixture was also old, in bad shape and dark. All of the heaviness made a small room seem even tinier and more confining.

I do not have any before pictures (another room I’m sure the realtor and sellers did not want exposed to the light of day), but here is our after:

photo 3_6

Here is what our bathroom looks like now. Like our kids’ bathroom, this is not a luxurious space, but it could have been a heck of a lot worse. Especially for a 90 year old home.

The photos framed above are ones snapped by my mom on her trip to Paris earlier this fall. photo (15)

We did replace this toilet, as the old one was one of these weird old things that had a toilet training seat built in. Freaky, right?photo 4

I wasn’t kidding before; some pictures from night, some from day.

We had our painters strip the dark ivy wallpaper and put on a fresh coat of Benjamin Moore White Diamond. In order to further brighten the space, we had them paint the dark brown vanity and mirror with the trim paint, Decorators White. I even painted the hardware myself, from brass to a platinum color. photo 5_3

Again, just because my bathroom is not glamorous itself, it doesn’t mean I couldn’t put a little bit of glamour in my accents. This is a dessert tiered tray similar to the one on my coffee table, but instead of macaroons, mine is covered with scented candles and sweet smelling soaps.
photo 1 photo 2And it is a beautiful sill from which to see the snow on the tops of the trees on a winter morning.

This bathroom is the perfect example of a dramatic transformation on a dime (and I am sorry that I do not have a before photo, but please take my word). For next to nothing I turned a small, dark space into a little, bright haven.

“Six Years Later”


photo 3_2The view from inside the living room, as the snow falls and the fire behind me glows. 

So long had life together been that now
the second of January fell again
on Tuesday, making her astonished brow
lift like a windshield wiper in the rain,
so that her misty sadness cleared, and showed
a cloudless distance waiting up the road.

So long had life together been that once
the snow began to fall, it seemed unending;
that, lest the flakes should make her eyelids wince,
I’d shield them with my hand, and they, pretending
not to believe that cherishing of eyes,
would beat against my palm like butterflies.

-Joseph Brodsky

My view,

from my bedroom window.

BR window

It just took me an hour and a half to drive home approximately 6.5 miles in this storm.

But I can now watch the snow fall, peacefully, from the inside.

It was exactly a year ago today that I first woke up to this view. And on that morning I thought I love it here. Today I feel just the same.