Monday, July 28, 2008

Artists are Not the Like the Rest of Us

I really admire creative people whose imaginations define their living spaces - quirky furniture, hundreds of different colors and weird little knickknacks, things a little out of whack and unorganized.

I am not one of those people.

I obsess about the alignment of every piece of furniture in the living room, lining up couch legs with the boards in our floor. I like my living space to be filled with neutral colors that are relaxing . . . with a few bright touches to add energy (like our vintage orange Bloomingdale's corduroy armchair and orange silk pillows with bells). And, even though I like my little tchotchkes (Yoda bubble head, Yoda Pez dispenser, 1980 Moscow Olympics bear), they are contained in small, designated areas.

However, even though I am slightly anal about my surroundings, I just don't buy into the whole Pottery Barn, Crate and Barrel thing. Where everything is perfectly matched. Where everything (or most things) have been made in a foreign country, most likely with toxic chemicals and unsustainable production methods. Where things are brand new, but are made to look like you found them hiking in some forgotten land. That is the worst! New stuff made to look like it is old.

Having a piece or two from such places seems to be inevitable (two of our book cases are from Ikea b/c we just needed the storage ASAP and couldn't find anything used). But, it drives me nuts when I walk into someone's home and it's like I stepped into a catalog. Bleh. How boring . . . and as non-eco as you can get. Buying secondhand or vintage furniture keeps perfectly usable furniture out of the land-fill and reduces the resources that are used to make all that new stuff (less trees cut down, less chemical run-off from the factory, less greenhouse gas emissions from the production, you get the idea). Also, another thing to consider is that manufacturing facilities in places like China and India don't always have the most efficient energy infrastructures. So, another words, the energy that is expended (and the associated emissions) might be much higher per new couch than if that said new couch was made in the US (or was not new!). Not to mention all that energy that goes into shipping the new stuff over here!

Sure, it takes more time to buy good, secondhand or vintage furniture, but it is so worth the effort in personal style points.

Along those lines, I was strangely inspired by the living spaces of the artists, writers and designers highlighted on this blog: The Selby (via Design Sponge). Besides having lovely intimate portraits of his subjects in the most intimate of places, the photographer shares views of their homes - another words, their lives. Perhaps some of these interiors will make you squirm a little (um . . . if you are a bit anal like me about organizing things), but perhaps some will inspire you to hit your local thrift store (or Craigslist) for some interesting accessories - or at least stop obsessing about perfectly folded clothing. Here are some of Todd Selby's photos (I hope he does not mind me posting 4 of them here):



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