Carolina Irving

Sometimes I wonder what sets a thing in motion.

For me, with interior design, it was this room created by Carolina Irving back in 1995. Shown here in Elle Decor from that same year, the room just got to me.

I loved the faded watermelon-pink caned back sofa with the periwinkle blue walls. I loved the bohemian quality with a touch of aristocracy: the mix of paintings, the glass decanter collection on the console, the indian fabric, the morocan tiles, the faux bois table lamp (this was 14 years ago people - talk about ahead of the curve) and the clam shell sconce. I'd never seen a clam shell sconce or if I had it wasn't done with such panache. At the time, I had no idea who Ms. Irving was or who she would become. Maybe she hadn't any either? Either way, thanks to her, this room may have change my life in a small but monumental way. Can I say 'design kismet' without sounding corny?

When I finally had the ability to buy a similar cane back sofa, I could not find the damn thing anywhere. I searched all of L.A., with no luck. Of course my impatience won over and I bought a sofa that was a close second...or maybe even a close third. When it arrived, after four months of waiting, I was traumatized. Not only did I not like it, I pretty much hated it. It was like settling for the wedding dress you could afford instead of the one you craved. Custom made, and non-returnable, I have lived with the thing for 10 years.

I think I'm still in sofa-shock, afraid to make a decision or worse to make the same mistake twice. My colleagues at work tease me about it. Every month I contemplate purchasing a new sofa only to hedge and change my mind.

Even if I could bring myself to buy something new, my circumstances have changed. Now we have a five year old and grown older kids too. I need comfort, not cane.

It's a safe bet that I will probably end up with some shabby chic something or other. Something like this, which is not too shabby in its own way...

But, oh, some day...

You can learn more about Carolina here and here but neither does her full credit.

Elle Decor Dec./Jan. 2005 photo credit - henry bourne


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