Sunday, April 10, 2011

Dirty Pretty Things

Imma about to speed through a design history lesson of recent events.  First: recession.  (Don't all recent history lessons start there?)  Shit gets real.  No money, houses make sad faces, kittens cry and people take a lot of pictures of abandoned things.

James Griffioen's Feral Houses.  Other prints still available on 20x200.
(This looks exactly like 80% of where I grew up and had I been smart back when I was, ya know, 17 I could have made a fortune selling the pictures I was already taking of my neighbors' houses but it's not like I'm bitter or anything... Moving on.)

People want authenticity and to celebrate the "ugly" and imperfect and by gawd we'll give it to them in overpriced furniture!!
The root of all Industrial Chic evil.  

And a movement was born.  Born in abandoned buildings turned into food magazine style shoots to Steampunk dads (which oddly takes a lot of money to do correctly) and minimal Scandinavian moms with baby blankets knitted of pubic hair and cradles of peeling paint, lead poisoning and rainbow shades of oxidation.  Spread your wings and take flight, post-recession handmade grunge!
via 969years
Ok, I kinda like this if I separate all attempts of function from this space and use it purely as inspiration...

I don't have a source.  Bad blogger...

via Ideas to Steal
Blah, blah, blah a homeless person lives here blah, blah, blah I'm bored keep scrolling...

Mikkel Adsbol via A Perfect Gray
Needs more peeling wallpaper.  You're not trying hard enough.

via wishflowers
Well shut my mouth.  Now we've gone beyond beyond Industrial Chic Grunge to Serial Killer Garage of Death.

Is this yearning for authenticity or just a sad monastery of gloom??

Previous two Axel Vervoordt via Design Traveller
I see your wabi sabi and raise you cryptkeeper!  

And then there's the queen of decay Debra Cronin.

Two from Debra Cronin Design

David Kohrman via If It's Hip, It's Here
Ahahahaha just kidding.  That's an abandoned building.  But throw in a chandelier and it's a Debra Cronin.  A chandelier makes everything better.  EVERYTHING!!!

And then last week this:
For the love of all that is glittery and holy WHAT THE FUCK IS GOING ON HERE???!!!   I just couldn't take it anymore - it is the pinnacle of low in this entire Industrial Communist Prison Chic Shit movement and a waste of a perfectly good claw foot tub.  Although maybe it's not a good tub because there's a dead body in there that we can't see.  Perhaps he was shanked in a prison fight because I'm pretty sure that's where this bathroom is.  There's no Scrubbing Bubbles for sinning...

And then her spread on The Design Files:
Debra Cronin
I think it's Buffalo Bill's basement in Silence of the Lambs.

Seriously.  I'm a big fan of dirty and ugly and 'omigawd do I need to update my Tetanus before I go in there?' but there's nowhere left to go in this movement unless you actually show a "room to outfit" with the above space and a dress made from human skin carved from plump girls with 80's hair.  The pendulum is ready to swing in another less crusty and less murdery way.  A way that If the Lampshade Fits perfectly illustrated last week in her post about the return of pretty.

Calgon, take me away.  Or a unicorn with a saddle full of boxed wine could also take me away.  Both are equally good. 
I don't even like pink walls per se but I was one rusty razorblade away from self-mutilation after looking at those rooms up there so her post was rather timely.  In addition to 'Pretty in Pink" I'll add just lump it with plain old Traditional on my imaginary map of where the design trend pendulum is headed.  Even Lonny has teamed up with Traditional Home.  Since we're all stocked up on afghans of pubic hair and shitty DIY furniture disasters and have more money now we'll be ready to explore the NEW authentic!   Because you can totally buy authenticity out of a catalog...   

I'll look into my Madame crystal ball (everybody gets one when you send in enough yogurt tops) and say that the new(er) traditional has an American slant now that we're back to being overconfident again - a surge of neo-classic will lean almost Federalist with its delicate geometry and look extra saucy with uber-contemporary pieces.  Tired of suzanis?  You're in luck because the new "ethnic" is from a different part of the world we invaded - our own!  Native American jazz is about to be all up in your biznass.  Too brown for you?  Don't worry - you'll have your white bread 80s Ralph Lauren prep too - navy and stripes and ginghams and loafers and brass.  Yeah.  It's coming...  So is equestrian but with a Pretty Woman brown and white polka dot edge.  I swear, you can't make this shit up.  It's straight out of Crystal Ball o' Drunken Wonders.  Maybe if I get drunkier I'll make a mood board!  Having an official Madame crystal ball also means I'm contractually obligated to do a mood board at least once a quarter.

In the meantime I'll still be "authentic" in the old dirty and gloomy way because it took a lot of time to haul these rusty chairs in from the street and I "decorated" like that long before it became played out.  I just updated my Tetanus so I'm good for awhile anyway... 


  1. So that's how the panhandlers spend my spare change.

  2. You thought it was to feed a drug addiction but you were wrong - it was for shadow boxes and rusty things. Lesson learned!

  3. It flanks the tub with corrugated panels, or else it gets the hose again.

    You of course are right on (there was never really any questioning that). While Pits of despair are nice and all, they should only be used when under the care of a physician (read designer). They're great for inspiration, but for living?!? I'm down with brutalism but even I have a threshold of pain.

    It's time the CHAD climbed out of their hovels and ate some veggies!


  4. I thought this look was dead (no pun intended)like two years ago but I was wrong. Your CHADs got lost in their pits of despair - tough to climb out when they're weak from not eating their greens. Not only are vaccinations important but so are vitamins!

  5. It's easy to identify them if you check how steady their hands are.

  6. Ha! Easier to check for than scurvy...

  7. Dear your royal sauceliness: Why didn't you tell me all this sooner as I could have saved SOOO much money on the renovation work I did on some historic (translation = endangered and uninhabitable) homes. I paid @#^$%@#^$ to make those places apparently NOT fashionable any more. Well gawde darn it! How much do you think it will cost to hire a designed to achieve the "Serial Killer" look you present? (K of K and A at Fun and Fit)

  8. It would cost more money than gawd has. Finely-aged patinas and filth take a certain degree of mastery and skill only achieved at ridonkulous amounts of money.

  9. Makes me think of the creepy treehouse

  10. Awww... creepy treehouse! Let's reminisce...