Their house is a gaudy yellow and green cottage, set on a high corner amid vacant lots and neglected buildings, a bright dory hauled up on a landwash of rubble and ruin.

Being in it is tonic for me. It reminds me of Newfoundland: clapboarded houses tarted up with leftover boat paint, color combinations that make San Francisco’s “painted ladies” seem like prudes. Dented floorboards and peeling plaster. No such thing as a right angle.

And everywhere, treasure.

A row of oil lamps hangs across a window, strung from their tin handles. Household gods and goddesses are nailed Christlike to the walls; a Virgin Mary in the hallway, a mermaid in the kitchen, in the child’s bedroom, Ganesh on a metal lunchbox. On top of a lightbox, antique seltzer bottles glow blue and greenโ€”-beach glass, reconstituted.There’s no scheme here, no period, no “school.” No organizing principle other than what delights.

I never see homes like this in Dwell or Domino magazine. Not on the design blogs or in catalogs. Those deliberate, edited spaces that always leave me feeling less than, like I’m not trying hard enough.

I never feel that when I come away from Christy and Mic’s. Instead, I go home inspired. The plaster is peeling on our bedroom ceiling, and our furniture is all second hand and shabby sans chic. Our hardwood floors are worn bare, and the tiny kitchen is a post-war afterthought. But where my usual attitude toward my poor blemished house is to hiss at her to keep her head down, a visit to Christy and Mic’s makes me want to dress her in pretty scarves and paint her nails bright red.ย