Thursday, October 16, 2008

The Gene

"I will not rearrange the furniture.  I will not rearrange the furniture."
This is a mantra that I repeat to myself when I visit a friend's or relative's apartment for the first time.  
This brings back an uncomfortable childhood memory from even before my-first-apartment days where I only decorated in pink and purple (Ask my college roommate, Becky.  You have to start somewhere...).  I was visiting the tree fort of a neighborhood cute boy and proceeded to rearrange the boards and empty buckets that were serving as furniture.  It was satisfying to see order take shape, to add a discarded bathmat as a rug to cover the bare dirt.  I was proud of my work.  On his return, the cute boy was angry that his fort had been changed.   Okay, I was just a little bit devastated.

But there is a second part to my mantra.
"I will not rearrange the furniture.  I will not rearrange the furniture... unless they ask for my advice". 
Since the cute boy incedent, friends and family have seen our apartment here in New York and know that much of it's charm and style comes from Do-It-Yourself projects (thanks to Ted's ingenious carpentry know-how!), street-finds, and happy accidents (our living room wall color is a wipe treatment resulting in a terra cotta suede-like finish).  So occasionally, I AM asked for my advice.  I try not to jump in too enthusiastically, but I have inevitably already redesigned the whole space in my mind, starting with some prominent elements that they already have and ending with a new furniture 
placement that utilizes a small or awkward space in a way that thinks outside the box, so to speak.  I call it my inner Gay man.  I focus in on colors I choose out of the random collection of mismatch and choose 2 main "compliments" and suggest wall colors.  I find each room's focus (a fantastic view, an exposed brick wall) and why not "divide and conquer" with vertical shelving and delineate space functions?  
WHEW!  But when I visit later and elements of my advice have been implemented, I do sleep easier... 
"How did you even think of that?"  I hear.  "I just don't have the gene".  And I beg to differ! It's not a gene that we Renaissance Girls were born with (ask my college roommate, Becky.  She's still recovering from the pink and purple).  It's being told we have to live without... and refusing to take that order.

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