I want to buy my first house and paint it fifty shades of grey. Most people get rid of their IKEA furniture when they move in with someone or buy their condo. We are finally at that stage and I am so excited. I’m using the same precision I practice to rid myself of things I do not want, to thoughtfully invest in pieces I actually want to own now.
Furniture shopping with my husband is a constant negotiation. Ha. Much like our marriage. But still I’m pretty forthright when there is no room for discussion. I think my exact words are usually “that ugly-ass lamp is not coming with us.” His solution is to always put it in the basement. If you ever come over to our house you’ll understand why you are not allowed down there.
I am inspired by two schools of interior design because of their warmth: arts and crafts and french country. These styles look like actual people live in the space and it is not a transient hospital room or airport lounge. But the reality of making a house functional for a family is that you need clean, minimalist designs with materials that can be easily washed like leather, glass and metal. Plus, I think Andrew once cited an academic article about the connotations of low cultural capital associated with hoarding. He’s made his point.
If we’re going with contemporary, which is a melding our tastes, then I am going to work hard to add some humanity to it. Like with fashion I think rooms look awful when they’re too “done”. There is always one piece that puts it just over the top and makes it camp. The most stylish ladies look a bit undone. Even for the boardroom there is a way to balance your business casual to look like you didn’t come straight from Ann Taylor.
But these design objectives are reliant on us committing to living in a certain place. One time Andrew mused on how we are not “cottage people.” Funny thing coming from someone who never had a cottage to run to every weekend in the summer. But still, we both agreed that we’d rather go to Paris or any other place with museums and restaurants. I sometimes think that being rooted to one city scares him because we would have to get someone to water our plants or something.
I believe that it was John Green who said, “It is so hard to leave—until you leave. And then it is the easiest goddamned thing in the world.” Moving to the States was exhausting not just physically but mentally. Trying to make sense of all the different bureaucratic circles was harder than taking the MCATS. But I think in some ways Andrew reveled in it. During the snow storm last December when half of Toronto had no power, he looked to me and said, “I kind of like this because it means I have to problem-solve.”
We figure we’ll reevaluate things in five years and decide if we just commit and move to Europe. Some people call it a plan B, we call it an exit strategy. Furnished apartment, three suitcases, and you’re there.