Anyone who knew me in 7th grade, when I couldn’t figure out how to pinch-roll my jeans and styling products were still a complete mystery to me, would probably be surprised to hear that I consider myself to have even a decent sense of taste and style. In fact, I think it’s more the limitations of budget and time, rather than the lack of inspiration or creativity, that gives Martha Stewart such an edge over me.
When we put our last house up for sale, a typically wide and low 1950’s ranch, our realtor got a kick out of doing the open houses, because a large proportion of our visitors commented on our furniture choices and suggested to him that the furniture really needed to go with the house. It wasn’t any sort of designer furniture, just classic, beautiful pieces that fit seamlessly with the character of the home. Our response was, of course, “make us an offer!” The buyer we did find apparently had their own, so we ended up moving our fabulous pieces with us and have been pleased that they also work well in a more recently constructed home.
One piece of furniture that has never met our strict standards of style and beauty is the recliner. Aside from the fact that such a contraption seems like an invitation to inactivity, the chair itself usually looks like it has chronically over-eaten potato chips and cheap beer. A recliner would look like a schlumping, deprived throw-back next to our sleek, button trimmed sectional. Even the leather couch from our Arts & Crafts dollhouse, with its smooth seams and riveted arm rests, would cry foul if it had to share living space with such a monstrosity.
But last month, in addition to the heartburn and leg cramps of pregnancy, I added a hacking night cough. My husband abandoned our room to sleep with the kids and I, unable to get comfortable, suggested that perhaps the time had come to find a suitable reclining chair. Maybe a trim, upholstered version would be inoffensive? After combing the city, we realized that my dream-chair would cost as much as we once paid for a whole dining room set and the next thing I knew, I was sending my husband craigslist adds and crossing my fingers for something without beer stains or bed bugs.
I’m about three weeks into recliner ownership. It matches absolutely nothing else in our house. It’s already almost ten years old, and there is a small snag in the leather in back. But it cost just $100, came from a nice home, and I will never again be without it. While my cough is gone, an uncomfortable barrage of stronger-than-normal-for-me Braxton Hicks contractions has forced me to rethink my usual level of activity. So in the last three weeks, I have found that I can accomplish almost anything from a recliner. Preparing Christmas cards, wrapping gifts, even writing this blog…it can all be done from a semi-upright, lumbar supported, feet elevated position in my sunny living room. It’s a great position from which to view all our lovelier home decorating choices. I’ll let you know if I start craving Cheetos and Keystone.
Sometimes I think my bed will comfort me or that my couch will stop my complaint. Job 7:13