Thursday, February 01, 2007

Of Oak, Pine, and Particle Board

Ever since my marriage in August of 2003, I have been searching. Searching for something that seemed unattainable. Searching for something I feared I would never find. Searching . . . for a reasonably priced, not-made-out-of-plywood bedroom set.

My quest began with hope (as most quests do). That hope was quickly dashed, however, when I walked through the doors of a store that claimed to be part of the largest, most reasonably priced furniture chain in Southern California, and was immediately confronted with this:

This bedroom set, the furniture chain employee cheerily informed me, is called the Palm Court. My apologies if anyone reading this actually owns this bedroom set. I don't mean to question your taste. But seriously, what are you thinking? And also: we can never be friends. (And also: do you live on a Jamaican plantation?)

After the Palm Court fiasco of 2004, my bedroom set search went from bad to worse. Browsing Crate and Barrel one day, I thought I'd found my salvation, but, when I looked at the pricetag and realized that my salvation would cost an entire month's salary, my hopes were dashed. I mean, please. I wasn't about to pay an entire month's salary for my salvation, of all things.

(But just so you know, if I had a million dollars, I would waltz right into Crate and Barrel, and purchase one of their beautiful bedroom sets. With CASH.)

Some of you, knowing my affinity for a certain Swedish warehouse, might wonder why I didn't just drive a truck on over to Ikea. Surely they must have a reasonably priced bedroom set, you might say. And you would be right. And I was just about to purchase such a bedroom set when I happened to read the fine print and realized with dismay that their bed frames fit a European king mattress, and we have a California king. Stupid Europeans and their more uniformly shaped mattresses.

After Ikea, I gave up for a while. Sometimes my strength would return for a fleeting moment, and I'd be drawn to a 40% OFF! sign in a store window, only to be disappointed when I worked up the courage to venture inside. One night, my fevered brain even considered ordering furniture from Target, but, much as I love the place, I couldn't bring myself to purchase a headboard that looked, from the picture on the website, like it might turn out to be more than slightly orange.

And so, my husband and I lived without the objects of my desire. And my husband, being a typical male in some respects, stated that he didn't care. He didn't need a nightstand, he informed me; the plastic box full of clothes he hadn't worn in years (some with price tags still attached) would do just fine. And our dresser was fine, too: the dresser I'd purchased in grad school; the one my then-boyfriend helped me carry up the stairs and put together (he put the top on backwards, but I never told him, 'cause he was being all manly and Mr. Fix-It and stuff). Once in a while, the bottom would fall out of one of the drawers, or the entire front panel would come off, but my husband always re-attached it with remarkable efficiency (he's pretty manly, too, you know).

And then, in January of 2007, just when it seemed all hope was lost, a miracle occured. While searching Craigs List (love it) with furniture-related despair in my heart, I found an ad for a (dare I say it?) very reasonably-priced, very lovely bedroom set. It seemed too good to be true, but it wasn't. The ad was for a store nearby that had just opened - a little store in a strip mall where one could order one of five different styles of furniture, in one of eight different colors. And so we ordered. And so it arrived. And there was an agonizing moment when I thought it wasn't going to fit through our bedroom door. But it did. And when we put the bed together, the very heavy, real wood frame only fell on Steve's toe once. (He was very manly about it.) And, when we woke up the next morning, I felt like I was in a hotel. A beautiful, non-Jamaican hotel. And my husband? He loves it. And he doesn't miss his plastic box full of clothes he never wears. Not even the littlest bit. (It's a good thing, too, because that plastic box and all it contained is now resting peacefully in the back room of Salvation Army.)

I'm not going to show you the bedroom set yet, because I still need to hang curtains and do a few other non-manly, decorative things. But, before I head off to dreamland in my antique-stain sleighbed, I will tell you this:

Sometimes, dear readers, if you hope long enough, and never, EVER give up, wishes really do come true.


AzĂșcar said...

I am SO pleased! It took us a similarly long time to come up with our own set. Nine years and one clearance sale at Pier One later, we actually have a set I like that is not plywood--nor a mattress on a bedframe against the wall.

Jannah said...

I would just like to take a stand for those of us with particle boeard furniture, I'm not sure why, I think I am probably just being defensive, but honestly, we bought ours 5 years ago thinking maybe it would fall apart after a year or two and we would have to invest in something else, but here we are 6 years later and it is still holding together. Sure we have to use a brown magic marker to fill in the dents our children make, and OK, we could never offset our furniture on a diagonal like all the fancy designers do,(Ours is cheap enough that the veneer only cover 3/4 of our headboard, there are bare spots on the back.)
But Heck (that's right I said heck!) who cares? Particle board owners, stand up and rejoice, you have been off the floor and away from the wall and sleeping like a baby - unless you have a baby and then let's face reality it doesn't matter what kind of bed you have, you ain't sleepin anyway.
Emmie, just a side note, thank you for providing a sounding board for those of us who are too lazy to launch or maintain a blog site of our own!

julie said...

I can't wait to see the picture(s) of your new bedroom set. I long for the day when I have a bedroom big enough for a bedroom set. Someday. Your post gave me hope, thank you.

Also, I am REALLY glad that the picture you posted wasn't the furniture you bought.

compulsive writer said...

So glad you didn't settle. And that you're enjoying your non-Jamaican-style bedroom set.

cotton_in_the_medicine_bottles said...

Ho Humm. I guess I'll go home and sleep in my bed that only rests on a frame; plug in my phone on my Shopko Sauder bedside table; and get my pjs out of our 35 year old DI dresser--and dream of the day my wishes will come true!

Phoebe said...

I am going to craigslist RIGHT NOW.
Maybe my dreams can also come true.

Emmie said...

I remember eyeing your bedroom set with envy. If particle board can look that good, ain't nuthin' wrong with it.

I wish I'd known that others shared my plight - we could have had a support group! True confession time: every night I go to bed wondering if my new bedroom set will have fallen apart by morning. So far, so good . . .

Kiki said...

I'm SO glad that second paragraph ended the way it did because when I started reading the post and could see that picture awaiting me, I thought, "EW! PLEASE. NO. She can't be THAT person."