Tag For Love

Tag For Love: This Article About Regretting Open Concept Houses

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.

Photo: Home-Designing.com.

“Hashtag OpenConceptRemorse,” Partan-Tveteraas said, by way of explaining why they’re now spending thousands of dollars to put up new walls and are considering pricey sliding doors. Others get seduced by the fantasy of living in a pristine minimalist space — per every photo ever taken of an open concept home — only to forget that when your first floor is one room, there’s no place for clutter to hide.

BostonGlobe.com

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.

Even HGTV, the source that has inspired thousands of homeowners to toss sledgehammers into sheetrock with abandon, warns about the downsides of open concept living.

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.

Photo: HGTV.ca

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.

Tag For Love

Tag For Love: Tulips

Cohost J. here. Set off by our recent #TagForLove for fresh flowers, I went in search of a little taste of springtime on a March day that began with 12-degree temperatures.

Not a pic from last spring but from March 7, 2019.

Luckily, Adams Fairacre Farms, a local high-end grocery store/garden center is having its annual Garden Show, and I had the chance to step inside after a lunch meeting. It warmed my heart, and my body, being in their huge greenhouse!

The best part? All those tulips (though it was all nice to see). Yep, my love for tulips endures (I got your back, PrettyPinkTulips, even if I don’t go for pink).

My garden does NOT look this lush.

We do what we can to make it through the winter. Those orange tulips are literally giving me LIFE.

Tag For Love

Tag For Love: Fresh Flowers

Over the ground lies a mantle of white…though it’s March, the snow keeps falling in the Hudson Valley. Spring is whispering its promise to return, but scads of greenery and color are still weeks away. The solution to the end-of-winter doldrums? Fresh flowers, of course.

Listen to our May episode to hear J. gush over tulips.

Cohost J. here. I picked up a bouquet of tulips at the supermarket on Sunday afternoon just because I could not go another day without seeing a flower. Our #houseplants have been around for a while now and are super boring, and the paperwhite bulbs I bought at Thanksgiving time (see: December episode) never bloomed.

Grocery store tulips

Will they fade soon? Yes. Are they an indulgence? Yes. Are they a waste of money? No. Do they hold off the winter blues? A little bit. And I’ll take it.

Even without the pressing need to see something beautiful on my dining room table (aside from a brilliant tablescape and the smiling faces of family and guests), I’d have fresh flowers in the house all the time, if I could. Here’s another reason I not-so-secretly want to be Edie Monsoon from AbFab. We know she indulges in lots of fresh flowers on constant refill from the “Poor” episode, when her auditor suggests she cut her fresh flower budget.

If I ever had a fresh flower budget, and then had to nix it, I’d fall on the floor too.

Tag For Love

Tag For Love: Walmart

Brace yourselves, people! Rob here and I’m about to through down a Tag for Love for Walmart. You heard me right, a Tag for Love for Walmart. And if this post gets past J’s editing you’ll learn why.

Walmart, my least favorite retailer (for too many reasons to list here, plus this is about love not hate) launched a new video series called “Love is in the Aisle.” The series features couples on a blind date at Walmart . I know what your thinking: “Shitty first date!” and I agree. But the Episode 2 in the series features two gay men on a blind date. Pat and Andy are super cute as they wonder the aisles discussing scented candles, roasting veggies, and body wash. They also cream over Crème Pies. Need I say more?

This episode of “Love is in the Aisles” is so adorable, it almost makes me want to shop at Walmart. Well. Almost. Maybe. At the very least it has made me think a little more openly about Walmart. Respecting the LGBTQ community has never been the retailer’s strong suit. Featuring a gay couple so prominently is a welcome step forward. The video is getting a lot of attention! LGBTQ news site Towleroad reports the spot has bigots’ panties in a great big knot! Tag for Love!

Tag for Hate · Tag For Love

Tag For Competition: BHG Gets Into The Podcast Game

Inspired by us*, Better Homes & Gardens recently launched a new DAILY podcast called At Home Daily. Though they put out a few episodes since January, they just announced it on their website.

Found while listening to our new episode.

It’s daily, but only two to three minutes long, and apparently meant to be played as part of your daily smart speaker flash briefing. Topics thus far seem to be on their brand but not exactly ours–grandparents, houseplant care, etc.

Part of the reason we started this podcast was to help build a sense of community around home decor, gardening and entertaining using a digital platform. A year ago, they were behind the times (we think) with a definite lack of media projects–a few videos, some slideshow-based web content, etc. We wanted more than that, so we created it. In the past few months, their website has begun posting a LOT more content (regrettably, lots of content recycled from other brands and sites) and now this. So, visible improvements! Obviously they’re making attempts to win the magazine/platform survival war (watch out, Good Housekeeping).

We’ll be tuning in, of course. We wish them well! Though At Home Daily is a also a podcast, our show is entirely different. We’re the outsiders looking in…the readers. And we’re going to keep on keepin’ it real…but on a monthly basis. Speaking of which, did you check out our latest episode?

*totally unproven statement invented by us.

UPDATE: We’ve listened to a few episodes. Not gonna lie…it’s not good. It’s about as dry and void of color and warmth as Rob’s martinis but 1000% less fun. Actually I take that back that comparison because that’s an insult to martinis.

Tag For Love

Tag For Love: Crate & Barrel’s Spotlight On Women

The cover of the Spring 2019 Crate & Barrel print catalog.

Cohost J. here. As you know I’m a sucker for print so I get all excited when a new catalog arrives in the mail. And a Crate and Barrel catalog makes me a little excited in ways I can’t really get into here. So it was extra-special to have this one arrive earlier this week, with its spotlight on female Crate and Barrel employees in advance of International Women’s Day.

Inside spread. Not ironically, this photo was taken with the catalog resting on a C&B dining table and a bit of a C&B centerpiece saying hello in the upper left corner.

Not only was it great to see women highlighted in this way, we got to learn more about their styling and photo shoots–YES it’s on a totally designed set! –and the company–their co-founder was a woman!

The back cover.

To top it off (back it up?) the back cover spotlights their charitable work with VOW. They’ve also done work with Humble Design, an organization that provides home makeovers for low-income families–which would be my dream job, BTW.

So, bravo, C&B. I didn’t think I could love you more.

Tag For Love

Tag for Love: Maine Woods Home Keeping Line, Stonewall Kitchen

Co-host Rob here. If you’ve listened to any of our podcasts, set foot in my house, or had me refuse to wash my hands with Pumpkin Spice hand soap in the middle of July at your house then you know I’m a stickler for seasonally appropriate home fragrances. The one season people seem most challenged to find a good home fragrance is Winter.

NO! It is not OK to leave your Sparkling Christmas Snow hand soap out for guests to use in February!

Before you default to almond or honey or heaven forbid lavender in the Winter months take a whiff of Stonewall Kitchen’s Maine Woods Home Keeping line. Earthy, rich, but not heavy, it’s now my go-to home fragrance post-holidays. Bonus points for supporting an LGBTQ-owned company with a commitment to charitable giving.

Image result for stonewall kitchen maine woods soap
Tag For Love

Tag For Love: The “Howdy” Box, Y’all!

Write a review? You don’t need to ask us twice.

We’ve been loving on Draper James ever since the Reese Witherspoon lifestyle brand’s collab with Crate and Barrel was featured in the June 2018 issue of Better Homes & Gardens. We’ve tagged the brand for love so much that J. bought Rob the acrylic “Howdy” tray for Christmas. Since our whole schtick is providing unsolicited opinions we can’t say no when we’re actually asked to give a review!

The Howdy tray holds all kinds of stuff…like your pearl necklace.


5 Stars! (just like you should be giving our podcast)

We think even haters of blue and white decor will agree that this little gingham tchotchke box is gorgeous. Who doesn’t need a tchotchke box on their nightstand?