The first thing I do when I go camping, after I pitch the tent, is lay out the sleeping bags, unpack my rucksack and tidy up around camp. I go through a similar process of putting away clothes and bags when I stay at hotels except there I'm also likely to rearrange furniture and hide knick knacks in unused drawers or closets.
I'm a quintessential Cancer, if you put any stock in the signs of the Zodiac.
If astrology strikes you as hokum, then I'm someone who likes to create a feeling of "home" wherever I am: from a tent in Denali National Park to an oceanside hut in Zanzibar.
Either I suffer from an obsessive compulsive disorder or I love home and hearth. Let's be honest, it could be both.
With this new column, "At Home in the Garden," I hope to continue tradition of giving you peeks inside Del Ray homes where you can marvel at your neighbors' renovations or be inspired by their eye for design. I want to help you pick a contractor, reduce clutter or create a wall for family photos.
But, as I do with hotels and campgrounds, I'm going to rearrange things a touch with the home and garden column. It has a new name, and it also will focus a bit more on gardens and gardening—whether in pots on your porch, in the planting strip next to your sidewalk or at the city gardens. I love to swap flowers and ideas, vegetables and stories, and help others find the joy of digging in the dirt.
I'm a former newspaper reporter who made my way to Del Ray six years ago. It was a homecoming of sorts. I grew up on the other side of the Potomac in Bowie—a suburban sea of similar-looking homes erected in pastures where cows once grazed. It was a happy place for me, but also an aesthetically boring one for someone who loves funky old homes.
When we decided to move back to the area, we picked Del Ray for its proximity to the District, the Metro, bike trails and its diverse array of interesting houses. We picked our bungalow specifically because it was the nicest house we could afford. The fact that it was mere blocks from was like pepperoni on the pizza.
Now, we live with our four children in a cozy three-bedroom, one-bath house so I can talk like an expert about making do with small spaces, designing on a tight budget and organizing closets. I still haven't worked out how to ensure everyone doesn't need the bathroom at once, though, so if you have any tips, feel free to share them.
Whether you own or rent, live in an apartment or grand American Foursquare, I look forward to sharing stories that help you create a sense of home—at home and in the garden.