The Unwelcome Mat

I am the only female in my house, even my beloved pooch in his surgically altered state is technically male. The other inhabitants, two boys and one husband care little for the cozy aesthetic that transforms a roof and walls into a home and so I am left to battle alone against functional ugliness.

The first shot was fired one ordinary Tuesday when my husband ordered a rubber backed black mat from an industrial catalog. Without mercy and with a sense of a job well done, he banished a hand looped imported accent rug and replaced it with a standard rubber mat that viciously smacked the travertine tile when he put it down. Its unapologetic nonslip rubber backing ensured its near permanent grip on the floor.

Gone are the autumnal hues and fleur-de-lis that once greeted guests who enter through the garage. Now they are assaulted with the odor associated with a tire store. My homemade mélange of cassia bark and jasmine oil potpourri is no match for the stench. The black mat is a disgrace to all that is cozy.

That’s when I knew that I had to strike back. This polypropylene factory-forged monster literally has its foot in my door.  I decided I needed a goose feather interior designer foil. Indeed, the decorative pillow is my last line of defense against a house full of men. 

That is why despite protests that there is nowhere to sit or nowhere to lay down, there are pillows: lace pillows, faux fur pillows, sequin pillows, holiday pillows, and seasonal pillows.  Like the battery operated candles that are often accused of needlessly gobbling batteries, the decorative pillows serve absolutely no purpose but to provide a pop of color and a dash of feminine charm.

I will fluff them, arrange them, and buy more of them to guard against the kind of decision that led to an industrial rubber mat in my hallway.

 

Worry

Yesterday I wandered into T.J. Maxx to my favorite part, the Home section, and this is what I found on a shelf.  I took a pic of it because I’m a bit demented.  First, I will testify that I didn’t do it.  If I had done it, I can assure you (pardon the pun) that I would have chosen a word with more panache. Second, I don’t think a rascally shopper did it either.  There were no other letters in the aisle.  It appears this is what remained after a mish mash of startup inventory  and a busy weekend.  It was a thoughtless display with unintended consequences.   

The whole thing just reminded me why I don’t like letters and words as décor.  I always think it’s weird when people have words like Laugh, Celebrate, Family resting on shelves. It’s kinda like when you drive by a restaurant and the word EAT is propped up in huge letters on the top of the building.  That’s not usually the signal that quality food is being served, instead the sign seems to communicate that servings at this locale require an edict in order to be consumed.

What happens when the word CELEBRATE gets dusty on the shelf or perhaps a little cobweb forms in the holes of the “B”?  What if you are having a rough day and something tragic happens to you and staring down at you from a shelf is the word LAUGH?  Maybe you don’t feel like laughing, maybe that day you have to put a book in front of the “L” and the “A” and just leave UGH.  I think there are many days that décor like this can mock you, and I don’t have time to adjust my tchotchkes to suit my mood.   

If I had to choose a word to put on my mantle, one that I could be secure fits my every day I would choose WORRY.  Worry is my credo. It’s my raison d’etre. It is what I am best at. I could even fashion one of those wood paneled signs and get a whole theme going.  In swirly turquoise letters it would read “Start Worrying.  Details to Follow.”

I find that worrying is a great coping mechanism and I believe I get the same solace from imagining worse case scenarios as some people get from dusty wooden block letters that proclaim FAMILY.  I like to really dig deep into a situation, swim around in it.  Years ago when we lived in a house with an open lot next door someone bought the lot and started building.  Of course I worried tremendously about our privacy.  I worried that their kids might be bullies.  I worried that the parents might be unreasonable and a true pain in the arse to live near. This is all reasonable.  But no, I didn’t stop there.  I’m no amateur, I’m a world class woe factory.   Once the crew started working I worried that they would kidnap my children and sell them into sexual slavery. I like to voice my concerns to my husband.  Someday he will be sainted.  Soon the house was built and the new neighbors moved in.  They were delightful people.  No one was harmed or enslaved in the making of their dream home, and I was more than thrilled that the only consequence of my new neighbors was that I had to invest in some new shades.        

 

Arse Ascending

On my way to and from my home, I pass something peculiar that I have never seen before.  It’s a pair of stuffed jeans placed on a step ladder on the edge of a driveway.  The ladder is not near anything, there’s not anything near it to reach up to. The jeans are stuffed to look lifelike but there’s no upper torso. It’s an arse on a ladder.

At first I thought it was a serendipitous placement of refuse and the weekly visit of the sanitation truck would be the end of it, but weeks went by and still it remained. It’s not like the winter wind blew the items like that. The legs are stuffed into the boots and they are securely fastened to the step ladder.  This is a deliberate arrangement.

It’s a butt, a butt going up but nonetheless not one of the most revered parts of the body.  Usually if you are only selecting one part, the ass isn’t top choice. Is it finished? Or is it a work in progress? When I drive by it, I slow down to search for any clues about what it means.  On closer inspection, I noticed that the rubber boots are floral.  I always  roll on by with more questions than answers.  Is this a political statement? Why doesn’t someone want those cute wellies?  Is this definitive proof that Pinterest jumped the shark?

What’s even stranger is that this isn’t the only out of place ladder that I have come across lately.  In the catalog of the store named after a ceramic farm building is two other ladders. One is white, well-worn and splattered with paint.  You would think it would be in a photo selling paints, but it isn’t.  It’s carefully placed against a wall by a window in a beautifully furnished room complete with fresh flowers on the coffee table. There are no rollers, paint cans or drop cloths or anything to lead one to believe the room’s a work in progress.

The only explanation is that the rickety ladder adds a certain panache to the room that a ladderless room could not otherwise achieve. I’m not convinced. Surely this room is not designed for anyone superstitious or anyone with children.  I’m even going to hazard a guess that no one with friends who like to tip a few back would welcome this “attractive nuisance” in their humble home. Is it a subliminal message from the company that you are never fully done decorating?  I just don’t get it.

A few pages later in the same catalog there’s another ladder.  This one is sadly not as rustic, but it’s for sale.  It’s a decorative ladder, I think, because the heaviest thing on it is a scarf. The rungs don’t seem too spacious either so a black wire basket is attached to the bottom to lend it more functionality. Neither the basket nor the ladder look like they required expert craftsmanship, but I suppose $263.00 is a small price to pay to be part of the ladder trend.

I think the ladders are part of a larger trend that has befuddled me for some time.  People want to look like they live in a workshop, a factory of sorts.  Reclaimed, recycled, reused.  Old barn doors are haute couture. Warped oars on a wall are avant-garde.  Shelves that look like plumbing pipes can fetch a handsome price.  Expensive plush chairs are armed with working rusty little wheels that can amputate toes.  Lighting of the same variety found in a warehouse are proudly peddled for exorbitant sums.

I just don’t get it.  The same people who purchase these things would scoff at my neighbor’s ladder arrangement, but I think the arse on the ladder might just be the message the decorating world needs.

Restoration Sanity

There’s a lot of talk lately about the dumbing down of America.  Some people believe there’s a whole anti-intellectual movement where truth is malleable and opinion is fact. They may well be right.  Who to blame and where it all started is an issue for our generation, but the start of all this confusion may be closer than you think.  You may even be sitting on it right now. There is no bigger perpetrator of #fake than Restoration Hardware and their lesser kin.  It’s Mainstream Decorating that first perverted our gut instincts and made madness acceptable.

I offer you Exhibit A- THIS OLD TRUNK $256.00

 

If your gut reaction isn’t violence as a result of someone having the temerity to try to sell this to you, then it should be.  Look at it!  Behold its putrid state.  Consider its slapdash paint job, its general milieu of possible stink and probable infestation. Once again, let me remind you that the peddler of this perversion of interior design wants real American dollars.

 

 

Exhibit B  LIGHTS FROM HELL

These lights all look like they came from the bowels of Dr. Frankenstein’s laboratory.  And the good doctor must fear that not only will the corpses come to life but so will the bulbs – so he put them in cages in case they should fly away.  Let us reflect on the metaphor of a light in a cage.  Ask yourself, is this what I want in my home? 

The most loathsome of this motley crew is the desk lamp that appears to be eating the chandelier. Perhaps this is what you get when the bulbs are let loose. Note the merchant tells you Bulbs Sold Separately – I feel a footnote of my own must be added – Good Taste Not Included.

Another Chandelier Falls Victim to Predatory Lights Out on Parole and Repeat Offending

 

  Exhibit D   ROLL AWAY

Then we have the abandoned mental hospital turned haunted house theme. It looks like Nurse Ratchet will be by with your meds shortly. Industrial type toe amputating wheels are a staple in Restoration Insanity’s decorating theme. And why are they all on little metal wheels?  Perhaps the furniture needs to make a quick getaway from the aggressive lighting fixtures.  

 

Old is new.  Simple is extravagant. Up is down. The truth is that we all play a part in this madness.  These companies are in business, and they are not scraping by and fleeing from town like a snake oil salesman.  No, they have solid structures and teams of people who stage their wares with ridiculous tchotchkes like the rusty paint brushes on the dilapidated trunk.   And until we are prepared to stand up, separate from the crowd, and declare bullshit when we see it then we will all suffer as fools- even in our own homes.  We will all be responsible for #Fake  and the dumbing down of America.