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).
Cohost J here. `I finally got around to seeing the latest Addams Family movie, because it’s one of my most favorite franchises ever (the first two live action movies from the 90s are in my top 5 list). Imagine my surprise and delight to see that the entire plot of the new The Addams Family movie centers around interior design and one overbearing interior designer/TV hostess! Margaux Needler, voiced by Allison Janney, is the host of Margaux’s Design Intervention, and she wants everything to be the same. In fact she’s trying to sell units in an entire town called Assimilation, New Jersey…except that the Addams clan doesn’t fit in.
She offers Morticia a free home makeover, and–spoiler alert–the house does wind up pink, but its evil spirit winds up shrugging off the Margaux-esque hue pretty quickly, and Morticia stands by her funeral home-Victorian style.
Tag for love on this iconic property hinging entirely on interior design! Can you tell who this villainess reminds us of, in her quest for every home to be the same style?
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.
Co-host Rob here. A few years back, J. gifted my fam Bee’s Wrap beeswax food wraps for Christmas. It was long enough ago that I thought J. was just trying to be hipster with the eco-friendly, new-fangled product. As it turned out, they’re a thing. And they’re great.
Fast forward: beeswax foods wraps are just a part of our household now. So I forgot how fab they were until I was reminded by the May 2019 issue of Better Homes & Gardens just how hard working eco-friendly food covers are.
BH&G featured the Lekue Stretch Storage Cover. And let’s be honest, they look a lot like condoms for food! They are still better than ripping off countless sheets of plastic wrap that never seem to stick to anything,
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.
And our ode to hot gardeners couldn’t be complete without getting pumped over Bravo’s “BackYard Envy” host, Garrett Magee. This mustachioed hunk might make some think “70s gay porn star.” We’re totally okay with that. We love #retro!
Shirts off to lots and lots of hot gardeners all Spring, Summer, and Fall!
Let’s be honest. Most of us have a Love/Hate relationship with Gwyneth Paltrow. Academy Award winning acting. Life in the spotlight. Bougie children’s names. Incredibly fit in her forties. Signature lifestyle brand with the awful name. That whole “conscious uncoupling” thing. It’s often hard to know whether to Tag for Love or Tag for Hate.
Announcing her new offices, Gwyneth stands in front of sleek, blonde-wood bookcases with leaning, lower shelves prefect for highlighting magazines, art, or favorite books. Showcase bookcases in the face of KonMari? Love! The shelves are sparsely filled, prompting her to request recommendations from followers on books on design, food, and corporate culture. Seeking fan input? Love!
That green jumper she’s wearing? Oh my goddesses. HATE!
Round and round it goes. Love? Hate? Love to Hate? Hate to Love? Oh, Gwyneth, you perplex us so. With no end in sight it seems best to just go ahead and employ a Tag for Love/Hate. It’s a mindfully selected compromise focused on equilibrium to reduce stress and help reach optimal wellness. We’re sure it’s What Gwyneth Would Do.
Oops, is that headline misleading? To be clear, we are NOT part of the 2019 Kips Bay Decorator Show House. As if! No, we just want to go–it’s the interior design event of the year. Images from the house pop up in the mags, mood boards and blogs all year long. Hopefully we can go this May.
The list of participating designers was announced today and it’s a mix of A-list designers and newcomers. CBB favorite Corey Damon Jenkins is one of them so congrats Corey!
We’re looking forward to some amazing lewks and over-the-top ideas.
Are you planning on taking it in? (Phrasing, sorry!)
Today’s Tag is inspired by this post on Valetmag.com which makes the case for having a globe as part of your accessories/home decor arsenal.
They’re not only tools of inspiration but starters of conversation—have a few people over and someone will inevitably start spinning the globe.
Of course, since Valet is a men’s fashion/lifestyle site, they tout globes as “handsome, masculine object[s]” perfect for any mancave. We’d say they look good in anyone’s space, regardless of gender. They are right, though, that you can either drop lots of coin on a high-end version, score a vintage one online (or at your local flea market or antique store), or–an option they don’t cover–the school supply section at Target.
Cohost J. here: When I was a teenager, I was invited to my friend Molly’s big sister’s wedding, which was held in the garden of their parent’s amahzing Carpenter Gothic home. The couple eschewed a religious ceremony, and in lieu of an altar, they displayed a hand-painted globe that the groom gave to Jennifer, the bride. The oceans were white, the land masses black–it was striking, and obviously memorable. He used a regular ole globe and regular ole paint, and all it took was some time. So feel free to customize your own globe if you’re crafty (and if you don’t care about political borders).
It makes for a nice hands-on accessory and a reminder of our larger home, spinning as if by invisible hands.
Of course, there are some globes that come with their own hands, and if your decor runs in this direction, well, then…your last name might be Herman, or you fully embrace your whimsical side.