Thursday, January 22, 2009

someone with personality lives behind this door

My neighbour, who used to live directly across the hall from me, liked to tell me of the cute things her three year old granddaughter would say. Things like: Oma, why doesn't that lady have something pretty on her door like you have?

Mine was the only one that stood naked.

After the second retelling, I took the hint and went out and bought some very large pinecones and attached them to a big red ribbon and hung it on a hook on my door. I went for drama.

This seemed to please the ladies on my end of the hall, and I got compliments and remarks like:
Well, it's about time you put something up
Bethany will be so pleased next time she comes to visit
Nice big pinecones
I like your new decoration
Very nice, but it's a bit Christmassy with that red bow and it's only October
(yeah, that would be Helen, the one who spoke her mind).

If anyone has spent time wandering the halls of a seniors' home you'll notice that almost all of the apartment doors are festooned with some sort of decoration. This at least helps break up the bleakness of a long hall of doorways. It also adds some personality. And is a good marker for finding your way home again. Though that can work for anyone, really. I once had some poor embarrassed woman enter my apartment by mistake. Had I my pinecones up, she might have noticed she was on the wrong floor before dragging her laundry into my front hall. (and yes, I keep my door unlocked when I am at home, as did she, apparently). Other apartment buildings seem to have door personality about them. I've been in buildings where every door has something up, and buildings where only a few are decorated. My building was definitely heavily on the decorated front when I moved here. Now, sadly, not so much.

Some of these door decorations are a little too cute and country-ish for my taste. Some are tacky. Actually, many are tacky. Many have fake flowers of some sort that are usually not in season. Occasionally, you will see some beautiful or elaborate decorations. I remember once seeing a doorway covered in a strand of fake wisteria draped as if growing over an arbour. Sometimes dolls or stuffed animals are strung up. Most however involve wreaths or hats with flowers. Not everyone goes all out to decorate their doors. Many are left naked.

Christmas is when the door decorations really have their best display. Large ribbons decorate the door as if opening a big present. Garlands drape the doorframe. Wooden Santas and sleighs hang onto hooks. Sparkly door knob rings jangle. The wreaths get larger. Berries, bows and bells appear. As do pinecones. None as dramatic as my huge ones, however. (which I do not have a photo of, and they are packed away)

It is all very festive and lively.

And then, around the second week in January, the festiveness disappears. And the fake flowers reappear.
I like the decorations. Even the tacky ones. It reminds you that someone actually lives behind the closed doors.


  1. It makes me think that maybe I should decorate the door to my apartment and start a trend. I'll have to think of something very unique that reflects me, the person who lives there. I'll have to do some research. Thanks for putting this bug in my ear.

  2. If I lived in an apartment block, I'd hang up a doll.

    She'd be hung by her neck.

    With a noose.

    No one would mistake my place for theirs.

  3. WHen CHristmas was over, for thefirst time I took the fir wreath I'd bought for the outside of the house, took off the bow added some nandina berries and stuck it on my front door. I like it it. I'm thinking I'll do something else come spring, but not fake flowers. Maybe a vine wreathe.

  4. Irene: Go for it. Be a trendsetter!

    Jazz: Hmm, no one will want to deliver your pizza.

    Citizen: That sounds very nice and simple. I have berries on my wreath. Never, ever fake flowers.

  5. Weird timing. I've been thinking about replacing the odd thing on my front door. I want to replace it with a little sign that says:
    Live Well
    Love Much
    Laugh Often

    But my door has two windows with wood running between so I'd need something long and thin. I may have to make my own.

    The only reason I have the current thing on my door is because of the shape of it. It fits between the windows, but it doesn't really reflect anything about me or my house.

  6. That's a beautiful wreath in the picture. Does it hang on your door? You didn't say, unless I missed it somewhere. I have nothing on my door and I live in a house. Not much of a decorator here, but at least nobody bugs me about it. :)

  7. Geewits: would you be able to make a transparency type thing with the words written ON the windows?

    I'm quite confident you'll come up with something creative!

  8. Susan: It is rather nice, isn't it? took it off the internet after a long search!! Mine is actually the yellow berries posted on Sightlines.

    Now that the ladies are all gone from my floor, no one bothers about the decorations on the doors.

    It surprises me that you are "not much of a decorator".

  9. Yeah, coming from Europe (I am Dutch) I think most decorations on this continent are tacky - but sssh don't tell! I'm getting used to it (smile).
    Question: the lady across the hall-her grand daughter called her "Oma" - is she Dutch? Because it's the Dutch word for grandma.
    Anyways, thank you for sharing part of your life!

  10. Jeannette: Yes, she was Dutch.
    As are you - I lived in Holland for awhile (many, many years ago).

    I used to think the door thing was tacky, but I see some of the decorations are getting more 'professional' or artistic and am starting to like them.

  11. Its all about personality, and not being forgotten, or am i wrong on this one?
    Hava great day...Ed

  12. I love this idea. It is a great reminder. We all need reminders! Much love!

  13. That was quite sweet and a wonderful way to look at it.

  14. Ed: "not being forgotten" I like that perspective.

    I do find apartment doors in highrises to be rather impersonal and it's easy to forget that there are 'homes' behind those doors.

  15. Arden: I wonder if this is not a common practice everywhere? I was putting my own spin on it.

  16. That's got me thinking what would I put on my door. Not sure yet but one thing I know, the door needs painting!

    Yours looked lovely.And aren't you lucky that you can leave your door open. That would never happen round here and the decoration could be swiped! Sigh........

  17. When I visit my friend in her assisted living residency, I always note the door decorations. They are helpful for forgetful residents and they make the hall more personal, even the tacky ones. My friend has a cut out picture of a Boston Bull Terrier taped to her door. It cracks me up when I see it because she is so far from being tacky! And she doesn't have a dog.

  18. Maggie: I don't even think about it, leaving my door unlocked. I guess I am lucky.

  19. Mim: Nice to see you - I will be back to yours to see more of your Paris trip!

    When mymother moved into an independent living centre, she felt she HAD to put something on her door as everyone else had done. Some of the things put up were probably 'just because something needs to be on the door'. Actually, I had forgotten about all the pictures that decorated the doors of her place - somtimes it reminded me of a fridge with kid's artwork!!

  20. Most houses here have screen doors, so decorations are not seen, except at Christmas time. I dont know of any retirement apartments, so cannot say if they might have some.

  21. Meggie: We used to have screen doors on every house, but they are fast disappearing (air conditioning, probably). Ours though are different from your screens and are also called 'storm doors' as they have an upper portion of glass and a lower screen with a glass behind it that slides up. But, they don't leave much room for wreaths between the doors.

  22. Thank you for this peep into another lifestyle. One that many of you take for granted, but one I've never experienced. I have never even visited someone who lives in an apartment. I have always lived in a house unconnected to anyone else's house, with a drive and a garage, and lots of trees and at least 1/4 acre. I feel lucky... but that I've missed out somehow, too. When I'm next in USA please can I visit an apartment-dwelling blogger? Preferably New York. In exchange I will invite you to visit me here in NZ. :-)

  23. Katherine: My fist home away from my parents house was in a highrise and I was desperate to get back into a house. I could never understand how anyone could spend years living in one of those buildings. Now, I'm appreciating it more and more - I like having people around with no need to be overly social. I do miss having a yard though. And being on ground floor.


Glad you stopped by. For anyone who stumbled here, don't be shy to say 'hi' and let me know you've visited!