Playing House

Friends! How about that eclipse?!  Did you watch it, in person or on the TV? I did both. It was only a partial one here and it was overcast, but — hey — the sun’s so bright I could see it right through the clouds (with my handy-dandy eclipse glasses). What an amazing sight.

Also, I survived the move! The casita was cleaned this afternoon (not by me, I left it to the professionals) and I’m across the courtyard in the new place. What a slog this was. I hate the logistics and, especially in this case, the trips back and forth which started to feel like Sisyphus rolling that boulder uphill for an eternity.

The part I love, though, is “playing house” – setting up a new space, switching things around, figuring out where the paintings and tchotchkes will go, what looks nice, and how it all fits together. And I will admit that at least for me, a living space is never cleaner than when I’ve just moved in, despite my best efforts at dusting and general maintenance.

Things I’ve already figured out I love: the front, walled garden, which I’ll be adding some perennials to, it’s mostly shrub plantings. The additional light, since there are more windows all around. Enough window space to fit my plants in, since I no longer have Succulent Island under a kitchen skylight. A bathroom that is warmer (yay!) and with hot water that reaches it a lot faster. It’s the little things, you know?

Anyhow, perfume. The space in this photo was the home office of the previous resident. He is a lawyer and it’s a large nook (or a small room) behind folding doors off the living room; there are more shelves to the right, out of view. He of course had it jam-packed with a desktop computer and monitors, files, paperwork, and legal tomes. I took one look at it and visions of floor to ceiling perfume danced in my head, in part because I’ll be sharing this house with a fellow perfumista! Carolyn is a dear friend who I first “met” virtually through the Posse. She already lived in Santa Fe, helped me out with some move-related groundwork in 2021, and we became fast friends IRL after I arrived. I am pretty sure that between the two of us we will have those deep shelves and this entire space (aka “the ‘fume room”) filled with fragrance; there’s still more space for shelving at the top of we need it.  The desktop and the file cabinet will likely be reserved for mundane stuff like files and a printer and the things normal people keep in an office.

I’ve started slowly unpacking my bottles and have really enjoyed that process of arranging them. Also, it smells incredible in here. You know that moment of going into a beloved perfume store and wishing you could bottle the smell of all those things together? Well, that is exactly what this is, the adjacent living room already smells like the best parfum d’ambience ever.

If any of you have any thoughts or suggestions for arrangements on these shelves, or any other storage details, please share them. Do you arrange yours by house? Size? Not at all? I am going to get some small storage boxes to keep the tippy ones safe (looking at you, Uncle Serge!) and my decants together, but other than that, I’m still figuring it out.

So far I’ve uncovered no catastrophes in the giant cooler I used to move them. I am thrilled. What did I put on first when unpacking these after their time in storage? Guerlain’s Encens Mythique, and it’s still every bit as lovely.

cover image via Pexels

  • Rosarita says:

    Congratulations on the move! Your new place with it’s own Fume Room sounds delightful.
    I live just outside the path of totality and we didn’t have special glasses so it was mainly darkened with round shadows. My daughter and her husband went to a small town in Ohio and got to experience the totality. They took a video – the darkness fell abruptly, the streetlights came on, after a few minutes it got light and the street lights went out. Really cool.

    • March says:

      In the videos I watched in totality, it looked amazing. It got dark enough here that the birds were clearly noticing it. Glad they got to experience that!

  • Maggiecat says:

    Congrats on what sounds like a very successful move! And a perfume room sounds lovely!

  • Portia says:

    YAY! You’re moved. Good luck with the putting away March. The hard bit’s over.
    LOVE your new Fume Room.
    Portia xx

    • March says:

      I cannot imagine what’s involved for you moving, I know you have a LOT of fragrance! And I bet it all smells fantastic, too. Yes, the hard bit is finally over — at least it wasn’t super cold outside (or very hot!)

  • cinnamon says:

    Ooooh, best wishes with settling in. I hate unpacking but love the virtuous feeling of weeding out things I really truly no longer want/need and donating them (you’d think this would happen during initial packing, but not fully).

    Perfume. I don’t actually own enough to make comments on display — my ‘collection’ would fit in a couple of shoe boxes at this point. Maybe arrange by house?

    And adding to front garden — such fun. Maybe some flowering climbers in pots? and some potted roses? ie, things with fragrance. some herbs… is there room for a cafe table and a couple of chairs?

    • March says:

      Ha! For me there’s definitely a second phase of weeding after a move, although I try to do it beforehand as well… clothes, stuff I bought for a particular space/problem. The front garden has a glorious pink climber and I’m adding cheerful things like Shasta daisies, rosemary, lavender, all of which do well in this dry climate. And yes, my two Adirondack chairs are under the trees, and a table and chairs for al fresco dining!

  • Dina C. says:

    That’s such an exciting feeling: the arranging of a new home. Like playing with a dollhouse, but on steroids! The two of you sound like well matched roommates. As for perfume bottle organization, I used to have mine arranged by season. I’m a seasonal scent wearer, so it made sense. Then after dusting, I rearranged by house, but placed all the Itty bitty mini bottles together on a silver saucer. I’d love to take a big gusty breath in of your in-house perfume shop. Please share a photo when it’s unpacked and arranged.

    • March says:

      In my previous life I also had it arranged seasonally — sorted into a couple different places. Now I’m looking at this big magilla space and pondering options… I love the idea of all the minis on something glamorous!

  • Tom says:

    Eclipse was kind of a bust- the sun had a little munch taken out of it and it got slightly darker. I didn’t follow it online because it just doesn’t seem the same- like watching it on TV.

    I’m so glad for you on the living situation. I’m sure it will work out wonderfully well. It’s nice to have someone else around sometimes even if only in companionable silence. And the office/perfumeria is a bonus. Would you think of liking for a used wine (perfume) fridge for some of the older/delicate stuff? I don’t drink so every time I see some McMansion with a climate controlled wine room all I can think of is how I’d use it as a sniffatorium..

    • March says:

      I wish you’d been here to kvetch with — I had to switch around stations to find one (NASA) where they weren’t talking the entire time or doing pop quizzes, since apparently the average viewer has the attention span of a gnat? My weird rich-person fantasy is an entire room designed just for perfume, with the appropriate climate-controlled floor to ceiling units all the way around the space.

  • Carolyn says:

    I like to think of it as the Santa Fe household version of the Brady Bunch…except instead of combining 2 sets of kids, we have 2 collections of perfume, 2 collections of succulents and enough clothing to set up an atelier. 🙂

  • Tara C says:

    The eclipse was amazing, we had over a full minute of totality as we were quite close to the center of its pathway in Montréal. Cheering and clapping all around as it reached totality and when it ended. Such a lovely exciting experience, wish it could have been longer with the glasses off, but feeling fortunate to have had clear sunny skies and the full eclipse experience. Good luck with the new place and the fume palace!

    • March says:

      Oh, that must have been fantastic! I’d have loved to be in a group situation like that, it adds to the wonder and excitement. I love that we can still be awed by natural phenomena.