Fire in the hearth kindles hygge, but the fire of creative energy fizzles out

Our story so far: We’d chosen a couple of different rugs for various rooms in the old Methodist church we had renovated into a residence and were now decorating.

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The bear rug looked even better once Tyler got the fireplace going. One rainy day during garage construction, Tyler supervised a fireplace installer (i.e., he sat on the couch while the installer connected the gas and built the fake logs); most of the project—like punching holes through the bricks and snaking the venting through to the roof—had been completed during construction, only the last 10 percent was left. Within ninety minutes, we had a roaring fire in the fireplace (“I could have done it,” Tyler said, “but it would have taken me a lot longer”). With a click of a remote, we could watch the flames dance, giving off heat in the old church as the days grew shorter and the evening chillier. Sitting in front of the fire wearing wool socks and drinking hot tea—now that’s hygge. The timing of our move couldn’t have been better for taking advantage of the coziness factor. Almost exactly a year before, in fact, we had been living in our RV in Tyler’s cousin’s yard buying propane a hundred dollars at a time, we were going through it so fast, while we waited to close on the church.

hygge churchsweethome

So we had a rug for the fireplace, just not one for the sectional. And now I felt like I had to coordinate whatever we chose to go under the sectional with the rug in the dining corner, and the tile rug in the kitchen and the bear rug in front of the fireplace, and oh, yeah, we had carpeting on the balcony, too, and technically, the balcony was part of the great room, right?

This is when paralysis set in. I couldn’t decide. I just couldn’t. Tyler and I went furniture shopping one Saturday, and we visited a warehouse store, a discount store, a mass market store and at least three different antique shops. We were looking for the right chairs to set in front of the fireplace, and oh, if we could find a living room rug and a sofa table and a couple of end tables, well, all the better. Oh, and we could use about a half dozen lamps, too. Nothing was right, and we hadn’t spent a dime all day. The day’s shadows grew long. When my stomach started growling and Tyler’s happy hour flag began fluttering in his mind, we were wandering around the sprawling showroom of a regional furniture dealer. The salesman showed us a pair of chairs that we could special order in just about any color or fabric. I was ready to choose anything, just to tick something off the to-do list and Tyler was so tired, he just sat in one of the chairs admiring the swivel mechanism. The salesman, who had by now heard our spiel about furnishing an enormous space that was once a church sanctuary, suggested we might like to enlist the help of one of their interior designers. Would we like to meet him? Sure, why not, I said.

Instead of walking about of the store with a couple of chairs neither of us really loved, we walked out with an appointment with Pierre (his name wasn’t really Pierre, but he reminded me of a creative spirit with distinctive taste and an air of serenity, like I imagined a guy named Pierre might have).

If Pierre couldn’t help us find a rug and ten other pieces of furniture and suggest artwork to hang on the walls, well, no one could. We were willing to give him a shot anyway.

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Tomorrow: Our poor first guests. Commiserate with them here.

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