Even though I moved into my new house about 8 months ago, I still haven’t put up most of my wall art because I’m not fully settled with the furniture placement and want to trade out some stuff, like the couches. I may not move things around for a bit, but I might put in some built-in bookcases soon and this could affect organization of wall art. Also, I was originally thinking I’d go with a slight Asian decoration theme (kind of ‘Asian meets French Country in the Suburbs’ aka ‘Bachelor Needs Designer‘), but my art is largely comprised of Egyptian papyrus paintings, so I’m a little perplexed. I don’t want to be too scattered. Fortunately, the house has much more space than the micro-apartment and I can spread out the mess so things don‘t look as junky.
In the old apartment, I maintained some essential articles of furniture so that I could, if necessary, sit down. Upon getting my own Hobbit hole after college, I brought from my dorm room a ratty old grey stuffed chair (I gutted it last year for the coins inside. It turns out the color was originally blue.). I found some more shabby items at used furniture stores and answered newspaper ads for an enormous gold couch and 1970s end tables. Since then, I’ve been upgrading, gradually dumping the crappy items for slightly less-crappy WalMart and Shopko furniture (the furniture styles in my house now average early 1990s). In the small apartment I had several full bookcases that filled up the walls, then stacked in front of and next to those were a number of boxes and clear storage containers full of decades of hoarded items I’ll never use, but can’t throw away because of the nostalgia disease I inherited from my packrat ancestors.
Early pic of old apartment. Decoration not visible
Besides the basic furniture crapfest, I decorated the old place a little. My decorating style started with a delicately balanced mix of framed art (in the living room) and tacked-up posters (in the bedroom and hallway) with some travel calendars placed here and there. It might have worked if the posters were art nouveau in frames, but my posters were maps, castles and Hindu deities tacked, taped, or puttied to the walls (deities for decoration only, not worship). There were also a couple small flags from the British Isles. I rather liked the pastiche nature of it all, but interpret psychologically that I had one foot in one world, a world of mature adults with refined tastes who have framed art, while my other foot was sucked in the mud of another world, a world of childhood, casualness, and bachelordom. As these worlds pulled me apart, I stretched into painful splits that put undue pressure on my netherlands.
The new living room has naked walls
My framed art is primarily a collection of Egyptian papyrus paintings that I had mounted at great cost as I found myself conveniently unemployed out of college. They made my apartment living room a pseudo-Egyptian shrine to Ra. I continued the Egyptian theme with that enormous gold couch (that housed guitars and a neo-Egyptian calico cat I fed), and topped it off with a good sized bust of Tut that doubles as a useful candle holder (the candle is behind the glass eyes, so the eyes of fire can be wickedly impressive). I even have two hanging Chinese art scroll-painting-things that I brought back from Taiwan which are quite excellent and filled up entire wall sections in my short-ceilinged apartment.
There are lots of other little statues and busts which helped give my place a demented old maid museumy touch. In the ‘foyer’ I had a bust of Franz Schubert (with glasses) and a bust of one of the Richard Strausses to inspire me musically. Then there’s the Beefeater bobblehead I brought back from England. The miniature Scottish knight had his sword positioned in an attack stance above the head of one of the three mini-Buddhas my brother Chris gave me for Christmas a few years ago (one has achieved cage-dancing Buddha status).
This Chinese Scroll Painting is one of few pieces up
Perched atop my bookcase, the gargoyles stared down judging my sloth and a brass-finished lion judged my weakness. I’m not sure what the Mayan Chakmul judges or even how to spell Chakmul or if it‘s really Mayan and not Aztec or Incan, but apparently it’s Mexican because my brother Jay brought it back from Mexico (I think my History degree was just voided). I also had a string of Chinese lantern lights on one bookshelf and a string of bubble lights on another bookshelf, next to which was my groovy lava lamp to remind me that hippies gave something pretty excellent, if useless, to the culture after all.
At this point, despite all my collected junk, I didn’t go overboard and collect a roomful of miniature owls or cats to keep me company during the remainder of my dementia, but this step is a short trip. I have actually known 2 older women who collected an incredible number of miniature owl figurines, which was impressive and kooky and a really strange coincidence. What are the chances of knowing 2 unrelated older women at different ends of the country who fill large areas with different sizes and makes of owls?
I think most of my nicknacks won’t make it out of storage into any normal part of the new house. They’ll probably just stay wrapped delicately in their boxes, in a kind of nicknack limbo, next to the rest of the hoarded items I’ll never use. Sweet nostalgia.