Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Upwardly Mobile: Style beyond Ikea

Upwardly Mobile, adjective.

1. Advancing or likely to advance in economic and social standing
2. A means to shift my eyes from Pinterest towards God's workings in this world. A deliberate exploration of what it means to be a 20-30 something in suburbia and also a child of God. Because Jesus gives me my identity.

The news at the beginning of 2014 in Saint Louis is that Ikea, stylish furniture store of the masses, will be opening a city store sometime in 2015. It was all over the rush hour radio.

While some of our furniture and toys have been mistaken for Ikea, the only Ikea items we currently own are hand me down dishtowels that now make excellent cleaning rags, kid fabric veggies, a play hat, and a few clamp top glass storage jars.

Ikea's roots trace back over 100 years to influential art and design movements. The Arts and Crafts movement influenced the Bauhaus, which influenced Mid-Century Modern. Read more about the history here, which sums up Ikea's business principle, "Form follows function follows price." I love Arts and Crafts stuff, being an architecture student helped me appreciate minimalist Bauhaus stuff, and some mid-century finds do have a wonderful clean line aesthetic.

When we purchased Abigail's big girl twin bed and Evan's trundle, some price and product comparing did go down. Craigslist? New? Eco-products or those potentially with formaldehyde and glues? Ultimately, Nick and I decided that our buying power should go further than a few years or our immediate needs.

How long, with how many uses can the furniture last? Can it be refinished?

When we're done with the furniture, will the condition still be good enough for resale?

Is the style a trend, or does it have lines that could become classic?

From where is the wood sourced?  Is it American sustainable hardwood furniture?

In this season of frequent moves... use a 5/50 paradigm: Buy with 5 years in mind, or buy with 50 years in mind?

Ultimately, we have consistently bought organic wool/cotton/latex (chemical-free) mattresses, solid wood furniture new or used, and mostly biodegradable wool/cotton/linen fabrics used or new. Our stuff may not be trendy or magazine cover worthy, and it takes us a while to research and decide to purchase. That's good news for our bank accounts to wait a while on large purchases, good news for eco- and American businesses, and good news for our household to have a few quality pieces (no worries about off-gassing or chemical leaching) to last a lifetime.

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