Interior Note:
Brown but Green
September 2019

¶ For years, Ray Soleil has been telling me that old furniture doesn’t sell anymore — nobody wants it. I see in today’s Times that this news is official. “When the Antiques Have to Go.” I’m not sure that Kathleen and I have any actual antiques — well, I think we do have one, a petite carved side chair that was old when my grandmother acquired it — but we have a lot of old stuff, as in old-as-I-am. And we’re perfectly aware that most people, especially younger people, would be uncomfortable in our rooms. “Clutter,” I think, would be a problem. Not to mention “brown furniture.” (What an awful term. I’d call it grained.)

I take comfort in the regularity with which photographs of rooms even more crowded than ours, with even more framed art and whatnot on the walls, appear in the glossy magazines, even if the rooms are always in England. I call the look “Twit Bohemian,” just to pre-empt snappy comebacks. Compared to a lot of these spaces, our rooms look a bit scanty. The worry here is that the owners of those attractive British stair halls and libraries are Leavers. 

Do the objects in our apartment reflect who we are? Indirectly, perhaps. We are a couple of people who do a lot of reading and writing; it’s hard to think of things that would actually reflect these passions — without being cute, I mean. Looking around, I see a lot of stuff that one or the other of us grew up with, and more or less took for granted. Many people would probably find our style to be quite formal, but to us, it’s relaxed — compared to that of our parents. But the differences are small. We both think that a Louis XVI canape and a demilune table with inlay is utterly normal. They represent the part of “home” that we didn’t want to leave. 

As for “midcentury modern,” when we were young, it said to us that the Martians had landed, and we were sore afraid. We don’t like deserts or earth colors. For me, there can’t be enough green. 

I’m sorry only that I won’t live to see what the Millennials’ children get up to. 

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