Tuesday, May 17, 2005

My House is Now Pottery Barn Compliant

A potentially traumatic trip to Target (see previous post) yielded three excellent purchases. Target produces knockoffs of stuff you need but can't afford from Pottery Barn. The Pottery Barn catalogue comes and I drool over the magical compartmentalized wainscoted furniture, reminiscent of some imaginary, organized WASPy cottage--all clean American lines, laminated, buffed, classic. It is a catalogue of things you somehow want even though you don't really want them. What I really like is the velvet Boho furniture, fringed lamps, and richly hued Persian carpets at a boutique near my house. It looks like a 1930's salon in Bloomsbury, but Pottery Barn still holds me in thrall, like the fresh faced popular girl in 7th grade you don't really like, but you want to like you. Irrational needs and wants. So Target has tapped in to that pedestrian desire we all have to possess formulaic, derivative styles of furniture that recall eras and lifestyles rather than exhibiting original, organic senses of style. When we buy Pottery Barn, we're buying into that Ralph Lauren ethic that the clothes will somehow make us a Newport, polo playing, yachting swell without the fuss of inheriting a vast fortune and being naturally aristocratic. What I like about the Pottery Barn catalogue is the way everything has a place and kids' rooms are all mesermerizing spaces with infinite cubbies and gingham lined baskets to contain all the naughty, nasty, overwhelming chaos of our lives. If I just had walls and walls of whitewashed, wainscoted shelves with coordinating, softly lined baskets to hold all the clutter and mayhem, then I would be a better, more complete person. That's it. So Target has these great knockoffs and I bought a small white chest to put in the bathroom, to hold the toilet paper and bathtoys that had been cohabitating in an unsightly melange inside the hand-me-down white plastic baby tub with the shaggy oval of astroturf lining to keep baby from slipping. It is a tiny bathroom with a pedestal sink (another bow to The Barn) and a sheer shower curtain with artfully placed leaves--people always ask if it came from The Barn, but it didn't. I paid $35 for it at Linens 'n Things back when I didn't have $35 to spare. My second Target purchase was a tempered shower stand. That is perhaps the piece de resistance. Since our last one went kaput we could not locate another one anywhere. But now the lines of Johnson's Baby Shampoo, Bedhead Control Freak, and supersize jugs of Aveda Rosemary shampoo have a place to call home--the clever, slotted, white plastic shelves of a corner shower stand. The feeling of bliss and organized splendor was sublime. My final purchase was a 15 space organizer cubby--white--to put by the front door for all those little shoes (of my three munchkins). These were formerly stacked up in a dreadful pile, like bodies in a mass grave, on a narrow antique shaving stand. It was all wrong, it was messy, bad feng shui--but now the shoes are all carefully segregated, burrowed into tidy, exclusive compartments. Small white Nikes with pink socks tucked into them sit neatly, perfectly, in a preordained little stall--a hive of docile, well placed shoes with blue racing stripes, red appliqued cherries and tiny white whooshes adorning them. All is well.


Cynicism is another word for reality

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