Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Honk Your Horn For Home

When I was in my 20s I was convinced the best way to live was to only have enough things to fit into two large suitcases. Everything else around you should be disposable so you will always be ready to leave at a moment's notice. Now in my mid-30s, I definitely can appreciate the meaning of the word "home". Home is where I spend a large percentage of my time and I want mine to be put together with creative intent, reflecting who I am and what's important to me. Still, something of my old philosophy has remained: although the housing market is still quite affordable in Berlin, I really have no desire to buy a house or apartment of my own. In Berlin it is possible to pretty much do whatever you want to a place you rent (paint, rip out carpet, perhaps even put a hole in a wall) as long as you change back certain things when you move out. Rent is reasonable and we have rent control. With a husband and two small children as well as two vintage teak sideboards I'm obviously not going anywhere else in a hurry. Still, I like the illusion that, if I wanted to, I could. A home with mortgage payments would only tie me down....

I would, however, love to own an apartment in San Francisco. My mother is now renting out the lovely Eichler house I grew up in and I would love to have a place in California which I could call entirely my own. Besides, it would seem so wonderfully decadent, like a kept lover who you put up just so you'll have someone who is glad to see you (or at least knows best to pretend that they are) on the odd occasion that you're in town. Still, the dream will most likely only remain a dream because the only apartments we could even come close to affording would be in neighborhoods like the Western Addition. San Francisco, unlike Berlin, is not exactly a city known for its affordability...

Speaking of San Francisco, when I was there I got to spend some time in my sister's lovely apartment in the Upper Mission. I love the little details that make a person's home their own, so I thought I'd share some of hers. Here goes:

Ever the thrift store huntress, my sister's apartment is filled with many treasures like these vintage Fiesta Ware bowls filled with tangerines undoubtedly from the Farmer's Market.

In the kitchen is also this adorable cast iron pig she bought at a shop on 24th street in Noe Valley, the same place where she bought Mia her first enamel baby cup (I was there, so I know.)

I love this vintage Vogue magazine cover, blown up and mounted on canvas. She found it, as usual, at a thrift store, and first wanted to sell it in her vintage shop, Golden Valencia Vintage, but then realized she liked it too much and hung it up in her hallway instead.

This ceramic prickly pear cactus proves that my sister does sometimes pay full price. She bought it at a chi-chi boutique, but found it to be a must have in celebration of our Tucson, Arizona childhood.

She also has many of our childhood treasures around, like this chair from the dollhouse our father made us when I was 2 and she was 4 (though the matching ottoman got lost somewhere over the years)...

...and this porcelain figurine, Old No Arms, which was actually mine when I was 5 or so. I slept with her the first few nights after my grandmother gave her to me. One morning, I woke up with cuts on my arm but I just asked for a few band-aids and then slept with her again that night. Even as a child, I knew what it was to suffer for love...

Last but not least, her big comfy brass bed and her kitty Aki.

Yes, my sister does indeed have a lovely home and a lovely shop as well (42 sales in just 2 months!) Several of the sales were to yours truly. Check out this fabulous boots I got.

And yes, in case you're wondering, she did give me a bit of a "sister discount" but not much. Shrewd businesswoman has now officially been added to her list of character traits! ;)

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