UBC Day 9: Hopeless, Hapless Home Décor

In addition to being a minus 5 on the Enlightenment Scale, I make myself truly amazing by being a SOLID minus … 15 … on the Fashion Sense Scale.

This was a source of continual consternation for my mother, who wore some of the snazziest outfits when she and Dad went out!

Her flair extended to whims with home décor that delighted and amazed her friends.

She decorated our living room (this was back in 1969) with:

  • red shag carpeting
  • a solid BLACK wall with two unframed clown paintings on burlap
  • another wall covered in mirrors with black geometric figures on them
  • a chaise longue with fake snow leopard fur
  • a black ‘n’ silver driftwood and glass coffee table
  • a faux fur couch (black)
  • and smoke-colored hanging lamps at each end of the couch

We didn’t use the living room much—but we had fun visiting it.

Well, mostly. I tended to get disoriented with the black wall and all those mirrors. If I went missing for more than a few minutes, someone would wander into the living room and find me sprawled on the floor with my eyes crossed.

I digress …

We lost Mom early, so she never got to see what happened when I had a home of my own to decorate. This is probably just as well.

I was so cowed by the prospect of decorating a whole house by myself that I decided to guarantee that I wouldn’t make any serious color faux pas.

I tore out a whole houseful of carpet and replaced it with white ceramic tile with black grout.

I painted all the walls semi-gloss white.

I even bought white crape myrtle trees (crape myrtle being our city tree here in Pinellas Park).

I bought living room furniture covered in oatmeal-colored fabric (my big color statement).

And then, in homage to the CAMS coffeehouse/art center/music studio I ran till 1993, I decided take the brick wall that my artist friend Boo Ehrsam had painted on a piece of 4’ x 8’ plywood (all the performers signed it!) and HANG IT IN THE LIVING ROOM. Dad made a fold-down buffet and installed it below the artwork so I could fold it up when entertaining.

It became the talk of the town! Who knew?

I figure maybe I got to channel Mom for one good week when I came up with that idea, because about two weeks after the CAMS wall went up, I looked around and said to myself, “Oh! Don’t I need to hang some art?” Mom was not with me in spirit at that point.

My house now has a wildly eclectic arrangement, all on one wall, of two prints by a noted Israeli artist, a 75-cent lime green amoeba-looking thing in a cheap plastic frame (somebody won it as a gag and gave it to me; I honor such gifts when I can), a “snow snake” photographed by a SINCERELY hunky guy I knew years back in Colorado, and a beautifully colored portrait of my Grandma from 1924.

Every once in a while, I swear I hear my Mom’s voice moaning through the house. This is not how she would have done it!

Fortunately, there’s my kid sister Tracie, who got not only the shopping gene, but also the drawing gene, the gardening gene, the mechanical gene, and … the Fashion Sense gene.

(To my credit, I got a lot of the Humor gene, and in pure self-defense went out and GOT the spelling and writing genes.)

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About Billie Noakes

The writer you want for crisp, clean copy.
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