Thursday, January 27, 2011

Matchbooks On Your Coffeetable?

FIELD GUIDE to a CHARMED LIFE, is a new e-book, that you can click here to look at. I ran into it while searching for the picture of Andy and Kate Spade's matchbook collection. The picture and the e-book are from the author of the blog A Lovely Being.

A couple of days ago ESA, at Let The Tide Roll Your Dreams Ashore, did a blog post about Mr. & Mrs. Spades Abode. Lovely post and lovely blog and blogger, but what really caught my eye was
Mr. Spady's
collection in their fabulous living-room
of matchbooks.

Mr. LAH (Life At Home) has a collection of matchbooks too that his Father collected. We have them in a bowl in our living-room and they are fun to go through. I never thought much of them, other than that until a couple of months ago. I was reading Paul Fussell's book CLASS and I found, (while reading the reviews for the book TRUE PREP on Amazon), that many of the reviewers referred to Fussell's book in there reviews. I was curious about who this Paul Fussell was so I ordered the book.

Fussell's book, which was first published in 1983, has a quiz in the back called The Living-Room Scale where you can rate how Classy you are based on what is in your living-room. Having a matchbook collection gives you 1 point.

Here is the quiz for those of you that like this kind of thing.
I will let you put your own label on how Classy you are but you can get the drift by knowing that the higher the point total the Classier you are according to the controversial Fussell.


Begin with a score of 100. For each of the following in your living room add or subtract points as indicated. Then ascertain how you score.

Hardwood floor Add 4

Parquet floor Add 8

Stone floor Add 4

Vinyl floor Subtract 6

Wall-to-wall-carpet Add 2

Working fireplace Add 4

New Oriental rug or carpet subtract 2 (each)

Worn Oriental rug or carpet Add 5 (each)

Threadbare rug or carpet Add 8 (each)

Ceiling ten feet high, or higher Add 6

Original paintings by internationally
recognized practitioners Add 8 (each)

Original drawings, prints, or lithographs
by internationally recognized
practitioners Add 5 (each)

Reproductions of any Picasso painting,
print or anything subtract 2 (each)

Original paintings, drawings, or prints by
family members subtract 4 (each)

Windows curtained, rods, and draw cords Add 5

Windows curtained, no rods or draw cord Add 2

Genuine Tiffany lamp Add 3

Reproduction Tiffany lamp subtract 4

Any work of art depicting cowboys subtract 3

Transparent plastic covers on furniture subtract 6

Furniture upholstered with any metallic
threads subtract 3

Cellophane on any lampshade subtract 4

No ashtrays subtract 2

Refrigerator, washing machine, or clothes
dryer in living room subtract 6

Motorcycle kept in living room subtract 10

Periodicals visible, laid out flat:
National Enquirer subtract 6
Popular Mechanics subtract 5
Reader's Digest subtract 3
National Geographic subtract 2
Smithsonian subtract 1
Scientific American subtract 1
New Yorker Add 1
Town and Country Add 2
New York Review of Books Add 5
Times Literary Supplement (London) Add 5
Paris Match Add 6
Hudson Review Add 8

Each family photograph (black-and-white) subtract 2

Each family photograph (color) subtract 3

Each family photograph (black-and-white
or color) in sterling-silver frame Add 3

Potted citrus tree with midget fruit
growing Add 8

Potted palm tree Add 5

Bowling-ball-carrier subtract 6

Fishbowl or aquarium subtract 4

Fringe on any upholstered furniture subtract 4

Identifiable Naugahyde aping anything
customarily made of leather subtract 3

Any item exhibiting words in an ancient or
modern foreign language Add 7

Wooden venetian blinds subtract 2

Tabletop obelisk of marble, glass, etc, Add 9

No periodicals visible subtract 5

Fewer than five pictures on walls subtract 5

Each piece of furniture over 50 years old Add 2

Bookcase(s) full of books Add 7

Any leather bindings more than 75 years
old Add 6

Bookcases(s) partially full of books Add 5

Overflow books stacked on floor, chairs,
etc. Add 6

Hutch bookcase ("wall system")
displaying plates, pots, porcelain
figurines, etc., but no books subtract 4

Wall unit with built-in TV, stereo, etc. subtract 4

On coffeetable, container of matchbooks
from funny or anomalous places Add 1

Works of sculpture (original, and not made
by householder or any family member) Add 4 (each)

Works of sculpture made by householder
or any family member subtract 5 (each)

Each framed certificate, diploma, or
testimonial subtract 2

Each "laminated" ditto subtract 3

Each item with a "tortoiseshell" finish, if
only made of Formica Add 1

Each "Eames chair" subtract 2

Anything displaying the name or initials of
anyone in the household subtract 4

Curved moldings visible anywhere in the room Add 5

On a scale of 245 and above being the classiest, and to below 50, not so much.

245 and above
Below 50

Even though this quiz is more than 25 years old from the looks of Mr. and Mrs. Spady's living room their score was easily 245 or above even with out the 1 point for the matchbooks on the coffeetable.



  1. Hi Sue,
    The matchbooks are a very clever idea! Many of them really are little bits of artwork. Displaying a grouping in a fun way is something I had not thought of.
    Also thank you for dropping by and inquiring about my daughter. Heather is mending and getting stronger each week. She's had a few bumps in the road, but her liver hasn't been the problem. She's a tiny thing and it was a big surgery, but she is going in the right direction. Robert her donor is doing great and we are so grateful to him and his wife and children.
    This entire situation has certainly been life changing and what a journey.

  2. Those matchbooks are great!

  3. That is one beautiful living room. The living room scale is a riot...and spot on. Looks like I have some inventory to take:)

  4. Cathy, I agree, the matchbooks displayed in a fun way is something I had not thought of as a way to add class to a room. We just thought they were fun to go through.

    Anxiety, The Spady's match books are indeed great.

    Tina, I cracked up at the item about the motorcycle in the living room. I tend to agree that The Living-Room Scale is spot on. I did a little inventory after I first took the test too ;)

    Readers, if you get a minute hop over to Tina's beautiful new blog, The Enchanted Home, at, to see the amazing Dream House that she is building and sharing the experience and great resource tips, with her readers.


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