CE&C Renovation Experiment One: Nesting II – Selecting a Style

[First post in this Experiment: New House Inertia]

In the early 1970s, teenage girls pined over the testosterone-sputtering heartthrobs of the moment: David Cassidy, Donny Osmond and Bobby Sherman. They listened to the same track over and over on their 33 1/3 vinyl records until their favourite tunes were scratched beyond redemption. I had a different calling.

I would go to the faded yet still grand Art Deco-era neighbourhood Eglinton Theatre most Sundays to see old black and white films on the silver  screen.  My favorite films were the 1930s Busby Berkley-style musicals with lavish Art Deco sets, starring such greats as Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, Ruby Keeler and Deanna Durbin. I was enamored as much with the Art Deco extravagance, luxury and escapism as with the charming silly entertainment.

At a time when people were eschewing Art Deco glamour, symmetry and style and preferring informal orange, brown, harvest gold and avocado colored “Mod” décor, I worked a few hours a week cleaning in an antique store so I could score Art Deco memorabilia rather than coin. To this day I have a strong Machine Age aesthetic.

My sense of style and design is grounded on the principle that discretion and classic simplicity are the foundation of elegance. While I like having the odd touch of whatever is trendy in my surroundings, I want to be surrounded by elegant, always comfortable, high-end investment pieces – with lots of art and other curios that reflect my life.

Although it was ingrained in me as a child: “buy only the best”, over the years I have paid the price for not doing something I already knew. During my poor student years, and there were many, the best I thought I could afford was brand-name box stores where each furniture “style” had a name, and most came with their very own hex keys for the required assembly. Big mistake.

The problem with my Swedish treasures was that every few years I had to replace them. And the costs mounted cumulatively. When I finally started receiving a regular paycheck I began to collect a good piece or two a year.

To calculate the value of an item one must divide the price paid for it by how much use one gets from it. How to choose – if you love it at first sight then chances are you will use it often and for a long time.

“Buy the best and you only cry once.”

  • Miles Redd

[Next post in this Experiment: Nesting III – Paint]

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