I get excited about the stylish budget-wise finds at the Big Boxes. These finds can help us make our house a home; only thing is, if everyone is buying the same mass-produced stuff, will our homes look the same?
This reminds me of a Friends episode where Rachel hides her love of Pottery Barn from Phoebe, who dislikes anything mass-produced. Phoebe wants her furnishings to be one-of-a-kind and to have a history. The sameness of Pottery Barn just gets to her.
See, I have to admit, I am torn. Am I "Rachel" or am I "Phoebe"?
What got me thinking is a recent article in the New York Times about Etsy, the online community of over 70,000 artisans and counting. Everything sold on Etsy has a "history".
Sounding like Phoebe, the founder of Etsy, Robert Kalin said:
Buying something from the person who made it is “the opposite of what Wal-Mart is right now: just this massively impersonal experience. When you get an item from Etsy, there’s this whole history behind it. There’s a person behind it.”
I am stuck on Etsy. I love art fairs, but they don't come around often enough for me. Now I can go to one "virtually" everyday, thanks to Esty.
So am I "Rachel" or am I "Phoebe"?
I'm probably both.
My living room has a sofa and chairs from Basset furniture, rug and tables from Pottery Barn, an antique Chinese door, art painted by moi and furniture, lamps and artwork inherited from Grams.
The "history" is in the "details" -- the inherited items and the artwork that are juxtaposed with the "retail" furnishings.
So this is, in my opinion, how you solve the problem of looking like everyone else --make the "details" tell your story, your history.
It might not appease the "Phoebes" of the world, but it will keep your home from looking like a page out of the Pottery Barn catalog.
Etsy is a great place to start your hunt for the unique. It has become the first place I look for the "details" with personality-plus.
So, are you a "Rachel" or a "Phoebe"?