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.
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…