Johnson City Press Friday, April 18, 2014
Columns Out of My Head

Though my decorating style is strongly influenced by the school of benign neglect, I like to look at pretty things.

June 9th, 2013 12:00 am by Staff Report

Though my decorating style is strongly influenced by the school of benign neglect, I like to look at pretty things.

Though my decorating style is strongly influenced by the school of benign neglect, I like to look at pretty things. That explains my subscription to House Beautiful, a magazine featuring a bunch of stuff I could never afford. (Ottoman — $3,390.)
I’m particularly fond of the monthly Color feature, in which blobs of Benjamin Moore paints are photographed and described by designers.
I read the descriptions and wonder if designers take classes on how to talk about decorating or if they pick up the language just being around others of their ilk.
The House Beautiful designers say things like “verdigris ... is a traditional color on French treillage.” I often wonder why they don’t speak English.
Throughout the magazine are glossy, full-color photo spreads on the expensive homes of unidentified people.
I’m sure identities are protected in order to prevent looting sprees by the 99 percent. You know how we are.
Along with the photos is an interview with the designer. The homeowners are left out of it.
 This month one of the featured houses is the “home of a rebel.” In decorating terms, a rebel is one who replaces bright paint with white.
Obviously this woman is a scandal.

I love it when designers slip in little hints about their clients, hints indicating he or she may be slightly difficult.
In describing the installation of the kitchen’s subway tile walls, the designer said, “The client is extremely detail oriented (emphasis is mine).” Translation: Picky to the point of absurdity.
“... the amount of time something takes is irrelevant to her as long as the results are perfect.” Translation: She is an obsessive-compulsive nightmare who had us rip out the tile repeatedly until my construction crew threatened to quit, and I lost the ability to swallow solid food.
The house in question is decorated in white and beige; there is not a speck of dust or a gram of clutter.
The interviewer comments that one would have to be brave to live “like this” with four children. No, the decorator says, the house always looks like an operating room, no touch ups required for the photo shoot.
“This homeowner is an extremely organized person and has a great personal aesthetic.” Translation: Control freak.
My favorite decorator quote was this: “The children range in age from 10 to 18 and like to tease and say, ‘Mommy is quite strict.’ ” Translation: No more wire hangers, ever!
If a decorator were to describe me, I would expect to hear: “My client has strong attachments to certain objects.” Translation: Hoarder.
“She reads voraciously and keeps her favorite books stacked in tall towers throughout the house.” Translation: I feared for my life.
“She wanted us to keep the needs of her dog, Sadie, in mind.” Translation: I quit.

Jan Hearne is the Press  Tempo editor. Reach her at jhearne@johnsoncitypress.com.

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