Monday, February 11, 2013

Don't Try This at Home

On Pinterest the other day, I got interested in a pin from one of the interior designers I follow. It led me to this spread from Rum, the Scandinavian style and design magazine.

I've never seen a more beautiful space with worse furniture. This apartment has it all — high ceilings, ornate plasterwork, marble mantels, old herringbone and inlaid parquet, huge windows, original mirrors, a fancy chandelier. It's a dream come true for an old Victorianaphile like me. But it looks like someone furnished it from an SUV packed with treasures during Allston Christmas. I can only hope it was staged as a fantasy of someone's first, post-college apartment. Take that butterfly chair. I took one to college as a freshman, eventually replacing its bright lime green cover with screaming yellow. It was annoying to sit in and it left dents in wood floors. It made it into my first apartment but I couldn't wait to get it out of there.

My first apartment also had this desk lamp, in white, and two folding chairs, in orange. The chairs lasted for the first few months, anyway. By Christmas, I'd replaced them with four walnut bentwood café chairs ($49, Pier One, in 1982) with cane backs and seats. They are classics, hard to find these days. I still love them and I'm sitting in one right now.

My first apartment had a beautiful walnut mantel. I did not put my butterfly chair near it. I stuck it in the bedroom. It looks like someone cut off many of the flowers from the stems in that vase, below; I suppose the arrangement looked too abundant for this minimal aesthetic:

Oh, wouldn't it be nice to sprawl luxuriously on one of these matching "love seats," to read and doze, to relax into plush cushions chilly leather padding while pondering that ceiling? On second thought, I think these are best suited for yoga. 

Imagine lingering over a sumptuous feast some kale at this too-high table, in these miserable chairs. While I didn't own such chairs, one of my best friends did. She got a deal on them from the museum where we both worked — they were extras from its café. We played a lot of Scrabble in those chairs, protected by thick back and seat cushions so we never touched metal. Those chairs are long gone.

I bet we all remember the days when we stacked most of our magazines and books on the floor, instead of just the overflow from our shelves. Before I bought and painted my first cheap bookcases, I did this, too. (I skipped the cinderblock-and-plank stage.) But whoever owns these magazines forgot to organize them so their spines face out. That gives you a better chance of finding the issue you want without having to dig through piles. That is, assuming you'd ever want to read your magazines, and assuming you have a spot where you can comfortably do so. Big assumptions in this apartment.

If I lived here, I'd always be out, waiting for a vacant armchair at Starbucks. My cats would be fighting over the butterfly chair, I suppose, since the bed would likely be a slab of wood covered in a Mylar blanket, or something similar.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for this post--I had a really good laugh! I also don't like the look of 50's - 70's furniture, but unfortuately that seems to be a big fad now. I wanted to shoot myself after hearing the words "mid-century modern" over 20 times last night on Antiques Roadshow and Market Warriors combined. Ahhh!!



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