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Where James Swan got it wrong

So I read James Swan's 101 Things I Hate About Your House. And it had a lot of common-sense things (dining room chairs should be comfortable, don't put precious antiques in a child's bedroom, highlighting your book collection is a great idea) and some take-it-or-leave-it ideas (all homes should have a writing desk, never use paper napkins, all curtains should be hung near the ceiling).

And then there were the things I DISAGREED WITH VIOLENTLY.

These things, let me tell you them.

* Powder rooms (ie, guest bathrooms) should have muted lighting. No, no, NO. I cannot tell you how frustrating it is to be a guest in someone's home and want to check the status of my makeup and not be able to see it. Even worse is being an overnight guest and trying to apply makeup in a gloomy room. Mood lighting is lovely, but please - have the option of decent illumination available.

* Have "paper guest towels" near the sink so guests don't inadvertently use your "exquisitely embroidered linen towels." Here's the thing: I don't like items that purport to be useful but that you're not actually supposed to use. If you want exquisitely embroidered linen, stick it in a frame and hang it on the wall, don't make it look like a towel and cause your guests confusion because there are The Hand Towels You Actually Use and the Ones You Just Look At. (Also, throw pillows. If your pillows are so precious that you don't want anyone to sit on them, lean on them, or otherwise use them as pillows, then they don't belong on the couch.)

* Sheets should be either white or cream, no other color. Um, no way. Sure, crisp white sheets are beautiful and if that's what you like, go for it. Me, I loved my black sheets until they wore out, and now I love my chocolate brown set and my gorgeous amazing wonderful creamy-buttery-yellow-with-subtle-stripes set. Sometimes I mix them together and that's wonderful too.


( 16 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 9th, 2012 10:30 am (UTC)
I agree fully! Especially the dim lighting. :-P
Jul. 9th, 2012 10:42 am (UTC)
Really. No one set of living/home arrangements is going to be right for everybody on the planet! I agree with you on your items. It's silly to have utilitarian items so pretty they can't be used. (Like the pretty gift guest soaps in my childhood home that sat there and collected dust and aged until they actually were unusable.*)

And, colored sheets, definitely. Splashes of color can really cheer me. I don't mind simple, plain rooms sometimes, as they can help splashes of beautiful color and texture stand out. But we need to see some of that color--particular through and after a long winter where we are not getting the splashes of color from nature so much. We need to be reminded. Also, too, yes, there is a place for darker colors, which can be very soothing.

*ETA: I have to confess that I am guilty myself of saving up special things for a "special occasion"--like gifts of European chocolates--until I have waited too long and they have degraded and lost their original quality. So I do sympathize, and pledge to work at removing the log from my own eye. :-)

Edited at 2012-07-09 02:49 pm (UTC)
Jul. 9th, 2012 05:30 pm (UTC)
lol, we had some of those guest soaps too. I tend to the hoarder side of life (saving up my favorite bath scents, for example, instead of just enjoying them!) but over the past number of years I've tried hard to break that. The good things in life are meant to be shared and enjoyed, not saved until they're no longer good.
Jul. 9th, 2012 08:48 pm (UTC)
The good things in life are meant to be shared and enjoyed, not saved until they're no longer good.

This is probably as useful a philosophy as everything contained in that book. :)
Jul. 9th, 2012 11:26 am (UTC)
These things which you say, I agree with them.

Particularly on the lighting. Sheesh.

Edited at 2012-07-09 03:27 pm (UTC)
Jul. 9th, 2012 05:26 pm (UTC)
Yes yes and yes!

And we have Navy Blue sheets. :)

In this house, if something is not machine washable (pillows/towels fancy or plain/etc), it is not kept long. lol
Jul. 9th, 2012 11:31 am (UTC)
I don't understand the point of Special Guest Towels. Just put out a clean hand towel before people come over, sheesh!

White or cream sheets, huh? He'd be appalled at my sheet collection!
Jul. 9th, 2012 05:31 pm (UTC)
I know, right?!
Jul. 9th, 2012 12:09 pm (UTC)
Good thoughts! A dark bathroom IS very frustrating.
Jul. 9th, 2012 05:32 pm (UTC)
I have so many makeup horror stories caused by dim lighting. lol.
Jul. 9th, 2012 01:02 pm (UTC)
Oh yeah, I agree with all you say. Especially about confusing guests with items that should/shouldn't be used. I am all about making guests feel comfortable and unconfused, when possible!
Jul. 9th, 2012 05:32 pm (UTC)
Unconfused is good. :)
(Deleted comment)
Jul. 9th, 2012 05:28 pm (UTC)
White/cream/light sheets just SCARE me. lol But you're right, they are attractive. :) But to me, as a guest, I feel mortified that I will do *something* (nosebleed/sweat/have a baby spit up/what have you - life happens) to mess up the sheets which would leave me feeling mortified. Whereas if they were darker/more forgiving of stains, I wouldn't be as embarrassed. It almost feels like a privacy issue to me! lol
Jul. 9th, 2012 05:34 pm (UTC)
This is how I feel in hotels! My bath towels are darker colors, and I always feel so bad about seeing makeup smudged on the white, white hotel towels.
Jul. 9th, 2012 05:33 pm (UTC)
I don't think I could ever comfortably live in an all-white room, but they are beautiful! I've seen some beautiful ones in blogs.
Jul. 9th, 2012 07:55 pm (UTC)
I agree with all of this (except I don't own any brown sheets :))!
( 16 comments — Leave a comment )