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.
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.
The other day the word “irony” floated across my frontal lobe while I paged through a stack of home decor books.
Whenever I think of this word, I flash on my ninth grade English teacher, who had the best definition of irony I have ever heard. “Irony,” Miss Crisco said, “is the opposite of what you expect to happen.”
So there I was, with several review copies of design books that a publicist had sent me, and, frankly, one bad attitude. I’ve seen hundreds of these books over the years, so when faced with a new crop I feel as jaded as a bookie.
I don’t know about you, but I am not getting any older.
Despite all evidence to the contrary—that not one but two of my kids who were just in car seats a few minutes ago are in college, that my skin suddenly has about as much rebound as a 20-year-old bathing suit, and that the only thing about me getting stronger is my eyeglass prescription—I am not aging. Is that clear?
However, because others out there are aging, or so I’m told, I am passing on this very good advice to both older adults with grown children and grown children of older adults:
Every time I move into another home to stage – and I’m in my fourth in three years -- I play a game of “If This Were Mine.”
If this house were mine, I would rip this out and put that in, knock this down and stick that up. It’s an affliction.
Fortunately, because I don’t own these places, I am all talk and no caulk. All nail and no hammer. Because I have been living under a restraining order that comes with non-homeownership, these homes have been spared from clueless improvements that could have actually harmed them, particularly the older homes.
On a fear scale of one to 10 putting big bright bold color in a room is a 12.
When faced with the prospect of inserting bold color into a home, some of the most intelligent, competent and confident people I know develop sudden onset Tourette’s syndrome; they start involuntarily twitching and cursing.
Next thing, they’re choosing default shades of pale beige or misty grey when they could have had coral or cerulean.
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