I finally know what the man on the lookout of the Santa Maria meant when he spotted the coast after crossing the Atlantic and shouted: “Land ho!”
Modern translation: THANK GOD THERE’S AN END IN SIGHT. I CAME THIS CLOSE TO KILLING MY CREW.
Therefore, as I made progress on putting the den together, it felt appropriate to yell, “Land ho!” because I could finally see my ship coming in.
As I’ve mentioned before, I am trying to decorate our home so that it appears that actual humans live there. My every instinct tells me to decorate as classily as possible, to fill the home with tasteful furnishings of modesty and restraint. My human self, the one with a personality and a sense of humor, tells me to get a sense of style for crying out loud.
So I am pushing myself. I’m pushing to be a little edgier, a little bit surprising. When I get nervous or start to question myself, I say nine words aloud, “You are 26. You are not 66. Decorate accordingly.”
With that in mind for the dining room, we decided to add two end chairs that are a departure from the rest of the chairs. We wanted something to add punch and formality to the space, so we went with two white, full-covered high-backed chairs. They grab at the white in the baseboards and chandelier and keep the room from being too dark.
Mike has always said that our home is dead if it doesn’t have anything living inside it. I have repeatedly told him that both he and I are fully operational, living beings, but he still insisted on getting a houseplant. So while at Ikea, we grabbed a leafy palm that serves as the third living thing in our home. I told him I am creeped out by the thought of plants bringing bugs as their moving buddies. I’m convinced that having one houseplant means all the bugs in the world will try to make their home in ours. I turned out to be right; the plant is now on our patio.
A word about Ikea. While Mike and I shudder sometimes thinking about the place (I think Fight Club did that for all of us, did it not?), we also can’t deny that it is unmatched in its ability to provide fantastic style at jaw-dropping prices. Do we decorate entirely in Ikea? Of course not. Take our dining room — the table is from Dania, which is much more high-end and better quality than Ikea. However, we decided to go with Ikea for the chairs since they matched Dania’s exactly but were half the price. We realize that anything bought from Ikea has a shelf-life of about 3 years max, but we’re OK with that for now.
Only in Ikea do you have your furniture and a houseplant on a hand cart with a picture of Swedish meatballs in the background for $1.99. But I digress.
Brace yourself…the den. Before I reveal this, allow me to repeat my favorite nine words, “You are 26. You are not 66. Decorate accordingly.” We went Bold with a capital B on this design, and I am absolutely thrilled with the look.
We chose a shocking wallpaper from Daly’s to cover one wall, to give the room pizazz. We put extra money toward the wallpaper because we wanted a high-quality, pre-glued paper with a dynamo black-and-white design. It was totally worth the expense to get something better than Home Depot. It was also totally worth the expense because we got a built-in stress-test for our marriage.
“Dip it in the water — don’t drench it!”
“Stop pulling on the bottom, it’s going to tear!”
“Is your side aligned? Mine’s aligned. Is YOURS aligned?”
Please refer to the first paragraph about the killing of the crew.
Since the wallpaper has a traditional print (very 19th century), I found a beautiful lamp to add softer lighting and texture. We still need to buy a new desk and other shelving/filing unit. But it’s taking shape.
In the living room, as I’ve said before, it was like the walls were begging for fig leaves just to cover their extreme nakedness. I finally found something both warm and eclectic, and I’m really happy with how it looks against the chocolate-colored fireplace. Instead of hanging it as instructed (either vertically or horizontally), we hung it at an angle to create interest.
I spiced up the couch with a punch of red and a touch of pattern. It might just be me, but it looks like a completely new couch:
I think I am done until summer time, at least, because Mike’s aorta might burst if I ask for one more extension on the decorating budget.