December 4, 2010

The second house

Napoleon's Apartment

In Paris I found us this great little flat for the week, an efficiency with a double bed, two chairs around a small table and a modern kitchenette. The owner gave us a walking tour of the neighborhood when we arrived and described the Paris housing market. He said our flat would be a very normal size for a young couple’s first home. Based on realty listings we saw in store windows, the flat would probably sell for around $200K euro for 100 square feet.

After a week of pondering how we would fit our stuff and our pets into such a small space, walking into our Madison house came as a shock. The living room alone is was the size of our entire flat in Paris. Coming into our house with fresh eyes, my first reaction was that of emptiness. The walls are still bare of art and the furniture seems sparse. All the “empty” rooms emphasized how big the house is. Wow, we are rich with house. I’m impressed with all that we have.

Buying our Madison house, our second house, has not had the glamour of our first house and we’ve approached owning it as more project than success story. Since moving in I don’t think I’ve really appreciated the house. I haven’t loved it the way I loved our Atlanta house. All I see is problems and projects. It has been hard to see the whole for all the details. With these fresh eyes I can now appreciate living here and approach house projects with more nonchalance because, after all, it is already a very nice house. (Now we just need to get some art on the walls!)

* The photo is of Napoleon III’s palace apartment at the Louvre.

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