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Life and Laughter—Home Makeover: Uninspired Edition

Oct 31, 2016 04:54PM ● Published by Peri Kinder

By Peri Kinder



If researchers study my genetic make-up, they’ll find a preponderance of genes that create a longing for candy and silence, and a disturbing lack of genes related to interior design and holiday decorating. 

When my kids were little, my decorating style was what I called Sticky Chic or Bohemian Toddler. As they grew into teenagers, my design concepts alternated between Early Landfill and Festive Asylum. Now, my style is what I lovingly call Dust. 

Before Pinterest was a thing, I’d scour magazines for ways to make my home look pleasant that didn’t involve renting a bulldozer or spending $5,000. Now I’ll spend hours on Pinterest, scrolling through images of beautiful kitchens and bathrooms; then I’ll purchase a new garbage can and call it good.

I’m amazed by people who can look at a room and visualize décor that belongs in Good Housekeeping because people who visit my home usually ask if I get my decorating ideas from Mad magazine. I just don’t have an eye for that kind of stuff. My genes have no idea what to do with throw pillows. How can you sit on a couch with 27 throw pillows?

Someone once said, “Design is thinking made visual.” If my thinking could be made visual I’m afraid it would include a lot of blank and/or confused stares, accompanied by slow blinking. 

I know a woman who used a handful of matchsticks and a pound of year-old taffy to sculpt a quaint Halloween yard display. For Christmas, she twisted three green pipe-cleaners into a full-size holiday tree, and then adorned it with a dozen hand-knitted baby quail. She leaves a trail of glitter wherever she goes. I hate her.

To me, decorating means finding kitchen tile that camouflages spaghetti stains or changing out the family photo that is 10 years old. I have no idea how to arrange lovely accent pieces. If I’m feeling a little wild, I might invest in a scented candle.

I was recently asked to help create fun table decorations using crinkly paper strips and plastic flowers. I dumped what I thought was an appropriate amount of paperage and flowers on the table, but my centerpiece looked like a crinkly green nest that had been attacked by crows.

The woman in charge of the event walked up to my “decorated” tables and let out a gasp. She quickly rearranged four strands of the crinkly paper and suddenly the whole table transformed into a fairy wonderland with twinkly lights and butterflies. A real decorator defies the laws of physics.

  Halloween decorating is easy. I already have the cobwebs and spiders. I just sprinkle some blood on the floor and call it good. Christmas decorating is a little more difficult.

Last year, using my sparse skills, I spent the entire afternoon creating a festive holiday atmosphere in our home. My husband walked in, sipping his Diet Coke, and glanced around the room.

“I thought you were going to decorate.”

I looked at my hours of work and tersely replied, “I did.” 

  “What’s that pile of crinkly paper strips doing in the middle of the room?” 

There was a long pause while I considered the ramifications of manslaughter. “Don’t you have something to do?” 

Now that scientists can genetically modify our DNA, perhaps I can get an infusion of the interior design gene. I don’t need to be Martha Stewart level, but at least something a little better than Mad magazine. 


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