They moved to another penthouse.
It's interesting because it is very similar, including some of the exact carpet, but it is also a bit "cleaner" or more "spare" compared to the other apartment (it's all relative).
I like the deGournay (or Paul Montgomery) wallpapered dining room, even though that sort of blue is not one of my favorite shades.
Except for the outside areas, it gives me the jitters :-)
I love the outdoor respite. I would move a cot out there and stay until it became so cold, so hot or rainy that I was forced to move inside. What a beautiful view.
I'll bet so many pieces have wonderful tales of history, travels and interests.
Awesome! Every room is interesting and very elegant. Not many of us live like that any more.
I agree that the outside space is lovely and inviting. For me, all of the inside spaces overload my brain. Those spaces look so overwhelming and crowded. The worst, though, is the bird cage in the kitchen/above the table. YUCK.
"The worst, though, is the bird cage in the kitchen/above the table.YUCK."
The HO collects decorative/antique birdcages for decorate display--no live birds, how is that different than any other ob jet?
Thank you for posting the pictures. I've never been in such a place except on the other side of velvet ropes. Lots to see and ponder -- I wonder what the items are that are on the floor under the desk in photo 5?
Obviously no one cooks in that kitchen. Nor eats there.
Not many of us live like that any more.
Or want to :-)
The kitchen, the dining room, the crotch mahogany desk, that superb terrace all make me swoon with their beauty. I'm happy that I don't have to vacuum or dust that apartment, though, because most of those breakables wouldn't last long in my klutzy care.
Thanks for posting, Jim.
Stuffed bird in that cage?
I have to say that I love the outdoor space.
"The HO collects decorative/antique birdcages for decorate display--no live birds, how is that different than any other ob jet?"
Well, I didn't know they were fake (nor do I know who 'they', the owners, are.) So, in that context, it isn't as bad. (Even then, a bird cage over a dining table doesn't scream, "eat here!")
This post was edited by lolauren on Wed, Apr 23, 14 at 12:42
Inside and outside...perfect fit. I adore the bedroom with the full seating area at the end of the bed. For a small room it looks perfectly cozy. Just give me a TV, iPad, and books (also bon bons) and leave me alone!! lol.
What I like the most with these pictures is no matter how you decorate, just be bold and use pattern!
I bet my3dogs would love the blue bathroom. :)
Life is wonderful when you have servants. How did Max Detweiler put it? Something like, "I love the way rich people live. I love the way I live when I'm with them."
If ever there were an apartment calling out for bonbons, this is it! What else to keep in all those bonbonierres?
Servants or no, fortunes or no, it is simply not "in style" anymore, at least not with those under 40 or even 50. I had to think for a bit about the Max D. reference, LOL
I like both of the rooms with bookshelves, but particularly the light (blue?) one. Goes without saying the outdoor space is the showstopper. I wish the HO had followed through with the same approach. There is functional furniture on the terrace, and a few pretty pots. Otherwise the view, the form, and the greenery is left to shine.
Id like the same thing in the interior. I want to see all of the wonderful architectural detail, and have just a few edited pieced to rest my eyes on. This HO is the one they needlepoint that pillow for; ie the "More is not enough" camp.
Surprising use of stubby columns next to the range, oddly it works, maybe due to the monochromatic nature.
The terrace is exquisite! Thanks for posting, Jim.
As for the indoors, while I love looking at all that 'stuff' I cannot imagine living there. As has been previously said, I'd surely break some of those lovelies. The ginger jars on the thin pedestals on either side of the French doors would be the first to become mosaic material.
When looking at such rooms I often wonder how it all came about. Must have started with less, then inherited pieces added from more than one relative, more accessories purchased - on and on. Definitely no real plan to such rooms.
Too much stuff.
They certainly know what they like. They either re-specified or reused the same wall to wall carpet that was in the other apartment in one of the bedrooms.
Ultimately one of the subtexts that I tend to get out of these threads as they go on is how narrow the acceptable range of dÃÂ©cor is in a culture like GW--as much as there is lip service given to diversity. (Especially as people are polite if it actually belongs to a known member). But there is an undercurrent of "too little stuff=sterile" and "too much stuff=underneath these people must be a little --dirty--because no normal person could keep it all clean", or, that they are just hoarders who happen to be rich enough to hoard expensive stuff instead of plastic and their old dentures.
don't think that's a real bird -- cage is too high up to be anything other than a decoration.
same reaction as the other one (ugh), except for the lovely outside terrace
palimpsest ...Thank you
"To thine own self be true"
This and their other apt are a glimpse into how this couple lives...and likes to live....they're no threat to design.
As a longtime poster here, people know I like these kind of interiors/style--but that's not to say I could even live in many of these places, I often enjoy the sum of their parts for inspiration...but what does dust and bedbugs have to do w/interior design?
Many times here the same question arises about accessorizing, arranging pics, color combos, etc - these kind of rooms are primers for vignettes, same for mixing of fabric patterns that can be adapted even if you style is more minimal.
IMHO, I have no idea how anyone would breathe in there. I would never be able to sleep in that overcrowded bedroom.
Whomever lives there would not like my home either!
I really, really, disliked the 'last' place. But I really like these rooms!! They are filled with stuff, but it's really paired down from the other pictures. Plus, their collections seemed to be much more focused. All the trational patterns aren't so overwhelming in this space. Maybe it's because there seems to be so much more natural light coming in.
Plus, I love that dark dark kitchen.
I specifically like it it because it "is not in style", and I am in my early 40s. I, admit,I think today's middle age has too causual a life style and I miss formality, and closed kitchens and adult dinner parties sans kids and INDIVIDUALITY!
I love the dark kitchen! It might not be in style but to me it is refreshing?.
For me, looking at these pictures is like viewing a huge formal place setting. Doubt I'll ever have occasion to dine with the queen, I don't really aspire to do so (unless it is a hot dog picnic), and I would hate to have to wash all of it -- but still it is interesting to see and I would enjoy learning about the purpose, design and history of the objects. Piques my curiosity. Even though I eat with chopsticks much of the time ;-)
This post was edited by roarah on Tue, Apr 22, 14 at 19:32
Oakley, You're right! I like the bathroom and many other parts of it. And I also agree with roarah, as it's a very individualized place, and I could spend hours or DAYS with the owners hearing the stories about their treasures. I suspect the owners are Anglophiles, as it has an old English look to it.
I'll admit I did gasp when I saw the blue and white jars on the tall displays in the 3rd pic, as I thought how quickly they'd be on the floor with 'my 3 dogs'. :-) Also, how they'd be up on any chair, sofa or bed that they think might be comfy.
Thank you, Palimpsest. I noticed the same entitled, off-putting tone in a post just yesterday and wondered why someone would go out of their way to hurt others. This apartment has so much too offer. I think there's something to be learned from what we don't like as much as what we do like.
I enjoy these Layered homes that Jim shares. Maybe they don't suit my lifestyle, but I really appreciate the love and care that goes into their creation.
Laughing at My3Dogs, I saw those blue vases and thought the same thing!
One thing I believe, personally, is that spare rooms photograph better -- well, at first glance , anyway, since the visual information is easier to parse -- but collected (or however you want to put it) rooms LIVE better. There's a huge difference in looking at these rooms in a photograph and actually being in them, where you would want to touch and admire things at every turn and 50 toss pillows equals comfort instead of visual clutter. I'd feel comfortable tossing a magazine on a coffee table at anything other than the prescribed 45 degree angle.
Sure I'd want to hire help to dust but I do that now anyway. Housekeeping is not exactly my forte.
If I had the chance to visit an apartment like this, I'd feel like Patrick visiting Auntie Mame. Could I live like this? VERY easily. Surrounded by things I love and visual richness? Absolutely. But only if I had free time to luxuriate in my surroundings. In my own home life, I try to keep things simpler just to avoid the stress of managing stuff because the rest of my life stresses me out and I don't want to devote time and energy to the stuff. But there's rewarding in managing stuff if you can pull it off.
Of course, my husband keeps calling me a crow. And I keep reminding him the more flattering term is "magpie."
This post was edited by robotropolis on Wed, Apr 23, 14 at 8:37
I liked the library until I read "Library with tv hidden behind faux book spines."
If this is indeed the case, i.e. TV behind faux book spines, I find the "collected and layered" label a misnomer. Kind of like Potemkin villages.
"What does dust and bedbugs have to do w/ interior design"
A lot for me. I love to look at beautiful rooms whether they are practical or not, but in my real life function dictates form. Three of us have dust mite allergies, mine are severe enough that I managed to freak out my allergist with my reaction to the scratch test ("can you breath" were his exact words to me). So being able to clean things is a very high priority in my design choices. Unhealthy design is bad design in my view. Other people don't have this issue or can hire enough help to keep heavily decorated spaces throughly dusted. So that's great for them, but it doesn't negate the design issue for others.
I hope that people are not being intimidated into not posting or posting favorably something of which they do not approve. That would be a shame.
There is something here for everyone and no one person or persons should try to become the thought police. If I don't like something does not mean that many others cannot love it. Contralaterally, if I love something does not mean others cannot feel turned away by it.
I don't get why we wear our feelings on our shoulders about design. If I did that, I would never invite others into my home. Mine might be over the top a bit and often I do have to remember that removing just a few more item makes it not only more palatable but less to dust and clean.
Oddly enough -- in my case -- I am not as keen on this apartment's dÃÂ©cor -- and normally I do like the collected look!
Of course -- I do adore the outdoor spaces ....
I've spent some time trying to figure out some reasons that I do not like this one ...... but I think that the rugs may have something to do with that feeling .... although I do like old oriental-style rugs ....I have an old Heriz area rug here ....but I do like the dining room with the simple sisal rug that allows the wallpaper to stand out .....
chijim: As always -- thank you for posting -- and I do find the discussion interesting!! :)
"If this is indeed the case, i.e. TV behind faux book spines, I find the "collected and layered" label a misnomer. Kind of like Potemkin villages".
Does a hidden TV because it's behind faux book spines negate everything else and turn the entire apartment into a falsehood like a Potemkin village?
There are plenty of discussions on here about how to hide and minimize TVs in more "normal" people's houses. Clearly a lot of the books are real, and the faux books as a conceit to hide whatever(doors, bars, closets)has strong historical antecedents. I am not a believer in hiding TVs usually but whatever. If it was something the average GWer were attempting, there would be those in favor of hiding it, and those in favor of letting the TV hang out, but I don't think anyone would be saying "Hiding your TV turns your house into a fantasy used to trick visitors".
I think dismissing the whole apartment as some sort of sham because they hid the TV smacks of the sort of class-snobbism that is perfectly acceptable in GW as long as it's directed toward people who are wealthier than average. It wouldn't be nearly as acceptable to say "gross" or "yuck"
or talk about a lack of cleanliness if the pictures posted were those of the average GW house.
This post was edited by palimpsest on Wed, Apr 23, 14 at 10:58
I'm not sure if that lack of cleanliness bit is aimed at me?
At any rate, regardless of income, it's an issue for me personally. If someone posted asking, "should I put more stuff out" I would likely respond that I personally wouldn't because of the dust issue but that they might not have the same issue either not having the allergies or having the time or money to hire someone to keep it dusted enough for them. That would be my response whether I thought the poster was on food stamps or a billionaire. I make no assumptions that the originally posted rooms are not kept clean--my best guess is that they are kept dusted by hired help.
If the rooms aren't posted for general comment, what's point of posting them? Or is there some sort of GW rule that we aren't allowed to comment on practicalities? I'm just confused as to whether I am violating some GW norm that I was unaware of.
I love the rugs with dark backgrounds. Very practical, unless you have a white fur shedding dog or cat.
The asian panel is beautiful. Love the wallpaper or wall painting in the dining room.
I wish I could see how it looks in real life, with necessary contemporary things around, like shampoo, dish soap, kleenex, etc. Not with everything so perfectly staged for photographing.
can you imagine moving all this stuff?
No all the threads of cluttered decor get commentary regarding cleanliness. I don't think it was directed toward you.
Things are always posted for commentary. But thiis type of decor seems to elicit types of negative commentary that would not be considered very polite if they were directed toward a typical GW approved interior.
Correct, I am not saying you *can't express these thoughts, so I'm not policing comments. I am just saying how much more acceptable it seems to be.
If this was a typical GW self posted house, if someone assumed that the member was getting bird s*** on the kitchen table in their own house, there would be all sorts of rushes to defend that person against the "nasty"person who said it.
I regularly get yelled off the board for saying things like a house would be better served by putting budget into a non-hollow-core door rather than 9 foot ceilings and bling-y lighting because I am apparently offending practically everyone who builds a new house on GW, But that's because it's a negative comment against the norm not against "other".
So go ahead, criticize this apartment to death, but realize that this, too, is actually someone's house.
Pal - since my comment seemed to bother you, I'll apologize. I try not to offend on here. With that said, to me, there is a distinct difference between someone who posts their home on here and someone who puts their home in a national publication. Clearly, we disagree on that.
Whether you intend to or not, what is being said on here (by several people) critiquing any "nasty" comment does come off as policing and could make people feel the same way you feel when you get "yelled off a "board." Certainly, it IS making me feel like it's only appropriate to reply to a thread if I am going to agree.
That's part of the fun of reviewing photos of interiors for which there isn't a personal connection of any sort. Sure it's someone's home, somewhere, but it's fun to analyze decor in, one hopes, a slightly more dispassionate manner and it's a relief to be a little more frank than usual.
Just being able to spend your leisure time on decor already puts one in a fairly privileged group, I would think. There's a thread on "is your style different from that of your parents" in the kitchen forum, and mine sure is just because I have any brain cells to devote to the endeavor at all. My parents certainly could not have cared less about decor, partly because they are a perfect match having little nesting instinct, but mostly because they had food-on-table type concerns. Although many people still care about decor when they're on tight budgets, of course. But I think it's easier to care the more you have and the fewer other stressors you have going on. In particular, it's a lot easier to care about what's 'in' and what's 'out.'
I do agree we tend to be meaner when the homeowner is wealthier. Part of it might be the natural resentment of us have-nots, but I think part of it is that we do love to critique, but critiquing someone who has less, materially, than we do just seems, well, so mean.
It's similar to how I like stand up comedy when it speaks truth to power, not when it's targeting people who have less power, so to speak, than the comedian. Presumably zillionaires with delicious penthouses are somewhat immune to the bourgeois concerns of commoners like me. Plus I imagine good decor, like any good art, should likely raise a few hackles along the way.
Pal, I did not dismiss the whole apartment, I was referring to a library with faux book spines.
And while we're at it, I'm also weirded out by books as purely decorative items and of bookshelves without books.
But I guess, I'm not qualified to comment since I'm so obviously lacking the appropriate design sensibilities.and more concerned with function over form.
Lolauren I did not mean to single *you out either, although I was a bit surprised by that comment originally.
I am not meaning to single anyone out, just pointing out what I think is a pervasive attitude.
Plenty of people *would* say that it's only appropriate to reply to a thread if you are going to agree. If it is a finished kitchen, bathroom, house, room, whatever. It would be considered very bad form to say you didn't like something in that situation.
You are right, though, this is a bit different because it is published in a national magazine, and is anonymous. But I wonder what the commentary would be like if it was a house *just *like what is so typical on GW, even if it was an anonymous house in a national magazine. But I am going to stop beating the dead horse.
This post was edited by palimpsest on Wed, Apr 23, 14 at 13:37
To me there is a big difference between someone who allows their home to be published in a national publication and someone who posts here. I also think there is a difference between saying, I would have trouble keeping that clean and saying that space is filthy.
Why is allowing your house being published different than posting a finished room in GW? They both reach an international audience. Is one just showing off and the other not?
"Plenty of people *would* say that it's only appropriate to reply to a thread if you are going to agree. If it is a finished kitchen, bathroom, house, room, whatever. It would be considered very bad form to say you didn't like something in that situation. "
Yes, of course. For the record, I wasn't talking about agreeing when someone posts their own spaces on GW; I meant on threads like this one where we (should) have the freedom to discuss both sides of the design, good or bad. I agree with robotropolis's comments in that, "it's fun to analyze decor in, one hopes, a slightly more dispassionate manner and it's a relief to be a little more frank than usual."
I like to read what people like or don't like about a space. It helps me to understand design a bit better and how people are different. I know there are people who love and feel cozy in spaces like the one in this thread and there are people who can't breathe in them; it's interesting to hear their reasons. That type of discussion is what I find value in and wouldn't want people to feel discouraged from.
yes, there's a difference. my comment to the original post was, "ugh, hideous." Would I say that to a post on a GW's home? Absolutely not. But I might say something like, "sorry, not to my taste, but I do like xxxxx". I'm not shy about expressing contrary opinions.
These highly decorated homes are dramatic, to elicit dramatic reactions They're less about comfortable and practical living and more about being set pieces meant to display wealth and impress others. I'm sure the owners would be thrilled that their homes have been poured over and are the subject of lively discussions, even if not everyone's opinions are favorable.
Have to sort of laugh at the poster who said she missed formality. I grew up that way and certainly do not miss it!
Wow, that dining room would certainly make the meal feel special, how I would love to linger there.
That penthouse is definitely not from the world I live in but I think I could be comfortable visiting that house as it appears real people live there, it has a home vibe to it more than just a designer's showcase.
On the question of formality, it is something I did not grow up with and I wish there would be a return of some of it. I understand the burdens it created but I miss some of the useful boundaries it supplied as well.
So is it the "display of wealth" that really puts people off? Or at least makes the tone of the comments acceptable?
At least where I live, there are probably more houses like this than one would ever realize but no one except other people in the same income bracket (and their cleaning people) would ever get to see it. So is it the publication of it to the general public that makes it a negative?
I know one family that has a house like this, and honestly only a very few people ever get invited to see it. It is purely for them to live in as a "collection" because they are collectors. They entertain a lot but they have a "barn" on the property where they entertain. Living with their collection is just for them, and a lot of their friends don't even know what they have. So I do think there are people who have houses like this because they Like it, not because it Impresses people.
I think the difference between posting on this forum and publishing in a national publication is that a poster here is expected to return and see the comments. Someone who's space is published in a national publication is very unlikely to be reading this forum. So there is virtually no chance their feelings will be hurt by any comments here.
I honestly thought that was part of the point of posts like this one, so that a reasonably frank discussion can occur without offending the person whose space is being discussed. Otherwise there is not much opportunity to express negative views on any kind of decor, which makes for a rather boring conversation.
Publishing your work as a designer in a design magazine vs an amateur on a decorating forum? A huge difference.
Same as as publishing a novel as a professional author/putting on a performance on Broadway/performing at the Met/publishing a paper in a refereed journal/cooking a meal as a professional chef in a restaurant/ etc. any kind of professional activity --- criticism is completely legitimate, even if "feelings might be hurt." It comes with the territory.
But a book or play is fictional. This type of "work for publication" is still someone's house, it's not a stage set or some sort of artificial construct.
I don't think it's quite the same.
Plus a lot of people in GW especially in the kitchen forum are "much better than professionals", to hear them talk.
So is the view that only positive comments are acceptable regardless of the source of the pictures?
"So is the view that only positive comments are acceptable regardless of the source of the pictures?"
That wouldn't be my view. But there are plenty of ways to say "I don't like this room because ___." without making a negative value judgment about the people who live in, or trying to cement your position by implying that there is something wrong with people who do live like that.
I actually think you should be able to make negative comments if they are based in opinion and not just mean, regardless of the source of the pictures, including those of GW members.
Wow, so fun to look at the pictures! Could I live there? Oh yeah, with ease. I love to look at beautiful things, whether it's a lovely garden or an exquisite piece of furniture.
I grew up in the 60's when an emphasis on decorating seemed to really be catching on in a up-and-coming community. Seems like all of the new businessmen bringing growth to our community had kids my age. I on the other hand, was well cared for in a small frame home without much extra money, and dÃÂ©cor was the last thing on my parents minds. Ohhhh, how I envied my classmates with their new professionally decorator homes. (Two sinks in one bathroom? Intercom systems? Doorbells that sounded like church bells echoing off in the distance of their centrally-cooled homes?? Landscaped yards? Such wonderfully reckless and utter disregard for "what one needs vs what one wants" in my child's mind!!)
So, not having those luxuries, when everyone else seemed to, I decided that, by golly, when I grew up, I would have a home to be proud of. My first one bedroom apt. was inexpensive, but it was decorated with pretty things. (I was the odd girl out as a young single that cared more about decorating my apartment than going out partying!) I love a well-appointed room -- and still LOVE to scan Craigslist and estate sales to find that perfect piece for "that space" and once placed to stand back and sigh happily. To achieve a room that could be in a magazine (at least in my mind) is the goal. Yes, to gaze upon a pretty room makes me happy - and is in fact my reward for creating it!
Perhaps we all want something different than what we had growing up...
OhMarti, love your post! I know what you are talking about, although I did grow up with some of those"luxury" things.
Now, at 50, so much today seems ridiculously frivolous and unnecessary. (and I always wonder how much those people have in retirement savings...)
Anyway! Chijim, I LOVE your posts. Love looking at this house and all its frivolity and excess.
It doesn't matter if I want to live there or not, it's as fun to look at as Catwalk fashion. Or carved watermelons....
I love that terrace! Their outside space is just beautiful. Inside is too fussy for me, but I sure like looking at it. The bones of the apartment look great; I'd actually love to see it empty to get a better sense of the trim work and other architectural details.
Gorgeous! Drool worthy!
Question: What is that piece of art behind the sofa called? Is it just called "panel art"?
This apartment reminds me of my mother. Our house in suburbia did not have the layered mouldings and inlaid parquet floors, but we had the same feeling in the furnishings and accesories.
For a woman reared in an orphanage, her taste was quite refined. She was always photographed in gloves and a hat, even with the baby (me) in the park.
We would have poured over the photos in that apartment, and tried to figure out how the pare it down, while keeping the same feel.
Thanks for the walk down memory lane, chijim.
Yes, it is someone's house, but it is published by an interior designer, in an interior magazine, as an example of her work (even if it's her house). I don't see any difference with any other kind of work. Why would a chef's or poet's feelings not be hurt if their work is criticized. Whether a work is fictional or not doesn't matter at all, in my opinion.
In my case, all I said is that I consider fake books like fake facades, trying to suggest something that isn't there. And the fact that there is historical precedent for fake books doesn't make it any better, unless we're talking some kind of meta- meta-message here, which then might be ironic. Fake books were bad a couple of hundred years ago, too, unless they were used for fake doors or hollowed out for hiding places.
On the other hand, maybe fake books are more honest than books one can't read or understand :)
Point taken. But there are two levels of critique. One is the work of the designer, but the other is the judgment of the client in choosing that designer.
The designer, in particular, may not really care what the average person thinks. Architectural Digest thinks enough of it to publish it, and that is the "real jury" so to speak, and the designer may dismiss what the "average" person thinks as an uneducated opinion, or the opinion of someone whose taste is more basic.
The homeowner may be hurt by the idea that they have exercised poor judgment or they too may think that the average person just doesn't have good enough taste to appreciate it. So everybody is entitled to their opinion. The designer and client may be judging the people who don't like it just as harshly as the people who don't like it are judging them.
But the whole selection process for Architectural Digest, at least under the helm of Paige Rense, wasn't necessarily a pronouncement of "exquisite taste": she had a mission statement of including at least one spread per issue that was "vulgar" (her word) or in questionable taste, anyway.
So, I think there is a certain amount of "meta message" in AD to begin with.
I also think that on some level, when you get to this sort of over-the-top design, there are a certain amount of meta messages, private jokes, and intentional bits of "bad taste". There are groups of people who are going to appreciate it purely on it's most basic esthetic surface, and there are groups of people who are going to appreciate it for other reasons, kind of like Shakespeare's plays, written for different groups of people to appreciate on different levels.
As someone who doesn't have a decorating gene in my body.....I find these discussions fascinating.
I married a landscape architect after I built and "landscaped" my first house. To his infinite credit, he did not yell "what the hell were you thinking" when he first pulled in my driveway. :)
What he did do, slowly and over time, was open my eyes to things I never saw before. He made the outside of that little starter home spectacular.
I still can't do what he does, nor can I usually see what he sees when he looks at a blank canvas. Watching the design process unfold, and hearing the how's and why's behind the decisions, is like learning a new language.
I love threads like this, and I love the professionals we have on here who take the time to teach and explain. Pal - your last post on this was very eye-opening for me. Thank you!
Sorry - I had one last thought after I hit submit.....
It also reminds me of an art history class I took, about a million years ago when I was in college. I took it because it sounded cool and it fit with my schedule.
I sat in the class amazed by the things people with a trained eye can see and know. It took me the better part of a whole semester to be able to say anything other than, "it's pretty. I like it."
Pal, in this case, the designer and owner are one and the same person.
I most certainly would criticize someone's recipe in a cook book or a chef's cooking in a restaurant review. Would I criticize what someone serves when I'm invited at their home. No!
Now, I haven't been to a restaurant owner's house for dinner, but I assume that this would fall under the category guest and not customer, so no criticizing unless pressed for brutally honest feedback.
Similarly, I can assure you that if I were invited to Mr and Mrs Biggs' penthouse, I most likely would not comment on their use of faux book spines. However, I might comment on her interest in historical French gardening books if I were to join her for tea in her library.
However, if Mrs Biggs showcases her design talents wearing her interior designer "hat" in a publication, criticism is fair. And who knows, maybe there is intended irony in her faux books, stuffed birds, and heirloom dishes behind a stove.
(Note: I considered several of the recent comments on someone's wedding quilt made by her mother as way more inappropriate and downright nasty than what was said in this thread.)
What strikes me about this house, other than regarding it as a piece of installation art, is the amount of symmetry. Look at this room. The books might appear at first glace to be stacked randomly, but when you look closely, note how one bookcase echoes the other. Not to mention the other furnishings and decor.
Fascinating to look at and I especially loved the dining room. Looking at these pictures was a trip down memory lane and visits to the "aunt heap." The aunt heap was the home of my 4 great aunts, two of whom had never married and two of whom came to live with her sisters after being widowed. Each great aunt had owned a fully furnished home so when she moved into the aunt heap, she brought the things that were dear to her, such as special pieces of furniture, a cherished rug or lamp, lots of books, her good china and all matter of knickknacks. It made for home that was packed to the gills but my great aunt Emma had a gift for decorating and she made it work. When the last of the great aunts died, the house was inheriited by an aunt whose decorating tastes were more minimalistic so she decluttered and I was amazed at how large the aunt heap that I always thought was small and cozy actually was! Again, thanks for posting.
I also think that on some level, when you get to this sort of over-the-top design, there are a certain amount of meta messages, private jokes, and intentional bits of "bad taste".
Pal, I'm very intrigued by this and by an earlier comment you made distinguishing between 'tacky' and 'intentionally vulgar'. As a Germanic type, I'm fairly clear on what Kitsch is (!), but vulgar/tacky is a finer and more difficult one for me to parse. Where would one start in making that conceptual differentiation, in your view?
I actually noticed that too, and I particularly liked that room (probably its relative airiness and the more casual bookcases implying they might be used a lot)
I mean it is almost like you could fold the page and just rotate about the y axis.For example, look at the pieces on the periphery, to the left and right. The little tables, occasional chairs, pillows. It's the Noah's Ark of decor.
I do like symmetry. But it made me think of twins over for tea!
"twins over for tea!" LOL. And they're all facing what/whom?
"And they're all facing what/whom?"
I suspect the odd-angle of the chairs in a couple of the pics, etc, are staged for the photo
Jim, as always, thanks for posting. And, I would like your permission to use a photo you posted awhile ago, but I'll start another thread in case you miss this response.
I look at these types of home like I do any art. Certainly, it's a good thing if it evokes some sort of reaction, and I think it's natural, normal, and perfectly acceptable (and uncontrollable) if that reaction is positive or negative. We can't help how we feel.
However, I like to challenge myself to go beyond just my gut reaction. For example, while I do like the layered look in general, I found that my eye would automatically edit out what isn't my level of "comfort" in these and instead see what I can apply in my own home. I've saved one of the photos as a possible color scheme. I look at how pattern is used, scale of objects, or as Suero pointed, the strict (but sometimes subtle) adherence to symmetry. I especially look at how objects on the wall are displayed, because that is an area that I really struggle with. Sort of like what is displayed on the catwalk . . .would "I" be brave enough to wear the outfit if I could afford it? Likely, no, but I can at least learn more about mixing fabrics, pattern, etc.
What does make me smile about these responses is that it seems, regardless of how much money one spends decorating, one simply can't please everyone. It's such a good reminder to us all, I think, to remember not to be tempted to even try. My husband, who has NO interest whatsoever in decorating, is adamant in that there is no right or wrong when it comes to decorating. I do think he's right, at least when it comes down to a very personal level.
"Pal, I'm very intrigued by this and by an earlier comment you made distinguishing between 'tacky' and 'intentionally vulgar'. As a Germanic type, I'm fairly clear on what Kitsch is (!), but vulgar/tacky is a finer and more difficult one for me to parse. Where would one start in making that conceptual differentiation, in your view?"
I think 'tacky' is UNintentional, as in trying to decorate a room that looks really "classy" but fails. I also know someone who has a very rigid palette and "theme" for each room and while they really aren't quite tacky, they aren't particularly elegant either. There is obsessive attention to perfect matching of colors, and, for example, if the starting point is a rug, Only a color that is in the rug can appear in the room, and if there is only a Little bit of a color in the rug only a Little of that color can reappear. Pillows and pictures and accessories and knickknacks get auditioned and if they don't match something exactly they get returned. If the theme in the dining room is "Wine" even the pictures on the walls have to have something to do with wine or grapes or vineyards.
It's all very stiff and "formal" even though she would say her style is casual. There is nothing really wrong or bad about the way the rooms look, but the effect is a little dead rather than comfortable.
In contrast the intentionally over the top aspects of this apartment are the ones that Reject the initial formality that is the foundation of each room:
"Like Blue Willow china? Let's see if we can cram 18 plates onto the backsplash"
"Bird cage dangling down apropos of nothing else in the kitchen? Sure, why not?"
"Pale blue and pink bedroom grounded in black? Lets put a brown-black, gold and avocado pillow on a prominent chair. It clashes with everything. That'll show em we're casual."
"TV? Let's go to extremes to hide it and then tell everyone where it is."
They didn't stop when they knew it was enough.
They did things like set up a rigid formality with the Japanese screen on the end wall and then put a lopsided furniture arrangement with the sofa to one side underneath.
They intentionally used colors that didn't quite match, and intentionally threw in some things that clashed.
Tacky would never do this, tacky would have to make sure it all matched, all followed the rules, and it all wasn't too much.
Can you imagine trying to childproof this place? Doubt there are any grandchildren coming to visit anytime soon ;-)
Came over to look at the place after seeing the thread on the other side re: wealth.
I posted this house a few years back.
This is probably meets the definition of tacky. I also happen to love it in it's own way: There was probably a more full and rigid furniture arrangement. You can see things were removed for the real estate photo.
Did anyone see that there are lamps in the birdcage? It's a birdcage chandelier!
To paraphrase Magritte, ceci n'est pas une cage d'oiseau.
Thanks for sharing the pics. I like the outdoor ones the most. The inside is nice but, to each their own. It reminds me a bit of the old houses downtown you can go on a tour inside.
I wish the pictures were still up. I looked at them briefly the other day.
Pal - One thing I remembered you saying in the past was about color not needing to be so rigidly matched.
"Only a color that is in the rug can appear in the room, and if there is only a Little bit of a color in the rug only a Little of that color can reappear. Pillows and pictures and accessories and knickknacks get auditioned and if they don't match something exactly they get returned."
Do you feel the undertones should at least be all warm or cool? Just use other colors that coordinate? I find this quite interesting and sure wouldn't mind if you wanted to expand more about it.
More than once I came across fabrics with only two colors and it seemed more difficult to try and pull the room together (no area rug). It seemed simple until I started planning and then tunnel vision and feeling everything should relate had me abandon the fabric.
Since the photos aren't there anymore, I wasn't expecting this statement and it literally made me LOL.
"Like Blue Willow china? Let's see if we can cram 18 plates onto the backsplash"
Red_lover - "Can you imagine trying to childproof this place?"
This made me laugh too. :)
I actually went back to AD and read the article. Two things I remember: The husband's favorite room is the library, which has some kind of quote by Jefferson on the importance of books; and the owner/designer is an avid and accomplished "cook and hostess."
Below link to pictures.
Here is a link that might be useful: NYC Penthouse
Where did you find the original article? Is it online?
Beautiful! Gorgeous things arranged artfully and wonderfully. What a well lived life that home shows.
About ten years ago, I made a decision to pare down insignificant items in our home and instead focus on a collection that is loved, treasured, and demonstrative of our life well lived, and sometimes, as my husband says, a life occasionally misspent, but thoroughly enjoyed when we did it. The home in these pictures shows a lifetime of achievement.
As for grandchildren, I suspect theirs, if they have them, know how to behave in such an environment. Used to be, regardless of financial bracket, all children were raised to know such behavior.