The long standing family joke is that I have champagne tastes on a beer budget, sometimes a water budget. I have always wanted more than I could have, preferring the more expensive item to the cheaper one. My tastes run towards the better quality, higher price tags end of the scale (can anyone say Audi?). The trick I’m just getting the hang of is quality versus quantity – I don’t need so much if the few pieces I really want will last far longer then the cheaper, imitation versions.
When I’m reading blogs, I often save photos of beautiful houses and furniture that I want in my home. I have an album in iPhoto called ‘Inspire: home’. I covet a home that reflects who we are, that subscribes to William Morris’ theory ‘Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.’
When I moved out of home at 18, I had two pieces of furniture: a desk that had been my father’s and a small chest that my great-grandfather had made. Being a student, I furnished my flat with hand me downs and second hand furniture that I bought. When we moved to Sydney, we bought nicer furniture and things started to match: a lounge, dining chairs, a dark timber table, a federation style bed. We still had some mix and match furniture but it seemed we were on the right path. From 1999 to 2007, I think the only other pieces that were bought new were more bookshelves and a couple of small pieces from IKEA. When my grandfather passed away in 2002, I acquired an aged, but still good quality, sofa bed and an antique card table. Bits and pieces were added from other people’s hand me downs but the ‘grown up furniture’ thing never took off.
I left in 2007 with my father’s desk, my great-grandfather’s chest, my Pop’s antique card table, some chairs, a mattress, a fridge and my bookshelves. It didn’t feel like I’d come very far in 12 years. While living with my parents, I first had a king single bed and finally a double bed (I started to feel like an adult again). I bought a small desk that lasted about a year and some small IKEA shelves to house essentials. I think I also had a side table somewhere along the line. For my 30th birthday, Mum gave me an antique plant stand.
Simon had a three bedroom house when we got together. Being a bachelor’s house (with two cats) it was sparsely furnished and Simon went for comfort and usability in his choices. The first time I went up to Rockhampton he had to go and buy a dining room table as he didn’t have one! When the time came to move to Brisbane, there was a need to downsize and also shed a few things that were past their used by date. Simon landed in Brisbane with a bed, lounge, fridge, dishwasher, washing machine, dryer and some shelving.
The good thing about this? We had a clean slate to start with. We have a sense of our style (okay, my style and Simon goes along with it) and our plan is to replace things over time to build towards that ideal I have in my head. We did a couple of trips to IKEA when Simon first moved and we picked pieces that we knew would work in the current shoebox, but we would also be able to use down the track. We started looking at bed suites the other week and getting ideas of what we might need to add in when we move.
When I look at the pictures in my Inspire folder I see white walls, bookshelves and comfy lounges. I see timber floors, lots of light, neutral colours spiced up with splashes of colour (hello, red leather lounge for my library). I see antique timber furniture and bespoke cushions, vases and details.
This is what I covet. A home that is both beautiful and functional. A home that is all ours.