Thursday, November 3, 2011

Is that cross I have to bear made of reclaimed wood from the abandoned offices of Etsy?

After I went hard in the paint I had to fill up my cabinet with all manner of fabulosity.  Mostly the kind that includes my nice china (yes I have some!) and larger serving pieces that are only used for special occasions.  Special occasions like never.  

Turns out my collection of Zeisel pieces is too small to adequately intimidate impress visitors and hobos who wander into the dining room so they will stay in the kitchen.  The china not the hobos.  Where I will actually get to use them on a regular basis.  Again, the china not the hobos.  

So then I was left with a few random serving pieces which makes for a sad china cabinet.  I figured I could fill in the holes with some random shit.  Then I got excited because all that random shit was some of my favorite shit and then I started pulling all my favoritest random shit out of closets and hidey holes.  I try to keep a lot of my crazy in hidey holes so as not to disturb guests and hobos.  I like to dress to impress not dare to scare.  

Soon the random shit began taking over...  I wish I had a picture of the 'before' that was my dining room table like a proper blogger would but I was caught up in the moment.  Somehow all the energy from each thing came together to create some kind of vortex of fabulosity - the inverse of the hellgate - and I couldn't stop.  

After about ten minutes I realized I wasn't putting things in my china cabinet, I was creating... *gulp* a cabinet of curiosities!!

What the fuck is all this shit?  I punch myself in the design blogger balls.
Last year I detailed the design cliche of hipsters everywhere - the wunderkammer - only to discover that I'm a few bones and taxidermied lizards away from my dining room appearing in The Selby or one Eames rocker away from Apartment Therapy. 

via Ferns and Moss

This Madame said fuck it.  These are my things and I want to look at them.  

Having lived in this empty house for over four years I figure I deserve some leeway when it comes to a bit of tchotchoke.  I think I might enjoy some time looking at all my favoritest random shit together in one place.  Behind glass doors.  Because I hate dusting and enjoy my chaos carefully contained.

But just when I'd finally stopped rolling my eyes at myself every time I passed my dining room, I read this article in the NY Times about the death of the "authenticity" fad which made me horribly depressed because in trying to avoid this fad I was apparently contributing to it and not only that, behind on said fad.  THE HORROR!

Of course, they seem to confuse authenticity with buying quirky cardboard animal busts from a retail chain so at least I'm safe there.  'Authenticity' is a marketing buzzword just like 'green' is and if you buy into the buzzword and not the meaning then you are customer not a part of a movement but the article couldn't seem to make that distinction and instead focused on the people that want to put a bird on it.  And now want to take it off.  For the love of gawd, we have to put something somewhere!
My cabinet includes overplayed seashells (which we've already discussed), stereotypical vintage ephemera like catherineholm bowls and some Eames and George Nelson trays I found at junk stores for about $5 (investment pieces), a lot of random vessels that I like (I think it's a Virgo thang) and some other things that are boringly retail (West Elm) or just plain ugly (I squee for ugly).  

But it also includes a toy horse that was a recent gift, 60 year old wooden desk accessories from my middle school that are too hawt not to keep and a vintage - yes VINTAGE - chip and dip set because chips and dips are delicious so fuck you!!

I have tiny Jonathan Adler pieces (all I could afford at the time as a broke design student) acquired during one of my first trips to NYC.  Country girl goes to the big city, y'all!  Those sit dangerously close to some Rosenthal platters that Adler probably knocked off for the vases I bought.

There is also a small collection of hand-painted Depression-era crockery by Ransburg - a housewares company that invented the electrostatic paint process.  Perhaps it's better to say that than "Cookie jars are purty, y'all!  Vintage nom noms!" ...??

Maybe that plastic trailer home is not just a fun bit of kitsch but a commentary on the plasticity of wealth in this country...??!!  Or even a nod to my Southern heritage!  YOU DON'T KNOW MY LIFE!!

And maybe it doesn't matter that I collect needlepoints not only because they're cute, yo, or that members of my family made them, but because I also like exploring gender through traditional craft and handiwork.  Does that make my purchases more or less authentic?  Does that sentence make me more or less of an ass?

A have a glass jar full of sapphire blue birds' eggs because sapphire is my birthstone and I found those eggs at my birthday last year AND because eggs are a reoccurring theme in my life and I may or may not have written a hilariously poignant essay about them that you'll never read.

I can probably write a hilariously poignant story about the acquisition of almost every single piece in this cabinet - I don't know if that means I'm justifying my purchases or that they are actually authentic.  At least more authentic than ordering handmade accessories from Pottery Barn.  Our modern day Ransburg?! SHIT!

The NYT asks the insanely universe-tilting paradoxical question "How much authenticity is too much?"  You just blew my mind, NYT!!  

If my cabinet of authenticity - not the buzzword, the actual authentic stuff - is too much ME for you then I suggest you don't deserve to gaze upon its authentic awesomeness.  By 'cabinet of authenticity' I of course mean my soul.  Or vagina.

I'm kidding. 


In the end I don't really give a shit what pseudo-journalists at the NY Times say or what the design blog consensus concludes.  I will be guilty of some many decor sins as I simultaneously mock them.  Thus is the cross we design bloggers have to bear.  Also, I'M AN ENIGMA!

Despite any hilariously poignant stories I could attribute to any of this junk, the entire collection is probably more a microcosm of my age, generation and financial means than anything having to do with Design.  A term I use loosely here.

I'm sure most of this random shit will eventually get passed on as I move from unoriginal yet passionate thrifter in my dewy fresh 20s to aged and wise zen goddess of simplicity and large 401k of my later years but damn y'all, you just can't pass up George Nelson for $5!  I don't care how far away from the Tao it pushes you! 

So right now I'm the decor equivalent of the Britney truism: I'm not a girl... not yet a woman.

But you can have that stupid black bowl with the deer head handles that I have no fucking clue where it came from.  I have no poignant story about that or a sociological reason I could make up about it.  

UNLESS it's a satirical comment on design trends...  

Yes.  It's totally that.


  1. I love it! Very refreshing to see something other than the status quo.

  2. I was thinking it was very status quo, Anonymous... Unless you're being ironic in which case, well done.

  3. The cross you have to bear is made of pallets.

  4. It turned out really well!

  5. im into it, but all the matters is if it makes you happy.. does it make you happy?

    acquiring authentic things in an effort just to make your house look design-blog worthy is gonna looked forced. things should find you. your things seem to have found you. i know my things found me.

    does this make any sense?

  6. Oh I'm happy! And nothing I do is with an intent to look blog-worthy. But as a blogger and voracious reader of other blogs sometimes you do see TOO much and wonder how much is really YOU and how much is just influenced by what we see...

    I love how you said 'things should find you.' That is a perfect sentiment and glad your things found you. ; )

    Thanks for stopping by, ita darling!