I’m developing a real thing for white chairs. We have two off-white armchairs in our kitchen, and now I’m painting the kitchen table’s chairs as well, and some might say I could not have picked a worse colour for a busy kitchen. But, to me, white chairs are a thing of beauty and inspiration. They are quiet, simple, yet bold and unapologetic, equal parts vulnerability and confidence. They are vulnerable in their lightness, always a little too close to being permanently marred, yet putting themselves out there, wanting to be seen and used. They are confident in their willingness to let their wear show, their dropping of the pretension and power of pattern.
Sure, I know it’s only a matter of time until I can’t get out those glaring reminders of chocolate chips left on faces that were planted in the seat cushion during a scramble up onto the seat, or sticky fruit fingers from bowls of much-loved raspberries, oranges, and strawberries. But that doesn’t bother me at all. I wish the conversations had in those chairs showed up just as clearly as the physical dirt; the quiet morning moments with the kids snuggled there, the moment of calm when Carl and I sit there in those few minutes while dinner cooks itself, the comfort and camaraderie of someone sitting there while I cook, wanting to be near me. The talks with friends and family, while chaos reins around us and those two chairs are like an island, anchored by a small table to hold our drinks, our snacks, our reading material, the little treasures handed to us by our little people.
Like people, the wear doesn’t show right away. For quite awhile, you can cover it up, wash it away, or just stand at the right angle and no one will know what truly defines you. But with time, as life builds up, it begins to show. Then, instead of adding a few throw blankets or hiding under a careful recovering, confidence needs to shine. We need to realize that the people who really matter don’t care about life’s marks, they love us and come to us anyway. Some might not even notice, and might leave us and think we had it all together, we had it all. Others will care a little too much, looking for and noticing every scratch and smear, and will tell others whose business it is not, or maybe they will choose somewhere else they feel more comfortable, and that’s ok too. Confidence runs deeper than caring. Confidence comes in knowing your wear is under control. That no matter how many marks there are, someone cares for you, keeps you, and gives your marks meaning.
Which is all to say, to go with my light armchairs, I’m also painting my kitchen chairs white at the moment. So many thoughts come out of the most mundane, time consuming tasks, don’t they? I’ve always thought driving was my best thinking time, but painting chairs is a close second. While painting all those spindles and legs is decidedly not super fun, the results are well worth it, and the chance to do something so mindless means my mind can be empty for other things, like deep thoughts about white chairs and the human condition :)
It is so much fun to make a house your own, to add touches other’s may think are strange, unnecessary, or a waste of time. Things like painting perfectly good wood furniture in all your favourite colours, or adding white fence boards to your biggest wall and falling in love with a couch best suited to a grandmother and her small lapdog.
Or maybe being in love with that couch but also respecting your husband’s love for sectionals, and letting the two very different styles co-exist in the same room as happily as we do.
And maybe it’s loving that the entire room doesn’t have a single new piece of furniture in it, just a collection of second-hand and hand-me-down finds that speak to me like they once spoke to somebody else, that somehow all came together into this big, bright, cheery collaboration.
Bit by bit all these little things mean our home speaks more clearly of us…or at least of me. Do you think your home reflects accurately all the people in it, or just the person who decorates it? I try to do a mix, with favourite Bible texts and quotes, family pictures, a big bulletin board of the kids’ art and plenty of toy storage around making our priorities evident, but for the most part I guess things reflect me more than anyone else. I don’t know if you can get around that, or if it really even matters, as long as everyone is comfortable.
My decorating mantra is colour, comfort, and convenience. Of course, I obsess plenty about things like style, balance and flow too, but if those first three are missing, it’s not going to work. I’d love to hear about your decorating priorities or themes, and hopefully share a few more rooms with you in the future!
Have a beautiful week :)