Life is not simple or straightforward. I've read a lot of books and articles on simplifying life and uncluttering spaces. In our twenties, thirties, and forties, we accumulated dishes, gadgets, furniture, and tools. We had so much company that I used nearly everything... maybe once or twice a year.
I began giving away and selling off things when we returned from living in a two-bedroom apartment in England.
W couldn't believe it. "You're really selling the Victorian sofa?"
You betcha! It made someone happy to get it, and still makes me smile to think that I don't have to vacuum the 101 buttonholes. (Really, I counted.) It's back in style and similar ones appear in trendy magazines. Stylists are using apricot, the sofa's color. (ORANGE! my husband groaned. Nah, I coordinated the room around so it looked golden.) And no, I don't miss it.
This Christmas, though I was writing articles for school, our fake 10' tree went in its usual window. We strung lights and hung 8 ornaments, 8 more than I originally planned (and many hundreds less than usual.)
One of the ornaments, the birdhouse (photo above), was a cheery piece bought on a whim at Molbaks. When the tree was stashed away Sunday, the teeny aviary settled on our LR "coffee table," a board from a Chinese shipping crate that rests on a ruin of a piano bench. It felt great to renew the room for the coming season... and took about a half hour.
Instead of buying new furniture, I swap slipcovers. Cool black winter covers after Valentines Day, purple and pink life for spring, white freshness for summer, subdued greys for fall, and celebratory pink and red for Christmas. The classics seem to find their spot, too - a Corbusier pony-skin lounger, African zebra footstools, a Chinese carved horse, and ghost armchairs.
A few times a year, I move the furniture around. Thankfully the current group is relatively light. Yes, that's a baby pack-and-play in one corner, inelegant but useful.
The boys shook their heads when I shifted sofas Sunday. "One of my least favorite things about growing up here was that you'd move stuff around," said T. (His father once remarked, "If I were blind, I'd be dead," after seeing a new arrangement.)
We still have the ebony elephant given us for a wedding present, though the tusks got lost in a move and we have bone replacements. W brought a candle stone in MT at an art fair. I can't remember where the fossil was found. Currently they grace a drum table, its Freecycle beveled glass topper resting on five Thai wooden massage knuckles.
I'm always surprised at how much I like the new arrangements. "Looks like it's always been this way," said a friend when we added 12'X7' bookshelves to the LR last year. Another friend said something similar when we shoehorned in a second piano (we're piano-sitting).
I love spaces and enjoying rearranging rooms for other people, too. We use furniture and accessories they already have or things that fall into my hands at the right moment. Someone is giving us a 3X5' glass dining table exactly like the one in our house. We like the way ours brings light into the room without blocking the view. Any takers? If not, I think I'll be rearranging the cabin this summer...
Our kids may not have static memories of home, of pictures hung, or furniture placement. But we hope, going into the New Year, that they boldly arrange their own spaces to please their lifestyles. Some day they may find a red surveyor's tripod for their lamp base like I did. Or they may buy one they like at WalMart!
Our daughter K has the visual and tactile gift for decor. She livens her apartment, regardless of shape or size. In Austin, her concrete floors are painted green, brown, and black by the landlords. But everything -- including a roommate's art and furnishing -- fits. It makes me smile to see that gift transferred to the next generation :-).
"A gift you say?" my son shakes his head.
What are your memories of home as you start 2012? I'd love to see Before & Afters of your place, too. I post an ongoing FB album called "We love our house."
*Isaiah 61:1-4,8-11; Psalm 126 1 Thessalonians 5:16-24; John 1:6-8,19-28
*My times are in your hand. Psalm 31:15
*My times are in your hand. Psalm 31:15
*May the God of peace sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be kept sound and blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Thessalonians 5:23
*God saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works but according to his own purpose and grace. This grace was given to us in Christ Jesus before the ages began. 2 Timothy 1:9
Moravian Prayer: Lord and Savior, our times are truly in your hands. Though we cannot say where it is you will call us, we pray you will lead us lovingly and boldly wherever you will us to go. Amen.