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A lot of people get so connected to their homes and their memories there—but the truth is, when you go, you take them and (hopefully!) your family with you. This freedom to move on and play with new pieces is why I have only ever sold my houses furnished, including the Pacific Palisades cabin my husband, Erik Allen Ford, and I bought shortly before the pandemic and listed four months later. The same beautiful piece of furniture can look perfect in one home and misplaced in another, so when you find its final spot, it just feels good. I thought I was going to be sad to leave, but when it came down to it, I was content to pass it on to someone who was happy about it. 

It was a loving exchange: The couple who purchased the place from us wanted to know everything, from the cabinetmakers we used for the kitchen (Lauren Liess for Unique Kitchens and Baths) to the layout I had in mind for the master bedroom. At the end of the day, I wanted the owners to put their mark on it, but I didn’t leave without revealing parts of my future vision for the space. 

One of the first questions the new owners asked was, “Where would you have put your drinking glasses?” (At the time when they toured our kitchen, our cups were stowed away in a drawer.) I told them I would have installed a thick, heavy wood shelf straight across the big corner window in front of the sink. It’s not that you need more storage in that room, but it would have been a place to display pretty things that allows the light to shine through.

I love big bathtubs and big showers. In our last home, if my husband were ever missing, it was because he was in our Mr. Steam shower. I would have loved to eventually add one to this master bathroom, but in the short time that we were there, I opted for texture instead of a messy renovation. I covered the walls in my go-to treatment: SureCrete. (It can hold up in showers and steam rooms if you apply a thick layer.)

When you list your home, you have to understand that different people need different things. I’ve learned that the laundry room always seems to be in the wrong spot for whomever is using it. In this house, it’s just off the kitchen, and the new owners want to turn it into a pantry instead. Of course, I gave them a running list of my current favorite artists (Elaina Sullivan, Alexandra Valenti, Carly Kuhn, Scott Laufer, Claudia Miranda, Jackie Leishman, and Diego Uchitel among them), as well as plenty of furniture, including three of my Ever sofas that I designed with Crate & Barrel. 

Our memories of this place are now forever tied to quarantine. It was our getaway, our secret hideout. We packed a year’s worth of time into four months, and spent time in every room, getting to know it. I’m thankful that when we were stuck at home, we were in a home that we loved. We weren’t here for a long time, but we were here for a good time.

It’s hammer time: Follow @reno_notebook for easy rental updates, clever DIYs, and tips to nail your next project.