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Thursday, August 18th, 2005

Design Despair at the Laid-Off Lair

The Laid Off Dad

Posted by The Laid Off Dad | View all posts by The Laid Off Dad
Leave a comment! | Published in Baby Blogapalooza 2005, General

Laid Off Dad. The layoff was long, and demoralizing, and laden with stress and penury. But it also gave him 15 months of hands-on parenting that he’d never trade.

A design blog for parents is a daunting paradox, since interior design and small children go together like Purim and pork chops. If you have young kids and/or geriatric pets, you don’t have many design options. On one end of the limited spectrum, you can do as my aunt did and create a tasteful, pristine living space that no one was allowed to do any “living” in. On the other, you can give into the chaos and [literally] let the chips fall where they may.

We tend toward the latter, because we don’t want our kids growing up afraid to touch anything. It’s their home as much as it is ours, as long as they confine their art projects to designated spaces and at least try to un-wreak the messes they have wrought. It’s a lovely idea, in theory; in reality, it’s a joke. That’s why I like to call our design style “Early English Breakfast”; if you submerged our couch in a vat of hot water and let it steep for a while, you’d have yourself a potent brew.

Truth be told, my wife and I weren’t all that concerned with design before our boys arrived. We’re renters, after all, so why [metaphorically] bust a gut decorating when your landlord’s gonna dock your security deposit unless you rip it all out? This is just a temporary living space–we’ll care about design when we we have something more permanent to call home. (Note: I’ve been saying this to myself ever since I moved into this place 15 years ago, when my roommate used what is now my son’s bedroom for all manner of pot-based rituals.)

For now, I choose to look at our living space as a European artful jumble, a canvas of self-actualization that strives to refresh the eye. It is a tactile, emotional approach–a combination of the relaxed and the precise.

Then, one day, we will own, and the boys will be older, and we will have the space to house them. And I will realize just how [very literally] full of crap that assessment truly is.

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