21 June 2009

Good Money for Nothing!

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A story in a recent magazine really left me puzzled.   The last few months, I have become acutely aware of the lack of design magazines available.  We’ve all watched as one by one, titles have fallen victim to our economy – I don’t need to list them all here again, but a trip to the book stores really opens your eyes to what is left.   Not much.  We’ve lamented their loss together and expressed shock as one after another has folded.  The reality is now here.    Thank God for House Beautiful and Southern Accents, Metropolitan Home and Veranda,  Traditional Home and Elle Decor.   And……?     See what  I mean?     It’s slim pickings.    Which puts the spotlight on those remaining.    Magazines aren’t cheap, take a $10 bill to the counter and you might walk out with two – maybe.    The current mags should be fabulous now – they have their pick of houses to publish.   Scouts are telling me that they keep getting turned away with stories that normally would have been snapped up.  There’s a glut of houses deserving of publication – yet they’ve been rejected.    Which should mean that the ones that are published, are wonderful houses with interiors that could make a grown man weep from the beauty.   But still, it’s not quite happening.   Each issue arrives stuffed with mediocrity and junk.   Some make you laugh, others draw a wince.  

I don’t usually go “negative” here – but I am going to today.   So forgive me this rant.  I’ll be back to normal tomorrow – all chipper and happy.  For now, I’m confused.  Is it me?   Am I the only one who feels this way?   Do others see what I see?

 

The story that caused my head to shake shows a house in Los Angeles – the owner is the wife of a famous  rock star.  She also was the interior decorator,  one of her many talents the magazine informed us of.   Other prolific talents are photography and lyric writing for her husband’s songs.   Her ambitions for their house were certainly lofty.  The new construction abode was designed to look like an authentic Wallace Neff.  The pool house was inspired by a photograph from David Hicks’ book – My Kind of Garden.  The staircase was modeled after one found in Nancy Lancaster’s  Mirador,  Neff, Hicks, Lancaster – let’s drop some names.   This is going to be stunning, no?    Their master bedroom is quite lovely – that I will admit.   And their kitchen is very nice too.  When these pictures were first seen – bloggers went ga-ga over the house and I’ll admit at my first cursory glance I did too, even leaving comments saying “beautiful!”  I finally had some extra time to leisurely pour over this house and all I can wonder is “Am I crazy, here?  What am I missing?”

I try to never do this – never focus on the negative, and maybe I am wrong here.  Maybe this is wonderful and I should get my  hands slapped and  go re-enroll  in design school and hey, maybe even join ASID!   With so little competition out there, shouldn’t we be seeing the best that interior design has to offer?   Is this house all that?   Was there nothing else to show us last March?  

 

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What drives me crazy about this room:  two coffee tables.  Why? Why?  And if you DID want two coffee tables – shouldn’t they relate either in size or style?   I understand eclectic – I get it.  I just do not get THIS.  If for some really good reason you needed two coffee tables side by side, shouldn’t at least ONE be attractive?  Finding attractive coffee tables is hard, I know that, I live that.   But to pick two of the ugliest coffee tables in the world, now that takes some work.  Actually, let me correct that, the shorter table was designed by the home owner – who has launched her own furniture line.  Yes, I did just say that.   But, two coffee table - am I wrong?   Am I missing something? 

 

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There’s more.   The mantle is so high, I’m guessing it’s over 5 ft tall.  The mantel is a vertical element.  It’s tall, it’s narrow.    The designer then adds a long, skinny, goopy, fancy mirror, further extending the vertical line.   The mantel is crying out for something more horizontal – something wide to balance out the tall vertical element of the fireplace.   What is especially amusing is that the designer proclaims:   “I wanted everything to have a human scale.”   Human scale?  For whom – the Jolly Green Giant?   A simple, round convex mirror would have been nice.  A wide painting propped on the top would have been nice.   A line of short porcelains would have been nice.   My neck aches just looking up at that mirror.

 

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And if the fancy Chippendale styled mirror and the two coffee tables weren’t enough – add to this a pair of oversized three armed French sconces.   What a mixture.  Again, the sconces are elongated – with a vertical appearance, where something horizontal is desperately needed here.    The entire marble fireplace vignette truly baffles me almost as much as the two coffee tables do.   When my house was photographed for a magazine – the stylists really edited it , they changed things around, they brought in props – did that not happen here?  Does this stylist really leave houses exactly the way he found them?  

 

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Should I even address the upholstery?   The exuberant Brunschwig & Fils print on the sofa is nice – I like it, actually.  But look across at the other sofa, covered in a striped brown velvet, along with a floral accent pillow – I don’t see a connection here.   And yes, I understand that kind of decorating, where nothing really matches – but things should at least blend, no?   Again – am I missing something? 

 

 

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The other picture of the living room shows the two coffee tables again, the sofa, the unmatched lamps (to each other and anything else in the room.)    Where to start?   What I suppose is the focal point of the room – though two side by side coffee tables would be a focal point in any other room -  a large picture gallery wall, filled with lots of expensive art, takes the room off in another direction.  What direction – don’t ask me.   I just paid for the magazine, I didn’t pick the house.  There’s no area rug and I’m not sure what the purpose of the pillows is, certainly not to enhance.   Oh – and be sure to notice the solo, two armed sconce in the middle of all the art work that somehow balances out the green lamp next to the sofa.  I doubt that was intentional.

 

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In the dining room, the table is surrounded by leather chairs from the designer’s own furniture line, that seem oddly short to me.  No?  The walls are wallpapered with a gorgeous Zuber pattern, yet the mirrored chimney piece creates an odd effect on the wallpaper’s scene.   It stops the eye where it should freely move across the wall.   The mirror almost has a magnifying effect on the wallpaper.  Why put the built in mirror there?   I don’t understand that – do you?

 

 

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The designer’s own studio is nice enough – I adore the cabinetry with the Dutch door.   And I love her drafting desk.   Here, finally, is an area rug, yet could it be any smaller or any trendier?  This room could be a knock-out, instead it looks like it was decorated with Salvation Army specials.  Am I wrong here?  

 

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The den with its sofa, and odd one armed chaise, is fine, a typical mixture of things chosen to look edgy – while using classic fabrics.  Again,  I never quite understood,  why in order to be “chic” or “hip” – one has to pick things that don’t seem to relate to each other.   It’s like the curtains were found there, and the furniture moved in around them.  It’s me, I know that.  But I like pillows that mean something.  Pillows with definite shape – full, robust, oversized.   Jeffrey Bilhuber makes the most perfect pillows I think I have ever seen.  Go here to see how pillows should look.

 

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The kitchen is one of the prettier rooms in the house, though I don’t understand why the range is in the breakfast area, but hey, I don’t cook – maybe the range SHOULD be in the breakfast area.  

 

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The bedroom is a beautiful room – if only for its wonderful curtains, made of Bennison linen.  How could anyone go wrong with Bennison?   I’ll tell you – they put dark chocolate trim around it’s edges, that’s how.  I give up.

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I’ll admit it, I’m getting older.   I’m past middle age now, and maybe that’s the reason I can’t join the chorus of bloggers who loved this house.   How do you feel about it?   Does the kitchen and bedroom make you forgive the living room?    Do you yourself like two desperate coffee tables side by side?    Are you one to put any materials together, without regard to color or pattern, and declare the room “designed?”  Am I not hip enough, not eclectic enough, not chic or trendy enough?   Am I crazy?  This house in person is probably beautiful.   And it’s a beloved family home, so who am I to criticize it?   I certainly am no better designer, and not at all in this league.  And I’m certainly not as beautiful.   But, when I buy a magazine, I expect something wonderful, maybe even perfect.   Something that makes me dream and go all green with envy too.   I want to learn something  - I want to see how the greats do it and maybe emulate them one day.   Come on editors – give us your best shot.  You’ve got a captive audience here.   Hit us with something that will stun us, motivate us, inspire us. 

I do know one thing, I feel ripped off.  I don’t want to pay good money for nothing anymore.

200 comments:

  1. Rant, rave because its not your age honey showing, its whomever this alleged decorator is..her lack of taste is showing. The 2 coffee tables.. I scrolled down & swore like a trucker. Gawdy, ridiculous & so wrong its hilarious.
    On & on I could go but I'll ask you to email me where this horror was & whom the offending so called decorator is. I'll be just as mean. The wives always turn into either decorators or designers of jewerly or handbags. Your arm candy. Live it, be happy & donate the money for start up to charity.

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  2. Oh & the dead pillow on the chaise kills me. Deco 101, prop, fluff & present.

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  3. Thanks to The Skirted Round Table, I could almost hear your wonderful accent in these words.

    I could see that that some parts of the rooms were not right to my eye and couldn't pin point why, but your description has shown me what 'it' actually is.

    As always, a wonderful, insightful post!

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  4. You're right. It's a complete mess. I like my magazine houses to look the best.

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  5. There were some very nice things in this house. Unfortunately it no flair and appeared to be what exactly what it was, a bored housewife's little project. While she may have some taste, she clearly lacks flair.

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  6. Joni-I can't stand any of it, including the kitchen and bedroom. The entire house is confused, disjointed, rudderless. Well decorated houses need to flow, with everything in each room working well together, and each room working with the next. These do not. I love mixing styles and periods, but you have to have a good eye and know what you are doing. This person does not. I know we've had this discussion before, but I love House Beautiful, Southern Accents, and like Elle Decor. I detest Architectural Digest, and the rest leave me cold. House Beautiful has turned into an outstanding publication. The latest issue was brilliant. But I still miss Domino so much it hurts.

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  7. Bravo for standing up and speaking out...This house would never have been published if she was NOT married to a rock star...

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  8. I saw the original article and spent a ridiculous amount of time trying to wrap my mind around most of that house. Inordinate because, really, there are things I'm supposed to be doing. I finally decided a) she needs a bit of work on sight lines; 2) she has a lot of nerve--in good and bad ways; 3) I'm old. I like certain things about the kitchen since I find people too enslaved to the concept of neutrality. I thought that sconce intentionallybalanced that lamp; and I thought that was creative. I don't object to the idea of mismatched coffee tables; I just object to those. And finally, I wish I had her budget.

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  9. Wow - I never noticed the two coffee tables! I can't remember which magazine this was from, maybe I didn't see the original article (I don't tend to read Elle Decor much - was it from there?). Maybe I just saw the shot with the picture wall, which was all over the blogs, and used in my blog too on the piano post. The dual coffee tables aren't as noticeable in that picture. But the other picture? They stick out like a sore thumb!

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  10. Well I only viewed the rest of the residence to read your review because as hard as I tried nothing inspired me here. I once heard the phrase "anyone can throw money at a room". I am all about creating a mood for each space. And I love it when someone says "this is what the house wanted". A home should have a soul and each room should "speak" to you as well. So once again Joni you nailed it there is a whole lot of lackluster being published today sista.

    Victoria

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  11. joni--I think this is called "in your face" decorating. It reminds me of voting "present". this is what indecision looks like.

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  12. I think there is a certain "Emporer's new clothes" syndrome with some of these mags. Lot's of ooohing and ahhhing over things that don't do anything for me...and obviously others. I don't buy any mags these days. Nothing much in them. All half hearted it seems.

    I like snarky Joni (though, you weren't all that snarky at all)...and like the above poster...I can hear your voice in your words...Fun!

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  13. You didn't (catch) mention the weird blooper in the 4th picture...
    The first 3 posted pix show a wood
    floor under the 2 tables - why does
    a rug suddenly appear in the 4th?
    Am I seeing things?!The studio rug
    was possibly borrowed for a minute?

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  14. I fully concur and as someone above mentioned, thanks to The Skirted Roundtable, I was able to hear your voice in this post which made it all the more amusing. Having said that, this layout taking up valuable editorial "real estate" is no laughing matter, this is definitely a wtf moment, lol. Thanks for calling attention to the poor choice in editing and for relaying it so humorously!

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  15. The minute I got to the the paragraph regarding this "recording artist tribute to bad taste", I remembered reading the magazine article and thinking--omg..these people need help! Even the kitchen (which has potential) has major issues. I wonder how much was spent on such ugliness? Here in LA there is an attempt to flaunt the conventions of design to be really "with it", but to flaunt this home is really sad. With the money available to this recording artist, this home could have been absolutely amazing, even if campy.
    Joni thanks for sending up a cry of complaint to the current crop of magazine editors--I think that they will be listening!

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  16. I hope you don't mind, I reposted this rant at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Doxa-Home/60194559666?ref=ts.

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  17. Joni: The problem these days is that we see all your exquisite posts and these magazines just aren't measuring up, this one included. Thanks for parsing this out for us. I didn't like any of it. Now I know why! I would love to see what you would do with all these rooms...now that would be a magazine worth the money. Pat W

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  18. Would I be too anal to mention all the crooked shades on every chandy and sconce? :) I seem to be leaning more towards books...periodicals are a little lacking these days!
    Michelle

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  19. Joni- well said!! I too am sick of magazines publishing work that really shouldn't be seen anywhere. For some having money makes them think they have taste-and it seems that anyone can be a designer these days- I guess when one has access to money they feel they can do anything! I think if we all continue to rise up and let our voices be heard and NOT buy these magazines with this CRAP in it the editor will get the message-thanks for being a voice of reason in a sea of mediocrity-love ya Joni-keep on blogging!!

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  20. Joni, I have just finished all of the Skirted Round table discussions, which were excellent. Great topics, and yes how great to hear all of your voices, I have only met you guest blogger Mrs Blandings (Patricia) in person.

    As far as this home critique, you are spot on. I agree that the Master & Kitchen are the best and even a few problems there. How about a designer who is firm in their convictions. I see a hodge podge of dated fabrics, and styles. As for the art. I like to see expensive art have a spotlight on it's own or in pairs/ I also love large squares sizes of contemporary art over fireplaces, they most often look fabulous.
    Again, with so many landmark exquisite homes in every region, (from traditional to contemporary) of the US. why would an editor choose this?

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  21. Joni- I agree whole heartedly with your critique. It is visually exhausting to look at the interiors. Why would they publish this house's interiors?!! Do you just have to be married to someone famous to have "taste"?!! Crazy & what a waste of magazine space!

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  22. Magazines and newspapers are struggling to keep afloat! All of us in that industry are hurting. Some have been laid off, others have taken pay cuts. Some magazines are buying "stock" work or reaching into their "banks" for images -- some of which have been sitting there a while. Not all represent classic design.....Magazines just can't afford at this time to do new photo sessions. They're expensive. Not making excuses. But I feel for them. For us. I work for a publishing company -- and, personally speaking, I'm a huge magazine junky. I have quite the habit! I suggest we give them a chance to "come back." Buy a year's subscription, which gives them some money upfront. See what happens in a year. See if they can pull through..... Support your favorites please. I'm rambling' it's still early. More coffee....-susan

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  23. Oh here is a post from my friend Patricia Gray. Yo might not all agree, , I think this is a stunning example of making it work!!http://patriciagrayinc.blogspot.com/2009/02/abstract-art-go-big-or-go-home.html

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  24. Welcome to the dark side Joni. That house is a mess and that kitchen design is all wrong technically. That 60" Wolf range is a very expensive, amazing machine that also kicks out enough radiant heat to peel paint off the ceiling if it's not handled properly. The two full ovens in the range plus the wall oven means that whoever's in that kitchen has three, full-size double convection ovens plus a warming drawer with which to re-heat take out. It seems a little excessive.

    I love the encaustic tile floor but the rest of it needs to be re-thought.

    There's a studied ugliness here. A school of design that throws together disparate items and then dares the viewer to say something. I have zero patience for this ego-driven nonsense.

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  25. guess I'll be the first one to (sort of) disagree. I agree that some of the rooms..the living room in particular..are lacking some serious focus and have too much going on. But I really loved the kitchen and her sons bedroom (not sure you posted that image). I liked the eclecticism (ok pretty sure that is not word) of the house as a whole and thought some of her decissions were gutsy and bold which I found refreshing. I am not really sure you can knock her for using some trendy items here and there...in my opinion..seagrass wall to wall...the belgian look...etc are also very trendy and at the moment overdone..I'd rather see one trendy item than a whole house based on a current trend. all said with the utmost respect..love your blog and admire all the work you put into it!

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  26. Joni, God bless you! You are so right! Thank you for speaking up and telling the truth. When I first saw that spread in that magazine I thought: Yuck! It looks like she "threw up" in here. So much stuff everywhere and almost NONE of it relates! I can't really say that I generally subscribe to a "less is more" aesthetic (I love, love, love Charles Faudree!), but in this instance, this gal should have STOPPED at "Hello" and hired a professional with her money.

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  27. The two coffee tables and totally mismatched lamps made me think she was having a garage sale in her living room. Really. It has that feeling of a bunch of disparate stuff put together for a sale. The moment I saw that lower coffee table I thought, "IKEA". It looks very much like the IKEA coffee table my daughter bought for her college apartment.

    When you look at that Brunschwig & Fils covered sofa could be so fabulous if it wasn't in a wrestling match with all that other stuff. It's simply chaotic. I'm not feeling the love!

    Thanks for all you do Joni.

    - Suzanne

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  28. Joni, I've pretty much stopped by magazines for this same reason. Thanks for not being afraid to say that the "Emperor has no clothes!"
    Susan

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  29. You nailed it, Joni! What a mess...

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  30. Joni,
    You do not like this becasue you have good taste! Awful- just awful!!
    xx-Gina
    PS- love hearing your voice on TSR!

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  31. I remember the time my professor, in an interior design class, held up an Architectural Digest and showed us a photograph of a living area.....it was one of the oddest, ugliest rooms I had ever seen....but she stated loudly, "Now this is GREAT DESIGN."

    And that's when I knew for sure that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. That room was beyond horrid to me....I didn't live like that and noone I knew lived liked that....so I would never be the designer for clients like that.

    I am sure there is a story behind the two tables.....but I'm with you...so wrong.

    I enjoy your blog so much...especially the home tours in West U....

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  32. Joni, you're either brave or in a bad mood or both! But, you're also right. Thanx for making me laugh this morning! Don't count on a Christmas card from that rock star's wife!

    PS
    I actually liked the brown trim on the master bedroom curtains.

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  33. Well, as was said above, the stark reality is that the advertisers financed all of our favorite magazines and now that advertising is "drying up," our favorite magazines are hurting and thus the difficulty in paying for new shoots involving photgraphers, stylists, etc. And so, compared to prior years, we see a lack of inspiration, innovation, and overall "hipness." Unfortunately, until the advertisers are able to spend money again, this is our lot ... and for those entrepeneurial types, therein lies the opportunity!

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  34. The coffee tables are insane. I don't get it either.

    The kitchen is all out of whack, it bugged me immediately, it doesn't work. It's counter productive.

    The only area I did like was the studio, maybe because I wish for one daily. ;)

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  35. The "designer" is married to a former rock star.... things could be a little crazy around there!!! Who knows! Looks like a bunch of "his stuff" mixed in with "her stuff".... Loved the description word "goopy"!!! I LOL!!!

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  36. I truly enjoy eclectic style when it is done well. I love the feel that everything was acquired on exotic trips and at the chicest of flea markets, but this totally misses the boat. The beauty in eclecticism is walking the line between enough and too much and sometimes putting your toe over it. She was completely lacking direction, and understanding of basic design principles (symmetry, balance, scale, focal point) that make an eclectic look work. The saddest part of this is that the home owner is now designing furniture. I know professional interior designers who have a great eye for detail and scale who work their entire careers and are never approached to do a furniture line. Because this woman is married to someone famous, she is handed this opportunity.

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  37. You are absolutely correct about this house, but then you always are which is why, out of the 50-some-odd decorating blogs on my favorites list, I always go to yours first. Thanks for your dead-on opinions (except for "Domino" which I always found had cheesy decorating), your great pictures, and your humorous anecdotes, especially about Mr. Slipper Sock Man.

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  38. You are absolutely correct about this house, but then you always are which is why, out of the 50-some-odd decorating blogs on my favorites list, I always go to yours first. Thanks for your dead-on opinions (except for "Domino" which I always found had cheesy decorating), your great pictures, and your humorous anecdotes, especially about Mr. Slipper Sock Man.

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  39. I had similiar thoughts about the house when I saw it: at first, focusing on some of the better elements like the great printed sofa in the living room with the gallery wall behind it. And I actually like both of the coffee tables...Then, I started noticing the "off" elements. When IS that scone in the gallery wall--there appears to be plenty of lighting: a chandlier, two other scones over the fireplace, lamps flanking the sofa...was it really that important to have the one sconce..and if so, why not a pair. And then, at least in the photo, I started realizing how close the coffee tables are and realizing that there is really no need for two. And I don't exactly know how one can take Zubar scenic wallpaper, antique chairs and a beautiful table and make a dining room ugly, but Ms. Buckingham managed to do it. But face it, the fact that she is married to a celebrity is the primary reason she was in the magazine. I personally felt the same about the Nate Berkus (whose work I usually like) designed house for Kathy Lee Joel that was featured in Domino--the names attached sold the story without any need for the material to be great. Finally, I do admire a geniunely, imperfect mix of favorite items, but I am sick to death of these deliberately edgy, jolie laide rooms---I liked Domino, but rooms like these are there legacy.

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  40. I just want to yell at her "Oh, honey! Not all at once!!"

    Maybe it's my staunch aversion to 1970s' anything, but this place reminds me of my best friends parents house that was all crazy and wild like: Coke Den meets Ski Lodge and after one crazy bender they have a baby and move to Lafayette and live happily for 25 years within the walls of a 1950's brick ranch.

    I just can't shake the nuances that make this place helplessly outdated and plain just contrived. She needs to STOP: taking the quaaludes, listening to Poco, and having key parties.

    This is really tacky, though........it makes my heart weep that a nat. mag was all over this. BUT in the same breath, to each his own! What is beautiful to her may be downright gag-inducing to me and vice-versa!

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  41. Joni- As I read thru your critique I was thinking dead on- and also thru the comments and Isabelle beat me to -dead on-
    I saw this piece and thought- another one- as I said recently eclectic doesn't mean anything goes. It is the most unstudied- Studied look one can achieve. I do feel this house looks "crammed in"- I think a stylist must have come in and done some bad bad things. I also look at rooms and I am sure you do this too- As a designer and say- Oh no! the client must have insisted on that! Lawd- that terrible pillow MUST be a sentimental piece, etc etc.
    It is a house in need-of an intervention-the article should have been about how to fix the a house, the elements are there, it appears to suffer from a tremor or perhaps an earthquake. la

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  42. Great post! I often look at some of these magazines and it makes me think of the story of the Emperor’s New Clothes. Doesn't anybody speak up during the photo shoot and say this looks wrong just all wrong.

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  43. I have been a magaholic for over 40 years. My best friend said that I had so many magazines by my bedside (floor, the table long over filled) that the area needed to be navigated with ski poles. I join your lament. Perhaps if enough people weigh in, mags will listen. Back to the house. I am a cook and I rather like the idea of the range in the eating area. Rather European that there is not separation between the two. And I did like the studio. The rest leaves me sad. Very Sad.

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  44. Joni - your comments are so insightful. This house looked to me like each room started out with 1 or 2 great ideas/fabrics/pieces, but the designer couldn't quite pull off the edgy look I think she was going for. Youth, beauty, money and celebrity can't make up for the lack of an experienced eye. It seems too many magazines have succumbed to promoting celebrities over all else. W Magazine is supposed to be a fashion magazine, but every cover features a celebrity. This month - Bruce Willis and his new 32-yr-old wife (who looks like his daughter). The story is laughable - the entire article is him gushing about how she has "rocked" his world. Is this what we want from our magazines? Who is really dictating the content - is it us or the industry? They apparently think that celebrity, beauty and youth sells. And as much as I liked Domino, they would only feature stories about young people (freelance writers were given that directive). That got them a loyal following from the younger crowd, but where is the magazine today? Could it be the advertisers didn't find that the younger audience could afford to buy their wares?

    –Lana

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  45. I'm not a designer by any stretch of the means, but I appreciate good design. All I can say is that I began to feel a bit schizophenic while looking at the pictures. I didn't get it.

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  46. OMG!!! I COULD NOT AGREE WITH YOU MORE!!!! I spent an entire train ride from Washington DC to Philadelphia with one of your fellow design bloggers (and friend of mine) looking at recent issues and saying exactly the SAME THING!! And we weren't even looking at the home or magazine issue that bothered you--you could find dozens of examples. What are these editors thinking!! This is why I love your blog so much and many others. You actually have pictures of beautiful homes that would be comfortable to live in. I love the design magazines and subscribe to all of them but I often sit down hoping to savor an issue and am sadly disappointed.

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  47. Joni - as always your pieces are thoughtful and well researched, even when negative. I can relate to the designer here. Some of us have it, and some of us don't (I myself am squarely a don't have it). I wish they would photograph gorgeous and accessible inspiration homes for home magazines. That's what made magazines like Domino so great - high end but accessible. The last Met Home left me in a modern coma. Check out Canadian Home though - Gorgeous magazine! Their last issue was just lovely.

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  48. Joni,
    That is so funny, I never noticed the 2 coffee tables (where did you get all the other angles of the room?) because it was just a straight on shot, the just proves what a difference fresh flowers make in styling a shoot because originally when I saw this room I thought it was the orange tulips that really made the orange work.

    Also I think the only place you can get away with not having an area rug with hardwood flooring is the dining room. I think in a living room it just looks unfinished.

    And the dark chocolate trim on that drapery treatment which does not relate to the fabric is definitely right out of nowhere!

    Fascinating post Joni! I think we'll have to agree with you on this one.

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  49. Bravo Joni!!! You are so right. Magazines should make us swoon, they should create dreams in our head. They should present the best of the best. I hope editors are reading this. I cringed when I saw this house in the mag. The 2 coffee tables were horrible but there is so much horror in this house they blend right in. I say there is nothing like grown-up good taste!! Thank you for speaking out!!!

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  50. I remember the days when magazines were "keepers"! Alas, no more.

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  51. yes, thank you! just this past month one of the main shelter mags left standing reprinted an old cottage living story. i didn't go back and check the content but they used the same photo shoot from several years ago! i mean come on, are there tons of fabulously decorated homes to discover. and always something new?

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  52. Hi Joni,
    I think your dismay has nothing to do with age. I am not an interior designer but as a fine artist I think I have a feeling for composition, colour and form. And this way I consider homes, interiors - that's why I love to read interior design blogs and books.
    I think your dismay comes from a feeling of getting lost in this home, that definitely contains a whole lot of beautiful things but somehow the owner managed to show them in a way that look garish.
    I just have been on Gina's site, Willow decor, and seen a house that is full of elegance and style without being "over the top".
    As some commentator said before - hype is everything. Somehow famous people are always forgiven when they have no tase! Strange - isn't it?
    Greetings from Munich, Petra

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  53. *** GOOD FATHERS' DAY MORNING to your darling "Muckluk Man", and "HI, Joni"!

    OK, N*O*W...#1: PERsonally, I want to THANK YOU for saying what I, & so many others, are soooo often obviously THINKING! Hallelujah!

    #2: As ALWAYS, loved reading about your thoughts/feelings/opinions~~~ & I could just "H*E*A*R" you SAYING those words, so I got some TERRIFFIC a.m. chuckles!. Thanks!

    #3: I could also "write a book" on MY reactions to your great, honest blog today. (Luckily for you, I won't, but boy! DO I have some "opinions"~ and they all support YOURS!!!). Suffice it to say I am in TOTAL AGREEMENT with "P.S. ORIGINAL's" last comment, too~~~ now THAT would be a FABULOUS MAGAZINE ISSUE!!!

    I hope this doesn't come across as "too crass/brazen" here, but this lady (who is probably a VERY NICE PERSON) has undoubtedly & at BEST, verrry "questionable" style/taste/qualifications to be called a "decorator", let alone DESIGN anything. The "decorating" here SO reminds me of Shirley MacLaine's amusing statment in STEEL MAGNOLIAS, about something being "a boil on the butt on humanity"! (I honestly thought she had the two tables there to DECIDE which one she liked, & which one would magically "disappear"~ Sorry, but I would vote BOTH disappear!).

    I'm feeling like a "bad girl" saying all this, but this is the ONE TIME I've felt comfy enough to say "I'm mad as heck, and I'm not gonnna take it (magazines!) anymore!"~~~ (Whew! Thanks, I feeeeel better now!!!)

    Must go back now to "pampering the man"~~~ after all, it IS "his day", so I KNOW I should't be here having "mine"!!!

    Big hugs n' best of Sundays!
    Linda in AZ *
    (P.S. Thanks too for the pics of Bilhuber's work!)

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  55. THANK GAUD..I thought I was drunk while looking at the article when I bought the magazine (and I don't drink). I had to look three times..then go put my glasses on because I thought I saw two coffee tables..then I thought "what the HELL am I losing my eyesight" why would anyone put two coffee tables together..uummm...was the stylist asleep through the shoot? the camera man lose sleep the night before? BUT most of all..the attitude the editor projects about this magazine..that is the biggest shock..she is always so vocal..but yet she let this crap go by? yes, I said it, CRAP. Since our magazine selection has taken its toll..it does not mean I will let CRAP take the place for good design.
    Thank Gaud for your blog!
    geneen from calif.

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  56. No you are not alone. Bless you and your family for this candid rant. I did not 'get' it either.

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  57. Seems to me like someone who really wants to do British country, but can't because they're LA culture people and so they've tried to 70's ize it. I have to admit that there is almost nothing about 70's decor or color that I like, and I have similar reactions to the 50's hollywood too. So I'm biased, but while there are nice things, it looks like a mish-mash. When did modern come to mean clunky and ugly...? I'd wonder if there was an advertising contract involved. You're right about the magazines, the American ones at least. I haven't regretted my WOI subscription.

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  58. There is "eclectic mix" and there is "hodge podge". This idea that one can combine anything and everything is simply WRONG!
    Marion

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  59. I feel your pain. The designer magazines disappoint
    more often than not. I don't like the coffee tables. I don't like anything about the fireplace. I especially don't like that dining room mirror smack dab in the middle of the mural.

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  60. After reading this post...all my design teachers words were ringing in my ears..."just because it's in print, doesn't mean it's right"
    In school we would go through many mags from the schools library and get graded on how many mistakes we could find...Joni, you just got a A+ Thank you for saying it out loud, these days it seems to me that there are to many "I love it" blog comments, why can't anyone be honest...
    Money has nothing to do with design...time the rich people of this world got it.
    I must admit I am sick of the wives of rich men designing crap for us to purchase...
    Love the skirtedround table too, I can aways feel your passion for design coming through my speakers it makes me smile, in my design office we often say we don't do this for a job it is what we have to do...we live it 24 -7...we see design in everything and I hear that in your voice and love it...
    Regards, Carol Ann x

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  61. Bless you Joni!! I have been a magazine addict for years and have now seem to be cured - only because of lack not because of want ;( !! Yes this house is a disaster - the result of too much money and ego and too little talent. I will not pay a cent to look at such cr_ _ !
    Christy

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  62. I so agree 1000% with everything you said. It's a shame that whoever is selecting these rooms to publish in the magazine doesn't have better taste because it's clear the designer doesn't. Hugs, Marty

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  63. Given that the current decorating is mish mash with an edge, this is just the mish mash part. There is nothing clever or interesting about it. Even in the most eclectic decor, mixing disparate time periods and styles, scale and taste must still rule. Here it does not. I would seriously give this effort a B-. Anyone care to tell the name of this "designer"?

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  64. Wow. I can't get over the 2 coffee tables!!!! I keep staring and staring and almost want to cry! It's so so so so wrong. Is she a recovering horder or something> So things you just need to let go of. Anyhoo,if you get a sec, I posted a little before and after pic of a stool. I call it my burlap wonder, and would LOVE your feedback. Happy father's day to your hubby!

    xoxo,

    grace
    www.nameisgrace.blogspot.com

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  65. Joni, THANK YOU for saying what I've been thinking for months now. I don't know what magazine editors are thinking these days. I used to subscribe to about a dozen design/decorating magazines. Sadly, many of those have fallen by the wayside, and I find myself not renewing subscriptions automatically because of the mediocrity I'm seeing instead of good design. You made some excellent points regarding the article in question. I don't doubt that the owner/decorator has some good ideas, but really needed someone experienced to help her implement them properly. That fireplace drove me mad! The diagonal line created by that tall green lamp on one side of the sofa down to that tiny one on the other side was discordant and distracting. I could go on and on, but you said already so much of what I was thinking.

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  66. Joni,
    It is true - there are so few magazines that really inspire. I find that I get better inspiration on the web.
    Thanks for your great blog!

    Angela

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  67. God I love it when you get fiesty!! You are so right my friend.. I refer to this style of decor as the garbage disposal method. You throw in a bunch of garbage flip the switch and stir it up and this is the end result, crap.. I've worked for many self proclaimed designers in the past and have come in after their efforts to clean up the mess.

    I believe that the remaining mags are throwing in old projects that they have already paid to have shot that didn't make the grade in past issues to save the expense of shooting new, more suitable homes. They are definitely scraping the bottom of the barrel and they are going to ensure their own demise by doing so. Sad but inevitable.

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  68. just a thought... there is a really slick system in the mag world where companies via PR firms get little features written highlighting the designer or a product, but it's all just a glorified version of product placement.

    It is never really a coincidence that X big movie star has a house featured in ArchDig the same month their big movie comes out.

    Sad but true, magazines don't pick houses for the "best of the best" mentality, but because of less idealistic causes- like an up and coming furniture line with subtle promises of quid quo pro future advertising dollars...


    as i said- just a thought...

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  69. Well.
    The coffee tables made me laugh, which is never a good sign.

    I did love the Dutch Door, the weathered leather ottoman in the den and the glass desk in the bedroom.

    That's pretty much it.

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  70. Hi Texas..... Your blogg.....is so very l o v e l y !!

    Agneta from Sweden

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  71. I could not agree more. I love magazines, but I don't buy as many as I used to because I often feel ripped off. Traditional Home comes to mind. The house in your post reminds of some of the crap they publish now. And they feature those silly Keno twins all the time. I just don't buy it anymore.

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  72. These rooms are an insult to good taste and design... lacking proportion, scale, balance, continuity, ...etc. Even the mix of patterns on the fabrics illustrate her lack of design knowledge and a "good eye".

    In the studio, the one room that seems to have some merit, had she put a simple grey fabric on the chairs, the yellow would then have made a nice accent in the space... but here again, her choice of patterns works against the space.

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  73. I totally agree with you! Tell it like it is!

    I must admit...One of the photos of this house is in my design ideabook. Which room? The kitchen. The ONLY reason I tore it out is because at the time I was shopping for a kitchen table and I like her table. The kitchen table, dutch door and drafting table are the only three things I like in this entire house.

    It's definitely published because of who they are, nothing to do with good taste.

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  74. Joni, you are too critic...don't you see those beautiful tulips? aren't they gorgeous? In short: this house at times looks like a mix-match instead of eclectic.
    Magazines? I stop buying AD regularly, they are stuck in the past most of the time. Opening a 2009 issue and a 1989 one does not show much difference!

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  75. I, too have been thinking that I'm getting old lately. There are few magazines that grab my attention and make me want to spend hours pouring over the details. It is all either the exact same thing or geared for younger homeowners who are not into the classic look.
    I kept looking at the photos of this home thinking how fun it would be to have the unlimited budget that she probably had.
    The house could look amazing. Unfortunately, in my eyes she failed. It reminds me of the "I Love Lucy" episode when Lucy couldn't lie in order to win a bet. She told one of her friends that their house looked like a bad dream after too much Chinese food. Ha!

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  76. It really does not appeal to me either. I think that we have two stubborn homeowners and each wanted to use their own sofa and coffee table...So They Did. I hope they don't think they are starting a trend!!! Great post!!

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  77. the one picture with the rug under the coffee tables came from her web site. she must have moved that rug to her office. good riddance. the house is beautiful. I would love to see what Michael Smith would do to it!

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  78. Fun post, Joni!

    This interior is somewhat hideous....I guess I would feel quite weird having to spend some time in it...

    Let's hope their music is a lot better!

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  79. Joni, you are absolutely brilliant! I concur wholeheartedly, and had the same thoughts when I originally viewed this layout. I believe this designer is a product of her environment. Los Angeles is all about illusions and inauthenticity (and believing everything your PR person says about you), and I clearly this is an inexperienced designer who doesn't understand the value of editing. The intent is admirable: combine elements, but the execution isn't cohesive. All the rooms leave me with an imbalanced, nervous feeling; clearly someone with a lack of focus threw it all together in a desperate desire to fit into her tribe. A qualified magazine editor should absolutely know better -- and know how to cut through the hype. They missed the boat on this one.

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  80. Joni: I feel lucky that I have retained my magazine collections from the last 10 years. My girlfriends and I love to drag them out and revisit the pages, deciding what designs are as classic today as when they were first published. When I am going thru withdrawl at the magazine shelf I will just drag out the same old magazines.

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  81. Amen, sister! I don't get it either, and I'm fairly young. I don't think it has to do with age--you just have taste and a good eye!

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  82. Maybe, just maybe, this is the illustration of what we all know as Glamours Do's and Don'ts - this is definitely the DON'T!

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  83. LOVE your post!! And I search through the magazine racks at each store -- hoping for a fresh one to take home! And you are so right about this house! Reminds me of "The First Wives Club" where the "new wife" is "helped out" by the friendly so-called designer! OH! To have just a dash of her cash! Sigh. And BTW -- Billy Joel and his ever-so-young wife are divorcing! And guess what!! In my tiny one-living-room house -- there ARE two coffee tables -- thanks to my stubborn DH! He refused to give up the very old wood trunk in front of the sofa (we have two matching sofas) because he likes to put his feet up. We had a "marital discussion" over that one -- and I still have that trunk in the living room. If anyone thinks they can change his mind -- GO for IT! Sigh.

    Jan at Rosemary Cottage

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  84. I read all 80 comments and I'm dying to know which magazine this came from? Someone please say so!

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  85. I saw this one, and to quote something from one of her husband's best albums I'm "Never Going Back Again".

    The two coffee tables seriously gives me the heebie jeebies. Yikeorama.

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  86. How does someone go about suggesting a lovely home be featured in a magazine? I have been in several lately that would be great featured homes. Would professional photos have to be submitted? Or would digital photos taken at a luncheon and emailed work? I know they must have the homeowners approval first.

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  87. joni, I am right there with you and LOVE THAT YOU HAD THE BALLS TO TELL IT LIKE IT IS!

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  88. Joni,
    Kudos for this post. I am no designer, but I do agree with your comments and those of other posters....very interesting insight into the worlds of publishing and design. The only thing I do hope is that this family is truly happy in this home, and spend time living and loving and laughing. Cause if they are not happy here, that is truly sad.

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  89. What a horrible display of design. All I can say is thank goodness there is still Veranda Magazine to maintain a little magazine decorum!!!

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  90. I am in total agreement with you over this house. I liked only the kitchen although I don't really think the glass chandelier worked over the breakfast table and the range was placed in an odd part of the kitchen. I was pretty disappointed in the latest Southern Accents magazine. It was also a bit skimpy. Normally, it is my favorite and there is always at least one house that I want to save the magazine for. I also haven't been all that crazy for the last few issues of Veranda.

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  91. Karen at Junking in Georgia 2009June 21, 2009 at 4:18 PM

    some one has at last said the things that needed to be said about these mags....... thank you so much..for the most part they are full of junk and boring.. and pleeze. that room with the two coffe tables pure and simple: U G L Y keep up the great work on your blog

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  92. I know you don't like to be negative, Joni (I've always thought that's so sweet of you!), but I honestly did learn a lot from your critiques of this house. I'm no where *near* an interior designer - but, I'm learning. This house is exactly what I'm afraid of... that my house will look pointless and cluttered instead of stylish and ecclectic. I'm wondering if you have any photos of ecclectic rooms that you actually feel were designed well? Could you point out for us how the designer(s) made the ecclectic look work?

    (I'm still buying House Beautiful, by the way. I think Stephen Drucker is really hanging in there despite the economy).

    XO,
    Jacci

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  93. I'm the 1st person to stand up in the name of electicism but as everyone here has stated- this is just ridiculous. reminds me of the outlandish fashions you see in european countries that include a feather and a coke can for a hat!

    I'm not sure what's more offensive- the peson who designed or the publisher who allowed it to be featured!

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  94. Joni,
    I just purchased this magazine also and had the exact same reaction as you, although I had one more even greater annoyance. The couple who own this home had their previous home in Bel-Air published in Town and Country with Madeline Stuart listed as the designer. After reading the T&C article in which they proclaimed how this was their dream home, they built it and they would love it forever, I was suprised to see the home on the MLS for sale. Then I see this article and notice that almost all of the furnishings are the same from the previous home, as is the dreaded two coffee table idea!!! The kitchen actually is almost identical except for the tile floor used. Rocker wifey tried to funk it up a little more than Madeline, and clearly didn't achieve the elegant perfectly unmatched quality that she did, but this is virtually the same house. I was shocked that wifey called it her design. You can see some shots of the old house on Madelinestuart.com starting at number 52 i think on her portfolio.

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  95. I agree 100%. Magazine houses should be what dreams are made of, not this tripe. I thought I subscribe to just about everything that still prints, but this is the first time I've seen this. ACK.

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  96. I couldn't agree more!

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  97. I agree with you Joni, it is sad to see less that pleasing rooms featured. The kitchen is not a totally bad look, but you never put an oven next to a refrigator and where is the counter space by the range to put things?

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  98. You are so on the mark. Now, I do not technically know if having two coffee tables is the worst idea in the world, but certainly having the two UGLIEST coffee tables in the world IS a bad idea. I feel like this house is a mish mash of ideas she saw and clung to-- like she just bought everything from every tear sheet she ever saw (at the Salvation Army, as you suggested) and threw it together in a week. I just picture some large breasted woman manically running around-- "Gallery wall! Buy every picture at the damn auction! Geometric print rug! Just get one-- whatever one! Oh, crazy, loud fabric is in! Cover a sofa in it! Oh, and then I saw traditional, granny-type pillows somewhere. Get a bunch! Glass chandelier! Mural on the wall... throw in a mirror too! Hollywood Regency mirror! Intricately carved ugly tables-- I saw one at a palace! French sconces-- just put it... wherever! Phew, I'm done."
    What a loud mess. One thing about your post-- you should be a little more confident in your statements. You are NOT too old, you are a BETTER designer, and your opinions are VALID. As one other person said, just because it's in print doesn't make it right. I am glad, however, to see others (with opinions I respect) disagree because sometimes I question myself. It has taken me a while to feel confident enough to flip through prestigious magazines and say, "I don't like that." And you know what? I owe a lot of that to you!!! So, THanks!!!!!!!

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  99. Joni, I can't say anything that hasn't already been mentioned, other than Thank You. Those of us who are not "designers" need to see that not everything that is thrown at us is good design. I try to learn from the magazines or books that I buy. I did not see this article and so wonder what my first impression would have been. I appreciate you telling the truth and pointing out the problems. We can learn from the good and the bad.

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  100. I feel like I have to write this anonymously, otherwise the editors who know me, and there are quite a few, will put me on their black list.

    I didn't have to read past your first couple of paragraphs. I didn't need to see the examples.

    I know why this is true, and I know this because I am a design professional who has worked with editors for years.

    It's simple logic. Editors are not designers, they are editors.

    Editors have no concept, or very little, of what IS good design, the elements of proportion, balance, the use of color, texture, historical references, and more. They were trained in the world of words, not in the world of design.

    Having worked with editors for years, it boggles my mind how little they know. Yet, because they work for a top notch publication, they have this attitude and air about them that is not only obnoxious, but ridiculous. They think because they work for a top magazine, that that means they have some sort of design knowledge by osmosis.

    The most credible publications on design are those that are by designers who work in the field every day, who have training to back up their knowledge and who keep seeking new knowledge in the world of design.

    So, how do you find these publications? Very easy, look for design blogs that are by WORKING designers. Sure, there is good design in magazines, yes, but there is a disconnect, a serious one, between the editor and the designer, because the editor, even having interviewed the designer, has no idea what the designer did and why. They think they know but they don't, because they don't know the first thing about the discipline of design and they have no time or interest, as I have seen, to learn.

    The one thing I really need to say is, editors, lose the attitude...and, oh, designers, the same advice pertains to us. Of course nothing will change but it feels good to vent.

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  101. I agree with you. I'm a magazine junkie myself and feel like I'm going through "withdrawals" now. There is not much to choose from and, of those left, the content isn't very good. Even the rooms on RMS aren't very good much anymore. Geesh! Where have all the beautiful rooms gone???!! I agree with you about this house. I don't care for it myself. The two coffee tables look ridiculous! The mix of patterns don't seem right and the room with all the pictures on the wall is terrible. I still eagerly wait for the August edition of Southern Living magazine's Idea Homes. That is usually still good. I also like the specialty magazines, such as Dream Kitchens and Country French Decor. They're pricey but act like decorating books without all the advertisements. I always check those out when they're new. Let's hope that when the economy improves (predicted in 2010) magazines will improve also.

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  102. Thank you all so much for the support!!! I was a little timid about posting this. Everyone is so supportive and pretty much in agreement. You know - I do love the sofa, I keep saying to you in comments - I love the sofa - the room could have been so gorgeous.

    AND- does anyone know what magazine reposted the Cottage Living story? I'm too busy to find the story but I'm dying to see it!!!

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  103. Joni, I love a good rant and yours cracked me up. This house is disgusting at best. I read somewhere that Mario Buatta prayed that people with money would get taste and people with taste would get money. This is a prime example of that!
    I think YOU should publish a magazine or write a book. But in the meantime, I'll just wait for the latest SRT and continue to read your blog. This was GREAT entertainment!!!
    Carol

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  104. While I agree with the sentiments expressed here re design mags' responsibility to its readers and the coupling of two rectangular cocktail tables that distract from one another in the LR, in Lindsey's defense, I must say, she got this room perfect, I think! (The bedroom, last picture/first column).
    http://www.casasugar.com/2905122

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  105. Congratulations for having the courage to say what you think, back it up with intelligent and educated AND experienced opinions and not be afraid to put your name to it.
    I have not seen the magazine but what I saw in your blog had me scratching my head. Could she not decide what she didnt like or shouldn't use and just used EVERYTHING that she did?
    Keep it up Joni, I love your honesty :)
    Irene x

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  106. I was just going to add that drugs may have had something to do with it... those 70's rockers still have them in their systems... ;-)

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  107. It's a dump. It isn't cutting edge. It isn't tredy. It's a series of beginner mistakes and poor shopping.
    Next!

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  108. This is the first time i have responded to your blog.
    Thank you for the informative insight to decor that you have on this house.
    It gave me the punch to go look at our home and make sure i am not showcasing mistakes, as "obvious".
    I agree, most magazines are not worth purchasing lately.
    Thanks for your post, i enjoy it very much.
    Jody

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  109. You've got 108+ comments to read. I'll keep mine simple: AMEN, sister!

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  110. I agree completely! I am seldom inspired by the interiors in the magazines lately. I thought it was just me- I must be getting old and my taste is too traditonal. I think Traditional Home is my least favorite at the moment. I was tempted to cancel my subscription (which was a gift) after the May 2009 cover story, Real Life Redo (Bravo!) "America Tunes In As A Reality Show Housewife Redecorates". It may work as far as scale and design, I have no idea, but to my eye it is absolutely hideous. Perhaps the colors and specific elements were just not to my liking. I certainly don't see how it can be classified in any way as "traditional".

    I appreciate your breaking down the Buckingham house as far as what does and doesn't work and why. I love your blog - it's always so educational. I liked the Brunschwig print, too.

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  111. I agree completely! I am seldom inspired by the interiors in the magazines lately. I thought it was just me- I must be getting old and my taste is too traditonal. I think Traditional Home is my least favorite at the moment. I was tempted to cancel my subscription (which was a gift) after the May 2009 cover story, Real Life Redo (Bravo!) "America Tunes In As A Reality Show Housewife Redecorates". It may work as far as scale and design, I have no idea, but to my eye it is absolutely hideous. Perhaps the colors and specific elements were just not to my liking. I certainly don't see how it can be classified in any way as "traditional".

    I appreciate your breaking down the Buckingham house as far as what does and doesn't work and why. I love your blog - it's always so educational. I liked the Brunschwig print, too.

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  112. Joni, I have to say I agree with much you are saying. I hate the two tables. The comment above about 70's english country was right on. I like the brown trim on the Benison fabric however. I do believe magazines try to appeal to many tastes. For instance ( here is where I disagree with you), I don't get Ginger Barber at all. Not inviting, not interesting and not appropriate for the style of her own house. That said, I love that you are willing to speak out against the prevailing wind. More power to you.

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  113. I'll add just one more to your
    LONG line of comments, just because you've touched on a pet peeve of mine, too.
    This whole trend toward
    Salvation-Army-
    Wacky-Beyond-Eclectic-MishMash is maddening!!!!
    No lines of continuity, nothing relates to anything else .. .

    I actually considered canceling my subscription to Elle Decor after an especially frustrating recent issue.

    I'm giving them another chance.

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  114. An Aesthete's Lament needs to weigh in here. He works for the magazine that published this. Maybe he can explain the editors' thinking.

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  115. Wow Joni, you get a lot of comments!! :) I came back, I don't even know if you'll even notice the 115th comment...because I was tickled that you asked how we got our dog into Italy...we lived there! My dad was in the Army and we lived in Livorno, Italy, just outside Pisa.
    Thanks for your comment...Michelle

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  116. I usually never comment, I just enjoy looking. However this time, I had to. You are right on and were probaly much more reserved and polite than that "design" deserves. Hideous, amateur, lacking in taste! By the way love your blog.

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  117. OMG WHAT A WASTE! Those coffee tables are so hideous and together they make give the room a certain thrift shop look (especially with the hideous retro velvet sofa). By the way the tulips are fainting because that room is a hotter-than-hell mess. I think that mirror by the ceiling is for the cobwebs -very useful.
    And that moving carpet is gross! It screams 'my dog wipes but here' -seriously ugly and 3 steps below a rag rug.
    By the way the way they hang art work makes it look like throwing shit on the wall --I'm sure the artists really appreciate it.
    I DREAM of one day having wallpaper like the one they have in the dinning room --but a mirror to break the scene?! Were they buying it as salvage and didn't have enough? (If so I give my respect and would have done the same damn thing). But if they truly have the money for it --what the hell??!! And the chairs are weird --just off like you said.
    Her studio -kind of yucky. Maybe it is the pervie looking chair with the hole or again with the damn cheap rug. But I really like the door/library --but the color needs some correction. And that table looks plastic and like a giant lazy susan you get a dim sum places.

    OMG That 'library' is --a wtf moment. Stool as mug holder for a chaise?! I love the curtains but the grey furniture is off (or awful I can't decide)Then with that yellow --it looks like a bad screen pic from a bad woody allen flick (from the cheaper years).

    As for the kitchen -hahaha only caterers cook there --so I won't hate it too much. Seriously the only things doing over time there is the frig with TAB and the toaster with no carb, no taste, no salt bread --oh and the faucet for the flower arrangements. FYI NEVER EVER EVER hang a painting on a range hood especially on those heat makers --It'll burn it right up (and this is why I know they don't cook!!) As for the murano chandelier --the artists would die to know it was hanging close to those utilitarian school lamps.
    As for the bedroom -is it me or is the scale of that chandelier WAAAY OFF --as in tooo small? Loved the curtains but I too hate the trim. that table lamp looks so out of place (studio 54 anyone??) And what the heck is that thing leaning on the floor lamp --is that a baton or a fire eaters stick?! Lets be serious that little desk looks like an after thought that just floats around looking uncomfortable.
    Ugghh -if this lady actually sells this stuff I know I'll be saving a lot of money 'cause I'm not buying it.
    Upon further examination of that knotty coffee table it looks like something out of a Brothers Grimm tale --scary!

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  118. Joni, before I read ANY comments, I am going to leave mine. I am so delighted that someone has finally written a post like this. Someone like ME could not get away with writing a critical post, because who am I - untrained, unpracticed decorator, etc. But I have noticed SO MANY ugly homes in magazines with rooms I just don't GET. I have found the last few issues of House Beautiful to be horrendous - caucaphony of noisy, gloomy rooms. ANd I stopped buying Trad Home a long time ago because all the homes looked the same. Sometimes something beautiful, and usually if I pored over a room, it would look better if I gave it time and found redeeming elements, but nothing much ever grabbed my attention at first glance.

    I am so proud of you for saying what I have often felt. I can't tell you how many times House Beautiful lately, I have said to David (who knows nothing about decor but has very good sense), "can you see anything nice about this room" and he has usually said "well, it looks like it cost a lot of money but I wouldn't want anything in there". Indeed.

    Money cannot buy taste. I have to admit, I have not been buying many Elle Decor's because I am not into modern, but often find that modern spaces are TRYING SOOOO HARD. Too cool, too many cool odds and ends. Then sometimes you see an amazing space. I am not sure what to read anymore, so I started buying hard cover books again. :)

    Love ya! Terri xo

    P.S. i actually liked the studio room here, but maybe a little too hippie for your good tastes, and yes, the rug is too small. The room has nice bones and I like most things in it. But otherwise, excellent observations...!!

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  119. Hi Joni & Design Folk,

    I've never made a comment after reading a blog entry before yet Joni's article made me smile. My home and homes of my friends have appeared in local and national publications so I know the risk anyone runs when they express themselves creatively and throw it out there for the wolves to attack. I think Joni's approach to the post was exactly where her blog should go. I could give three sh*ts about the home because it's her (Ms. Wife of a rock star) space but what I did like was Joni's well thought out approach to how she felt about the space. I don't have to agree or disagree but it was nice to have her opinion. It's the same reason why so many people gravitate towards blogs like Decorno. These folks have opinions and are willing to discuss them in an open forum.

    I say, keep up the good work! Have an opinion, speak your mind and validate your choices. It makes us better designers when people, like you, make us "think" about the choices we've/they've made versus going all out to destroy us. All it takes is seeing an old picture of ourselves to understand that everyone has a moment that they don't always want to re-live when it comes to making an aesthetic choice but the story...the story is what makes it fun, personal and endearing...did I say "personal"?!

    Keep up this new way to blogging, Joni. It makes for an interesting blog that people want to keep tabs on!

    XOXO,
    Mike in Denver

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  120. Excellent points, Joni!

    I miss "House and Garden." I also miss a magazine called "Classic Home," and I miss "Colonial Homes." Out of the ones you mentioned, I probably like "Traditional Home" the best.
    And sometimes "House Beautiful." But most of the time, I pick up a magazine and think "WHY? Why is there another rather basic and boring room that looks like a hotel room with its lack of character and spirit."

    I long for the days of great design firms being featured: Irvine and Fleming, Mario Buatta, Mark Hampton (he may be dead, but his designs are timesless and worth a second look), Parish-Hadley, Charles Faudree(though we see him featured more than the others), and Bunny Williams (who just needs to be in there more often).

    Don't get me started, LOL!

    XO,

    Sheila :-)

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  121. Advetising dollars are as scarce as the magazines I'm afraid.
    As a result, I'll be visiting here to see all the great pictures you take with that new little toy of yours.

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  122. Wow, considering how sensitive you are to the teeniest bit of criticism, I'm surprised you'd post a blog like this. Hopefully this woman is tougher than you.

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  123. the cocktail table issue ???
    an obvious brain fart !
    x

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  124. I KNEW this looked so familiar! Then I read Angie Gren's comment. madelinestuart.com look at #53.
    Joni, I could not find one single thing I disagreed with in your assessment. And I am now buying very few design magazines- I'll stick to the books written by my favorite designers. As far as Ms. Buckingham taking credit for this design....I'll leave that to her conscience

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  125. I so agree with you on the fate of the american design magazines.. i buy every month my favorite international magazines..World of Interiors, Residence decoration, Cote Sud, Cote Paris,French and italian Elle Decors. They have such an original point of view . I used to love Western Interiors (our LA studio was featured in their last issue) Alas now gone as well.. editors at Met Home and Elle Decors have a very tough job selecting stories, are they are inundated with submissions.
    As for the house you feature...i am nearly speechless that "editors" would view this as an example of design.

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  126. I think that almost every design magazine I buy has at least one feature that I do not connect to in the least..but that doesn't lead me to declare it 'wrong'..it just doesn't suit my eye. Actually I am sort of surpirsed and a little bit curious as to your reasons in picking this one out...I have the same issue and actually think the feature right before it (a home in new orleans) had a lot more you could criticize. I would hate to think it was chosen because the woman is the wife of a rock star with a lot of money..which is what some of your readers seem to have glammed on to as reason to criticize in and of itself. Just wish we could see a little more debate here..seems more like a lynch mob mentality.

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  127. Bleech....not to my taste.
    That's why I prefer design blogs to magazones.

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  128. Forget the coffee tables because the photo with the sofa and that horrible gallery wall with those obnoxious lamps it a mess. Honestly it's horrible.

    I, like Gina, love the bedroom drapes with the chocolate trim. Everything should be trimmed in chocolate. :)

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  129. I agree about the lack of cohesion, but I would also like to point out that I think the photographer could have done a better job. Smaller vignettes and better angles to bring out the elements of the room. I actually think the mirror with the Zuber wallpaper could be quite wonderful in the dining room, but that picture does nothing to show that. The chandelier in that room is gorgeous. I like the pagoda piece on the sideboard. If they had eliminated the two lamps on either side and moved that pagoda to one side so that it worked compositionally with the wallpaper landsape behind it, they would have had a win. I blame the stylist and photographer as much as the 'designer' for that.

    This house makes me want to go shopping in it and rescue the beautiful chandeliers, Zuber wallpaper and B & F covered sofa. I think this house could be fine if you just took some of the stuff out of it. Too many lighting fixtures and lamps that are beautiful in themselves, but don't work together.

    I like the color scheme a lot. That was well done. Beautiful colors and not the same yellow and purple we are all sick of by now.

    I think that the editors of these magazines try to publish things that are new and different and will start a trend. Remember the stylist who had sunflowers on her porch in a magazine shoot and it was so fabulous and fresh and right for the moment that it started a trend? Rember Adrian Lynes kitchen wall cabinets with the clear glass sides that started another trend? Sometimes the magazines just put pictures in there to be outrageous. Remember all the Diamond and Barrata features with the bizarre over the top patterns and colors from a few years ago? Tony Barrata does some of the most beautiful interior archtieture around, but it was lost in the focus on the weird rugs.

    There is a real crisis in publishing right now. I am afraid that the result is going to be a big division in the world culturally. We will go back to the days where you will not see the very expensive houses and the work of designers unless you are fortunate enough to be invited to the house. Very sad. I wish the magazines would switch to online subscriptions, hang onto their advertisers and keep doing beautiful photoshoots. Most blogs depend on professionally shot photos they borrow from other sources. A lot of them don't have wholly original content like the magazines are forced to. Let's face it, artists are being ripped off by the internet audience-in music and visuals.

    I have 11 binders of old magazine pages collected over 20 years. I wish I had hung onto more of my magazines. It makes me very sad to see them die. I love blogs, but right now none of them is up to the qualtiy of the magazinees. I think there s a real pay market for an online magazine and I wish someone would step in and fill the void. It is a real time of transition. I fear losing the great quality of the magazines and being stuck with horrible self design game reality game shows, which I simply cannot watch. They make me cringe.

    By the way, I love that someone mentoned Irvine and Fleming. I used to work for them. This is the kind of room that those two gentlemen would have gotten exactly right. What is not recognized about them is that they had a great ability to mix modern and traditional. They could mix Starck and Eames and Regency antiques and make it work. They were the most amazing education for me. I was so lucky to work for them.

    Thank you for your wonderful blog, Joanie. You create a community here and t is really nice. Design junkies need other design junkies.



    ---Diane

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  130. Joni, These mags have to pick up a new generation some how. You're spot-on. And rock star money sure doesn't mean Class, that is evident here. Did you notice the stylist may have done 1 thing, that small trendy rug in the studio was put under the Thrift-Store display in the living room for a shot. All the chandelier shades look like they've been in an earthquake. Love your blog.
    Tara

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  131. I came back to read what others thought about this issue and wow!!! You have 130 comments! I do see a common thread here: lamenting the death of good magazines, having the nerve to say the Emperor is butt naked, turning to blogs and design books to sooth the design lust in us all.

    I keep saying this: WRITE YOUR BOOK.

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  132. I'm with you on this one Mrs. Cote de Texas. Thank God for your courage to speak up. I'm an artist/jewelry designer and like to think I have pretty good taste. I love home decor and have loads of fun decorating my own home and should it ever be photographed you can be sure I won't hang interior designer on my shingle! The two coffee tables got me too,I know I make mistakes in my home decorating and hiring a top designer would solve a lot of things, however some of the mistakes in this photo spread even I know not to make. I'm with you when I purchase a magazine and pay good money, curl up with a rich roast, morning sun streaming in, the house emptied of love ones for the day I want NIRVANA when I open those pages.

    Thanks for your blog

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  133. ...as we use to say growing up in the south...those interiors are ugglier than home made sin...and i do not care from what point i am looking...through the computer screen...magazine page....or in person...those coffee tables are just simply ridiculous...sometimes screaming look look at me is just plain stupid...

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  134. Joni for President~~
    Your the one with the captive audience, the critique was spot on, and Im so with you on your anaylisis..
    You go girl~~
    mediocrity has no place in our bibles..he he he
    xo
    Coastal Nest

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  135. The decorator/rockwife did a better job on their former house.

    As seen in a 2004 Town & Country ~
    http://bla.fleetwoodmac.net/index.php?page=index_v2&id=897&c=9

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  136. The living room is offensive! It's jarring to inspect and does nothing for me. The kitchen is wonderful, besides the placement of the range, which you noted was quite odd. I think she nailed the vibe there in the kitchen. The bedroom was fine, the brown trim didn't even bother me and the studio is cool. I like that. The odd man out chaise and the horrid pillows really throw me for a loop.
    I agree, I spend all this money on mags myself and it's like I'm so desperate to get my fix, I'll read anything these days without even noticing how disappointing some of it really is.
    Well done rant, Joni! I'm pissed! lol
    xx
    Kara

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  137. The living room is offensive! It's jarring to inspect and does nothing for me. The kitchen is wonderful, besides the placement of the range, which you noted was quite odd. I think she nailed the vibe there in the kitchen. The bedroom was fine, the brown trim didn't even bother me and the studio is cool. I like that. The odd man out chaise and the horrid pillows really throw me for a loop.
    I agree, I spend all this money on mags myself and it's like I'm so desperate to get my fix, I'll read anything these days without even noticing how disappointing some of it really is.
    Well done rant, Joni! I'm pissed! lol
    xx
    Kara

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  138. Well Joni,
    Another well written post! I am going to have to pull that issue again, I do remember it but had skipped over it when it first came out. Thanks for all the information,
    Leslie

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  139. Joni -
    Thanks for the great post. I agree and just posted about it myself. I want to see real houses of real people or designers that are beautiful, aspirational BUT livable and approachable. Not just design for design sake! There's so much new talent out there and the magazines just keep showing the same old same old. I understand the economy and I know they are using their banks of images. But if it didn't make the cut a couple years ago - I don't want to see it now. Design is always evolving - the magazines should be using this time to evolve as well since the competition is scarce.

    I want to be inspired and push myself as a designer . Lately, it takes me about 15 minutes to go through each issue and nothing. It's so frustrating.

    Are there any good regional magazines that could take the place of the national ones? I'm starving for something new.

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  140. Your critique of this home was very very interesting. I agree with your assessment of the coffee table situation...in one photo it doesn't look like there is enough clearance to even get to the sofa on the left.
    Thanks for the good read! Janell

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  141. Thank you?! for sharing this decorating atrocity! I have never seen it. Several years ago I stopped taking some of the big-name shelters because I was tired of being disappointed each month with the content. This house only validates that decision!!
    The house was painful, but your rant spot-on!

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  142. You need to make this a weekly thing...I laughed so hard I almost spit out my coffee. Through my nose. Seriously...this could be a great gig to add to your blogging : )

    Oh, and I agree. Most of what I see in those mags are less than impressive. (although this one takes the cake!)

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  143. Boy....am I late to the party!!!! I would have to agree that the two tables really do not work here together, and I have to wonder, was the modern one just brought in to promo the new furniture line? That said....I do like both tables....just not together, and perhaps not in the same house. There is really alot of great stuff here, but just not in the right places. And I agree that some of it is just not that great ( the chairs in the studio for ex.)Quick fix suggestions: take the yellow lacquer table from the studio and put in the Living Room, put the twig coffee table in the studio with the library chaise, take the mirror from the Living Room and put in the Dining Room (I the scale of the DR chandelier is fine since there appear to be two of them)....it's like a crazy sudoku puzzle.

    What has probably happened here, as some have already alluded, is that a PR person was promoting the rocker's latest tour, and also this magazine chooses a format of writing stories about well known personalities and their homes. How well it was designed may not have been the whole point. It was more a story of how they live. For good or bad.

    Great discussion and so glad you brought it up Joni!

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  144. I couldn't agree with you more about the lack of quality publications these days. Regarding the article on the self proclaimed interior designer/rock star wife, you absolutely hit the mark! It is refreshing to find someone who is brave enough to yell "tripe" when tripe is served! Bravo!

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  145. I am a faithful reader of your blog - the thing about the two coffee tables: well, did you see the recent This Old House in Brooklyn? There the decorator, young, hip, smartly dressed (albeit quite understated) picked two wildly different coffee tables that I could not get my mind around AT ALL - nor was young Kevin - you can actually see all this on line - at best I would say this, it's a conversation piece!!

    But on the subject of the fireplace and the vertical mirror and the sconces: the mantel is not deep enough to add anything; the very bottom of the mirror is only an inch or two from the top surface of the fireplace - the wall the whole thing rests upon is way narrow in the first place and the bottoms of the beams are almost resting at the top of the mirror - the sconces actually go fine with the mirror - at least to me they do but I understand your point. I say boo hoo that Cottage Living is gone and (2)sad the way Country Living is headed - I think advertisers have pulled WAAAAY back from all of these magazines - in the end I bet my money on House Beautiful if I only have to subscribe to just one. Wasn't it Sister Parish who said every room needs something completely "off"? Well the two coffee tables could be said to fulfill that function whether you like them or not..

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  146. Thank you again for all your input. Especially thank you to the scouts and anon people in the business who wrote comments. I really didn't mean to indict the whole magazine industry - I really just didn't understand why such a poorly designed house would be featured. Someone said = ad contract - and that is probably it. An expensive ad in exchange for some promo? Also - there is something interesting in the mix here. The couple's previous house was designed by Madeline Stuart - but both designers have the same pictures of the same job on their web sites. This second house looks like it was put together from the Stuart job. Stuart, though, is a pro. Tops in her field. Oh well. Thanks again so much for your comments. I am trying to answer them all - if there is an address!

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  147. Joni, if you haven't yet, please go looks at the town and country pics of the former buckingham house done in "collaboration" with madeline stuart:

    http://bla.fleetwoodmac.net/index.php?page=index_v2&id=897&c=9

    It's perfect material for one of your follow the furniture stories. So many of the pieces, including cocktail tables, scones, lamps, pendants, and art were selected for the former home, which is actually very attractive. It had that collected, electic, but polished look that the current house lacks. The scale and mix in the former home are dead-on--those same items placed in another setting of a different scale and placed in different arrangements now look odd. For instance, the former living room also has dueling mismatched sofas and cocktail tables. However, the stream-lined complement to the carved root table is much taller and delicate than the current one--in fact, it appears to be the same height as the root table. Furthermore, the sofas are far enough apart that in the former living room the two sofas, two tables arrangement makes since. The same thing with the former fabric choices on the sofa. The print was originally in the same tones as the striped sofa, not contrasting. The striped sofa's back and seat cushions were upholstered in the same print. The original house seems to have the electic, but pulled together feeling that the new house does not. Since the missing factor is Ms. Stuart, I'm inclined to believe that it was her talent that made the former home so much more attractive.

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  148. And to someone who posted a picture from designer's web site and said it was good - not sure if I trust that is the designer's work or Madeline Stuart's work. Stuart did their first house. This picture may be from that house or not. both designers have the same pictures on their web sites.

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  149. Anon 7:10 am

    I chose it because those coffee tables caught my eye. then the mirror, then the sconces and on and on. As to the NO house - you obviously don't read my blog much - I love French design!!! No mob mentality intended. I just questioned those tables.

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  150. THANK YOU, Joni!
    I love your outspoken lament on the quality of the design magazines, I've had my own struggles contemplating about the size of small homes at HB lately, or the sorry state of mostly showing homes of the rich and famous...or swell second country homes, when the majority in our nation struggles to pay the mortgage on their humble homes!!!
    Facit: Money may not buy happiness, but it surly doesn't buy style...unless you pick the right designer!!!

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  151. ha ha ha ...
    heee heee heee...
    snicker snicker snicker...
    my favorite (or least) is the wall that looks like someone vomited an assortment of pictures on above the crazy print sofa...

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  152. Joni, leave it to you to speak your mind on this subject, ha-ha! Certainly not my taste at all & I'm sure I don't get this mag. I still enjoy Traditional Home and House Beautiful for the most part, although some of the other mags I get (Elle Decor) have some hideous things in there thatdon't appeal to me at all. But, it's always fun looking. I guess the magazine industry is really stretching to keep subscriptions. Most folks I know (myself included) just live so down to earth anyway & nothing like we see in magazines.

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  153. Joni, you are right. I am a magazine junkie; however, these days I do cheat and brouse through them for a full minute before I take them to the register. It is definitely hit or miss that there will even be one page in the entire magazine that inspires.

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  154. Great post! I was just thinking the same thing as I looked at both of Aerin Lauder's homes in the current issue of Elle Decor.

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  155. ... as they say here in New York, it's "dreck"...(awful!)

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  156. Joni, you are so right! I remember the days when I'd go to the mailbox and get a shelter magazine and drool over at least 15 photos in the magazine. I've quit subscribing to most, so these days, I see if there is any drooling material in them while I'm still at the store. I often find only 1 or 2 pages in a magazine that make me drool! I thought maybe it was just because I was behind the current trends, but I HAD begun to think I wasn't interested in catching up with the current trends of this is what it looked like. I'm glad to know that it is not just my "non designer" eyes that don't like what they see. laurie

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  157. Ok...so I finally figured out how they came up with the choices of fabric, color swatches etc etc. They put everything in a canon...shot it across the room and what ever landed on the bed, well thats what they picked.

    I know people who choose what they wear each day who also use this interesting method. They often don't happen to own a full length mirror either.

    I purchase this magazine on occasion but refuse to subscribe for precisely this reason.

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  158. I understand the post - few shelter magazines available with so many projects (presumably much more appealing than the one critiqued) but allow me to add two additional points. Leafed through Veranda while waiting in the check out line and was appaulled at the amount of ads - very, very little photos/articles not relating to advertising and like you, didn't find the content appealing to me. So, didn't buy it. As for the photos you posted, all I kept thinking was that perhaps the owners & photographers/stylists on this job take drugs or some other mind altering substance. Sorry for stereotyping, but perhaps it looks totally different when in an altered state. Also, the surroundings maybe exactly what a rock star needs for inspiration. Just trying to find some honest justification for the decor. Can't imagine that so many people would be involved and not speak up or is business so bad that the almighty dollar speaks louder than integrity. If the later is the case, then I suspect, fewer and fewer magazines will survive. Thanks for your honest post - whether or not one agrees with it.

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  159. And, furthermore, have you noticed some shelter mags are rerunning homes they've featured years ago? Now, that is the ultimate rip off. I'm letting my subscriptions - what's left of them - run out and getting my design fix from blogs such as yours. Thank you. I feel better now.
    Annie

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  160. Joni, thanks so much for letting folks blow off some steam.

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  161. Joni,
    Thanks for speaking your mind...that is indeed one of the worst put together rooms I have seen. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and I would imagine the rock star's wife thinks it is lovely. Wouldn't it be fun to get in there and make it look fabulous?

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  162. Design Junkie - thanks for that link! How interesting to see the "first" house. I think the comparison between the two homes really shows that a well-designed room is far more about the designer's eye than about the stuff that gets stuck in it.

    Jacci

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  163. I am with you, 100 percent, and I understand that a rant is totally needed and validated occasionally. I try to keep a positive note on my blog too, but sometimes I just need a release. You did good though, kept it neat. I totally agree with your critics. It shows how great an eye you have. Keep up the good work!

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  164. I looked at the entire piece in the magazine and and when you see the outside of the house it makes you cry even more for the injustice of the interior. Its a beautiful house with beautiful gardens. I feel like it could be fixed with a lot of editing (loose the coffee tables, busy sconces, noisy elements like unrelated lamps and it would be almost salvageable. I can concur with one of the commentors that one of the problems with the quality print media today is the economy and editors are having to use stories and photos that had been cut or deferred in the last few years. There is so little commercial work for lifestyle photographers now because they are resurrecting old product.

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  165. Joni,

    Southern Living republished the Grayton beach story from Cottage Living. I didn't take the time to go back and check the copy, but I remember the photos. I think they added a kitchen shot.

    Jennifer

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  166. Good for you Joni! It's hard for us design enthusiasts as i often think I am missing the whole scheme of things.I've spied the duo coffee table 'thang' quite a bit recently & was asking myself, "why, oh why?" So happy to hear you, a well respected design professional, call it out. Bravo my dear!

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  167. AWESOME POST!!! Thank you for your honesty!! I noticed the re-post in Southern Living a couple of months ago. Do they think we are stupid? In this house you posted - the garden looks nice -through the bedroom window.

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  168. "Two thumbs up" for honesty, Joni! You certainly presented 'food for thought'.

    Great post! -Brenda-

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  169. Magazines are finally receiving what movies, art exhibits, and music performances have always had, THE CRITIC.

    Why shouldn't interior design magazines have their own Roger Ebert?

    Why did they get a free ride for so long with questionable offerings? It's obviously not only the economy shuttering magazines.

    Go Joni.......GO.

    Great post.

    Garden & Be Well, XO Tara

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  170. I agree that the furniture isn't everyone's cup of tea, certainly isn't mine either, but I guess it makes the family happy. I did cut out that designer's studio room with the built ins though for my clipping files - i thought it was really charming but again -I didn't like the choice of rug.

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  171. I thought it was just me. When I receive my subscriptions lately, after a quick flip through the pages, they just go straight to recycling bin.

    As to the house in your post, it seems like the homeowner just picked random items she liked, without considering how they relate to one another. I really wonder how that home made it into the magazine, it looks nice at first glance, but one ounce of scrutiny, and it falls flat.

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  172. I hated the dining room. That is THE UGLIEST dining room EVER! Love the wall paper, but everything else was wrong, wrong, wrong! Bad placement of the small scale buffet, horribly small chandelier, just yuck all the way around. If I had glanced at it without the story I would have thought that was someone's before picture...then you turn the page and see the incredible tranformation of the after. Just yuck!

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  173. I always thought I was kind of a freak to be such a magazine junkie and wondered if it was genetic (my mother had a dedicated magazine closet crammed with her collection of house magazines from the '60s and '70s -- wish I still had them). Nice to know it's not uniquely abnormal.

    I remember when the house in question appeared. It seemed actually to get a positive response in the blogs and I thought to myself, man, I must be really out of it because that place is hideous. And yes, I wondered who in the world would think that the woman's furniture line was worthy either of production or purchase.

    Speaking of recycling, Aerin Lauder's spread inthe current Elle Decor makes me re-mourn the loss of House & Garden, which pretty much had the same spread on the Hamptons house in its final issue.

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  174. We once had a very elegant British designer come into our shop with one of the richest men in Miami. He apparently would not agree to any of the items she pointed out. On their way out, she turned around and sighed "Alas, if only God would give good taste to those with money, and money to those with good taste."
    MY favorite all time design quote. And very appropo for this house!
    Thanks Joni.

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  175. Just because you have money doesn't mean you have taste someone once told me. You wrote a wonderful critical piece which is why I have learned a lot from reading your blog. I suscribed to and bought a large number of design magazines. I used to cut out articles and pictures I really liked but have found in the past several months that I'm not doing that anymore. The mag goes right into the recycle bin or I can pass it along to a friend because it's not all cut up. We learn from good examples and bad examples and I hope you continue to offer well written critiques, good and bad so I can continue to earn my J.D. degree (Joni Design)!!!

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  176. Forgot to say that I go to the Issues store on Shepherd (next to MW Cleaners; that nice French restaurant is behind it. They have a good selection of foreign design magazines.

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  177. Love reading the honesty Joni. You shouldn't have to censor.

    I'm not sure if this is the article you're talking about, but one of my favorite COTTAGE LIVING homes from a couple of years ago was just featured in SOUTHERN LIVING. It was literally from the exact same photo shoot & everything. The spin wasn't much different... I don't think I would have minded if they had used new photos and there were some changes in the house...

    anyway, honesty on blog is a good thing & we're all entitled to our opinions.
    xoxo,
    lauren

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  178. For years, I couldn't get enough design magazines to read and drool over. But for the last couple of years, I haven't cared for the style and eventually stopped subscribing to them. On a rare occasion, I will buy a magazine off the rack that catches my eye. I thought I lost my decorating mojo. I see it isn't just me and it doesn't have anything to do with the economy. The magazines stopped captivating me long before the economy imploded and they became anorexic versions of their former self.

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  179. Spot on, Joni. I cannot add anything new to the conversation.

    EEK!

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  180. I, too, add my two cents worth of frustration toward decorating mags these days. A couple of years ago I finally quit AD, resolving to spend that $39.95 subscription price on better viewing. Then they sent me something to renew for $19, so I took them up on it. Still overpriced, & over-hyped.
    I (try) to contribute some articles for an online magazine, www.chicgalleria.com, that added a living section a few months ago. I can't find enough inspiration, & I just can't write about something that isn't interesting even to me. So much of what is even included in the magazines that are left is so beyond, as someone put it, what any normal, thinking person would do in a home - I have a furniture & design business & I can't even figure it out!
    Thanks for making your blog an interesting & inspiring place!

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  181. The only saving grace to subscribing to the mags these days is that they've cut the rates so much, it's cheaper to subscribe than it is to buy two or three issues from the newsstand over the course of a year, and I know I'll buy more than that. AD just gave me a rate of $15 for a year to renew, and the only reason I have it in the first place is because they replaced my Domino subs with AD, but that price makes it worth it to me.

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  182. Well, thank God SOMEBODY spoke up honestly about the laughable interiors in a mag. Yes, it was a mess, yes it was published solely because she's married to a rock star. But another angle on this is the very confusing message is sends to aspiring design students..."Am I supposed to be producing this for my clients?" YUCK. "Bold" is one thing...but good principles of design will always be needed for a well-done room. Joni...you nailed it, so don't let the haters prevent you from being forthright, ok? Strong, sassy people are the hallmarks of a vibrant design industry, for one thing, and also WE NEED YOU OUT HERE. In fact, may I be the bold one and suggest that you pick apart a bad room every week or month? I learn so much, and get validated and...well...I appreciate what you do on your blog. Keep it coming.

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  183. The truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
    Well written Joni!

    I'm tired seeing excessive amounts money thrown at fabric, crystalware, supposedly-tuscan articles, sconces, the list goes on and on....with absolutely no sense in design or aesthetics... with just some illusion of grandeur that it will all just magically gel together.
    Good that someone finally cried "The King is Naked!".
    ~Joe

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  184. those 2 coffee tables don't belong on the same block let alone in the same room.

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  185. All I have to say is jeez Joni...185 comments..YOU ROCK!!!!! :-)
    xoxo

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  186. I have never seen almost 200 comments...you are it Joni!

    Yes, I saw Mr and Mrs. Bm's home...quite eclectic indeed!

    I think you are right on key...we aren't seeing the best, since we keep seeing the same people over and over...maybe something to do with relationships to photographers, and how many the magazine uses...their relationship to designers...who knows.

    I used to buy armfulls of magazines; now I just buy what's left. I have even been buying the expensive "special interest" publications just to get my fix.

    I love glossy pages. What can I say?

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  187. Thanks to this blog I now critique the critics. It's not which movie or CD is good or bad, but why? If it's popular, why? And let's hope that the editors, as another commentor wrote, really are that ill informed, and they are not thumbing their noses at the readers.

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  188. The editors of the magazines, that is, not the blog, which was interesting, and doesn't have to be sweet every time. Thank you for posting. I didn't make it clear that I enjoyed the interesting blog. Thanks.

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  189. So glad I stopped buying mag subscriptions over a year ago. I get my fix on line now and I don't feel foolish hording mags in spare corners! It is so good to hear you say how horrible that design was. As a design student I have wondered what class was going to explain something like that. Your honesty was a defining moment for me, I do know what I am talking about! Thank you for that clarity, so glad your reality check was blog worthy, it was not a rant, it was blog honesty! I feel empowered! Maybe you can now add blog Honesty Thursdays to the line up, now that would be interesting to see all the wrong use of design elements. Perhaps it would always be the same offenders! Thanks for your blog and your teachings and talents!

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  190. It is so sad that the industry has been hit so hard. I am a former journalist who has been out of "work" for several years. It is a dying art form.

    Loved your insights in the room and it has absolutely nothing to do with your age. I am a twenty something and didn't like it either. I think most people like cohesive design.

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  191. Yuck yuck yuck- all the mismatched stuff makes me crazy! Too much chaos- I need symmetry!

    Never seen so many comments on a post! Lots to discuss. This post was just featured in our Weekender newsletter- goes out tomorrow! :)

    Have a good night!

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  192. Listened to the Skirted Round Table... read the post.... and this is exactly the point we tackle in our tongue-in-cheek blog - just because it's in a magazine/on tv/online does not make it great. You hit the nail on the head Joni!

    Cheers,
    J&J

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  193. I started lamenting the loss of beautiful magazines when _Victoria_ first left a few years ago. But _Victoria_ returned...perhaps the others we've lost will also, one day, return as well. One can hope...

    In the meantime, I am exploring the internet and finding delightful blogs such as this one. Blogs with beautiful photos, good copy, and, something we've been missing for too long, integrity: honest evaluations of others' work. Yes, indeed, the Emperor has no clothes! Just because some well-known designer has designed a space does not mean that space is worthy of consideration, much less my $5.00 in one of a handful of shelter mags. Even the best make terrible mistakes, driven in this economy by the few folk who can afford them. Why enable them? Yes...that sounds harsh...but I believe in tough love. Like this blog.

    Keep posting the truth about these rooms. They don't work. They're unattractive. They're unconfortable...where is the human element? They have serious flaws (that kitchen range placement being one of the biggest) and calling ugly, beautiful is wrong; it's just wrong.

    Thanks you, thank you. I am loving this site!

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  194. OMG, Joni, I am a bit late on this one, but I am marveling at the fact that I had somehow not noticed or didn't remember the two coffee tables! I am a fan of the eclectic look, but things should still coordinate, and those coffee tables look ridiculous together! And I haven't read through all the comments above, but judging from the number, it looks like this post struck some sort of chord with a lot of people! :) Hope you have a great weekend.

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  195. Did she go to the Stevie Wonder School of Design ?

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  196. I wonder what the reaction would have been if this article had come from Domino? Why does eclectic get everyone's hackles up? I liked the article b/c, among other reasons, I'm sick of seeing the same white and marble kitchen everywhere. I like seeing someone do it "different." Just my two cents.

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    ReplyDelete
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