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.