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Outdoor rooms on 'roids.

So, I went on a plant-buying binge the other weekend and I was talking to this supremely helpful and smart woman who works there and I lamented the fact that a fire feature was suggested to me for my backyard. I told her that I hate those cheapie copper ones people have... they seem like something everyone will regret in about 5 minutes (if not already).

And she chimed in, in her cute British accent, "Oh, yes... the OUTDOOR ROOM. We're all really sick of that around here." Which made me laugh.

So, for your viewing pleasure, I present to you some outdoor rooms I find particularly nauseating.

Seriously? Are they planning to conduct a panel on an important issue or something? Everyone would be seated sitcom-style, as though facing a TV camera. This is so weird.

I think this is where the virgins are sacrificed.

Oh Florida. What are we gonna do with you?


Long weekend.

I'll be gone for a long weekend, camping on San Juan Island. I'll be with my mom. We will be sitting by a fire playing our favorite games:

"Why does she wear that?"
"Can you believe they spent money on that?"
"How much do you think he makes?"
"When do you think they'll finally get a divorce?"

I promise not to gossip about any of you. The rest of the world - watch out.

Have a great weekend everyone.

The tyrrany of the heirloom:

Dr. Lubetkin, of the Institute for Behavior Therapy, once treated a woman who longed to get rid of an ugly bureau in her bedroom that had once belonged to her mother. He advised his patient to hire a mover to shift the bureau closer to the front door. He also led her through imagery exercises.

“It’s called systemic desensitization: slowly, while in a state of relaxation, have the person imagine the fearful situation occurring, having the movers come,” Dr. Lubetkin says. “I also gave her an audio tape.”

Read it all HERE.

Have you inherited something you just can't get rid of? Are you sentimental about stuff?

What would people say about your home behind your back?


Spare no expense.

Hmm. Would you ever pay $4500 for a jacket?

SHE would. Would you?


While we are on the topic, HERE is a gread read from Cathy Horyn about the price of clothes. She mentions that one could be a college student and actually splurge on a YSL blouse back in the day without, it seems, needing to take out a loan for it. Hard to imagine those days ever existed.

A fine song.


You know, a while back, I wanted to post about bedbugs and I never did.

I don't have a lot of shame in my life (I *should* of course... if you only knew the things I have done). But several weeks ago we started getting bites. A few here and there. And then it was epic. And it was too gross to even talk about. Here's what happened:

I woke up one morning and probably had 20 bites. The itch... oh god, it was murder. Really. No exaggeration. We kept getting a few more each night. Progressively worse.

One morning, I woke up with itching so bad that I knew I had to count the bites - count the damage. I stopped counting at 38.

That was it. I played the Google/Wiki game and realized, "Ah fucking god, we have bedbugs."

I felt like trash. My lovely fiance kept reminding me that bedbugs have nothing to do with cleanliness... they don't feast on food or crumbs or dust. The just like you. Your warm, hospitable, bloody, too-sleepy-to-fend-them-off you. And he was right. It's true.

But when you can't wear a skirt to your meetings in NY because you have bites all over you, well, you don't feel so chic.

How was I going to tell the man's ex-wife? She's to together and blond and great... how were we supposed to let her know, "Um, we are sending your kid back to your house with bedbugs. Good luck with that." And my mom was going to come for a visit. I had to actually tell her, "Guess what, dude, we have bedbugs. You may not want to come."

She didn't.

So we called Orkin. A nice older guy named Alan came to our house. He checked the spots where bedbugs like to congregate when they aren't feasting on your veins, like in your bedframe and in the seams of your mattress. I was positive that when he inspected the bedroom he would find bedbug porn and empty beer cans and such, because it was totally clear to me that they had moved in.

But no.

He found carpet beatles, which he says are normal. I made a mental note that normal = gross. But he found no evidence of bedbugs.

So what happened? Well, I have a problem in that I think that everything costs $300. I was ready for Orkin to fight the power and bomb the living shit out of our upstairs. I was ready to spare no expense. I mean, after all, I was the one who, after the Orkin man came, returned to my laptop downstairs to email JJ and let her know how disgusting this whole event was, but that, thank god, there were no real bedbugs (despite the mysterious bites). And then, literally at the moment I began to type, a small black dot started walking across the letter E on my keyboard. I cried. I'm no ninny, I was just really tired of the itching and scratching, and seeing a tiny little bug prancing around on my keyboard was just too much to handle. I thought the bites would never end.

But my fiance was not ready to fork over the cash. Apparently, he has a taste for hand-to-hand combat. He decided that an off-the-shelf flea bug bomb should be our first course of action before we had Orkin drop napalm in our house.

Smart man.

In two day, no more bites.

We never learned what, exactly, was dining on our flesh. Whatever it was took the bomb seriously and moved out.

So why am I telling this? In my very recent sort-of break from blogging about decor and our homes and the lives we live in them, I have been thinking a lot about what isn't perfect. When I stopped blogging daily about perfect places I had some time to get real about my house and how, even when I want to master it, it's kind of the master of me.

While we were all thinking of ikat and pretty and perfection and fresh flowers, they moved in.

Little fuckers.

Question about how to properly chug beer.

This Friday, I piloted a party boat on Lake Union with 9 friends. I wore a Captain's hat and an eye patch and scowled "Aaarrrrgh!" at passers by while on the water. It was hilarious.

My friend the Brit dropped trou and left his naked ass dangling out there for all to see as we floated past the rowing club. Also hilarious.

I "shotgunned" a can of beer. I have never done this before. I think when you're 32 and no longer athletic enough to do a keg stand, this is as wild as it gets. I am proud of my accomplishment, although there was much debate around methodology:

Should you pierce the side of the beer can, open the top, and drink from the hole you just made on the side?
Or should you drink from the top, knocking it back and using the newly-created hole on the side of the can as a sort of vent which speeds up the rate at which the beer flows out of the can?

Or do you do as The Brit did, and just vampire the whole fucking thing and BITE holes into the side of the can and suck it out?

The answers are all murky, which certainly means that the next time I get my white trash on, I might have to try all 3 methods to determine which is best.

Please advise which is the proper method. My vacation from decor blogging might require more of this activity, so I should know in which manner to proceed.

Summer vacation.

Bored with blogging. Taking a break. See you later.

High shine.

From New York Magazine, via Jules:


Every surface in the south-facing apartment, with the exception of the DDC couch and chairs, is reflective. “At night you can see the taxicabs in the ceiling,” says Christopher Coleman. “On the 39th floor!”

The clients did have a few more-mundane needs. They’re news junkies, so “there are, I think, eleven televisions. They disappear into slots all over the apartment,” says Turett, who even installed them in the bathrooms and the husband’s closet.

“I remember asking them, ‘Don’t you want a bookcase somewhere?’ And they said, ‘We don’t need to have books out. We know that we know how to read.’ 

I love these people already.


There was much talk about the awesomeness of this room yesterday.

Love that rug.

The look for less.

The chair on the left? The famous Oly "Hannah" chair. And, like, $1,100.

The chair on the right? Craigslist, $60, and all mine. I can't wait to get it reupholstered in some yummy fabric.

Thank god he's not a one-trick pony.

We didn't mean to malign him in the last post. Although I still maintain that skater house is too much, Jay Jeffers does have range, right?

The previously discussed room of insanity:

You can see more of his work for yourself HERE

Is it all too much?

So, I was emailing a bloggy friend about decor and asked,

When you see this (photo above) do you think this looks eclectic or unedited? I think there is this whole "anything goes" thing happening now. And I kind of like that it looks a bit "collected" and not matchy-matchy, but do you think it's gone too far? When I see Peter Dunham rooms, there is a coziness that I love, but overall, it just seems like a mess. What do you think?

To which, this friend responded,

"You’ve tapped into something I’m a little embarrassed to admit: I’m not a fan of eclecticism. I can take, and even like, a sleek Barcelona chair next to a rough Moroccan wool rug, say, but then I don’t want to see a Depression-era butter churn and a Philippine rattan ottoman and a ‘60s-mod fabric thrown into the mix. I admire the bravery of it all, but I don’t like it. For me it’s painful.

I guess I like Peter Dunham’s rooms because they are confident, but that’s about it.

I wonder how many rooms we see today are actually the result of the decorator’s try to stave off his own boredom, rather than present something that the client will really relish."

The images above are certainly not worst offenders. There are things I enjoy about both rooms, and that Ruthie room is pretty bullet-proof. But you get the idea. Who thought after the stripped-down aesthetic of the 90s that we would be putting gilded sconces, David Hicks fabric (on a traditional sofa, no less), and ornate mirrors in a white-washed beach house and calling it a day?

So what do you guys think? The whole decade of design seems to be (or have been, since it's almost over) a kind of reaction against the strictness of the Liagre crowd. But have we gone too far?

What are your design predictions for the next decade?

Oh, be still my heart...

... or what about this crazy fake ostrich?

Remember those mind-blowingly awesome chairs done in blue "ostrich" in the Hampton's home of Reed Krakoff (this is why I have a blog... I couldn't possible utter that sentence aloud to anyone else in my life and not be laughed at...)?

Well, holy god, look at all these colors:

You can get it HERE

Those Krakoff chairs.

Fabric for my chair.

LS Fabrics Diamante

I bought this chair a while back and still haven't done anything with it. I am in no hurry, as I have a few other projects to tackle first, but I have been trying to figure out a punchy fabric that won't annoy me in 2 years. Here are a few that I am liking:

LS Fabrics Lattice
Not really good for my chair, but I like to see options other than "Imperial Trellis" since that fabric is everywhere already.

LS Fabrics Erin Linen Glazed in Parrot

This fabric is totally badass.

LS Fabrics Erin Glazed in Seaspray

Oh Fiorentina... you'll always be mine.

Che Domino, another Hicks winner.

(All fabrics not already credited are either Schumacher or Lee Joffa. I am too lazy to build a bunch of links.)

I am SO NOT a fabric expert, so let me ask you guys:

1) What should people know about fabric when selecting for an upholstery project?

2) What are the best online resources for fabric based on your personal experience?

3) Any stories about upholstery project successes or regrets? Tips and tricks?


Ok, this is finally a photo of what I want my stone to look like in the backyard. The project can now proceed. Whew.

Oh my.

I love that chevron-patterned fabric. I also want a big outdoor bed thingy like this.

I want this bedroom.

So, JJ, to follow up on our very important breakfast conversation, this is the bedroom. Cheap and cheerful, no? My ceilings are too low for this bed, which is ok because I am not big on canopies. But the carpet is good. A nice compromise between hardwoods-wanting me and the carpet-desiring boys of the house. Sort of simple and basic with some punch.

What is the nicest thing anyone has ever done for you?

So, today I scramble out of work to help the man get to the car repair place to pick up our other hunk of metal (brake repair or something). And from the guy who rarely reads my blog, he says to me, "That post the other day kinda depressed me." The confessions. I think everyone needs to confess now and then, but no one is a saint, right? Because I firmly believe that the people who read and comment on this blog are generally lovely and funny, I told him I would ask people, "What is the nicest thing anyone has ever done for you?"

I'll kick it off by saying that there are so many things people have done for me, that have helped me along the way from going totally mad. My first boss still calls me a few times a year to see how I am doing. He genuinely cares. He's taken on the role of kindly uncle or maybe Adult Guidance Counselor, checking in to make sure I am still passing my classes. Every time he calls, my heart just swells with happiness because he has no obligation in the whole world to check in on the girl he hired into her first salaried job. He taught me, in his old-man Southern drawl, my still-favorite saying of all time:

"The answer's no until you ask." Brilliant. (I have since asked the world for a lot of things, believe me.)

So, that's my thing - this kindness of someone who after all these years should have forgotten about me.

So what's the nicest thing that anyone has done for you?

Photo above is Tia Zoldan's house, photo from who knows where and lifted from ABT and, clearly, has nothing to do with this post.

CONFESSION WEEK: What is the worst thing you have ever done?

Dude. I am low on decor posts this week. My job is kicking my ass this week and will continue to kick it this week, FYI, so I am none to excited about scanning/posting pick of chairs and whatnot. So... probably not too many decor posts this week. Sorry.

HOWEVER, a friend and I were kicking around some topics in email and this is what we want to know:

What is the worst thing you have ever done? Or maybe just the most scandalous? Get someone fired? Cheat? Cheat with your best friend's boyfriend? Tell a big lie? Not tell someone the truth when they needed it? (Like, hey don't marry that dude.)

You can post anonymously, as over 100 of you did about THIS nosey question.

"The cheaper the better."

Don't forget to watch the original Sartorialist, Bill Cunningham, narrating the street fashion he shot this past week. The theme is vests, about which he happily reports that the trend is from the streets, not high-priced designers, and that for this trend, "The cheaper, the better."

Watch it HERE

Is that even a vest??

My latest obsession.

Steel and chrome chairs. Yum.

I am not really a modernist, not in the sort of all-or-nothing approach you think of when imagining LA people doing up their clean, white, angular (boring) spaces. You know the kind I am talking about.

But I do like a little metal in a space to smack down any kind of Rachel Ashwell vomitous "shabbiness" that is prone to rear its head when you like vintage and antique stuff, as I do. The whole topic came up a while back in the comments section responding to Nick Olsen's blog post about tubular steel (read it HERE), but I still have metal on the brain.

This current fave can be found HERE on Ebay. Recover it in white hair-on cow hide or maybe in some nubby cream fabric, or even in a fuschia velvet and you've got yourself a party.

Chairs at the top of this post can be found HERE

What do you guys think of metal?

Go to Spain, France, and Thailand today.

Great finds at the Clignancourt flea market in Paris.

Sounds good, huh?

You can visit Spain, France, and Thailand vicariously through recent post HERE on the excellent blog Boatshed Chic.

The blog's author and her son in Thailand. She's looks young and adorable enough to be his sister. Crazy.
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