In this episode: Deception! Lies! Big baskets! Secrets revealed! But even those might be another deception. As Rob pours Kentucky Derby mint juleps made gayer with lavender and berries, J. digs up memories of a childhood dinner gone horribly wrong. (This is the Food Issue, after all.) We discuss what charities really want (NOT your #KonMari non-joyful items), how no one wants Grandma’s silver trays any more, an instant classic color scheme, and another hot male gardener. (Brace yourselves for that one.) Plus, a house that’s nautical but not, kitchen countertops that Rob and J. both tag for hate, and the best I Did It yet. Signature cocktail: mint julep. Recipe tasting: five flavors of cold-oven chicken. Music by Bensound.com. Please, don’t make your mother cry.
Cohost J. here. Not to be all reaction-y, but a post on Dwell.com says that living room conversation pits are back in vogue. I guess I am reacting to it here, because it’s been a few days since our last “Tag” post due to a combo of busy-ness and not feeling inspired in either direction. Love or hate, after all, are meant to be the extremes. So, thank you Dwell for doing the work for me!
Anyway…so Dwell’s post covers the greatest hits of conversation pits, a few of which you’ve probably seen on Ye Olde IG lately. The purple one, for sure.
I’m a fan–mostly because I’m a fan of promoting conversations between people, and a dedicated space to do that gets a thumb’s up in my book. Of course, if you have a podcast, you’re pretty much an advocate for conversations anyway.
Are they for everyone? No. Will their revival be seen as yet another blip on the design trend timeline? Almost certainly. But as one Dwell commenter points out, perhaps they’re cool again because we’ve developed another type of living space: the media room. If that’s where the TV is, that leaves the traditional living room up for grabs as the spot for non-digital interaction. Though my house doesn’t have a sunken conversation pit, we treat it as if it had one: the family room in the basement is for TV watching (and kids, mostly) while the living room is really “the daddies’ cocktail lounge.” It’s great for drinking, but also magazine reading (hullo), book reading, listening to music, and all the stuff that’s impossible when there’s a TV in the room. It’s a conversation pit without the pit.
So if you can build one (or buy a house with one, don’t fill it in just yet) go for it. The outdoor versions may be more feasible and longer-lasting, trendwise, anyway.
And also, as another Dwell commenter points out, their timeline leaves out one of the most iconic sunken living rooms of all time: the fireplace ringed by couches in the 1968 Blake Edwards movie, The Party. It may have one of the coolest sets ever put on film. (Hmm, maybe a CBB movie night is in order!) There’s not only the conversation pit to ogle: there’s a crazy indoor water feature with a stepping stone path, planters, multiple pools, killer chandeliers, and the fact that the conversation pit is also kinda a two-tiered affair. If you haven’t seen it, check it out for the decor alone!
And for the record, our friends Brian and Chris, referenced regularly on our show, do indeed have a sunken living room in their big MCM party house in Poughkeepsie.
If you listened to our April 2019 episode, you heard us discuss the “New Neutrals” article, about redefining what a neutral color is and how to make any color a neutral (in theory.) That led us to a sidebar conversation that didn’t quite fit into the main episode (hello, tangent!) but did show our more pop culture side. We’ll be back with our May 2019 full-length episode very soon!
And in case you forgot what it looked like:
Yes, this is a long read, and yes it’s about the You-Know-Who’s. But it says (verifies?) everything we instinctively don’t like about the Fixer Upper effect. The #shiplap hashtags, the national obsession, the gentrification, the whitewashing (literal and figurative), the rumblings of anti-LGBTQ religious stances, the bougie-ness, the very Instagrammable-ness of it all.
And while it’s all about Waco, Texas, it’s also about our towns. (Well, Beacon, cohost J’s town, at least. How about Milton/Marlboro, Rob?) Many towns. Many downtowns in any American city. How do we improve and build even better communities for everyone who lives there? How can we all come along for the ride? Can we do that while having some personal fun and individuality in design???
BTW, we’ll get over the Gaines eventually. It’s just that they, like this article, seem to sum up a lot of the conversational threads of the middle class home/garden/shelter/real estate sphere. We’ll be back to ogling hot gardeners or obsessing over wallpaper in a hot minute.
Photo by Ilana Panich-Linsman for BuzzFeed News
Because everyone needs more coasters in their life…we made our own! If you’re a longtime listener, you know that our favorite mag often includes coaster sets in their trending items/patterns/colors merchandise–and that we often rag on them for it. C’mon, again with the coasters? But because we like being meta, and since no one, apparently, has enough of them, we had official CBB coasters printed up!
How do you get them, you ask? We’ll have them at our booth at the Hudson Valley Creator Festival on Sunday, May 5, 2019 on Raymond Avenue in Poughkeepsie. Stop by, say hi, and if you’re a subscriber (show us on your phone!) you get a pair! Not in the area? Contact us and we’ll work something out.
PS: we also have stickers! We’ll be revealing those soon.
Cohost J here. I think anyone who has fallen in love with Paris is dying on the inside today. The images of Notre Dame cathedral in flames are heartbreaking. Though the worst-case scenario didn’t materialize and the firefighters were able to put out the blaze before permanent structural damage was done, this is still a punch in the gut.
I’ve been to Paris twice and went to Notre Dame both times–twice on my last trip in 2014. I took a Gothic architecture art history class in college (and almost changed my major because of it) and went gaga over the flying buttresses, the arches, the rose windows, and all the little details frozen in stone, including those famous rain spouts we call gargoyles. Despite the hordes of fellow tourists, once you step inside the doors and wander through its forest of columns, this feeling of wonder and peace settles over you–which is exactly the intention of its design. I am not into the church (lower nor upper case!) at all but the building still gives you that religious feeling, somehow. That bodily response to a cathedral is not unique to Notre Dame (I literally cried at Chartres cathedral’s blue stained glass–design nerd alert!) but ND is literally the heart of Paris. Geographically and spiritually. How far to Paris? The mileage is measured to Notre Dame’s front door. It’s kilometer zero. And as a visitor it can become the center of your memories too.
Notre Dame is so much more than a church. It is more than brick, stone, glass and wood. It is architectural history in physical form. It’s an incomprehensibly collaborative art installation (and yes, it was built using exploitative practices and unholy money and yes I’m still not down with the organized religion thing) that spans the centuries. The wood, stone, glass and brick can be rebuilt–maybe add a little steel this time?
After all, Notre Dame was not a static structure. It changed too, and the process of renovating and restoring it seem to be the likely source of this fire. The lovely super-ornate, majorly Gothic over-the-top (pun intended) spire which collapsed was a nineteenth century addition, after all. Fun fact: it’s a major blooper in Disney’s Hunchback of Notre Dame! Quasimodo dances around the roof and uses the spire like a stripper pole, but it would not have been there when the story was set!
Anyway. They will rebuild. They were already in the process of reconstructing and preserving it. Designers and architects will combine wood and stone to create something magical. The fire is now part of Notre Dame’s long history. Hopefully what we remember is that buildings and artworks can awaken emotions in us, and they too can be lost. No one died in the fire, thankfully, but those who love that cathedral, for whatever reason, felt like we were watching a death unfold. Through design, our public places and houses–even houses where God lives–can feel like home, and we need to recognize and celebrate them in the now. Before our own history is history.
Cohost J. here: indoor swings. I’m not a fan.
A good porch swing, I’m down with that. Maybe a funky hanging chair in the corner.
That’s OK by me, because no one will actually curl up in it except toddlers and pets for more than five minutes.
As for indoor hammocks: you’d better have one of those retractable walls and beachfront property, because other than that, it looks wrong. Do you really need to feel air flow beneath you that badly? Or is it the gentle swaying motion you seek? (AKA, flipping over on your ass whenever you try to get in or out of said hammock.)
But alas, indoor swings, hammocks and hanging chairs are trending right now, and it feels like a case of too much. As a novelty, they’re cool. But now they’ll be a ubiquitous waste of money. So, #trendoids, invest in seating for no one (except toddlers and pets) and let us know how you feel about it in two years.
And speaking of things that are super-popular but make us say “Ughk, why? Why are so many people into this? Who’s the crazy one in this relationship?”
This week, news broke that THOSE PEOPLE are taking over the DIY TV network. It’s officially a media empire. I guess it’s the same situation as when Martha Stewart created her own channel and people scoffed. “How can you fill hours of airtime with that one brand?” they said, and they were right. Martha went from over-exposed to joining the cast of Orange Is The New Black (not really, she just looked the part) to Apprentice co-conspirator, and then settled back into her groove. Now she’s doing collabs with Snoop Dog and starring in hilarious promos for Transformer movies and it’s all “a very good thing.” Will the Gaineses have to go to jail for some white collar crime (it HAS to be white, and preferably with shiplap) for us to appreciate them? Time will tell. In the meantime, I’m afraid the Magnolia channel’s slogan will be “do it yourself, but we’ll do the thinking for you.”