Tag Archives: decorating

Maximalist

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I was wandering up Castro Street in that sort of aimless way which is such an important part of my charm when I bumped into our old friend Gaye.  We caught up, which was easy for my part since I am a Lady of Leisure and thus the answer to “What have you been up to?” tends to brief in the extreme.  Gaye then enthused about a documentary she was off to see about minimalism.  She went on at some length about the importance of unburdening oneself when I finally interrupted to remind her that she and her husband own two homes, one of which is actually a compound, comprising a main house, two guest cottages, a barn, a shed of indeterminate purpose, and a pond.  A motherfucking pond.  Gaye had the grace to look sheepish.

I am no real fan of minimalism,  Oh, maybe in museums or gas stations, but as for home decor or a mode of living, no thanks.  I think all gay men of my generation can remember being hit with both barrels of decorating restraint in the 80s and I, for one, am still reeling.  Severe bleached wood floors, chilly white walls and the ambiance of an operating theatre.  Sex in those environs always carried with it the pleasant frisson of despoiling something, but then after, finding a towel to wipe up with was such an hassle.

True to my inner old dowager, I like stuff.  Tchotckes on tables, pillows on sofas, nice things for the cat to fuck up.  Stupid cat.  Not to the level of madness that Victorian spinsters hit, or some of the queens I have known who had to dust with dental floss to squeeze between all the bibelots, but still, some stuff.

I try to be mindful that too much knickknackery is a dead giveaway sign of having crossed over into old poofhood, so the other day when Secret Agent Fred dropped by and asked “What is that thing rolled up in the hall?  Is it a dead body?” I briefly considered going with the corpse angle to hide my shame.  In the end, though, I had to admit the truth.  “I might have bought another rug,” I said.  Airily.  Fred wondered where a new rug was going.  I assured him if I moved three of the existing ones around, everything would be fine.  That’s when I started to wonder if I have a problem.  Is there a home decor intervention in my future?  Is there redecorator rehab?

In my defense, let me point out it is a gorgeous piece.  In the late 1920s up until World War II shuttered them, there were several rug weavers in Shanghai that created these stunning rugs in odd, vibrant colors and charming pictoral designs like pagodas and lanterns and bamboos.

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This one is the most beautiful tones of chartreuse and lavender and the design is something that I think is a geyser and a parrot, dahlias, and lotus.  Obviously, I had to have it.  And this is the LAST ONE.  I swear.

Invasion of the Pod People

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When I packed up my house in New Orleans and shipped the moving pod which contained all that flotsam and jetsam, I vaguely understood the destination was my house here in San Francisco, but I didn’t much pay attention to that, caught up in the byzantine drama of selling a house.  Imagine my surprise on Tuesday evening when a breezy recorded message announced the pod would be arriving the next morning.  Sure enough, it did.

I stood eyeing it as it sat in my driveway, trying to look all innocent and stuff, but I knew it contained heartache.  Heartache and backache.  “What are you doing?” I asked it, like it was some old trick that had turned up ready to wreck havoc.  “I already have a houseful of stuff.  I don’t need you.”  But the pod just ignored me; it knew the truth.  It knew it had brought treasures from the old country, treasures I secretly longed for.  Treasures like the skull and bones couch.

skull couch

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When I was decorating New Orleans, I bought a prim little Duncan Phyfe or Georgian style settee online and then started looking around for something to reupholster it with.  My original idea was to go with some blazingly tasteless Peter Max style graphic.  Instead I found a polished chintz decorated with what looked like pen-and-ink depictions of skull tattoos.  Hilarious and stylish, it was just the fabric to counter the slightly prissy air of the couch’s design.  I turned down the buyer of my house when she asked if she could have the sofa.  I was thrilled at how annoyed she seemed to get when I refused.

Anyway, to get the skull and bones couch, had to take all the rest of the pod.  Didn’t I?  The problem was space is finite and the space in my house was already full.  Just squeezing a new lamp can cause a domino effect that results in every room in the house needing adjustments.  I called the mover guys I use when dragging home my various ill advised finds from thrift stores around town and they showed up to start hauling down roomsful of tasteful appointments to open up space.

The fabulous chaise we struggled with to fit in the living room?  Gone.  The dining table and chairs that always seemed to me to be such landmarks of good taste?  Out, bitch, out.

I spent all day today unpacking boxes of china and goods, all of which I meticulously shipped off to New Orleans less than a year ago.  I hope the enjoyed the trip.  I was very impressed in New Orleans with the speed the packers demonstrated.  Now I know it was the result of an insousiance towards my breakables.  And oddly inconsistent, too.  The Imari plates that cost more than I paid the three of them for a day’s work?  Stacked with half a sheet of paper laid, more or less, between each one.  The cheap glass florists vases which I know not why I took nor why I brought back?   Padded to survive a nuclear blast.  And a really fascinating packing style that put lots more paper inside the glasses than around them.  Maybe they were concerned with implosions.  They all looked sort of like structural engineers. Structural engineers taking a break from their sidelines as pornstars.  That probably has something to do with my own forgiving attitude about their skills.

So now I have a semi-new house.  How thrilling!  Complete with skull and bones couch and a mantel clock that seems to have made it through being shipped upside down.

Expect photos shortly.

marti

Also, I’ve meant to brag about how humpy the electrician in New Orleans was. Meticulously groomed, muscley, and not too bright. What could be better?