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Love it.


One thing I love about Grant (other than his gorgeous apartment) is that as a blogger, he has a very unique way of name-dropping designers and general designerati without sounding like a self-aggrandizing turd. That makes it a pleasure to live vicariously through his adventures. Plus he's always so happy.

I would be too if my place looked as finished and pretty as his. So go see his place as featured in the New York Times, k?

The Gays.

I can't decide which part of THIS article is more shocking - - that 12,500 service members have been discharged from US military since 1993 just for being gay or lesbian... or that the Secretary of Defense sponsors a National Security Essay competition. Seriously, an essay competition. Who knew?

At least this feels like progress. Hopefully. Maybe.

Moody kitchen.

Richard emailed me yesterday to tell me about this kitchen that he fell in love with:

He says: "It's by a Milanese design firm called Dimore. They're a gay couple, Britt Moran and Emiliano Salci, who own it together, and it's the kitchen of their residence. I looked online and found some pics, but none do it justice.

It's just this incredibly dramatic space. One rarely refers to a kitchen as moody, but this one is. The mix of antique and modern, girly and masculine, sleek and shabby, is absolutely masterful."

I agree. It doesn't even look like a kitchen, which makes it more interesting. Thoughts?

I finally decided on a light for my kitchen.

Ha! Just kidding. Like I have made a decision... it's only been since, I dunno, March.

Anyhoo, Heather B sent this to me, and I love her for it. It's true Decorno.

I love Margarita(s)!

Oh, Margarita. She cleaned the house. It smells like almond oil and lemons and little kittens and happiness and joy! It's clean here. For the first time.

This is liberation! (White, middle class liberation, but still...) I am already trying to figure out how much to pay her for a Christmas bonus.

If she's going to give me shit for living in squalor and if she's going to make me clean out my own trash can, I get to make her wear the Zoila outfit, right?

(And Sketch42, I didn't know they made little bags to fit my garbage can. I swear! But I am going to go find them right now...)

Old good things.

This is great. HERE.

“My father, before he died, told me, ‘I can’t stop these dreams — I keep seeing all the people I missed on the route,’ ” Mr. Backerman said.

...Mr. Beberman does not advertise, and his business is not listed in the telephone directory. The sight of his truck alone brings in more requests than he can handle, he said.

Still, the truck has its limitations. The rattling cases are so precariously perched that he will not risk driving over the Brooklyn Bridge to expand into Manhattan.

Mr. Beberman is choosy about whom he entrusts with his expensive bottles, many of which were hand-blown by Czech and Austrian makers before World War II. Each bottle holds 26 ounces. His customers must be serious about their seltzer and accept his rules. He refuses to carry cases up flights of stairs anymore. There are no half-case options. You order seltzer, you pay for 10 bottles. If you pay late, you do not get seltzer.

Girl cave.

She's totally right about this. These are perfect reality-TV-reading chairs.

THIS is awesome. Mom looks like maybe a former goth, too, but now that she has money, she can buy Jil Sander and Rick Owens.

Is anyone watching Hung on HBO? These kids remind me of his kids. I love them. Especially the boy who is becoming gothier by the minute.

Pass the black nailpolish and put Siouxsie on repeat, bitches!

Oh, and THIS is not to be missed! Turn your headphones up.

(P.S. How much do you love the genuine smiles on the Obamas faces? You know Michelle is loving the combat boots.)

The accountants of Cleaning.

So, we are finally hiring someone to clean our house. She speaks Spanish and I don't, sadly, so I just used Google translator to type up something to help me explain what I would like her to do and what she can ignore, and Google whipped up a nice chunk of Spanish to help me explain.

But then I thought, “What if Google translator is crap?” So, I popped the Google Spanish translation into Yahoo’s translation tool and this is what I got:

Hello! I have used an Internet translator to help to write this so that I could do a better work to explain, since nothing spoke of Spanish I feel (it). Here I am the type of work would like to do: Kitchen: The accountants of Cleaning (the marble scratches very easily, so please he has well-taken care of) He cleans the cabinets He cleans to the refrigerator every two weeks To sweep/to trapear the floor He cleans the windows To clean the windows To eliminate the dust and the spiderwebs of the ceiling Of emptiness of the blue chair (the dog and is used east hair in him) Bathroom: Mop floors It cleans and it disinfects the toilet and the washbasin Cleaning of the mirror To clean the bathtub The tiles of the bath are terrible. Sometimes they fall (that glides to remodelar the bathroom of the next year), so if that happens, one does not worry. We can fix it. Room, dining room, recibidor, office and room of television: To sweep/RP Dust It cleans the windows It inhales the carpet of cow skin Of emptiness of the sofa (the hair of dog in her is put) In the future it would like, us that to the emptiness and the dust of the floor of above also, but at the moment it is not necessary because is a disaster and we are on the verge of making some renovations. In the future, it wishes also, it can change it the bed clothes, but that are not necessary now. Not even necessity to raise until we make the remodeling. How it would like that it was pleased? Money in cash or check? In order to do this work every two weeks - How much it will cost? In order to do this work to the week - how much it will cost?

Oh, Everett.


Oh, Microsoft.

Is this even real? It hurts me so much to watch this.

This makeover, yes or no?


I am coming out.

As a fan of Khloe Kardashian.

Are you happy?

“Across the happiness data, the one thing in life that will make you less happy is having children,” said Betsey Stevenson, an assistant professor at Wharton who co-wrote a paper called “The Paradox of Declining Female Happiness.” “It’s true whether you’re wealthy or poor, if you have kids late or kids early. Yet I know very few people who would tell me they wish they hadn’t had kids or who would tell me they feel their kids were the destroyer of their happiness.”

Normally I ignore Maureen Dowd, but this caught my attention. You can read her essay HERE. I figure you will want to, so that you can comment.



Women are getting unhappier, I told my friend Carl.

“How can you tell?” he deadpanned. “It’s always been whine-whine-whine.”

Why are we sadder? I persisted.

“Because you care,” he replied with a mock sneer. “You have feelings.”

Oh, that.

In the early ’70s, breaking out of the domestic cocoon, leaving their mothers’ circumscribed lives behind, young women felt exhilarated and bold.

But the more women have achieved, the more they seem aggrieved. Did the feminist revolution end up benefiting men more than women?

According to the General Social Survey, which has tracked Americans’ mood since 1972, and five other major studies around the world, women are getting gloomier and men are getting happier.

Before the ’70s, there was a gender gap in America in which women felt greater well-being. Now there’s a gender gap in which men feel better about their lives.

As Arianna Huffington points out in a blog post headlined “The Sad, Shocking Truth About How Women Are Feeling”: “It doesn’t matter what their marital status is, how much money they make, whether or not they have children, their ethnic background, or the country they live in. Women around the world are in a funk.”

(The one exception is black women in America, who are a bit happier than they were in 1972, but still not as happy as black men.)

Marcus Buckingham, a former Gallup researcher who has a new book out called “Find Your Strongest Life: What the Happiest and Most Successful Women Do Differently,” says that men and women passed each other midpoint on the graph of life.

“Though women begin their lives more fulfilled than men, as they age, they gradually become less happy,” Buckingham writes in his new blog on The Huffington Post, pointing out that this darker view covers feelings about marriage, money and material goods. “Men, in contrast, get happier as they get older.”

Buckingham and other experts dispute the idea that the variance in happiness is caused by women carrying a bigger burden of work at home, the “second shift.” They say that while women still do more cooking, cleaning and child-caring, the trend lines are moving toward more parity, which should make them less stressed.

When women stepped into male- dominated realms, they put more demands — and stress — on themselves. If they once judged themselves on looks, kids, hubbies, gardens and dinner parties, now they judge themselves on looks, kids, hubbies, gardens, dinner parties — and grad school, work, office deadlines and meshing a two-career marriage.

“Choice is inherently stressful,” Buckingham said in an interview. “And women are being driven to distraction.”

One area of extreme distraction is kids. “Across the happiness data, the one thing in life that will make you less happy is having children,” said Betsey Stevenson, an assistant professor at Wharton who co-wrote a paper called “The Paradox of Declining Female Happiness.” “It’s true whether you’re wealthy or poor, if you have kids late or kids early. Yet I know very few people who would tell me they wish they hadn’t had kids or who would tell me they feel their kids were the destroyer of their happiness.”
The more important things that are crowded into their lives, the less attention women are able to give to each thing.

Add this to the fact that women are hormonally more complicated and biologically more vulnerable. Women are much harder on themselves than men.

They tend to attach to other people more strongly, beat themselves up more when they lose attachments, take things more personally at work and pop far more antidepressants.

“Women have lives that become increasingly empty,” Buckingham said. “They’re doing more and feeling less.”

Another daunting thing: America is more youth and looks obsessed than ever, with an array of expensive cosmetic procedures that allow women to be their own Frankenstein Barbies.

Men can age in an attractive way while women are expected to replicate — and Restylane — their 20s into their 60s.

Buckingham says that greater prosperity has made men happier. And they are also relieved of bearing sole responsibility for their family finances, and no longer have the pressure of having women totally dependent on them.

Men also tend to fare better romantically as time wears on. There are more widows than widowers, and men have an easier time getting younger mates.
Stevenson looks on the bright side of the dark trend, suggesting that happiness is beside the point. We’re happy to have our newfound abundance of choices, she said, even if those choices end up making us unhappier.

A paradox, indeed.

When is it inspiration vs. theft of design?

The recent sofa chronicles on this blog are fascinating. It has stirred up all kinds of middle class striver anxiety about "authenticity".

The debate seems to be that a guy here in Seattle will make a sofa from any photo you bring him. Custom work. A few commenters think he's just a rip off artist. Maybe he is, but is that bad? And how much ripping-off can one really do of Restoration Hardware when their own designs aren't that original?

On the rip-off artist charge, does this mean if I tear out a Stephen Gambrel room as inspiration while decorating that I need to send him a royalty check? Are the same people who are pissed at the Seattle couch guy mad as hell at Madeline Weinrib for boosting the prints of Uzbekistan for her own personal gain? Let the riots begin. (Someone lock down ABC Carpet and Home, stat.)

A commenter asked:

Do you think it's all right for Restoration Hardware to rip off this Edouard Bouquet lamp:

And sell its own virtually identical version as the "Counterpoise Single-Arm Task Table Lamp":

Is there a line? And where won't you cross it? Or are there no original ideas left in lamps, sofas, pillows, etc. Discuss.

I was too lazy to post about the new "look" at Restoration Hardware...

... when the new catalog arrived a few weeks ago.

But hey - - it looks like I don't have to since you can read about it HERE.

I will say that as soon as I saw all the huge linen-covered furniture and the limed wood I thought, "Bummer for Axel Vervoordt. Your time is up."

The whole catalog is a sea of brown. Ick.

If you enjoyed the 100+ comments on the sofa post a while ago...

You should read all of THIS. Grab your wine (boozer) and your laptop, and enjoy.

I didn't know all of this about Restoration Hardware. And I love the condo story.

A snippet:

On June 18, 2008 Restoration Hardware was de-listed from the NASDAQ and ceased to be a publicly traded company. They were bought by Catterton Partners, a private equity firm specializing in “middle market consumer companies.” They also own:

Outback Steakhouse

among many others.

Their “realized investments” (which I take to mean companies they bought, squeezed every drop of potential profitability from, then sold) include:

PF Chang’s
Case Logic
Frederic Fekkai
Wellness Pet Foods

among others.

Shake that thing & misc notes.

I didn't know that orthodox Jews (men, anyway) can't shake hands with women. I learned that the other day. I wasn't offended but it is weird to have this cultural moment where someone refused to touch me. I was untouchable. Hm.

On the other hand, I hate hugging, so can we try to make that a religious thing? That is my new deal. Hugging is against my religion. So are air kisses. So quit with your affection because you are violating my, like, spirituality and stuff.

In other news, I'm so glad it's fall. It smells like smoke and fires and pine trees and juniper and fog. Ok, I know fog doesn't smell, but you know what I mean. I love that.

Oh - I have a new word. Are you ready for it? Momnesia. It's when you get super excited to hang out with your mom for a long weekend and your better half reminds you that after 3 days you typically want to kill each other so why they hell are you getting so excited about your upcoming weekend on Orcas Island? Yeah. I have a mad case of momnesia. That's ok. I am excited for that adventure.

That's all I've got. I have the day off tomorrow. I love having a work day off. You can actually get practical shit done like getting new glasses, waxing your pikachu, getting some alterations done... that sort of thing. Oh you stay-at-homies. The Decorno is jealous of you bitches. So very jealous.

Perfection at 1:36.

All Esther Williams style. HERE.

New books.

It's almost Christmas (Think about it. I kinda almost really is.) and you know what that means: publishers think this is when they will get you to spend $50 on some coffee table fantasy. And a lot of us will, so here's your roundup:

Italian Touch I am dying to get this. Rumor has it that Anna Dello Russo's house is featured. Fashion people have sexier homes than interior design people, so that should be fun to flip through.

Miss Elle Decor's new book, Style and Substance. When is Elle Decor bad? Never. So this should be pretty god as long as there aren't too many re-runs of stuff we have already seen in the magazine. (What are the odds? Slim, I imagine.)

THIS one seems like a mash note to socialites no one cares about anymore now that people realized they bought their houses with fake money, etc etc. I am a big "no" on this one, but it's the follow-up to last year's 20-pound Hamish Bowles celebration of lives you and I will never, ever, ever have, and, well, since it's my duty to report this kind of style/design stuff to you, here it is. If you want smug Tom & Giselle staring at you on your bookshelf, that's your business.

HueWill you be buying it?

And if Kelly's blast from the 80s past is too much for you (or me), you could get THIS. Kasler's work is the visual equivalent of realizing you still have two more Vicodin pills from your recent injury, taking the day off of work, washing one of them down with a glass of red wine and napping leisurely in the afternoon. Or something like that. And I mean that in the best way.

I kind guess that's it. Have I missed any worth writing about here?

Hey look, it's also on Tumblr... just in case you don't want to totally douche out by reading it on Twitter.

A show to Tivo, for sure.

Did you see THIS tidbit?

"Possibly from Tacoma"

...will be the name of my future rock band.

THIS is very good reading for Seattle people.

The photo has nothing to do with it. I just like her gold shades.

Vacation photos.

I finally uploaded my vacation photos. I don't plan on posting any because, well, I am all vacationed out. Except for this one. This is the water near Capri.

I couldn't believe it. So amazing.


That font. I love it. I want to open a store or restaurant just to use it on the signs or the menus or whatever.

If you read the "last $100/sofa" post...

you need to go back for MORE in the comments section. CouchSeattle responds.

How do you know when a room is overdone?

Women are told, "Remove one piece of jewelry before you leave the house" to keep from looking over-accessorized. Is there a similar rule for rooms?

Photo from Dovecote. I must say, it's not really fair for me to use a showroom photo because home stores are ALWAYS overdone.

What was your best bargain?

I have a $30 dresser that is all paint-peeled and a little wobbly. Maybe more than a little wobbly, actually. One of these days when I yank a pair of fuzzy socks out of that top drawer, I am pretty sure the whole thing wild fall over, exposed nails threatening tetanus, I am sure.

But it's cute and it does the job. And a fancy-ass new version wouldn't work in this old room. I think it was a great find.

What was your best bargain? What is it, where did you find it, and why does it make your room? (Or, simply make you happy?) Where did you find it? What did you pay? Were you on the hunt or was it just serendipity?

I would love to credit the photo above. Please leave info in the comments if you can help me identify.

The last $100.

Photo from HERE.

"I think most shelter magazines are so boring... Who wants to read someone committing an act of literature about a house, when you want to know, 'What color should I paint my bedroom?'"

These are the words of Stephen Drucker, editor of House Beautiful. You can hear him HERE in this old interview AT posted.

I really like that he mentions, in the text part of that AT interview, hearing this from a designer: "It isn't the first $1000 that makes a room, it's the last $100."

This leads me to a few thoughts/questions:

I need to buy a sofa. (Old news, I know.) In fact, I need to buy a sofa and many other things for my front room. And I went to a store here in Seattle recently to look for lamps and slipper chairs and small tables and all that, and I had a great conversation from the shop owner, but it went down a path that irritates the shit out of me: someone trying to tell me I need a $7000 sofa.

Who pays that much? Only designer-y people. I don't understand how real people plan to retire when they are using after-tax income to spend $7k on a sofa. It's insulting. I am standing in this shop getting a lecture on how Pottery Barn and Restoration and Mitchell Gold are such poor quality. What does this mean? The fabric? Maybe. The construction? Really? Come on. Is a $2,500 sofa really going to fail you? Maybe in the style department. But will it literally fall apart on you? Will the joints come undone?

The annoying part of loving shelter porn and good design is the idea that you just HAVE to pay thousands of dollars for, say, a mohair sofa, or othewise risk being an idiot who doesn't understand quality. It just smells like a racket. When designers don't even ask you what your needs are before they start trying to shame you into spending more, it just sounds to me like the movie theater concession guy trying to upsell me on the large popcorn. Please.

So, maybe that's my first question:

What is NOT worth it? (Certain appliances, upgrades, furniture, a landscape or cleaning service, custom framing, the ubiquitous $3k 48 x 36 abstract oil painting, etc.?)

And the next question, (and on a happier note) let's talk about the last $100 that Mr. Drucker mentions.

Isn't that a lovely thought? That the flowers or the art or the personal item is really what can make your room. (For me, it's my Tivoli radio in the kitchen. I know I should say it's some painting or ceramic bowl or whatever, but no. It's that damn radio. It's handsome in an old-school kind of way, and I love listening to Kai Ryssdal while I chop onions. I am just radio obsessed. And I like looking at it on my kitchen counter. It seems warm and oldie-timey and it just sounds lovely.)

When did you finally spend that "last $100" and think, "Ok.... this room is finally just right." I want to hear about it.
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