It’s pretty easy to find personalized gifts for housewarming by shopping at your local thrift store. But, as anyone who lives in the Bay Area knows, buying a house here requires nothing short of Herculean efforts. Overbidding, jam-packed open houses, introductory letters, and constant refreshes on the Redfin website are pretty much the norm around here. Well, sometimes a miracle does occur. Your dear friends actually get the house of their dreams. And, that is exactly what happened to our dear friends this week. They got the house! There were five other bidders, but they got the house. I happen to think it’s because their introductory letter to the sellers was poignant – our friend’s 80-something Mom decided to move to the Bay Area from San Diego after reading the book Being Mortal by Atul Gawande and deciding that living closer to her loved ones was the most important thing in her life. She was going to live so close to them, in fact, that she was going to live with them. I also think that the sellers, both of whom are apparently marriage counselors – are just nice people. Well, whatever the reason – the stars all aligned, and yesterday we were there when the moving truck pulled up and started to unload the contents of their previous life in a 700 square-foot one-bedroom apartment in San Francisco.
They really wanted to stay in their sweet little neighborhood of Cole Valley, but with La Boulange closing, and now the Cole Garage closing it’s doors, the old neighborhood was losing some of it’s luster. Plus, they have a baby now. A gorgeous little boy who deserves to have his own room (instead of a converted closet) and some space to stretch out in. We are so very happy for them, and we wish them all the best as they make new memories in their gorgeous new home.
So, what does all this have to do with thrifting, you ask? When I was racking my brain trying to figure out what to get them for a housewarming gift, my first thought was to head to a thrift store. I was in Berkeley that day and knew how close I was to the Good Stuff Thrift Shop on San Pablo Avenue. I always find unique, high quality items there, and this was no exception. To celebrate our friend’s new home, I found a basket, adorned it with a vintage, embroidered table runner, then stuffed it with a book about cookies – containing food writer’s favorite cookie recipes – some candles, a beautiful ceramic vase from England that I filled with roses from our garden, some sage to clear the house, and to top it all off, some vintage hotel key chains (we found those on a recent trip Back East). Talk about a personalized gift for a housewarming – you wouldn’t find these items in a regular retail store. It’s really amazing how you can celebrate every occasion by finding gently-used gift items at your local thrift store. If you haven’t already – you should give it a try sometime. You, too, will be amazed.
So, A Very Happy Housewarming to our very dear friends!
And, this is the book Being Mortal that changed all of their lives…