Tuesday, October 16, 2012

How Do They Do It?

I’m suffering from a bad case of house envy. Well, it’s actually a townhouse, but it’s not the form that matters. It’s the achingly splendid décor that has me drooling.

My friend’s downtown pad (Pad! I make her sound like a swinging bachelor.) is over 1000 square feet.  That should already set hearts here all aflutter – it’s a lot of money.  The construction is newish, and the bathrooms alone made me froth at the mouth.  All frosted glass and uber-modern pieces, they look like something out of a four-star hotel.   

But it’s the furnishings. Paintings, leather-bound books, cool objets d’art, antique cabinets, wall full of African masks. Nothing says "excess cash" like primitive African doo-dads. And the thing is, there’s a lot of it.  I could understand if they splashed out for their living room and the rest of the space was rather ordinary, but from top to bottom it was replete in tasteful stuff.

This would not be surprising if the owners were either old, or one of them is an investment banker. The couple, however, is in their late thirties/early forties; she doesn’t work, and he is in PR. How the hell do they pull it off?  I know they made some money flipping their last house, but surely the townhouse would absorb most of that profit.  And I’m sorry, publicists of the world, but I know 99% of you make hardly a living wage.

Don’t you wish you could just barge up to people and brazenly go “I say, old chap, what is your secret?”

Anyways, besides looking like something out of House & Garden, the place smelled divine. It was some exotic concoction of sandalwood, lily and the blood of trust fund babies. You know it isn’t Glade. I became obsessed with enhancing my own place aromatically. I can’t afford an Eames chair, but perhaps a nice candle would lift me into the chic set.  

Well. It’s a pretty asinine exercise, isn’t it, trying to replicate a scent?  I wasted a morning at Bath Works and Beyond, a store that’s completely over-run with vanilla and cinnamon, the two very scents that I loathe. Crabtree & Evelyn seems to have the same merchandise since 1921 and few candles or fragrance plugs.  The Body Shop has some promising scents that I may return to. But my superego, which is basically Scrooge incarnate, kept threatening to throw me to the wolves.  Spend money on fragrance for a room? Pah! “Well, is Glade really so bad?” I mused. 

In the end, I bought an Air Wick candle.  On sale.  And I already regret it – when lit, it smells exactly like an Air Wick candle on sale.

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