Tuesday, August 7, 2012


While we're on random home decor - I just went to Ikea for the first time in a while, people (I was shocked at myself!), and I discovered things.  Possibly the Ikea marketing department was already aware of them, but I'm just sharing. 

In my prior post, I mentioned the Ikea Mongstad mirror, only I forgot what it was called.  It's now $129 instead of $99, for the record.  And I looked at the tag closely, and it's not solid wood.  So I don't so much recommend that.  (It's way too big and heavy to survive as a synthetic.)  But I also discovered the Ikea Songe mirror.  Mirror:

There are ever so many reasons this mirror is awesome (and you may now consider it to replace the random-Ikea-mirror-whose-name-I've-forgotten recommendation in my post below.  I know you've all been on pins and needles about that).  Let me count them.  (1) It's solid wood (with a silver covering).  This is especially impressive given that it's not a wood color, and they could have kind of gotten away with particle-board.  Solid wood with foil is basically the traditional technique for silvering frames, so points there.  (2) It's huge - 77" tall.  That's a lot taller than I am.  Quite the statement!  (3) It has a lovely, traditional feel to it, and would look nice next to antiques.  (4) And yet I suspect the modern contingent would like it.  It has relatively simple lines, especially given its size.  (5) It's $99.  For all that awesomeness! 

I am not in the market for a very large mirror (except for virtual shopping purposes, as below), so I am not planning to buy it presently.  But should I discover the need for a full-length mirror (and I'm trying to do silver-framed things in our room.  So, maybe...), this will probably be the one I go with.  Unless I discover a fantastic price on some fabulous antique, naturally. 

What else did I discover?  Well, I've been looking for curtains for my living room forever.  I've found nice window treatments (at good prices) for basically every other room.  But the living room confounded me.  For the longest time I figured I needed some sort of heavy floral or paisley in jewel tones, to bring together all the colors in the room.  (I have to confess here that my theoretical understanding of how to bring together the color in a room has been shaky, and is slowly improving.  Apparently it was worst in the curtain department; I have basically gotten lucky by accident several times, and bought curtains I really liked that weren't what I had in mind, but worked much better than what I had in mind.)  When I wasn't able to find that, I decided that it would make more sense to do heavy taffeta in broad stripes, which has an elegant feel to it (that part I stand by).  But I still wanted to do strong colors, to bring together the room's future color scheme. 

This search has limped on for many months.  Curtains are expensive (very, as it turns out), and the living room has three windows; two will require 96" curtains.  Ross and Home Goods have great prices on curtains, but pretty much only in 84", and pretty much only in sage, taupe, ivory, and champagne.  (What manufacturers decided that America should be curtained only in those colors???)  Notthatthere'sanythingwrongwiththat but I don't do taupe home decor.  Or beige walls.  Or white walls with "pops of color."  And I don't distress furniture - it will get older all by itself.  Or speak to people who paint exotic hardwood antiques in Annie Sloan's Chalk Paint STOP IT YOU ARE NOT AN ARTIST AND THAT IS NOT BEAUTY IT IS A TREND THERE IS A DIFFERENCE.  Whew.  OK, moving on. 

So at some point I realized that the way to bring together disparate colors in a room is not to find wildly colorful curtains in a print that somehow brings in all the other colors in the room.  That well may work sometimes (I am sure there are even people out there who do this consistently and make it look beautiful), but it is not the curtain-picking commandment and it has proven largely impossible with all the colors I have and it's becoming pretty clear that even if I could do it, it would look really funny in my living room.  So I settled on two criteria (besides being the right size and, obviously, the right price): (1) fabric with some elegance to it - not necessarily formal, but with a wee bit of presence; and (2) simple color (maybe more than one) that matches the walls. 

Then I stumbled on the Ikea "Anita" curtains in gray.  The gray coordinates with the paint chip for my living room (but is darker), and the fabric has subtle jacquard stripes plus flowers, which I think looks nice.  They're $30 a pair, which means curtain rods for my living room will be $90 plus tax plus curtain rods (and that feels really wasteful and I am asking myself questions like, "Why am I considering curtains a need?  Fine, there are no real curtains in there now and I dislike roller-shades, but they are functional.  This isn't like food or shelter, or even having chairs versus no chairs.  This is real money and I feel like I spend way too much of it).  And of course the store was out of them when I went even though the internet said it wasn't, so I am debating maybe buying them in a month when I don't feel like I've been going nuts with shopping.  But we are throwing a big party at the end of the month and I'd so like to have the house close to done so people can see it the way I mean it to look...but there will always be something else...

(This post might have more to do with my damaged psyche than shopping.) 

OK, I also discovered other things that I am not buying, which is a happier subject.  I discovered that Ikea has expanded the color selection for its velvet curtains!  They're called Sanela, but of course are not on its website right now even though they're always on its website.  I bought the blue ones for my dining room, and I like them very much.  They also came in a nice red (much too strong a color for me, but clearly a good red), and brown and tan.  That's rather restrictive.  Now, they also come in a strong plum, a nice graphite gray, and a lovely turquoise.  I don't have any other rooms that need curtains (yes, I pondered), but these are some nice options to have, for those who are looking. 

And then there is other shopping...I brought back the lovely white cabinet from my in-laws' (I should really have a picture of this, and I will soon), and I think I did a good job repairing and repainting it.  I even varnished the shelves so they'll be sturdier in the face of scratches.  But it's got hefty crown molding at the top, so I'm looking for a sort of buffet or credenza to put under it, so the top can be close to ceiling height.  I've been looking assiduously, and found several on craigslist that are practically being given away.  I have a height limit due to the low ceiling in that room and the height of the cabinet, so when the sellers don't specify dimensions (which irritates me), I email them, tell them how interested I am, and ask for measurements.  And then...they never respond.  I have bought a lot of things on craigslist and I'm pretty clear on the etiquette.  Sellers generally like me and I never have trouble.  But I am stumped.  Where is it written that if I say I'm interested, I send my number, and I use my real name, but I ask how tall the item is, that means I am a harasser who has no intention of purchasing and should be permanently ignored?  This is very irritating. 

I also think I need a china cabinet, and I am working on finding one for a good price, but I think $100 is about as well as I'll do.  I have some specific criteria (antique, obviously), but I'll find it eventually.  But I feel bad about the $100 anyway...

And then there's the stove.  As of last night I finally threw in the towel.  I have tried everything, including trying to persuade local places to repair it (no), and to persuade antiquegasstoves.com to explain to me how to repair it - or, really, to explain to me what part I need to buy from them to repair it.  The woman who answered told me with great (perhaps excessive) firmness that I needed to press the safety buttons, and after we established that my stove does have them (she was right - and I would never have found those on my own; they are very artfully camouflaged, which seems pretty stupid), I tried that, and it didn't work either.  The oven pilot lights still work, but they produce no other flame.  The only thing I have accomplished is causing it to leak from somewhere, which it previously didn't.  I probably have the skills to find and fix the leak, but that wouldn't make the ovens work.  I know the seller lied about the ovens working when he bought it, but there's really nothing I can do.  I am tired, and I have put myself largely on hold from other projects while I worked on this, and I have spent money on parts, and hours scratching up my hands.  I am selling it and buying a stainless steel one (I've already contacted one seller - and, no, of course the person hasn't replied), and I am not looking back. 

And the stupid thing is, it probably took all these months of unpleasantness to make me feel OK with having a modern stove.  I will just be relieved; but otherwise, I would have been sad.  What a waste of time and money just to change my attitude!  Of course, if the seller had been telling the truth, I think those ovens would both be working now, and I'd have a magnificent and functional stove that I would be incredibly happy with, and have long since moved on to refinishing cabinets...but it's no use crying over spilled milk. 

On the bright side, I have undertaken a Herculean labor with the giant panel of antique cabinets I bought from craigslist right before the stove (and which have since been neglected in favor of the stove).  I have devoted many hours to them over the past week (as I let go of the stove), and though it is taking much more time than I thought, I am making progress (with many, many imperfections and errors in my carpentry, of course).  I think I will soon have a magnificent pair of antique cabinets haning in my kitchen (reminding me that I need to get working on the rest of the room, stat).  I plan to share pictures of this adventure - it may take me another week to finish, but I will actually finish this one. 

On to other adventures...


  1. fabulous! i am sorry about the stove, though. well, it was definitely an adventure. i am interested to see what you are doing with the antique cabinets.

  2. We have an Ikea about an hour away and everyone raves about it, but I haven't been yet. Supposedly they also have a restaurant in there as well. I love the mirror. Love the mirror and am so sorry about your stove. I have an antique sewing machine that I wish worked, but at least I don't need it to be functional like you do with a stove!

  3. I have never been to an Ikea...I can't decide if I think they are awesome or overwhelming. That is too bad about your stove! How frustrating after you spent all that time and money on it!