Are we living in an over-propped world? Is design porn making us crazy? Is this “stagecraft” due to largely living through social media? Have we all turned into “amateur” styling robots? And please, “can we all stop trying to be awesome!”
I came across this article in the New York Times that asked these questions and it struck a nerve.
Are we living in an over-propped world?
Are we insanely self-conscious? Have we succumbed to all of the glitzy design hype we see in magazines and blogs? And to think I just wrote a blog all about “Styling” with oodles of glitzy props…cringe.
I don’t believe that one has to be a hunter to enjoy a pair of antlers. And what’s the big deal if we have a vintage typewriter that occupies an ineffectual, lilliputian school desk that couldn’t accommodate our right butt cheek regardless of how we contortion our body? Different people, enjoy different things, for different reasons — different strokes for different folks, right? Or wrong?
Not all of us are “trying to be awesome”. We are all unique. We want our home to reflect who we are; not just fill it with mundane, utilitarian basics, or mirror the décor of Ben & Buffy’s home next door. Back in the 1940’s people bought furnishings similar to their neighbors because they didn’t have the vast genre of products on the market. Today, we have a plethora of beautiful items right at our fingertips, and if we can’t find what we’re looking for we build it from scratch, or customize it…that’s awesome!
Hold that awesome thought and let’s roll right along to what “typifies the self-consciously styled home” — bar carts; aka dust collectors. Cliché? No Way! This is one blast from the past that I welcome wholeheartedly. A bar cart is not just a bar cart; it’s a multi-functional, aesthetically pleasing, butler on wheels. It entertains, it stores; it delivers big bang for its bucks…and cocktails too. Today more and more people are entertaining at home — reminiscing in the glamour of the 1950’s & 60’s — dressing up, setting a beautiful table with the finest wares, whipping up homemade culinary delights and stirring up vintage elixirs. Not everyone is posturing. There are many of us who genuinely love surrounding ourselves with good people and good times, in the comfort of our very own home; it’s that pure & simple.
Sure there are those that prop their home like a peacock, flaunting status to solicit a bolstering ego stroke. I’ll never forget a while back when I visited a friend of a friend’s home; the décor was absolutely exquisite and of course, perfectly propped. When I opened a dialog with the friend about the décor of her home, she knew absolutely nothing about one piece that occupied the space. Clearly, this was a case of a “self-conscious” home — this was pedigree, designer DNA. There was not a shred of personality in that house; and that’s exactly what it was — a house. All that I initially found beautiful lost its luster; there was no warmth and no personality — this was not a home. I am a true believer that even when a person uses a designer, their home should reflect those who occupy the space. They should be able to pick up an object and tell a story about its journey.
I’ll leave you with a funny story about a journey. I have a wonderfully talented friend, Eddie Ross who is an absolute addict for flea markets, estate sales, etc. Every weekend we would get up at the crack of dawn, stop for coffee and a case of munchkins, and make our way to the Elephant’s Trunk Flea Market. This one weekend in particular, we got to the market as it was about to close. Well Eddie kicked it into high gear and powered down every aisle until he stumbled upon a gigantic box of brightly colored mercury glass Christmas ornaments; all for a whopping $3.00. That’s right, $3.00 for about 150 glitzy balls. He happily paid his $3.00 and sped away, continuing to hustle down every isle with his gigantic box in tow. It was quite the vision. We loaded our treasures into the car and ventured on our way to a remote Mexican joint to celebrate our day. Upon entering, there stood a life size, plastic horse bearing the sign “do not sit on the horse”. We enjoyed a wonderful lunch and laughed about our day; and what the heck was he going to do with this huge box of blingy balls. We paid our bill, and made our way out of the restaurant. Eddie, being the comedic guy that he is, decided to add even more humor to the day and hopped on top of the forbidden horse, wildly yelling giddy up! Well, I never laughed so hard in my life — and I’ve never seen a more gorgeous Christmas tree; ever. This is a day we still talk about constantly; a journey that still brings us so much laughter and joy; especially during the holidays, as we admire his beautiful tree.
I would like to think that the majority of us fill our home with good intention and simply like to be surrounded by delightful things that make us smile — even if it is a stuffed peacock or brightly colored, tacky ornaments.