First Floor

Design Experts

Richard writes the infamous queer blog His turn-ons include wainscoting, ZZ Top, and sharp-dressed men. Turn-offs: sectionals, pleated trousers, and pina coladas.

David K. publishes Nightcharm, the only gay porn site ever to be featured on Oprah and regularly compared to Martha Stewart Living.

Eric B. does not Facebook, Tweet or blog. He uses the internet to cruise for sex, like god intended. He has leopard print in every room of his house, save one. And he does not apologize

Heather Corinna is the undisputed diva of online erotica for chicks. She publishes and is a sex guru to thousands of teenagers.

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David: You know how some pet owners, especially if they own a dog, begin to resemble their pooch over time? Well, there's a bit of that phenomenon going on here -- despite the absence of a canine.

Here the various color schemes in this homeowner's bedroom are actually reflected or mirrored in the guy's face. The electric orange topsheet, the ruddy hues that glint off of his bedroom liquor assemblage, as well as the woody brown accents of the desk and nightstand -- well, the entire melange appears to have been absorbed into the flesh tones of his face (unless of course he's sporting the aftereffects of visiting the same spray tanner that Donald Trumpemploys). Regardless, this could be the start of an entirely new New York style craze. And to think it started in Alabama!

On the plus side there's a nice Halloween color-vibe-theme going on with the aforementioned top sheet and the black and white patterned curtains. In fact, I'm starting to wonder if maybe this room is actually a set in one of those Christian Hell House tours that crop up across the country in the fall (and sometimes run throughout the autumnal season). A cautionary tale about setting up a mini bar in your own bedroom and how that might bar you from heaven. Or something like that.

David: It’s assumed that a lot of the loot that was unearthed when various Egyptian Pharaoh’s tombs were excavated was in place to symbolically represent the span of that particular ruler’s time as royalty. So toys from childhood, small thrones from his teen years, favorite hieroglyphs, were gathered together and put on display to give a chronological feel for the king’s time on earth.

Here we have a contemporary equivalent, commencing with each and every stuffed animal that Nonna purchased for this occupant's birthday — up until probably the age of twelve or thirteen, when his attention shifted in junior high to the world of weed as a diversion and form of entertainment (represented in this tomb by the scientific poster on the wall highlighting marijuana’s various chemical components.)

At age fourteen or so, awareness of the opposite sex became impossible to ignore and the libidinal conquests promised by the manufacturers of AXE body sprays and washes became an obsession, thus the various colognes and atomizers from Walmart that occupy the bureau in the background.

Then, probably around the age of eighteen, as often happens in our selfie-oriented culture, attention shifted from other people to oneself as the object of desire. When this occurs people start tattooing weird slogans and epigrams unto their bodies, reminders that one’s abdominal muscles are actually flat enough to receive an inked bromide from Arnold Schwarzenegger: “I’ll be back” or Emily Dickinson: “Because I would not stop for death…”

So this Lurid entry is a cautionary tale about how not to turn your bedroom into a time capsule that shows off one’s dull conventionality. It also proves that in some instances the bible does actually offer up some keen advice, such as this bit from 1 Corinthians 13: "When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.”

Richard: Minimalism is the handjob of the design world. On paper, it seems pretty simple. In practice, not so much.

That's because minimalism is a two-step process. Step #1: keep things to a minimum. Which is, like, duh, obviously, but step #2 is far more complicated: make sure the things you've kept are exquisite.

Few things in this room are exquisite.

Case in point: those prints of a Ford Mustang and F1 racecar. If they were five times bigger--and framed, please--they might do the trick, but I doubt it. Commercial photos of automobiles are best suited for the interiors of gas stations, garages, and garbage cans.

I'm no fan of the dining set, either. I could perhaps stomach the lines of the chairs and the oak finish, even though the ensemble screams "Best table for Sunday brunch at the Holiday Inn on Route 9". The upholstery, however, is milquetoast madness--padded like an 80s prom dress, and what bland fuckery is that print? From here, it looks like the world's least interesting hieroglyphs about Tutankhamun's final 401k contributions.

Last but not least: can we discuss the tablescape? I mean, I'm sure our host has prepared a sumptuous, romantic buffet, but did he have to use those boner-killing candles? Is there any shade of blue less appetizing than "country"? A nude table would've been just fine.

David: We're all living through a wildly shifting set of extremes when it comes to residential spaces. To own a home or to rent? Or to live under a freeway underpass?

Just last week I saw a Craigslist post from some douchebag who was renting his fucking van out as a living space -- for three hundred dollars a month -- to whatever poor bastard was willing to curl up into a ball on a makeshift mattress while remaining dead quiet through the night so the neighbors would have no idea that a human being had fallen so low in life as to be renting out a van parked on a residential street as a living space. (Where did the 'tenant' shit and piss?) This, by the way, is what's now known as Extreme Renting. How fucked up is that?

I'm blabbing about all of this while considering our latest Lurid Digs submission because, well, I'm thinking maybe these guys have also fallen on tighter times and are now living with one or the other's mother and they've found a way to optimize what little downtime they might get while mom is out shopping at the Mall of America by using a makeshift dungeon -- in her kitchen.

A quickly assembled sling set up in a shared space is the least likely spot anyone would ever consider something sexually sinister going down. Don't you think? I mean, as soon as mom's out the door -- POW -- out comes a ladder, some chains, the leather hammock -- and there ya go. Should anyone ever ask about the gigantic eyehooks bolted to the ceiling you could just tell them it's for a cauldron that your mom likes to cook with when she's feeding more than eight guests at a time. Why the hell not? Challenging times demand creative responses.

I do worry about hygiene, though. I mean this is an area where food is prepared. And, god help the other members of the household if this is also a room where folks eat. So, to these gentlemen, I'd recommend plastic drop cloths. They are cheap at Home Depot and, well, when mom does discover what those giant eyehooks bolted to the ceiling are really for she'll rest easy knowing that her son was so considerate. Mothers are very liberated nowadays, dontcha know. No mom wants her son living in a van down by the river.

Eric: Longtime readers will recognize that what I'm about to say, I've said before. If you're a new Digger, take notes. Otherwise, you might get sick of me repeating myself: As gay men, we have a moral obligation to teach each other and the rest of the world about flattering colors around which to be nude. These walls ain't it. They're giving me a sick headache, as the granny who originally furnished this room would have said.

I know that beige walls give many of you gay vertigo, so my suggestion is that you take a few deep breaths and go for a soft putty tone.

I've gone on and on about squooshy furniture and vinyl. The quick fix is a semi-fitted slipcover. Wide wale gold corduroy, I think. Much easier on the eyes and buttocks. The missing skeet blanket should be a mossy green microfiber. Speaking of the couch, why is it pushed into the middle of the room, choking the space like that? Push it back a bit, let everything breathe.

Once the couch is back against the wall, gather up all those small framed pieces and group them together behind it. I actually like the interplay between the (poorly hung) mirror, chest, and rug. But they're too close together, so the effect is blurred. That window shawl? No.

This could be a nice, genteel withdrawing room, but right now it looks like Wong Foo Abbey, and that makes me throw up in my mouth a little bit.