Whenever we go to a new post, we receive a housing survey a few months ahead of time. The embassy does this in order to find out what our preferences are (to a limited degree) before assigning us housing. For example, do you prefer to live downtown or in the suburbs? Do you have pets? And, I was happy to see that on the Warsaw survey, there was a question about home businesses. Why yes, I do have one, thanks for asking!
This survey included a Power Point slide show of several typical properties: apartments, townhouses, and single family homes. It all looks fine, if typically Eastern European. Kitchens are very Ikea-plain, but workable. Parquet floors are ubiquitous. Closets are nonexistent. Bathrooms have some seriously retro tile decor going on, tiny showers and sinks, and lots of bidets. But no biggie, we’re used to all that—and fortunately, we aren’t big people or clothes horses!
However, I think I am starting to have mild PTSD with regard to Drexel. One look at those rooms full of the same furniture I have been hating since 1989 and I get mildly depressed. Drexel makes a even the nicest apartment look like a Holiday Inn. And I’m getting a little old to be living in a Holiday Inn, people.
The kicker was seeing the poopy blue brocade sofa of doom. Over and over and over again…
Dear GSO Gods, I can take the tacky brass lamps, the scratched-up coffee tables, and the frilly side tables. I can send the carpets back to the warehouse. I can ship my own bed. I can take the polyester drapes down and hide them.
But, please, oh please, do not stick me with the poopy sofas again.
Ha! At post I actually upgraded to that one from the ‘green with gold flowers sofa of doom’. At least the new Drexel stuff appears to all be neutral colors. We just have to outlast these old pieces first!
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Are you required to keep the sofas? Can you send them to the warehouse with the carpets and perhaps purchase something that won’t give you PTSD?
Slipcovers are the usual solution! I had some in Vienna to cover my poopy blue sofas there, but they are kind of worn out. Ikea Ektorp slipcovers fit pretty well. Of course why they can’t just give us slipcovered sofas in the first place is another question.
Also, most of the Drexel Heritage upholstered furniture has labels saying that it is compliant with California Technical Bulletin 117 (now repealed) which means it is treated with flame retardants that could be dangerous to your health. Unfortunately which chemicals they use are not specified, only that the material must resist fire for 12 seconds. Here is a link to an article in the NY Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/05/04/us/a-flame-retardant-that-came-with-its-own-threat-to-health.html?smid=fb-share.