Friday, June 29, 2012

My Dad, Banana Republic and the Brown Living Room Set

My dad is a funny sort of chap (no, I'm not British but Chap is such a great word.) He has always had a deep affinity for outdoors-y stuff and over the years has delved deep into his hobbies. Some of his hobbies have included water-skiing, golfing, hunting, fishing, and dressing really snazzy. Actually, I would have to say that dressing snazzy is a 'lifestyle commitment' for him and not a hobby. The man is truly committed to looking sharp all the time (I think he might even iron his Pjs!) and has been his entire life!

Anyway, when I was in middle school some time during the 80s (gasp!) I remember one of my dad's favorite stores. The store carried what I now remember as, Elephant killing-mosquito swatting-palm tree chopping-everything in here is canvas and twill and brown - Safari Wear. But, I was still a kid and the store had a Jeep parked right in the middle of it and they had these little wooden bridges you could walk across to get to the various areas of the store and those parts alone were AWESOME even if the clothes looked to me like they had been made out of softened cardboard boxes. It was like walking into a store in the middle of an African jungle!

The store was Banana Republic and this is what it sometimes looked like:

 Crazy Safari Drivers!
And the clothes looked like this:

Clothes Made from Softened Cardboard Boxes

It's a far cry from today's storefront and clothing:

 Where's the Jeep?

Men in Pink Pants?  Hmmmmm...

(By the way – all of the photos above I found on Google images – don't want to get sued for using photos without telling people where I got them.)

I share these photos of Banana Republic's early days because it reminds me of my own decorating journey. Like many others when I began decorating my first home I had many missteps including trying to 'theme out' my entire house and choosing some pretty awful paint colors. I painted my rooms so many different times my husband said we lost square footage in that house because the wall paint got so thick.

Like me, my house is always a work in progress and constantly changing (hopefully improving.) I often have to work with items I acquired during my dark days of early decorating. My living room furniture is a prime example of this. I bought it from a mass retailer as a set. It was quite exciting – I got a sofa, loveseat, two side tables, a coffee table and lamps and it was all pre-coordinated for me so I didn't have to think or be creative at all! was all brown so it was completely kid friendly which was the prime goal after the 'White sofa and chocolate pudding incident' with daughter #1! wonderfully exciting. Yawn

 My Brown Living Room

10 years later I still have (most of) that matchy-matchy set and I hate it. I change out the throw pillows and try to decorate around it but I have come to realize that it's just not me and it really needs to go. Like Banana Republic, I have grown up and prefer a space that is more grown up and modern and have ditched my animal slaughtering safari days (although I do really love my unknown African animal rug in my living room and , I assure you, I played no part in its demise!)

I wanted to share with you some rooms that I find beautiful and inspiring as I continually try to update my own living room:

 Photo above from 
(The owner of this site, Bailey, has amazing and colorful rooms!)
Don't you just want to rub your cheek all over that green velvet sofa?

 This is Erin's living room from another one of my favorite sites,

 Found on 
A million times 'YES' to a hot pink coffee table!

 Another beautiful velvet sofa in this cinnamon red color - from  
I LOVE almost every room in her portfolio!

It took Banana Republic millions of dollars and several years to shed its original Safari image.  I certainly don't have millions of dollars budgeted for my living room so it may take me several decades to make it as stylish as I envision.  But as I sit next to my family on my brown sofa under the light of my brown lamps and set my wine glass on my brown table, I will see my animal rug under my coffee table, and hopefully be reminded of Banana Republic and their long journey to where they are today.

À la vie et à l'amour

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