When I was staying with Red-haired Niece last summer, and we were looking at photos of the pre-school playground where she taught, she explained they didn’t have traditional playground equipment. Instead, they provided the kids with big blocky objects of different shapes and sizes. The kids needed to use their imaginations and combine the blocks to make a slide, or a playhouse, or something to climb on.
I had that concept in mind last fall when I was driving past a garage sale and noticed three wooden stools. I stopped and bought them from a woman who kept saying, “See, we broke one.” She seemed to think that four stools were a desirable thing to have, while three stools were utterly useless and should be sold to a stranger for a few dollars.
Since then, we’ve used the stools for all kinds of things. Sometimes, I’ll grab one if I’m going to sit down on the couch and need a place to set a cup of hot tea. Sometimes, I’ll use one if I need to set my laptop down for a moment. The kids use the stools as tables, they combine them to support something heavy, or sometimes they even sit on them.
I’m going to call this style of home decorating “Imitation Block School Playground.” Furniture doesn't need to match or even have any obvious function: it's all up to the inhabitants of the house to figure out how to make it work. We’ve long used an old oak bench as a coffeetable, a bench, a sawhorse, or a pedestal to dance on. Today I brought home a random ottoman to set under the front window. I figure we can use it as a window seat, or a soft table, or a foot rest, or whatever else our imaginations can come up with.