Family Home improvement

Nailing the ‘industrial, rustic, farmhouse, you know’ look

My wife and I have begun decorating our house. The most surprising part of this is not that we have lived in the house for more than two years and haven’t started decorating until now.

That part is explainable. We rented it for the first two years. We didn’t do a whole lot of hard-core decorating, because it was not our house. No sense in putting your stamp on something you may be moving out of.

But then we bought the house from the previous owner. The surprising part is that my wife and I are decorating it. Or, to be more specific, the “I” part. There is really no reason for her to include me in this, as I have the decorating sense of a color blind capuchin monkey.

In fairness to my wife, she is doing the heavy lifting. We’ve already painted, put in new flooring, and changed out numerous light fixtures. My wife asked me for my input on these things much in the way she asked for me for input when we were picking our dishes before we got married. She asked for my opinion, kind of how you ask for a child’s take on dinner. It’s not to find out what the child likes. It’s to find out what they are going to have a temper tantrum over, and you can therefore eliminate that one.

This was the absolute right choice, as I am terrible at picking out these things, and I completely defer to her on what is the best choice in these matters. If she picks out 100 options, I probably can’t tell the difference in 99 of them. She just wants to make sure we don’t end up with the one choice that I am going to harp on for decades.

So on a recent Saturday morning, my wife asked, “So you wanna go look for stuff for the house?” I was a bit taken aback, as I assumed that I would be in my usual (and understandable) role, which would be to have her narrow down the finalists, and I would say, “Hmm. Whatever you like.”

But, hey, why not be a part of the process for a change. We headed to the store and my wife told me what she was looking for. She wants our house to have what she has described as “industrial, rustic, farmhouse, you know…” I’m going to just go with her on this, as everything has turned out great so far.

We strolled the aisles of the store for about two hours. She had a few priorities she wanted to address, the first being a basket of sorts to hang on the wall by our front door where mail could be placed, rather than having it just plopped on our dining room table. Fun fact: big box craft stores carry 43 billion types of rustic baskets that can hold mail.

After we hit the 18th aisle and my wife found her 19th basket that would just be perfect, I decided that I would offer up an opinion. “Hey, see that one in your hand?” I said. “That’s the one. It’s perfect.” Pretty sure that my wife started regretting inviting me at that point.

But she is a smart one. That’s when she assigned me my job. Decorate the backyard. She has known for a while that I had a vision for our backyard, and it involves a rather eclectic vision that includes wanting lots and lots of colorful, tin animals on our backyard fence. Yeah, I know. We’re weird.

I set off on my own, and found three new members of my now-growing fence club. By the time I was done shopping for my colorful critters, I can only assume my wife subbed out the baskets another 25 or so times. She settled on one, and I have to say, it’s a fine addition to our home’s personality.

Over the next many weekends, we will continue to shop for things to keep changing our house into our home. I know my wife will add the little things that give us the “industrial, rustic, farmhouse, you know” vibe we’re looking for. I just hope I can find some more tin animals for my fence.

Mike Gibbons was born and raised in Aiken, S.C. A graduate of the University of Alabama, he now lives in Mt. Pleasant. You can e-mail him at or follow him on Twitter @StandardMike.


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