"The contractor is going to be here in an hour," she said casually. "He's ripping out the kitchen island."
I stopped dead in my tracks. "Why?" I blurted, without thinking. "It's beautiful." She had a kitchen that would be the envy of any serious cook. Hers was an island just made for kids' afternoon snacks and homework or wine-and-pizza with friends. Distressed black with red undertones, it had a rich cherry wood top.
"Don't worry," she assured me. "We're going green. We're going to re-purpose the island as a work bench in the barn." She started detailing the master plan for the new kitchen to me, excited about the cabinetry and the new stainless-steel appliances that were on order. All I could think about were the paint brushes, wrenches and nails that would be strewn across that polished island top once it was dispatched to the barn.
Renovations are good for the economy, and hers was one of many signs that things are picking up after a four-year housing slump. In another home we visited this week, an expanded master suite had hardwood floors so vast and gleaming they would have made a great bowling alley for my three boys. This home owner realized they made the room too big and was ready to begin additional alterations to further complicate or correct the problem.
As a furniture consignment guy, I get to see a lot of homes here in Boston and its suburbs. Rarely do the new - or newly done - mansions command my attention. In a way, some of them seem as cold and lifeless as mausoleums. What gets me is something that no contractor or architect in the world can give a home: warmth.
You can't draw warmth on a blueprint. Warmth comes from a home that tells the story of the lives lived within: the kids' art framed and hung in the family room like an Old Master, the embroidered pillow you made the winter of the big snowstorm, the tiny nicks on the legs of the breakfront, a reminder of the toy trucks that got rammed into them when your son was three. You can't buy warmth, but you can achieve it.
Visit one of our three showrooms this weekend. We have a lot of beautiful furniture, once loved, that came from my kind of homes. Let us help you build some warmth in your home so that you can live a good life in it.