The house is pink with white bars covering the windows. The yard looks well-kept and bougainvillea crawls over the patio. It is positioned in a nice but rather treeless area surrounding Larchmont Village. I almost drive past it, thinking it be too charming to be interesting in any capacity. I ignore the little naysayer in my head and park the car. The serenity ends when I walk into the front door.
I feel as though I have never been in a house so filled to the brim with useless chatchki, emotional mementos, and questionable collectibles. The wall, the entire wall, adjacent to the front door is covered by a black lacquer display cabinet filled with so many things I have a hard time focusing on what’s really in there without looking like a tourist at the Louvre. The place hurts my head like those multi-colored, blurred, 3-D images we used to use when we were young – the ones you start with your nose touching the paper and drawing further away from it, keeping your eyes crossed, hoping that a dinosaur or a bowl of ice cream will reveal itself eventually.
I greet the male realtor and the two neighbors who have come over to chat and size up customers. They make a joke about me not needing to worry about them because they are nice. I am caught off guard and laugh and then say something like “Good, because I’m not that nice.” I run to the kitchen not wanting to embarrass myself further. The kitchen has glass cabinets which serve to further display all of the things this woman has ever collected over the course of her entire life. Cups and cups and cups and plates and plates and other plates and other cups. You’d think this person ran a catering business.
The backyard shares a similar zen feel as the front yard, yet it too finds itself marred by more things. So many things here. I walk into a bedroom and everything starts to make sense. There is a massage table covered in a leopard sheet (soothing), a blue sky painted on the ceiling (unsuccessfully deceiving), and myriad bottles of massage oil (questionable). Although my initial instinct is that I have stumbled into a high-end happy endings pleasure zone, I notice that half of the wall to my left is covered in this woman’s certificates of therapy and touchy-feely degrees.
I walk back into the large dining room where my new friends are. They all have a sense of humor and are doing a good job not letting on whether they think I’m a weirdo. I peak into what is an absurdly large clothes closet. The realtor tells me that this used to be a sun patio and the two built in display cabinets filled with black champagne flutes and yellow light used to be windows. Great, room for more of your shit, I think. This woman has traded sunshine for four dozen shoes and a walk in closet.
Her bedroom is the most minimalist of all of the rooms. Largely because there isn’t as much room to stay in keeping with her design taste. There is a pillow on the bed that has “I’d Rather Be in Paris” embroidered on it. The bathroom is big and buried in toiletries, bottles of perfume, decorative jars filled with bars of soap. Her office area has a desk, a humming desktop computer, and two Moroccan influenced benches lying side by side. This is perhaps where she psychoanalyzes patients using an Eastern school of thought. There is a bookshelf with rows upon rows of books. All of a sudden I feel as though I’ve been here before. It reminds me of every single yoga studio gift shop I have ever stepped foot in.
It amazes me that this woman, or any of her clients for that matter, were able to find peace in a place so thoroughly covered in stuff. On my way out the neighbor recommends that I try to envision the place with my things. You’re not kidding. This woman has created a place intended to calm and soothe and heal. All I’m left with as I exit the front door is that there’s-a-little-man-sitting-on-my-chest anxiety that I get when I go shopping at Century 21.