RSSAt Home With Marni Jameson
Marni Jameson, mom and author, writes about the latest trends in home décor and her experiences running a home of her own.
You’ve heard the expression: You can take the girl out of the country, but you can’t take the country out of the girl. Well, there’s an equally true, but lesser known corollary, which I just made up: You can take the furniture out of the country, but put country furniture in a city dwelling and it sticks out like a greased pig in Bloomingdale’s.
My country pine armoire in my current urban chic home looks a little like a hay bale in a high rise. But, fortunately, we have ways of making that work.
A few years ago, when I moved to Florida from my rambling Colorado home, which was surrounded by a lot of open space and horse properties, I brought my mostly traditional and French country furniture with me. Besides the pine armoire, this French country girl hauled along a dining table and writing desk both with carved curved legs, oil paintings of landscapes, antique wooden chests, gilded mirrors, a marble-topped Bombay chest, needlepoint pillows, patterned rugs, a French tapestry, large ceramic chickens, white quilts and toile bedding.
I never set out to be the poster child for change. But I believe I qualify. Just since July, I have gone through more changes than a newborn: I have gotten a new house, new car, new job, and new cell phone number (as a result of new job).
I feel like I’m in the witness protection program.
This is piled on top of many more changes over the last year. Just for sick fun I’ll recap: I’ve moved three times, got divorced, sent my youngest off to college, and started dating. (Yeep!)
After living in three historic homes in a row, which ranged in age from 80 to 130 years old, I moved last month into a home so new I had to peel stickers off the windows and refrigerator. I am the first occupant of this very modern house, which, once again, I am staging to help sell.
After I field people’s initial reactions: Why on earth did you do this again? We get to what they really want to know. From an insider’s perspective, which is better — old house or new one?
The answer: both.
Let’s be honest. So many occasions in life are simply not as good as we imagine they will be. Family vacations, road trips, and outdoor dining come to mind. I blame movies and magazines for jacking up our expectations.
No movie or magazine ever captures the jet lag, the monotony, the bugs or bad weather. Realities that often turn such “occasions” into events that need to be endured, like an Ironman or a bad marriage.
But that doesn’t stop me. Heck no. This summer alone, I have vacationed across time zones, taken a road trip, and, with the highest hopes, have tried to dine al fresco whenever I can—despite unbridled resistance from family members.
The move was one of the stranger experiences in my life, and that’s saying something. Two weeks ago, I closed and locked the door on the place I called home, where all my worldly belongings resided, and caught a plane. A week later, I flew back and walked into a different home completely furnished with all my stuff.
While I was out, the home-staging fairies had moved me to a brand new house.
The surreal moving experience was the home staging company’s way of offering me consolation, or compensation, or both, for the fact that I had barely gotten the sheets warm in the home I last lived in and staged, before it sold. Talk about pulling the carpet out from under me.
I walk into the condo with one eye closed.
The nerve-wracking moment is like the reveal in one of those TV home-decorating shows only in reverse. Rather than revealing the newly remodeled space to a homeowner, who had been blissfully unaware, the reveal was to me, the default designer who helped coordinate the home makeover from five states away.
A friend from Orlando, had purchased a two-bedroom, two-bath condo in Phoenix. The place was one part investment property, one part home for his 25-year-old daughter, who had gotten a job there.
Just as hemlines rise and fall with the stock market, colors, too, wax and wane with consumers’ bank accounts.
During the recession – you know, that indulgence drought that was the last six years — any color that smacked of luxury was run out of town like a corrupt politician. But after several years of living with a restraining order on flash, consumers are sick already of subdued.
I know I am.
As faithful readers know, my column is often a harangue urging you and your inner hoarder to let go, lighten up, purge, pare, declutter, detach and donate — as if I am some ascetic nun.
But this week, as I pack to move (again), and fill box after box with my “pared down existence,” I am compelled to make two confessions: One, I am a hypocrite. All you have to do is look at my shoe collection. Two, I’ve been too hard on you.
So this week I will atone. You can thank a new book I just received: “The Stuff of Life” (Ryland Peters and Small publisher,) by Hilary Robertson, a Brooklyn-based interior stylist and set designer who sees and celebrates the beauty in every day stuff.
One benefit of living my nomad life is that I get to know a lot of different neighborhoods.
I am trying to focus on the positive as I pack up to move to what will be my fifth neighborhood in three years. You heard right. I am moving again. Yes I know, only too well, that I just moved into my current house less than three months ago.
But we are not going to dwell on the downside of my chronic state of upheaval or we would both need to be heavily medicated. Rather we’re going to focus on the bright side, which won’t take long.
Ever heard anyone walk into a home and say, “Yuck. Wood floors.”
Didn’t think so. And you won’t. Ever.
Wood floors are always right. They are at home in any home. And unlike wall color, tile, carpet, windows, cabinets, or any other home finishing or furnishing choice that is easy to blow, you can’t miss if you choose wood floors.
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