Sweet Nothings

Daisies and Doorways

My new, purple front door and a cheery pot of yellow daisies

Eight coats of paint, six truck wheels, 60 cardboard boxes and a handful of sleepless nights later, and I’m pleased to finally say that I now live in a forever-kind-of home in Hollywood, California. The move has been stressful and sentimental (not to mention plagued by the ill-timed fogginess of a sinus infection), but the most overwhelming feeling that seems to be setting in right now is that of permanence. Sure, the house is still in flux: there are toilets that don’t flush, a yard that needs fencing, and a kitchen that doesn’t have a single knob on any of its cabinets…BUT, the more time I spend in this new space, the more I feel as though I could see my husband and me living here for many decades to come.

This concept of staying in one place for more than three years is so foreign to my would-be-gypsy soul, and yet it feels so right. Perhaps this sudden nesting instinct is proof that I’m a grown up, but – then again – part of what I love about our new house is the way it seems to surprise me with something unique each day that makes me feel giddily childlike. There’s been the rustic experience of eating dinner to the sounds of croaking frogs in our backyard, the cheery sight of yellow daisies waiting for me by our purple front door, and the surreal discovery of a secret shed built into one of our yard’s stone terraces. Until last weekend, this cellar had been hiding behind many years’ worth of overgrown bougainvillea blossoms and – judging by its ancient doors and hinges – it is at least a century old. Surprising discoveries like these are the kinds of things I would expect to find waiting around every corner as a child, and I love imagining all the fun things I would have done with this secret compartment way back then. Whether or not the space itself continues to meet my childhood quota for surprises, I simply adore thinking about all the secret doorways and memories that await my sweetheart and I in our new home…

The secret shed in my backyard that is beautifully blanketed in bougainvillea

Psst: We are not sure what we want to do with this peculiar pocket of our backyard, but some top contenders would involve using it for a garden-gnome shrine or a mental hospital for dolls suffering from phantom-limb syndrome…I’m so excited to share more stories and photos with you over the weeks and months as my husband and I work to make the house truly ours, but until then how about you weigh in on the fate for our secret garden cellar? Would you vote for garden gnomes, creepy dolls, or perhaps just good-old-fashioned wine storage? Leave a comment.

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  • Reply Cat Jackson March 29, 2012 at 10:35 am

    “Mental hospital for dolls suffering from phantom-limb syndrome.” That would definitely get my vote 🙂

    • Reply Jennifer R. Coté March 29, 2012 at 10:42 am

      Hehe, thank you for your vote of support, Cat. 😉 I lean toward doing a doll hospital as well, but the hubby is partial to the gnome idea. 🙂

  • Reply Megan@MondayMorningMusings March 29, 2012 at 11:26 am

    Purrrrty. I love the yellow daisies for accent.

    And I totally relate to the “eight coats of paint”: when we repainted our backyard/pool oasis, we had test patches of 18 (yes eighteen) different shades of grey, and assessed them at different times of the day for the light-effect, till we settled on one, promptly to redo it with the (for now) final version.

    I vote for a yoga retreat, maybe even a sauna. If in Hollywood…

    • Reply Jennifer R. Coté April 1, 2012 at 9:43 am

      Ha, I love this idea of turning the cellar into a sauna, Megan! When in Hollywood is right. 🙂 You’re also so right that it’s all about subtle differences when choosing a paint color. The tiniest hint of one pigment or another can make such a huge difference – it sounds like your spouse is just as particular about these things as you are, though, and that certainly helps. (At least I know it helps me not feel crazy when I can show my husband eight shades of blue and have him say “Wow, they’re all so different” instead of “What’s the difference, they’re all blue?”) Hope you’re enjoying your final-for-now gray backyard oasis! 🙂

  • Reply Annette March 29, 2012 at 4:39 pm

    What a wonderful surprise finding a hidden secret space! I’ll bet your pup loves it, too. I’m sure you’ll find the perfect way to use that place, even if it is just to admire the old masonry and hardware. Croaking frogs sound magical, too. Happy discoveries!

    • Reply Jennifer R. Coté April 1, 2012 at 9:45 am

      Thank you for the happy wishes, Annette! The croaking frogs really are magical. If I weren’t married, I’d probably be tempted to kiss them…Perhaps Claude will wander around the yard all day kissing the frogs for me, however, and he’ll get himself a princess. 😉

  • Reply Laine Griffin April 2, 2012 at 6:06 am

    Wow! That is totally cool! I can’t wait to see what you decide to do with it! 🙂

    • Reply Jennifer R. Coté April 4, 2012 at 11:07 am

      I think we’re going to sit on the discovery a while, as we do pesky house projects like installing drains and missing roof shingles, but I’m hoping this only gives us more time to create a secret-cellar master plan. 😉 Can’t wait to share the final results, whenever they may be done… Hope you’re having a wonderful week, Laine!

  • Reply Laine Griffin April 5, 2012 at 1:33 pm

    “secret-cellar master plan” – I want one! Happy planning!

    • Reply Jennifer R. Coté April 11, 2012 at 11:57 am

      Haha, thank you Laine. My mind is making blue prints as we type. 😉

  • Reply Jean May 19, 2012 at 4:24 pm

    Absolutely love your purple door! Could you tell me the name of the color? I’ve been having some trouble finding just the right shade of purple. I would be so grateful 🙂

    • Reply Coté May 20, 2012 at 11:50 am

      Thanks so much for the purple-door love, Jean! (You are so right that it’s incredibly tricky finding the right shade of purple.) We used Sherwin Williams paint and actually mixed two colors together to get the correct shade for the door (I should also note that we did 5 coats of paint and sanding on the front doors to get it just right)…The formula we used: equal parts Clematis SW 6831 and Impulsive Purple SW 6832. Happy painting! 🙂

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