roast your armchair with a hershey bar and graham crackers

oddly, words did the heavy lifting this month in elle decor.  

“i don’t like a lot of curves — all that modern furniture that looks like a collection of marshmallows.”

DAMN.  gauntlet slap.  who wants to play?

haynes and roberts / elle decor / june 2013

that marshmallow couch is all like, bitch let’s take this outside.

i’m with the couch.

anti-marshmallow supremacist john saladino doesn’t mince words when prosthelytizing:

“so much decorating today is in-your-face — the wow factor.  i like holding back.  i’m more interested in what you leave out than put in.”

a little pretentious for my taste.

i read magazines in rounds, the first round without actually reading any text in order to gauge my unbiased emotional response to design.  timothy haynes and anthony roberts had me awe-gasping straight into a choking hazard.

haynes and roberts / elle decor / june 2013

haynes and roberts / elle decor / june 2013


saladino’s work?  barely caused the needle to twitch on my speedometer.

john saladino / elle decor / june 2013

john saladino / elle decor / june 2013

he has a subtlety obsession tipping into fetish, methinks.

on my second pass through his feature in the magazine, i stifled a yawn and took a close read of his clear descriptive vision.

“they’re metamorphic colors that change according to the time if day–gray to celadon, beige to taupe. they’re always implicit, never explicit.”

unlike his monologues.

john saladino / elle decor / june 2013

“i never do anything obvious.”

except talk, apparently.

subtlety belongs behind the professional photographer on the side of the room where you throw all the old newspapers and toy monkeys to get them out of the way of your photoshoot.

while paging through his rooms, i had flashbacks to architectural digest’s february issue celebrating blandness.

terry hunziker / architectural digest / feb 2013

good enough for a layman’s home and wholly inadequate for a glossy interiors spread.

magazine features should cause a cardiac jolt.

kelly wearstler / lonny magazine / june 2013

eyes bugging at the weirdness?

apparently, marshmallow furniture gets the hollywood regency tycoon kelly wearstler seal of approval.  i’m already buzzing with a dozen ways to fit that funk into my lookbook.  (note the checkerboard coffee table.)

(s’more checkerboard.)

kelly wearstler / lonny magazine / june 2013

(take my love with a grain of salt.  by now, i’d applaud a checkerboard-painted landmine.)

as mad men starts a slow jog to the finish line and the great gatsby gains momentum in its pole dance, we’re seeing a natural pivot away from the mid-century modern cupcake shop and towards art deco froyo.

i’m game for a new shock wave of inspiration as long as “beige to taupe” is never quoted again.


an interiors kool-aid drinking buddy

met myself today.

the march/april rue magazine features ellie somerville of luxe magazine, an editor whose brain i share.

what i see in these pages is my home if i had redone it from scratch in 2012 rather than 2007.  (and if i were as talented as a paid pro.)

excerpts read like things i’d say in my blog:

once settled, ellie made swift work of furnishing the apartment… “stores like west elm, ikea, crate and barrel, and z gallerie made this process easier and were great affordable starting points.”

ellie somerville / rue magazine / march-april 2013

floored that an interior design magazine editor would admit to this.

unless you have been cryogenically frozen since 1981, you will recognize the ikea LACK tv stand.  just marginally less obvious is the CB2 coffee table.

there’s the subtle animal hide, eons more current than my contemporary floral rug which is about as hip as VH1:

my place

excuse the terrible photography; i’m hoping an SLR is in my future.

feeling in step with the patterns on her cushions:

ellie somerville / rue magazine / march-april 2013

her color story leans mauve and mine dives into blue, but threads overlap.

my place


ellie somerville / rue magazine / march-april 2013

that, my friends, is an ikea kivik sofa.  shut up.

in the chair and the mirror above the couch is a light tone raw wood finish i’ve been pulling teeth to introduce into my living/dining room.  if only i hadn’t committed so strongly to dark wood finishes!  *shaking fist at sky*

some sad attempts to remedy this include purchasing this west elm coffee table, which will inevitably be cheaper than a reclaimed wood piece, during the next massive sale.

west elm

and stripping one of my occasional chairs despite its art deco silhouette.

don’t hate, ok?  sanding it down is a work in progress.  there must be an eighth inch of glossy black paint on this thing.

i also threw a mango wood vase on the dining table.  once all the pieces are in place, it’ll come together like the austrian lodge (well…theoretically).

my place

note the white + crystal lighting here.  ellie uses the same concept in the form of a lamp in her living room.

after taking into account that our trends are a couple years out of sync, my approach has been remarkably similar to hers.  happy thoughts.

rue blurbs below reveal some things we live by.  you should too, then join us for my imaginary weekly brunch with her.

convenience wasn’t the only upside to using reasonably priced furniture and decor; the freedom to experiment was another perk, and a deliberate one at that.  “as i go on my own design journey, i can practice with scale, color, and materials without making costly mistakes.  not everything is perfect, but i’m ok with that.  this is my little design laboratory, and things are always changing.”


listening to a typical sunday in ellie’s life only drives her point home.  “i get the newspaper and sit on the sofa with my feet propped up, surrounded by my dogs.  i have coffee, and there’s beautiful natural light streaming in – that’s the moment i feel most at home.  i’m comfortable, i’m happy, i’m at peace.”

yes.  except the part about the dogs.

“anyone who’s interested in design never feels like a space is truly ever done,” ellie says. 

“i’m learning as i go, and i’m enjoying it.  it’s fun.  this has really felt like a home to me.”

brain sharing.

embrace the crazy

i took this picture on my smartphone when leaving the office, today.

guardian bldg 1

one could use all sorts of tired hyperbole here, but to avoid sounding like a abuser i’ll just say this:  the guardian building is.

it was conceived in that thin sliver of time between early skyscraper engineering and the onset of a crippling cynicism that would characterize architecture in starkness through the rest of the century (see: all other skyscrapers ever built).

i work here.

guardian bldg 2guardian bldg 3

the art deco exuberance of this building – the explosion of color and shape, the neck-cramping scale, the unbridled opulence – pulls me constantly away from the risk of drowning in monochromatic boredom.

thanks to my workplace, i have a strong appreciation now for the extravagant old-world aesthetic that would have once violated my ikea sensibilities.  for example: last month’s issue of elle decor showcased the apartment of one alex papachristidis, manhattan designer and fearless little-old-lady-around-town.  (i don’t know for sure about that second part.)



papachristidis_5papachristidis_4the man’s couch is upholstered in red ikat!  his library looks like a circus tent!  his bed has clawed feet!  this slow, deliberate weaving of grandeur and whimsy is MASTERFUL.

and so i feel about the guardian building, which reminds me every day to suspend my cool for a time when uninhibited joy had not yet gone out of style.