When we remodeled the kitchen at the farmhouse, we started with the floor.
I thought it would be easy and five-minutes and not-too expensive and done before Dancing With the Stars came on.
I thought wrong.
We pulled up four layers of flooring on our kitchen floor before we reached the original floors underneath. It was an arduous journey, full of twists and turns and disappointment and the occasional moment of triumph.
Kind of like 20,000 leagues under the sea.
And when the final floor was revealed, my husband called me over with dismay in his voice,
“Oh no,” he sighed. “What are we going to do about this?”
In one section of the kitchen, there were burn holes scattered all over the wood.
Decades ago, before the first layer or the second layer or the third and fourth layer of flooring, in a long ago chapter of the farmhouse, originally there was an old stove that stood against the wall of the kitchen next to the brick.
A stove people used to cook with.
And with that cooking comes sparks and sparks on wood translates into the occasional burn mark on the floor where a wayward spark escaped the oven.
My husband stared at those burn marks and patiently explained to me in great detail that we could fix it. We could pull up wood from the closets that would match the existing flooring and hopefully have enough wood to replace all the planks that were damaged.
He walked around measuring and discussing and planning and searching for a crowbar to pull up the wood.
I didn’t say anything.
I just stood there….
….looking at the floor.
Staring at it in awe.
Oh….the stories those planks could tell.
Of long ago housewives and people that actually used the kitchen for cooking and horses pulling up to the house and hungry men sitting down for dinner around a farm table after coming in from the fields.
Ten minutes later my husband came back into the room with a smile on his face.
“We got this,” he said. “I found enough planks of wood to make it work. If we replace the pieces of burned wood in the kitchen before they stain the floors, it will all blend and look like new.”
I shook my head.
“I can’t,” I said. “I want to keep the existing planks. I want the old. I want the story and the history and the journey and the character of almost a century of living.”
(total aside: I really wish I had put it quite that eloquently, I actually think I mumbled something like no way and then pointed emphatically at the wood and said I like burn marks, but this is my story, so I’ve rewritten it slightly to make myself sound like the Robert Frost of burned wood planks.)
There’s a happy ending to the story.
The burned planks stayed.
They are dancing with the sunbeams on the kitchen floor as I type this post. I’m so thankful they did….
…because every day they remind me of something truly important.
Just like life, decorating is all about perspective.
It’s about learning to live with what you have and embracing every inch of the imperfect.
The dings and dents and nicks.
Just between us, here’s the truth that we know, but we often forget.
All those imperfections are so much more beautiful and amazing and incredible….
….than perfect ever dreamed of being.
Just like these tulips I found at the store.
They were on their last legs.
A little wilted.
A little sad.
A little tired.
Signing off and heading for tulip heaven.
I felt for those tulips.
So I brought them home with some other flower friends and soaked them in water and propped up them up with the help of some of the other stems and created this five-minute arrangement of flowers in staggered glass bottles in a tool box.
They are lovely.
And that loveliness? It was there all along.
All they needed was someone to see the beauty in their imperfection…
…and a little perspective. 🙂