Ellas Canetti, winner of the 1981 Nobel Prize for Literature, wrote a novel called Auto-da-fe. Its title in German, the language Canetti wrote in, is Die Blendung. Even so, I’m sure Canetti intended it as Serious Literature, although all I remember is guffawing at its protagonist’s predicament. On an impulse, he marries his housekeeper, who immediately causes him considerable consternation by buying furniture, so much furniture that he is forced to flee their four-room apartment. The Nobel Prize judges praised Canetti «for writings marked by a broad outlook, a wealth of ideas and artistic power,» but to me his genius was recognizing the folly of furniture.
It seems like only yesterday I celebrated having «made it» in the grown-up world by trading in my cinder-block bookcases for some Borgyborg shelving system from IKEA. After a raise or two, I upgraded to solid-wood bookcases. Unfinished, because I couldn’t afford stain, but I didn’t mind the warping, and I liked low-grade pine’s natural hue. I acquired other furniture, mostly of a style called Early Perfunctory.
Then I got married. My home became our home and rapidly filled with fancy-pants furniture. How can this are, I wondered, trying to decide which of our three sofas to sit on. Technically, one is a love seat, which to me is too narrow to be a sofa and too wide to be a chair. What’s to love?
Then one day the woman to whom I’m related by marriage announced we needed new furniture. She called it a «makeover.» The only piece we kept was the love seat.
Since then, we’ve undergone two more of these makeovers — we stay, but the furniture moves. We’ve kept that love seat, now colorfully reupholstered but still too short for napping.
How my furniture episodes relate to log homes is that most log-home owners stay in their homes for many years. If that turns out to be you, expect to update your decor several times. You don’t need to win the Nobel Prize for Economics to know those times are going to require spending money.
So, when you’re calculating the cost of buying and building a log home, think ahead to the cost of living in it. Somewhere along the line, new furniture will be involved. By following Joyce Standridge’s seven tips for budget makeovers on page 22, when that time comes, you’ll be able to soften the blow. Meanwhile, here’s an eighth tip: Make me an offer on a 30-year-old love seat.