Lovely rugs and dirty shoes

One of my holiday traditions is to go on a local home tour that’s held annually. I always go with my mom, and usually some family friends, although the lineup has been shuffled a few times over the years. This year, David came with me, which was great because I like sharing my traditions with him.

It’s a really good time. The neighborhood is full of historic houses and rich southern people, and since I am the type of person who would probably walk right up to stranger’s windows and peer in at night if it wasn’t totally creepy, it’s perfect for me. I love looking at other people’s houses, and seeing their decorations. This year was an exceptionally good year, and almost all of the houses were really fun to walk through. Some years are kind of duds, like last year, when just about every house was either not very nice inside, or home to some kind of extreme hoarder, who tried to pass off their clutter as ‘valuable collections’.

I didn’t take any pictures, because while I have creeper tendencies, I think taking photos of stranger’s homes to put up on the internet without their permission or knowledge is probably where I draw the line, but I learned a few things this year from the home tour:

1. I am really digging dark, bold walls. Several of the homes had navy blue walls in the kitchen or dining room, and a couple had black bathrooms. I love this trend. I know I have a black wall, but I’m already trying to figure out where else I could go dark, because I love this trend.

2. I don’t like picture rails. You know, the rails where you can hang picture frames from a wire, so you don’t have to put holes in your wall? It must be really hard to do that right, because in every home that featured that, I was completely distracted by the wire. It just looked so… non permanent.

3. There must be some kind of rule that, in order to be a historic homeowner in Raleigh, you must have a historic map print of Raleigh hanging in your house somewhere. I think I saw the same print in every house.

4. It’s important to put your own touches on your house. This has two parts. Part one: I noticed that when I left a house less than impressed, it was because the owners had no trace of who lived there now. There was no art on the walls, there were no personal pictures displayed, there were no books or trinkets that hinted at these people’s interests. I never realized before how much that contributed to a homey feeling. Part two is: I recognized a lot of my own stuff from the home tours. I saw my coffee table, my living room rug, my kitchen aid mixer (lovingly referred to as ‘big red’) my slate flooring, and my kitchen organization stuff – and this was all in one house. But our homes were styled completely differently, and it was because of the small things that you can’t replicate, like family photos or pillows your mom made for you.

5. I wish I had marble countertops. And marble-topped everything.

6. Someday, I want to live in a house with floor to ceiling windows, and wavy glass. Because the light in that house would be phenomenal.

7. In the historic house I visited with floor to ceiling windows, apparently back in the (early 1900s) day, gentlemen would use the open windows as a door, and step out on the porch to have a cigar. How cool is that!

8. None of these people have an acceptable TV or computer setup. I don’t understand it! They would have these magnificent family rooms, and then tucked in a corner would be a 10 inch tv that had to be at least 15 years old. Then I’d go into the ‘working office’, which would have a desk with a pen on it. Not even any paper! Just a pen! I’m sorry, but you can’t check your email from a pen, last I heard. I don’t know what to believe. Either they get rid of that before the tour (why?) or they really don’t have it (why?). These would be the same people who didn’t have any books or games out, so I don’t even know what they do for entertainment. I guess maybe they just keep redecorating their house.

I left the tour feeling inspired to decorate, as I always do. What I actually did was come home and clean my apartment, because it had gotten pretty dirty, and I spent a large portion of the tour watching people stand on lovely rugs in their dirty shoes, and feeling bad for the homeowners, who would have to do so much vacuuming when it was all finished.