Anthropologie is a state of mind, not a $30 candle

October 28, 2013

The other day C and I were driving x town and she said she’d kill for a Sbux green tea lemonade and I realised I’d kill for a sip of a Sbux green tea lemonade, so I pulled the car over into a parking spot and said Ok, let’s go.

Now I know that there are about seventeen million Sbuxs in Vancouver, but I pulled over at least five blocks before the closest one and C said, “hey, there isn’t an Sbux here, it’s down the road!” And I said, “Oh yeah, well, either we have to walk to it past Anthropologie, or we can just get back in the car and drive down the road and try to find a new spot.”

You should have seen her eyes light up!

I think I should explain that the one Anthropologie store here had opened in 2011, but, I completely managed to ignore it for 2 years before C caught on to all this Anthro-mania. (Ok, I must admit that I do subscribe to their emails and do now have a customer number, so I’m not as pure as all that either, but that’s beside the point.)

So high excitement! We walked down the block and into the store. Chloe fell in love; just like that. She wanted to buy everything and, at one point, my brilliant fourth year communications student, who completely understands and writes 17 page long academic papers about marketing, hegemony, opinion makers and the trap of consumerism, said, “I have to buy something…anything…but I have to buy something!” 😯

Anthropologie

There was a store here in Vancouver called Hobbs. It existed for about a million years until Thomas said that the store will close because his new store, Southlands, the most beautiful garden centre in Vancouver, has taken over his life.

I used to walk thru Hobbs every chance I had and used to have that same feeling of wanting to buy something…anything. But then I started having art and craft sales in my home and realised that something exists which I call the “Hobbs effect”.

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I had these sales for several years…I think 6 or 7…in a historic house I owned prior to this one. The house was beautiful and, at the sale time, completely staged with exquisite hand crafted gifts and vintage treasures. And only open for one weekend, Friday to Sunday, (Friday afternoon/evening by invitation only). I usually had a sell-out due to the Hobbs effect. People would come into my beautiful, twinkly home and buy several things hoping to transform their home into a like replica, just like I would always come home with something exquisite from Hobbs.

So it would seem that Hobbs effect is still very real in me, and apparently, in my child too. I can’t say that I blame her. Each time I go to Southlands I’m so tempted to buy something out of the antique greenhouse and bring it home to somehow magically transform my house into an antique greenhouse complete with stone floors and mossy benches and orchids on rusty iron Victorian stages. I live in a Craftsman cottage with amber coloured fir floors and plaster walls…it isn’t going to happen.

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But this house is a special home. It’s the home of an artist…me. And I do unusual things, like weld together railings to make a fire guard screen (above) and then leave it out in the rain to rust just right, or paint some hideously Fleckstoned lamps with my oils to make them look like rusty iron.

And maybe that’s the whole point of the Anthro style as I see it, and I’m the first to admit I might be completely wrong, but there seems to be a huge amount of artistically influenced goodies there, from sweaters which look and feel handmade to leather covered journals and painted cafe-au-lait bowls.

So, while we thought about buying an exquisitely scented candle in a reproduction mercury glass jar for $30, home we went without buying anything except the green tea lemonade we were craving, (because I’m difficult and want an authentic vintage mercury glass jar to put an exquisitely scented candle in anyway).

And when we came home C sat on the sofa, looked around and said, “Mom, you know, our house looks like Antropologie already.”

Nice 🙂

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Linking very late with Mary for Mosaic Monday

Leaf tea
DCX

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18 Comments

  • Reply Melissa October 28, 2013 at 6:32 pm

    I love the style at Anthropologie. Their prices have increased over the years to the point that it’s now unaffordable to me, however. So I’ll take time to wander the store, and then recreate via yard sales and flea market finds. 🙂

    • Reply Veronica October 28, 2013 at 7:06 pm

      Me too Melissa! It’s so much fun to be individual and have something no one has, isn’t it? 🙂

  • Reply Katherine Bartlett (@KBWhiskey) October 28, 2013 at 7:47 pm

    I’ve always loved Anthropologie but their prices are way too high for me too.

    • Reply Veronica October 29, 2013 at 3:21 am

      I thought that their prices were mid range, kind of like Zara or Homesense, and, even though I could have bought that candle, I thought that I didn’t really want the candle of the moment that everyone else had a chance to buy. I want a more individual, one of a kind feel in my space. 🙂

  • Reply Morgan Eckstein October 28, 2013 at 8:18 pm

    Sounds like some of the stores in my area–thirty dollars for a candle in a fancy fake jar.

    • Reply Veronica October 29, 2013 at 3:17 am

      I know Morgan. I think that the thing which gets me all the time is that it was one of about 17, which, to my mind, means that there’s nothing individual or artistic about it and 17 different people in Van will have the same candle and when those candles are sold out, 17 more will come and restock the shelf. Not so much.

  • Reply julochka October 28, 2013 at 10:07 pm

    love your basket of zen stones – i have several of those around this house. which most decidedly does not look like anthropologie, but it shall someday. it’s a process.

    • Reply Veronica October 29, 2013 at 3:15 am

      Thanks Julie, I love the stones you’ve shown on your site too. At Anthro I saw a $250 crochet colourful granny square shawl/throw that I loved to pieces and then I remembered that I have an enormous, colourful granny square blanket on the TV room sofa which actually cost me about $5 at the thrift store! It’s a priorities process. 🙂

  • Reply julochka October 28, 2013 at 10:07 pm

    oh and p.s. now i’m craving Sbux! and the nearest one is 40 minutes away. waah!

    • Reply Veronica October 29, 2013 at 3:12 am

      I know…drag to the max! 🙁

  • Reply Sara v October 29, 2013 at 3:49 am

    Veronica, I love your zen basket! I could have a lovely day just going through looking at all the stones:-) I think I would have had to buy that frame of butterfly cutouts unless it was crazy expensive, then I would have been happy with a chai latte ;-). Also love what you did to create your fireplace grate. Especially that you left it in the rain to rust just so…I’m going to be smiling about that all day:-)

    • Reply Veronica October 29, 2013 at 3:57 am

      Sara, those moths were lovely, but were just a stuffed fabric body with raw edged fabric wings and wire bits a la Mr Finch. They were affixed to the wall and an empty frame hung around them. How hard can that be to make? I think I want to make my own version. Actually, the thing which impressed me the most were the decorative features which didn’t seem to be for sale at all; like a chandelier style mobile made from brass wire and about 100 brass Ginkgo leaves, and a piece of art made from about 15 books all glued open and to each other and a black and white painting of a forest scene was painted in relief over them. Nice imagination! 🙂 ( Although I might have a hard time doing that to vintage books myself.)

  • Reply Sara v October 30, 2013 at 5:02 am

    Wow! That mobile sounds amazing-I Love Gingko leaves, their little fans would be a perfect mobile 🙂 I’m also quite fond of books so that would be tough for me to do, though trees painted on books is a pretty cool idea–thank you for the lovely visuals I now have dancing in my head 🙂

    • Reply Veronica October 30, 2013 at 5:44 am

      It was Sara, but so easy to make. It just takes a little imagination. I’ve been mulling over the book art. Maybe with some damaged old books or something. Would be fun to make too, but I’d get sick of it after a few months and there would be no saving the books then, you know, the whole thing would have to be thrown away. Hmmm.

  • Reply Daryl October 30, 2013 at 8:31 am

    i totally ‘get’ the anthropologie thing, the hobbs thing … i am convinced if i had more rooms i would have more table top still life(s). of course i would need someone to dust for me since i am the worlds worst housekeeper ….

    • Reply Veronica October 31, 2013 at 3:26 pm

      Me too Daryl. You know what they say about a clean house meaning a misspent life. 🙂

  • Reply Terri October 30, 2013 at 11:24 am

    Hello Veronica,
    I truly love your post about the “Hobbs” effect. I noticed this myself when I would go into different vintage shops in LA and just want to buy everything. But I could only afford a few things… I realized that what I wanted so much was the creativity. Shops create an environment. I also realized that seeing the same “beautiful” things all gathered together was visually impactful. If I just took one “candle”, it really wasn’t that special alone. I really enjoyed Anthropologie when it first opened. I think the clothing was even more bohemian then. I was just in one of these stores last month, the prices were still high, but the clothing was not as artsy anymore. I didn’t want to buy everything : ) How wonderful that your daughter views your home with such loving and appreciative eyes.

    I was pleasantly surprised to see we have very very similar collections of rocks, minerals, shells….I keep mine in a round wood flat “bowl”. I must send you a picture, they are truly very similar. How amazing!
    Hugs,
    Terri

    • Reply Veronica October 31, 2013 at 3:21 pm

      Terri, I agree with everything you write. It’s all about the staging, isn’t it? I’d love to see your collection. I’ll be on the lookout for it on your beautiful blog. 🙂

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