Everyone has a dream home locked away inside. It is the house you would build if only you had the money to play out your fantasy. It might even be quite modest, but for some reason it’s unattainable, at least for now.
I know every detail of my dream house. It would still be in Jerusalem because I am bonded to this mystical city, but it would not be an upstairs apartment, blessed as I am now with four balconies full of plants.
It would stand in a garden of graceful trees that would silhouette their skeletal branches against a snowy white sky in winter. In spring, the trees would put on their new green lace. Almond and peach blossom would announce the start of spring.
All year round there would be magic from my shrubs and flowers, wild cyclamen blooming between the crevices in my rock garden; deep blue irises along the garden wall, and freesias, roses and phlox perfuming the night air. There would be magnolias and gardenias and sweet peas climbing up the wall. Oh, and a wonderful shrub of white lilac to fill my vases and my heart with joy.
I think the outside would look like a house from a children’s storybook, not minimally modern or from any particular period. Preferably, it would sprawl and look like a lived-in home rather than some architectural marvel. However, there would have to be red tiles on the roof and a big, fat chimney from which smoke would drift lazily toward the sky. A flagstone path would lead to a door with a big brass knocker to tell me that a friend has arrived.
What do you need in your dream home?
I KNOW the contents of my house of dreams with all its nooks and corners. There would be a big, open fireplace to fill with fragrant logs in winter, and deep chairs to loll in as you roasted chestnuts in the embers. The walls would be lined with books – not just contemporary novels or the classics one shows off with but rarely opens. No, all of my friends from childhood on would be there, well-thumbed, a bit tattered but dearly loved.
All of Noel Coward’s plays that delighted me so, and the biting wit of Dorothy Parker. Lots and lots of poetry: Rupert Brooke, A.E. Housman’s A Shropshire Lad; the riches of W.B. Yeats, Emily Dickinson and Yehuda Amichai. The Bible will be there, and I’ll also want The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam and Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet. Of course, Pat Conroy’s inspiring novels, with pride of place to his Beach Music. And, to read to my great-grandchildren, A.A. Milne’s wonderful Winnie-the-Pooh stories, Louisa Alcott’s Little Women and a dimly remembered Kilmeny of the Orchard.
There’ll be a great big table, a bit scarred, and a Chinese rug with a deep pile. The soft furnishings will be in mauve and rose, crossed by a silver thread, for those are my creative colors.
I think I’d like a faithful dog. He wouldn’t need a pedigree, but he’d be a thoroughbred to me just the same, no matter what his parentage.
Sitting on the coffee table will be a marvelous box, inlaid with mother-of-pearl or jade, for knick-knacks. And maybe a cloisonné vase. A rich brocade cloth on the table, and a long low shelf of teak to hold photos of people I love – family and friends, and those lost through time or distance. Within reach, of course, would be fat bowls of good things to munch on – cashew nuts, sun-dried dates and plump raisins.
Somewhere there’ll be a piano, and when I have time, I’ll play for myself in my untalented way the music I love – Gershwin, Cole Porter, Irving Berlin and a few simple Chopin études. It won’t matter if my fingers stumble because I’ll play when I’m alone as the indigo shadows of dusk lengthen, and the sky becomes strewn with stars.
Paintings on the wall: If money were no object, I’d acquire French Impressionists like Monet, to fill me with serenity; and maybe in one darkish room, a giant oil in wild colors of scarlet and purple to shock and stimulate.
My dream house will have beams of fragrant wood, and a staircase that winds upward to my study in the attic. From its dormer window, I’ll look out at my treetops as I write on an antique desk with hidden drawers for my most secret thoughts. I hope some birds will nest on the windowsill, and each year I can watch them raise their brood of fledglings.
My kitchen will have a pantry full of herbs and spices and stone jars of ginger and kumquats, and glass jars of anchovies and olives. All my recipe books will be there, too, so that I can concoct savory meals at a moment’s notice.
I forgot to mention window seats. I want one broad and deep enough to sprawl on while I read or just watch scarlet sunsets. Scattered around the room will be pewter and bronze, carved wood and objects in clay with a marvelous texture to pick up and fondle.
My dream house will be big enough for everyone I love to come and visit and sometimes stay. I know in my heart I’ll never build it, and I love the home I have now, but maybe this beautiful abode is really waiting... somewhere over the rainbow! ■