When I am not reading political blogs I am reading interior design blogs. This morning I was looking at one such blog and the post was a house tour of a designer’s home. Parts of it were gorgeous but my eyes started bleeding at the sight of the “Keep calm” poster. Its a nice sentiment and I get the historical context but it doesn’t need to be manifested in fashionable colours and nifty frames and used EVERYWHERE. There is one in the waxing room at the salon I go to…. It got me started on thinking about other over used elements that can ruin an otherwise beautiful interior .
Cowhide rugs. First I must say that we have them in our homes in Argentina, in all shapes and sizes (the most coveted here are baby cows that weren’t born alive, small and so soft and so sad). Cowhides are used all the time in so many ways here as a result my perspective is a bit different. While they are practical and can be beautiful when I see them used among french antiques and other uber refined elements they appear a bit precious and affected to me. I like eclectic but this combo doesn’t work for me. African animal stripes on pillows and fabrics are also over for me although I want this purse in my dreams.
Mid Century 24/7. There are mid century pieces that I love. I have several reproductions of the requisite Northern European designers. I inherited a beautiful 1960’s low slung Baker leather sofa from my parents. And when flea marketing I tend to focus on some of the funky lighting from that era. What I don’t like is a pure mid century look. It looks dated, uncomfortable and kind of dead. There is no energy. Like a vignette in a museum. Maybe I don’t like it because some of it just ugly to me. Too much plastic too much veneer etc. What I do like is to see some of the best of mid century integrated with other pieces of quality.
Painting furniture/painting it turquoise. I am not a purist about keeping a wood’s original finish. I have painted furniture on occasion and own lots of Saltena furniture that features a beautiful patina due to layers of paint being added and removed. But a crappy piece of furniture doesn’t always emerged transformed in a good way after a coat of paint, especially turquoise. This strong aversion to this particular color is due to having a 6 year old who adores turquoise, especially if it is in the form of a heart and has tons of sparkles.
Garden Gnome Furniture and other wee things for sitting on First I hate the idea of garden stools as a real piece of furniture. If you are honest, you will admit that they are not comfortable for sitting or putting your feet on. They are not functional furniture unless you count being a giant drink coaster. I don’t find them horrible to look at (especially the blue and white Chinese version) so I see their decorative value. However, they are overexposed. While I haven’t sighted one in the waxing room at the salon, I did see them for sale in a rainbow of colors at the local Bolivian-run vegetable stand.
So after having totally dissed toad stools…. one of my most favorite pieces of Argentine design is a mate chair. Mate deserves its own post but in a nutshell its a tea like substance (with digestive and stimulant proprieties) that you drink out a of gourd and if you are a cowboy or “gaucho” you drink it all day long. These low to the ground chairs were used by the gauchos to drink their mate. They are cool looking and comfortable. The frame is wood, often algarrobo, a beautiful hard word with lots of knots and holes. The seats are usually made of cow leather. Sometimes the leather is woven like cane or stretched flat in a sheet. Either way, it is a comfortable seat. To make it extra cozy you can add a sheep skin. They are great around a coffee table and double as a comfortable foot stool.
I do have a pair of trends I have more ambiguous feelings about.
Skirted tables I have see a lot of these lately. Some are done with box pleats and have a clean look to them. I am reminded a banquet buffet table and its not a look I am looking to emulate in my home. I think they have to be extremely well made and maintained to pull off. Otherwise it will just look like a dumpy banquet buffet table.
White Subway Tiles They may be the most pervasive trend in the design world right now. I think it is safe to say that almost any new kitchen has white subway tiles. I wonder if the early 2000’s white subway tiles will be the 1970’s avocado green appliances? Will they date your kitchen? I guess I am also influence by the fact that there are so many great looking tile options, why pick white rectangles?
Despite all this critical analysis, I do actually believe you should surround yourself with what you love and makes you happy. If you love sitting on a white subway tile toad stool, writing at your skirted desk, reveling at your Keep Calm wall art, wondering if you should paint your skirted desk or perhaps cover it and your Barcelona in a cowhide, go to it.