Killer Décor

As some of you know, I recently moved. Despite my copious complaining and a ridiculous amount of packing tape, it wasn’t the Herculean effort I made it out to be. I threw things in boxes, I occasionally labeled said boxes, and I rented and drove a moving truck for the very first time.

The real excitement came after I moved in and started setting up the new place. This basically involved moving around countertop appliances as if they were commas, and wise discernment over where to put the silverware.

Perfect location, dontcha think?

Finally, the last box was unpacked, and I was finished. Or so I thought.

“I love it,” said my beau as he took stock of my new abode. “But it kind of looks like a serial killer lives here.”

I stopped mid-coffee slurp. “I’m sorry?”

He gestured at the barren tabletops, the blank walls, the naked shelves. “There aren’t any photos or personal stuff. No sense of your humanity, who you love, what matters to you.”

He was right.

Other than a few items in my office (and the chloroform dish towel), there was nothing that offered a glimpse into my personhood. No archival shots of marching band practice. No awkward school photos of my children. No kid artwork. No useless knickknacks impulsively purchased while on vacation.

It was as if I didn’t exist.

I contemplated this dearth of personalization. I wasn’t a blank slate. I’d made good use of my fifty-some years on the planet. I’d lived, lost, and loved. I’d had home perms. I wanted my interior design to match my internal landscape.

So I unearthed cherished tchotchkes. I dug through photos and retrieved old favorites. I ordered recent photos that reflected my new life.

The babies.
Words to live by. Or die by?
New adventures.

In short, I doubled-down on décor that reflects who I am, right down to my overfondness for Monty Python and mockumentaries.

Some of my favorite reads, from A to Zed,
as Spinal Tap would say.

This exercise called to mind the importance of setting. In addition to grounding the reader, creating atmosphere, and providing a stage for the plot to play out, setting–especially one that’s defined by a character–can offer a glimpse into a character’s mind and heart. A character whose home is chockablock with dolphin figurines is likely different from one who favors lava lamps and beaded room dividers–or one who has nothing personal at all (which may or may not mean she’s a serial killer).

Post-revamp, my house looks less serial killer-y. Best of all, I finally feel truly at home, in every sense of the word.

Dear friends, what makes where you live feel like home? Do you have a photo, memento, or keepsake that says something about you? And where is the “right” place to store silverware?

45 thoughts on “Killer Décor

  1. Kudos on your move, Kathleen! My wife said our downsizing was like living in the space shuttle: a place for everything, but everything must be in its place. The fun part of “loft living in the country” is our century-old building on the Main Street in a small central Texas town. We did a make-over entirely in our own style. Pure joy (and work) to design and create our heart’s desire. And now, if we don’t like something, we can do it all over again.

    Liked by 6 people

  2. Gotta say, Kathy … that sign doesn’t make you look less serial killery. And yes, I love a glimpse like this into people’s (and characters) lives. I think that’s why I—and everyone on the planet—studied the backgrounds of everyone on a Zoom call during the pandemic.

    It looks like you put the silverware right next to the stove. If that’s also under the cabinet that holds your dishes, then you did it absolutely right. If not, pack it all up and start over. (My son and fiance just bought a new house and they’ll be moving soon. I am desperate to go “help.” I am so smart and know where everything should go. Why does no one ask me to guide them?? *sob*)

    Liked by 6 people

    1. Guffaw! You might be right about that sign. I’ve had to make sure it isn’t visible in the background for my Zoom calls!

      The silverware is under the cabinet where the dishes live. There was a LOT of conversation about if the dishes were in the right spot. Feel free to swing by my place and help me decide after you help your son and his fiance!

      Liked by 3 people

    2. Three cheers to you of finishing the move and the decorating, Kathy! In our house, the utensils are next to the fridge and below the plates, bowls, and cups. I don’t know if it’s the correct location, but it’s been that way for over a decade, so it works.
      Also, long live Spinal Tap!

      Liked by 4 people

      1. That made me laugh, JC. Hubs and I have lived in this house for more than 30 years. About 15 years ago we changed our knife drawer and we STILL open the wrong drawer on occasion. And the Kleenex box hasn’t lived on the corner of the kitchen counter for at least 10 years and yet ….

        Liked by 3 people

  3. Happy Housewarming! Love the post! Love the dish towel even more! LOL! Against the advice of one Ms. R. Clark, the proper place for silverware is in the “kitchen.” More specifically, on the counter.

    Liked by 4 people

  4. My silverware is under the breakfast bar deal, next to the…sink. (Don’t ask, Becky, sigh.) I happen to love your light serial killer touches, Kathy. Congratulations on your beautiful new home, and cheers for you! I have way too many “home-y” touches, most of them inherited but not a single dolphin. I can’t bear to part with them and the decor scheme is a free-for-all anyway. When I met my husband, he had framed concert posters and duck prints. Many, many ducks. I may have ruined his life.

    Liked by 4 people

  5. Congratulations on the new abode, Kathy! I’m sure more personal touches are coming. Our house is an ode to personal touch. In fact, it’s more of a person touch-meets-hoarders decor. I’m always trying to get some of the tchotckes out of our house. With zero luck, sigh.

    Liked by 4 people

  6. Before I moved into my current home I hired a painter who painted every room a different color per my instruction. I crave color. The walls are encrusted with original paintings by Linda Infante Lyons, a magical realism artist. and a few by myself. The cabinets are from Sticks. And there’s the grandchildren picture wall, a homage to my grandmother’s wall. But for some reason everything I redo the bathroom it looks like some hotel room bath. I have plans to fix that.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. The thought of moving scares the bejasus out of me. I’m a collector. I have teapots, railroad and steamship china and cast iron cookware. Lots of books. So many books that I get all trembly if I don’t see a book. All that stuff would have to be packed up, moved and unpacked in the new digs. Ugh!

    BTW, serial killers don’t always live in stark surroundings. Remember Buffalo Bill’s house in Silence of the Lambs? Norman Bates? Or for real life examples, John Wayne Gacy had pix of clowns on his walls, and Dennis Rader lived in the suburbs with a family. (Yeah, I know that I know way too much about those guys!).

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Sounds like an amazing collection, Tom! (And heavy with the cast iron and books!)

      Ohhhhh…great point about serial killer decor. When you mentioned Buffalo Bill’s house, I could see it so vividly in my mind. And Gacy…shudder!

      Liked by 3 people

  8. I have WAY to many tchotchkes (at least according to Robin) and I love every single one of them. But it does make dusting (which I detest) much more of a chore.

    As for silverware, if it truly is “silver,” then keep it in an air-tight bag so it doesn’t tarnish. Otherwise, as I note above, anywhere except under a cutting board.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Treasure those tchotchkes! And I figure that you don’t need to dust as long as the tchotchkes aren’t moved!

      Good tip about the silverware! I consider put polishing in the same category as ironing. I avoid it as much as possible!

      Liked by 3 people

  9. I don’t have a lot of that kind of stuff around my place either. But I have lots of books, and that says a lot about what I value, right? Right?

    Liked by 4 people

  10. I wish I had painted every room a different color like Keenan did. In my other home, I did actually paint the walls with some friends. However, when I moved out, the walls had to be redone to white (for selling purposes).

    I love mementos and wish I had more on the walls, as opposed to piled up on tables and lurking in corners. Happily, I have a lot of random artwork from the kids all around me.

    As for silverware, apparently I haven’t been putting utensils in the right place for years! But I’m also too lazy to move them to the “correct” spot. Sorry, Becky!

    Liked by 2 people

  11. “moving around countertop appliances as if they were commas” = ❤️

    Congratulations on your new home and being unpacked–and the pics of your fam are lovely! So happy for you, K!

    Our silverware is below the plates, next to the dishwasher but on the opposite side of the kitchen from the oven. Never even thought about putting them over there. Hmmm. Now I’m questioning EVERYTHING.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Kathy, your new place looks and sounds wonderful! We downsized our space significantly with our last move, but didn’t downsize our stuff enough — and have brought things in since then. We’re bordering on hoarding at this point!

    Liked by 1 person

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