the house-shaped lovechild of your SERENITY NOW and LIFE’S A BEACH office mugs.

for all the atiya-style jibber jabber on city life, a room like this makes my steely resolve crack to pieces.

kelly behun / elle decor / jul-aug 2013

the ocean breeze tickles your eyelashes while you lie around playing candy crush saga.  #nobigdeal

i don’t know who you are, kelly behun, but i will find the construction drawings of your hamptons home and tape them to my husband’s face.

kelly behun / elle decor / jul-aug 2013

note the staircase such as one might find in the greek isles or whilst ascending to God.

kelly behun / elle decor / jul-aug 2013

much like in ferngully, a dozen earthy textures coexist within a balanced ecosystem.  a woodland gnome might pop out from behind the white marble island and hop onto a handstool at any moment. #nbd

each space grabs you by your lapels and screams “i am perfect” into your mouth.  calmingly.

kelly behun / elle decor / jul-aug 2013

i have spent long moments staring at the photos of the house, and i am inspired every time to think “ah, crap.  i should’ve married mark zuckerberg while i had the chance.”

kelly behun / elle decor / jul-aug 2013

like mountains ringing the aspen home, natural features takes this spectacular house into the realms of therapeutic fantasy  (…followed by greedy madness.)

time to stop looking at it before i’m driven to facebook message zuckerberg.


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.

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.

decor that may cause you to choke on your grape

first, swallow your grape.

haynes and roberts / elle decor / june 2013


watching american idol from under your andy warhol

contemporary art is for galleries.

joe nahem / architectural digest / june 2013

oops.  i mean, contemporary art is for your house.

joe nahem / architectural digest / june 2013

yeah…  the kind of house where they shoot ralph lauren commercials.  the kind of house where they don’t wear white after labor day.  the kind of house where they think ‘sweet caroline’ is a great song for the dance floor at a wedding.  what do you expect to see inside?  oil portraits?  antique china cabinets?  plaids and mallards?

joe nahem / architectural digest / june 2013

think again.

joe nahem schooled me with his eight-month redo of the connecticut home of allison and warren kanders. these guys collect contemporary art like you collect hours watching reality tv.

instead of turning a house into a sterile museum, nahem turned their collection into a personalized home.

no smooth ice-white MoMA walls at these digs.

joe nahem / architectural digest / june 2013

joe nahem / architectural digest / june 2013

look at the blast of wall art against an antique indian rug.  i am all over that bizniss.

joe nahem / architectural digest / june 2013

contemporary art mounted on wood walls?  chairs upholstered in faux-bois?  dude didn’t think outside the box, he took a hammer to it.

joe nahem / architectural digest / june 2013

their art is giving me sweat bubbles of jealousy on my t-zone.

conventional wisdom had me thinking that these pieces need a gallery-like home.  i may not share the nahem/kanders design taste, but now i understand how to style a home for my future arsenal of contemporary art.

just do whatever the hell i want.

from coffee to cocktails (your home, not your outfit)

so the other day i was bumming around my living room in the 2 pm glare, eyeballing how the walls might look in ultra pure white.  quick mental math!  can i paint everything and replace all my furniture for $50?

don’t judge me.  i made syed promise not to judge me before telling him that i wanted to paint our living room white.  he paused for a second, then took on his fiercest “stop being an unreasonable female” face…  the one he’s aimed at me ohh maybe twice since we met in 2004.

ok.  simmering down.

i named my blog after a paint color, for chrissake.  why would i want to deface a cocoon so carefully tuned to comfort us after work?  am i a tween on an abc afterschool special or some shit?  i define cool, not the guy in tats passing me a cigarette.

still, i’m curious why dim, moody, soothing spaces have fallen out of popular favor lately.

dark walls do sneak into magazines despite the ongoing white room orgy in interiors photography.  why the general shortage?  because they obviously don’t photograph with the ba-BAM of their counterparts.

abigail turin / architectural digest / april 2013

it’s like biting into a watermelon with your whole face.

…not something i’d do in a blizzard.  i wonder what this crisp white space looks like at night.  do light fixtures give the walls a dingy, yellowish bleh?  hmm.

conventional wisdom and the limitations of camera technology play to the strengths of white.  interiors photography must occur in maximum daylight.  don’t even consider the alternative, just deal.  this law might as well be etched on a tablet delivered by moses.  thou shalt and whatnot.

this room is already stunning in daylight:

jenna lyons / domino best rooms / spring 2012

by night, it will stop traffic.  spectacular light fixture + extensive architectural detailing = boom.

i start with the exception.  you can’t have your cake and eat it too.

it is left to us to apply our brain’s instagram (brainstagram?) nighttime filter to these spaces that photograph just a tad awkwardly in the daylight.  observe:

casper vissers / elle decor / jan 2013

not blown away by the daytime shot?  fast-forward to night:  white high contrast furniture to define the space.  dark walls receding to visual infinity.  blazing fire.  voluptuous chandelier.  win win win.

(note the checkerboard table.)

try another one:

fisher weisman / architectural digest / april 2013

your retinas are stimulated but not totally pleased with what they’re seeing, amiright?  the daylight against all these textural dark surfaces reads harsh.  i want to desert the house for the sunlit yard beckoning through those patio doors.  this room was born for the night.

strange to say that about a home office, but here we go:

brandi and mikkelsen / lonny magazine / dec 2012

call this a contemporary take on a gentleman cave, good for mallard displaying and pipe puffing.

ok let’s be honest – this room is preposterous in 2013.  it’s too dark for a productive workday and too technologically backwards for evening.  not sure why it exists.  add a chaise lounger and a couple floor lamps, and i might buy the story.

this room is so similar to mine, my subconscious has already moved in:

matthew patrick smyth / elle decor / dec 2012

a low rectangular lamp, a few flickering candles on the tray, a distant light reflecting in the mirror… yeah pretty sure if i wiggle my toes, you’ll see me sitting there just off to the right.

this bedroom is a no-brainer:

tamzin greenhill / elle decor / march 2013

perfection.  next.

more daytime harshness with the promise of a gorgeous night:

domino small spaces / spring 2013

jankety.  but in dim light under a lit blue star, the muted versions of all those colors will pool together cohesively.

and now back to where we started.

my place

subtract the sun.  mute the colors.  add flickering bursts of candle light, sparkle, and reflection.  don’t see it?  stop by some night for a cup of chai.

until cameras learn to capture what the human eye already knows, we’ve got to read between the lines in pretty pictures.  look past the magazine editors.  turn down the cigarette.  aren’t you, like, twenty-eight or something?

happiness hit her like a bullet in the back

oh, flo. for three years now, i have spent every thursday belting out your poetry to the inside of my civic on a weekly drive across the state to site meetings.

florence welch / vogue / may 2013

the may 2013 vogue graces us with a feature on florence welch’s new house in london. girl’s tastes be crazy. you know this already if you’ve had the pleasure of watching florence and the machine in concert or have seen footage of florence strolling down the red carpet.

true to form, her house showcases little explosions of victorian opulance, english grannydom, vintage orphanhood.

welch and benson / vogue / may 2013

welch and benson / vogue / may 2013

compare these photos of her place to the blinding white spaces that are trending these days. there are no illusions of living rooms flooded with daylight here. her home is dark and english. cozy, dark and english.

when was the last time you saw a daytime interiors shoot with the lamps on?

welch and benson / vogue / may 2013

i first heard of florence on npr in 2010, when i tuned in to melissa block interviewing a softspoken british woman who described her art with intellectual calmness before grabbing a drum and unleashing her lyric, her voice.

her home completes the story.

i am still smitten.

in boston, i will weld my bones to the city

spectating at the boston marathon / 18 april 2005

i belong in boston.

if you belong in the place where you were chiseled by fire hose and lasers into the rich complexity of your adulthood, i belong in boston.

i am a nomad everywhere else.

in boston, i will buy the restoration hardware tufted monstrosity and bolt it to the frame of my ten million dollar brownstone.  in boston, i will take out a loan for a baby grand piano to put at the comm ave bay window so i can finally learn to play chopsticks with both hands.

in boston, syed will run the marathon for the second and third and fourth and fifth times.

in boston, i will mortgage my life to brick walls laid by some guy who shot the shit with john adams if john adams were the kind of guy who shot shit.

there are no fugitives in boston.

and because this is supposed to be an interior design blog, here is a picture of my nerdy broke teenager’s dorm room circa 2004.  just a bunch of todd oldham for target and a pile of hobbit posters.

mccormick hall / MIT / 2004-2005

(a salary makes all the difference.)

lest we forget, boston hosted a war that birthed a nation.

spectating at the boston marathon / 18 april 2005

this piddling attack cannot leave a mark on the greatest city i know.

my sorrow for the victims, and love and support.

checkerboard vindication

this page out of the may 2013 elle decor gave me a chuckle:

remember my rant about the new chevron?

mark jacobs must be snorting fairy dust.  everyone with pupils and a soul wants a piece of this guy.

all these months later, i’m still not satisfied with the availability of mod checkerboard in interiors.  elle decor scraped the barrel and came up with… a shot glass.

step it up, designers.  we need you.

three good excuses for your home decor laziness

the ONLY three good excuses:

1.  blindness

2.  hmm.  couldn’t think of a second one.

3.  aspen

lea sisson / luxe magazine / spring 2013

if your home stands on floor-to-ceiling windows open to the glorious bosom of Mother Earth, i don’t give a flying f about your couch.

lea sisson / luxe magazine / spring 2013

lea sisson / luxe magazine / spring 2013

note that without nature’s WOW, the decor is gross:

lea sisson / luxe magazine / spring 2013

house perfection lives at the sweet spot where architecture sheds the role of a ticky-tacky deadbeat dad and steps up to the plate in the residential interiors-architecture-landscaping family.  remember the barcelona cement factory and the LA frank lloyd wright house?

lea sisson / luxe magazine / spring 2013

add this one to the list of houses worthy of my mortgage.  (still counting on one hand.)