Decoration and Compromise


Moving into our loft in West Oakland felt like the prequel to Fight Club. Every day my wife presented me with a new decision about modern furniture that needed to be made. “Do you like this generic mid-century couch or this other one?” she’d ask, pretending the decision hadn’t already been made.

At least we have that couch thing handled.

“I don’t care, I just don’t want any furry rugs.” We have two furry rugs now; I think they’re disgusting. In the decoration wars I’ve only won one battle: I have an old set of books that I really like and they’re displayed prominently in our home. We have an ongoing skirmish about what to hang on our bare walls. I prefer them sparse, she’s tempted by geometric murals.

I prefer the walls empty, but this would be an acceptable compromise.

Ultimately our home looks gorgeous and Mrs. Lott was right about the decisions she made, but my desire to live in a concrete survivalist compound decorated only with battle axes and AR-15s has influenced things a bit.

I didn’t grow up exposed to minimalism, though. My mom loves knick knacks. Before hurricane Katrina her house was filled with all kinds of clutter: doll collections, victorian reproductions, Princess Diana commemorative plates, Playboy Magazine paraphernalia, and several curios filled with the kind of junk you find in roadside antique stores in the South.

My dad has a preference for modernist furniture, but he was overruled decades ago and now lives in a cherrywood canopy bed frame hell. There’s no compromising with my mother.

Compromise is key to surviving. As the saying goes, “happy wife, bearable strife.” Or is it “happy wife, not stabbed with a knife?” I can never remember.

They say one man’s trash is another’s treasure, but it’s actually just trash.




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