Monthly Archives: July 2014

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In pursuit of P.V.C.

I buy vintage for several reasons; it’s cheaper than buying new, pieces are typically better quality than their modern counterparts, and it’s good for the planet. I also enjoy the thrill of the hunt; stalking second hand stores and garage sales is more satisfying than picking something out of a showroom line-up.

I especially love the clean lines and tapered legs that characterise Danish mid-century modern furniture, and a teak sideboard is number one on my vintage hit list. As if the functionality wasn’t enough (they’re a sturdy shelf, cupboard, chest of drawers, display cabinet and minibar in one), sideboards can be accesorised to create a dramatic focal point in any room of the house. And did I mention they make a great minibar?

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Unfortunately, my love of mid-century is at odds with my passion for perfection. Of course I’m aware that unless pieces have been vigilantly kept from the reaches of damp, pets, children and the excessively clumsy, they’re going to be battle-scarred. Scratches, discolouration, peculiar smells and missing parts are to be expected. But that hasn’t discouraged my pursuit of pre-loved nirvana; the elusive state of pristine vintage condition (P.V.C.).

Pickings are slim here in Perth. Maybe it’s the geographic isolation, maybe it’s all that darn sunshine making us live longer, but P.V.C. mid-century sideboards are so rare that the few that do hit the market are either snapped up immediately or priced well out of my range. So until I become a furniture restoration expert (it can’t be that great a leap from mastering sandpaper and spray varnish, surely?) I’ll continue hawking the classifieds, hoping the sideboard of my dreams slips past the vintage dealers and cashed up hipsters.

Renting in a stupidly expensive city.

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There’s no doubt about it, renting sucks when you’re a hardcore nester. Even if you’re blessed with a landlord who lets you go crazy with the paint and hammer shiz into the walls, investing your own sweat and cash into someone elses’s property is depressing.

I’m a long term renter. Even though rental prices in Perth are ludicrously inflated, property prices are worse and home ownership is pretty much an unattainable goal for single income Gen-Y’ers that don’t have loads of business acumen or methamphetamine to sell. And unless you’re willing to fork out in excess of $500 a week, the chances of securing a well-maintained property with basics like security screens, air-conditioning and neutral décor are slim. So I’ve had to settle.

When it comes to older rental houses in Perth, there’s the good kind (think polished floorboards, ornamental fireplaces and cottage gardens) and the bad kind. I’ve lived in more places with rusted fittings, cracked linoleum and burnt orange tiles than I care to recall. So, if you ever find yourself in my situation, here are my top three methods of making your dodgy dwelling a more pleasant place to reside.

1)      Hide the worst bits.

Carpet is unhygienic and ugly as feck. Forget the “warmth” factor,  I’d choose bare concrete over carpet because at least you can hose it off. Unfortunately, the relative cheapness of carpet makes it the floor covering of choice in most rentals. If you can’t rip it up and burn it,  cover those blood and urine stains with a large area rug. If you want to be stylish and screw with your visitors’ heads, try a design that looks like timber flooring.

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Pack away heavy, dingy curtains (double bag those suckers to stop the dust and ugly leaking out) and replace them with a bright new set. Bonus points if you can make them yourself or bribe your mum to do it. Ditto with dated or broken light fixtures; replace these with $6 ikea paper lanterns and put the old ones back up when you leave.

2)      If you can’t hang prints, improvise.

If your landlord won’t even let you install temporary command-strips, any surface will do; desks, sideboards, chests, slow-moving pets, even the floors can showcase your art just as effectively. Grouping prints with sculptures will make you appear especially inventive and avoid the whole “too lazy to hang the pictures” vibe.

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3)      If all else fails, go with the flow.

My current kitchen is so dated that any attempt to modernise it would just look tragic, so I’ve chosen to embrace the vibe and accessorise with era-appropriate décor. These inexpensive orange accessories almost make those ugly 1970’s tiles appear a deliberate choice.

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Photos by Madame Squee

Welcome to the House of Squee.

Hi! My name’s Rachael and I’m an ex-fashion blogger from Perth, Western Australia who discovered that decorating my home is far more satisfying than decorating my body.

For those unfamiliar with the word “squee”, the Urban Dictionary defines it as “a random ecstatic exclamation” primarily made by over-excited fangirls. However, I believe the act of squeeing should be free from age or gender restrictions. Forget about scoring a photo with a lusty celeb; in my experience nothing invokes a feeling of unadulterated joy quite like finding the right cushions to match a new rug.

While I still enjoy dressing up, recreating my living spaces with objects I’ve bought, made or refurbished allows me to share my personal style in more accessible ways with those around me. For example, “No, friend of friend, you may not fondle my material or wear my shoes; Yes! Feel free to relax on my repainted ikea outdoor chairs and drink coffee from this enormous mug covered in dachshunds”. Plus, blogging home décor has an additional advantage over blogging fashion; I know my living room will still look mega hot if I gain a couple of centimetres around my hips.

Rest assured, the site won’t merely be a showcase for my amateur ikea-hacks and dog-themed accessories; interweb inspiration abounds and I intend to share as many squee-inducing items and trends that I can.

I hope you enjoy.

Rx