What We Want, What We Really, Really Want

Our spaces are personal, and in these minimalist days, what we choose What you want, what you really really wantto surround ourselves with matters. 40 years in the people/space/stuff business, I know what we want, what we really really want (and why we want it) is rooted in our cells.

Online auctions fascinate me. Discretionary purchases are very telling. What we pass on says just as much as what we buy, and how much we spend. And it stirs my inner design anthropologist!  Always in the back of my mind, why are things chosen, what are we really in search of here?

Not too long ago one auction I was following had 3 very different items that caught my attention, for different reasons: A “Monumental” Oak entertainment center, a cardboard potato chip box full of plastic pink flamingo lawn ornaments, and a set of nesting, multi-colored vintage Pyrex mixing bowls.

I used to design similarly proportioned entertainment centers that sold for thousands, was curious what this one would fetch. Although there wasn’t an immediate need for the flamingos, goofy and fun, you never can tell when they could come in handy. And the bowls, well, because Nana had this set of bowls.

Here are screen shots of the winning bids. 



No one was just buying wood, plastic or glass. These were not utilitarian purchases. They were buying how it made them feel. 

When “big” was the raison d’etre for everything, these showy, over-engineered, testosterone-infused wall units full of big components (I know, how did I really feel??)  was de rigueur for most family rooms.  But conspicuous consumption has largely been unstylish for a while now.

On the other hand, a big honking order of fun and goofy? Yes, please!! And what I would give to make cookies again, just once more with Nana.

If you’re trying to sell your house, go beyond the comps. Beyond 2500 sf, 3BR/2BA, etc.-what are buyers really looking for, what do they really want?  Take it to the bank: buyers more the most part are done with big for the sake of big, or pedigree. Authentic is what we all want, what we really, really want.

And when the space is for you, be guided by your gut. Yes, I guess, even its an almost $800 cast iron rooster doorstop.

Marie Graham is an award-winning design and home staging pro who’s been helping buyers, sellers, and homeowners see, and connect with what is important to them her entire career.