Sunday, July 17, 2011

Modest and Attainable

I may have forgotten (among all the pretty, expensive things I come across and inevitably post here) that I began writing this blog for those who are not rich, those who really can't afford updating their home in any way, but still want to make it look beautiful. Those who have updated their middle class suburban homes have sometimes waited an insanely long time to do so, even 20 years. (There's this thing called priorities that I can never seem to remember.) Most do little projects as they can afford them. However, they almost always got their inspiration from larger homes, belonging to wealthier families. You  know, the homes you see in your favorite magazine or on your favorite TV show. So, sometimes I may go off that path and choose to post something that requires a lot of spending, because you can't ignore good ideas, but I promise I'll try to stick with the theme: LITTLE House Well Done.

My mother is one of those people who waited to have the best, and made it look as good as possible while she waited. She didn't even redo the kitchen until the year we decided to sell the house. I grew up in a middle class ranch-style home with many of its items belonging to time periods before I was born. However, my mother grew up in what she calls a "shack" that was barely furnished. She is very sentimental, and often tells me about my grandmother, who lived in a time when women hand-made their own dowries. Sheets and linen towels were a must, and they were not easy to come by for women like my grandmother, who lived on a tiny Italian island, a 60 mile boat ride from the mainland and nearest commercial city where they could buy fabric. When my grandmother came to America she brought three trunks filled with neccessities, such as a twin size lamb's wool matress, linen face towels, sheets, and pillow cases. My mother has found ways to use these items, especially an item that she calls a "pillow cover." It is about 45 inches by 15 inches and has my grandmother's name embroidered in the middle. Traditionally, these items covered pillows when the bed was made. My mother had this professionally stretched and framed so that it is now a decorative piece of art that she can see every day. It makes her happy and it has been repurposed. Knowing all of this, I don't buy new if I don't have to. I try to take what I can from my mother, what she took from her mother. She wants me to take care of all these things and teach my children their heritage. Things have changed so much since my grandmother was young, talking to her family by candlelight, to now, when a new sideboard to keep all her glasses and accessories in would cost me around a thousand dollars. I wonder if my grandmother ever gave thought to her grandchild knowing the importance of how her sheets were made, washed, ironed, and folded - how a set of four sheets were a lifetime gift.

So here's a picture that made me think "Anyone can have this great room." It looks like something you could pull together using carefully selected second-hand furniture and accessories. The sofa, for example, could be your mom's retro sofa that went out of style and is now mid-century mod cool. The coffee table could be something you picked up at a garage sale. You can find curtains you like at Target, among several other places, for a great price. And the blue paint is such a great color. In my opinion, it says "summer" and "caribbean." Then mixed with the eggplant-y color it says "playfully elegant." Notice that the room isn't too big (in other words, you can picture it being your small house instead of a mansion) and it is not cluttered. It has just enough pieces to make it comfy, just enough color to make it feel right, and interesting objects. You don't have to spend a lot or buy too many things to make a room well done.
Heidelberg Suites via Lonny Magazine July 2011

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