Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Duck, Duck, Goose!

For those of us who like to decorate, and re-decorate, I have a question. Have you ever considered the collateral damage? I refer to the fashions and trends we love one day and can't bear the sight of the next.

What of the forlorn, forgotten, rejected or despised icons of yesterday? Don't worry, I am certainly not advocating sticking with one look forever, thereby rendering our homes time capsules. In fact, Although I have some high quality antiques that seem to weather the trends and withstand my decorating whims, I, too, get jazzed up by the flavor of the month.

One of my biggest reasons for being a thrifty decorator is that I don't believe in putting tons of money into something that won't float my boat a few years down the road. An expensive neutral couch? Sure. A pricey brightly patterned ottoman? Not so much. That's what HomeGoods is for. By spending less now I free up my money and give myself permission to change my look later.

Now you might be thinking, "Anna, I have a timeless decorating style. What I choose today will most certainly be the way I decorate forever." I beg to differ. For many of us, "timeless" merely refers to "Until the next TIME I'm ready to re-decorate." And if that time happens to take the form of a little 2 a.m. fluffing and furniture moving, or an afternoon of spray painting when wind conditions are less than ideal, then so be it.

Still in denial? Let me share a few words with you: Hunter Green. Pouf. Borders (as in wallpaper, not the ailing bookstore), Sunflowers.

Why, let's look at the Waverly Ivy Patterned Coupon Holder Tom got me for my Master's degree graduation. You read that correctly. Yes, I still married him. It was a notoriously sucky gift, but he chose it because, "I know how much you love ivy, Anna." True that. In 1993 I loved loved loved ivy so much I could have kissed it. Now? Meh.

I guess you get my drift. I don't think we need to be wed to any one look. Just as a shoe junkie gets hopped up thinking of whether it's going to be a strappy or chunky year for sandals, "house people" drool over aqua and celadon and greek key patterns, and that's our idea of fun.

But before I leave, I beg you to join me as we think of the plight of the poor, hardworking Home Fashion Fowl. Consider the rooster who in recent years was spotted on our stoneware, dishtowels, murals and lamps. It was enough to make him feel invincible, or even a little bit cock-y.

This aging Lothario saw his popularity begin fade when songbirds-- adorable chubby breasted finches and chickadees-- took over on fabric and stationery and dishes and...blogs. Poor rooster and his wattle didn't stand a chance. And who is to say that the pretty little birdies are here to stay? I look around my house and see ceramic birdies and a bird paperweight and a bird pillow and bird jewelry and... and... and...



To see what the future holds, they need look no further than the lowly, dependable goose--neck adorned with a ribbon or wreath-- who graced our knick knacks and paddy whacks throughout the 80's and early 90's. Where is this goose now? Hanging out at the thrift shop next to a used gyno table, patiently awaiting a comeback. But there is hope for all Home Decor Fowl! Consider the owl, who last had his heyday surrounded by 'shrooms and macrame and fern fronds in the 70's. All he can say now is Looook Whoooooooo's Back!

19 comments:

Kristina P. said...

I own nothing with ducks or geese. I feel so ashamed.

Elisa @ What the Vita said...

Loved this post! Although I wouldn't mind a duck or two in my house, Nick forbids it because his dad has his own tiny bathroom with mallard wallpaper. My uncle also has a mallard obsession. What is it with men in their 50s and mallard ducks??

LauraC said...

Very nice to see someone at least mentioning this. But I have a question I've been struggling with and maybe you have an answer. I love decorating, love making a place homey and comfortable. As a fairly new homeowner (2 years), I get to do things (painting, drilling, etc.) that I never could before. I read all the home blogs, find lots of inspiration, and know what's currently "hot".

But as a Christian, I struggle with what is the right balance between decorating one's home and getting caught up in the endless materialism that is America's god. Materialism will never go away, and I don't want to be stuck with old-fashioned things 10, 20, 30 years old, but I feel so guilty changing things every time something new comes around. My mother doesn't like decorating at all and whenever I get something new I feel guilty for spending $$ (doesn't matter the amount). Am I the only person who wrestles with this? Any suggestions? I'm thinking of all the people in the world who can barely stay alive, and here I am buying or longing for some knickknack. I've never seen this addressed in any blogs, and this post of yours is the closest I've seen. Help!

Ellen Stewart (aka Ellie/El/e) said...

My home is never up-to-date, that's why I don't feature it (much) on my blog. That's why I have a label, "not Martha Stewart," or similar on said blog.

Regardless, I used to register brides at Marshall Field's (now Macy's). It was the late 80s/early 90s, and everything was black and gold OR country blue and mauve (geese). I used to try so hard to talk brides out of such things, usually to no avail. There are some looks that are MORE timeless.

Dish geek that I am, I can usually peg somebody's wedding era by their dishes. My mom? She went with plain while with platinum touches and just changed her linens. I learned much from her, but I'm still not confident enough to blog about it.

Jill said...

Are you going to give classes when I get there? Seriously? You just rock!

Lindsey @ Better After said...

One time I counted at least 75 birds in my grandma's kitchen... knickacks, pictures, plaques, dishes, towels, fake birds stuck into fake flower arrangements, you name it. I pointed this out to her one day and she was shocked!! At least none of them were beribboned geese though...

purejoy said...

grieving the loss of a LONG and quite hilarious comment. not sure i have it in me to try again. perhaps later. i must go wipe the tears. i hate it HATE it when i pour out my best stuff (which should be in my own blog post) on a comment only to have blogger eat it.
stay tuned. i'll be back.
but first i have to go punch a wall.
see ya!

Deidra said...

Oh those geese. One of decorating's worst moments.

Brooke said...

People who say that their decorating is timeless are the same people who say they have good taste. I guess they don't realize that EVERYONE thinks they have good taste...that's why it's called taste.

I'm now coming to terms with trying to decorate my home in a mostly traditional way but with more timely pieces here and there. We'll see what survives the kids.

Momastery said...

anna. this was fantastic. you don't know what you have done to me. i have started spray painting everything in my house. i can't be stopped. last night i was brushing my teeth and got too close to the mirror and saw that my NOSE HAIRS were your "Heirloom White." This is a true story.
We MUST go thrifting together.

Momastery said...

Laura C-
I feel you. Totally understand. I shop at Goodwill a lot, to curb the guilt. When my hubby calls and asks where I am I say "doing charity work."

Annie said...

After the geese, and the hearts and the mauve and country blue, then the hunter green and burgundy.... I quit. I picked "old fashioned" as my decorating style. This is not "dated", it's old fashioned. Neutrals and cozy and comfy. Wooden rocker from 1800's... it isn't about to go out of style now! My piano is from 1907. Furniture that I buy is solid and timeless... carved wood that could've been made forever ago. Dressers purchased at an auction with carvings and classic pulls. Braided rugs, crocheted or tatted lace coverings and doilies.

Old fashioned does not go out of style. Somewhere between Victorian, cottage, or my grandmother's house - you will find my house. Paint colors I can change. Paint is cheap and changes everything in a day. I'm flexible on paint colors. Everything else I buy is meant to stay a long long time. Furniture I could die in/on. That's the criteria for new purchases.

I've felt guilty when I wanted to change things because I get tired of them. It feels wasteful to me, and I've lived long enough to get rid of plenty of perfectly "usable" stuff. So now... I buy what I believe is always beautiful to me, not trendy. No angels, animals, scenery or new/retro color combination. Permanent things of color are classic colors - counters, appliances, my Jeep, the vinyl siding and even the quilts I make have to pass the time test. Can I tell it's age by the color? If so, it's the wrong color.

the Hawks said...

Brilliant post. I want to post your post. Hilarious, true, and still inspiring!

Anonymous said...

My bedding set for my first college dorm had geese on it. Ugh, how I'm cringing now. I think even then though, that the country geese were more my mother's choice than mine. Not that I knew what I would have preferred. But she was super into them.

jbhat

Kate Coveny Hood said...

Anna - this was hilarious! All so true. My mother looks at all of the retro '50s - '70s trends that are so big right now and says, "I lived though all of that and it was just as ugly then as it is now." Wonder how many will still love orange and brown when '80s peach and seafoam green makes it's big comeback (I can already hear the Miami Vice theme song...)

Brenda Susan said...

So true!! I used to be surrounded by ducks and geese but I sent them flying away a few years ago to make room for sharp black angular designs that feel so clean and fresh! (for now!)
I was totally shocked to see the OWL come flying back in though! I grew up surrounded by them in my moms love for owls, mushrooms and harvest colors! Crazy!

Carol said...

I had the ducks, I had the geese, I had the ivy, I had the stuffed chickens, I had the owls...I even made one in high school with string art with amber stones for eyes and a little stick glued underneath his body for a branch....I am happy to say those days are gone, but thanks for the memories.

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