Joanne Palmer: Decorating, Steamboat-style |

Joanne Palmer: Decorating, Steamboat-style

Joanne Palmer

In 1989, Joanne Palmer left a publishing career in Manhattan and has missed her paycheck ever since. She is a mom, weekly columnist for the Steamboat Pilot & Today, and the owner of a property management company, The House Nanny. Her new book "Life in the 'Boat: How I fell on Warren Miller's skis, cheated on my hairdresser and fought off the Fat Fairy" is now available in local bookstores and online at or

— I had a great epiphany the other night. I was lying on the couch, and as I gazed around the house, it occurred to me that none of my furniture is actually new. Everything I own has been purchased at a garage sale or donated by a friend.

This got me to thinking about decorating, Steamboat-style. I think we furnish our homes differently from the rest of the country. For example, I remember a friend telling me that when she went to buy new carpet, she matched it to the dirt in her vacuum cleaner bag. She wanted her carpet to look like the mud-season dirt her dog dragged in.

Having been in a lot of houses in Steamboat, I can categorize Steamboat style as follows:

Early American garage sale

If you like getting up early Saturday morning, this is a great way to furnish your house. Hard-core garage sale-goers plot their course with the precision of a military invasion. They hit the ATM machine Friday, circle their stops in the paper and go to bed early. They do not stop for coffee. They do not wait for friends. They do not answer phones. They get up and get going.

Those ads that say "No early birds" mean nothing to these folks. They are committed to bagging a bargain, and if that means sitting in front of your house 30 minutes before the garage doors open, so be it.

Reduce, reuse, repurpose

If you've never stopped and shopped at Home ReSource in Milner, you are missing out. Here you can find the kitchen sink, flooring, light fixtures and who knows what else you may need. I know people who have remodeled their entire kitchen with appliances and cabinets from Home ReSource. It is the only salvage and reuse yard in Northwest Colorado. Check out its website at

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If you need inspiration on how to repurpose what you find at Home ReSource, visit Calamity Pass Trading Co. at 908 Lincoln Ave. The owner of this store is a creative genius. Not only does she have unique vintage clothing, she displays it hanging from ladders, bicycle wheels and other found objects to create a cozy, one-of-a-kind space.

Early marriage

Most newlyweds acquire "starter furniture" in hopes that, as their incomes increase, they can upgrade. However, since earning potential in Steamboat can be somewhat limited, you may toast to 25 years of marriage sitting at the same dining room table you bought right after your honeymoon.

Hunting lodge

These sorts like to display all hunting and fishing conquests for visitors to see and admire. These homes may be hard to find as they could be camo-colored and tucked way back in the woods.

Early relative

Your dearly departed Aunt Maude left you a houseful of furniture. All you have to do is move it from Maine to Steamboat. Boo-yah. Your Steamboat house now will be furnished in a nautical motif, complete with buoys, lighthouses and perhaps a lobster pot coffee table. Ahoy.

Catalog chic

How many of you sink into your bathtub at night to catalog shop? Me too. There is an endless supply of home furnishing catalogs with pages just waiting to be dog-eared. It is so much fun to shop like this without fear of an overzealous sales clerk pouncing on you.

What I've come to realize is that it's really hard to buy one piece of furniture; you need to buy an entire bedroom set or living room set or else your house will look like mine, which is to say, eclectic.

Embrace your style — whatever it may be.

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