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A Picture A Day (2/10/10)

“Bathroom with Eiffel Tower Collection” (Sligo Avenue, Silver Spring, Maryland)

I first fell in love with Paris  through the words of others: Hemingway’s Moveable Feast, May Sarton’s I Dreamed a Phoenix, and, most of all, Colette, who I discovered  in the pages of Victoria magazine. Then, of course, there were the movies—Daniel Auteil in Mama, There’s a Man in Your Bed (and in almost anything else he’s done), Audrey Tatou in Amelie. When I finally decided to use a chunk of my graduate student loan money to take a trip in the first part of the oughts (with Ronica my BFF from college), I was terrified that  Paris wouldn’t live up to my imaginings. But wandering the tiny handbag shop we found in an alley on the way to Notre Dame or giggling through tea at Mariage Freres or eating creme brulee for dessert every night for a week or strolling in the hushed reverence of the Picasso museum in the Marais, Paris became even more magical. Each morning as I snuck out of our room in search of croissant and cafe creme (with my journal and my jauntily tied new peach scarf), I watched the green-uniformed sanitation workers swab the streets and thought, “Ah yes, I see, I have come home.”

No animals were harmed in the writing of this post

TordBoontje

Buona sera, bon soir, and hola.

So, I’ve been toying with the idea of sending a Home Beete! questionnaire to some friends with groovy pads. I thought perhaps I’d take a test run and be my own guinea pig. Feel free to chime in on which questions you wish I’d ask–instead of, in addition to, which ones are a big yawn, and which ones floated your boat, revved your engine, and did other good stuff.

(Editor’s note: Wow, reading these questions and knowing I have to answer them just made me quite anxious. Sigh . . . )

Viewfromfrontdoor

THB: Where do you live?

Paulette: I live in Silver Spring, Maryland in a one-bedroom apartment with loads of closet space. Yes, I am boasting.

THB: What’s your favorite room and why?

Paulette: The living room. I have comfy couches, art I enjoy looking at, my gorgeous Gee’s Bend cotton rugs (bought majorly on sale), and a new TV with cable. It’s the first room I’ve put together that made me think I just might have some decent interior design instincts.

THB: What’s your favorite piece of art or memento or plain old thing in your home?

Paulette: That’s a hard one since my place is somewhat things-central. One of my favorites is my 20×200.com print of Sarah McKenzie’s “Lift.” (Not pictured below, sorry.)  It’s a painting of a crane–the industrial kind–in bright colors, and it makes me ridiculously happy every time I see it.

Art

THB: Describe your aesthetic in three words.

Paulette: Paris apartment Bloomsbury-style

THB: What’s the best piece of decorating advice you ever got?

Paulette: Learn to edit. You don’t have to have everything  you love out all at the same time. It’s okay to swap things in and out. It’s also okay to periodically rearrange your rooms until they feel Goldilocks-right.

THB: What’s on your home wish list?

Paulette: I’d love to have another Tord Boontje chandelier. I’d also love to have ceiling space to put another Tord Boontje chandelier.

Chandeliercloseup

THB: What do you do at home?

Paulette: Read, write, dream, putter. What don’t I do nearly enough–dust/vacuum/straighten up. I am, however, pretty good about washing the dishes!

THB: What one item that you can’t bring yourself to part with should really go to the Salvation Army or freecycle or the trash?

Paulette: I’ve actually been on a clearing-out kick, and I’m both horrified and fascinated that after three or four trips to the thrift store, I still haven’t run out of things to give away. I probably should get rid of the broken vintage clock I have that I bought when I decided to give into my genetic predisposition for clock fancying.

Mirrorscloseup

THB: Got color?

Paulette: I live in a rental, so everything’s kinda beige. If I was motivated, I’d either repaint everything Benjamin Moore’s Decorator White, which is great for backgrounding art and won’t piss off a landlord, or I’d commit to picking a color–Paris gray? turquoise?–and painting some accent walls.

THB: Any last words?

Paulette: What I love best about my apartment is that it “looks” like me.

You had me at “Wednesday greetings collectors”

So you know how I said I’d probably mention 20×200.com at least a billion times over the life of this blog, well, you can start counting.

Wednesday’s one of my favorite days because that’s when the 20×200 photography edition arrives. Today featured a double edition from Chinese photographer Shen Wei, and it was love at first sight for the first photo in the pair, “Blessing over the Rice Machine, Guiyang, Guizhou Province.” (The second half of the pair is gorgeous too, it just didn’t –to paraphrase Emily Dickinson–blow the top of my head off.)

I’ve been very drawn to industrial stuff lately, especially scenes that have a certain air of neglect, or maybe I’m responding to a sense of age, of staying power despite or in spite of. . . . In this particular photograph I think it’s especially  the luminous colors that draw me in, that pop of green in the lower right, the earthy paper of the blessing. Maybe I like the idea that there is aesthetic satisfaction to be found in even the most seemingly unaesthetic settings . Something about the composition feels almost postcard-like to me, in the sense that there’s a whole story waiting to be unpacked within the borders of the frame. This is one of those images that I could be lost in for a long long time.

I think I’m going to mosy over to 20×200.com and see if there’re still any $20 editions left to order. I encourage you to do the same (but not if you’re getting the last one and leaving me heartbroken . . . )

More later, since I still have to report back on my finds at this weekend’s Handmade Mart in my hood.

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