Sunday, April 23, 2006
Anchorite/Interior Designer Perplexes, Converts Trading Spaces Teams
A local Anchorite, "living to God and dead to the world," got a taste of worldliness--while others received a taste of holiness-- on a recent guest appearance of the popular interior design show, Trading Spaces.
"We went to his window and asked him if he would be game, and he was," said show producer Leif K. Sorensen. "I must admit I was skeptical when I saw his living quarters...my first thought was that a nice peach blush wall with green trim accents would warm up that stone motif. Mirrors would have opened it up too. But hey, he came recommended, and all this "Small House" architecture is big now...maybe he is ahead of the wave. You know, the next big thing: not owning stuff."
The show, which broadcast yesterday evening, had Bro. Jules advising the two friends of a young couple just married, who had moved into a three bedroom apartment with "inherited from roommates and garage sales" furniture: lamps, sofas, bookcases, art prints, and a neon sign that said "Free Beer Tomorrow." They also had received a number of wedding gifts: appliances, plates, and three TVs.
Bro. Jules started the brainstorming session--dedicated to improving the space with $500 or less in two days -- by half an hour of prayer with the couple. Then, after a spiritual direction session, they walked from room to room. After noting what their friends needed, he suggested they place everything else in temporary storage within 12 hours to donate to the poor--or burn it--and then he would return with design suggestions. (See result in picture above. The wall picture was later removed.)
The couple's friends did just that. When Bro. Jules reappeared, he came with soap, water, and a bucket, and suggested they clean while praying ("Ora et Labora, it works wonders!" he noted). After rearranging the couple's bed, tables and chairs, and sofa, he declared the apartment done. He left a book containing the Liturgy of the Hours, as well as a small icon of Christ the Teacher, on the table.
The couple, Joel and Ellen Wegman, saw their home and were mystified. While puzzled (Joel kept muttering "Where's all my stuff?"), they walked slowly from room to room, and ended up sitting on the floor in a daze. The next day, they said they had prayed all evening ("No TV," smiled Ellen) and decided to join the Catholic Church. "We love the lack of distractions in this space. We're in love, we've got God...who needs stuff? Actually, we feel bad about our work at the other house now--we painted their rec room in neon green and yellow zebra stripes and added a mirror ball to create a jungle party theme. Seems slightly indulgent now," blushed Joel.
Trading Spaces says that they probably won't ask Bro. Jules back. "It was an interesting experiment," muses Sorensen, "but what kind of product placement is there in a prayer book and icon? Many more successes like that and we're out of a job."