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A very Barneys Christmas.

ANOTHER REASON to love Michelle O.


It's clear to me that Alessandra Colombo totally stole her look from acclaimed 80s art-house feature film, Just One of the Guys. And I dig it.

Sand Point Antique and Design Market Dec. 6th

Seattle, mark your calendars. The next Sand Point Antique & Design Market Holiday Show will be held Sunday, December 6th 2009, from 8 AM ($10 early buyers admission) or 10 AM ($6 regular admission) to 4 PM at Magnussun Park in Seattle.

This is generally a very good market. Antiques, paintings, furniture, and good junk. See you there.

Plaster, finally.

Not my house, clearly.

Long ago I mentioned my plaster problem. My walls are plaster, but not the good kind. The have little plaster zits (placne?) thanks to the plaster guy way back when pulling up on the trowell thingy and leaving little peaks and valleys all over the walls. It's like really expensive popcorn ceiling.

I've finally hired a plaster guy to come fix the walls. He's totally crazy. Like, maybe certifiable. He's Irish. He kept telling me, in his charming accent, that the job will cost $2500, but, "It will probabaly come in at half that." Okaaaaay. Well, then, let's pick a number? Can we do that? His total insanity finally proved victorious and I did what I never do. I was like, "Ok, fine. Show up on Monday," without settling on a final price. So, who knows what this will cost, but I am pretty sure it will be worth every penny, because I recently framed a bunch of maps and prints and I am dying to get them up on the walls, but taking that step to finally have things framed just made it worse. They look great but they make the walls look even worse.

Every project in my house is like dominos. I start thinking I want new floors, but then I realize I should fix the ceilings first before all that shit comes crashing down on newly stained wood, for example. And then I am like, well, before the floors, we should probably paint. Everything is like pulling a thread on a sweater.

I think this is why I am like, Whatever Crazy Irish Dude, just come fix the walls. Because I have to start somewhere.

Do you have a project you're eager to start, but it's held up by some other contingent task? I am eager to hear about this. I feel like I have made the slowest progress on my house and it's kind of turning me into a crazy person. And crazy likes company, so spill the beans.

(Oh, and after next week's plaster adventure, we ARE finally getting the popcorn off the ceiling upstairs, and then we are pulling up the carpet to see if we can re-finish, or if we need to do something drastic, like paint the floors white. Either way, we are finally making progress on that front. No word yet, though, in getting the toilet out of the tub. I thought that would be next, but that's going to be a spring project now. My birthday gift to my better half. Those contractors scared me off with their $40k bid.)

Paint the ceilings white?

My friend Mara is doing a major remodel and it’s time to start painting. She and her designer want to paint the ceilings colors similar to the wall color of each room. Maybe just a lighter shade. Her husband thinks the ceilings should be white.

Who’s right? Discuss. Let’s settle this dispute before it leads to divorce.

I want this grey.


Unusually good food and wine pairing:

Kraft Mac & Cheese and Columbia Crest Two Vines Merlot.

Just FYI

"The coolest person in the room is usually the one who looks like the biggest geek."

Go HERE to read Stephen Drucker's take on the demise of Met Home and his thoughts on design with a capital D.

Here's the short essay for those to lazy to click:

What Is "Modern Design" Now?

With the closing of Metropolitan Home magazine last week, the design world lost a champion of modernism. There has been a great deal of breast-beating ever since: What magazines are left to fight the modern fight?

I salute Met Home and I'm sorry to see it go. But those old battle lines of modern-is-hip vs. traditional-is-stuffy just don't work for me anymore. I've had it with hip. We are drowning in hipness, in the blind worship of gallerylike rooms in glass-walled buildings that are to me the biggest cliché of all. Who isn't hip these days, when there are "next hot neighborhoods" and "artists' lofts" in every city, when everybody is drinking the vodka of the moment to the same thumping bass line in indistinguishable "boutique" hotels?

Now that we're all certifiably hip and modern, maybe we need to rethink what the word "modern" means today. To me, it's not just the lone-chair-in-an-empty-room stories in the T section of The New York Times; it's about the dynamic, original thinking going on across the working design community every day. Modern thinking is there to be found in every style, the traditional as well as the hard-edged ones. It's time we started judging the true originality of all design again, not just design with a capital D.

Haven't we learned by now: The coolest person in the room is usually the one who looks like the biggest geek.

-Stephen Drucker

The funny thing is, I haven't paid much attention to design with a capital D in a long time. I know it's still out there. The fact that W hotels are still invading new cities like Istanbul means the Starkly Modern and Hip program is still being distributed around the world as a kind of shortcut to style. But even though the Lady Blogger contingent may have leaned too far Regency in the last three years, I guess it's good to see that the group of bloggers I follow religiously doesn't do much genuflecting to Starkly Modern and Hip. Noguchi tables and Marcel Wanders and rope chairs for their own sake seem like ancient history. I like Drucker's idea of finding something "modern" in every style of design. I think a lot of this blog's readers here do this. We don't write off granny for the sake of it (unless there is actually a doily on a table, of course...).

But there is the problem, I think, of too much. The response to overly clever and spare design has often been to throw everything together, right? We talked about that HERE.

So here are the open topics:

1. So what is modern design now? Or, more specifically, who is getting it really right? Who's the most exciting designer working today? Post your thoughts to comments, and send in links and photos, too.

2. Didn't anyone at Met Home see it coming? Seriously, unless there is an alternate universe of design bloggers who worshipped at its altar, that magazine seemed really out of touch. Each issue was cold and painfully consistent. It was like eating chicken for dinner every night. Modern fucking chicken EVERY NIGHT. Was no one running around the offices saying, "Uh, we have a problem... Every issue of our magazine is like Dwell, except with no plywood, better hardware on the doors and an occasional Barbara Kruger on the walls. We have to change or die." Can someone with inside scoop give us the story, please?

The heartbreaking thing is that the magazine wasn't awful, and the designs weren't bad. It's that Met Home was religious about its point of view and too tasteful. They needed to put something offensive in there. Remember Elle Decor getting HATE mail over the John Derian feature? I couldn't even believe that people were so furious and offended by tattered furniture. I loved it. I mean, to be outraged over a sofa is so fucking awesome. I wish Met Home had evolved a bit, or even tried to offend its own sensibility now and again, just to keep it spicy.

3. I am not sure how to elegantly tie THIS really pitiful New York Times profile/slideshow to the demise of Met Home, but something is connected here. I think of these photos and the whole sad story makes me think of the reason Met Home lost its appeal to me years ago. The rooms didn't just look empty. They felt empty.

Bitchy commentary at the NY Times:

...and I love it.

The rest of the display looked like samplings from your typical high-end Westchester estate sale: the inevitable framed Henri Cartier Bresson poster, the crocodile purse, the bland dishware from the beach house, some primitive art that the purchasers probably described to their friends as “funky” when they bought it years ago.


Google reader roundup:

Oh, Google Reader, how I love thee. Here's a roundup of some of my morning reading:

1. SHE'S moving and looking at fancy houses in Atlanta. I recently had dinner with people from Atlanta. This chick told me that she lives in an apartment and not one, but TWO people in her building have Bentleys. Self-righteous conversations about investing your money wisely and maybe buying a home before leasing a car ensued. Was also told that studded jeans were happening there in a big way. I enjoy thinking that the whole town is full of Real Housewives. Anyway, Atlanta seems like a crazy place. We also heard stories of people buying homes so big and letting them sit empty because they can't afford to furnish them. Atlanta just sounds like another country to me. Fancy with a capital F. Not in a bad way. Just different. But look at this kitchen from a house she's eyeing. Sweet Jesus! It's bigger than my living room. Oh, Atlanta, you know how to roll.

2. THESE ladies have a new home for their blog. The photos seem bigger, which I like. Yay them.

3. Did you see the cover of last month's Canadian House and Home magazine? If so, you saw photos of this basement makeover. Click HERE to see their video about the transformation. It gives me hope for our basement. Someday it won't be full of empty boxes, bikes, and piles of forgotten laundry. Someday we might actually make some rooms down there. Dare to dream. I think THIS is the before of her basement.

Watching this video before I've had coffee in the morning reminds me why I don't watch any HGTV. The forced cheerfulness and the completely awful opening sequence are super irritating. (Found the link to the show courtesty of My Notting Hill.)

Enjoy your Wed.

(Photo at top from HERE.)

Christmas comes early for Decorno.

Mayer Rus is BACK. Thank you Carolyn for letting me know.

Met Home obit.


Hmm... how will I know how to achieve the cold, soulless Patrick Bateman look without Met Home to help me? (I kid, I kid...)

I used to love Met. Man that was a long time ago. It was starting to get better, but I just never loved the issues anymore.

Is anyone going to miss it?

And more Formica..

Karen's kitchen.

Formica to the rescue.

Ok, I asked and someone answered. (Read previous post).

Here we have Formica saving the day:


And after.

Sarah emailed me these photos and wrote:

So, here is our adventure with laminate. Please note: this project is NOT complete. Still need to paint the door and much more. We are renovating an old home. We plan to stay here for a few years....but don't want to invest in something we will not use for a lifetime. Sort of like a flip, but we are going to live here for a few years. Perfect for our starting salaries (and starting family!) We spent 10k for this entire project (my husband is handy).

The Formica Monologues.

So, I posted about Formica counters and a bunch of you had thoughtful comments on the topic ranging from "Ew, gross" (I am paraphrasing) to "Good grief. We need to get over ourselves. Not everyone can afford Carrara marble. It was an affordable solution at that time, just as paperstone is today."

True. But that kitchen was ugly. I suppose it's less about Formica itself, and how you use it in the kitchen.

So, let me ask this:

Do you have Formica that is working for you? Send a photo and I will post. (I remember, actually, a Domino photo that showed a happy pink & brown kitchen with Formica counters and, well, I was impressed how cheerful and successful the room was. It certainly put my then-Formica counters to shame. But what didn't, really? Nothing. Nothing, is the answer. They were horrifying.)

And then let me ask this:

For the money, what counter material presents the best value for the look, in your opinion? And what IS paperstone? What would be your counter of choice on a budget, and then if money were no object.


More art.

Where's my jetpack, anyway?

Formica. WHY? Seriously, why did this ever happen to us? When was this preferred to stone or wood or whatever? Was this part of The Future, at some point in history? Like Tang or jetpacks or astronaut ice cream? I want some answers. I know there are some old people reading this. You need to step up to the mic and explain this, pronto.
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