Houzz Tour: Neutral and Natural

nosoccermomFebruary 16, 2014

OK, so I like this look (maybe because it reminds me of my college days when I lived in an old apartment with white walls, natural wood, 15 ft ceilings and gorgeous molding, floors, etc.)

the creamy white walls, slip covers, drapes
natural wood floors
light wood rustic furniture (table, shelf, dresser); PINE!
simple lines
black, gray, and blue
stained glass window

Don't like:
the metal kitchen chairs (they look cool but uncomfortable)
the signs (above the fire place and especially the "Keep Cool and Carry On")
That shooting target sign (yuck!)
the sitting room is too styled (although I do like the map)
The styled shelves next to the fireplace -- I want books!
the IV stand, the seamstress model, some of the "objets"

Not sure about the black kitchen, but I like that she didn't rip it out.

Here is a link that might be useful: calm and natural

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I agree with your list but overall I love the vibe of the house, tasteful , young and fresh.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2014 at 2:02PM
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Normally, I would look at that house and think how creative and talented the homeowner is to have pulled it all together, but I think I'm starting to weary of that particular look. It's almost as if it's too contrived. Maybe I'm just having an off day...LOL!

    Bookmark   February 16, 2014 at 2:18PM
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I like the vintage gum ball machine lamp.
Also, gray bedroom drapery tied back with some type of thick rope & black metal ring.

I'm not a fan of the framed "human shooting target" in the dining area. Is that really what I think it is?

    Bookmark   February 16, 2014 at 2:19PM
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Fun2BHere, I was thinking the same thing as you. It's very nice, but too contrived, too studied. I just don't like "trying too hard". Maybe I'm just having an off day too!

    Bookmark   February 16, 2014 at 2:53PM
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Seldom do I ever see pics where I like every item and this house is no different. There are, however, many things I like and I can appreciate the overall look altho couldn't personally live with the lack of color. Really only dislike the framed target and the 'keep calm and carry on' sign.

I agree with Fun2BHere that it looks contrived and that is something I find with many online pics. It's as if the decorator/homeowner decided to take every trendy thing and put them all in the same room/house. I like a mix of old, new, trendy, dated, unique, and whimsical that also hopefully reflects some of the owners' interests. Perhaps the items in that house do reflect the owners' likes and interests.

Decorating is very personal and my critique really has little value. The important thing is that we each decorate to suit ourselves and no one else.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2014 at 2:57PM
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Nancybee - my thoughts EXACTLY!!

    Bookmark   February 16, 2014 at 3:13PM
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It has nothing to do with guns or gun rights, but I think having a human shooting target as prominent art in your dining room is just plain odd (and a bit unsettling)

    Bookmark   February 16, 2014 at 4:37PM
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Yes, overall it's "too styled," especially once you start looking at it in more detail.

Although when DS was little, he'd put the Little People in this kind of typewriter and make them "fly" by hitting the keys. Maybe I'll drag the typewriter home from my parents' house, that is, if they still have it.

This post was edited by nosoccermom on Sun, Feb 16, 14 at 17:52

    Bookmark   February 16, 2014 at 4:40PM
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They do say it is a shooting target but I saw a physician who had something very similar with legend body parts. Of course, I would not want that either in my DR. Yuk, either way.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2014 at 5:01PM
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Well, since the general consensus is the overall look is very contrived, she needed something - the target thing - to get people talking about her design. Mission accomplished.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2014 at 9:49PM
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I fall for this look all the time. Without looking at it closely, I liked it. But then I am totally about mixing whites and off whites with textures, metals, patina, and a little quirkiness.

I think both Anthro and RH have mass marketed this look.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2014 at 12:09AM
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Dull. And it's an overused look.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2014 at 6:13AM
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"I donâÂÂt like shopping at department stores, because itâÂÂs so overwhelming and everything looks like random stuff,â says Pugh. âÂÂBut vintage resale feels like IâÂÂm investing in whatâÂÂs already here.âÂÂ

Next paragraph:
Dining table: Pacifica, Crate & Barrel Outlet; shelves: Wisteria Outlet; chandelier: Pottery Barn Outlet


Edited to add
To be fair, I like the look, collected over time. I like more color in my own home, but that's personal preference. That line just seems really inauthentic, which is what I dislike.

This post was edited by jackson2348 on Mon, Feb 17, 14 at 6:45

    Bookmark   February 17, 2014 at 6:39AM
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Annie Deighnaugh

This look is just not for me...not that I can't play well with neutrals, a la Phoebe Howard I think they are wonderful, but this look just leaves me unsettled...not grounded or warm enough, too contrived and catalog. I prefer something more individual, more cozy, more warm.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2014 at 7:31AM
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Jackson, bingo! For someone addicted to thrifting/recycling there sure was an awful lot of hipster-version big box in that house.

I like the basics of neutral, textures etc. As others have said though it's styled up the wazoo...noticed one of the blurbs referenced the owner's 'tattered style' blog so probably it's something done deliberately rather than a case of a home being photographed in it's natural style.

My don't likes are the British train sign-SOOOO sick of those things and honestly what in the world does it even mean hanging in someone's house in Texas. Also that bench in the bedroom is absolutely gross. If I sat on that thing my next stop would be the ER for a prophylactic tetanus shot.


    Bookmark   February 17, 2014 at 7:33AM
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Bumblebeez SC Zone 7

This thread is so funny, I keep reading about some object/furniture then I have to go back and find it! the tetanus bench...
The overall look is attractive but agree it is over the top contrived, inauthentic and filled with every current silly trend.
Who wants to look at and clean and have around, their christening gown all the time?
On a practical scale, I like what she did in the kitchen without replacing the cabs and the hutch.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2014 at 8:41AM
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1) I love the look. Heck, I even like the framed target. I think it's great when people throw in fun, oddball items into their decor.

  1. I'm totally not going to post photos of my house on this forum! ;)
    Bookmark   February 17, 2014 at 8:47AM
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Bumblebeez SC Zone 7

Juju, I like fun, oddball items too, most here do, it's just that almost all her "unique" items aren't, they are commonly found in catalogs, tj maxxs and the overall look is not remotely original, it's a rehash of a thousand blogs.
That's ok though, it's a well done home. However, the fact she is promoting it as unique is what's eyebrow raising.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2014 at 8:56AM
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She could, but doesn't, display family photos on her metal headboard using magnets. Wouldn't you have to sleep like the dead for that work?

    Bookmark   February 17, 2014 at 12:55PM
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oooh, jackson called her out... that is a lot of big catalog/online retailer stuff (not that there is anything wrong with that -- I have one of the same tables as hers -- perhaps she bought hers all second hand)

    Bookmark   February 17, 2014 at 1:15PM
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Running in place ,

Too funny !!!!

    Bookmark   February 17, 2014 at 1:52PM
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I like oddball items and signs, just one or two though.

I think this look is going to be the geese with bonnets look of the early 21st century. Their (our) kids will look back and wonder what they were thinking and laugh at them and diss them.

OP nosoccermom, I'm talking about the stuff you don't like, not the things you do like.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2014 at 2:23PM
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But where are the antlers?!!

    Bookmark   February 17, 2014 at 3:52PM
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Bumblebeez SC Zone 7

Or mercury glass!

Actually, while I initially liked the look, the more I look at it, the more it irritates me.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2014 at 5:02PM
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I like it overall. I don't LOVE it. But I do really like it overall. I sometimes wish I had the restraint to do a whole house in neutrals. It is soothing.

The shooting target freaks me out. And my dad is retired army and dh spent thirteen years in the Marine Corps so I'm not unfamiliar with the idea. It just seems really the opposite of attractive in spirit to me.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2014 at 6:12PM
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Somehow I find this so self indulgent and annoying! It's all very predictable, which is exactly what found and unique objects should not be. There are so many of them they lose their charm, and begin to look kind of silly; and as many of you have noted, trying too hard. It veers dangerously close to a satire of itself, if that makes sense.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2014 at 9:23PM
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I agree with runninginplace - that bench in the bedroom gives me the heebie-jeebies - I wouldn't even want it in the back of my car to get it home. Overall, the house did nothing for me. I like warm, welcoming houses and this is not it.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2014 at 10:14PM
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This house is predictable only among those who frequent decorator blogs and Pinterest pages. I've never actually been inside a home, ever--in real life, that doesn't have walls painted one of the Top 20 BM colors, drapery to complement the cushions in the DR, and a kitchen with earthtone backsplash and speckled granite countertop. So, thumbs up to the homeowner for going against the grain of the majority (although posters here are in the minority in what is viewed online).

    Bookmark   February 17, 2014 at 11:42PM
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I just looked at it again. I like it, but what I think is wrong about it is the way it is written up. The homeowner/designer did a nice job IMHO, but there is no creativity or originality. It is a slavish copy of a "look".

I don't know who first created this no-color-quirky-vintage-industrial-country-touch of MCM- thing, but it is probably 10 years old now, at least. I tried to do this with my current primary home, and that would have been early 2010, when we started reno. By that point you could buy the look on line. In design circles, it has no doubt peaked.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2014 at 11:54PM
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Woah, now I'm embarrassed. Still stick to my initial post, though. i had this "look" over 35 years ago, kind of Scandinavian. IKEA then picked it up and made it affordable. I had white walls, bamboo blinds, natural herringbone oak floors, pine bookshelves with lots of books, pine platform bed I had built myself, an old antique pine desk, jute rug, and my first splurge, an IKEA Poem chair with white linen cover. And "found" stuff as side tables. Oh, and a lamp I had made out of twine around a balloon, which cast terrible shadows. Like this:

    Bookmark   February 18, 2014 at 7:14PM
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Nosoccermom, I think that the Scandinavian or Shaker look of wood and white will always be a classic one. It's the way this particular homeowner executed that rings false to most of us because it's seems to not have any original creative thought.

I've always been intrigued by those string lights, so it's interesting to me that you didn't like them after you made them. I wonder if you cut a circle out of the bottoms so that the downward portion of the lights wasn't shining through the strings if you would like them better.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2014 at 9:09PM
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Bumblebeez SC Zone 7

What you describe sounds lovely, classic, not trendy. Don't be embarrassed, this is a fun thread, thank you for starting it. Something to discuss is interesting whether we all agree or not.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2014 at 10:17PM
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No soccermom,

It wasn't my post that was embarassing, was it? Goodness I hope not. I should be embarassed then, too.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2014 at 10:48PM
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I love the look of this home! Great post! There is a reverence for old paired with new as well as trendy and quirky items. It's interesting how she painted her dated kitchen cabinets rather than discard them. I don't get the whole contrived argument--isn't all design contrived to some degree? Some people just have a really great eye for collecting items they love that mesh well together as opposed to the majority of people who choose items that lack cohesion or are often too small in scale and they lack the talent to know how to display them. I enjoyed the comment about how the home shown is predictable mainly to those who have been exposed to variations of it when scouring Pinterest and Houzz for ideas.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2014 at 6:40AM
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I'm also finding the humor in the contrived, staged, studied, styled and "trying too hard" comments ... as we all spend hours on this decor forum in addition to decor blogs, shelter mags and the same few dozen home stores, styling our homes ad nauseam. Is anyone else laughing?

I suppose the same type of thing happens on a hairstyling or fashion forum -- a look is presented and gets picked apart.

This house tour falls under the ecletic category on houzz.com, and I've been fond of ecletic since I was a tween and first started paying attention to decor. As I look through other houzz.com tours in the ecletic category, I'm reminded how few truly original or unique items are used anywhere. I don't recall seeing a vintage tin bear sign in a foyer before seeing this particular house tour, but I agree we've seen similar. Yet what look in our own homes hasn't been done hundreds of times before? My handcrafted rug made and purchased in a remote Thai village is special to me and interesting IMO, but I'm certain you all have seen the same type of thing many times.

So what?

This post was edited by jujubean71 on Wed, Feb 19, 14 at 8:26

    Bookmark   February 19, 2014 at 7:28AM
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nosoccermom, I didn't mean to offend by my comments but in retrospect I can see how you felt when seeing the reaction from me and others. I think it's partly the narrative that accompanies the photos that seems a little off. It makes the owner of the house sound as if she has done something so unique and original, yet the look she has created is one that seems very familiar to those of us who pay attention to sites like houzz, shelter mags, etc.

And it is kind of ironic that some of us are finding fault with a "studied" look since we are no doubt guilty of the same thing! We all try too hard, undoubtedly. That is a point well taken.

There were some things about the house that I liked a lot. The neutral palette was soothing and I can see how someone in the decor biz would welcome it at the end of the day. But the unique/repurposed objects just became a bit much. Like, it's ok to just have a basic lamp here and there, (not from RH or the like) a coffee table that is designed to be a coffee table, even some items that are not "on trend" mixed in with the others. It would look more relaxed that way, and, to my mind, much more comfortable.

I learned a lot looking at the house.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2014 at 8:27AM
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I hope I didn't offend- but, in my opinion, there is a "such thing" as trying too hard. For example, you could compare it to the way people dress. Some would prefer the look of Audrey Hepburn, in a simple dress, a single strand of pearls, but looking elegant and stylish but understated, rather than the look of someone else in a trendy print, knee high boots, necklaces,bangle bracelets, special earrings, and so on.

I think that every object you have in your house doesn't need to be special, quirky, trendy, etc. Exactly as jjam said above.

That's what I mean by contrived. And, true, I am guilty of my own decor being "studied". And I probably try too hard too!

I hope I didn't offend you, nosoccermom. (I'm sorry.)

    Bookmark   February 19, 2014 at 11:33AM
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Sorry, no, no, I was not offended --- nor embarrassed. I meant it ironically. That's the problem with written communication.
I also have to admit that I didn't spend that much time analyzing the decor, and I didn't read the text, either. So, this was just my first impression that I (still) like this basic look decades later and have held on to it. (My bedroom isn't styled but has had these basic elements, white walls, shaker pine four poster bed, white drapes, antique pine; always white kitchen, natural HW floors.)

    Bookmark   February 19, 2014 at 12:00PM
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neutral color palette is nice--the kind of thing that I admire, but don't necessarily want in my home.

Otherwise, I have to agree with some of the other comments -- little originality here. I mean -- birds? tables with industrial wheels? signs with writing? All getting much too trite.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2014 at 4:54PM
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My problem with it was the target practice paper. I really had a strong negative reaction to that. Wasn't it in the DR? If I were a guest sitting there facing it I'd take it as "don't overstay your welcome or else."

To be fair, months ago we saw a DR with a GIANT horse picture and all I could imagine was hot, horsey breath down my neck. Perhaps I'm too sensitive to my surroundings.

I'd rather have horse breath than see a target. I'm not comfortable around guns or gun culture.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2014 at 5:58PM
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I don't mind the way the house looks, but I think the description of how it came about is not realistic and maybe a bit pretentious?

I remember an interior that was featured in the local city lifestyles magazine here--which I don't think is a great magazine generally, and I think it has a poor design sense specifically...anyway, they featured this house and talked about what avid collectors the homeowners were, and they had basically every single piece of Jonathan Adler pottery that was produced in a period of a couple of years. Nothing older than a certain date, nothing outside his post-Simon Doonan pairing (I think Doonan made Adler rich but killed his originality.) What they did and what they had was not Collecting or a Collection, --they were consumers.

That's kind of what I felt here, the supposed process or idea behind it didn't seem to quite fit the product.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2014 at 9:39PM
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I liked the tone of the house, but not the tone of her pretentions. As stated above, there are far too many "done" items, which are far from unique. Perhaps what I perceive as pretentions were just pride in her home, which I applaud.

As one who is building from reuse centers, yard sales, donations, eviction piles on the side of the road, her claiming to enjoy the thrill of the hunt is somewhat insulting.

I dislike someone in magazines who does something and claims to have originated the idea. Or the writer never allows for any other kind of source. For example, ASCP or chalk paint in general. Or antiquing something. hello!?

Once in a very high fashion mag, maybe Town and Country? I was interested in an article where the title said that the woman had mastered the art of putting her make-up in the car. Well, as one who knows the timing of all my stop lights, I was intrigued. Sho 'nuff. She did admit to impatience when her driver couldn't avoid a pothole.

Edited to add:
Ok. I couldn't stand it. I had to go comment on the Houzz article.

This post was edited by CEFreeman on Thu, Feb 20, 14 at 10:21

    Bookmark   February 19, 2014 at 10:34PM
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I liked it.
IMO, could use some plants.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2014 at 10:39PM
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I like to be optimistic, and hope that when people use odd things like this home does, that it has some meaning. So if you must use a railway sign, maybe you've been to that town or your kid has a name on it, or Grandad hails from there. They have quite a few medical apparatus, so maybe someone's in medicine?

Placement counts, and I think I'd rather see the Sleepy bear sign by the bedrooms. The target, um, maybe in the basement? I could hang it along side our really and truly found, in the underbrush of a former fort-turned-public lands, "unexploded ordnance" sign (which inspired the name of our middle-schooler's blessedly short-lived percussion band) oh, wait, I don't think they have basements in Coppell. Well, whatever, not in the he dining room!

I really like the take-off on a barn door, with a windowed schoolroom door!

    Bookmark   February 19, 2014 at 11:52PM
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In looking thru the picture of the home, and trying to remain unbiased, for the life of me I cannot relate To it at all! Yes, I find the neutrality of it lovely and always refreshing as opposed to loud colors, but beyond that, I find it disconnected. The homeowner has infused country, traditional, industrial, kitschy, whimsical, modern, rustic, cottage-y, and if I look hard enough, could probably find a French country detail. I love a home with an eclectic vibe, but it can usually be achieved with 3 to 4 various decorating styles, but the idea of 7 or more makes me think someone is trying way too hard to be in what is perceived as the 'decorating loop' and is influenced by way too many decorating catalogs.

Contrived, pretentious, IMO, definitely.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2014 at 12:30AM
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I am drawn to the neutrals lately too, I guess I have been seeing it so long? Or I am tired of kids clutter? I don.t know. I liked the house overall. I think we have finally decided not to move. We have been debating it for the last year.

Now I have to decide what to do with my house! I am thinking white or off whit walls with lots of color. I don't think I can commit to the whole neutral look. But who knows what will happen. :) thanks for sharing.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2014 at 6:16AM
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It sounds like some here are mistaking the person who wrote the Houzz article, Sarah Greenman, for the designer and HO, Dana Pugh.

Because of this thread, I started following Dana's blog "Tattered Style" and she seems anything but pretentious. I've read many of her posts, and not once has she claimed she's come up with a look or concept. She just appears to be having fun! She's a junker and flea market frequenter who gets her hands dirty with salvage and repurpsing. I've found her blog to be filled with lots of treasures.

Here's a link to her first post in 2011:

Here is a link that might be useful: Dana Pugh's first post on her Tattered Style blog

    Bookmark   February 20, 2014 at 8:35AM
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She works all day surrounded by visual chaos ... bland is what she needs.

And of course it was spiffed and styled for the camera ... she's a designer.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2014 at 2:42PM
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