About four years ago, when our house was on the market, I published an essay called, “Burying Saint Joseph.” It was all about why I wasn’t willing to take down my icon-painting studio and get rid of all the evidence that real people actually live real (and sometimes creative) lives in this house. My stubbornness (and the recession) probably cost me the loss of a house I really wanted. We had a contingency contract on another house and had to let it go when we couldn’t sell. So we took the house off the market for a few years.
Here I go again, falling in love with a couple of houses I’d love to buy and getting ours ready for the market. It’s been a gradual process, starting with much-needed upgrades to the kitchen and master bathroom, new wall colors throughout the downstairs, uncluttering and hanging some nice pieces of art. Most of that was done in 2009-2010. This summer I’ve been tackling the upstairs. And this time, I took down the icon-painting studio. The “landing” that overlooks the cathedral-ceilinged den below looks huge now, and leaves room for a potential buyer to imagine how they would use the space. The carpet will be replaced week after next. Then touch-up painting and hanging some art work… and purchasing a couple of artsy chairs and lamps and it’s done. (photos to follow in a few weeks)
Well, there’s one more thing. This is a hard one. I’m going to take down our icon/prayer corner in the dining room. It looks like this.
After the painters touch up the wall, I’ll hang a couple of hand-written icons there, and place a candle on a small table in front of the icons. But the reader’s stand, with holes burnt where we let candles burn out on the top of it and wax dripping all over it, and most of the items on the table next to it—bottles of Holy Water and oil from the lampadas of various saints—will go into storage. At our next house, I hope we’ll find a more private space to set our prayer corner back up. For now, as potential buyers walk into our home, I don’t think it helps that this is the first thing they see. The dining room is small, with a table, china cabinet and sideboard already crowding the space. When the table is extended for eight people, you can barely walk between the table and the icon corner table and reader's stand.
I’ll still pray for help in selling the house and purchasing another one. And I hope God and His saints will forgive me for doing my part in staging the house for the market this time.