The photo above represents not just my cat, but something I almost never, ever do. You see, I am the sort of person that decides on a certain decor–a particular arrangement of the furniture and various accessories in my place of residence, and that is the end, period. If stuff looks good, it stays there.

Remember the days when there were summer slipcovers? That your mom put on the furniture in April and took off again in October (well, not my mom, but those aspirational moms who had apartments in New York and also homes in the Hamptons)? The women whose families returned home from work and school to find the furniture rearranged? One more example: the people who have so many wonderful pieces of art that they have to keep them in constant rotation? People like that?

Yes, well. As I mentioned above, I like permanence. I like my house to be the same, all the time. Once I get things set, I take a lot of comfort and pleasure in looking around at my static and satisfying environment. Summer slipcovers take up a lot of storage space. Moving sofas around is just an invitation to back spasms, as far as I am concerned.

But gosh. This week I happened to walk by the open door of one of the apartments on my floor. I glanced in and saw a woman I had nodded to in passing, and this woman was surrounded by a whole bunch of really gorgeous artwork. So of course, I stopped dead in my tracks and invited myself in.

It turns out that all of that artwork was hers. Yes, she owned it, but I mean she produced it. She is an artist, she has a studio in one of the bedrooms in her space, and of course, I elbowed my way in to see all of her paintings.

The long story short is that within the space of two hours, I had not only asked her if she would be my friend, but I inveigled an invitation for me and my husband to come over. The result is the picture above of my cat admiring the two new paintings I bought from my neighbor.

So I found myself taking down one painting, hanging two new ones, and rehanging the old one in a new spot. This was both exhilarating and unsettling for all three of us: my husband, who went up and down the ladder seventy times until the pictures were even, straight, and at the right height; the cat, who thought the picture hooks were bugs she needed to jump at and kill; and me, who spent a sleepless night realizing that the first place I chose for the new abstracts was absolutely wrong. So we had to rehang everything all over again. At seven thirty the next morning. Before we even had our coffee. Because things were just not right.

I am now satisfied with the hangings.  There is cohesion, balance, and the right sense of focus. We got it right. I can relax. Nothing will change until I die. No summer slipcovers over here, for heaven’s sake. Get it the way you want it and leave it alone is my motto.

By the way, the artist and my new friend?

Her name is Susanne King. You can visit her website

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