Richard: Given all the shabby-chic chifforobes and lurid accent walls that HGTV has foisted on American interiors, it’s nice to see a room untouched by such horrors.
Feast your eyes, ladies and gentlemen, on the simple joys of an unspoiled dining room. Beige? Yes, but it’s orderly. And tidiness is never boring.
Sure, I could quibble with that light fixture, which would be more at home above a coveted corner booth in a “Chinese” all-you-care-to-eat buffet. I could also complain about the hollow-core closet door that’s not entirely closed. I know it probably has something to do with the AC unit in there, but it’s still unsettling. Seeing doors ajar makes me feel like I’m watching an over-the-shoulder shot in a B-grade horror film.
On the other hand, I kinda love the curtain. I don’t know that it’s entirely necessary, but a tsunami of taupe is interesting. And the furniture, which probably comes from the same (allegedly) Chinese buffet, may be plain, but you can’t tell me that shit don’t match. Fuck Michael Kors: I love me some matchy-matchy.
Most importantly, the place is spotless — every crack and crevice seems sucked clean of debris. Someone appreciates the simple joys of household chores.
Eric: Parts of this little corner of design hell are eerily familiar to me. I have a set of denim drapes. They’re in my Gay Vintage Farmboy guestroom. Also there is a lamp my father made in shop class in 1955 and the ‘Early American’ bedroom suite from my adolescence, pieces of which I drybrushed to cover how inexpensive they were.
But I would never leave the walls like that. I’d paint them something flattering and accessorize them with posters and postcards of James Dean, Marlon Brando, and Tab Hunter.
I will have my great-grandmother’s spoon collection someday, but I will not be displaying it in my boudoir. Such belongs in the ladies’ withdrawing room. Or in the kitchen, if you are unfortunate enough to live in a house built after 1872.
I have some cheap bedclothes. I place them atop the good ones when I have gentlemen callers. I would never use them as part of an advertisement of my charms.
Remote controls and cords electric cords on display? I’d rather grab one of those spoons and pretend I still have a gag reflex. That would be eerily familiar to some of those gentlemen callers.
David: Nothing kills the soul quicker than the color beige. Even the word ‘beige’ is dick-wilting. The word beige is what linguists call an onomatopoeia — a word that phonetically imitates, resembles or suggests the source of the sound that it describes. Can’t you feel beige diminishing your life too, right now — just by reading about it?
Here beige-ness has overtaken a home, ala Invasion of the Body Snatchers.
And nothing can stop the life-sucking mutation. The beige wall-to-wall is ‘complimented’ with beige floor mats. This is akin to having Restylane applied atop your recent Botox injection. Joan Rivers territory.
What might have salvaged this room — the gilded mirrors — just ends up complicating things in a horrible way. Especially when you consider the statuary that the corner of your eye picks up on the right side of the couch. This room flat-lined a long time ago, and we’re afraid that nothing will salvage it. No one can hear you scream once ensconced here.
Eric: Guys, there’s no shame in wanting some ornamentation our lives and homes. We’re gay men, not lesbians.
But look at this place. Enough is too much. Liberace would want to take this down a notch. Curlicues and gilt and such must be used sparingly. The modern eye can’t take it, and neither can my nerves. There’s enough here to emasculate an entire house.
So where to begin? How about those walls? The purpose of spongepainting, spatterdash, marbling and ragrolling is to mimic stonework. This ain’t working. It looks like what came out of the dog before it died.
Done properly, the technique calls for at least 3 related colors found together in nature. White should be the last (and most lightly) applied, not the basecoat.
Here, I’d do the lower walls in the darkest tone and the chair rail in the lightest.
You can have crimson in your room. You can have burgundy in your room. But you can’t have them together unless Vintage Tampon is your theme.
Speaking of loose strings, the minute you try to bind someone’s hands with that sickly wallscarf, he’s gonna pull down those era-inappropriate sconces and sphere candles.
Maybe he’ll set fire to those repro oil paintings on the way. One can only hope.
God damask that upholstery looks uncomfortable, and there isn’t enough Scotch-Gard in the world for it to forgive your naked romps upon it.
And WTF is up with those glowing orbs in the compote? Not sure what epoch they belong in, or where they should go beside the dustbin.
What can be said about that sad, misplaced, undersized hobbyhorse? like the rest of this room, naaaaaaaaaaaaaaay.
Richard: For the past couple of weeks, the internet has been in an uproar over the killing of Cecil the lion. But what would all those people screaming for the head of an asshole dentist from Minnesota say about this quotidian scene of animal cruelty?
Sadly, this is a common sight in homes across America: pets forced to live in aggressively beige storage rooms, full of shelving units that groan under the weight of unused, unloved crockpots and mixers that could tumble over at any second.
Is this how a sane nation decorates its pet nurseries? Where are the chew toys, the bones, the knotted ropes? Are our pups supposed to derive pleasure from batting around expense reports from 1994 or dust-covered Day Runners?
There’s not even a TV to entertain our furry friends with those DVDs and VHS tapes. How are our substitute children supposed to enjoy the hilarity of Stripes? How will they learn about the magnificent P.J. Soles? Next time you wonder why our pets don’t test as well those from Sweden and Japan, remember this. This is why.
Richard: The difference between an art gallery and the average home comes down to flat surfaces. You want a room to be pretty and witty and completely non-functional? Take out all the shelves and tables. You want to live there? You’ll need a place to sit and work and eat and display your gewgaws.
As handy as flat surfaces can be, though, they have a few drawbacks:
1. They collect dust, so they’re always in need of a good cleaning.
2. They’re clutter magnets, and since that clutter is right out in the open, it makes rooms look messy.
3. Some people want to put bigger items on shelves than should rightly be there.
This room is a perfect example of all that. The precariously placed boombox makes me especially nervous. Who needs that kind of thing anymore? I’d rather see a nice nut dish there, myself. Somebody ought to send in a Goodwill SWAT team to haul most of that crap away before those shelves collapse and give Ms. Himmelfarb downstairs the shock of her life.