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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Richard: Last week, I received an email that said (I paraphrase): "You spend a lot of time writing about the worst interiors, but could you give us some tips on good design?" A fair question, indeed.

Here's the answer, in one exquisite photograph.

There's absolutely nothing in this room that I would change. (Well, four things, but they're minor. Mostly.)

The mix of natural and track-lighting is bewitching. The artwork is a stimulating combination of personal memorabilia and thrift-store treasures, with that hexagonally framed landscape of Neverland -- the jewel in the crown. The stuffed animals dangling from their headboard gallows are a macabre delight. The tri-fold vanity mirror hung from the wall is an unexpected choice -- and it's perfect for those intimate moments when you're on all fours or for rehearsing that big, important Powerpoint presentation.

But obviously, the pièce de résistance is that ode to Burning Man, lovingly crafted from the finest plywood, then painted to match the veneer of the bed. The pivoting arms are a brilliant touch, and the collection of phalli -- no doubt, mementos from the creator's world travels -- are magnificently displayed. It's probably not what the shop class instructor envisioned, but I'm sure she'd love it if she hadn't died of shock.

As for the things that need tweaking, the maroon of the venetian blinds is entirely on-point, but it looks like they might need replacing. The comforter is a little too 80s for my personal tastes. (I survived them, I don't need to snuggle with them.) And I understand that fitting a king size can be difficult in older houses, but seeing bed frames shoved against walls makes the housekeeper in me cringe.

Oh, and one more thing. NO. FUCKING. DREAMCATCHERS. EVER.

David: Or maybe this post should be titled: Can You See Me Now?. I know -- you're right, it's true, there aren't a lot of visual clues to critique in this photo, but my attention is pulled to the old optometrist's eye chart on the wall -- which might explain why the occupant is having such a hard time discerning between a mobile device and a dick.

Or maybe it's just that the new culture of 'app dating' has him swiping through faces, looking for his next hookup while actively engaged with the guy he'd just procured. Kids today! They have the attention spans of a gnat.

There might be a tad too much Ikea going down in this room, the sheets and comforter point in that direction -- but it's hard to tell what exactly is behind that wild mop of hair. If I could part it down the middle I might be able to confirm my suspicion that a lot of home-assembled items occupy this space. Just a hutch. I mean hunch.

The portrait of Jesus over the closet gives the room a fun Catholic Kitsch vibe. And that spirit is echoed in what looks to be a collection of Madonna's (extended mix) record covers, placed over another closet entrance.

In the final analysis, I have to give this room a pass. We'll file it under "A" for effort. (Or is that an "E"?)

Richard: I can write 'til I'm blue in the balls about the dos and don'ts of decor. But none of that advice -- not one undeniably brilliant word -- will do you a damn bit of good if you've moved into a haunted apartment.

For example, I could've easily advised the person who decorated this room to put that workstation somewhere else because (a) it's ugly, and (b) it's jamming the qi flowing through the window. I could've encouraged him/her to kick that Walmart torchiere to the curb because it's 2016 and we all know better. Ditto for the Bart Simpson plushie. As for the headboard, I'm not tied to it, but its LaQuinta-just-redecorated-and-I-found-this-in-the-parking-lot vibe does give me pause.

And yet, fuck that noise, because who could ever sleep in this feng shui fiasco in the first place? As you can plainly see, the photographer has captured not one, but two apparitions of Mariah Carey in the background.

What's she doing there? Has she journeyed into the Shadow Realm to search for the long-lost bottom halves of her shirts? Or is there an astral link between this boudoir and every dressing room Mariah Carey has ever occupied -- a link that occasionally allows multiple versions of Lassie's favorite songstress to appear in the corner, each trying to escape from plaid sofas and yellow roses?

In sum: Molly, you in danger girl. Unless you enjoy the thought of having an obsessive diva as your dreamlover, pack your belongings and move to the next town.

David: Hook-up culture has mutated into a dehumanizing free-for-all of anything-goes disposability. As in: disposable people. And so displayed family photographs are a bad idea for courting a date (or — especially — a quick fuck’n'dump).

Such is the problem with this dwelling, where the aspirant’s sprawl of family photos (going back to what looks to be Uncle Albert from the mid-1940s) will most certainly work against his odds of getting laid. He might be confused with someone with a family, a life, a heart!

But of course we’re an interior design website, not a Dear Prudence for the Grindr set.

So let’s study ways that this room might be improved. Heating seems to be nonexistent (as in baseboard or forced air) so the focus on the fireplace’s wood collection (inside the place and outside) as well as starter logs and mounds of last month’s PennySavers telegraphs financial hardship. Change the message! Light a fire and move all of that woodsy clutter (and old holiday popcorn tin) out of the way and allow the eye a natural landing spot on the romantic logs aflame.

We think, too, the wall’s lighting arrangement could have used a tape measure to find the center spot of the mantle piece and play off of that. Why? Well, the homeowner seems to be a Libra, with all of the various symmetrical arrangements in the room — the two gigantic navy blue loveseats on either side of the fireplace being the most emphatic. Find your fulcrum, honey!

Finally, we do like the Gypsy Rose Lee touch of the tossed-off winter coat, crumpled on the loveseat’s arm. Though, again, the homeowner’s clinched fists telegraph heating issues in the home (and encroaching hypothermia). You can just hear his brain screaming: “Take the motherfucking picture! Now goddamnit!”

Summer can’t come soon enough.

Eric:I've never been so relieved that our self-promoting pioneer Lady Mendl has been dead for 65 years. This room would make her flip over and shit straight up in the air.

I'll wait while you Wiki her and then try to unsee that image...

(sings quietly, 'on her back is the Battle of Waterloooooooooooo
beside it, the wreck of the Hesperus, tooooooooo")

She would never put a sundial in a bathroom.

Even for the doyenne of post-Victorian white interiors, this would be a bit much. For me, it's not enough. The tile is not actively offensive, but grey grout would be a great start in giving the space some moderne structure. Then a less draining wall color, a suction-mounted dispenser to corral the soap, shampoo, conditioner and lube, and a kitschy shower curtain (leopard print, anyone?).

Finally, I'd send that window mistreatment to Sandra Lee to turn back into a tablescape. Somebody give the poor dear a cocktail, as well. It may be eternal noon in this room, but it's martini o'clock somewhere.