IKEA…Where are you?

Confession time. I’m, by nature, a slightly jealous person. Not in every occasion, mind you. Or even many. Just…once in awhile. I try to be happy when others have stuff that I don’t, but I’m simply not perfect, and this is one of my personality flaws. It’s not over cars or flat screen TVs or boys (got mine! No need for that drama). One thing that I’m pretty gosh darn envious about is simple: IKEA. *sigh*

I read some fabulous DIY/design blogs and inspiring magazines. But, I get hung up when they mention what, to me, seems an exclusive club – the “Close to IKEA Club.” Heck, I may be overreacting. It might be like wanting a Walmart to come to town SOOOO BAAAAAAAAADLY…and then, when it does, you come to hate it as much as dolphin killers and anyone with the letters “C.E.O.” in their job title. Please, friends who live near the coveted IKEA, do tell! Is it the land of milk and honey? Or, in my world, organic pop tarts and agave nectar?? (Sweet tooth much? Seriously, the pop tarts sound like a good idea…ermmmm, nope. Nasty.)

There’s so much to yearn for from IKEA. First of all, modern sleek styling. I’d love to incorporate, say, 20% more of this into our house. If you’d look at our style right now, you’d probably say it was traditional eclectic with some early Americana and Art Deco thrown in…aaaaaand we hear a whisper of the contemporary in the background. Not sure this is what I’d like our house to say about us. We’re all of these things, yes. But, how much of these things define us? If we didn’t live (and I mean truly LIVE; not idly cruise) in a modern era, we couldn’t embrace the historical as we do. So, yeah. A kick in the pants of modernity never hurt anyone. Gotta love the Swedes. (Although, we are trying to go for a wabi-sabi approach here, too, as you recall. Baby steps.)

Secondly, STORAGE?! Holy crap, would I have an entire wall dedicated to IKEA bookcases in the office, and the kitchen cabinets that have seen better days? Yeah, they’d come from IKEA. And all their other unique solutions for utilizing space functionally? Sign me up.

It’s time for Confession #2. I’m not a catalog person, and cringe when I get one occasionally. I’d rather buy from your online catalog, without needlessly killing trees, thankyouverymuch. But, I broke this rule. Remember when IKEA started their ads informing of their catalog? The envy struck again. So, of course, I ordered it. Normally, catalogs just come and are unwanted and get recycled. This is on my coffee table as “bored reading.” It’s not even technically READING material! Why the heck did I order a catalog full of stuff that I can’t order (because you can only obtain it at the stores)?? ‘Cuz I can dream, can’t I?!?! Just kidding. Fake drama queen moment. It’s over, I promise.

Anyhoo, I thought it might be fun to do as I’ve seen on Bower Power and create a wishlist. Y’know. For when, on our way into the city, we actually are able to stop and waste half a day perusing the Paramus, NJ IKEA. Someday. 😉

(Sorry so small. Took quite awhile to finally get it THAT size!) So, glancing at most of it, you must think “Wow, Meg. Not much color in your house, eh?” Aha! To the contrary. We’ve definitely got color. What we don’t have are substantial neutral pieces that help create a sense of calm and modernity. See? Still sticking with the wabi-sabi theme here. That’s also another reason that you see that I need more chairs in almost every room.

And, while we’re at it, I should say that I’m tres envious of those of you with a Trader Joe’s nearby, too! My dear friend Beth was sweet and thoughtful enough to give us a huge basket full of healthy snacks and goodies (my organic pop-tarts! And Spaghettios…although they were pretty nasty, admittedly) for our wedding. We brought along most of the snacks along to our honeymoon, along with several wedding cupcakes. I’d just love the opportunity to be closer to organic and all-natural options at a generally cheaper cost. *sigh, pine* (Okay, the drama queen thing wasn’t over.) Enjoy it if ya got it!

* I started writing this blog entry awhile ago – in January, 2011, to be exact. I figured I’d finish and post this one FINALLY because one of my dreams has come true: IKEA will deliver butcher board countertops. Of course, the ones I want are out of stock…but isn’t there light at the end of the fantasy tunnel??

** I happened upon this IKEA ad while doing some searching for this post. It amused me. Perhaps it will amuse you, as well. 🙂 (You’re lucky I didn’t share the one in which a store is filled with cats. Didn’t want to be “that person.”)

Oh, and all pictures used are from ikea.com. Props.

Just Gotta Share…

I should be getting showered, visiting my parents and mentally prepping for the second night of our show…but Dave’s been inspired to put together a $16 clearance bookshelf for our office. So, while I give him the occasional hand putting together the pressboard-can’t-believe-how-cheap-o-it-is-but-will-serve-its-purpose-for-now monstrosity, I thought I’d share with you guys an inspiration for our FUTURE office.

This space has given us many a headache. We’ve currently got one 5-shelf bookshelf, 3 very random desks (which Dave likes because they’re “ecclectic” — I’ve come to dislike all of them, but agree that we need to keep the good-quality rustic one for any future children), and a mess. The room is also awkwardly-shaped, with one wall being half of a slanted ceiling (sharing the roofline) and the other side giving us a strange angled…conundrum. Just…weird. We’ve splattered the walls with tons of mismatched art (from newspaper articles Dave wrote to cartoon films to my Philadelphia Story poster), but it just doesn’t feel like anything more than a mismatch.

So, after lots of thought, we’re still not positive what to do with it. We hardly use the space because it just doesn’t work for our needs. But, I’ve got some ideas…once again, thanks to my favorite blog, Young House Love.

They do a house crashing series, showing some truly inspirational homes and spaces to drool over, and the fact that this one wasn’t the largest of houses helps our situation. Here’s the link for their “House Crashing: Stunning In Sydney” post, but I’ll be sharing a couple of pictures that I think will help us in our office organizing journey. (Giving props now: I don’t own these, they’re from YHL! Hoping they don’t mind.)

This picture shows a very simple office. Doesn’t seem like much, but I’m in love with it. I’m actually thinking of making a wall-length desk using another method shown on YHL (utilizing inexpensive doors…yup), but their use of sawhorses is awesome. However, what I’m really grooving on in this shot is the above storage. To accompany the wall-length desk idea, I’m thinking that wall-length shelving (using all the vertical space available — which, honestly, isn’t THAT much thanks to the pitched ceiling) would give us tons more storage and decorating options; very clean, very useful…and I want to figure out an inexpensive way to do it.

Another possibility for added storage is through the use of even more shelving, but in a different format. See, we really do own a lot of frickin’ books…and other (pardon) crap. If this shelving can keep kiddie stuff in order, just think what it can do for us grown-ups! (Although, admittedly, we’ve got so much random paraphernalia, it might not look too different from what you’re seeing.)

So, there are just a couple of ideas that will hopefully help to transform our third bedroom’s “boring, cluttered office” status to a “more modern, clean, actually-wanna-spend-time-there” place. Oh, and I KNOW there’s some hardwood hiding under this carpet (which may not even HAVE to be refinished — the other two bedrooms are livable with the hardwood that we uncovered), so that’ll add a completely different dimension, too.

Daydream Believer…

With our collective brains pretty much inundated with opening-week theater stuff, I was surprised to find that Dave and I are totally willing to talk about, well, anything non-theater related. Just last Monday, we discussed different “must have”s for a future house, projects to tackle when money and time allow, ohhh lots of stuff.

I even gave in to my urge to try prying off a few wall tiles from the bathroom — with a flat-head screwdriver. From it, I’ve learned that it won’t be as challenging of a project to tackle as I feared. I’ll be patching some of the unevenness just to be sure the job’s done right, but it’ll all be covered with bead board, anyway. Now, I can’t wait to just rip up all the carpeting in the house!! (And if it’s rough underneath, it’ll MAKE us go forward with refinishing.)

The exhaustion has since set in and pretty crappy news (from car problems to bumped-up loan payments to the state of our school staff in 2011-2012) is making me feel like the recession is becoming a depression — seriously, at what point does a depression overcome the “recession” title? I looked up the definitions of each and a recession seems reeeaaaaaally tame compared to what the U.S. has been experiencing, and not to get political, but it clearly ain’t over yet. Long story short, things are my school will probably be turned upside down next year — but it’s still a heck of a lot better than what lots of other local (and other-stately) schools are dealing with. At least our doors will be opening.

So, what did the folks of the Great Depression era do (other than give up a hell of a lot more than we do — skipping meals, Hoovervilles, using a paintbrush to scoop up spilled sugar, REALLY doing without…)? Found distractions in the simple things, like time with family, being active in community organizations (the theater continued to put on 3 shows a year throughout — how cool is THAT? Even if they did steal building supplies from folks’ backyards. I think they were badass.), and finding escape at the movies (which didn’t used to cost the same as a down payment on a house).

Here’s one reason that I love my blogs, magazines, theater and family. And dreaming. (Hence the title of this entry – also a shout-out to the new Monkees tour) Dreaming about things we can’t currently have, but that are modest and will keep us hopeful and working towards goals. Goals like…

…getting refinished hardwood floors (not NEW floors, mind you),
…a budget-friendly modernized bathroom, a first-ever-brand-new driveway,
…a flood of sunshine in the front yard after disposing of the dangerously huge oak tree living far too close to the house (which is also giving us concern of structural damage…that sucker’s gotta go, even if we are treehuggers around this joint)
…a home that “matches” our personality better, with a better mix of eclectic and modern while trying to embrace wabi-sabi….

And, then, there’s OTHER goals, non-house-related. Getting a better grasp on our spending (and what’s really important to spend on), determining what career(s) to take us into our future, SIMPLIFICATION-SIMPLIFICATION-SIMPLIFICATION, creating a more organized and fulfilling lifestyle…y’know, all that fun stuff.

But, for now, we’ll focus on the task at hand — pulling off a near-perfect opening night (and subsequent performances) of Agatha Christie’s “And Then There Were None”. If you’re in the area, come check it out! Once this genuinely awesome, fun, exciting endeavor is over — on with the bathroom “before” shots (and lots o’ chippin’) and carpet-rippin’! Some daydreams are free to achieve.

Any daydreams you’d like to share?

Free Shopping

One of my favorite things about the Internet is guilt-free window shopping. It’s helped with my wedding (although, with so many options out there, it’s made decision-making harder) and to check reviews before making a big purchase. It helped get me through the terrifying wait a year ago while buying our house; it was a foreclosure, and there were lots of delays — so, Lowes.com was a great calmer and made me feel productive, strangely enough. And, we’re still being “lurkers” in terms of the Foodshed Buying Club; none of our necessities have come up yet.

But, on days that I allow myself to be lazier than I’d like to admit, I let my browsing fingers tap the less practical side of my brain and look into the prices of dreams, ultimately researching possible nothings or hopeful somethings. That sounds confusing, so let me elaborate — mind you, these are things that many of our friends aren’t even aware that we discuss.

1. I found some web sites today that got me pretty excited about a prospect Dave and I have discussed numerous times. Dave has always complained that we don’t have a good cafe in our area. You have to drive to Domenico’s in Utica for a decent place to get creative, meet friends or…dare I say…enjoy a good coffee or cappuccino. We have one small joint in Little Falls that could possibly be considered hippie enough to fit this, but considering that Herkimer is a larger town, it’s downright disappointing. There are 2 Dunkin’ Donuts stores a stone’s throw (seriously — one at Walmart, another 1 1/2 blocks away) and a Stewart’s every other town or so — but both places feel franchisey and sterile (when actually clean) and just…not like a “cafe.” So, we’ve considered it as a career/retirement project later in life — or whenever a cheap property rears its head. We both have coffee experience (my own being a few years at said Stewart’s shop) and good customer service knowledge…aaaaand not much more than that! I’d like to do some baking to sell with coffee early in the morning and come up with panini recipes for later in the day, and would prefer keeping the place as green as possible — check out THESE cups and things — but still have refined sugar and “normal” options for our less conscientious clientele. But…again…this is all just a dream, so it may never happen — but wouldn’t it be neat?!

2. If the second dream were to happen, the first one definitely couldn’t (at least, not in Herkimer). I use homes.com to search for homes in other areas that are more eco-friendly and less economically depressed (hopefully with more opportunities for us and the “future kids”). I’ve looked throughout New England, “shopped” for jobs in London…hell, I’ve looked everywhere. And, clearly, nothing much comes from it, but somehow it makes me feel better about the future and where we might be going with it.

3. Speaking of “future kids” — yeah, I’ve done free shopping for them, too. More just getting ideas as to whether it’s worth it to be so eco-friendly to give up disposable diapers, and learning about the cost of things. No big whoop. But, it’s still dreaming since we’re not even hitched yet.

Luckily, my guy and I get to do some REAL shopping tomorrow — which may be dangerous since I just got a chunk from my “end of year” check. And this ain’t just ANY shopping! We’re re-visiting the Cooperstown Farmer Market tomorrow morning, this time with cash in our pockets, a cooler in the car and an un-stocked fridge — meaning we can actually BUY AND USE what we get, rather than the last time we went (I’d done some grocery shopping that week…blah). CAN’T WAIT!!!