The Architect & Me: Part #35 – Exhale Peace

I dreamed someone had broken into our home and robbed us. In the dream I walked into the house, but I didn’t realize initially it had been robbed. Then I saw that all the artwork was gone. (Philly and I had gone to bed talking about artwork for over the mantel). Yesterday, we were at the new house for most of the morning. So, I’m not sure if I was just processing all my emotions as it had been a day full of important decisions.

It started with brick. We needed to pick out the brick for the foyer and the upstairs porch. So, we picked up some samples to take with us and then when we got back to the house, my novice interior designer self realized that this brick had to blend with not just the pine inside of the house that it would butt up against in the great room, but it also had to blend with the exterior house and stone color on the outside porch. Those are the moments that get me. The decisions that make my head dizzy. When something arrives that never crossed my well-worn mind. We nestled each brick up against the pine. No winners. We took them outside and placed them against the house. A few potentials. We slipped them into my work bag and decided we had more work to do.

My friend from Nashville who has made draperies for me for the past twenty years made the trip down and measured every window and door. It was a lovely distraction from brick. I’d trade brick and mortar for a sea of window treatments any day. She flitted around there like a firefly at the beginning of summer. Her measuring tape moving this way and that way. We decided where every drapery, café curtain, roman shade, and woven blind would hang. By the time she left my heart was lighter again.

After she left, Philly and I meandered through the house until our next meeting. More cabinets had been installed. The laundry room, Philly’s office bathroom, and the wet bar. It was becoming a real live finished house. As we studied the wet bar cabinets, Philly said, “I love that hardware.”

My heart and face smiled. I knew I had done that. I remembered the day. Sitting there considering each hue of paint. Each use of space. Asking the Holy Spirit to lead me in each decision. Maybe it sounds crazy, but I have. I have invited Him into the process in each and every decision. It is His house after all. I’ve been pretty sure He had opinions.

Yesterday morning as I was finishing I Chronicles, it was recounting all David did to draw out the Temple and prepare everything for Solomon. These words had been highlighted to me as I read, “As the Spirit led him.”

That was when I realized that after I’ve made each decision my insides have felt at peace. The Spirit of God leads by peace. That is how He has led this journey. So, in not having a peace the other week about the paint color, we kept moving until we did. Now today, I don’t have peace about the brick outside, so it isn’t right. Not now. Not yet.

Then we headed to the stairwell fabricators, a local father and son-owned business. If I could say anything about our builder, I would say he has done a masterful job at picking wonderful craftsmen. Because that is what each one is. We saw it with Jerry who made the exquisite, rounded trim over the banquette. With Chris and KP who built the bunk beds. We’ve seen it with Alvaro and Miguel as they have painted our home, and with each stone mason. Now, we would meet another.

I had done a little research prior to our meeting, studying the balusters at our own home, so I kind of knew what newel post and baluster I wanted. What I hadn’t thought about was the handrail or that Philly was going to have an opinion. He is officially coming into his own. The father showed us the “Georgian” and the “Pine Loaf.” I was more drawn to the “Georgian” because it was classic southern to me. Philly liked the smoother “Pine loaf.” It didn’t take him long to convince me.

Then the father began with his barrage of questions. “What color do you want the hinges to be?”
“How many balusters do you want per stair?” “The larger one gives you two per stair.” “The smaller one gives you three per stair.” “And we haven’t talked about your outside railing yet. Do you want metal or iron? Do you want it to be painted black or brown?”

Colors? Numbers? Questions without answers?

I hadn’t slept the last three nights and the room was starting to spin. I gathered myself. By myself. “Do you need those decisions now?”

“No, not right now.”
I shook my head wondering why people do that. Why don’t they say initially, “Oh and these aren’t decisions we need right now, but start thinking about this… this and this…” It would prevent so many moments of freak out. So, I simply wrote them down and put them in the “figure out later by scouring the internet” category.

We still had another meeting. I didn’t want another meeting. I wanted a large coke that I could taste and enjoy and a long bath with a good novel. But this was the final carpet meeting and we had to go back home tomorrow.

This precious lady had been one of the greatest joys in this journey. any times she and I have been together, vacillating between tiles, stones, marbles, or slate, studying grouts of cream or almond or white, then on to carpets which I had come to firm positions on, only to change my mind again after she had walked me through each one. In the many moments over her large work table, with her petite posture and goliath knowledge, she’d guide, she’d introduce, she’d encourage, but she would never decide. She always came back with “trust your gut. You’re usually right the first time.” As she enveloped me in her arms, for what would be our last meeting, I knew it would all be okay. It was going to be a good end to the journey. Over the course of the last year together I had shared my faith with her in many different ways and at many times. She had never shared hers. But she had shared her heart with me over and over again.

She saw my face. She was much like Packer. “Rough day?”
“Just long.”
She clasped her small hands together. “Well, today you just sit right down here and we will play.”

Philly and I plopped our weary bodies on the floor and finalized every piece of fiber that would rest beneath the feet of the many hearts we prayed would find rest and play and healing in our home. Carpet had been another hurdle of indecision. With no final peace.

We began with the kid’s bunk space. She laid an indoor / outdoor synthetic carpet in front of me with a seagrass look, but soft beneath your feet. She knew the seams could be tricky, but I knew it was the perfect look and would also allow me to put rugs over it. Perfect. Exhale peace. Done!

Then we moved to the room for my parents. They needed soft. Seasoned toes. Traveled feet. The perfect cream wool with an ever-so-subtle design. I knew that cream wasn’t the best color for a lake house, but my mother’s favorite color is cream. If everyone had to take off their shoes to go in there for the rest of their lives, it was exactly what I wanted her to have. Exhale peace. Done!

“Want to keep going?” She asked. “We are on a roll! We will get it done today,” I assured her.

To the master we went. I know the trend for bedrooms these days is hardwood. And honestly, for a home like this it probably would have been the smarter choice. But, there is something about the softness of carpet beneath your feet. The comfort. The cozy. To me, it makes your heart feel warm. Welcomed. My builder had been shocked at this decision. She had, too. But I knew. At the end of the day, I wanted all of us to feel the warmth of a room that didn’t echo, but sighed.

The boucle wool with the small, indented pattern filled every need for the master. A creamy color, but with the undertones we needed for our blue fabrics, dark wood bed, and antique pine armoire. It couldn’t be more perfect. Exhale peace. Done!

Down to the downstairs we went. Here was the challenge. She pulled out the Fibreworks Jute I had walked around with from the beginning of this journey. My favorite home I ever lived in, prior to marrying Philly, was the one I shared with you that I didn’t want to move into. We did wall-to-wall seagrass in that house, and it was the most classic, albeit uncomfortable, flooring I’ve ever had. We placed large area rugs on top of it and I have wanted to duplicate it ever since.

However, no one, not one single person has agreed with me. They have tried to talk me out of it from day one. “It will stain so easily, and you won’t be able to get it out.” “It won’t seam well.” “You obviously don’t want guests longer than three days.” “Who wants guests longer than three days?” I thought.

So, now here we were. A final decision had to be made. Here Philly comes with his questions. Questions he has never asked. She talked through the seams. We’d only need two, and they wouldn’t be that noticeable. I could tell that made him feel better. He held it in his hands. Looked at it.

While they chatted, I looked at another boucle wool in a darker color that had the same tones of the jute. I held it up and asked their thoughts. Philly said “why would you pick that?“ “I’m just considering another option.”

He held up the Jute and said, “You need to go with this. This looks great.”

What?! I’ve battled these two for almost a year over this Jute and now, suddenly, he likes it. My heart wanted to jump. High. But I felt this pause. It wasn’t peace. The carpet I’ve loved. Carried around with my favorite two fabrics and paint color for over a year, and dreamed of having in the guest bedrooms, is now being granted permission and my heart can’t go there. I study the new wool in my hand. Soft. Pretty. Perfect. Exhale peace. Done!

“It’s this one,” I finally say.

They look at me like meerkats popping out of their burrow. “I know.” I shake my head. “Crazy. And not my first choice. But this is it. We are done.” Exhale peace.

Denise Jones Reclaiming Hearts

Hi, I’m Denise!

I love Jesus, my family and friends, my sweet dog Sophie, SEC football and Coca-Cola.