Richard: Remember a couple of weeks ago, when everyone on your Facebook feed was sharing that ridiculous promo pic for Downton Abbey — the one with the plastic water bottle? Well, this is like that, except in this case, the fuckups are really accidental, not “accidental on purpose”. (What, you think that none of the people who worked on that shot — including a professional photographer, half a dozen assistants, a room full of stylists, and a SWAT team of Photoshoppers, not to mention the actors — saw that water bottle perched in plain view? Dude, they all saw it. Some other time, I’ll explain the dynamics of social media marketing.)
For now, ignore the upholstery on that sofa, which isn’t quite period-appropriate, but it’s tasteful and subdued and hoity-toity enough for romantic homosexualists to see it and think, “Oooh, a Victorian lady’s parlor! We’ll have our crumpets in here, Carson.”
Ignore the wallpaper, which works the same way. I swear, some people think all anyone had in their houses before World War II were chamber pots and monochromatic floral prints.
Ignore the late-90s stereo system, bought for a song from an event production company that went out of business during the first internet bubble, when San Francisco start-ups no longer had the moolah for elaborate, butt-shaking IPO parties.
Ignore the moulding, which was either stolen from a Norwegian sauna, then buffed to remove decades of sweaty ass stains, or salvaged from a fantasy rumpus room constructed in 1973 at the Schenectady Architectural Show and Bake-Off (sponsored by Carvel).
And I’m not even going to broach the topic of that rug, which may or may not be 100% genuine polyester and may or may not have been bought at Big Lots for $14.99.
No, the biggest problem to me is that massive, lumpy throw pillow, which wants to appear vintage, but so clearly isn’t. It’s the size of those lilypads that carry away deposed baby kings in myths from the Subcontinent. It’s a Civil War whore whose corset is in the shop. It’s the kind of thing that Pasty Stone’s mother would’ve brought to an ashram. Like other things in this room, it needs to be reined in and bound up before it’ll satisfy anyone.
Richard: I have no idea where to begin with this one, so, being the Southerner that I am, I’ll kick off with a compliment: I love the color of that armchair.
That said, I don’t know what the fuck it’s doing in this room.
The biggest problem here is texture: there’s too much of it. There are lots of materials in this room, and none of them get along. It reminds me of a battle scene in Lord of the Rings, but instead of dwarves and elves and hobbits and orcs, there’s wood and brick and linoleum and another kind of linoleum. It’s quieter than in Mordor, but not by much.
Weirdest of all, this looks like a beach home. Maybe it’s the floor that’s throwing me off, or maybe it’s the fact that I can’t stop watching Spring Breakers, but I’d be willing to bet a round of Alabama Slammers that this den/living room sits within 100 yards of a peaceful, sandy shore or a really loud water park somewhere between gardening zone 9a and 10b. I’m thinking Florida, possibly St. Pete. Which leads me to wonder why the hell there’s a fireplace (or at least fireplace accouterments).
On a related note: why is there so much fake “brick”, when there’s obviously real brick in abundance? Couldn’t the owner at least let them match? And what the hell is that odd, wicker-y thing on the bench-y brick thing? It looks like a cross between a Golden Girls hanging lamp and something you’d find on a quest in Skyrim.
The saving grace is that towel on the chair. You know how it can be at the beach: once sand gets in your crevices, it’s nearly impossible to get out.
Eric: There’s never a fainting couch on the landing when you need one nowadays. I fear that I may have a terminal case of the vapors. Fetch the salts at once!
It is an oft-quoted truth that those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it. So what the hell is going on here, people? I did not suffer through the Reagan-era Victorian revival (much less the ’97 Edwardian craze) so that I could have flashbacks lo these many years later.
Dusted rose? Seriously? What’s next, teal? Mauve? Creige? Damn every one of you public television addicts!
You must be able to exercise a careful, rigorous and educated eye when curating a home in this style. It’s easy to go under- and overboard. You’ve also got to have plenty of real to mix in with the repro, or all you’ve created is Downton Shabby.
Pussy pink is inappropriate in a home inhabited by penises, even if those penises enjoy the discreet companionship of other penises. It isn’t just stereotypical, it’s creepy. Makes me want to ask where the abatoir is, and if that headboard is stuffed not with horsehair, but human.
Go for a nice light grey. It’ll butch things up a bit, calm them down, and frame all that frippery rather nicely.
Who knows, now that Derek Jacobi is back on PBS, maybe we can skip revisiting ’90s neoclassic and go straight back to the I, Claudius original.
Aaaaaah, those were the days…..
Richard: Most of the time, we write about rooms that have spun out of control. Like that uncle who was a studly quarterback in high school but subsequently got married, had kids, moved to the suburbs, and landed a sales gig at Sansabelt, the rooms we see have typically let themselves go.
This is not that. This is the opposite of that. This room has maintained an iron grip on everything that’s ever entered it. It has never let anything go.
The occupant of this well-ordered boudoir/mancave is so obsessive about organizing that he’s forsaken his own bed so that his sprawling collection of sex toys will have someplace to lay their molded mushroom heads. He shivers at the thought of shoving these plastic pleasure pylons into anything so mundane as a drawer. He’d rather they stay exactly as they are, arranged like a pigbottom’s game of Tetris. At night, he’ll just curl up on the floor, on the pristine dog bed, because that’s what messy pups do, isn’t it? I SAID, “ISN’T IT?!”
Things are similarly grouped and arranged on the wall, the nightstand, the dresser. With all the right angles and clean lines, it’s like a French gardener’s dream, but instead of boxwood parterres, we have collections of boots and baseball caps. It’s a rare day that we call anyone on Lurid Digs neat and clean, but whoever lives here is anal-retentive in the extreme. We recommend a healthy bout of anal-expulsiveness — so long as he does it outside, like a good dog.
Richard: Remember when dick pics were something new? When, to take one, you actually had to haul out a camera (maybe even one that used film), import the shot to your laptop (maybe even a desktop), crop it, and upload it to Gay.com or Manhunt or one of three other sites that horny gays used back in The Day?
We’ve come a long way, baby.
Nowadays, taking a cock shot is as easy as cracking open your phone’s texting app, embedding a photo, and tapping send. And because it’s so easy, and because current and former lovers always seem happy to share their partners’ junk with the rest of the world, the internet is now littered with naughty selfies. If we could convert them to energy, we could power the entire state of California for a month.
Alas, we can’t, so filmmaker Antonio da Silva has done the next best thing: he’s made all those images into a movie. Styled like a flipbook, it runs from soup to nuts (we mean that pretty literally). While the images are too small to critique the decor of the rooms where they’re taken, we can still clock a few important trends, including:
But it’s still better than Godzilla.
David: I’ve never understood curtains, unless you have one of those bathtubs that are also a shower and then it’s a necessity dictated by the laws of gravity and your desire to hold on to your apartment’s security deposit by not destroying the floor.
But here, where an entire section of a room has been partitioned off — no, no, no! It triggers creepy serial killer vibrations; reminiscent of a set, say, from the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre or later a film like Silence of the Lambs. It’s just not a good thing.
What’s on the other side? And why does the homeowner need to prevent a visitor from seeing what’s on the other side? These are all questions our panel of design experts struggled with and eventually gave up on. None of us wanted to actually try to guess or imagine — the worst. And can you blame us?
So dear reader, we’ll leave it to you — in the comments section below — to reveal the truith. Give us your best shot! What is behind curtain Number One?