I was thinking back to when I was in my early twenties. We had Pier 1 back then. But it didn’t at all look like Pier 1 looks now.

Back then it was filled with baskets and bohemian style decorations.

Now I don’t think it has nearly the charm it did back then. Do any of you recall the Pier 1 of the late seventies?

I recall finding many a flat basket to decorate my walls with. Now that trend is back again. And I don’t have one flat basket. They got lost somewhere along the way.

And the ones stores sell now are kind of expensive.

I recall in our first little house we had this small closet for coats, etc. It wasn’t in a hall, just part of the living room.

I added a shelf mid-closet, painted it orange, and sewed a skirt for the bottom half of the door. It became a mini bar.

I didn’t even drink, but for some reason I loved the idea of creating that bar. I’ve always loved to look at something and see if I could make it into something else.

I was probably 20 or 21 when I painted the kitchen walls yellow and added red wall shelves to one wall. Now that was colorful! But I loved it. To me it was cozy and cute.

I never lived in a decorated home growing up. It was just a plain little house and I shared a bed with my grandmother. I always wanted my own room. Wanted to personalize a room and make it all mine.

So as an adult, I wanted to decorate everything. And fill my home with house plants. Which again is a current trend.

I didn’t even know the word “bohemian” back then. But that is probably what you might have called my style.

I sure got my exercise moving the furniture around. It always pleased me to find a new way to arrange things and then do a little redecorating. The furniture was plain and old. But I always found ways to spice things up.

I had never even heard of the word “vignette“.

The kids were small and I didn’t have time to garden outside. But I filled the house with plants. On most of the surfaces and hanging from the ceiling.

I didn’t know anything about style. Or trends. I could only afford Family Circle and Woman’s Day magazine because they were under a dollar each back then. Actually I think each one was under 50 cents. So what new decorating ideas I got came from those magazines or the Sears catalog.

I even remember the anticipation of going grocery shopping and wondering if the new magazine issues were out yet.

Now we have Pinterest. I think most everyone but me does Instagram. We have online magazines. The print magazines are kind of cost prohibitive. They would have been way out of my budget back then.

Funny how one thing you remember makes you recall something else. And the old days return to your memory in vivid color.

I think it was best that we didn’t have much. I wouldn’t have learned to be creative if I could have afforded to walk into a furniture store and buy what I wanted. I learned to “make do.”

I know if, back then, I had seen distressed furniture, I would have thought poorly of it. I would not have considered the furniture distressed, but instead I would have thought it was “destroyed.”

I still can’t make myself to do that. Paint something and then distress it. I love the look of it, but I just can’t bring myself to distress it. Those old habits linger.

Oh, how things have changed. What kind of decorating were you doing way back when?

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  1. Hello: I love all of your quilts. Do you make them?

    I do remember the early Pier 1 and Cost Plus, but I was never a fan.

    It wasn’t until Country Living came out that I started finding my decorating stride. I went thru that style, then went onto more Country Home style, then the British Country Living and Scandinavian Style.
    Now getting older I have too much clutter way beyond my taste. I need to de-clutter and lighten up, but have a very hard time parting with things.
    I’d much rather have land around me- green and trees, and a very simple house. Inside what I need … and a little doggie and my Siamese cat.

  2. Hygge – made a positive impact on my life through elements in my decor.
    Love my special Hygge corner for relaxing, meditation, praying, regrouping.
    I follow Montana Happy on Facebook.
    There are several books about this Danish way of life. The Danish people are reported to be the happiest folks!

  3. Oh Brenda! What wonderful memories you brought back to me today ? I too looked forward to the next edition of Woman’s Day & Good Housekeeping at the market. But for me it was in the 80’s. I was 19 and we were just starting out with twins! To say things were tight was an understatement.

    Each week I’d plan my menu, pay the bills & pray there’d be enough to go around. It was a special week when I could splurge on a magazine. But I wouldn’t trade those days for anything!! Like you I was so much more creative, stretching every penny making our little house a home. Thanks so much for bringing those times back to me!

  4. Thank you Brenda for taking me along with you on the wonderful trip down memory lane.
    I laughed, I cried and sat with a peaceful heart.
    The comments added to our “girl’s
    slumber parties. Great, great, post.
    I feel so refreshed remembering the
    good old days. Thank you again Brenda???Big Blessings Always, Martha

  5. Brenda, I remember Pier One in the 70’s. It was so much less sophisticated and purposely trendy is the way I’d describe it. I used to love to shop there–or just look. I didn’t have that much money then, either. But, now, it is so “up-scale” sort of. Interesting.

    I agree with you that we were better off with fewer options and sources. Sometimes the alternatives now are overwhelming. A person can become immobilized and not be able to make any choices from all the options. I guess those times of fewer choices are our generation’s “good old days”, huh?

    I like to shop but now I can only take a limited amount of it before becoming overwhelmed. And I do love to decorate, but again, not at the rate most of the blogs suggest and demonstrate. I mean, there are other concerns in life, right?

    And, lastly, being an avid magazine reader I am astounded at the prices of magazines off the newsstand these days! And Woman’s Day and Family Circle are still the only ones I can afford to buy at the grocery store anymore. I do have a couple subscriptions to a couple others because that makes them more affordable per issue. But I’ve always loved combining a magazine purchase with getting the groceries. A little reward for the effort of shopping, lugging and putting away!

    Take care. Pats for the fur babies.

    But your blog is free, basically, being included in the price of my internet so it’s like getting a magazine installment every day or so. And the content is as good or better–definitely more personal–than any magazine published! So, what’s not to love? That’s something we didn’t have in the “good old days”!!

  6. You bring back memories. We had an import store here called Barzizzi’s. It was locally owned and wonderful. They imported food things, spices, and wonderful stuff…ceramic, brass, wood, textiles…all real imports and very well done. Their store was downtown in a warehouse kind of district and it was warehouse inside. The smell was memorable. This was in te 60s. I started going there when I was in high school with my sister and niece.
    Pier 1 was a similar store, but a bit more pricey and organized. You’re right about now. I really haven’t been in several years because they aren’t special anymore. The first real trendy type store here was The Shop of John Simmons, and he was always there to offer ideas. His logo was a beautiful sunflower, and was on his brown bags in black ink. His shop had a fantastic smell, too.
    Now there is too much to choose from and most of it isn’t that great. The furniture to me isn’t desirable at all unless you can spend 5000 for a sofa. So, I buy old stuff…especially tables and bookcases and wood pieces and lamps.
    Do you or have you ever visited a thrift store like Salvation Army or Goodwill or any of the local ones? That’s about the only place I do shop for good stuff now. Old things are my schtick. Few new things appeal. A friend and I go about once a week and have lunch someplace we love and hit the thrifts…until we run out of energy. I pretty much search for things for the kids and grandkids now, as I overflow with all the stuff.
    In my other life(first marriage) I had a lot more money, and new stuff was really good then(mid-60s) so I bought new and nice. But now, I really like finding a bargain now and if I had the energy now I’d be redoing a lot of stuff. I’ve had booths in the “antique” malls and also did design in my younger life, but health and age have subsided those adventures.
    I rarely see any of the “distressed” things that look good to me. Most aren’t well done and look very amateurish.
    I love your house and the things you do. Keep it up!

    1. Oh, and I also had a retail greenhouse in the 70s. Now my granddaughter is decorating the house she and 2 others are renting while at college. She says she like boho, but it’s not like the boho of the mid-century. The pictures she sent me of what she likes was white everything and neutral accents. That’s not the boho of the olden days! hahaha The only thing I can see she likes that is really boho is macrame

  7. Seems like Pier 1 has gone more modern and Asian these days. I used to love to browse through the store — so many wicker, rattan, casual pieces and the candles and baskets were plentiful and wonderful and affordable. I do still go in because they still have some cute holiday decorations (pumpkins, etc.) and the store is always beautifully decorated but I do not enjoy the store like I used to.

    I have become addicted to Rectify — I am now in the second season. About to sit down and watch an episode (or two or three or a whole season)! Thanks so much for writing about this series.

    Take care and have a wonderful afternoon.

  8. Brenda, I can remember paying 15 cents for the Family Circle Magazine. LOL I started out with what they called Danish Modern (only thing we could afford) and it looked like lawn furniture except the arms were wood. LOL Next sofa was floral from Sears and my first good sofa purchased in late 60’s was purchased through a good furniture store and lasted 25 years. It was so comfortable. Been through a lot of “trends” but just try and buy what I like. At this stage of life, I am not buying anything. I remember Pier One with the baskets and the long feathery pieces you placed in a tall basket. They were great looking except they caught a lot of dirt too! LOL All the catalogs we use to get in the mail were the best. I would look at them for hours and day dream what I would purchase. Don’t get those anymore either – too expensive to print and I can’t pay $12.99 for a magazine. Thanks for bringing back some great memories.

  9. The old Pier One was where college students and young married couples would go to furnish their first apartments. It was affordable back then. I still have the plates that I bought there when I got married.

    I still subscribe to Country Living magazine. I used to subscribe to Mary Engelbreit’s Home Companion and Country Home magazines until they went out of business. I miss them. I got so many great ideas from them.

    Our apartment is a mishmash of styles. Almost everything is thrifted and second-hand. It’s cozy and comfortable which is what is most important to us.

    1. Country Home is back on the market now but the last time I checked there was no subscription available. Haven’t looked in ages since I got very angry that they went out of business just as soon as I renewed my subscription. They wouldn’t refund my money either. My friend and I both called NY and complained but I’ve forgotten what Dept of Gov’t we called. The woman we talked to said there’s little they can do actually. What they and other companies do is go out of business then reopen under a new name except Country Home kept their name!!

  10. Does anyone remember Rhoda Morgenstern’s (from the Mary Tyler Moore Show) and the the Rhoda show. My husband and I were just starting out in those years. I loved the way she decorated her apartments. Boho with lots of plants. I didn’t do much boho furniture because most of ours furniture was from our Mom and Dad’s basements hand me down furniture, and my bedroom set from my childhood. I had a double size bed and dresser.
    I did have the indoor plants then though. We had a big picture window in our living room, so I filed it with plants, hanging baskets and pots on the sill and tables near the window. Some of the plants were on macrame hangers. Swedish Ivy, Spider Plant, a giant hanging prayer plant, a huge rubber tree plant, Christmas cactus, African violets, Asparagus fern hanging. There were so many plants we really didn’t need curtains ever closed, and they used to look so pretty in that window from the outside. I still remember that gorgeous plant window, and our little Goodwill couch, and used doctor’s office chair. We did spend $199 dollars for a dining room table and 4 chairs. We still use that table, but the chairs have been replaced several times in the past 45 years. We still have my Grandpa’s humpback trunk and my husband’s Grandma’s wood lamp table. I Hadn’t thought about my pretty plant window in so long. Thanks for bringing to mind a fun memory.

  11. I used to love Pier 1. But my all-time favorite decor store starting when I was a teen was Crate and Barrel. Now they’ve changed where most everything is ultra-modern. Someone told me they’re trying to appeal to the 30’s crowd.

    I guess I always had a funky side because when I was 12, I told my mom I wanted my room to be painted hot pink and I wanted green shag carpeting. She obliged, believe it or not. But it didn’t last long because then we moved when I was in 8th grade.

    I don’t have a particular style now. I tend to like a lot of looks and styles so I don’t settle on one. I just decorate with whatever appeals to me at the time. I do like mixing old and new. I’ve always loved plants and have always decorated with them.

  12. I think your apt is just darling…I would not change a thing. But I understand your need to keep changing out things…had a good friend like that and she too was always so full of ideas. I used to tell her she could so easily be an interior decorator!! You too, Brenda!! You could work as a person staging homes for sale too!! If you wanted to do so!!

  13. Starting out in my first apartment – it was a 3 bedroom place – already furnished – I shared with two other roommates, . When I moved into that first place apartment, my mom gave me a few old pots, I had a brand new aluminum set of cookware that I’d bought from one of those door to door salesmen before I graduated from high school in 1969, and mom gave me some plates and a few pieces of silverware. I had some books, and my clothes, and some old towels from mom. I later moved into an unfurnished 1 bedroom place with a new roommate. We bought matching twin-size beds (since we shared a bedroom) at a rummage sale for I think $15 each, with mattresses, and each one had a small box-canopy that went over the head of the bed. They were actually quite fancy. I remember they were a cream color painted wood, with blue and green painted accents. I added a cream-painted large old dresser and mirror from Goodwill for $25. I was working for a solo-practitioner attorney at the time who had moved into a suite of 3 offices with another attorney. My boss had 2 old vinyl covered chairs that he was going to throw out when we moved to the shared office space, which was already furnished with “waiting room” furniture. I asked for those 2 chairs instead, they were like small “armchairs” – in a red/maroon color. No cracks or tears though, so they were respectable if an awful color! For the first year my new roommate and I lived in that 1 bedroom apartment, those 2 chairs and some old wood planks rescued from a junk pile stacked on top of concrete blocks filled with our books and assorted “art” (mostly what a lot of people would consider junk, I’m sure, LOL) were the only furniture we had in that room, besides my cedar chest with my stereo/radio combination on top. We had a small dining area off of an even smaller kitchen, and there was a “hall table” from my roommate’s brother in the center of it. To eat, we’d pull the chairs from the “living room” into the “dining room” and eat at that hall table. We made do. We didn’t have curtains at first. Those old towels, remember the kind that used to come inside large boxes of laundry detergent – the yellow/orange and white striped ones? Those towels, LOL. Sheets were bought at the five and dime, which we still had in those days, the early 1970s. I remember how proud I was when I had saved up some money and had applied for and received some “credit” from a furniture store and I bought my first new sofa and 2 chairs. Years later, that sofa and one of the chairs went to my parents’ house. My dad loved that chair and used it until it finally broke and he totally wore the sofa out, both pieces were in his “TV room.” That furniture paid for itself at least a couple thousand times over. I used sheets for curtains, and photos clipped from magazines got framed in dimestore frames and hung on the walls. My first venture into “art” was made out one side of a cardboard box covered with aluminum foil and decorated with numerous “tin foil” sort of flowery looking things I made and then tacked to the cardboard with fancy upholstery pins and dusted with some spray paint. I had that thing for YEARS, moved it from apartment to apartment because I think I was moving about once a year at the least. You used what you had, generally hand-me-down stuff, and slowly, over time, I built up a huge library of books and over the years of looking at decorating magazines long before HGTV was created, oohed and ahhhed over beautifully photographed, expensive rooms. Probably the most expensive things to this day in my house are my books and my collection of pink elephants, both collected over many many years. Those frugal ways and the poor childhood, you don’t forget those lessons. You don’t have to be rich to live well if you’re not allergic to keeping things clean and exercise a little creativity.

  14. Brenda, you described my early marriage days perfectly! Occasionally, I’d splurge and get a $2.49 magazine. Country or decorating type, of course. I’d never waste money on fashion, celebrity or gossip magazines. Pier One was exactly as you said. I loved it.
    The late 80s, early 90s brought unfinished furniture stores into my life. You can’t imagine all the pieces I refinished! I loved the painted and stained look. Still do. Haha, you’re right…I never could bring myself to distress any of it. Although, I just redid a kitchen hutch to compliment our farmhouse look and sanded the paint on the edges. It turned out AMAZING!
    Was wondering where you purchased the headboard? Our one and a half story home has slanted ceilings in the bedrooms and the walls are only 4 feet high. I’m having a heck of a time finding a shorter headboard. Thanks!!

  15. Pier One is an interesting place to pick up ideas….items, not so much. I make “investments” when I buy there now, not Purchases, haha.
    While I love to look around, it becomes overwhelming at times and I decide to go home and “shop the house”. I have enough treasures that I can do that.

    I just purged a lot with two 3-day yard sales and did well, but trust me when I write that I kept most of the good stuff….lots of it!!

    I shop at yard sales, estate sales and have picked up some real treasures for so little money and enjoy that much more that going to retail stores. Sometimes, I feel as if I’m on a rescue mission, but use common sense also. I can go to 10 sales and buy nothing and then find a real “find”. More fun.

  16. I remember pier 1 of old. The thing I remember most was the smell. Almost made me dizzy.
    And trends are thieves and liars. First they say if you want to be happy, buy this, do that. And the moment you do…it changes. Now you are,” so yesterday”. Buy this new thing to be happy. It never stops. And funny thing is, it’s always the same.
    My style has not changed but the name of it has. When I was a younger women my style was called country. Now it’s called farmhouse. Same look, same items just a bigger price tag.
    Blessings to you
    Minnie

  17. Didn’t have money to decorate! Once we took a board, unpainted and about eight inches across. Don’t know how I came to possess it, must have found it. I put those large daisy-like stickers they sold in “hippie” stores on it and held it up with large cement blocks ( cinder blocks) to make a table. When we were first married in the early 70’s, there was no money for decorating so I just didn’t think about it. I would’ve loved to have my own washer/dryer, though! Pier 1 was full of brass do-dad’s, I didn’t know what to do with if I’d had them.

  18. I remember having a wooden beaded curtain in a doorway and made in India cotton tapestries for hanging or using as a bedspread. I am not crazy about reliving clothing styles but decorating styles I can. Like the better quality of things now.

  19. I loved primitive then. Now not so much. Then I moved on to Early American. Then Danish modern became popular. I didn’t like it then and I don’t like it now. Farmhouse is stylish now but I think it is trendy. So, I prefer to have a mix of styles that work together. So guess that makes me eclectic. I can remember a time when I thought green and orange were beautiful together. Now I love black and white with a pop of color.

  20. It is amazing how things have changed through the years. I guess with life things are always changing. As long as you stay true to what you love no matter what the trend it I think you can always be happy. Have a great rest of the week.

  21. I agree with you about Pier I…it used to be like a walk into another land, or something.. I recall buying one of the Papasan Chairs, way back then..I had dreamed about it a long time and finally a year or two later got one…! They also had unique coffee and tea cups, and I did manage a few of those… However, for the most part..could not afford their fun things back then…. I think, too, it was better then. I do not purchase much there now but still enjoy the browing. I did recently splurge on some new pillows for my new sofa..and they were buy one and get half off the other….. I was blessed to have my own room after one of sisters moved out..and I always like decorating with my little doggie collection… My Mother kept a nice decorated home but it stayed the same always for years, as was not able to change much. “Memories..like the corners of my Mind”. Your place looks fabulous..love your bedroom. Wish I had seen your other homes’s decor.. Have a great Wednesday. Thank you.

  22. I used to get a lot at Pier 1. It was incredibly inexpensive to go there, unlike now. I too had oodles of house plants, but I find them hard to keep alive now and without aphids in AZ. I just tossed one – gasp, but it continually looked like it was hanging on for dear life. Life is too short to look at that ugly plant. Oh, I so enjoyed decorating and painting. I still like to decorate, but I don’t know, my house is too big, so it doesn’t seem fun anymore. Plus I got great joy out of rearranging, but now, it affects everyone else, so I sit here stagnant. Drives me crazy. Plus the houses now, makes it hard to rearrange. No walls, no functionality, bad traffic patterns. Oh I had such joy doing all that then!

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