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Space

It has been weeks, months, of managing space. Of living in limbo as Knotty Girl and I try to blend our lives in the midst of challenges that are completely unrelated to this blending. KG trying to manage her mother’s complex health and personal affairs. Me trying to get my head around my working life and trying to “vacation” while doing so. Me living partially in my staged, listed condo space, partially at KG’s temporary house-sitting space.  One foot here, one foot there. As I type this now, I’m sitting in a local, newly discovered pub to accommodate a showing of my condo space.

Everyone who “knows” my living space of the last seven years seems to love it. Many of my friends have said, “If my life pointed me to living in downtown Toronto, I’d buy your place in a heartbeat.”  That is sweet and heartfelt. However, the market is indicating something different. When surrounded by new, highly-amenitied high rise glass and steel towers, my little low-rise loft – lacking in the concierge, the marble foyer, the in-house gym – seems to lack the glassy cubicle coldness that the market seems to expect.

If only my walls could talk. I purchased the place from architectural rendering before the shovel hit the ground in May 2002. I waited, impatiently, in a 400 sq. ft. basement apartment until July 2004 to move in. The first six months were hell, with 57 items incomplete on the construction list, including two out of three sinks missing. Much of my valued stuff in storage had been wrecked through dampness and I thought I’d made a huge mistake with the whole thing. However, about six months in, everything seemed to settle a bit. I started to enjoy the magnificent space, the location, my neighbours. A community started to form in the building, paint got up on previously stark white walls, and the space started to really feel like home. Meals prepared and enjoyed. Rehearsals for plays and music performances.  Laughter. Socks and underwear even careening off the ceiling fan from time to time.  (Perhaps I should put that in the listing.)

I have called this space my “oasis in the city” and it has felt like this – a quiet, secure, healing place. There has been much to heal from, as there often is in an examined life.  It has felt safe and protective, yet welcoming and communal. It is, as a space, special to me. The walls, now freshly repaired from nail holes and scuff marks, and beautifully painted, have wrapped around me, fitting whatever needs I have had, from rehearsal space to party space to gallery space to quiet reflective space to new love space.

Time passes and a home can be outgrown, as is the case now. There is no room for KG’s two children, not to mention a workshop and another office. To pass this space on, I want to reminisce, to help them “feel” it … to feel as comfortable, relaxed, open as I have felt – more comfortable than I could ever feel in a glass tower overlooking a cityscape. To help them feel the sense of community that they can help build anew, just by their presence in this space.

But listings don’t work that way, and some decisions are made with the cold reality of interest rates, square footage, and the fitting of furniture and placement of televisions. However, life does not work that way. A peaceful, quiet, light-filled space in a downtown location is surely worth some fiddling around with sofas and entertainment solutions.

In truth, with the staging, it feels much less like my space than it once did. I’m curiously enjoying the neat and tidy minimalist lifestyle. But I can’t cook big complex meals …  or bacon. Everything I take out of cupboards or drawers has to be put back. None of the detritus of day-to-day life – receipts, pocket change, scraps of paper with shopping lists, odds and ends – can be visible.  The place feels sanitized and so much less personal. This, however, is in an effort to help the next person visualize themselves in this space. Their colours, their art, their detritus. Their laughter, their love, their life. I know when this space finds its next occupant, it will respond to their needs as beautifully as it has responded to mine. And this thought makes me smile.

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4 comments to “Space”

  1. Beautiful post… and yes, someone will find this as enveloping as you do.

  2. It’s so strange to depersonalize a space you’ve lived in for a long time and imagine it with someone else. I’ve done that in the past year with moving and renting out my house in Colorado. You’ve captured a lot of my feelings about that experience so well.

  3. I know what you mean about feeling enveloped – my home makes me feel that way, too. Then I see how younger people decorate (glass/steel/neutrals) and my home seems very old fashioned – & that’s probably what they’ll think when I try to sell in about ten years!

    The place was perfect for you and it will be perfect for someone else…hopefully very soon!

  4. Wow – beautifully written, Liz. We are all holding hands and hearts as we leap 🙂 The buyer is coming, I’m sure of it 🙂

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