Decorating with Painted Memories

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Decorating with Painted Memories

Have you ever tried moving from one dwelling into another? On average, Canadians move around 5-6 times in their lifetime, for various reasons. And anyone living in Montreal can tell you how much of a hustle this activity is. From logistics that start months in advance, to convincing your friends to help you with packing your things, moving sounds exhausting.

Following the path of many co-citizens, in only two months, my family and I are moving into our newly purchased property, a dream that has come true faster than we imagined. The very natural thing that came to us first was to sort out some technicalities, for which we created a strategic plan:

  • How many belongings do we possess and what packing supplies will we need?
  • What, out of our total belongings, are we actually taking with us, and what do we donate or throw out, if in a rickety condition?
  • After decluttering and finalizing inventory, what type of truck will we need to rent out to be able to transport all of our possessions in maximum 2 takes (where risk analysis skills become handy)?
  • When do we start packing: 4-3 weeks in advance, or 1 week before the moving date?
  • What are the first necessity things we must leave unpacked for that last night at the old place?
  • Whom do we recruit to help with carrying our goods, and what’s our Plan B, in case someone is unavailable?
  • What will be our preliminary schedule for the moving day and where will we be getting the food, around the new place, for everyone involved?

And all of this will be done with a 4-year-old dragged behind us, who still didn’t drop her naptime. If you’re someone pretty much like my family, and you can relate to this story, go ahead and take my moving plan as a reference or use it as a cheat-sheet for whenever you’ll need it.

So, with the plan out there, we started focusing on how to bring our steps to life. In the overwhelm of execution, I found myself often drifting away from reality by imagining how I will be decorating our new home. With two floors and a stairwell serving as a gigantic blank canvas, I started envisioning all the art pieces I could put up on display. Family photos, digital art, printed images, old paintings, modern art – my choice stopped at balancing what we already have with something exciting and new to blend perfectly into our décor, and also serve as a conversation piece. I could not stop my mind from wandering.

My forever dream was to have a gallery wall in our stairwell, where photos of our grandparents would fuse with the photos of our parents, followed by images of all of our family in a beautiful timeline from our childhood to the moment our baby was born. This wall will represent our family tree in different frame sizes, at different heights. This gallery will tell stories to anyone willing to listen.

Our top floor will be embellished with art that we already possess – digital art of botanical plants which will be hung on the walls of the master bedroom, a light and tender feather art piece which will go into our daughter’s room, some modern palm tree leaves paintings in the office, and a wooden item that will split the bookcases in the library.

The special place that will hold the treasured art pieces will be our first floor, one painting in the living room and one in the dining room, right behind the big dining table. Now, we were debating what will go on those walls for quite some time, but thinking back to the meaning this move holds for us, the infinite happy moments which await us in the new place, our love for art and all beautiful things, my husband and I decided to have some of our most significant moments painted in oil on a canvas that keeps reminding us of that Spring, in 2004, when we first met. Back then, everything seemed so pure, so exciting and so simple. We weren’t even suspecting that, some day, we will get married and build a family together. So, thanks to my sister who’s been an artist since her childhood years, I fell in love with art and have so instilled this adoration in my husband’s heart.

The two chef d’oeuvres that we will be hanging on our main floor will be about the past and about the future. One will be a photo of the three of us celebrating our daughter’s first birthday, representing a year full of magical moments, hardships, and everything in between. That celebration represented the beginning of a story that changed our lives forever, in ways that only we know. The meaning goes deeper than this, as our daughter almost didn’t happen, due to complicated circumstances long before she came into our lives.

The second painting will showcase the three of us standing in front of our newly purchased house, smiling with our mouths wide open and our daughter making funny faces. If you’re wondering where is the meaning of future in this photo, the answer is extremely simple. The future is standing right behind us in that photo, as we are going to move into it and we are going to live the best years we can ever have, only because we’ve grown, we’ve developed, we’ve learnt precious lessons. That very moment of taking the picture was when we realized that we are exactly where we were always meant to be. And if the representation of the present won’t be hanging on our walls, it doesn’t mean we don’t acknowledge it, on the contrary, it is because we are living it every single day, every minute of our time. And we write our stories as we speak.