Sometimes love smells like dust.

I took most of last week off work – first to help my oldest kid move the rest of her stuff to her new apartment, and then I hauled the four of them to Hersheypark. I love Hersheypark. I’ve been going there since I was a kid myself, and while a lot has changed at the park over the past four decades, a lot hasn’t. Being able to take my kids to a place I have such fondness for is a win/win. Anyway, we had a great time, but the week wasn’t exactly relaxing. I’m sunburnt and tired and a little queasy from all the garbage we ate (funnel cake, anyone?  Some chocolate, perhaps?)

So on the advice of several of you, I got an Aeropress. Holy moley, how did I not know this thing existed?! It’s small, portable, super-easy to use and clean, and (by coffee-making standards) pretty darn cheap. It’s not as tedious as a Chemex; you just dump the water in there, wait a minute, and plunge. The plunger forces the water through the coffee but it’s very finely filtered, much more so than a French press. I love the fact that it brews straight into my mug, where it stays piping hot, and then there’s no pot to wash either.

I’ve been enjoying it in my “new” living room… as some of you know, a water leak brought my living room ceiling down a few months ago. The landlords fixed the leak right away, but they took their sweet time about repairing the rest of it, and the whole thing was a huge mess. (I’m pretty sure I’m going to be mopping up plaster dust for as long as I live here.) I ended up tossing some ruined items and putting the rest of my living room furniture in storage while I dealt with cleanup and repairs.

I finally got the last of the furniture back from storage and the repair shop last week. The coffee table and wood bookcases, the desk, the chest behind the couch – those all came from my dad’s house, and I don’t think they’d been wiped down in decades. I gently washed and scrubbed and oiled them. They make me so happy to look at. But you know what the best part is? Underneath that wonderful smell of oil, they still smell like my dad’s house – that is, the house I grew up in, the house he never left. It’s something I refused to think about when we took everything out of his house and sold it a few months ago – that I would never again smell that dusty-radiator-and-a-million-old-books smell of the house I grew up in. It broke my heart a little.

That smells-like-home scent has subtly pervaded my entire living room, thanks to the furniture and (no doubt) to the dozens of books I brought from his old house to my new one.  That smell will probably fade over time, but right now my favorite Guerlain couldn’t make me any happier.

Here’s a few photos.  Yeah, this house is wack.  Sometimes I can’t believe I lucked into it.


  • ElizabethC says:

    What oil do you use on your wood furniture? I’ve been looking for something that works on finished, antique wood but have NO clue what would be the best for the furniture!

  • Kathryn says:

    I love the pictures of your house. All the books and art make it clear that an interesting person lives within. The repeated sparks of red along with the blues, greens and yellow, and the thriving houseplants give a feeling of lots of life there.

    I especially love your Country Charm stove. My grandmother’s farmhouse kitchen centered around a Home Comfort stove and that name completely described how everyone felt when they were there. Her house smelled like the Balm of Gilead trees that grew in the yard. No surprise, that’s my favorite perfume note.

  • tiffanie says:

    Beautiful! I love Hersheypark too, happy memories are made there along with the chocolate.

    When both my grandparents had passed away my cousin had need of furniture and took their living room suite to her home. The sofa, tables, all of it had been in the same house since the 1950s. It filled my cousin’s home with the subtle and unique smell of grandma’s and grandpa’s house and brought tears to her eyes. For a time she had to keep the door to her living room closed. 🙂

  • Portia says:

    That’s such an uplifting post March. Glad all the rents are pretty much done and the place looks fantastic.
    Portia xx

  • Mals86 says:

    I swam competitively in middle/high school. I wasn’t very good, but I enjoyed it. Fast forward: the CEO and I didn’t have the cash to provide pool membership for our kids (hey, that’s farm life, $1.2 million in assets and $38 in the bank) when they were young. Now that we could do it, they’re not interested. I still walk into the Y and smell chlorine and sigh with pleasure.

  • HeidiC says:

    I love your spaces, and that love smells like old books to you. I have bajillions of books, so I hope my son feels the same way someday.

  • Tiara says:

    I really need to stop jumping to conclusions. “Sometimes Love Smells Like Dust” then you’re off to Hershey Park. I’m thinking Hershey Park is that dusty? They all got dusty but the trip was so great her loving trip memories will be of dust?! Way off the mark. Jeesh. How wonderful to still have scent memories of your dad and childhood home with you daily. May they last forever. I’ve been taking my grandchildren to our local pool on the weekends and the chlorine smell brings back memories of summers past. Towels dried in the sunshine and sun warmed skin. I miss the smell of Dad’s Sea and Ski lotion plus Mom’s Ban de Soleil gel.

  • cinnamon says:

    Your living room is gorgeous. Especially like the dining table. I have crystal of various types from the maternal line (much of which survived the Nazis throwing stuff around on Kristalnacht). As to the smells of childhood, the three that stick are my mother’s Jean Nate, and the scents of pine and creosote from teenagerhood. I haven’t smelled JN in years, but get the pine from walks on the local common with the dog each morning and the creosote from my garden shed.

    • March says:

      Thank you! I found that table on Craigslist for a song and it could not make me any happier! The decor of this house is sort of …. an allergic reaction to the ex-home of the ex-marriage, which was much more sedate and formal, I think the ex would hate this place, lol. Not serious enough. What a beautiful story about your crystal, I am glad you have it.

    • March says:

      Also fond memories of Jean Nate, I think I can pull it up in my head right now…. my high school boyfriend’s grandmother wore it, and our next door neighbor growing up. She used to sell Georgia peaches out of her garage in summer. The scent memory is Jean Nate, peaches, and notes of musty garage. Great combination.

      • cinnamon says:

        Will reply to both of comments here: I think I need to visit a pharmacy and smell JN again. Craig’s List. Never used it. Interesting what you say about a change to decor post split. My ex wanted the matching dishes which was fine with me. I now have a mishmash of crockery in different patterns. None of the glasses match. Only matching groupings I have are red and white wine glasses from Williams Sonoma. Oddly, it pleases me that they match, but I wouldn’t want anything else to.

  • dinazad says:

    Years ago, when I first returned to Munich after many years, I was walking through the English Garden and I smelled my childhood: a peculiar mix of dust and unaired rooms, perhaps with a tinge of mildew. The historic carousel which I had loved as a child (! The smell itself may not be very nice, but it made me incredibly happy to find the carousel still there. Sometimes the scent of dust can really be a joyful thing.

    Your house looks lovely, by the way!

    • March says:

      Thank you! And isn’t it lovely to find a smell that brings you such happy memories? Even if the smell itself might not be everyone’s cup of tea…. actually I think carousels have that smell in general, the really old ones. The one at Hersheypark definitely has that smell of dust, oil, old wood and mildew, in the best possible way.

  • MrsDalloway says:

    The room looks great! And that’s really lovely about the smell.