How's Bayou? Your trash is my treasure
Does Medicare cover rehab for spouses who show worrisome signs of being teenage techies at heart?
Several months ago, I rushed up the stairs to show Millie the daily cartoon, "Zits," with its teenage hero stretched out in bed, watching the flat-screen TV while checking e-mail on his smart phone with his laptop next to him. There she was, framed by multiple fluffy down pillows, with TV, laptop and iPhone spouting sound and data bytes -- life imitating art.
I applaud multitasking of information; but it can lead to overload, and to what I've christened Fraus Freud Fraud. This as-yet-unrecognized syndrome consists of one's spouse drinking in pop psychoanyalsis and deciding -- incorrectly, of course -- that you're dysfunctional in preceisely the manner in which the media are describing the disorder du jour.
In the most recent manifestation of this affliction, I've been pegged as a hoarder.
I prefer to think of myself as a Multi-Item Visionary.
I know generally where everything I've collected over the years will go. Sometime, somewhere, there's a place for it, just like in West Side Story.
Take the 12-foot-tall cypress arched double doors that I had to have in 1980. A few years later they became the entrance to the then brand-spanking-new Louisiana Children's Museum, our tenant above Dixie Art on Julia Street in the Warehouse District. When the museum expanded and no longer needed them, they found their way up to Madewood, where they sat until they became matching entry doors on either side of the stage when I created a small theater in the Rosedale building on the grounds in 2008.
The massive columns that support the proscenium arch above the stage are all that's left of a Garden-District Greek-Revival house that was demolished in the 1960s. Together, the bits and pieces make a fabulous tout-ensemble that looks like it's been there forever.
There's no way I'd have thrown away the five massive mirrors constructed as a folding screen in the ballroom for director Bill Condon's first flick Sister, Sister, largely filmed at Madewood. Guests now admire their reflection in them in an upstairs guest bathroom.
And that huge kitchen cabinet the set designer built in the Old Kitchen, just for effect? With a few structural adjustment and supports, it's the workhorse storage unit in our main kitchen.
When the economy was flush, Pottery Barn always had the most remarkable end-of-season clearance sales, with desirable items going for 75 percent off list price. The pewter lanterns for $20 instead of $80? Must haves. And a steal, as I found the same lanterns the following year in a souk in Marrakech for a hefty "bargain" price of $35 apiece.
You've probably already guessed that I'm the right-hand page of those design magazines that show the $40,000 renovation on the left page and the $4,000 makeover on the right. Can you tell the difference? I usually can't, with the telltale exception of the IKEA furnishings that always show up on the right.
That's why the two newly-renovated guest bathrooms have a definite Euro-chic feel, starting with the metal towel stands from IKEA that cradle the existing pedestal sinks, approximating "The Bold Look of Kohler" and mimicking those fancy freestanding bowls that cost more than a month's worth of shopping at Whole Foods -- at a Save-a-Lot price.
It's all in how you put it together. Those hanging lights in the shape of bunches of grapes? Well, they didn't make it into the scheme this time. But I've held onto them for 35 years now. And, although Millie's not particularly fond of them, you can be sure that some day, there'll be a time and place for them.
How's Bayou? the secrets of remaining sane while running an upscale B&B on Bayou Lafourche, is written weekly by Keith Marshall, a former Rhodes Scholar and graduate of Yale and Oxford universities who now juggles his time between Dixie Art Supplies in New Orleans and Madewood Plantation House in Napoleonville. For more information on NolaVie, visit NolaVie.com.
How’s Bayou? the secrets of remaining sane while running an upscale B&B on Bayou Lafourche, is written weekly for NolaVie by Keith Marshall, a former Rhodes Scholar and graduate of Yale and Oxford universities who now runs Madewood Plantation House in Napoleonville.