Coming Home (Again)

Nearly two years after I was ousted from my little Paris apartment by destruction and mold thanks to a leak from the upstairs neighbor that took 18 months to fix, my luggage and I moved back home.

My home was far from perfect. The renovation was complete, but the kitchen had yet to be installed, and all my furniture was still swaddled in plastic, crammed into the living space along with ten moving boxes filled with my belongings. But I didn’t mind—not the current state of my furnishings, nor the plaster dust still floating in the air and covering every surface. My place was mine, again.

Home is not quite homey yet.

Home is not quite homey, yet.

Gone was the mold that made me cough and wheeze; the scent of wood and fresh paint greeted me at the door, just as it did the day I first came home four years ago. My home was new and fresh, and whole again.

cabinet-my-parttime-paris-lifethe bed-my-parttime-Paris-lifeI couldn’t do much about the mess in the living room, not until the kitchen was installed, so I unpacked my soaps and shampoos and other HBA whatnots, and loaded up my bathroom cabinets, reclaiming a room that was once a gaping, waterlogged wound. In my bed alcove, the bed got fresh linens to celebrate that this night I would finally once again sleep in my own house. There would only be sweet dreams. The nightmare was over.

The following week, Darty installed my new and much-written-about kitchen. It was as beautiful as the rendering promised—more so, because it was here and now. (More…)

Delivering my kitchen

Delivering my kitchen.

Kitchen arrives chez moi

Kitchen arrives chez moi.

The kitchen installed.

The kitchen installed.

Once the kitchen was installed, I unpacked every box, pulled the plastic off my furniture, mopped and cleaned up the plaster dust. It took 5 hours to find places for all my dishes and pans in the new kitchen, and to redecorate my apartment as it once was. After it was done, I sat back and took it all in.

A home restored.

A home restored.

My new kitchen, at last. The drawing perched beside the mirror is of Liza Minnelli by my friend, artist Geoffrey Guillin, who calls me, "Liza."

My new kitchen, at last. The drawing of Liza Minnelli perched beside the mirror is by my friend, artist Geoffrey Guillin, who calls me, “Liza.”

My chest tightened, my face grew warm, and the tears came. The sobs. Whatever I had been holding in these many months—all the anger, the pain—welled up and spilled over. Then, like the leak itself, the tears dried up. What was left was peace, and joy.

We found these in the attic, still in the same box for 40 years. We guessed they were a wedding gift our parents didn't like. I'm sure my mother is mystified in heaven that I adore their kitschy perfection.

The last thing I did was rehang a pair of plaques my sister Maria and I found in the attic of our childhood home when we were cleaning it out after our mother died. The date on the newspaper the plaques were wrapped in told us they’d been packed in the same box probably since our parents’ wedding. Maybe they were a wedding gift Ma didn’t much like, but I loved them for their kitschy French-ness, and four years ago, I carried them in my suitcase to hang in my new Paris place. As soon as they were once again on the wall, it was as if nothing had ever happened—as if the day I moved out and this day had somehow stitched themselves together.

“Closure,” my friend Steven texted me when I sent photos of my place restored. Yes. Home was home again.

Take a tour of my apartment, here.

________________

Learn more about the journey that led to My (Part-Time) Paris Life in my memoir of the same name, ON SALE NOW:
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22 responses to “Coming Home (Again)

  1. OH LISA….it’s so lovely…..I actually gasped when I saw the kitchen…so much storage…so many PLUGS!…fantastic.

    May you have manymany wonderful dinner parties and years to come in your sweet abode.love it.
    take care……

  2. Wow!! Your reno is gorgeous! So glad that everything is now in place for you to enjoy your Paris home.

  3. So happy for you Lisa! We returned from Paris yesterday. We often stay at my friend’s apartment in the 15th and have decided if we ever have the opportunity that is where we belong! Now to find the money! You give me hope though! Good luck and happiness to you in your “new” home.
    Lisa Roccaforte

  4. Lisa, You have become my long lost french friend (and mentor) through your posts. What an ordeal to go through! The time that it has taken to resolve this is unbelievable. However, what strikes me right now is that you are a survivor and, better yet, you have triumphed in a spectacular way. Congratulations on your renovated apt and your beautiful kitchen. Enjoy!

    Gretchen

  5. It sounds as though you are letting all the stress come out….now go forth and enjoy your new kitchen! So lovely that the momento of your mother is watching over you.

  6. Lisa,
    Your (new) home is just lovely. And that kitchen! C’est magnifique! Enjoy every second. Now you can finally take a deep breath and relax in your finished place.

    Cheers.

  7. Your apartment looks fabulous! Where did you put the washing machine? Guessing in the bathroom

  8. So glad you are finally able to make your apartment a real home. Couldn’t help but notice a clothes washer/dryer, and was just wondering where it was installed. I didn’t see it in the kitchen.

  9. Pingback: Life Lessons from the Water Fairy | My (Parttime) Paris Life·

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