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.

Richard: I come from a long line of hunters and fishers. To this day, we cut holidays dinners short so my brothers have time to sit in the blinds for a few hours before the sun goes down. They’ve tried to recruit me to their team, but like that horned-up sorority girl who had a crush on me in college, I never took the bait.

So, as someone who has a deep-seated loathing for all things hunting-related — from the bloody, senseless cruelty of it all, to the mind-numbing dullness of waiting around, to the God-and-Country country music that invariably accompanies the ordeal (I would rather have silence than Lee Greenwood, please) — I should hate this room. And yet, I don’t.

Yeah, sure, that bed needs a dust ruffle STAT. And that pressboard furniture looks like it’s one PBR spill away from collapsing into a heap of wet sawdust. And for fuck’s sake, what have we told you people about overhead lighting? Still, the whole thing is clean and organized and color-coordinated. (As long as you don’t mind blue.)

That said, I’ll never understand why anyone would want so many dead things in a bedroom. For the sake of overnight guests, I hope it’s not a metaphor.


Eric: Our dear mother, Carlton Varney, once warned us about what happens when your décor goes over-feminine, mixing too many lace curtains and doilies with too much wicker and Kountry Kutesy. He called it The Dollhouse Look.

I believe that the obverse has happened here. Obviously.

When you adhere slavishly to a played-out and stereotypically archetypically masculine theme, when you buy everything during one stop in one section of one store, this is what happens. I call it Bachelor Pod, and it makes me weep.

Can’t quite get a handle on what’s up here. The sci-fi floor-lamp is so glaringly out of place that it’s keeping me from ruminatin’ on anything else. Reckon I dunno what that metal curlycue thing is, or why it isn’t on the short wall, or what in blazes that 1×12 is doing, or why the oversized furniture is circled close like it is, or why everything is tobackky brown….

I’m afraid to sit a spell, round up my thoughts, but I do know that the first thing to do is weed out all of the “cute” “art.”

Now that the walls are bare, paint at least a few of them. Bring some definition to this wasteland. A nice faded blue, maybe. If you use a whiskbroom and do two coats (one vertical, one horizontal), you’ve approximated denim. Here it would work, and that opens up a whole new frontier.


Richard:The life of a musician is hard — but then, you knew that. Harder still is the life of a real estate agent in 2010. Seriously, that shit blows.

But Steven is no ordinary real estate agent: he’s arguably the best Fort Lauderdale has to offer. As proof, check this shady, Masonite-paneled abode, constructed in the late 1970s for New Age wunderkind, Yanni. Sadly, Yanni moved on long ago, but to make sure that househunters know the provenance of the windowless split-level ranch with off-street parking and beach view, Steven commissioned a portrait of Yanni’s longtime bunkmate, Linda Evans. “Buy this”, Steven whispers as shoppers stand quietly before the painting, “and you’re buying a piece of entertainment history”. (But not the portrait, because the portrait stays with him.)

When Steven paid for the portrait — $500, acrylic on board, signed on verso — little did he know what a great investment he was making. As it turns out, the house is haunted, and no owner has lived there for more than a year. Which means Steven gets to dust off the portrait every few months and make another 6%. Cha-ching.

Today, however, Linda Evans isn’t enough. (I never thought I’d write those words.) In this market, Steven has to go the extra mile to make his customers happy — though more often than not, it’s just an inch or six. At least the commission gives him something to think about besides the shoddy ceiling paint job.

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