Or, alternatively titled “Never buy a piece of furniture for a single purpose because that’s stupid and you’ll never use it and then you’ll force yourself to move the ties and shirts and belts off of it so you can sit on it and write a beleaguered rant about how impractical it was in the first place: A Tale of Hope.”
I bought a chair, a POÄNG from IKEA (medium brown chair, Ransta black cushion), so that I could put it in my office at home and have a comfortable place to read and write. I wanted this particular chair forever. Ever since I lived with (famed Cincinnati brewer) Mike in an apartment in Clifton that had squirrels in the walls. I finally got around to buying it three apartments later. It really is a smart-looking chair:
And boy, was it a dismal failure! This is the third time I’ve sat on it outside of the day that I built it and marveled at my beautiful engineering brain that could piece together something from IKEA with almost no cursing and only several beers! Behold your god!
Some part of me must have known that it was kind of silly to have a chair “Where I can really sit down and think” and that be it’s only purpose, because it took me, like, 5 years to pull the trigger. There’s no TV in here. It faces a coffee table that’s too far away to reach. To my immediately left are all my shoes, to my immediate right is a dusty acoustic guitar case.
My cell phone is currently sitting inside of a boot.
It’s so dark in this corner it’s making me feel drowsy.
To get up I have to shove my way out of the chair, banging it savagely against the shoe rack and wall.
This is the moral of my story
Did you make it this far? I should have probably gotten to this sooner. But:
Build your home around your needs.
Don’t build your home and then decide what you need (read: what works for you) based on that. That’s superficial and phony and didn’t Trump famously tell Laertes “This above all else: to thine own self be true…”? Live in a room. Decide you just know something is missing and then fill that gap. Easy. Way better than buying that enormous spotlight lamp that looked so good in Restoration Hardware but actually is pretty impractical in a 900sqft 3rd floor walk-up.
I bought a chair because I told myself that I needed a chair to sit in and read in and write in. I told myself that real writers and readers did that. Did I really need that? No. I do most of my writing from my desk. I do most of my reading from the couch. This chair could be thrown out the window and the only person it would affect is one of the crazy people who would drag it down to Vine St. and try to sell it to a tourist.
For my own purposes, I can’t look at a room and say ‘Oh, I know exactly what needs to go in here.’ Instead, I put the bare necessities into it, and then let the rest of the things come organically. My office for example started with:
- Chair for desk
- Books for shelves
It slowly accumulated a couch, a side table, a coffee table, a lamp for the couch, and a hatchet for some reason. It also acquired this goddamned POÄNG.
My next office, I’m going to start over with a desk, a typewriter, and one of those really sweet liquor sideboard things that Don Draper has in his office and go from there.