I got the email Wednesday. I didn’t even read it – the title told me everything I needed to know, everything I had been waiting to hear since this time in 2013. Magic and hope and promise and excitement were coming soon to a mailbox near me:
The new Ikea catalog was on its way.
I want to be clear: I don’t live in an Ikea showroom, but oh, there were times in my post-college but pre-career days that I sure wanted to, and it’s still set as my mental place to check first when I suddenly find I need – oh, I don’t know, anything really. A table, a lamp, an occasional chair, meatballs, plant pots, reindeer-shaped cake pans – all the life-or-death essentials, I guess.
Realistically, my eccentric old house, and oftentimes my eccentric old tastes, demand that I have little to do with stark lines, bold graphics, and slick plastic-and-pressboard accoutrement. Still…maybe it’s a visit from the Ghosts of Apartments past, but when the Big Book from the Mecha of Melamine arrives, it’s my version of Christmas.
It arrived on Thursday, and because I am an absolute masochist, I decided it was going to stay firmly shut until Saturday – a reward, I thought, for surviving a heck of a week. I cleared the coffee table of all lesser materials – begone, remotes! be banished, magazine! away, snobby art book that no one will ever use except as a coaster! – and put the catalog dead center, so that I couldn’t possibly not see it, couldn’t possibly forget that it was here! In my house! Just waiting!
Let’s gloss over how I found it the next morning in the kitchen, because despite a near-15-year acquaintance, my roommate did not automatically understand that this was not mere mail, it was Major Ceremony.
Let’s also gloss over how I love the new style-centered room designs they’ve used in the catalog, how they’ve nailed the perfectly yellow-embued green hues and green-rich turquoises AGAIN this year, and how seeing the catalog items I already own gives me a warm little thrill – hello, little Leirvik bed! Lovely to see you again, Ribba frames!
Let’s instead cut directly to the moment when Ikea, those glorious Swedish bastards, RIPPED MY HEART OUT AND SPAT ON IT.
You saw it, right? I mean…right there on page 229, bold as brass, like it just was no big deal at all.
A Hemnes linen cabinet…full of shoes.
FULL OF SHOES.
Maybe you don’t understand the problem here.
It’s a linen cabinet. It’s meant to hold linens. Towels, sheets, maybe the odd seagrass basket that takes up too much room to be of any use but looks decorative as hell.
I love this cabinet. I loved it in yellow, I love it in the current red, I’ll probably love it if it comes in puce, and I am still not sure what color that is. I have ogled analogs to this cabinet in competitor’s stores, antique malls, and garage sales for years now. This cabinet, in some form – even homage – has always been destined for my home.
But not for linens. Oh no. I don’t need a linen cabinet. I need a shoe-and-purse hutch. With glass doors. To display shoes and purses. Obviously.
How clever it was going to be! How novel! How unique! What a charming repurposing of a pretty-but-ultimately-utilitarian piece of furniture!
Damn those Swedes*. They really do think of everything.
* = it’s ok. my mom’s half Swedish. I’m allowed.