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design

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champagne taste, beer budget

     

                         AB Chao’s living room, decorated for Christmas

So I’ve discovered AB Chao. Guys, I love her. LOVE her! Not only does she have a daughter named Madeleine (spelled the right way no less) but she shares my affinity for white furniture and white walls and white cabinets and just, WHITE in general. White as a function of design, rather than just an absence of colour.

My own affinity for white has made my in-laws call me crazy pretty much every time they visit our house, as well as making many cries of “Oooh watch the wine on the WHITE COUCH!” and “Are your pants clean? Make sure they’re clean before sitting on that WHITE CHAIR! Maybe you should sit on the floor instead!”

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      my white furniture, source of much joy (for me) and much anxiety (for my in-laws)

And I admit, my version of white on white seems a little crazier than good old AB’s for two reasons.

1. I live with this.

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2. and this

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Both slobber, shed and have much dirt about their persons at all time.

So. MY affinity for white has quickly turned into an affinity for yellowish-stained-off-white and grey is quickly becoming a a choice which will need to be made, a choice borne of necessity and practicality rather than the adoration of a serene unencumbered room full of WHITE.

Along with realizing the sad impracticality of white, I have also learning the following: IKEA is a wonderful, wonderful thing. And I am never buying anything from them ever again.

Why? Because IKEA stuff is good, it approximates the design style you’re going for, at a very affordable, accessible price. But I don’t LOVE it. I have never LOVED it. Every IKEA item I have ever purchased has been settled on by thinking “Well, this will do.”

Never “I MUST have this” or “I LOVE this.” And this is a problem. It’s a problem because the stuff is so cheap you never have to evaluate whether you really want it – a bookcase for $60? Of COURSE you want it!

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But you don’t, not really.

Not when you routinely stumble across beautiful, old, solid wooden bookcases with layers of colourful flaking paint and compare that to your hastily assembled shaky, wobbly pressboard BILLY. And not when you consider that the exact same bookcase is fulfilling the very same utilitarian function in about a gazillion other apartments across the world.

Here’s what happens with my IKEA stuff, I buy it, thinking “I need curtains, these aren’t exactly what I’m looking for, but I need something to cover my windows so I’ll get them.” and I spend the next five years not hating them, because the design is always neutral and unoffensive, but just looking at them and thinking “Ehhh”. I’m not doing this anymore. I’m holding out for love, for those one-off pieces that I see, check the price tag and think are ridiculously expensive and then can’t stop thinking about for a week, 2 months, an entire year. And then I’ll save up and buy them. And have them forevah.

I began this process a few years ago and so far it has served me well. These old windows for example.

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I discovered them in an antique shop in Vancouver and immediately fell in love with them. They were $45 each and I thought that was ridiculous. And then I came back three separate times to assure myself that they weren’t worth that much. And I finally realized that every time I walked through the door I was panicked that they wouldn’t be there. I bought them and brought them home and all the men at Adam’s poker game laughed at me, but they are currently my favorite part of our house.

Same with my Samsonite suitcases, I adore them, especially when I get them and see things like this still attached:

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Oh Flo, thank you. No amount of NYGÅSVIK’s can equal this.