Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Building Blocks

My domestic inventory has been accumulating for some time now. I've had plenty of time to experience the value, or lack of value, of everything in the collection. Like a wardrobe, one choice builds on the previous one, and with care, it is possible to accumulate everything one needs, or indeed wants, with minimal hassle and investment.

I've had the advantage of four generations of hand-me-downs from both sides of my extended family. Well-designed low tech artifacts are my stuff of choice, followed by ultra-light state of the art backpacking gear so that I am always prepared for emergencies. 

In Nomadic Furniture, designer Victor Papanek shared the wisdom of pairing one piece of ancestral furniture with folding chairs. Super-luxurious self-inflating car camping mattresses with their own layer of memory foam cushion seating, beds, and pallets on the floor. They are modular with Oregon Rodeo blankets and standard feather pillows.

I have never found a folding table that is stable enough to let me relax when I'm using it, but the classic board and trestle of the Middle Ages has not been bettered. Stools with flat wooden seats work as side tables and lamp stands as well as for seating. 

One good table lamp with a silk shade is the functional minimum to communicate domestic intent. Papanek filled out his collection with seven balanced-arm lamps.

The floor is actually the main piece of furniture. Get that right, and the rest will design itself.

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