Friday, February 03, 2006

Housing a dormant decorating gene

I'm not sure, but I think this home-buying thing has activated a long-dormant gene. (As opposed to 'Long-Dormant Gene', who had a hit in the '70s with "Double Helix Disco".)

My idea of interior design has always been pretty understated. The one concession I made to adulthood and/or style in the last 15 years has been to insist that the various prints on the wall are framed. Because nothing says "style" like a framed James Bond poster (Sean Connery in "You Only Live Twice") hanging in the nursery.

In all fairness, the rental apartments in which I've resided for the past 15 years haven't really given me a lot of free reign to practice interior decorating, unless you count using toothpaste to fill in nail holes in the wall. I've tried to hang things in appropriate places - the artsy prints in the living room, James Bond in the nursery, the "on-air" light over the bathroom door - and my wife and I have systematically started retiring the cheaper pieces of furniture in favor of the ones that at least vaguely resemble substances like wood.

But in reality, our current apartment is still decorated in the style known to architects as the "Starving Recent Graduate Student and Public Radio Employee" school of design.

Enter the new house. The old house, really.

As you faithful readers know, our new abode is a 1920s-era bungalow. And it'll be ours, which adds some pressure in the form of choosing paint colors. Given my track record, you'd expect Variations on a Theme of White Paint to be in the future for the 19 Minutes household.

But from somewhere in the deep recesses of my subconscious, strange thoughts are surfacing. Thoughts like "design elements". And "focal points". And "Wouldn't it be nice if our furniture actually reflects the style of the house?" That's how we came to buy an art deco-style lamp at Target last night, rather than the same pillar-shaped halogen lamp that has represented the last 17 light fixtures we've purchased.

And that's why we're letting our current couch go for $25 (well, that, plus the fact that we're getting $25 more than we paid for it), lest it take up residence in our new living room and never leave. Same for my nightstand and the early 70s table lamp that's on it, and for the computer desk we bought for $10 at someone else's moving sale 10 years ago. And the Bond poster will disappear from the nursery, at least until we have a child named "Blofeld".

The downside to this pickiness is that our couch may, for the short run, be what most people refer to as "hardwood floors". And my side of the bed may be lit by what interior designers generally term "the sun". But -- unlike our current couch, nightstand, or lamps -- the floor and the sun haven't yet gone out of style.

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