We see it everywhere.
And it's scary.
The Themed Kitchen.
Whenever we are in them, our senses are assaulted by wine bottle-carrying obese chefs, roosters of every possible size and description, hand-painted palm trees swaying the breeze on every plate and cup, swags of ceramic chili peppers around the window frame, Folksy-Country signs with wooden hearts telling us the dishwasher is full or empty, salt and pepper shakers made of cowboys napping whilst standing up against cactus (Ouch!).
It's an epidemic. And when a family of fat chef figurines arrived at my house today, via my significant other on a shopping spree, I was suddenly mentally forced to draw a line between tasteful decor and utter crap (that would be udder crap if it is kitchen decor comprised of black and white cows). I absolutely must rebuke the chefs and banish them to the outer realm.
Before I start a riot from fat chef lovers everywhere, I want to say I love collections, and have a few hokey ones myself. They make me smile. I happen to adore those tacky plastic bonsai trees from the fifties and sixties. I love kooky-looking figurines of Asian guys fishing with a crazy look on their faces made of off-white plastic and brown stain, to supposedly mimic ivory. I collect bejewled box purses by E. Collins (they are really, really tacky with giant plastic gems glued all over them). These things are my weaknesses, and they are displayed with off-beat pride. They are parts of my personality.
But such tacky collections do not belong in a house for sale. Or, for that matter, in the house of someone who makes their living helping others stage and/or redesign theirs.
The thing is, I want my guests to comment on my stuff. I want them to see things they may have seen before, but in a whole new light after being in my house. I want them to drive away thinking, "Well, I have never seen anything quite like that. She sure has an eye for odd but interesting crap! "
But if your house is for sale, you really want the opposite reaction. You want any cook to picture themselves chopping healthy vegetables for their family, stirring big pots of their family favorites in your kitchen, laughing with their own people as they weave a spell of friendship and abundant entertaining. That is hard to do with thousand rooster eyes staring at you as you make your way through a stranger's kitchen sizing it up for purchase.
And that is the thing: a themed kitchen is a strange kitchen to a stranger. The goal is to make it universal, warm, spacious, and able to drink a cup of coffee by one's self and a newspaper with sunlight streaming through the windows, cozy up near a loved one over a couple of steaming bowls of soup on a rainy day, and celebrate the milestones and events in class and style on special occasions with the whole clan.
You want to acheive this feeling regardless of the buyer's age, ethnicity, religious beliefs, or their own decorating style. The fastest way to do that is to get the collections of kitchen kitsch OUT and let a wider audience appreciate what your kitchen has to offer.
Just say no to fat chefs and all their ilk. Do not use them as a decorating crutch. Stand on your own two feet and find a legitimate style to show off your house if it is for sale. And if it isn't, still, please think twice about copping out and buying that entire set of dishes with a different birdhouse scene on every plate. Your food will thank you by tasting much better and be more dignified on a "plain" plate (It's ok to have a nice floral centerpiece on the table with a realistic-looking bird's nest nestled in it).
There. I feel better now.
So, how do I get these three fat chef figurines out of my house without hurting my beloved's feelings? I may be able to save others from falling into the kitchen kitsch crevasse, but apparently I cannot save myself.