I have thought long and hard about this. It’s everyone’s fault. It’s Architectural Digest’s fault, its interior designer’s fault, it’s the client’s fault and to some extent… It’s our fault. The whole world of interior design in the US has just all gone to hell in a handbag.
Let’s start with blaming Architectural Digest. Do you remember the days when you would receive your issue of Architectural Digest and devour every page, every house, every detail? I do. My mom and I would sit down and go through every single page and point at everything and discuss it all. I was faster… I just wanted the overall concept. My mother was slower… Carefully dissecting every detail. She would say to me, “Don’t turn the page so fast, look at the scale of the room. Do you see how that works? Look at the height of the drapery, look at the vignettes… Items look best grouped in odd numbers...Except for pairs, of course. A mirror must reflect something beautiful. Flowers are important in design. Start a room with a good rug and build from there. Blend antique with modern. A room needs to have layers.” Never ever did I ever hear my mother say, “Color coordinate your closet.” And with this, interior design went downhill.
When did we all decide that one’s home should look like a hotel? What happened to the details? What happened to the soul of a house? I’ll tell you what happened, Architectural Digest ripped it away. These days, every home in AD looks like a fucking Fairmont Hotel suite. Pardon my French but I am a bit “fed up” these days. Sadly, AD is in cahoots with the interior designers. It seems like today’s modus operandi amongst interior designers is that their sole mission and ulterior motive is just to have a house published. And in doing so, that house has got to be “Faaaaaaaabulous.” Am I the only one who thinks that Kelly Wearstler has lost her mind lately? Easy girl, easy. Not everything has to be unusual. Martin Lawrence Bullard? Someone should revoke his interior design license temporarily until he realizes that not everyone’s house should look like that of a flaming queen. And when did we all decide that houses should have a theme… Tuscan Villa, Balinese palapa, California midcentury modern, Spanish revival. Shouldn’t a house just be what it is without forcing it? Because of this current trend in AD, this translates to the homes looking like spec houses with too much money. Money is where the client’s fault lies. Nouveau riche clients who don’t have the time, knowledge or wherewithal to decorate their own homes. My other gripe with clients is that they hire a decorator but want to have their two cents heard. My advice to a client? “Shut up.” This whole combination between shelter magazines, decorators and clients just turns into a big fuck fest. Again, pardon my French.
Don’t think that Architectural Digest is the only culprit…Elle Decor plays its part as well. The difference is that Elle Decor appreciates “individuality.” Just bad individuality. Not everything has to have a fucking “pop of color.” The problem is also that people turn to the shelter magazines for inspiration and what you are looking at is 50% good and 50% bad and to the untrained eye… It might be difficult to perceive the difference. Therefore, you might think that everything looks good… But it doesn’t.
Veranda magazine? Not quite as bad but it just looks like every home is too perfect and we all know that life is imperfect and guess what? I want to see that. Show me a little mess. Veranda magazine will lead you to believe that life is about country clubs, monogrammed everything and your sorority friends. Gross. Although, I admit, I do like a good country club for a turkey club sandwich and Arnold Palmer iced tea.
This whole lethal combination would not be possible without… Us, the reader. Why do we keep reading this shit? Why doesn’t someone say something? Why are we being subconsciously influenced by what is put in front of us? Like lambs being led to slaughter, I say. There needs to be some sort of hostile takeover to stop the carnage. Interior design carnage. If you would like, I shall be your leader. I have nothing to lose. Even if I die in the war, it will all be worth it if we can just bring back tables filled with family photos in beautiful antique mismatched frames. In case you have forgotten what good design is, refresh your memory with the book, The Finest Houses of Paris. My mother and I refer to it as, “The Bible.”
Okay, as they say, the proof is in the pudding… So let’s take a look.
Let’s start with the March issue of Architectural Digest with the Kardashian feature story. Don’t get me wrong, I love me some Kardashians. I love everything about them except for the fact that they cannot decorate. It’s not their fault, they were raised in Calabasas. Rule number one of getting rich: Move. Move somewhere better. I probably have passed Calabasas, the hometown of the Kardashians, at least 400 billion times and never have I once ventured off the freeway to even get gas there let alone buy a home there. I did get off the freeway twice a few miles down the road in Encino to my best (male) friend’s (Randy Jackson) family house and that was only because I wanted to see his brother Michael. Yes, that Jackson family. Who wouldn’t? The only good news is that our beloved Kim Kardashian whose constant ugly cries I appreciate had the good sense to hire Axel Vervoordt to design her Calabasas house but I have a feeling that hiring the brilliant Vervoordt might be more Kayne’s idea.
Let’s start with Kourtney’s house. Beside the fact that it looks uncomfortable and you would be shot if you actually relaxed there, it all just looks staged. But bless her heart, she’s got enough on her plate raising three children on her own wondering if her baby daddy is dead or alive every day. However, I will say that I give her props for trying. Kourtney actually did her homework and has invested in some good piece. Let’s take a look…
Reminiscent of the good old days of AD… This room actually works. Christian Liagre sofas (how did Kourtney know about Christian Liagre?), vintage Oscar Niemeyer chair, fantastic consoles and a Richard Serra triptych above the fireplace. The lamps are brilliant because my friend, Diandra Douglas, has them. Not in love with the rug because it mirrors the squares of the console and it just makes the room look busy. All in all, a good room though. Well played, Kourtney. But still, nothing to write home about.
These are the same lamps just in a better setting at my friend Diandra's house. Yes, that is a Paul Evans console. By the way, this is how to decorate.
I am kind of okay with this entry. Love the table and the brutalist vase but everything including the outdoor furniture just looks hard hard hard. I feel like I’m going to crack my head open everywhere in her house.
Not exactly a cozy kitchen and if I see those barstools one more time in a magazine, I’m going to puke. And that fruit bowl? It’s Kelly Wearstler’s which proves my point that Kelly has officially gone crazy. Looks like a kitchen to eat takeout with disposable utensils but not actually cook anything.
Kourtney’s dining room has all the elements to work but it just doesn’t. Yes, Mansour Modern carpet, yes José Esteves chandelier, yes Lichtenstein artwork, yes vintage Pierre Jeannert chairs… But it just doesn’t flow and that horrible sculpture isn’t helping. I do like the curtains but do you really want to dine here?
Okay, the bedroom. I like it 80%. Bed great. Vintage Jean-Michel Frank lounge chairs, great. 1970s Belgian cocktail table, great. Bedside table lamps, great. Finally, a cozy rug, great. Hate the artwork above the bed.
So all in all, I will give Kourtney’s house a C+. But things get worse when we go over to her sister’s house. Khloé, whom I adore personality-wise, just hasn’t got a clue when it comes to decorating. She has relied too heavily on her decorator, Martin Lawrence Bullard. Black-and-white Moroccan does not a house make especially when it is new Moroccan. It’s all just so “Los Angeles.”
I honestly just don’t know what to say about her tented living room other than, “What the fuck?” It is so bad on so many levels… I just can’t. All I can think of is: fire hazard.
Khloé kitchen with her signature design of “cookies psychotically arranged in glass jars” is what started this whole mess. Once again, I don’t think there is any actual cooking going on in this kitchen. However, I like the chandelier. But who would openly admit that they have Caesarstone countertops?
Khloé's pantry… Did Architectural Digest just honestly waste two pages of pictures of her pantry? Are we supposed to be impressed that she can organize and label? Did she learn that at college? No one’s pantry is supposed to be this organized. Life isn’t like this. And there's not enough food!
I have to admit that I like the screening room except for the stupid artwork.
Now we come to the pièce de résistance, Khloé's crown glory of her career, her life’s work… Her closet. I have never been so embarrassed for anyone in my entire life. To stand and be photographed inside one’s closet implying, “Look, I’ve made it. Look at all my shoes. Look at my purses.” Architectural Digest should be financially punished for this shot.
I can only imagine the conversation between Khloé and her decorator, Martin Lawrence Bullard with this courtyard. It probably went something like this… “Chloe Darling, let’s put a giant mirror on the wall of your courtyard that reflects nothing.”
Now let’s venture over to the March issue of Elle Decor to be equally as appalled. Someone has got to be blamed for allowing Marissa Tomei’s living room to be on the cover let alone her whole house being featured? Mr. Editor, I shall blame you.
What part of this living room works? None of it. None of it even remotely works. Not that stupid African fabric sofa, not that stupid pink chair and certainly not those teal and yellow pillows on the floor! And those walls sconces are too far apart..
Once again, I am at a loss for words regarding this room. This is Elle Decor’s main problem… allowing rooms like this to be featured. This isn’t clever. This isn’t stylish. This is simply horrible and it should be ignited.
I can’t even turn another page of this magazine.
Veranda? You are up next…
See what I mean? It’s nice but it just doesn’t have any real character. I like it but if I grew up here, I would probably rebel, do drugs and disappoint my parents. They, of course, would hide me at a rehab somewhere until I came to my senses and appreciated the wonderful life that they gave me.
Do you see what I’m talking about? It’s really just not worth it to read any of these magazines anymore. I dream of the day that they bring back American Vogue Living magazine with Hamish Bowles as editor. But for now, my only true inspiration comes from World of Interiors, British House & Garden, Santa Barbara Magazine and Vogue Living Australia. And Pinterest. But let’s end this blog on a good note and look at some interiors from the “make my heart swoon and restore my faith in humanity” book, The Finest Houses of Paris.