Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Stuff and Sense

Rachel Elnaugh
I recently listened to the lovely Rachel Elnaugh at a seminar. The premise of her talk was “Too Much Stuff”, clearly it was on the subject of our culture of mass consumerism and borderline obsession with owning “things”. 
I have to say I completely agree and with the economic downturn, for me as a retailer to exist AND make a living is somewhat contrary! 

My dilemma – sell stuff when the world has too much stuff! I have reconciled this issue by having a firm belief that I can offer for sale a selection of well chosen products which enhance a home, and help reflect the personality of the owner. We work hard and we should feel no guilt in allowing ourselves to be surrounded by things that basically augment our habitat and make us feel good. “If you want a golden rule that will fit everything, this is it: Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.” To quote William Morris. Follow this advice and you won’t go far wrong!

The other aspect to dealing with the “too much stuff” issue is this:   I have realised that the country is awash with brown and orange furniture. Most of it made, with integrity, in the 20th century.  But it doesn't fit in to our 21st century homes. If you see a piece languishing in a charity shop, with the box-set of Friends and a mug tree on top of it. Buy it. Be it a desk, bureau, table, chair, plant stand….they can all be given a new identity and a new life and escape the prospect of entering landfill.  The beauty of being able to transform a rejected furnishing into something much admired  is a huge accomplishment and something which more and more people are embracing. One of my customers, Natalie from Harts and Crafts posted these photos which are case in point! 

Orange pine dresser....

......stunning painted unit!

 I sell the perfect paint (Annie Sloan Chalk Paint) to use on furniture and offer advice and tips  along with workshops in paint techniques. I can advise on where to pick up great pieces of  furniture to anyone  new to  vintage sourcing and if it means that local charity stores are doing great business then it’s gotta be good news all round!

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