When The Room Is Full


I rather like furniture shops – even the ones that have meatballs and everything in a flat cardboard pack. They give me ideas – but then they take them away just as fast. It’s this way.

You walk into Uncle John’s Decorama Warehouse and the first thing that greets you is the massive overcarved Italianate bed made in Surabaya. It has a fantastic bedspead/doona/tarmac cover over top of it with embroidery depicting the Battle of New Orleans. It is flanked with fluorescent lava lamps in tasteful colours. It is placed by the door for two reasons – One; it attracts massively overcarved Italians who then go on to buy other pieces of furniture. Two; it has to be there because that is the only part of the building that is strong enough to hold the weight. It is made of some tropical timber that weighs 30 tonnes and is full of beetles and old Japanese machine-gun bullets. Any further into the store and it would cave in the concrete floor. Good luck getting it up the spiral staircase to the bedroom, Luigi…

Or you make an appointment to be allowed to enter La Gallleriij in Snootiaco. It is not so much a furniture store as an epiphany. Or so they say in their discrete advertisement in Ore Packers Monthly. There is a doorman. And an under doorman, in case the first one leaks. The hush inside the chamber is palpable. Indeed it is almost visible, except that the lights are kept low to avoid degrading the unborn ostrich leather covering on the footstools. The designs are reminiscent of Italy, during the reign of the Borgias,…with a slight hint of Surabaya. The heavier pieces are kept near the door because…

The FINKEA store is a lot different. Everything is bright and clean and made of either cardboard or birch plywood. Anything that stands on the floor does so by means of dinky little legs of turned wood. The light fittings resemble egg cartons and the egg trays resemble light fittings. There is a chair made in deep plum and lime colour that may or may not be suitable for sitting as long as you do not look at it. They do meatballs and pastries. And screaming children.

For myself, I have always preferred the Pine Wood Shack. I can relate to pine. Like me it is colourless, lightweight, and cheap. We can both be stained, and frequently with the same liquids at the same time. The bookshelves are only shaky if you try to use them for books and the chairs are perfectly comfortable to look at. They do a nice line in folding screens should you want hide behind something while you undress. Pinewood floor lamps remind me of my childhood – I thought them horrible then as well – but they have the advantage that the ugliest of them never actually break. You can guarantee that your descendants will be shuddering in disgust for decades to come.



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