Serious downsizing, living on a boat

Published online: Jun 20, 2011 News Dawn Hinshaw - www.thestate.com
Viewed 1630 time(s)

Christine Johnson has been doling out the artwork she owns, asking friends to hang favorite pieces in their homes so she can visit them.

Paintings are the one thing she has a tough time doing without.

This summer, Johnson, 42, is downsizing from a loft apartment in downtown Columbia to a 350-square-foot pontoon boat she has restored on Lake Murray.

She can't bring herself to sell her artwork.

Everything else is expendable.

She has to cull her professional clothes to three or four suits. That's all that will fit in the closet.
A gourmet cook, she's keeping the wok but getting rid of the KitchenAid mixer and Le Creuset pots.

When she considers buying something, she said, she's guided by one issue: "Where am I going to put it?"

Her boat, she said, has become "an expression of me and my values and what matters."
Johnson is a South Carolina native who moved back here about a year ago.

Before that, she was Rep. Christine Johnson, a state legislator in Utah, doing something she loved in a place she no longer wanted to be.

Her relationship with her partner had dissolved. She had just had a baby, as a surrogate mother, for two friends who are gay. Her daughter was moving away to college.

She found herself in a midlife crisis - 10 years early.

And so she decided to come home for a job as director of S.C. Equality, an organization advocating for the rights of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community, addressing the bias she has learned to confront.

Life on the lake provides freedom, tranquility, simplicity.

In February, Johnson found a place in Camden she thought she might want to buy. It had four acres and a pond. But the thought of furnishing such a large home "made me feel really heavy," she said.


Read more: http://www.thestate.com/2011/06/20/1865883/serious-downsizing.html#ixzz1PrKFECAx

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