Welcome to my home

Most people that have clutter in their homes have it for no other reason than most of us: we don’t know what to do with all of our stuff. Hence, it starts to formulate small piles, or, in extreme cases, inter¬vention broadcasted to the world on reality TV (A&E’s Hoarders, anyone?). Colville resident Wendy Cook, 58, is an exception to both rules. Yes, she has a lot of stuff and she collects it on purpose, but unlike an actual hoarder, she can easily let it go if she needs to. Not only that, but she has managed to arrange her various décor in a way that is aesthetically pleasing. “I love my apartment,” Cook says of her five-room residence above Happy’s Hallmark. “I like to make something out of nothing; it’s a challenge I enjoy.” The interior decoration in Cook’s abode may seem perplexingly gaudy, with it’s various hues, but upon closer inspection, it all comes together in an organized chaos that is both engaging and personal. Stars, seashells, crosses, Mardi Gras masks, and small, cloth figurines of Indian elephants adorn the walls, each in their own special place. Belly Dance coin skirts have been turned into table toppers and shelf dressing. Interesting t-shirt designs have been stretched, framed and turned into eye-catching pictures. “I’ve done a lot of different jobs throughout my life,” says Cook. “I was a bartender, a heavy machine operator, writing, injection molding--I’ve done a little bit of everything and have done decent for myself. The way I decorate reflects what I like. Why should I just settle on one thing?” If Cook had to describe her style herself, she says she would likely choose “Gypsy/Hippy/ Modern Moroccan/Jesus mixture.” There might be one too many descriptive words in that explanation for those who categorize things in black or white, but that’s okay with Cook. She makes it work. The way she is able to do so by picking through yard sales, estate sales and second hand stores, shows her knack for creativity on a budget. If she gets tired of an item, or decides she needs to make room for something else, she takes it to The Loft in Colville, or donates it the local Habitat for Humanity Thrift Store or to Goodwill. “This is me, this is what I like,” Cook says, smiling and offering a shrug. “It’s an ongoing process. My nephew likes to joke that I should charge people to walk through!”