château d'accord

Italy has taken over as The Place We Want To Be in the Dekker household and we've been looking at old villas and farmhouses for sale. The internet tells me I shouldn't learn two romance languages at the same time, so I'm focusing on becoming fluent in French before I pick up Italian. J'apprends!

Okay translates to d'accord in French, which sounds vaguely similar to how one might say Dekker with a French accent. Château d'accord struck me as funny one night since the English usage of okay can be synonymous with mediocrity, so now I call our future imaginary Italian villa by a French name translated incorrectly from English sarcasm, and explaining this split-second thought process in a blog post has made me feel like I am the most un-funny person alive. I'll have to laugh at it all by myself, sitting in my Castle Of Mediocrity (here's something way less complex that made me cry laughing last night, because you deserve to enjoy it too)

When I was a kid, sometimes I'd come home from school to find my bedroom rearranged. My mother had seemingly limitless energy and ideas for our home when I was growing up. She has a way of making things fit that I've always admired. I'm not sure if she did it because she knew I loved it or if she did it because she was a SAHM on an isolated hill in a very rural area and needed to feel in control of whatever she could (both, probably). Leaving something familiar and coming home to something clean and new felt so magical, and all it took was some planning and a spare afternoon from my mom. Sometimes she rearranged the living room, too, and if I happened to be home we'd plan it out together, making rough measurements of furniture by counting the number of steps my little feet could take from one end to the other.

I started collecting interior magazines and catalogs when I was 13. I filled notebooks with cut-out photos of teenage bedroom makeovers and bedding and posters. I took mental notes on how my friends' bedrooms looked and collected ideas about colors and placement and vibes that I could stitch together in a way that felt like my own.

Vibes are important, and it seems like there are people who understand them and feel them and people who don't. Everything that exists in a physical space vibrates on a frequency. If I put a chair in a corner, that movement and that placement generate an energy that I feel somewhere inside my head, similar to entering a room and being able to feel the faint electrical hum from a TV. It allows me to know that my husband has put a clean coffee mug back on a shelf in a different place than I would, without even looking. It's the same thing that allows my mom to stand back from a room, take a quick visual inventory, and move a table one inch to the left. This movement completes a visual sentence about how she feels that day, or what she needs. There's an episode of Frasier where Frasier discovers something that Daphne put back on a shelf incorrectly; he runs over and turns it slightly and yells, "ASKEW! ASKEW!!"

Now, at a point in my life where I'm learning how to be myself again after struggling with depression and getting married, I am looking back on these small things that have always been a part of me and taking deep dives into them. If I really think about interests I've had and revisited many times throughout my life, there are 4 things on that list: playing music, making art, interiors, and writing. Interior design is the only one that I never took a break from. I've consumed it daily in some way for almost 20 years now; I am insatiable. It never gets old.

The house that I grew up in is not the same anymore, except that it is; it has stayed put in such a stubborn way that it can no longer keep up with time pushing forward. There are no walls in some of the rooms; projects that started almost 30 years ago still linger. They will never be finished. The house itself was so poorly built that no renovation can solve the underlying problems. It needs to come down and something else needs to go up in its place, but my parents are no longer the type to welcome change or expense, and the idea of losing that house hurts me. Home has always been an intensely important concept to me because it was mine, and it was safe. That house still feels familiar, but instead of feeling a familiar sense of joy or safety, I feel a familiar sadness and tremendous guilt that I can't fix everything, or that I haven't been saving money to fix it all along, or that I don't do something significant to improve it every time I visit, or that I can't just wave a magic wand and breathe some energy back into it at the very least. It's not just that the house has deteriorated; my family has deteriorated along with it. Nothing was ever perfect, but there used to be a lot of love there, or what I believed love to be in that phase of my life. The weight of it all is too much, usually, so it's only on evenings like this one, when the sun is shining and it's the first day of spring and I've eaten a CBD gummy for anxiety and everything else is going pretty well, that I can allow myself to think about it at all.

There's a decorator named Dirk Jan Kinet who has this fucking fabulous home in Mexico City  that he completely redecorates every few months, paint and everything. He posted a photo a year ago of tons of white plates being hung on the wall and admitted in the caption that they were just paper plates because he was on a budget, but they looked like porcelain from far away. I loved that so much; if you put love and creativity into a home you can do anything, and it will be way more stylish and feel way better than any unoriginal house that screams money and emptiness.