OK, this is a controversial issue–and I’d call it a “tag for ambivalence” but Rob resisted my attempt to use that new tag (even though I let him invent a new “Teach Me!” tag)–see our May 2020 episode for more about that–but some people were made for quarantine. My friend Tom, as pretend-anti-social as they come, says he was born for this. One plus: you have plenty of time for contemplating how you could improve your home, no matter how “finished” or not you normally find it.
Of course, this is not the time to embark on a major reno–unless you’re my neighbor Lori and her family who were cleaning out their entire house on Saturday in advance of adding another story to their house. Go Lori. But if you’re itching for a change without major construction, here’s a link to some lower-key home decor projects.
Personally I’m eyeing our hall closet, with its winter gear and board games, for a cleaning and reorganization. And the food pantry, since we found a tub of six-month old salsa in there which should have been refrigerated (see the May episode for an explanation on how that happened).
The water is hot and the ‘bags are already in the cup. It’s time to brew some fresh tea–for TRUTH–with the ten designers offering up their take on “what trends need to disappear forever” in this article on Architectural Digest PRO.
Cohost J. agrees with these experts on:
Macrame’ – I tried it and returned it to the store. Nope!
Waterfall countertops – everywhere and now overdone
Barn doors – waaaay overdone, and as pointed out, they do not provide any sound barrier so do NOT install one as a bathroom door!
Accent walls – I’m iffy on this one. They can work, especially if you’re on a budget or in a rental, but a lot of people use them as their decorating default and then stop there.
Cute neon signs – ubiquitous on Instagram, but never seen IRL (at least, in the Hudson Valley. So when I do see one it will be super outdated.)
Granite countertops – so 2000’s.
Mosaic glass backsplashes – so 2000’s Home Depot.
I’m still OK with:
Edison light bulbs – cute! but in the right settings
I just don’t know what Robert Couturier is getting at by saying: “Contemporary art collections that have been accumulated with ears rather than eyes.”
This is no shock to our listeners, but I would also add in:
white on white interiors
white and rustic wood and more freakin’ white
millenial pink anything
But at least a few of these design pros have validated some of our tags for hate!
Then there’s House Beautiful’s plug for Field & Supply in Kingston (is it truly worth traveling across the country for?) and its cute little map showing only Beacon and Kingston (NOT Milton, Rob, sorry to say). Same issue: a tour of Pennyroyal, a Catskills retreat built by the mother of American interior design. And this month, Architectural Digest references the HV (that name’s not happening either, is it?) dour times, and has two huge features about Dutchess County properties (both converted barns, too.) I’ll go back and count to make sure. Yes, a lot of the love gets thrown at uber-trendy Hudson, but there are a lot of gorgeous Insta-worthy homes scattered around horse/wine/apple country.
So what does this all mean?
On one hand, it means nothing–these are the same plaudits (and cries about gentrification and traffic and “citiots”) we’ve always heard. But to be more Tag-For-Love about it: It means we’re still a design destination for those in the know. After all, the robber barons Gilded Age industrialists fled the confines of New York City and headed north to construct their castles and keeps over a hundred years ago.
We have cute little shops, architectural classics, charming downtowns, cutting-edge art museums, and enough space to experiment with design styles in spades!
And we’re lucky enough to live right in the thick of it! The Hudson Valley is a wonderful place to live (and visit) because it truly has it all…including major design cred. I’m just glad the design/shelter world is finally giving us the props we deserve. Beverly Hills? Milan? Ibiza? So over. Tastemakers in the know go to the Camptons.
Open floor concept living is not for everyone–either by choice or by architectural design. This recent Boston Globe article sums up a growing dissatisfaction with open concepts and their ubiquity in the real estate marketplace.
Cohost J. here: We can’t give a Tag For Hate to open concepts, because in many spaces they work beautifully. Lots of people love the entertaining possibilities–heck, cohost Rob has an open concept first floor! What I love about this article is that it makes the case for actually thinking about your lifestyle and how your home enhances and supports that lifestyle. Homeowners interviewed by the reporter talk about how they could see themselves entertaining lavishly while whipping up three-course meals in the kitchen, or keeping an eye on the kids while busy doing something else. For most of us, these are fantasies. And while fantasy interior design has its place, you have to be really careful about making those dreams come true.
Sometimes you get what you wish for, and, to quote Sondheim’s Into The Woods: “Wishes come true, not free.” The tradeoffs of open concept? Lack of privacy. Clutter. A nagging sense that there are things still to be done in that other “room” over there that I can see while I’m trying to relax on the couch. Or, as homeowner Asya says in the piece, someone is relaxing and watching her while she’s working.
Friends of ours (frequently referenced in the show) have a 1970’s swinger’s house in Poughkeepsie–no joke. It’s a one bedroom, 3,000+ square foot three-level house. The only interior walls that extend to the ceiling are around the kitchen and bathrooms. It’s a great house for entertaining (and they do, frequently, and largely). But quiet and cozy it is not. It works for them and their lifestyle–it’s just the two of them and a dog–but it would be totally impractical for my family. And most families, which is probably why it sat on the market for four years, waiting for just the right buyers!
So as you’re househunting, fantasy or otherwise, or dreaming up ways to fix up your existing space, be honest with yourself and your family. Perform a lifestyle audit and really think about your tolerance for clutter, mess, cleaning, organizing, noise, and activity. Hash it all out internally before knocking down all those internal walls. Be open with yourself and those you live with before committing to open concept.