'truth is stranger than fiction' *
My childhood doll’s house, not my ideal way back when and I did not like the colours. The deeply felt emotions of an ungrateful child. But hey, my desire to play with the tiny furniture, my Barbie dolls (which were quite out of proportion, graceful giants in fact) won me over and I soon came to accept this weird house as mine. And my younger sister’s, as we each owned a half. I’m sure she was overruled in any decision making as I used to be a very bossy big sister. She was, and is sweet-natured, and willing to share her space, up to a point. For she is also quite determined and a force to be reckoned with.
Why did my parents keep this house for all of these years you might wonder. Well, my papa designed and built it. He chose the red and greens, painted it and I’m sure he was very proud of himself.
Whilst we were clearing out the last of the stuff, making last minute decisions on what to keep, throw away or gift, we could not let this house go……December 2021 everything we wanted to keep went into storage. To remain there for more than a year, tucked away in the dark.
Fast forward to January 2023: our house extension finally complete, the time had come for all the paintings sofas chairs tables books et cetera to come out into the light once again! 17th January 8 o’clock sharp the moving van arrived all the way from Eijsden in Rotterdam, at my brother’s doorstep. The movers emptied the storage boxes containing the stuff he and my sister want. She lives in Amsterdam, but that is another story. Then, 'round 10, they were here! The new room is now home. For the first couple of weeks I hardly entered the studio, I love being in our new space surrounded by familiar furniture, which looks quite different in the new setting. But that is not what this post is about. My siblings were dying to visit and the evening before they arrived my brother sent us a photo of our old doll’s house, with a huge dent on the top floor. A stack of pallets had crashed domino-style into the house! He sent us a photo with a question: ‘He didn’t want to keep it, did we?’ I said ‘Yes’ and then thought ‘Why?’
My sister, I hasten to add, is not interested.
Sunday afternoon brother H. and sister M. with her husband E. arrived. Hugs and lots of talk, oohs and aahs of recognition as they saw the new room full of old familiar stuff, a big wow btw because the room is really quite beautiful, then we had lunch, listened to the Beatles, talked and tried to catch up on everything, all in all lots of fun and reminiscing, then they left and as I walked back to the house I locked the studio door, barely noticing the damaged house we had placed there.
The next morning I suddenly felt 'yes I do want to keep it'. The Beings in the Dwelling had already fallen in love with it, so it didn't really matter what I wanted. ‘Oh you Saskia and your old fashioned taste, this has a proper vintage ‘60ies vibe to it, we love love love it. When can we move in?’
Okay, so it turns out we are going to keep it. However now that it's here I get a say when it comes to the refurbishment: I get to choose the colours and I’ll have to fix the top floor, as I see fit, before any of the Beings can move in. So it went.
Countless thoughts swirl in my head as I work with my hands: the round floors echo, to my mind at least, Dante’s Circles from the Divine Comedy, I read it in my twenties. I’ll leave the wheely legs red then: hell fire heat; indigo for ground floor: purgatory; moving from dark to lighter colours, upwards through the green, representing fields, journeying; finally at the top: the centre pole light blue and white and gold, like a Buddhist stupa. Enlightenment. Something I have been searching for one way or another all my life, as if there is an answer, I know there isn’t, nothing’s permanent...
Tada, the new room:
On my mind most of the time: the woods affair, it has been tormenting me no end, sleepless nights and worrying what might happen, informing folks what the Campsite wants, what our local authority seems to want, nobody in my neighbourhood knew anything was about to change, thankfully a lot more people now know but it's a challenge to get organised, arghhh there are literally countless other things I'ld rather be doing than fighting this fight, but hey if I don't act now I'll forever regret I did not try.
I have to step back from time to time and do things to energize me and bring me joy, this afternoon I'm off with my Kleiduiven friends to visit Beeldengalerij Het Depot in Wageningen, an outdoor sculpture garden!
* attributed to Lord Byron in Don Juan, “Tis strange,-but true; for truth is always strange; Stranger than fiction: if it could be told, How much would novels gain by the exchange! How differently the world would men behold!”
not that I have read it (who knows maybe one day I will), it was quoted to me the other day, and mistakenly attributed to Mick Jagger as I discovered once I had googled it, because it intrigued me.
I find it to be spot on when it comes to life these days....
and I love your new room ... it looks lived and loved in already ... I especially appreciate all the windows and the gallery wall ... and it reminded me how much I miss the concrete floors in our last house ... is there a story behind the four-patch of tile leading to the kitchen?
goodness ... I'm glad I scrolled back as your book of animal sounds almost got lost in all the details about the new room ... the cover and the jaunty edges are wondrous, with all the critters marching through it all ... the word "confabulation" came to me, even though I didn't have a definition for that in mind ... so I looked on m-w.com and found this:
"Confabulate is a fabulous word for making fantastic fabrications. Given the similarities in spelling and sound, you might guess that confabulate and fabulous come from the same root, and they do—the Latin fābula, which refers to a conversation or a story. Another fābula descendant that continues to tell tales in English is fable. All three words have long histories in English: fable first appears in writing in the 14th century, and fabulous follows in the 15th. Confabulate is a relative newcomer, appearing at the beginning of the 1600s."
I dare say I think it fits!
Now then, you new space is wonderful: Light and airy, warm and inviting and most of all a sanctuary. To me, this is what you have created Saskia with this new space. I am sure it is one that I know you gratefully return to time and time again, as you fight the woods situation; what a good place to come to for replenishing your spirit and how the large windows, next to the incredible painting, The Maze, focus the senses on bringing the outdoors inside...
And speaking of spirit: spirit extends to the new dwelling for the dwellers. Somewhat futuristic in its round shape yet holding onto the traditional because the dwellers now have the chance to live in a place that holds your childhood history, This just expands the whole idea of family and I can see a celebration coming when you finish working your magic on their new home.
yes there is a story to the four fish tiles, imagine you spotted those, you have an amazing eye for detail.
not a very exciting story, but still here goes. We moved here 27 years ago and after a couple of years started adding bits to the house: the porch on South facing side, our Summer sitting room and my husband built a shed in the garden. We used reclaimed timber which we bought further down the road at a yard full of reclaimed builders materials. The couple living there had a supply line from his or her brother whose job it was to tear apart old houses and everything he thought might be worth a bob or two was moved into the couple's backyard. A little extra income on the side. We were regular customers and one day the owner gifted me a set of these old floor tiles, Villeroy & Boch, 6 or 7. Fish images which when placed together go round in a circle. I liked them but had no idea where to use them, and fish aren't really my kind of animal so what to do? For about 17 years or so they were moved about, stored away, laid on a garden table, all the while waiting patiently for the day to arrive when I actually had an idea. As the cement floor was drying it came to me: they would be placed as a symbolic stepping stone in the doorway from the old part of our house into the new room. They turned out to be the perfect size and colour and I loved the idea of having something very old literally stuck in the modern setting. That is the story Liz, thanks for asking;-)
rabbit stew, not something I talk about in the studio, as you can imagine, nor do I mention hare stew which is what we rather enjoy in Winter months, they can be quite sensitive that way
the new room is indeed such a great space to just be....
my daily morning yoga facing East under the skylight is absolutely perfect, even if my Warrior 3 stance is wobbly
the large windows were inspired by my parents' Danish summerhouse, as is the black timber cladding, which reminds me, I must take a couple of photo's of the outside as we have sedum on the roof, a longtime wish of mine!
thanks for dropping by and sharing your parents' story again, it had slipped away to the back of my mind....
So much here!
And the new space so much about opening.
Feels airy and light, perfect for going.
And what a wonderful story of the tiles ... it fits in perfectly with my long-held belief that one does well to have a "pantry" of things to be used someday ... one never knows (which is why I'm glad we up-sized in the move to our newest home, the better to keep such things handy ... much as I'm sure you are very happy to have your enlarged space)
Thanks for the Fish Tale. I noticed too as my ex was a ceramic tile setter and his dad & brothers were framers...I still notice from that era of my life :)
the New Room has also opened up my perception of our back garden, I have been working like crazy out there these past few days, dry and sunny, not too cold, perfect for gardening
thanks to your comment I realised the old doll's house is open in the same way this new space is
I love the idea of a pantry for things
in my Pantry of Things I am discovering more and more stuff to move into this new dwelling
I learn more and more about you xx