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Monkey

This week, I went to the Laguna Design Center Spring Market. While furniture and finishes are dominant factors in interior design, I found myself mesmerized instead by myriad accessories — the things you don’t really need unless you do a lot of entertaining and have nothing to talk about.

A giant-size jack (sans ball); a bottle with a starfish “arrangement” stopper; trays and boxes; harlequins sitting on a stacks of books, chin on fist a la Rodin’s The Thinker (bookends); a monkey holding a mirror; and, my favorite: flat-bottomed ball weights with rings on top that one may have used in pre-digital-scale days.

I took note of a bathroom wastebasket made of stingray skin trimmed with water buffalo bone for $1,295. At that price, I cannot imagine letting anyone actually put anything in it, so I would put that wastebasket into the accessory (a conversation piece?) category. Sure, you could line the wastebasket with a plastic bag, but then you’d be covering the water buffalo bone trim you paid for.

Fortunately, I found a toilet and pedestal sink with a gold plum and bamboo design painted on the vitreous china that would “go” with the wastebasket (and its matching “accessories”). I didn’t see a price tag on either, but looked them up later online. The manufacturer sells them for $7,590 and $6,490, respectively. In that context, $1,295 is a drop in the bucket (or wastebasket).

I delighted in the showroom filled from floor to ceiling (and all across the ceiling) with lamps, mirrors, sconces, pendants and chandeliers. Glass was the dominant theme (no doubt because light shines through it), but I particularly liked a large, origami-looking globe of notched star shapes.

The lighting showroom also had intriguing candles that looked like tiny succulents. A candleholder for them looked like a tree branch. I saw candles and even more candleholders in just about every one of the 40ish showrooms at the design center. It got me thinking, especially in context with the electric light fixtures, about how candles use to be a necessity (that is, if you wanted to see anything when the sun went down) and now are primarily “just” a highly desired accessory. It’s nice to know there are areas in which technology has failed to quell our desire to have a household object. The wall-mount phone didn’t fare well as time marched on, but we still want fireplaces and candles to give us heat and light. I guess we’ll never lose pride in having learned to make fire (and invent the wheel).

If we need to feel a little more humble, there’s always the monkey holding a mirror.

Janice Kleinschmidt

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