Every time I glance through the pages of these fancy glossy designer magazines, I am always struck by a lot of things. At first I admire the decor, I notice the correct lighting and well-proportioned sofa, I glance at the right books on the coffee table, knick-knacks by the bedside table, and then follow the color scheme of the everyday objects found inside these pages. I admire how they were photographed and staged while I wonder how much time and money must have been spent to make these homes look so chic and beautiful. Sometimes I come across the picture-perfect coiffed owner among the pages, or the fancy designer name or label of what was in the room, but still I find them so staged and lacking something. They all seem to be quite cold and uninviting, like I would never want to put my feet on that coffee table or mess up the pillows when I sit on their sofas or wrinkle the bedsheets when I go to bed.
I do occasionally feel envy, considering I have champagne taste but a beer budget; it is not that our home is lacking the designer name or provenance that goes with them, but it is not the contents really that bugs me, it is what they are trying to convey to me as a reader or admirer of good taste. For the sake of full disclosure, I have thrifted and kept some gorgeous original and knock-offs of Wassily chairs, an Eileen Gray coffee table, Knoll office chairs, and Thonet dining room chairs. I also have worked at a global advertising agency packed with designer items from the front lobby to every conference room and Executive office.
I am also a firm believer in recycling–in fact I have made a living out of buying and selling stuff on eBay and Etsy (and occasionally Craigslist) in the past decade. Our home is a collection of items that my husband and I found in thrift stores, flea markets, garage sales, and an occasional discovery on garbage collection night in our neighborhood in the Mission. It has long been a passion of mine to become an interior designer, and what we have found over the years has suited us perfectly, our lifestyle, our taste, and how they function in our everyday lives–plus how they appear to an adopted dog who scans every inch of our home every day.
Over the years, we have accumulated artwork, midcentury modern furniture and objects, tchotchkes, records, lamps (many lamps), credenzas, bookshelves, and everything in between to make us a home. Some have come and gone from being sold on Craigslist and some are being kept until we find the next best thing to add to our collection. People sometimes forget, especially those who are just moving in together or have just recently married, one cannot simply go to the nearest Ikea to get all that is in the catalog; a home is more than that.
One thing is certain, I will not bring something into this apartment unless it will add to the decor, bring warmth to our hearts, and fit into the equation of what I have been trying to achieve all these years. At the end of every day, we all want to come to a warm place called home.