arrested degeneres

ellen degeneres / elle decor / may 2013

been snuggling with the netflix app for days.  (at my couch.  not the pergola.)

for every frame that made it to the gallery wall this week, i rewarded myself with a hit of arrested development.

my place

ok two hits.

portia de rossi, maybe bluth, mother of maeby, gay woman playing straight wife to gay man, awe-inducing comedian of jealousy-inducing haircut and dubious nose job… what was i saying?

she lives on a phat horse ranch with spouse ellen.

ellen degeneres / elle decor / may 2013

the leather.  the RUG.

pause for a moment; note the rich caramel body and curvy weathered arms of the chairs.  that faded green antique rug adds a diffusion of color and pattern, just slips itself into a critical role in the composition without announcement.  how can i be falling so hard for a piece that missed my notice entirely at first viewing?

consider that the last bit of decor tchotch to seduce me was a vase that looks more striking than it would feel if someone were to smash you over the head with it.

abigail turin / architectural digest / april 2013

ellen.  i thought i couldn’t like you any more than i already do.

de rossi and degeneres / elle decor / may 2013

ellen did all the decor for eight buildings on the property.

ellen degeneres / elle decor / may 2013

the wood.  the ART.

ellen degeneres / elle decor / may 2013

a horse lives in that one.  a HORSE.

ellen degeneres / elle decor / may 2013

didn’t believe me, did you?  her name is maeby.

ellen degeneres / elle decor / may 2013

i want to moonwalk to work in my shiny converse sneakers.

anyone else have trouble recognizing portia this week?  a blonde with long wiglike hair does not lindsay bluth make.

still, we’ll give her credit for falling in love with a bona fide design geek.


no country for old men (the yuppies took it)

this city is my stomping ground.


bird’s-eye view of my home-office complex

i live in the midwest.  from a local perspective, the city is either a sparkling glass wonderland or a cesspool of muggery.  rarely is it known for its truth.  i have this office elevator conversation on autopilot several times a month:

dave:  late night at work?

me:  sort of.  i live a block away so it’s not too bad.

dave [visibly startled]:  oh!  …so how do you like living downtown?

me:  well.  i hate the suburbs.

at this point, dave furrows his brow.  i see the gears slowly turning as his mental computer chug-chugs.  but…  garage(s) for my SUV(s)!  yard(s) for giant brood of kids!  dog(s).  finished basement.  freezer(s).  hot tub(s).  fireplace(s)!  60-inch tv(s)!  damnit hal, open the pod bay doors!

sorry dave, i’m afraid i can’t do that.  by now we have traveled nineteen stories down to the lobby in awkward silence.  i bid my fellow commuter ‘good night’ as we embark on a five minute journey, mine to my couch overlooking a cityscape and his to his parking spot where he will begin the twice-daily psychological battle with rush hour traffic.

you can understand why i read stories of leaving urban america with MUCH suspicion.  i was immediately disarmed, however, by a quote in january’s vogue.

“we’re going to brooklyn, so let’s just pretend we’re moving to the country.”


i can’t deny the charm of a country home done well.  what it misses in glamor and sparkle, it accomplishes in freshness and warmth.  country is not five thousand square feet of drywall on a mcmansion skeleton of two-by-fours.  country is not grandma’s fussy pink sofa set or grandpa’s giant moose head.  country is this:


robert stilin / elle decor / dec 2012


robert stilin / elle decor / dec 2012

note the heavy use of wood tones, neutrals, textures, natural materials, and vintage or distressed pieces.


robert stilin / elle decor / dec 2012

that 1940s leather womb chair is the kind of gem that could carry ANY modern design scheme with the strength of its bare hands.  after you finish reading this, i shall hop into the picture and stuff it in my trunk whilst no one’s looking.


robert stilin / elle decor / dec 2012

contemporary pops up here and there in coffee tables and light fixtures throughout.  lucite on cow hide?  if you had said that phrase in conversation, i would have laughed at your face.  then you would have shown me this room and i would have cowered in submission.  some genius is utterly unexpected.

the couple featured in vogue turned a brooklyn brownstone into a country haven two blocks from the F train.  they live in verdant minimalism without the dirt road / septic system / dial-up internet inconveniences of isolation.


halard and brooks / vogue / jan 2013


halard and brooks / vogue / jan 2013

this is a bathroom.  as they say… some rules are made to be broken.

and a round of applause at their daughter’s bedroom!  no princess illusions here.


halard and brooks / vogue / jan 2013

i can’t say if i’ll ever use a country aesthetic in my own home since i prefer my concrete jungle to the green variety.  but in case circumstance ever grants us a summer retreat, this vision will be ready in my back pocket.