Monday, June 28, 2010

Design Cliche: Easy, breezy, disgustingly hot white.

Blah, blah, blah it's fuckin hot.  Us Southerners are genetically evolved to hibernate in the summer come late July and August because no living creature should ever be subjected to temperatures in the 90's with matching humidity.   But the hawtness has come early this year (let's just blame BP - I don't know why just do it) and has rendered me virtually useless except for excessive daydreaming about Seagram's Gin yachting and naps billowing white linen.  Summer = white for obvious reasons like trying to keep cool in a thin ivory linen skirt that seductively highlights my white granny panties underneath (to keep with the white theme of course) but this year seems especially white-y.  But not in the racist way.  Just the normal 'white is an awesomely pretty non-color' way. I'm not racist of course - I already referenced Seagram's Gin in this paragraph for gawd's sake!  Oh fuuuuckk!!  THAT'S totally racist!  Moving on...

Anyway, since the dawn of time every designer ever to sashay around a Restoration Hardware has loved white. It's totally true.  I don't know how many of them I have heard profess that one day they want an entire room to themselves all in white.  It'll be next to that gift-wrapping room.  The Madame may or may not have also said those words...  It was probably the gin talkin.  There is something about all white that is just so fresh and breezy - just like a warm muggy summer wind up my linen skirt.  It seems so decadent to have a room specially decorated to defy all rational thought for daily living that it must be locked away in secret.  Like a padded cell or a sanctuary. Both probably.  What happens in there is of course a complete fantasy - there's no dust, footprints, greasy pizza roll smudges, wine stains, cat vomit or Cheetos residue  So fresh and so clean clean.

Charlemagne does look really good surrounded by all white - her fluffy fur contrasts quite well with my white West Elm Parsons desk and white gourd lamp.  I just blend in.

I'm not sure where the white on white look came from: 30's glam, post war European modern, MC industrial design, 60’s mod?  According to vintage science ficiton we imagined the future was all in white because future people don't have greasy fingers because Swiffer took over the world and genetically fused their cleaning power with human DNA so everytime future people touch something it cleans it.  Awesome. That's so much better than what The Matrix told me the future was going to be about!  (except for the underground raves.  That still sounds pretty damn cool.)

It's pretty and all but this lady should probably make Madame Sunday a palette in the floor to sit on so I don't dirty up her chairs with my common filth.  Do you remember reading a magazine editorial a few years ago about some prissy couple in NYC that had an all white apartment and they were so committed to keeping it all white that they would take off their dirty "city" clothes whenever they came home and put them into the laundry area right by the front door?  Well I remember it because I fucking hate them with every fiber of my being.

Ok I kinda like this one.  Except for the, you know, complete lack of any part of it that would work for my lifestyle that of course involves drippy pizza rolls in bed and grass-stained yard shoes walking on white floors that I would probably only Swiffer like once a month.  Damn you slow-to-realize future Swiffer technology!  Wait... I meant Madame Sunday is so glamorously divine that I don't even MAKE dirt!  I leave a streak of gleaming sunshine wherever I go. La la li laaa...

Black legs.

Sotogrande House from Design Milk

Nacho Polo from Design Crisis
I need to tame the beast that is the influence of HGTV DIY bullshit that tells me I could do this with a can of spray paint and some thrift store frames.   It makes my index finger twitchy with crafty anticipation but also makes me *eyeroll* because this isn't a home it's a showroom.  A showroom where you are only allowed to wear socks on those alabaster floors.  

a white installation I got from somewhere but can't remember...
Monochromatic (especially white) makes any haphazard collection of stuff look artistic and design-y (and possibly Hoarders-y).  Just like my collection of Jonathan Adler vases, Hollywood Regency blanc de chine and cotton ball collages.

Somewhere along the way white became farmhouse shabby chic and even if you wanted that style dead like a 1000-year-old vampire burned in the sun it's still rearing its undead head as evidenced in this NYT article. I don't put that shit on MS so this is the closest you'll see - it has multiple tulip bases so I thought we'd be safe.  I'm not sure what farmhouse I've ever seen that could work as a completely white space - maybe one that was not actually near a farm in any capacity. 

From the West Elm catalog this summer. 
We're all about white this 2010 because everyone decided to become born-again virgins after the last few years full of drama, recessions and general sluttin around.  And just like in the real world when you recommit to "virginity" by slapping on a purity ring of some kind and saying "Dear Jesus, my bad!" we can just buy some white pillows, conveniently forget about whatever we don't like and pretend we all live in a fantasy land full of innocence and purity and Swiffer fingertips .  Even Young Jeezy is going white!

Actually we CAN just do that because this editorial is so fuckawesome I just forgot what day it was let alone what happened in our design conscious over the past few years.  Behold the power of the collective trend.

These ladies are so fresh and clean clean now they don't even remember the housing slump, Bernie Madoff or that Michael Jackson died. Sssshhhhhh!!  Don't remind them...

Vogue Italia from Refinery 29
Ahhhh.... like a refreshingly muggy summer breeze of purity and innocence up my skirt. 


  1. I really like white, perhaps because it looks so good on me. Not in that "Vogue, zombie mummy" sort of way, but the "I'm way too tan this early in the summer" way.

    Hmm... a sashay around Restoration Hardware sounds like a fine idea. *smiles*

  2. sigh... jealous of your tan and the way you obviously look ravishing in it. I do love white just not sure if it really works in the real world??! And by 'real world' I mean who gives a damn let's upholster everything in white linen. Yippppeee!!!

  3. I love white and dream of painting the floors in my new place in England white, but kids/dogs/red-wine-drinking-friends have me worried. What's a girl to do?

  4. Obviously just devote a room in your house to all white (who needs a guest room right?) and lock the door and hide the key so only you can get in! Problem solved!!

  5. It's not just the cat vomit, it's the cat butt schmutz. Unless Charlemagne doesn't have that sort of problem. (I have a boy cat.) So white is totally out for bed linens, carpeting, fabric of any sort. I can't wait to have Swiffer fuse with my DNA.

  6. Fortunately Charlemagne doesn't have a butt schmutz (!) problem but sometimes we do have a decapitated bird problem. It's sweet really. Me and you first in line for Swiffer experimentation!! We'll be like the X-men of house chores!!

  7. Greatness comes in many forms...a perfect pizza, a closing pitcher throwing a 100 mph strike, and this blog post. I loved it. I think I will want to have one of those all white hallways with the frames...possibly leading to a secret room...possibly my underground bunker of randomness.

    I am not sure what an underground bunker of randomness would be, but if I had one, I would be a better writer, I am sure.

  8. Despite what my head of dazzling white hair would have you believe, I am the blackest white man to ever walk the earth ('cause I'm cool that way) but it's my Native American heritage prevents me from being actually being white. The natural oils that my skin produces, the same ones that prevent me from getting a sunburn but leave me looking like a bronze pagan god all year long, would leave an oil-shaped "bob" outline on all that white furniture.

    My wife insisted we get a white couch once and after a month, I had to sit on the floor.

  9. @Brian an underground bunker of randomness might be the coolest thing ever. Not only would it make you a better writer you would probably grow taller, develop x-ray vision and master kung fu in, like, a week.

    @bob WTF?? I think you have some kind of skin condition that needs to be studied... You say pagan god I say Discovery Channel Mystery Diagnosis episode.

    Although it would be nice to somehow bottle your anti-sunburn properties and sell it to caspers like me.

  10. This white lifestyle is totally unrealistic, impractical and untenable in the real world. Just like 6-pack abs, perfectly clean houses, and always blissful marriages. It's another case of our perfection-obsessed culture foisting yet another unattainable condition upon us.

    Now, my comments:

    All I can see in the fourth picture are the can lights (or are they air diffusers?) in the ceiling! And the utilitarian lamps, chair legs and ugly brown table! Ugh, when everything else is white, those nasty non-white items stand out so strongly. The picture really bothers me.

    This white lifestyle, my household could never live, what with our four cats. As you know, white items induce cats to vomit. When offered the choice between a black rug and a white one, for example, cats will always vomit on the white rug. We bought a chair with white cushions three years ago, and the cats destroyed them with thick, brown vomit within 24 hours. Those rooms shown above could be utterly destroyed by our felines in one afternoon. I can hear the "uchk uchk uchk Krlekchik" now.

    Now, our cats don't have butt schmutz, but Tiggles does pop out a squeeker every now and then...

  11. YES! let's blame our perfection-obsessed culture for - hey wait a minute... don't YOU have a six pack??

    I agree on the fourth picture - it makes me crazy! I would happily let any of your brood Krlekchik on it or let Mr. Tiggs pop out a squeeker in it. It would just add additional clumsy dark contrast.

  12. Did not realize how delightful Xander's occasional pale frothy upchuck could be in comparison to the constant consonant-ridden hackings of Zrzuce's felines. To be fair to him, it's not like the schmutz is a daily occurence.

  13. Gawd I love you people. Color trends and cat vomit CAN coexist in a single blog post! My world is complete.

  14. With five closets to coat in flat white I was so happy to find that Valspar had created a paint which goes on purple and dries white. Their rational was so that you do not miss a spot but I was happy because staring at white all day with an eye towards detail can be exhausting. Future paint will have active nano pigments which will free us from making color choices.

    I have a tailess, deaf white cat who is kind of like a room. He does vomit on occasion.

  15. Yes - nano pigments!! Also good for fickle madames who like to change their wall colors at the drop of a hat.

    I bet your cat could be Charlemagne's internet boyfriend.

  16. No, Madame, I do not have a 6 pack. Instead, I have a keg with the hint of a 4 pack that occasionally makes itself apparent. The 6 pack is such an illusive thing, like a unicorn. It is to men what the dimpleless thigh is to women.

    It’s funny how color trends and cat vomit seem to flow together so seamlessly. I woke up to vomit this morning in fact—a light peach color. Combine this with Xander’s frothy paleness and it seems we’re on to a new trend: neutrals. Or is that too 1998?

  17. I KNOW you did NOT just imply that the Madame's thigh was dimpled, hooker!!!

    And no you're not too far off with the neutrals thing - it's called the new pastels and I was planning on writing a post about it next week (with plenty of cat vomit references) but now it'll just seem like I copied you. Thanks a lot you big gay 4-pack having unicorn!!

  18. I suggest a post on True Blood-inspired design. Xander suggests that squished centipedes go with any decor.

  19. YES! (on the True Blood - sorry Xander). Fangtasia meets antebellum... I'll make a Polyvore board showing how to spruce up Bill and Jessica's hole in the floor.

  20. Hm. To like or not to like? If we were the landlord for any of those we'd be in discrimination jail for prohibiting Jackson Pollack from living there.

  21. yeah i think it only works for fantasy decorating where there is no such thing as discrimination jail.

  22. Better living through chemistry - just coat everything in clear teflon, might as well since you're already spraying all that white paint around.

    Once everything gets grimy, hook up the hose and spray it all down. Though I'm pretty sure that sitting on teflon for any length of time would result in profuse ass sweating, which may be worse than cat vomit (of course it'd be less of a problem in cold climates).


  23. That's a genius idea! A teflon finish would also work really well with future human DNA splicing/swiffer technology. Ass sweat? No problem! Your genes will squeegee that mess up!

    Please come back and visit so we can soak up more of your fancy science learnin!

  24. Well then, problem solved!

    I'll be back, just doin' what I can for the cause.

    By the way, the blog, well done!