Thursday, March 26, 2015

The Sectional Requirement

We had lived in Arden for four months when it dawned on us that we had been inside more of our neighbors houses here than we had living in eighteen years in our previous zip code. I imagine that the open door policy in the Ardens stems from its inception as a summer community, when kids went in and out of one another's cottages,  slamming wooden screen doors and not caring that they just let in three winged creatures.  In Arden, we are used to bringing the outdoors inside and vice versa. What is a door, really? Arden's tagline is You Are Welcome Hither, and the Ardenites I have encountered take the welcoming very seriously.

As a result of all this hospitality, I have been privy to a lot of home interiors. And I love it. Mark and I used to go on the Lancaster County Parade of Homes all the time as young newlyweds. It is how we came across our home in Reinholds. We stopped going on the Parade of Homes because all the houses started to look alike. All that French Colonial outside with open floor plans and beige as far as the eye could see on the inside. Not so in Arden where no two houses are built alike. Even individual houses have a hard time figuring out what style they want to be. Our next door neighbors live in a 100-year-old craftsman cabin onto which they built a large Southern Louisiana, Creole style addition. It works. Arden does have its fair share of craftsman era and tudor revival cottages that were favored by the founders of Arden (an architect and a sculptor), but those influences in the town aren't oppressive. It would be interesting to count the influence of style on houses in Arden. And the colors? Pick one. We'll find a house that represents the hue.

One similarity that I have noticed in Arden houses is that no matter what size or shape the living or dining room, people make the most as far as seating options. I don't think I've ever seen so many sectionals in one community (But take that with a grain of salt as you know I haven't been in many houses within the communities I have inhabited. Just new, empty ones with beige, wall-to-wall carpeting.) I have never been a fan of the sectional until I moved here. As a piece of furniture they are clunky and territorial--taking over all the prime real estate within a house. Like suburban sprawl in a cornfield or man-splay on a subway.

Before long, however, people started inviting us to movie nights, and I began to see how many people you could seat comfortably. Soon, I began to look at our living room and wondering how we, too, could seat more of our friends and neighbors around our big screen. I started going on and entering sectional into the search engine. This wasn't just the stuff of man caves. I get it now.

Just yesterday, the men delivered our sectional. We had to take out a row of cabinets to accommodate it. But what is a game cabinet if you can't have friends over to play games? We will find another space for our things. This is the way of it. I call it the welcome hither style of decorating. You can be as eclectic and funky as you want as long as you can seat eight.  We still have some things to do to complete the look in our new and improved living room. I will post photos when it is complete. Might it be done in time for the Mad Men finale? I hope so. In the meantime, I think I will go to the grocery store and load up on popcorn.

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