It’s said that a lady never reveals her age. I’m 48, so what does that tell you. I’ve never been called a lady or even lady-like. Actually, while I am 100% female, my pursuits lean towards the masculine. I love working with my hands. Maybe that’s why I’m drawn to home repairs….
Enough about my lack of lady-ness…I’m getting off track.
Recently Huffington Post published an article by Gail Brenner, Ph.D., titled 5 Lovely Ways to Celebrate the Power of Less. The article deals more with the mental noise we have in our lives but it got me thinking – is it wrong to want pretty things?
Does my longing for a $3000 Arhaus sofa make me materialistic? And by association, shallow? Selfish? Maybe even bad?
I’ve been mulling it over all day.
I’ve thought about it as I made my $1200 bed purchased back in 1992 when Husband #1 and I bought our first house. I pondered it as I put away my Crate & Barrel dishes in the antique hutch I inherited from my parents. I stewed about it as I sat at the high-quality solid wood dining room table I recently purchased from a friend…she called it her first piece of “adult furniture”.
I am 48 years old which means my days of living with what I’ll affectionately call “dorm room furniture” are far behind me.
No longer do I desire to store my books in makeshift shelves crafted out of illegally-filched plastic milk crates and pieces of wood. I don’t want a coffee table made out of a huge wood spool formerly used to keep electric wire from unrolling. My living room couch will never again have the descriptor of “futon”.
Essentially, I’ve grown up. That leads me to my pretty things. I’m tired of replacing shoddy furniture every few years and am now buying what I consider heritage pieces. To me, a piece of furniture worth keeping is one with dovetail joinery, solid wood, and craftsmanship. I’ve become more Restoration Hardware and am leaving my IKEA stage behind me.
There was a situation mentioned in the book Cheap: The High Cost of Discount Culture by Ellen Ruppel Shell. Chapter 6, titled Death of a Craftsman, delves into IKEA’s business model. It’s true, style doesn’t have to be expensive but IKEA furniture is also not enduring. I have a whole wall of Billy bookcases. They look nice. However when I move, they won’t be coming with me. They are particle board and laminate. Not quite heritage antiques that I’ll pay to have wrapped and padded and loaded onto a moving van. It would cost me more to take them than it would to just put them out in the trash and buy new. Honestly, I would trade them all for a collection of solid wood barrister bookcases if I could. To me, the oak barrister bookcases with their glass fronts have more character and are my pretty things.
Husband #2 and I were not ones to spend much money on furniture or other items. There are a few exceptions. Near the beginning of our relationship he bought me the fantastic Weber Genesis Silver gas grill that sits on our patio for Mother’s Day. One year we treated each other to a teak outdoor dining set. And I have a beautiful shiny one carat Princess cut diamond that I proudly wear on my left hand. Prior to Husband #2, I have a lovely Thomasville poster bed and matching nightstands from Husband #1.
Does my grill, teak table, four-poster bed, and my engagement ring make me materialistic? They are my pretty things. I love them and care for them. I clean them, polish them, and treat them with kid gloves. But I don’t think I am materialistic.
You see, these items are precious to me and I would take them with me if and when I move…because I don’t plan on buying them again. I am an adult now. I’m at the point where I’ll invest in stylish, classic items that I like and then I will keep them forever.
And one day, my future grandkids will decide which of my heirlooms they want for their own homes. Just like the hutch that I inherited from my parents.