Monday, 21 January 2008

Where less is more

Let's do the math, shall we.
On Decorno's Decorating for Beginners I commented:

If I had a daughter, this is what I would stock her first apartment with:
Operative word being I.

1. Baldwin Tuxedo or Nantucket sofa in a durable timeless solid fabric.
$9,000 plus say three recovers in 15 years @ $2,500 per recover $7,500 Total: $16, 500 or $3.01/day.

A William IV mahogany version, House of Talia

2.A Regency tilt top breakfast table.
$8,000 say over a lifetime, works out to be very inexpensive. Even the Joe Nye one (which is a very fine example), recommended by some wag, is a steal over the course of a lifetime. Mine is in store, awaiting a kitchen refit, but if I did indeed have a daughter it would be going to her.

3. Wedgwood classic white china.
No idea what this costs, but I know it won't break the bank; as I have cupboards full of it of varying ages.

4. Proper silver flatware - Tiffany Bamboo - tell everyone who ever wants to buy you a present that is what you want and you will have a service in no time.
Frankly this is what godparents are for. I do it for my godson, he doesn't understand it now but one day he will.

5. Interesting lamps - anything can be turned into a lamp, i.e. silver plate samovars. Remember, lamps are the jewellery of a room.
With a little imagination (one thing Ikea doesn't sell) these can cost very little.

6. A better than average bed.
Say $3,500, it is important to have as good a bed as a sofa.

7. A starter set of Calphalon, a cast iron skillet, a copper egg bowl, a wall mounted scale, and a French press.
Kitchen, let's say $750 over five years works out at .41 cents/day. And, as we all know those pieces will last much longer than that.

And tell her not to waste money on the in between or on the style du jour. Wine crates cost nothing.
Just like those folding French park chairs and continuity. This is not about instant gratification. This is about building a life with an eye on the future. This is not about snobbery, it is about quality. Quality comes at a price. A price one is, or is not, prepared to make sacrifices for. Simple.

Now playing: Kevin Aviance - Cunty
via FoxyTunes


The Peak of Chic said...

Classic! Perfection! Daddy?????!!!!!

Mrs. Blandings said...

Where were you when I needed you HoBC? I wish someone had given me just one of these to build my home on - I'd be so far ahead of the game. Great regrets over the Tiffany bamboo. Maybe when the teeth are straightened and the educations are paid for...

Evil Style Queen said...

Absolutely inspired ideas! I wish my mother had had a fraction of your good sense. She was (and still is) such a silly woman, with oodles of good will and no sense at all. She bought me four dinner plates, twelve soup plates, four soup bowls and twelve tops for the latter (!) of a priceless dinner service, Rocaille by KPM Berlin, something which is useless for everyday purposes anyway. When she ran out of money and a lot of her stuff had to be sold, she had 15 sets of the Meissen Rose coffee service (fine!) but 3 (three!) identical mocha pots. (I am not sure whether that is the correct description for a smaller version of a coffee pot for the strong Turkish "Mokka".) Three beautiful, hellishly expensive little pots that looked exactly the same.

And I was given a lot of things when I was young, which I could only appreciate much later. All not by my mother, most of them by an old fussy bachelor, a friend of my parents. Cookbooks come to mind, but there was much more.

If I see things like this entry, I get one of those rare bouts of regret that I don't have a daughter.

the House of Beauty and Culture said...

ESQ - I love the Rocaille pattern, so pretty!

People think I'm nuts because I have kept most of the things I was given by my family. I have dragged it back and forth over the years - and I don't regret it one bit.
It keeps me grounded. And in tough times, one or two pieces have come in handy.

I have been thinking the same lately. But then I hear one of them SCREAMING and I look at all the dreadful people that have them and think "Thank God I don't have a child"

Evil Style Queen said...

Oh I love it as well! I am generally not into minimalist things. Charles Rennie Macintosh or Bauhaus make me freeze. I was just never able to complete it. When I had the money, there always seemed to be some more down-to-earth things that needed buying. Maybe Ebay does the trick one day. Six sets would be quite sufficient.

I have moved so many times and have always taken my things with me like a snail its shell. (It's a "house" in German, which makes it a much nicer metaphor.)

Oh don't get me wrong! Such bouts are over in no time! I am always amazed what children make of formerly sensible people and what horrible things people do to genetically perfectly normal children. A most unlucky symbiosis, no doubt!

Decorno said...

Ok, *this* is the table? I love it. It's perfect. And even in a cramped first apartment, I bet she could cram extra seats around this for a little dinner party.

I still don't think she will spend 15% of her salary on the table, but I am confident that at a local auction or better furniture store could find and similarly lovely and less expensive version.

Still not sold on the samovar idea, but am definitely sold on you (as always).


the House of Beauty and Culture said...

Decorno - and the top flips up to make room for... dancing. There should always dancing! And it was cheaper than any of the modern designer ones.

You, sweet talker, you.

katiedid said...

I'm with you HBOC! If only I had limited my purchases earlier in life to a couple of really good things instead of oodles of crap, I would be so much better off. But I do have that habit now, thank God. A couple of fine things in a room can make the occasional ikea or target item just fine. Just don't tell anyone where you got it and don't buy easily identifiable cheap stuff and you've got it made! I love the table, but the samovar not so much. Although good umique lamps are a must, I agree!

Decorno does seem to attract a good row, I have to say! I wish I had more time to get in the midst. ;)

the House of Beauty and Culture said...

KD - I honestly do not understand the rabid intolerance.

Easy and Elegant Life said...

HOBAC, a perfect post. May I link to it and send some readers your way? This is exactly the sort of information that should be shared with those just starting out.

Or people like me.... I just chucked the last of the college dishes (20 years later) and replaced them with.... Wedgewood plain white for everyday use. USD$35/dinner plate.

And yes, there should always be dancing. Tilt the top and roll up the rug! Now playing: Roxy Music "In the Midnight Hour."

the House of Beauty and Culture said...

EaEL - I would be honoured. Just a reminder, that this is a loose recipe - make substitution where appropriate according to resources and needs.

Twenty-two years ago, when I started out these things were a hell of a lot cheaper.

ALL THE BEST said...

Both my husband and I were given many great things by our families and I am so grateful not only for their generosity but for their foresight as well! Great post!

the House of Beauty and Culture said...

Thanks AtB!

Patricia Gray said...

I'm coming back as your daughter in my next life!

Cote de Texas said...

Well - I would buy a
george smith sofa and chairs for my daughter if I had one. Wait, I DO have one and no, hell no she'[s not getting that! I want that!!!! And shoot, young girls can sleep in sleeping bags and be happy, I need the good bed. ok, I'm being awfully selfish here. The joke is - my daughter has better things, clothes, shoes, purses, jewelry than I do. Her father spoils her endlessly. something I'm sure you do to your precious little 16 yo who has just discovered the opposite sex, YIKES. i've dropped the weird accent.