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Deal Divas

Stephanie Hayes, Katie Sanders, Kameel Stanley, & Keyonna Summers

IKEA!!! And other exciting news....

Ikea We now depart from our regular fashion coverage for a breaking news announcement....

IKEA OPENS THIS WEEK!!! In three days, or Wednesday, if anyone's counting.

It's been a long wait for those of us who get irrationally giddy about affordable home furnishings with strange, multi-syllable names. Bring on the little pencils! An entire room devoted to lighting solutions! Model rooms that make it seem possible to live well in 280 square feet!

And yet, where were you, Ikea, nine years ago?

Your closest location was Maryland when I moved into my first apartment, a 500-square foot studio in Orlando. I drooled over your catalog and debated a road trip. But no, my fate was a dowdy futon, while friends in real cities scored spiffy alternatives like your Beddinge series.

Where were you five years ago? I'd moved to Tampa and into my boyfriend's bachelor pad. My life was an HGTV reality series: Transform a 1,100-square foot house, decorated in a style that could only be called third-world market, into something a woman would call home. On a $600 budget. Without Ikea.

You opened in Atlanta. We spotted the signs on the interstate on our way back from a honeymoon in North Carolina. We stuffed ourselves on your meatballs and crammed two Solsta Olarp chairs into the backseat of my beat-up Jetta.

You came to Orlando. Sitting in opening weekend traffic on I-4, it was not lost on us that you share an exit with an attraction called the Holy Land Experience. We were in our Frank Lloyd Wright phase, convinced that you could make chic our low ceilings with slight-of-eye smaller furniture and mod floor lights. You helped.

Now you are in my backyard. But my starter house is out of room. We are in married stage, actually talking about paying more for furniture that doesn't involve particle board. What good are you to me now?

As I am writing, though, I am looking around. The curtains in my bedroom make me feel ashamed. The spare room duvet cover is ratty. I am remembering the bin after bin of cheap kitchen accessories that were never on my list when I had to plan Ikea trips in advance.

Still, you'll have to work a little harder for my devotion now, Ikea. The signage is up on a gleaming white dream of a Crate & Barrel store at International Plaza, which opens later this month.

Cue the angels singing. It's game on, Tampa!

~ Deal Diva Letitia

(Times photo)

[Last modified: Thursday, May 20, 2010 5:16pm]


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