December 28th, 2010

Coordinated Throw Pillow Dreams and Leather Ottoman Wishes

Angie McCullagh

My husband and kids ruined my dream of living inside a glossy catalogue full of lovely wine buffets and distressed maple headboards. You know the ones. They come to our mailbox thrice monthly and are mostly redesigned versions of the exact same accent furniture and Mason jar mugs.

Still. When I was a singleton in my 20s, I got the catalogues in the mail and, sitting on my futon surrounded by hastily assembled bookcases and orange crate end tables, flipped through dreamily.

Someday, I always thought.

But, living alone in an expensive city, I couldn’t even afford one silver-plated picture frame. When my husband and I moved in together and accrued enough money to buy a few new things, we found we had different tastes. Not to mention price ranges. His fell somewhere between garage sale and curbside Free. (I exaggerate. But only a little.)

I didn’t actually need to have the name brands. The point was, I wanted the peaceful, non-cluttery tableaus laid out in the catalogues. I wanted a sky blue throw tossed just so over a taupe sofa. Next to that, I fantasized, would be a stack of leather-bound books and a vanilla candle in a hurricane lamp.

Yes, I know people don’t actually live in these pages, but I wanted it anyway.

Sadly, it turns out that sharing a house with three other people, two of whom are younger than eight, is not conducive to airy serenity. There are probably exceptions. Minimalist folks who don’t let their kids have plastic toys or, you know, crayons, which inevitably end up broken and strewn across the floor. But we are not one of those families.

We have furniture that, while likable, is the product of compromise between a man and a woman with pretty different preferences. Littering our counters are stacks of school papers, screws missing from…something, a gum wrapper here, a pencil with the eraser chewed off there. Dishes dry on the drainer, sometimes for three or four days before I get time to put them away. Wadded tissues rest between couch cushions. The one scented candle I’ve set out rests atop a teetering pile of unopened mail and is surrounded by chocolate cookie crumbs.

A yuppyish catalogue full of meticulously arranged entertainment centers and crisp, striped bedding, my home is not.

What I lost in tranquil earth tones, though, I gained in warmth and energy. Would I trade my family so I could prop my feet on a cognac-stained coffee table every night? Nah.

That’s what I keep my private apartment for.

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This Weeks Tip

We did a review a while ago of dry shampoo. Here’s an alternative when you don’t have time to wash, but want to get rid of the oily-ness. Sprinkle some baking soda on your hair, comb through then quickly fluff your hair with a blow dryer. (note: You can also add a little scented baby powder to keep your hair smelling clean!)