I’ve notice that my photos pretty well capture my personal gravitational pull to cooler colors, especially the blues and the greens.  While I’ve avoided grays and blacks recently, I’ve never been one to instinctively choose from the neutral/brown family of colors.

Umbrella and blue sky, 9/13

In this wicked, relentless winter of 2014, my photos seem to be a record of a constant search for warmth.  As I’ve walked through properties with an eye to living in western PA, I’ve only taken photos of rooms that appeal the most.  Most of the photos include wood that runs the gamut from caramel to molasses in color, warming my imagination in many, many ways.

Over the past six weeks, we’ve walked through houses older than the ages of our four previous homes combined. Thus the spaces are tighter, the ceilings are lower, reflecting the goal of conserving warmth in times when the fireplace or the radiator were the only source of heat.  And as we’ve looked at homes that sheltered families for decades, our eyes, used to great rooms and fireplaces that start with the flip of the switch, can sometimes see those closer rooms as not just right.

photo (49)
Pius St fireplace, unfiltered

Finding the just-right for a couple, after years of looking for spaces that fit a growing family, is an interesting exercise in getting reacquainted.  City living?  Small town living? Condo close to work?  Longer weekday commute so we can just leave the cars parked for the weekend and walk wherever we wanted?  They are questions we’ve asked over and over for months and are still puzzling through.

The last time it was just us was 26 years ago when we purchased a rehabbed duplex in Jersey City.  It’s what we could afford and as we both worked in Newark it was an excellent reverse commute. It was a start.  But even then we were not alone, we were buying with an eye to those children we planned to have.  In the seven years we lived there, both kids came home from the hospital to the duplex, both kids learned to climb stairs on a 12 foot metal spiral staircase. Both kids had to adjust to the suburbs when we moved there in 1994. They may not remember that time in their lives as vividly as we do, but that duplex was the foundation for this family.

Those kids are grown, living in their own cities now.  And while we’ll always make space for them, the next home reflects us as a couple and what we ultimately choose will please ourselves.

It’s harder than we thought.  The fireplace above reminded me of that first home we made. MDR is thinking a little more space.  And that brought on more reacquainting questions: Would we fit in quickly in a small town that focuses on schools and children or would a city offer more variety in terms of the people we’ll meet?  Do we want to walk to a restaurant or are we willing to drive to find food we love?  It’s the little questions, personal to us that keep us on our toes.  Asking, always asking.

So we’ll keep looking and find the place that works. One with a little compromise from both sides built into the home we make next.

Pius St. fireplace, golden
Pius St. fireplace, golden

In the meantime, I took the fireplace photo, deepened the golds and browns and caramels I saw and tucked it away to remind me that first and foremost, we look for warmth.

6 Replies to “Warmth”

  1. Yes, I love the idea of warmth in a photograph and in life. There is a certain excitement of beginning again. Looking for what suits you now and in a new location entirely. I look forward to see where your journey takes you next. Thanks for bringing me along.

  2. Finding just the right spot is a great adventure and this next house may be the right one for awhile but don’t ignore the call to try something different one more time.Thanks for sharing.

    1. Mary,

      I’m learning it’s far better to steer away from concrete terms like final or last or never again. I’m thinking “let’s see what’s up ahead” would serve us so much better.


  3. How wonderful to be starting the next great adventure in your married life in a new-to-you home in a new state in a new job. So many wonderful memories are waiting to be made wherever you and MDR land. So exciting!! Pittsburgh has much to offer a couple who love everything from the arts and fine dining, to great sports teams and fabulous pubs. I can’t wait to see where you land. Blessings friend…

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