Ever since it began to look likely that we’d be building a new home, I’ve spent untold hours window shopping: considering possibilities, making selections, but holding off on purchasing until we actually break ground and construction is underway. From flooring to roofing to appliances, I’ve been doing the research, my computer screen my ‘window’ to the world of options (thanks be to the internet!), and visiting showrooms, taking notes, and making lists.
The windows themselves were just about the very first objects of my window shopping frenzy. I love windows the way some love shoes, and in fact, I believe that the ‘wrong’ windows can ruin a good house the way the ‘wrong’ shoes can spoil the effect of an outfit. Windows are usually the first thing I notice and appreciate about a building, so it should be no surprise that as soon as the floor plan had been tweaked to my satisfaction, I turned my attention to the windows, gleeful to begin making my choices relating to this very important (to me) component of the design. Casement or double hung? Clad, painted, or stained? Number of lites? Pattern of muntins?
Relating these decisions to choices I was making about siding and trim on the outside, and the ways in which we’ll be using and furnishing rooms on the inside, the window plan began to take shape. Then I did some actual windows shopping (thanks be to eBay!) and these beauties are signed, sealed, and delivered — ours! The overall design fell completely into place once these 100+ year-old hand-beveled and leaded windows arrived safely from Chicago, ready to bestow upon our home (and the cottage) their artisanal grace.
I’ve tried to deconstruct that ‘aha’ feeling I get, the sense that I’ve hit upon that just-right idea at last, and I am surprised to recognize that there is actually some small bit of grief mixed in with the overall sense of relief I experience. Settling upon a certain concept means letting go of all of the many other possibilities I’ve considered. But acknowledging the disappointment of that letting-go is actually a part of affirming my resolve to follow the path I’m choosing: on balance, the ‘just-right’ idea is defined as much by what I don’t choose as what I do.
Last week my contractor and I met with the window supplier to begin the process of putting our order together, and I realized I am no longer window shopping for my windows — the choices have been made and communicated, we’re off and running. I continue to notice and appreciate all sorts of wonderful windows here in San Francisco (swoon sometimes, even), but I feel completely settled with what we’ve chosen for Acorn Lodge, satisfied that we’ve struck a balance between what-might-have-been and what is that will prove gratifying for the time we have to enjoy there.