Posts tagged ‘The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up’

Tidy – chapter 9: the language of color

What does a life look that is designed with love? Margaret inherited her mother’s house with the words, “Make this house a home.” Margaret is finding out what that means.

homes heart

Art by Brenda Mangalore

Everyone needs a sanctuary.”  – The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up

(Continued) Margaret dreamed last night that she was floating through her home and in every room was a different person and a different color. Her dad (orange) was in the living room reading the newspaper, chomping on his pipe that he had quit smoking, but liked to have on hand anyway.

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Kiln Chevron Zest Ceramic Tile

Her mom (yellow) was on the phone in the kitchen flipping through her calendar.

Lush 3x6 Yellot Butter Glass Tile

Lush 3 x 6 Butter – Yellow Glass Subway Tile

Margaret floats down the hall to her bedroom, which, in the dream, is still decorated circa 1985. She sees a young Margaret applying Diva Red toenail polish while listening to Kate Bush sing Running Up That Hill on her record player.

Mosaic Glass Tile - Red

Mosaic Glass Tile – Clear Red Brio

She keeps floating through her home and finds her ex-boyfriend, Sam (green) in a room that her house doesn’t actually contain. In that room, is a draft table. His back is to her and he is intently drawing a picture of a tree whose roots form a man’s body reaching deep into the earth. The trunk rises from the roots, stretching into branches which form a woman’s body.

Brio Glass Mosaic Tile

Brio Glass Mosaic Tile

Margaret continues floating. She sees her friends, Toni and Ray, (teal) in a nursery playing with their newborn baby; she sees her neighbor Reese (Milk White and Grey) in the bathroom, sitting on the edge of the bathtub, crying over the loss of his wife.

Modwalls bathroom tile

2×4 American Made Ceramic Subway Tile in Milk White, Brine Gray and Licorice Black Matte

And then she sees a new room. A room of grace and light. It feels like a part of her. A part of her that also radiates in all the people that she loves. It is That Which Exists in all beings. It is also the core of her home. The heart. She enters the room. That is when Margaret wakes up. And wakes up to a calm that she hasn’t felt in years.

small_heart

Her kitchen remodel is finished. Reese helped her install the colorful Brio glass tile backsplash that she designed on the tile company’s website. He turned her on to the eco-friendly wood floor that is certified by the Forest Stewardship Council® whose motto is “Forests for All Forever.” Reese’s buddy Ken introduced her to John McDonald, the owner of Semihandmade, an innovative company that makes one-of-kind craftsman-style doors for Ikea kitchen cabinets. John’s team helped her pick out the exact doors to complement her new tile and floors.

semihandmade-tile

Semihandmade Cabinet Covers

Margaret’s kitchen is pretty much perfect. Ever her retro fridge is perfect, from its fern green color to what’s inside it: red, yellow, and green bell peppers, a violet and ivory
striped graffiti eggplant, and a carton of heirloom eggs from the farmers market that are different shades! Who knew?! Margaret’s world has exploded in color.

eggs

Now in waking life, with her feet firmly planted on her kitchen floor, she sees that her home has become a sanctuary. Her friendships, new and old, are a sanctuary. Her mother’s parting words “make this house your home,” became a sanctuary as they guided Margaret out of her mourning back into life. Everything that has led her to this moment was, in one way or another, a sanctuary. “Thank you,” says Margaret.Thank you tile

Francis, her cat, gazes at her from the kitchen table.  Reese mows his lawn next door.  The sun streams in through the kitchen window. And the world of color vibrates “thank you.”

This is the ninth installment in a series about aspirational living.  Micheline Auger is Michelinea New York-based writer who loves all things Modwalls.

 

March 17, 2016 at 7:53 pm 1 comment

Tidy – chapter eight: home is where the tile is

What does a life look like that is designed with love? Margaret inherited her mother’s house with the words, “Make this house a home.” Margaret is finding out what that means.

road focus

(Continued) “What should I do with this?” asks Margaret.  “Hmm?” Margaret looks up and watches her neighbor Reese apply a layer of thinset to her kitchen wall. He does it with such care and attention, you’d think it was his home. But that’s just the way Reese is. He is the most present and generous person that Margaret has met. Ever since he came over to deliver her package of sample tiles, she has grown accustomed to him stopping by to share a cup of tea (he doesn’t drink coffee and Margaret has recently given it up), or help her with her redecorating quandaries.

Lush Glass Peacock Subway Tile

Lush Glass Subway Tile in Peacock

Margaret holds up a picture. “It’s my ex-boyfriend.” “Looks like a nice fellow.” “Yeah, but should I keep it or throw it away?” asks Margaret.  “What’s the book say?” Margaret reads.

“It is not our memories but the person we have become because of those past experiences that we should treasure.”

“Sounds like good advice. What’s that book again?” Margaret shows him The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo. “Looks interesting. You know, my wife was Japanese. She taught me patience.” Reese’s wife passed away five years ago. “Or rather, I taught her patience,” he laughs. “What do you mean?” Margaret asks.

kitchens.jpg

Fiestaware Inspired Brio Custom Blend

“I had a lot of anger.” Reese carefully presses a sheet of colorful glass tile into the thinset. Margaret can’t imagine Reese that way, and has struggled with similar feelings. “What did you do?” she asks. “I had to develop compassion for myself. And humility.  Basically,” he wipes his forehead, “I had to be ok with being vulnerable. It took some time.” Margaret studies the picture of her ex-boyfriend, Sam. It’s hard for her to believe that their relationship is over even though it’s been a year, almost to the day.

“What did Sam teach you?” asks Reese, as he cuts a sheet of tile to fit the small space around the outlet. “I think I’m still figuring that out.” Margaret takes a sip of her tea, suddenly missing her crack coffee. “Come on, you know.” says Reese. “I do?” asks Margaret. “Sure, just ask your heart. That’s what my wife used to say.”

heart

My heart? “Well, the thought of a chocolate-glazed donut sounds good right about now,” answers Margaret. Reese keeps working. He’s either in deep, contemplative tile installation, or he’s creating space for her to answer; she’s not sure.  Back to her heart.

Hello heart? It’s me, Margaret. I’m glad you’re feeling better these days, and we don’t think about Sam so much anymore, but I’m wondering if you would be willing to open for a moment and reveal what Sam taught me.

She listens… Oh. It’s more a feeling than an answer. A knowing. “He taught me to stop running.” says Margaret. 

Brio Blends Highlands

Brio Blends Highlands

“Well, there you go,” says Reese. “So, what do you think?” He steps away from the wall revealing the beginning of a home that Margaret has only started to believe in.  She smiles.Micheline

This is the eighth installment in a weekly series about aspirational living.  Micheline Auger is a New York-based writer who loves all things Modwalls.

March 10, 2016 at 8:42 am 2 comments

Tidy – chapter 7: own your colors

What does a life look like that is designed with love? Margaret inherited her mother’s house with the words, “Make this house a home.” Margaret is finding out what that means.

youarehere.jpg

(Continued)  “Visualize your destination.” It’s a Saturday afternoon and Margaret has picked up The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up again, after sensing that something was changing in her life, and that something seemed to coincide with her willingness to open this book a couple months ago – the book her mother gave her in the hopes that Margaret’s life would change. And change for the better.

Brio blend city sunshine

Brio Blend CitySunshine

Margaret takes a sip of her iced pineapple green tea and looks out from her mother’s – or rather – her porch. She keeps having to correct herself. This is her home. It used to be her mother’s home, but now it’s hers. Truthfully, it still feels like a combination of the two, which she acknowledges is an improvement. She is not erasing her mother’s memory by redecorating; she is celebrating her mother’s can-do spirit by ordering the tiles for the kitchen. Her mother loved color and she would have loved these tiles. She would have loved that the tiles are assembled by a non-profit organization which employs developmentally disabled adults to do production work, and assists them to live full lives and be part of a community.

Her mother lived a full life with lots of friends and wanted that for Margaret, too.  So when Margaret read the words, “visualize your destination,” she paused. What is her destination?  Margaret looks up and sees Francis, the cat, stalking a bird on the front lawn.  ‘The cat’ or is it ‘her cat?’ ‘The house,’ or ‘her house?” Margaret has a pronoun problem, and it involves ownership. Was she willing to ‘own’ her destination? ‘Own’ her life? ‘Own’ her choices?

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“You think too much.” Her dad once told her. He was trying to show her how to change the oil in the family car and Margaret was distracted. She was sixteen and didn’t really care about oil-changes. “You need to be independent. If you can change the oil in your car, you can do anything.” Margaret wasn’t sure that sentiment had really rang true for her, but it did pop into her mind when she thought about installing tile in her kitchen. Should she hire an installer, or do it herself? She had come across a YouTube video that made it look pretty easy, and actually fun. Just like in the Tidying book where Marie Kondo writes that if you do it right, tidying can be fun.

But why? Why tidy? Why redecorate? What is the destination?

“Oh, I’m glad you’re home.” Margaret looks up and sees a man in his sixties wearing jeans, work boots and a white t-shirt splattered with paint. “The postman mistakenly left this at my house yesterday. You must be Alice’s daughter. I’m Reese. I live next door.” Margaret smiles. “Hi, I’m Margaret.” Reese puts down the box and takes Margaret’s hand. “Pleasure to meet you. You need a hand with this?” “Sure,” says Margaret. “It must be my tile samples for the kitchen.”

Modwalls gift

The gift of tile

Reese rips open the box and takes out a panel of beautifully-colored glass tile. “I designed the pattern myself.” Reese looks up. “Are you an artist?”   Margaret laughs. “No, the company’s website has a page where you can choose your colors to create your own blend. It’s pretty cool.”  “Well, you did a good job.” Margaret feels a swell of something like pride inside her chest. She runs her hand over the tiles. She feels excited.  The colors make her happy. That seems like a pretty good destination.Micheline

This is the seventh installment in a weekly series about aspirational living.  Micheline Auger is a New York-based writer who loves all things Modwalls.

March 3, 2016 at 7:35 pm 2 comments

Tidy – chapter 2: keeping order


As Margaret reads from “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up”, she comes upon a sentence that stops her cold: “Keep your house in order.”
That doesn’t sound fun…

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That sounded like punishment. A commandment whose highest expression of love is a clean, stainless steel kitchen with nothing in the fridge because nobody actually lives there.  As much as Margaret may ogle over magazines layouts of these kitchens, she imaginesthat the people who live there don’t actually eat. They’re a new breed of high-achieving actualizers who live on air, or smoothies, or green juice, or…

stainless_steel_kitchen

Tile is a wonderful way to warm up a kitchen

Margaret wipes the Entenmanns’ crumbs from her “Just Do(nut) it!” sweatshirt and breaths. “Thinking,” she notes. It’s day two of her new meditation practice where she affirms she is not her thoughts. She’s not sure what she is anymore, but apparently she’s not her thoughts. She just is. She is being. She is… uncomfortable. She needs a meditation nook. With pillows, and soothing colors, or something.

Tile - meditation on color

Swell Hand-Made Cement Tile

Maybe it would be better lying down. On her bed. But then she’d have to put her laundry away. She could lie on the couch, but it’s not that comfortable. It’s her mother’s couch and it’s very stiff. Firm. “You want people to be comfortable but not too comfortable. They are a guest, not a squatter.”

Margaret’s not sure where her mom came up with these ideas, but they seemed to work for her. She led an active life, full of active activities doing a lot of doing. She had activity buddies for every day of the week. Monday: Susan. Tuesday: Bob. Wednesday: Liz and Mitchell, and so on. She was a busy lady and her house was TIDY.keep-calm-and-tidy-up

Not because she tidied it, but because her housekeeper did, until she and her housekeeper had a falling out, upon which she was replaced by BarelyThere – a housecleaning app that schedules housecleaners without any of the actual fuss of human interaction. The BarelyThere person would come and go without your knowing, and your house would remain sparkling – or your money back.  Mom’s house was in order. Mom liked that.

Margaret, on the other hand, liked STUFF. Soft, fluffy stuff. Sweet stuff, salty stuff, good smelling stuff, bedding stuff, Sam’s stuff, mall stuff, online stuff, cozy stuff. So when mom died, she brought her stuff to mom’s house. She was surrounded by her stuff and mom-stuff. Her stuff was on top of mom’s stuff.

stuff

But she’s vowed to follow her mother’s final directive to make this house her home. In fact, it was on a notecard taped to her bathroom mirror covered in toothpaste spray. “My house is my home,” with a little smiley face. And she was going to do it. She. Would. Just. Do(nut). It!  She would declutter, put it in order, and fill it with her new-found magical and passionate life.

Kitchen Brio Cherry

How to make your kitchen pop! Brio Glass Tile in Cherry Red

Until one morning, she couldn’t get out of bed.Micheline

This is the second installment in a weekly series about aspiration, desperation, and that thing called life. Micheline Auger is a New York-based writer who loves color, cats and all things Modwalls.

January 28, 2016 at 4:11 pm 3 comments

Tidy: chapter 1 – the universe is speaking…

life-changing-magicThe Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. Really? The book has been sitting on her kitchen table for a month. Underneath a pair of socks, a pile of home decor magazines, and Francis, the one-eared cat who adopted her last winter after Sam left. Her mother gave her the book for her 45th birthday. “It’ll change your life.” Mom likes to buy people books for their birthdays. Books like The Rules, Getting To I Do and Upgrading your Wardrobe for Dummies. “But this book is different,” says mom. “The writer is Japanese. Did you know that Japanese women don’t experience menopause? It’s because their culture respects older women. And their diets are cleaner. And the women feel supported and nourished and valued. The women are so graceful. You should read it.” She knows she should read it. Everyone’s reading it. It’s on the best sellers list. It changes people’s lives!

change

She imagines that after reading this magical book, people are born anew to their life’s purpose. They are greeted by previously hidden gifts and talents like long lost lovers. Motivation, inspiration and courage rain down from the skies above. Soul mates come knocking at doors. Infertility begets fertility. Empty bank accounts overflow with plenitude. Drones drop flowers and wine, and the world sparkles just a wee bit brighter as houses, hogans and even the homeless got their tidy on. Tidy for president. Tidy for world peace. Tidy for you, and you, and you. But not for me. Margaret has never been a tidy person. She may love to look at pictures of sparkling clean kitchens full of color and light, living rooms with inviting fireplaces or spa-like bathrooms promising relaxation and rejuvenation, but if she can’t get herself to do the dishes, how is she going to declutter her house?

Tidy 1 colorful kitchen

Modwalls Ceramic Tile: The Magnificent 7

She stares at the book and takes a sip of the coffee her friend Toni calls crack because it’s so strong. It’s her second cup of crack this morning and she’s liking it. She’s thinking she’ll drink crack all day and maybe the dishes will get done. Or the laundry. Or repot the plant, or maybe throw it away and get a new one – one that’s actually alive.  Or regrout the bathtub, or go jogging, or paint the front door red – that’s supposed to be good feng shui, right? Or do that pilatesyogacrossfit video that she’s been meaning to do. Or. Or. Or.

feelings street sign

Francis looks at her and meows but nothing comes out of his mouth. It’s one of those silent meows. This is how Margaret experiences the universe, or God, or intuition, or whatever people call it.  Silent. A silent meow. Yet expectant. It reminds her of the lyric from the Pink Floyd song, “Comfortably Numb”: “Your lips move, but I can’t hear what you’re saying.” She looks at Francis. Does Francis know?  Does Francis understand? Does Francis see that Margaret is paralyzed in a house she inherited from her mother? Her mother who died last winter. Her mother who knew how to get things done; who said before she closed her radiant eyes for the last time, ‘Make this house your home. Start your life. Stop waiting.’  Frances meows silently again. Maybe Francis is just hungry. Margaret reaches over and picks him up. He purrs. She looks down at the book as her mother’s words echo in her mind. She opens the first page and reads: “Start by discarding.”Micheline

Micheline Auger is a New York-based writer who loves color, cats and all things Modwalls. This is the first installment in a weekly series.

January 21, 2016 at 10:32 am 2 comments


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Rebecca Lonergan


Founder and Creative Director of Modwalls Tile Company. Since 2005 Rebecca has been designing Fresh Tile in Colors You Crave. Shop Online at Modwalls.com.

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