I took a break from powering through Ikea (I really love/hate that store…or is it “love to hate" that store…or "hate to love" that store?) and glided into the 320 square foot demo living space. Here, within six temporary walls was a beautifully coordinated compact space. In pristine colors of sea foam blue, black and white, with polished silver accents, was a space one could live in containing everything you’d need to live a beautiful life. (I do realize that in parts of the world there are families of eight living in the same space with even less stuff, but that is not what my fantasy was about.) The daybed’s daytime job of becoming a couch pulled it off under a toile façade (and I do like my toile). Small scale furniture, most with dual purposes (like surfaces and storage) and built in storage taking advantage of every inch of wall space allowed enough extra room for me to imagine arriving home and waltzing with a cat at the end of a work day (if you know me you know this is truly a fantasy as I would no more waltz with a cat than choose to hang out at an Ikea just for fun).
I took my time wandering through that little space, soaking in the fancy fold down drying rack, the convertible table with just one of its two fold down leaves extended. I pulled out the little drawers of said table and saw that my chopsticks and spaghetti noodles could fit into those drawers if needed. I opened the closet door in that back hallway of a room and figured out how limited my wardrobe would be in that space. I imagined only my little black dress, a black blouse or two, a pair of black pants and a sea foam blue cardigan nicely filling up that space. I looked around and determined I could dress in this space without anyone seeing me from the imaginary flats facing the imaginary windows that exposed the rest of the space. Yes, I could balance on my black stiletto heeled boots and pull on black tights in this close space. After all the walls would easily prop me up on either side.
The bathroom was genius in space use: a full sized sink had a polished silver little tray suspended over it to rest my white soap and black toothbrush on. Built in cubbies around the mirror displayed pots with plastic green plants (the green a slight hue of sea foam blue): there was plenty of space for such luxuries as decor. My M.A.C. makeup would have to go behind the closed cupboards, except for the face lotion in its black and white label that could live openly in the black and white world. Wait, the eye shadow compacts in their brushed silver containers and my black applicator brushes could also live openly on the shelves. My life could be accommodated. I spent a good five minutes or more in that space, imagining a simple, yet color coordinated life. It all seemed so attractive and doable.
I began thinking of a scenario of something similar to a favorite childhood story: From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler in which eleven year old Claudia Winkler runs away from home but decides to go somewhere comfortable so chooses the Metropolitan Museum of Art in which to escape. Like Claudia, I become quite comfortable in the display bed. I think of Novalee Nation in Home is Where the Heart Is who makes her home in a Wal-Mart after being abandoned by her boyfriend as she nears delivery of their child. I like the idea of living a second life, in a fully public area, having the place to myself at night. I’d end up decorating the store at night like Buddy in Elf and singing “Baby it’s Cold Outside” in the shower. In the fantasy I have a beautiful singing voice.
Back in Ikea, I come back to earth and force myself to leave the fantasy suite. A couple with whining child has wandered into my compact fantasy life and shattered my reverie. I am plucked from the serene spaces of my mind into the confusing and aggravating maze that is Ikea to find more stuff to put into my “little" cottage, none of it which is black, white or sea foam blue. I get pissy with the clerk who tells me that I can’t order anything off the Internet or call in an order in a few days when I will be ready for delivery of my temporary couch (I’m in the market for new living room furniture and have come to Ikea for the standard plain converter hide abed that will suffice until I can figure out what I really want). I snap back at the clerk who rudely shuts me down when I inquire if I can unload my basket to the belt while she runs a price check for the couple ahead of me. I roll my eyes at being forced to buy an awkward shopping bag made of blue tarp because they no longer provide bags of any size to customers. I hate this place. But I love my simple life in the 320 square feet of a simply beautiful life. When I come back to order my couch I will build in some time to spend in that suite and maybe check out the security system to see if I could move in there. And then I will remember it is in Ikea, its own little hell, and return happily, with couch to my relatively huge cottage and all my un-color coordinated stuff.