Mark Hartley, Editor
You enter our house by stepping into a foyer, and a formal dining room sits off to the left. The stairs are on the right. Straight ahead, behind a wall housing a wet bar and a fireplace is the den, gathering room, or an informal living room. I`m not sure what the builder had in mind. I just call it a huge room. A vaulted ceiling looms over what also is an empty room. If anything, we should refer to the room as an indoor soccer arena. The three kids practice their footwork, and, yes, they`re not that good. Too often, you hear the thud of the soccer balls rebounding off the paneling. We`re pretty sure that this is not what the builder had in mind.
So, after 18 months, we`re focusing on sending the World Cup competition back outdoors and filling up the room with furniture. The experience has been somewhat traumatic. Five simple words define my requirements for furniture: "I don`t want to sink." In other words, buy what you want; just don`t ask me to sit in something where I have to roll onto to my stomach and push outwards with my forearms in order to tumble out of a piece of furniture. I prefer firmer cushions and upholstery - not rock hard, but also not something a Hollywood stunt man plummets into after being pushed off a skyscraper. I just want to sit down. I don`t want to sink when I do.
Apparently, though, that`s not good enough. The indoor soccer arena is still accepting leagues. The plan, it turns out, is to buy the centerpiece of the room, the couch, sometime within the next year or so. It`s amazing that so much work goes into buying a sofa. The color blends of the upholstery have to complement the carpeting and the walls precisely. Well, actually, it now appears that the walls will be repainted to complement the couch. The kids have already been warned about the penalties for allowing any soccer balls, shin guards, or other uniform parts to approach the yet unpurchased couch.
The worst part of this experience is the slip covers. I had thought grandmothers and aunts used slip covers to preserve what they think they will bequeath to younger family members. In all honesty, I thought they looked kind of cheap. I have since been corrected. Slip covers, it has been pointed out to me rather emphatically, are a work of art. On a recent, mind-numbing expedition through a furniture store, I was examining a couch with a slip cover when I noticed some of the underlying material was showing through at the bottom. I pointed this defect out. Both women raised their noses high in the air and observed rather haughtily that such limited exposure of the underlying material is considered trendy. Uh-huh. Okey-dokey. A couch`s visible underwear is considered art; a man`s underwear, revealed as he bends to examine leaky pipes, is considered gross. I sat down on this work of art, and I sank too much. So we moved on.
I share this with you simply to let you know that decorating RDH for its new appearance was an absolute thrill in comparison. We bought several consumer magazines that address women and health care - two characteristics that obviously are important to most RDH readers. If you subscribe to Walking or Country Living, you might note some similarities, since we admired some of their styles.
RDH adopted its last new look in 1992. Kathy Witherspoon, Mylynda Callahan, Marc Scheiner, and I worked on that format. This time, I give my thanks to Alana Herron, PennWell`s art director, for her assistance with the new look. I hope you like it.
Editor Mark Hartley can be contacted at [email protected]