I Am So Mad At This Chair

Look at this thing. I get mad every time I see it. In fact, I’m mad right now.

practically perfect except for one thing

I’m still on my quest for British Colonial ish decor. To me, that means elements of BC style but livable and attractive in the contemporary world. I’m not looking to recreate the Bombay Officers Club right down to the last authentic detail but I want to include the elements that make a style BC – light colors, traditional British furniture done in tropical materials, sheer curtains, natural fiber rugs, indoor palm trees, and locally inspired accessories. Basically, the British transported their furnishings and appurtenances and then adapted to the heat and the availability of local material supply.

So in the family room, I do have a thing the BCs never even dreamed about – a  cushy sectional sofa. Because I’m not entirely stupid and I want to be comfortable. But I wanted to add a rattan chair to the seating area to lighten things up and bring back the BC. This chair hits all the marks: it’s rattan, has caning, is the right neutral color,  is a minimalist modern interpretation of a traditional British wing-backed arm chair. And it’s very reasonably priced, as these things go , with free shipping from an on-line merchant. It’s practically perfect except for one thing: the seat is only 16″ high. Doesn’t that make you mad?

I could never sit in it myself because I’d need two strong men plus a crane to get me out of it. I could live with that because I only want to gaze upon it anyway and you can’t enjoy the view if you’re the one sitting in it. But I’m not so cruel as to make my guests even the ones with good knees struggle to get out of it. That would bring down any kind of pleasant evening and might possibly be the only thing they’d remember when the visit was over. So, I had to let it go. I got a very nice rattan arm chair from Pier One and it serves my purposes very well. But, still every time I look at this picture, I get mad all over again that some design dope somewhere out there couldn’t make those legs 2″ taller.

I’m also mad at a table. Although, truthfully in this case I’m mad at myself for buying the wrong thing. I wanted a small round table to put in a corner so we can play cards of just sit and have a cup of coffee together in the evening, (Reality intrudes: it’s very unlikely that we will ever be playing cards there and any evening coffee is going to consumed by Sami alone and it will be the McDonald’s senior citizen special for 38¢) so found a round pedestal table made of solid wood and stained the right shade of dark brown. I dithered for a while trying to decide on the 30″ version or the 36″ version. i finally pulled the trigger on the 36″ and it turned out to be just a tiny bit too big for the space. [Note to self: stick with your original plans.]

le sigh
le sigh

I did not look forward to any husbands around here backing those chairs into the buffet or scraping them against the walls while trying to squeeze into a seat. So after trying to live with my mistake for 2 full days, I knew I had to make a change. Disassembling it, repacking it and paying for insured return shipping and a restocking fee was not practical so I sold it. The ad was online for about 36 hours before someone offered me my full asking price and then took it away within another 30 minutes. My asking prices was what I paid minus what it would have cost me to return the item, so it was a bargain for them and a relief for me. I ordered the same table in the 30″ version and it arrives here tomorrow.

This is what has been keeping me busy.

Where The Wild Things Are

It’s a jungle in here!

Zebra seat covers in progress; Giraffe afghan; Animal skins needlepoint

One of my long-time blog buddies let me know that she too had plans for a  British Colonial decorating scheme “but over time, it became more like “world fusion”. I can totally see how that happens. Look at this one room: I started out with a BC  design vision that was already a mishmosh of What If the West Indies and the British Raj Had A Baby  and now I’m  drifting over onto the African plains. I don’t care though – those zebra seat covers and a giraffe throw. How could I not?

Also, look at that ivory colored faux bamboo mirror back there. I think I need to get out my can of Metallic Gold spray paint. What do you think?

Isn’t It Charming How Stedman Manages To Photobomb All Of My Pictures?

Is this picture hanging too low? I can’t tell because I’m not used to these 10 foot high ceilings. Everything looks low to me.

Disclaimer: that extension cord goes over to the snowflake tree and it is going to stay that way the whole holiday season because I am not going to get down on my hands and knees to plug/unplug it every day. Okay, maybe I could do a better job of tidying it up.


It’s an unfinished work. I should probably finish putting stuff onto the buffet before I make 6 more nail holes in the wall trying to adjust the picture. Needs some greenery – possibly a white orchid – and some more shiny things. Not a big fan of seashells and sand in a jar -something mercury glass, perhaps. Maybe a different tray. Or perhaps the giant golden fruit from Pier One that I really love and Sami really hates.

I have a tendency towards cluttering things up that I have to constantly fight down so I’m hoping to strike the right balance between stunning accessories and visible surface space.  I doubt I’ll ever use this buffet for its intended purpose of holding functional serving dishes so whatever I put there is going to be more or less a permanent installation. Permanent meaning until I change my mind.

British Colonial ish Coffee Table


I admit that my concept of authentic  British Colonial decor for my new Florida home exists mostly in my head. I know exactly what I want and yet, I am distracted by every shiny gewgaw that comes along. This for instance …

Silver Finish Faux Crocodile Leather Waste Basket. “Dispose of your debris in style!”

… which I am getting to put in my home office. It’s less strictly British Colonial and more Souvenir of Liberace’s Safari Vacation. But I don’t care because I love it and after a lifetime of plastic waste baskets, I believe that I deserve to dispose of my debris in style. Still, this is how I get off track from the pure design that I have envisioned.

On the other hand, sometimes things work out. Such as this, my first Craigslist score in Florida:

Coffee Table – 42″long, 31″wide and 21″high


It was advertised as simply “Coffee Table – $80”  but its got all of the hallmarks of British Colonial:

  • very dark wood
  • Campaign-style X leg base
  • turned wood design
  • caning
  • removable butler trays

It’s not exactly the ideal. The legs for instance are a bit delicate – true BC furniture has much stockier turnings – but this is close enough. It needs a bit of touch up stain and possibly some glass inserts for the trays but all in all, I’m quite pleased with this. I’m in NJ at the moment still recovering from an epic Thanksgiving meal so I sent my bargaining expert  brother-in-law for this with the instructions of “Don’t try to bargain and risk losing this. Just pay the full ask and get it.” He paid 25% less than the asking price for it.

Pretty good. I’ll pick it up from him next week when I get back to FL and then build my whole family room around it*.

*notes: I already have a furry leopard throw for the sofa** and at least 3 animal skin pattern needlepoint kits waiting to be made into cushions. Souvenirs of Liberace’s Bargain Shopping Addiction

** I don’t have a sofa yet.

What The Heck, Florida?

I’m moving to Florida for the warm weather. The joke’s on me!

What the heck, Florida?
What the heck, Florida?

We closed on the Florida house late last week. I stayed down here to set some things up – internet, lawn service, utilities, etc – and because i knew I’d be here for a few days, I had some deliveries set up. Most of the items came assembled but this thing below came in many parts and friends, the assembly almost killed me.

memory foam seating!
memory foam seating!

Certainly it killed two perfectly healthy fingernails. And if that wasn’t enough – I assembled this the next day:

saddle stool
saddle stool  (Note the wrapping paper held down by canned green beans in the dining room beyond 🙂 )

This was actually harder to put together than the white office chair. It’s temporary seating until the actual counter stools get here. Those need to be assembled, too. Frankly, I’m over the assembly thing. This might not seem like an extraordinary activity to you, but I haven’t done anything of the kind since I married Sami. So I think It’s fair to say that I am #1 traumatized and #2 calloused but yet #3 motivated by the need to sit down. I have the counter stools scheduled for delivery for tomorrow but I think ‘ll just let them simmer inside their boxes until I get the heart back to have at it again.

All of this assembling is keeping me from my main activity here: laying out wrapping paper footprints of the furniture arrangements that I have planned. Here for instance is a small credenza and a 30″ pedestal table with 2 dining chairs. Heck, now that I can see it I might spring for a 36″ table. there will be the pathway from the kitchen to the rear sliding door in front of this arrangement, with the sofa/love seat and big TV to the front of the pathway. This is working out very nicely.

This is thrilling to me to realize that my theoretical size calculations are correct.

I set the temporary stool up directly across from one of the most entertaining and beautiful features in the whole place: the coffee counter. You are looking at an electric kettle and the world’s most beautiful French press. The kettle is a riot. It boils up very quickly, lights up blue while it does it and then just when you are thoroughly hypnotized, it shuts off very suddenly leaving you wanting more. Like a 25c peep show.


Here’s a video. Note the tiny green light on the electrical outlet above the kettle.

Wasn’t that great?

The people here are so polite. No matter what the setting,  their age or the circumstances in which we meet, they are outstandingly polite and just ma’am me to death. I like it. These two characters below though – I don’t know. I saw them as I was driving out of the Home Depot shopping center and noticed the sign first, then the white curls of what I assumed to be a helpless grandmother being wheeled in the noon day sun as a marketing device to garner donations. As I made the turn, I saw that it was a white dog in the wheel chair. [Ed. note: i saw them in the same place two days ina row, only on the second day the dog was out of the wheel chair looking for a place to poop.]


See all those pick up trucks in the photo of the dog wheelers? I have never seen so many BIG pick up trucks ever in my life. And they usually have kids or dogs riding in the back. Mostly kids.


I’ll be here for another day or two before I have to go back to NJ. Right now, I’m off to battle the only enemy i have here (so far) – the super fancy and completely inscrutable motion-activated kitchen faucet. I haven’t mastered it yet. Sometimes there’s such a thing as too much technology.