My teal global-inspired dining room.

My dining room and my buy-once philosophy.

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I have a buy-once philosophy: I don’t like spending my money on things that I know will only be temporary, that I know I’ll want to replace eventually or upgrade. Sure, things wear out, things break, things go terribly out of style, not much lasts forever. Things, sometimes, have to be replaced. But the key phrase there is “have to.” There’s a difference between replacing something because it no longer functions and replacing something because it wasn’t what you really wanted in the first place. Replacing a placeholder. I try only to buy things with the intent that I’ll have them for as long as I can.

And, because of that, I suppose, I tend to splurge.

But, I splurge on things that last. My DSLR, top-of-the-line at the time, is over seven years old, and still does it’s job. I’m only on my second TV since 2001, my second only because I inherited a used flat screen from my parents six years ago. And I’ve stopped wearing jeans because I’m hoping, some day soon, I’ll again fit into the ones I already own.

I could have finished decorating my apartment by now. I could have bought some cheap rugs, a cheap chair, a cheap bookcase just to have the items in place. I could have filled my apartment with temporary things that I could afford right now. Instead, I have blank spaces, books piled in my closet because there’s no place to put them, picture frames with no where to sit. But, I would want to replace all that temporary furniture eventually and, as they say, a penny saved is a penny earned.

So, instead, I buy bigger pieces, nicer pieces, as I go, “forever furniture” that I hope will last, and leave those other spaces blank. For now.

The buffet in my dining room is one of those pieces.


My teal global-inspired dining room.


Besides my dream teal couch, I also always imagined a gorgeous buffet/sideboard/cabinet in my dining room. Why? Well, admittedly, because I was hoarding both a full tea service AND a full coffee service and needed somewhere to store them… (Speaking of which, anyone want to come over for coffee…?)


My friends Jen and Glen have a really nice sideboard and Jen raved about where she got it: Nadeau Furniture with a Soul. Turns out the Chicago location in Ravenswood is only a mile from my apartment. And I’m kind of hooked on the store. I go at least once a month to stroll through the aisles to see the current collection even though I shouldn’t be buying anything else any time soon. But a girl can look anyhow… The two best things about Nadeau are that they import all of their furniture from India and Indonesia (two countries I’ve spend time in) and that they have really beautiful, unique, furniture for a fraction of what similar pieces would cost in a “big box” store.

So, when I fell in love with this Indian buffet cabinet, it was still an investment, but much less of an investment than say, one from Crate and Barrel.

And it’s definitely “forever furniture,” something I don’t see myself ever wanting to replace, ever needing to replace, ever having to replace. It will always be a focal point in my dining room or, I suppose, of the storage unit if I ever travel full time again…

Either way.



Of course, now that I’ve waxed on about my buy-once spending philosophies I’ll confess this: the table and chairs? IKEA. And totally temporary…ish. Sometimes you have to bend your own rules, especially when it’s something functional that you won’t be able to afford your dream version of for a long time. And I won’t be able to afford a nicer dining table and chairs for a very long time. This table was only $40 and the perfect small scale for the room. And the chairs were 20% off. And pink. So I justified spending the money. A living room chair, a rug, a bookcase, are all easy to do without. A dining table was just nice to have. Even if I still eat all my meals at my coffee table.

So, of course, my dining room isn’t done quite yet and it won’t be done for a very long time. I should probably plant something in those empty planters (I mean, I did at one point, but everything died). I should probably straighten out the artwork. I eventually want to somehow hang the lantern I bought in Hoi An. And, yes this room could use a rug too. But that obviously needs to wait until I can afford the perfect one.




Buffet Table: Imported from India from Nadeau.

Table: TÄRENDÖ Top and Underframe from IKEA.

Chairs: TOBIAS lilac chairs from IKEA.

Wine Rack: Gold 8-Bottle Taj Wine Rack from World Market.

Art: Travel prints from Rifle Paper Company

Frames: Antique Zinc Metal Vertical Reese Frame from World Market.

Curtains: Damask Striped Curtains from Pier 1.


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Hi, I'm Val. I spent most of my 20s in a standstill, unable to pick which path in life I wanted to take. I wanted the nomadic life of a traveler but also wanted the husband, the condo, and the kitten. Unable to decide which life I wanted more, I did nothing. When I turned 30 I’d had enough of putting my life on hold and decided to start “choosing my figs.” So, I quit my job, bought a one-way ticket to Europe, and traveled for three years. Now I'm back in Chicago, decorating my apartment in all the teal, petting my cats, and planning my next adventure.

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