21 December 2010

If money were no object: a fitting end of year Blog Off Post

I've been pondering what to include in my final post of 2010 when this Blog Off topic came to the rescue. (Let's Blog Off is a regular online feature that invites different writers to cover the same question from their own perspective. I'm a bit late to the game!)

As my regular readers know - and as my irregular posting schedule of late attests - this has been an unusual year of personal and professional transition for me.

On December 30, 2009, the day my Tampa house sold, I packed my car, plugged a San Diego hotel into the GPS (or Goldberg Positioning System, as I call it) and drove 2500 miles across country to my new hometown.

I had planned to move here in 1988 when I left New York, but ended up living in Los Angeles instead. In 1998, I was again looking at moving to San Diego, but then I met my future ex-husband and relocated with him to Louisiana (the other LA), then Florida. While I met great folks in both regions and enjoyed traveling throughout the South and using y'all whenever possible, neither place really felt like home.

Twenty-two years later, San Diego finally does. I've loved living here this year, and I love the wonderful people I've met, who have gone out of their way to help me settle in.

I love San Diego's natural beauty and urban charms. For most of the year, I lived a short walk from Balboa Park and a few blocks from the incredible Hillcrest Farmer's Market.

I also love San Diego's mostly balmy climate and quick drive to family and friends in LA. I love that it's convenient to mountains, desert and coastline. And I love being a homeowner again!

If money were no object, I'd rent out the townhome I just bought, (rendered above), and build my dream cottage on a local lake.

This house plan comes from Sarah Susanka's Not So Big House site, and I've long been an admirer of her work.

It would have to be modified to include a two-car attached garage, which I'd access via a breezeway along an outdoor living space.

There would be a three-lane, simply-styled Olympic-length lap pool, an outdoor kitchen and lots of outdoor entertaining space to take advantage of the region's year-round warmth. There would also be an outdoor fireplace for cooler evenings.

I'd like my office to be attached to a pool house, so I'd feel like I was on vacation at work! This Eames lounger, along with a nearby fireplace and custom built-in desk and bookcases, would find its way into that office!

So would memories of my trips, like this poster celebrating Key West.

While I enjoy my work enormously, if money were no object, I would schedule at least one long international vacation per season and shorter trips around the USA, too. On the "bucket list" are stays at each of the National Park lodges.

I also want to visit Argentina, South Africa, Iceland, Paris, Venice, Iceland, Belgium, Viet Nam, Australia, Equador, China and the Galapagos.

I would like to taste my way through the great wine regions of the world with my favorite wine buddies!

I would like to visit the 2016 Olympics in Rio.

I would like to fly business class everywhere.

I would like to have an on-call driver, personal trainer, maid and assistant.

I would like to sail across the Atlantic on the Queen Mary 2.

And on a more altruistic note, given the spirit of the holidays, I would like to share the details of the charitable foundation I plan to establish. If money were no object, I'd start the process 1Q11. Realistically, it will be set up within the decade. My foundation will help disadvantaged homeowners and renters make their living spaces more comfortable and attractive with design grants and design assistance.

My foundation will be called Sanctuary, because I feel that everyone's home, whether owned or rented, should feel like a welcome refuge from the outside world. My beneficiaries could be teens aging out of the foster care system, abused moms fleeing domestic abuse, disabled veterans, house fire survivors or fixed-income seniors.

I will partner with affordable style sellers like Target to potentially match donations with store grants, with fellow designers around the country to donate their time and services, and with organizations like the American Red Cross, Habitat for Humanity and others to identify beneficiaries.

Happy holidays, dear readers, contributors and friends. Thank you for sticking with Gold Notes through its sporadic schedule this year, for your generous guest posts and, as always, for your wonderful comments.

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