The red elephant in the room.

I have a very large red leather chair in my living room, which at first was a curse when I brought it home from the store. Upon its arrival I realized that it was just too big for the space for which it was to occupy. I loved it in the store when I first saw it two years ago. It reminded me of a dark blue recliner that my Aunt Mary and Uncle John had in their mountain home in Tahoe. One could sit in that chair for hours and read, but mostly one fell asleep in it after a full day of mountain air. So when I saw this chair in the store, and sat in it, and it felt the same as the blue chair, I knew I had to have it. I reasoned we only had a couch to sit on, so this would be great for anyone coming to visit us. We have very few visitors but that didn’t stop me from purchasing it. It is funny how our minds work, because when it arrived, the scale was a bit off. It was much larger than I thought. The front door had to be removed in order to budge it through the entranceway of my home. Then the wrought iron staircase banister had to be disassembled to get it up the nine steps to the main floor. I wasn’t discouraged, I was so sure it would be the high point of my décor in that room. The fit was completely out of balance when the two huge movers stood there each holding it between them. They hemmed and hawed about where it would go, this way, that way, but when they put it down, they told me they wouldn’t move it. So in just a few seconds I had to move my mind around it, and visualize where the objects in the room would be situated and moved just to accommodate it.

I think that we all have different thoughts on decorating; some people are minimalists, some are comfortable with stuff, and others like me want our creature comforts of books, objects, art and perhaps some frivolous things in one place where we can view it all in harmony with our psyche. Perhaps we all build our nests according to some inner training that we received as children, and there may not be a rhyme or reason why we nest the way we do, it just happens. My childhood was spent learning about ancient objects and furnishings, which had great personal value to my parents and grandparents. I, too, found great pleasure in those same objects, and so when I found this marvelous chair, I thought I would place it in a zone where it could have a commanding view of my things and, also of the outdoors. I thought this chair was the greatest chair and as it turns out it IS quite comfortable to sit, rock and sway in. It does serve as a great reading chair. From the red chair’s vantage point, one can swivel around the room to see an underwater landscape of red and blue cardinal fish, view the blue sky and evening crimson sky, silhouetted with birds. The red chair also possesses a commanding view of one of the most breathtaking and mystical views of Mt. Tamalpais, between the round ruddy hued Eucalyptus leaves. One can sometimes view a veiled mountain in a foggy mist, and at other times, the ever-changing daylight on the green shrubs that drape the mountain in a cool cast of colors. Even one of my friends, who comes to visit (who happens to be 96), Edith, says that this red chair is her favorite chair ever because as she slides back into its cocoon-feeling, she feels she is at peace in my place. One day she shared that she feels a deep-seated connection to the ordinary things arranged on my shelves, and that those small items remind her of a place and of a time when she was growing up in French Camp, in the San Joaquin.  Her memory roots as it turns out are very similar to mine.

I have learned to love and trust that this chair is the right thing for my living room, although I admit that it has taken me quite a long time to trust that I made the right décor decision. I know that I have to get used to the fact that I fell in love with a red chair. Buyer beware,  don’t buy on an impulse, instead, carefully measure the space that it will occupy with paper cut-to-size  of the space. Edith comes to visit when she can, and I know that I am the lucky one that she chooses to visit, but I also know that she enjoys the view from this behemoth red chair.

Copyright 2010 Helen Weber Holden-Gladsky



Writing little snipits on notecards, doing little watercolors were always things I would do to stay in touch with friends and family. Today those little snipits are woven into the stories and they have also become the illustrations in my children's books: Elephoot, Elephoot Returns and Penelope - The Tea Mouse. I am currently working on my next book...
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One Response to The red elephant in the room.

  1. Hummingbird says:

    Well, I hope I fall back in love with my green chair. I think when I move, I will reposition it with my favorite view and maybe our old romance will come back! ; )

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