So I have been thinking a lot about what I wrote in my last post, about considering buying that French marble pastry table even though I don’t have a use for it right now and keeping it for some later home or project. And I did buy that vintage schoolhouse desk at the garage sale, using the “it’s too cheap and too nice to leave behind” rule. Making me think about it more was seeing the just released September issue of Elle Decor featuring Reese Witherspoon’s early Wallace Neff designed Ojai, California home. Originally built in 1923 as stables for Edward Drummond Libbey, it retains much of its original detail in great condition including hewn beams, stucco walls and iron railings and fixtures.
Decorated quite simply and elegantly by Kristen Buckingham, who is always a favorite, it has got me asking myself that same question about yet another item. Witherspoon’s daughter’s bedroom, full of soft pretty colored textiles and that great alcove bed, has a swagged 1920s tole chandelier, which is a sweet focal point.
I have been tracking a similar fixture at one of my local antiques stores for a few years now. It hangs a bit forlornly over a booth full of mid-century modern furniture, the relic of a previous dealer of Continental antiques. Not inexpensive, but not unreasonable, I have always thought about buying it, even though once again I don’t currently have a need for it. Entryway, dining room, bedroom – it could work anywhere – but will I ever need it? But if I don’t buy it will I one day regret it?
Furniture needs storage, but smaller decorative items can be tucked away. Textiles are another item easy to buy and store as they don’t take up much room. I recently shopped my own linen closet and came up with yards of this hand-printed cotton voile called Shree Teak from John Robshaw that I am using as a lynchpin in my upcoming “cheap and cheerful” kitchen renovation. Where and when I bought it, I couldn’t tell you, but having it on hand and having it be just perfect was great fun.
On the other hand I have an amazing embroidered fringed panel from an antique Chinese bed (bought in Hong Kong in 1998) still wrapped in acid-free tissue, sitting in a drawer at home in Tokyo, waiting for its eventual use. I have a vision of what I want to do with it, but the question is whether or not I will ever have the right house and the right space to do so. But even so, I don’t regret buying it for a minute!
The list of other things in storage is somewhat endless, from fabric to light fixtures, to furniture farmed out on loan to friends and relatives. What about you? Do you buy things and then put them away for the future? When you take them out, do you still love them or wonder why you bought them? Is there some item that got away that you still wistfully dream of?