Friday, May 1, 2009

Lux oriens ...

How I don't decorate - sorta -  and a Friday cocktail.

Our place over the years has become an agglomeration of things we like, things we collect against our will and things that are souvenirs of times in our lives. 

For example, the looking glass hanging above a small, green, crumbling cabriole-legged console from the 1920s belongs to a time in the 1990s when Gustavian was the dernier cri and Ikea - yes, Ikea - had a small department selling licensed reproductions of 18th century Swedish furniture. Does anyone else remember this? 

The clock is a remembrance of 13 years in Amsterdam and was bought on the Spiegelstraat around the corner from where we lived. Though we bought it in Amsterdam it reminds me how on the last weekend in that city we drove to Paris for dinner and drove back again. It seemed such a romantic and adventurous thing to do. 

A souvenir of much more recent trip to Paris is a copy of the Turgot map hanging in the hall - each sheet framed individually and without mats. The large painting by the dining table is a souvenir of my graduate degree years and the dining chairs we bought in Provence after drinking a whole bottle of rose whilst lunching on a terrace overlooking the river in Ile sur la Sorgue. We have never regretted them.

The rug is a souvenir of an argument we had in the Metropolitan Museum store and neither of us has been completely happy with it. It is being replaced with a memory neutral rug.

The chinoiserie chest under the clock is certainly a souvenir - a souvenir of a ravaged cheque book caused by a whim not ignored in the decorative bits department of Nieman Marcus.

What I am asking, then, is how can one decorate in any other way? That one might need to replace, renew, clear out, is probably inevitable, but surely there has to be a connection with some of the things that surround one? As a correspondent put it recently, to have what has personal meaning around one is life affirming.

So, after that, let me suggest a cocktail I discovered and drank two of the other night -

A French 75 (or 76 or whatever)

As far as I can remember lemon juice went into a champagne glass, simple syrup followed as did a not too-assertive gin, and all was topped up with fizz.

No real recipe, but I'm sure you can work it out.

We drank it with two friends at their house - the husband, a superb cook - brought what he called Swine Flu Pork to the table and we all giggled. How could we not?

As I said in a previous post: at the edge of the precipice drink champagne. 

Life affirming!

1 comment:

  1. OMG -i love your place! Ikea had a reproductions department? SERIOUSLY?! WOW
    I have to agree with you -i hate when it looks like someone's house was decorated in a day at one or even two stores. Dry, boring - no fascinating stories like yours! How could you feel at home with no memories associated with everything you use on a daily basis!
    I've had the drink you mentinoed before -all of my favorite things in a glass. I forget the name they gave the cocktail but it wasn't a French 75, I'll have to look it up!
    Thanks for the tour!