Friday, March 13, 2009

On decorating

A feature I wrote on apartment decorating ran in today's CA. The subject of the story, Marie Provence, is a decorator after my own heart, though she's much better at it than I am. A student at Memphis College of Art, she's obviously a very artistic person. Me, not so much. I'm more "crafty" than "artsy."

One thing I really liked about Provence is how she "recycles" furnishings and has such an appreciation for antiques and older things. She frequently refurbishes pieces, as I often do, usually with paint, recovering, new knobs, etc.

Almost every piece of furniture in my home is either a hand-me-down or a thrift-store or yard-sale find. While budgeting is definitely a consideration for me when decorating, I also like the idea of turning trash into treasure, and it's rewarding to create a one-of-a-kind piece.

For example, the wardrobe above was left here by Kevin's former roommate, Chase, before I moved in. It was sort of a primer gray color, the doors were nearly falling off their hinges, and there were nails hammered in all over the thing.

So I took the monstrous thing apart, removed all the unnecesary nails, filled in the many holes with spackle, painted the interior a neutral color, and gave the exterior a faux finish. I had Kevin fix the hinges (the thing is so old that I couldn't find any new hinges close to the same size and shape) and line the doors up correctly, and we also installed magnets so the darned thing would stay closed. Top it off with new silver knobs (to tie it in with the rest of the kitchen, which includes our super-cool, 40-inch, five-eye, stainless-steel gas stove/oven), and voila, I created a new and functional piece of furniture. Our toaster oven and microwave are stored inside, opening up more room on the kitchen counters. We also use it for dish towels, pot holders and utensils too large for a drawer.

I'm pretty proud of it, but it's unlikely that anyone will write an article about my decorating prowess anytime soon. Still, I have fun with decorating, or at least I used to before the kids forced me to relinquish all hope of having a clean, attractive home until they ship off to college.

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