This Friday I'm hosting the Weekly FS Blog Round Up. In keeping with DiploPundits suggestion that we use our blogs to debunk the myth of the Foreign Service "cushy" lifestyle, I want to hear about housing at post. I want to hear about the good, the bad, the ugly, and the just plain weird. Yes, as employees of the state department overseas we do get housing. Let me tell you it isn't always all that it is cracked up to be. Unless you are the ambassador your housing bears very little resemblance to the fancy diplomatic houses you see in the movies, sometimes not even being ambassador helps. I am sure that all the newbies, as well as everyone looking at bidding this summer, would like to know about the housing at various posts.
While you FS folks are looking around your house considering a blog post about housing, take a look at your couch. Zoe at Something edited this way comes is hosting a contest this month for the best disguised FS couch. Yes, we get furniture too. It goes with the house. Before anyone out there gets all "Hey that's cool!" think about. Do you want someone else to choose all your furniture? That kinda makes it a bit more challenging to personalize a house. Generally our furniture looks a bit like it was chosen by someone's Great Aunt Edna.
I don't really need to disguise my current sofa, it is part of the new collection and is pretty nice, or at least it isn't brocade, it is a nice solid color, which is more than I can say for my curtains.
I had the dreaded blue brocade in Frankfurt. After pricing slip covers and deciding I really didn't like the way slip covers looked anyway, I just embrace the ugly for the two years we were there. It sort of grows on you after a while. Sad isn't it?
However I do have an entry for the contest. I think the the best way to disguise a FS couch starts with being assigned to a post where labor and textiles are cheap. When we arrived in Jakarta our sofa set all matched this chair.
More lovely Drexel Heritage brocade, only in cream this time instead of blue. To make it even better the last family had cats, with claws. The chairs were in good shape, but the sofa and love seat were clawed up pretty badly. No worries, Jakarta has an upholstery allowance. Shortly after we arrived I put in my request to have the sofas repaired. A gentleman showed up with stacks of fabric sample books. I made my selection (after nearly having a heart attack from too many choices) and a few weeks later my sofas were picked up, recovered and returned to me better than new.
I would actually buy these sofas. I like the brown chenille. It wears well, the kid stains washed out easily, and it was super soft and comfy to sit on. It even matches almost any pillow you could throw on it. All in all it is a very nice sofa.
Of course there is a down side to this plan. This love seat for example. It was recovered by somebody before me. It was a crushed velvet in a color David referred to as "bordello red". We stuck it in the kids play room figuring there wasn't much they could do to make it worse. As far as I could tell this fabric was kid proof. Sadly for the next people it was still in perfect shape when we left.
Just one more thing. And yes, I know these aren't sofas, but you just know that someone is totally hating these polka-dot dining chairs. For the record I LOVED them! Polka-dots Rule!