Eric: Back in 1960, American moviegoers were introduced to Suzie, a gold-hearted Hong Kong whore. The film’s cultural legacy is large– the still-stunning Nancy Kwan, an iconic haircut, quaint racism, the cheongsam dress (see photo),and the realization that the Asiana the men had brought back from their war(s) could move out of the attic and into the house proper.

I think that sort of integration was the goal here, but it’s already gone wrong. My own preference in this style is for the more rustic, provincial stuff, not the highly ornate gorgeous court pieces, so that’s where I’m taking this. Think natural serenity, not kitschy restaurant.

There’s a good beginning here, but it doesn’t go far enough. I actually like both the color and shape of the media cabinet. Maybe our tenant can’t get rid of the electronics, but he could damn sure tidy them up.

I see a nice Buddha In A Box, a chair undernath the Supergirl costume, and some sort of a lamp. They can stay.The mask? Over the toilet. Guitar? Hang it in the dining nook, which will thereafter be referred to as the Hard Wok Cafe. What we have left is a lovely blank slate. Can’t you feel yourself zenning out already? The neutral carpet needs its yang, a soft, nature-based wall tone.

I’m hoping that the unseen upholstered pieces are in solid colors. If not, fitted slipcovers. Mission, mid-century, Shaker, contemporary transitional, Danish– almost any school of case goods would work here, with a light sanding and a coat of distressed matte black to unite disparities in style.

Artwork is no problem because it isn’t needed. Everyone has a pile of unused picture frames. Spray them with hammered-metal paint in various finishes and hang them empty (after painting the wires to blend into the walls, of course).

Necessary accessories are few. Coupla groupings of pillar candles will suffice. For anything else, natural materials (stone, rattan, wood, just a bit of old brass). Think Ikea if Pier 1 is out of your budget’s reach. Anything else would just be a drag.

Richard: Sacre bleu! I know that France’s economy isn’t so hot right now, but is it so épouvantable that people have resorted to living in self-storage containers? I thought that was just an American thing.

But maybe I’m wrong. Maybe this is just someone’s garage-cum-office (har). If so, good job: everything looks neat and orderly. This is how you label, people: on the side of the box facing out. That’s why Campbell’s doesn’t put soup labels on the top of the can. (Seems obvious, but you’d be surprised how many people don’t understand this.)

Then again, maybe this is a safe room. Judging from the presence of a humidifier and hard liquor — two of my must-have travel accessories — it’s a reasonable guess. I always assumed that safe rooms would have more CCTV monitors, Power Bars, and posters of Jodie Foster going through the motions of yet another dull-as-fuck “action” movie, but having never seen one in person (a safe room, not a Jodie Foster movie, unfortunately), what do I know?

Eric: Every once in a while, for mental discipline I imagine how I’d downsize from my garden-level 1200 sq ft back to the 400 of my beloved micro-loft. I bet the occupant of this room never pictured himself in an SRO bedsit. Poor fella. I wish him well.

I wouldn’t, however, wish that window mistreatment on anyone. Nothing against lace curtains — I have half a dozen pair of nice, heavy ecru ones, souvenirs of my Swingin’ Edwardian Bachelor Pad days.

But these don’t even close. WTF?

And you’re a man, damnit, which means they can’t flaunt their nakedness. They have to function as the window’s underclothes. Throw some brocade over them. It’s the only way to maintain decency and decorum.
That may be a lost cause, judging from the roller shade perched atop the box of latex gloves in the pile atop the chair. I hope there’s a skeet blanket in there somewhere.

The davenport’s upholstery doesn’t look very welcoming. I don’t actually mind the mix-n-match upholstery. I don’t love it, but we sometimes have to make do until we can afford two sheets and a packet of upholstery screws.

I do, however, take aesthetic offense at the clashing greens of wall and miniblind. Shamrock and bottle on the same wall? Saints help us, it’s like leprechaun diarrhea in there.

I’d send that sad little endtable on the next boat out, too. A stack of vintage suitcases would lend some character, work miracles with the clutter and help the roomer with a speedy getaway.

A wallpaper border? Are we in a child’s themed bathroom? Even the animals pictured in it are trying to escape.

I can only wish them well. RUN!!!

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.

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