Thursday, January 13, 2011

Re-furnishing, Part 1: The eco-alternative

Due to generous parents and well-timed moves, I bought my first two pieces of furniture this fall. All my other furniture was handed down from relatives who didn't need it anymore (mom, grandma) or didn't want it (my dad's wife not wanting anything predating her). I have a very well-furnished and outfitted home and have bought very little of it myself. I know, super lucky.

However, some of my furniture was my sister's and when she moved to Milwaukee from California this summer, it was time to give it back. The first priority was for the wall you see when you walk in the door. Her console and mirror were there, and they worked fine. My one problem was that they didn't provide much storage, so I was excited to upgrade to someplace I could stash my stuff. I looked at Pottery Barn, Crate & Barrel, World Market, and several other imports-type stores. I found a couple of contenders and also realized that due to the traditional style of my living room furniture (I have a large Oriental Rug), a cheaper piece was going to stand out and not fit. But yikes, those other pieces were pricey!

So I tried consignment. I ended up finding a piece I liked for a great deal at Divine Consign in Oak Park. (Word of advice: pay cash. They messed up my transaction four separate ways, ultimately charging me triple, and weren't particularly sorry or urgent about fixing the mess.) It's a little bigger than I would have liked, but had the storage I was looking for at the right price. Sometimes I still look at it and think, "Hmmm...that's a little big" but no one can label it as for sure too big. And it has tons of storage. Plus, what's greener than taking furniture someone else didn't want?

I was a little scared about actually choosing something for myself, since I've never done it before. And since my house isn't exactly furnished in MY style, it can be hard to figure out what will go. But if it turns out this isn't the best choice, it isn't something I need to keep forever--and its something I won't feel bad altering. I'm not sure it would look great painted (and not at all where it is right now) but if it eventually lives in a basement for storage, thats totally okay.

Of course once I put that in, the mirror above it looked TERRIBLE (and it was my sister's anyhow) and had to go (and, you know, she wanted it). Turns out that wall is slightly bowed, and the mirror took quite a bit of effort to set free. And it liked my house so much it took a little piece of it along--in the form of a six inch strip of paint and a lil bit of bonus drywall. Oops. I'm not totally sure what I want to go up there (and we probably want to change the wall color to something lighter) but two screws and a tacky hole weren't cutting it.

So I put up a piece of wrapping paper (which you can just see in the picture above). Because that's not tacky either.

At least its classy wrapping paper. And it isn't that noticeable. Half the time I forget, which explains how we had our (very nice) annual gingerbread house party with wrapping paper decorating the walls.

And why I need to spend my weekend putting together a real to-do list and goals for my house...which should likely include less wrapping paper. Sigh.

Am I the only one who can't figure out what to put on the walls?

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