Battle of the Sexes


I have mentioned before that I am obsessed with lanterns these days.  Not just any lanterns, of course – that would be too easy and cheap – but antique French lanterns like this:




This beauty came from Chateau Domingue, the wonderful architectural elements store in Houston.   But, even though I love the antique lanterns, they can be very pricey.   So imagine my delight last summer when I happened into one of my favorite shops, M. Naeve, and found not one, but two identical lanterns – albeit reproductions – at a very decent price.   Sold!   I knew exactly where they would go – my family room and the stair landing.   But, it was going to be a long, hard road to get them hung and I knew exactly why my beautiful new lanterns were going to become a major issue in the Webb household.  This is one of the issues:



Issue I:  The ceiling fan that has been hanging in my family room for 15 years.  


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Issue II:   Ol’ Mr. Slipper Socks Man himself.


Now understand, I hate to brag, but my house is my domain.   I, and I alone, am in charge of each decorating decision.  And by large, that’s a true statement.  Except for a few issues – one of which is ceiling fans.   Mr. Slipper Socks Man has to have “air moving around” to be happy – even in the winter.  And it’s not just because Houston isn’t scalding hot (which it is) but maybe, just maybe, if he would let me move the thermostat down from 78 degrees he might not need his “air moving around” 24/7 – but that’s what he claims he needs to be happy.  And I’ve humored him and let him ruin my bedroom and my family room with his ceiling fans.   But these two gorgeous lanterns were just too much to pass up – and frankly, I’m tired of humoring him.  I hate ceiling fans and I’m done with them.  But to get them hung I knew it was going to take a lot of skillful psychological maneuvering.    I was up to the challenge.

OK, it took longer than I thought.    The two lanterns sat in the garage for a year, waiting for him to change his mind about his insistence on a ceiling fan in the family room.   After waiting in vain for a year, I finally had to take the matter into my own hands.  The lanterns needed light kits installed, so a few weeks ago, I dragged them out of the garage to Alcon on Alabama who miraculously electrified them both in less than a week.    When the lanterns were finished I brought them home and placed them on the floor by the front door - a BIG hint.   The lanterns sitting by the front door seemed to say:   “Hey, Mr. Slipper Socks Man – we aren’t going away.  We’re here to stay, get used to it, bud.”    So, they sat there for a week, and we never once discussed them.  But he knew, he knew exactly what I had on my mind.  And bless him, he is so sweet – and I guess that’s why I humor him because, he is the sweetest man in the world.  He finally comes up to me one day, out of the blue, and we have this conversation:

“You can go ahead and put up the lanterns, I’ll just get a space fan.”

“Really? You don’t mind?   Because I thought I could always just put one on the landing and the other one in the guest room.”

“No, go ahead, it’s O.K.”  

See?  I told you how sweet he is.  Had I only known then what plans he had in his mind.

Sam and Randy Bennett, the best electricians in Houston,  bar none,  (these guys can install a sconce anywhere and not leave a mark) came out and installed the two lanterns the next day.  One went on the landing, the other in the family room.   To tell you the truth, I am in love.  Do you blame me?    Look:


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Like I said, I hate to brag, but does a light fixture get any prettier than this?  I’m in love, seriously in love.  Yes, I know it’s not an antique, and yes, I know an antique would look better, but hey – it’s good enough for me.    In fact, I couldn’t be any happier. 


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Full on view – wow!   To me, this lantern is worth more than a 10 carat diamond and a closet full of designer clothes. 



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The landing with the second lantern.   Love it, but I’m not as “in love” with this as the one in the family room.  This is like comparing your Chanel purse with your Cole Haan purse – you like them both – you just like one a little better.  Not that I would know, I don’t own a Chanel purse, but I’m assuming I would feel that way. 



Another view – hard to get a good shot.  


So, Mr. Slipper Socks Man had a migraine the day these were installed and left for work late.  On his way out, I told him I would get a space fan for him.  Fine, just get a good one, he warns me.    You know it!






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I thought this was a good fan.  It’s small, but really powerful.   Quiet too.   And kind of cute, in a old fashioned way.  Easy to remove before company comes over, a good compromise.     Mr. Slipper Socks Man comes home and admits (he hated to do this, I know) that he loved the lanterns.  He actually used that word “love” which is a rarity he reserves for his daughter always, and me sometimes.  The fan though, really, really bothered him.   A lot.   He moved it around a few times.  He asked me “have you lost your mind?” – it was:

1.  Too small.

2.  Not powerful enough.

3.   Too loud (it wasn’t!)

4.  A total disappointment.

5.  It was a big mistake to “let” me take down the ceiling fan and put the lantern up.


He was so miserable he went upstairs to the bedroom to watch TV before the 10:00 news.  Another rarity.   The next night, he stayed downstairs until only 8:00.    I knew he was silently fuming over the loss of his ceiling fan only to be replaced by my kind-of cute retro fan.   I figured time would take care of it.   I was wrong.    The third night he came home with a huge package from Brookstone.  I have no idea what a Brookstone is, but I can only imagine  how much I loathe that store.  


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It’s not funny.  Not funny at all.  I”m not laughing.  I am the one fuming now.   I mean, really, is HE serious?   OMG, just looking at this picture makes me want to cry.  And I’m serious about that.   I am at a loss of how to handle this.  He, though, is in heaven.  He proudly points out all the features to me:  a remote control!!!   It oscillates!!!  It’s really quiet!!!  (It’s not.)   He neglects to mention it’s most obvious adjective:  It’s Ugly!!!!



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You see it there, on the right by the TV on steriods, another one of his dreckorating ideas.    I need a valium.   Look how TALL that thing is!!!!!!  OH and I almost forgot, he also bought a mini version of this for Elisabeth’s room!!!   I might kill him tonight.




Oh wait, there’s more.    Mr. Slipper Socks Man is really dreckorating tonight.   He moved the rattan child’s size chair in front of the fan to hide it.   OOOHHHHHH – yes!!!!    That REALLY hides it!!!  I can’t see that humongous, ugly, black thermometer at all now.  Whew!  Problem solved, Mr. Slipper Socks Man to the rescue.  Another job well done.  Ok, I’m going to go cry now.  This is just not getting any better.  





Which bring me to this:   The Skirted Roundtable is discussing this very issue this week – “Designing for the Sexes” – and no, it wasn’t planned at all.  I had no idea I was going to be embroiled in my own “Designing For The Sexes”  fiasco.   We also discuss -  in the Blogging Segment – how to grow your audience.  Be sure to listen this week!!!   AND as an added bonus this week – we have a new feature:  “Saturday Short” – a sort of bloopers from the Skirted Roundtable, things that made the cutting room floor.  I haven’t even heard it yet – but judging from the picture of the “recliner” I have a good idea what it’s about!!!!!  Very funny!!!

Click HERE to hear!


Ben just read this – he has one request.  That I show him looking like a “human being.”   Here he is on his company’s web site:



Aw, he’s soooo cute!!!!   And he’s cool too!

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