We all have one, right? That thing in our heads that says “like” or “dislike” to clothing, furniture, the pictures on the wall, whatever. I have friends who have highly developed senses of style. 2 of my friends have those sorts of homes that could be featured in Southern Living magazine…one of them *has* been, with her Victorian house and amazing furniture that seamlessly blends Victorian and Modern and is so, so lovely.
“Let me help you, Peg!” she says, when I express a little frustration with my own sense of style (or lack thereof) because the simple thing is, I’ve been so focused on Utility and Practicality and Durability that what’s lovely or stylish simply hasn’t mattered.
I was able to sort of pull it off in the kitchen, when we renovated it a few years back. Bu that’s how I have to do it, to rip it all out and start over completely from scratch, and I am loathe to do it anywhere else. The furniture is in pretty good shape so instead of getting rid of it entirely I just kind of work around it as best I can. oh it would be marveloooos to be able to chuck everything and start over, but why? When the couch is holding up fine, even though it’s 1967 Ethan Allen Jacobean Reproduction and butt-ugly, it is indestructable and the cushions are leather and we’re on the cusp of having yet another teen in the house and they tend to flop rather than sit, and the couch is quite flop-worthy. It’s also comfortable, and well suited to Sunday afternoon naps. Terry’s rocking chair is 1988 What Was On Sale At That Cheap Furniture Store That Starts With A ‘B’, and it’s comfortable for him, being large, but it’s also butt-ugly and not in the same way as the couch so I can’t even say they coordinate. The coffee table was a $5 find at a garage sale, and although interesting, not in the same way as the couch or rocking chair. I really want to chuck it all. Give it all to the boys and let them fight over it, just get rid of it and buy some things that look good together, are durable and comfortable, and will last for the rest of our lives. I want this, this and this.I like Mission. Can you tell?
But then Agnes McCalvinox takes over, and demands to know why on Earth would I spend $15K on furniture when what I have works just fine? A chair is a chair, you sit in it, end of story. Then my friend with the house featured in Southern Living comes by and opines that my house is “clearly well lived in, and by menfolk” and I get that she’s being kind, but it stings, especially next to her carved chairs with the linen upholstery and the silver candlesticks on the mantel. What’s on my mantel? Nothing, because I don’t have one. Fireplace, yes, with a cool embroidered screen, but no mantel. There was one once but I took it down because it was (say it with me) butt-ugly, even by my standards. And then Agnes says “wouldn’t that money for the furniture be better spent elsewhere?” Of course it would. There’s always something better than *whatever* to spend it on. I’m just tired of having Early Married decor…you know…that what everyone gives you because they’re getting nicer stuff and you’re just happy to have something to sit on? Yeah. 24 years we’ve been married and we still have hand-me-down and thrift store furniture. Because I’m so practical.
I watch those home decorating shows, my favorite is Divine Design because it’s obvious the people having their rooms done are sparing no cost, and what a fantasy that is! The rooms always look way lovelier than the people who are doing their rooms on a $500 budget (I refuse to have furniture made of MDF. I may have a 1967 couch but I still have standards). I just don’t know how to go about putting it all together, even in my head, which doesn’t cost a penny. Oh well. Agnes will help out, I am sure.