Saturday, April 16, 2011

Our Light Fixture Fruit Bowl, or, How To Think Like a Martian

We've recently completed some kitchen upgrades in our home. One old element that I was thrilled to vote off of the island was this dated, mammary-esque light fixture. (The popcorn ceilings are gone now too. Hooray!)

As my husband teetered on a ladder in our kitchen disassembling the old light fixture, I was itching to toss it out. But when he handed me the glass shade, I couldn't help but notice a few endearing qualities about it that I had missed when it had hung above my head in the kitchen, taunting me with its sheer 1987ness:

  1. It was made of thick, heavy, frosted glass.

  2. The edge along the top rim was smooth and finished.

  3. It was deeper than any of the mixing bowls in my kitchen cupboards.

  4. It had a flat spot near the hole in the bottom, which suggested that it wouldn't roll to one side or the other if I were to place it on a flat surface.

  5. It appeared to be capable of corralling fruit, and, as fate would have it, I needed a fruit bowl.

I rinsed it out, filled it with fruit, stuck it on the counter, shrugged, and murmured, “Cool.” And that is how I came to own a light fixture fruit bowl.

I share this story because it illustrates a special kind of thinking that I use often in my interior redesign work. (For those of you who are not addicted to HGTV, interior redesign is a fancy term for redecorating using what you already have.) You might call it “creative thinking” or “divergent thinking”, but I like to call it, “thinking like a Martian”. If you can learn to think like a Martian, you will end up with a much more unique home.

So, how do you think like a Martian? You examine your possessions with fresh, Martian eyes. A Martian wouldn't use the term “end table” to describe an end table. A Martian would call it, “A 26 inch high object with a flat surface on top capable of balancing snorks and zeenies” (books and drinks). If you don't limit yourself to the label “end table”, you open up the possibility of using a stack of picnic baskets, a pile of suitcases, a dresser, or a bar stool to serve as an end table. Or you may, as one of my clients did, use an enormous flowerpot as an end table by fitting it with a round top!

With Martian thinking, you don't see shower curtains, pillowcases, tablecloths, sheets, cloth napkins, and blankets. Instead, you just see: fabric! Thanks to my tendency toward Martian thinking, I live in a house where pillowcases are made into curtains and curtains are made into pillowcases, coat hooks serve as curtain rod brackets, rusty metal burners from an old tobacco barn fill in as candle holders, costume jewelry dangles from the bathroom chandelier, and my most-beloved vases might be referred to by non-Martians as “juice glasses”.

What are some examples of Martian thinking in your home? Do tell!

This post has been linked to Tidy Mom.