Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Hiding behind a smokescreen

I am utterly crap at bargaining, a fact which was first brought to my attention when I went to Bali some years ago. It isn't so surprising when you remember I don't like confrontation, and although bargaining might be friendly it is still a form of confrontation. I have a lot of trouble standing my ground when a) I really like & want the item, b) I'm not sure whether I'm in the right to demand the price I'd like, and c) the salesperson/store owner is trying to wear me down with persuasiveness and aggressive sales tactics.

In fact, I have issues with sales people, period. I know it is a problem but I really feel bad saying no to them... although I know, intellectually, that they are trained and prepared for the fact that someone might say no. I even feel bad when I try on clothes and nothing fits or looks nice, and then have to tell the saleslady that I don't want any of the 5 items I brought into the dressing room with me!

Imagine how much worse it is when the salesperson is pushy and aggressive and, well, you get the picture...

Anyway. So in all this shopping for furniture, I, um... just happened to invent an imaginary husband. The first time the salesperson kept pressing me to make a decision on the spot, I blurted out, "I have to consult my husband first," and it's been a very useful way of escaping whenever they get a bit too aggressive for me to handle. I wonder what the future hubby, whoever he is, will think of this when he finds out! I feel like a bit of a coward :-\

Sunday, July 17, 2011

The reasoning

I never did explain why I want a chaise lounge so much: it's going to be the place where I curl up to read, my personal hangout spot (not that the whole apartment wouldn't be that, but this will be special, you see?). I've never had that in any place I've ever stayed. Most of the time I lie in bed to read, but it's not really the most comfortable position -- and not good for the eyes, or so they say. So I'm going to have a spot where I can lounge in comfort and read, with a reading lamp peeking over my shoulder to illuminate the words on the page.

I was inspired by a picture in a book, which I surreptitiously took a photo of using my iPod Touch, and forgot to note the name of the book itself. Things like that irk me, they make me feel that my blog post is not complete. "Attribution! Attribution!" my inner OCD journalist-cum-academic yells at me. Blimey!

No one is going to spend as much time in the apartment as I am, and frankly, I don't really expect many visitors, being as that it's on the 5th floor and there's no lift ;)  So I figure I shall furnish the place for myself, and if that means a chaise lounge instead of a sofa (because there probably isn't room for both), then so be it.

I'm also considering a small aquarium, to have something that's alive around me. Why fish? Easy to care for, although you can't really have a relationship with them like you can with a dog; but practical for an apartment, and I figure I can choose pretty fish which will double up as decor and make me feel happy when I see them. But in a strange way, even though they're just going to be swimming around in their tank, they'll be a reason for me to go home, and I think will make me feel like I'm not going back to an empty apartment where there's nobody to care whether I'm there or not.

Or maybe I'll get a hamster. Just because they're cute :p

Image from feathersfinsandfur.com

Friday, July 15, 2011

Long live practicality

I spent some time looking at interior design books in MPH a few weeks ago, and it was dangerous, because -- ah, me! -- how would a normal person like me ever able to afford a house and furniture like that? But more, I doubt I'm ever going to be the kind of person to have a picture-perfect home like that, because for one thing, um... well. My home would probably look more "lived in" than "showcase" :p

There is a lot more of my parents in me than I ever realised, which I discovered when I visited IKEA recently. There are a lot of pretty things which are simply impractical and would gather too much dust: take this Fillsta ceiling lamp, for example.

Image from IKEA.com

So I found myself walking around and thinking, "Oooh, interesting design, pity about the dust... so pretty, but ugh, dust... that one, hmm, dust..."

It's a bit scary, come to think of it.

At 33 I guess practicality has begun to win out over aesthetics, and even over vanity(!). So although open bookshelves have more character, I'd rather have glass doors to keep the dust out; and knickknacks, well, I can hear my mom's voice in my head saying, "They just sit there and gather dust." I like having little touches and decorative items here and there, but I know I'm not the type to dust every week... If I were rich, I suppose I'd compromise and hire a maid to do the dusting for me!

Growing up does suck sometimes :p

It's easy to tell yourself you'll only buy things you really like for the home. Then you find out that the glass-topped dining table you really like costs RM1,250, and the 5ft x 5ft L-shaped study desk won't fit in your room no matter which way you try to position it. But never mind, I shall have my CHAISE LOUNGE and my BEANBAGS. Take that, life! Nyah nyah nyah!!!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

On Sunflower's mind

A chance link to a friend's blog (which I didn't know she had) made me want to write again. Writing from the heart, that holds the voice of a person, always inspires me to write. It reminds me what it's like to connect with others through the written word.

The main thing on my mind these days is furniture and decorating. I just bought an apartment. Haven't moved in yet, and already I'm wishing I had more space. Although my colleague who recently moved back from Hong Kong tells me that 850 square feet is loads of space!

I've never had my own place before, and it's funny how my mentality changed once I knew that this was going to be mine. Before, I didn't care about cutlery and dinnerware, as long as I had plates and cups and forks and spoons to use. Now I'm dreaming about having matched sets, pretty things that will make me feel happy when I use them in my new home. It's really weird.

From "I won't do any major renovations", I'm now contemplating putting in built-in bookshelves for all my books. But well! I do have a lot of books, I argue with myself, and it would be nice if I could have them all back here, in my own home, instead of sitting in boxes in my brother's storeroom. The only thing I worry about is having uncles and aunts come over and then ask me how much those bookshelves cost. You don't know my family. It's going to be all, "Why did you spend so much money on something unnecessary?" (In my family, unless you'll die without it, it's considered unnecessary. And therefore expendable.)

But you can never have perfection, and so instead of the lovely natural wooden colour I'd love to have for my bookshelves, like so:

Image from kitchencabinetmart.com

-- instead of this colour, I've decided to opt for white, simply because white will make the room look larger; this kind of colour is too dark for a small room. It's a compromise I'm making out of necessity. In general, white is my least favourite colour, because it gets dirty so easily, is difficult to maintain (especially on clothing) and is so stark. It has no personality.

I'm also having to think about my style, what kind of style I want my home to have, especially in the living room. I've always known I'm not a minimalistic type. The very thought would make any of my friends laugh their heads off! Super modern steel and glass stuff is not me either; that's too sterile and soulless for me. Antiques are too stiff and usually rather uncomfortable. I want furniture that will be so comfortable to sit on, I could plonk myself down on the couch and fall asleep. Welcoming furniture, you know. Homey furniture. Like bean bags.

Although I also want a chaise lounge. I saw something like this and have been dreaming of it ever since:

Image from siamoldteak.com

It was very comfortable! I'm told it wouldn't "go" with bean bags but I don't care :p