I have a friend who is particularly fond of modern Scandinavian furniture design. Indeed, her entire home is filled with Scandinavian furniture, from her backyard patio to the baby’s nursery. She also decorated her home with art and sculpture that similarly reflected this style. Her only concession to more “traditional” style was her use of carpeting; she told me she couldn’t get used to walking barefoot on cold floors in the winter (she lives in upstate New York).
I like some of her furnishings myself, but I had some difficulty understanding how someone from central Italy could be attracted to the smooth lines and stark designs that we find in most Scandinavian furniture. She shrugged off my inquiry with the comment that “all folks from my country are not alike.” I had noted some friends of Mexican descent who also showed a preference for Danish-style furniture, so I began thinking that maybe certain people of Latin heritage gravitated towards that style of decor. But they promptly set me straight by reminding me how people of Central America enjoy bold colors and contrasting patterns that often would contrast with the austere yet simplistic appearance of Scandinavian-style furniture. I finally managed to persuade my friend to have her DNA tested by Ancestry.com; we used a Groupon to take advantage of the sale they are offering on DNA kits. A few weeks later she called me back with excitement in her voice.
It seemed that the test results indicated that her blood lines included descendants of persons of Dutch, Norwegian and Swedish ancestry among her father’s family. More research showed that her father’s ancestors were among those who first travelled to Italy through the Great St. Bernard Pass. She found this of particular interest, since she had been so fond of her pet St. Bernard dog that ate more in a day than she did in a week. I congratulated her on her newly acquired knowledge, without telling her that her interest in Scandinavian styles had little to do with her choice of pets. The one thing I do know is that her dog didn’t get along with her furniture as much as she thought, for his teeth marks were clearly visible on the tables in her living room.