The Continuing Wabi Sabi Adventure

I’m a dreamboat, amn’t I?!  You can dress me up and take me out.

I’m sitting in the above picture on the exact sofa, right down to fabric and color, which we recently ordered for our living room. After spending hours poring over an incalculable number of style and sample books, we ended up choosing the very one that they had on display at the store.

All told, this process involved four visits to go look at it again, followed by the owner coming to our home for measuring, taking snapshots of our place (heartbreakingly, none featuring me), and going over every square inch of our living room with Gorgeous to discuss decorating options.

We also purchased the large mirror hanging up on the wall behind me in the picture, along with two end-tables and a large rug. All are to be delivered sometime later this month. So after some fits and starts, the enhancement of our home with new furniture is once again moving forward.

Some context: regular readers to the blog might recall that we started this work early last year when I introduced to our collective lexicon here the term “wabi sabi,” which is a Japanese concept for aesthetics. We are nothing if not culturally adventurous here at Snakes in the Grass.

Right out of the gate we went big. And by “big” I’m talking a large slab of wood for our dining room table that features a neato hole in the middle of it. The thing weighs a ton, prompting the three young men who delivered it to fashion an on-the-spot pulley system involving rope, drop cloths, and lots of muscle to move it up the flight of stairs to our condo. I’m still enjoying the memory of one of those guys asking Gorgeous in an exaggerated, clownish voice, “You do know there’s a hole in this thing, right?!

Shortly after the purchase of the table, however, we awoke to a sobering reality: we were carrying too much debt. This is a no-no at any time, but especially in retirement. It wasn’t the table acquisition as such, though that did set us back a few shekels. Rather, it was that we were balancing other obligations at the same time; chief among them a bit of unplanned dental work that reared its head unannounced. The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in our back molars.

We discussed all of this over $4.00 lattes and cappuccinos. We decided that the first thing we needed to do was to pay off all the debt completely before continuing with the furniture buying.

The second thing we decided was to stop buying $4.00 lattes and cappuccinos.

So as we focused on debt elimination, Gorgeous spent the rest of last year honing in on precisely what kind of look she wanted for our place. We painted both the living room and kitchen ourselves to save money, and that offered us a chance to experiment with different color schemes. The previous owners had dark tan and reddish tones; we opted for off-white and pale yellow.

We also decided that just as we had with the dining table purchase, we would try and avoid going to chain furniture stores in favor of local shops. This allows us to support community businesses. But it also offers some practical reassurances which stem from living in an upstairs condo; namely that we feel we can count on smaller businesses to take into account our unique delivery situation (stairs only, no elevator).

So out with West Elm, Pottery Barn, etc, and in with the boutique corridor of St. Augustine’s San Marco Avenue, plus a similar one in nearby Jacksonville Beach. Always good to help pump those local economies.

San Marco Avenue in St. Augustine. Source:

Fast forward to the present. With the debt now safely retired, we’re back again to active shopping and visits to stores, return visits to those same stores, online perusing, etc. Also, numerous opportunities of second and third thoughts for Gorgeous about lamps, coffee tables. buffets, etc.

To my utter delight, each time she looks at any potential side piece now, she’ll take out her phone and bring up that wonderful picture at the top of this post to see how it might potentially match with the new sofa. It gets even more fun if a salesperson is involved: <audible sigh> “Ignore him in the picture, please. So this is the sofa we recently bought…

We all bring something to the table, so to speak.

Which brings to the forefront another task perfectly suited for your humble blogger: the removal of all the “temporary” pieces we’ve accumulated in the previous five years. Some of them will fit neatly into the back of our hatchback to be taken directly to thrift stores. The larger items, however, will have to be picked up by a third-party such as Salvation Army or St. Vincent’s.

No decisions have been made about all the Bhudda figures we have, but my bet is that they’re all going to survive. Wabi sabi, after all.

I suspect what with additional side pieces, window treatments, etc., we’re probably looking at the rest of this year and some of the next too before we can move on to our other rooms. Ultimately what we’re most happy with is that we’re doing this within the budget allotted for it. We’ve learned that it’s okay to stop and halt the process if we need to figuratively catch our breath.

And I’ve personally learned that I’ve got a fledging modeling career just begging to be discovered by furniture companies. Second career anyone?  You can all say you knew me when.

Until next time…


45 thoughts on “The Continuing Wabi Sabi Adventure

  1. It’s better to do it slow. Each piece is thought through rather than choosing what’s available on the spot. As long as there is a comfy place to spend most of your time and a place to sleep, you’re gold. I like the sofa! The table is interesting. I like it but one side of me would worry about all the cat hair collecting in the hole. You don’t have to worry about that!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I really like that we’re doing this slowly. It makes it so we can contemplate and process it all easier. Re: cats. Yes, for now. I never know if one (or two) might materialize again. But for now we are safely pet-free.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I love your furniture! We take forever to decide on house stuff too… sometimes we never make up our minds. My current search is for an area rug. We had one, then decided it wasn’t right, now I’m looking for one again. Wabi sabi… more like webe wacky.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Very nice! Congrats on the new sofa and mirror. The sofa looks very comfortable. No cup holders, eh? And, I love the table! It took us quite awhile to amass what we have, a piece at a time. Now, I just worry about moving it across country when we retire.

    At work, I’m often told that I have a very calm demeanor especially in times of stress. “Yes, but I have a lot of broken furniture at home!” 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Cup holders! Another great suggestion too late for to implement, dammit! I keep thinking this all ends at some point and we move on to the next room. But in reality I realize it’s a constantly-evolving dynamic designed to keep furniture shops in business. Hopefully in the next iteration I’ll get those cup holders.


  4. Hi Marty, The sofa looks great and is obviously a good fit for you and your home. I was wondering why the title Wabi Sabi. I googled and something about acceptance and imperfection. Was Feng Shui considered in the decorating? The table is beautiful. Likely no discount even with the hole in it😉 Your story is a nice way to end my day, Marty. With a smile on my face, as always. Thank you:) Erica

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi, Erica. It’s sort of a part-two of a post from last year (I think I put a link to it), and I’m winking at some decorating vibe my wife decided on in a mirthful moment. Yes, apparently similar to Feng Shui. Of course, I goof on nearly everything.

      I hadn’t thought to ask about a discount. Now you tell me!! 😏

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hi Marty, Just read part one. Belly laugh on “stains that could be an entire plot on CSI.” Our furniture style is complicated. I will call it eclectic for now.😉

        Liked by 1 person

  5. I like your approach to interior decorating. We’ve taken almost 10 years to get each room painted, organized, decorated so I’m with you on this plan. Slow is good. As for your new sofa, I’m sure it’s lovely if only I could see it better… there’s some doofus sitting on, blocking the sofa from view.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Oooooh – slow is good. And here I was thinking I was just really good at procrastinating. Decorating seems to be the very last thing we ever think about … and then the feeling passes 😉

    That wood dining table is a serious statement piece though! Wow!

    Liked by 2 people

      1. I know what you mean. Sometimes those big heavy pieces take on a life of their own because their weight becomes an inhibitor. I have a few of those too … at least that’s my official excuse for not changing anything 😏

        Liked by 1 person

  7. My big ticket furnishings days are long gone and household decor is not high on the list. Not that it ever was.

    What can I say? Four cats. And a hubby who dotes on them hand and paw. Therefore, cat toys, cardboard boxes and hangly-dangly bits cover the space.

    That said, I do appreciate clean and tidy and well appointed rooms. And I very MUCH appreciate handcrafted design like your hole-y table.

    I also appreciate a delivery man with a sense of humour.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I’m constantly dodging the danger of more cats coming back into our home. We had them earlier, but they were given back to the breeder because my wife was allergic to them. I thought that was the end of it, but now she’s pondering getting a breed that doesn’t affect her in the same manner. All things considered I’d rather not have any pets. But that’s all about my not wanting to be tethered to one rather than a concern for the furniture. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Love that table! I didn’t go slow with my furnishing our new down-sized place and now wish I had taken more time to find the “right” pieces as apposed to the “okay” pieces. Oh well, at least I do like them and I never claimed to be an interior designer. At least everything is comfortable to sit in!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. And comfort is the most important thing. The truth about that silly picture is that I was unaware that Gorgeous was snapping that shot until the very last minute when I looked up. I was too busy sitting on the couch for probably 15 minutes or so, lost in thought about how comfortable I thought it was. I’m not picky about looks (she is), but I sure as heck am about comfort.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Um, actually, that’s actually the sofa my guy and I are looking for. Bu we live in Boston, so I don’t think your local shop will send it up. Darn. And, by the way, I love the mirror – just what I want for over our fireplace mantle. Darn. Maybe we should move to St. Augustine. Actually, at this point I wish we could. Boston weather is for the birds. Well, no, actually the birds seem quite disgruntled with the wet cold dreary spring here also.
    And you’re so dressed up for furniture shopping! I’m impressed.
    Also impressed with your budgeting. We are doing the same thing, thus not getting that couch or that mirror any time soon…

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks! We actually chose the fabric that’s “kiddie proof” because someone tends to spill a bit around here. 🙄

      Re: dress and appearance. I get tired of our looking like Beauty and the Beast when we go into some of these nice shops. She gets all the serious eye contact, and I in my cargo shorts and Budweiser t-shirt for some reason don’t. Problem now solved! Well… at least until the temps hit 100+. Then all bets are off.

      It was a disappointment when we had to stop last year because of money, but we were obviously smart to do so. Ironically, the new tax (scam) law put us in a better position because we increased the withholding to insure a decent refund this year. It worked (compared to so many others, it appears), but its a shame that we had to do that. Our brave times, eh?

      Thanks, Pam!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Brave times, indeed. We also increased our withholding, but alas, the new tax scam law hit us hard, so no new furniture is in the near future. Our couch is at least 20 years old and when I mentioned finding a new one to our (39-year-old) daughter she protested “No, I LOVE that couch.” Haha. Furniture is filled with stains and memories.


  10. Decorating is both fun and exhausting. When we merged households four years ago, we had a hodgepodge of stuff – his, mine, ours. At this point, we have mostly ours and we’re happy with it. It’s been fun developing our couple style. Fortunately, we agree most of the time. It’s taken us longer to find art for the walls but that’s where I am patient enough to wait for just the right thing. Good luck with your wabi sabi.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Yep, mid-life changes do make for new opportunities in one’s possessions too. It’s a fun journey in spite of the hefty expenses. And you’re right about being patient; it allows you both to find exactly what you’re looking for.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Like Retired Introvert, Spouse and I found that when we merged, all our stuff merged pretty well, too, i.e. we had the same tastes. However, unlike many who commented here, we still have the same stuff, THIRTY YEARS LATER, which could be one reason, among many, that we haven’t gone into debt in our joint retirement, now five years into it for me and even more for him.

      Liked by 2 people

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