Saturday, December 24, 2011

All I want for Christmas...

It's been a quiet year here inside 920 Cedar Brook Road. The sun still beams through my windows every morning, and I can hear the sounds of the neighborhood--dogs, cars, laughter, children playing--all around. And people still come and go occasionally. They wander up and down my stairs, pointing and talking. I wait patiently, hoping they will stay and brush away the cobwebs and echoes. But then the door closes, and it's quiet again.

Sometimes it's difficult being a house.

And now that it's Christmas, it's a bit more difficult. Christmas was always special here. There's nothing quite like being dressed up with sparkling lights and holiday finery to make a house feel elegant...and loved.

I've lost count of all the Christmas mornings that have unfolded in a rustle of fancy paper and ribbon and boxes and gleeful children, but there have been many. And every year, Santa knew just what was on everyone's list.

So perhaps this is a good year to make my own Christmas list. It's a little more complicated than most, but if Santa and his elves can get a good head start, maybe I'll get everything I'm dreaming of...maybe even before next Christmas. After all, I've been a very good house. 

I'll start the list with...

1. A new family
This is the most important thing of all: a family who will bring me back to life. If possible, a dog and cat would also be nice. Dogs love racing around the backyard. Cats love chasing each other up and down the stairs. They also have three levels of windows for birdwatching.

The side porch, off the driveway
2. A fresh coat of paint
My facade has good bones and many elegant details, but it's looking a bit shabby; the last coat of paint wasn't my best color and it's already peeling. Some proper scraping and sanding is definitely in order.

3. Window dressing
I'm not sure why, but a number of shutters were removed recently and not replaced. (Some of these are stacked in the garage.) Others were not hung correctly and have come loose. It's really quite embarrassing. 

4. Porches, please
Weather can be hard on old railings and columns. But they're very elegant when they're neat and freshly painted. A good carpenter would be very welcome, especially before the piazza gets any looser or more worn out.

The piazza and front landscaping
5. A pretty yard 
Thankfully, the old rhododendrons were replaced with new evergreens in the front, but the shaded garden in the back is gone, as are the beautiful flowers and terraces that used to surround the pool. There's ample space for more flowering trees and shrubs all around the yard. The elegant herringbone brick walk in the front yard needs to be uncovered. A new back fence would also be nice.  

Third floor bedroom
6. Smooth ceilings and gleaming floors
Most of the ceilings have begun to flake because the paint is so old. On the driveway side, water has also gotten in around the chimney in two places, causing some discoloration. All the hardwood floors could use a proper sanding and buffing to shine again. 

View from top of back stairs

7. Paint, paper, and polish
The walls are square and strong, and the woodwork is solid, but an elegant makeover is definitely in order...from top to bottom. The original light fixtures need to be restored, and the rooms redone in more classic colors and patterns. Some things have also happened in a few places that simply need to be fixed (starting with replacing the long section of plaster in the bedroom that was recently converted to an entertainment room).

A corner in the kitchen
 8. A new kitchen
It's been a long, long time since anyone did anything to brighten up the kitchen. But it's huge, with lots of windows, two pantry closets, and a big breakfast room. Some elegant granite counters would be nice...perhaps some glass-front cabinets to match the butler's pantry...a classic black and white tile floor....there are so many possibilities. There's also ample space for a nice island in the center, perhaps with shelving for display or cookbooks.

The long outside wall can even accommodate a washer and dryer. And on a hot summer day, the pool is just steps away...

Wrapping up
There are many more small things that could be added to my wish list, but this is already enough to keep the elves busy for quite some time. So for now,

Merry Christmas from 920 Cedar Brook Road and thank you for sharing my story!

1 comment:

  1. Beautiful. Makes me cry. I hope by now someone has bought and is loving your beautiful house. I grew up in Plainfield, and my family were the second owners of our home. When my dad died in 2006, we sold it. I really get how beloved a home can be, and in truth, homes that have been loved like this are the BEST places to live... that energy hangs around. I'm sorry it's too big for my husband and I (just the two of us now) but wow, is it tempting. Beautiful, beautiful. Thanks for your lovely blog.