As a homeowner, that magic time between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day is my favorite time of year, each and every year. Others may prefer spring when the garden is awakening and we may be spending most of our time outside, or mid- or late summer when the flower and vegetable gardens are in full bloom, or perhaps the fall when the rich colors of nature can take our breath away.
But for me, I’m most grateful for my home and the pleasures it affords in the dead of winter. That is the time when, finally, that stubborn grout weed that plagues my property is in total remission for the season, the leaves have been raked and composted, and my time has suddenly expanded exponentially for other duties inside the house.
Those duties can include anything as big as finally calling in the Flooring Girl Debbie Gertner to refinish that horrible floor in a guest room that has been hidden by a rug for 40 years to tiny chores like gluing on the knob to that antique chest that fell off no less than 10 or 12 years ago and disguising all those furniture scratches that have accumulated through the year with Old English Scratch Cover. When my wife and I had our antiques shop, Old English was the single most important defense mechanism in our bag of tricks to make our furniture inventory look twice as good as when we bought it at auction, short of refinishing.
This year, the extra time gifted us by those Fridays off after Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s will be well spent in sorting through years of possessions, deciding what to let go of, as my wife and I navigate the acquisition of a new home. Actually, as addicted collectors, only partially recovered, and as clothes horses, still actively addicted, we go through this exercise every winter when we have the extra time to go through our closets. My wife Margaret does it like clockwork and then she shames me into tackling mine when she occasionally checks out its condition.
The holiday season is also the time when our homes never looked cleaner or better with decorations, ready to receive guests. Well, actually that is normally the case, but this year, with this transition, our home is in total disarray. It looks much like a warehouse.
At the same time, our new secondary home — a pied de terre if you will — is totally empty, awaiting our arrival this week. We do not yet have rugs for our great room so our living room grouping and our dining room table and chairs will be sitting on bare floors, and our new sofa will take six weeks to arrive, but no worry. My wife and I have vowed that the very first item we will have delivered is a large Christmas tree, fully decorated, centered in front of a gorgeous Palladian-style window on the top fifth floor of our building where passers-by can see it, like a beacon that we’re there, welcoming in the holiday season, ready to go to work with a thousand and one projects to make an empty space our new vacation home.
For some years, I have written about my journey as a homeowner planning to sell my home and all the preparations that went into it. It gave me a lot of material to write about. As luck would have it, fortunate circumstances allow us to keep our current home as our primary residence and professional offices while enjoying a “getaway not far away” at the same time, in a lovely country club setting. I’ve always dreamed of having a second home for fun, albeit in a more distant setting, but odd duck that I am, I found my vacation setting much closer to home, so who wants to travel?
And I’ll enjoy sharing with you the experiences of the artisan talents I’m discovering to create a beautiful setting with all the trappings of a vacation home. Just yesterday I toured the place with a brilliant cabinet maker and a lighting designer and I can’t wait to share with you what we’ve dreamed up.
So especially this season, I’m looking forward to utilizing my extra holiday time to toast in the New Year, once again singing Auld Lang Syne, once again trying to remember what the heck those words mean, much like trying to remember where I’ve left the remote control for the garage door opener for one house and my keys to the other.
Bill Primavera is a Realtor® associated with William Raveis Real Estate and Founder of Primavera Public Relations, Inc., the longest running public relations agency in Westchester (www.PrimaveraPR.com), specializing in lifestyles, real estate and development. His real estate site is: www.PrimaveraRealEstate.com and his blog is: www.TheHomeGuru.com. To engage the services of Bill Primavera and his team to market your home for sale, call 914-522-2076.