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a home + living guide for the post-college, pre-parenthood, quasi-adult generation


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copyright ©1999-2000

Variations on a theme
by Glinda Wyndorf |
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continued from page 1

Our new home allowed for many family excursions to the local hardware store, where I unearthed reams of vintage wallpaper. A particular stack of rolls screamed out to me: they were Sunshine Yellow, Electric Orange, and Lime Green, in a faux-Peter Max pattern, right out of those Better Homes & Gardens' "100 Great Decorating Ideas for Under $100" volumes from the early 70's. Those books were the cat's ass! Every room looked like the Bradys would feel right at home, and I knew I would too. My parents grudgingly slapped down the $2-per-roll for the wallpaper (which admittedly made even me nauseous when it unfurled, but I stood my ground), agreeing to cover only three walls, leaving one a cheery Neon Yellow. They had to have something they could focus on without feeling woozy when they came into the room.

In the meantime, I'd been hoarding the goods: thrift shops readily gave up plastic "parsons"-style tables and etagères in citrus colors for way cheap…they were generally afflicted with a broken leg or a corner held tight with duct-tape, but hey, that could go towards the wall! Chained swag lamps with painted cane lampshades, floor lamps with "bamboo-look" stands, and those silk-screened, vaguely stained "Vera"-esque wall murals that are still so popular in finer motels throughout rural America -- by the time I was an official teenager, with babysitting bucks in hand, there was no stopping me! I could create a showplace worthy of the Brady girls themselves! Well, at least until the next decorating fetish came along.

Thanks to a growing collection of thrift shop interior design books, the next five years were a whirlwind of constant re-decorating: from the Hotel-California-faux-southwestern theme (tear down the spins-inducing wallpaper, slather on some stucco, stock up on thrift shop macramé wall-hangings and plastic cactus, but shun the Wal-Mart bandanna'd coyotes), I'd moved on to the quasi-Victorian theme (painted the stucco "desert rose", got a full-sized iron bed frame at a flea market, hoarded anything crocheted by someone's spinster aunt), before doing a full about-face and embracing an atomic-age fifties' look, just as I was moving into my first apartment.

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