Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Scenes From a Home

You can tell a lot about a person from the look of their home. When people are kind enough to invite me into their homes and share a part of their lives I take special interest in the details that make up their dwelling, and in fact, their life story.
I was fortunate enough to be a guest at Paulette Adams's (http://www.summerlandcottagestudio.blogspot.com/) beyond gorgeous home on Laguna Beach. Although I live very close by, nothing could have prepared me for this amazing house and guest home. Like a true artist/designer, all of Paulette's arrangements seemed to come alive. She had an easel, drawings, and several of her own designs including dishes and furniture she had restored sitting about the house inviting you to touch, to look at, to pick up, to linger over.
My favorite part of going into other people's houses is looking at their book collections. I love being able to get an idea of a person by the books they own. Paulette had many old editions that made me quite jealous (when I grow up I want to be a book collector). Among my favorite titles in her home: "By Myself and Then Some" by Lauren Bacall and The Trouble With Poetry by Billy Collins. Another great collection is this wall of hats Paulette has.
The staircase is amazing! The drawers pull out and the steps open for storage. Another staircase actually pulls out so that you can climb the stairs to the top bedroom. Her studio is unlike anything I've ever seen, and it overlooks the ocean.
Paulette's house is like a museum. She calls herself and her house, eccentric, but that's actually what I really like about it. I like old things that don't go together stacked on more old things; I like a sense of history; I like it when staircases appear out of nowhere and lead to bedrooms with windows right above your head as you sleep; I like rows and cabinets filled with books, and coffee poured from a vintage coffee maker; I like places where you go outside to never know who you'll find walking the beach, where you constantly hear the sea and feel its breeze. But mostly I like people who open up their homes because they know that they and their house are nothing conventional, where life is truly "What you make it."
It's fun sometimes to imagine people as they are in their homes with no one there watching. And in truth, I see Paulette just as she was on Saturday; painting in the sunlight outside, drinking coffee with cocoa, sugar, and cream mixed in. I see Paulette happy in the home she has made, so alive, so consumed entirely by all of her art, her life's work. I hope that one day my home is eccentric, that people can see me within the book cases and coffee cups kept about. That one day I am surrounded by my art and that of others; that I can say I made the life I imagined.
My deepest thanks and admiration to Paulette for letting me in and letting me learn; for saying so many wise things that I needed to hear. Make sure and visit Paulette's blog to win a chance to actully stay in her guest house. The experience is well worth it!


  1. How we are attracted by different things, it is so us. I, as soon as I saw the stove and the hutch I was in love with the house. The books, that would be my youngest son Raffaele, is closet is full of books....Una casa bella. See you real soon Ciao Rita mammabellarte

  2. Great pictures accompanied by a beautiful literary tour of Paulette's home. I was transported right back to that incredible day. And you both like Billy Collins--amazing-love his poetry. Beth, you are a very eloquent writer and photographer--look forward to reading future posts and hope we all reunite for another creatively adventurous play day in the near future :)