Dining Room Don'ts

Rufflemania 1832

Eric: I'm reminded of my first attempt at self-employment. Seems I knew a lot of folks whose attempts at tasteful decor had gone too far, veered into 'piss-elegant' territory. "Trying too hard," I would whisper to myself. I figured I'd go in and, for a fee, tone things down, even them out, butch up. I was gonna call it Room's Too Gay?, and my fortune would be made. But it was 1975, I was nine years old, and the idea did not catch fire.

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Best Table for Sunday Brunch at the Holiday Inn on Route 9

Richard: Minimalism is the handjob of the design world. On paper, it seems pretty simple. In practice, not so much.

That's because minimalism is a two-step process. Step #1: keep things to a minimum. Which is, like, duh, obviously, but step #2 is far more complicated: make sure the things you've kept are exquisite.

Few things in this room are exquisite.

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The Up Side of Downsizing

Eric: Times are tough. Things are hard all over. How do you go from 3600 square feet of home to 1200 of condo? Or 500 of apartment? You divest. I'm certain that, like me, when you got your first apartment you made and filed a detailed, prioritized list of everything you'd need to eventually furnish your dream house. Now is the time to whip it out, grab a cup of coffee and work it in reverse.

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Colonial Collision With a Cat Box!

Shawn: What's the first thing you think about upon witnessing this setting? That's right -- colonial furniture is back! The WASPy emotional austerity and the sense of elder class boundaries gone to seed in modern suburban limbo is so sublimely barren. Remember the good old days when savages, and provocative, unmarried women were openly scorned without recourse and Lucifer himself lurked behind every poplar tree?

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Keeping the Pesky Neighbors Off Your Trick Trail

Shawn: Like the fakey backdrop from the climax of Marnie, the background here is either terribly ill-advised or intentionally employed to grant a dissonant feel of unrealness to the proceedings. Only the director and the production designer know for sure, but I feel like it's the latter.

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Mainlining Pottery Barn

Shawn: This is damned to faint praise. Sure, our guy knows his strengths and wisely foregrounds his girded haunches and well-developed calves, but face-free nakedness always beg the question whether it’s a less-than-photogenic mug or an innate shame that calls for anonymity.

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Neo-Goth Meets Country Primitive

Shawn: I'd describe this setting as a blue movie take on a Vincent Price/Edgar Allan Poe epic from the early 70s called The Mounting of Morella or The Bitchfinder General.

His Faustian Van Dyke and bicep bat tattoo are icing on the cake. If it’s possible to fuse Neo-Goth with Country Primitive, this guy has pulled it off.

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The Joys of Trawling eBay

Our friend Don sent us this one. He wrote:

"This table was featured recently on ebay. How can you tell that it was being sold by a man? Check it out.

OK, Study the mirror.

Got it?"

Boy, did we ever. (Tiny meat!)

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