2.10.2010

Overwhelmed, Underwhelmed, and Why I Started Blogging

Now I know where I've been going wrong in my latest round of D-I-Y projects:  if I had gloves to match my shirt and a blond to bring me ice cold refreshment, maybe work would be less overwhelming, though I prefer my "light refreshment" to include rum, coke (sorry Miss Crawford, wherever you are), and a twist of lime.


I've been posting lightly lately.  It's for a variety of reasons, including, but not limited to, some minor medical issues, a time consuming work project, and the whirl of  family related Christmas, New Years, Super Bowl and Mardi Gras activities.  By next week, most of those issues will be resolved, and I do have some great ideas  and some photos (I wish that the photos were also great, but alas my camera skills are not yet perfected)  to share next week from my latest project, which blends the topics that really interest me:  combining traditional and modern elements, doing it yourself ( slipcovering, upholstering, painting), reworking and reimagining old furniture, and doing it all for a smallish budget.

So we've discussed the overwhelmed portion of my mindset:  the usual trifecta of work, health, and family.  What's been underwhelming me?  Blogland, the blogosphere, etc.  I don't want this to turn into a rant, especially since it would be a bit hypocritical considering my own less than earthshattering posts lately (I painted my bedroom--call Margaret Russell, I'm sure she'd be thrilled to know!!) as well as my own reasons for starting a blog, but I'm tired of cookie cutter looks likes ripping out great vintage tiled bathrooms to put in crappy home depot flooring and sheetrocked walls painted in whatever is the latest approved neutral, or covering every surface possible in Imperial trellis or Mai Chaing.  I'm tired of looking at exactly the same finishes over and over:  carrera marble, feedbag linen, dark stained floors, white kitchen cabinets.   Sidenote:  I've been professionally involved in design for over 10 years---I've seen trends come and go, and I'm always amazed how many people embrace a popular look and become convinced that this look, shown everywhere--at all retail levels and all kinds of media--is a true classic that will never become dated.  The truth is, the only look that never really becomes dated is a personal look with lots of traditional elements.  And no one may believe me, but I'll bet that most of the people gushing over the Swedish/Belgian look with feedbags and seagrass gushed over shabby chic with loose slipcovers and peeling white paint and, before that, gushed over patterned chintz, English country, and jewel tones, and will soon be gushing over something else.  I want to see individuality.  I want to see colors outside of an approved range from white to beige to cream to if-there-are-enough-shadows-and-you-squint-it-kind-of-looks-grey.  I'm in the camp of Diana Vreeland, "I’m a great believer in vulgarity- if it’s got vitality. A little bad taste is like a nice splash of paprika. We all need a splash of bad taste- it’s hearty, it’s healthy, it’s physical. I think we could use more of it. No taste is what I’m against."

And I want some discussion about design--real discussions-likes, disklikes, why you like or don't, why you think this works or not, etc.  Isn't there something between snarking and fawning?  (and by the way, I'm really sick of snarky people who show no pics of their own design skills.)

Now, I guess, comes the part where I have to be prepared to put up or shut up.  I originally started my blog after Thomas had to to forcefully drag me away from screaming at certain HGTV programs, where the "designer" had done certain things like facing the steps to a large bathtub with wood veneer or placing a white rug under the breakfast room table (for a family with three boys under the age of 10).  My original idea was to blog about how bad these designs were---in short, wallow in snarkiness.  But, honestly, negativity, snarkiness, and cynicism are not where I wanted to focus my attention.  Sure, they're fun---I've always been a fan of "If you don't have anything nice to say,.....please come sit by me," but constant negativity was putting a strain on my disposition.  So my orignal idea was to focus on the positive--what do I like, what can I do to combat bad design information.  And in that mission, I have failed--or at least underperformed.  Like most new bloggers, my first posts were rapid and vapid.  I trudged on, why I really don't know, and since then I've improved (I hope) my posts and my photos, and somehow acquired some followers.  Thank you.  So, I'm committed to either going back to my roots to post about the things I really love:  individual design, color, doing it your self, reclaiming the old, etc. while trying to ignore what everybody else is doing  or, if that doesn't happen, to closing up shop and finding a new focus. 

Thanks for indulging me and my self-indulgent fit of pique.  If you come back later (and I wouldn't blame you if you don't), I promise some pretty pics and a fun project.  Until then, "laissez le bon ton roulet."

14 comments:

carla fox said...

AMEN, brother!! How refreshing! I can't tell you how many blogs I've been un-subscribing to, for the very reasons you've named. This old broad has been in the design biz for over 30 years (gasp) and I'm out now (on to other more self-involved things, like art), but I've seen the styles/trends/so-called classics come and go. And everything, yes, everything has a dated look. That's life. Someday, I'll have to come sit beside you and we'll talk......(oh the stories!) But until then, show us your bedroom, that re-purposed chest of drawers, that bedding you found on ebay, whatever....but show us YOUR work, your creativity and please, please PLEASE don't ever use the work "chic". If that word were banned from blogdom, 3/4 of all the blogs on the net would disappear!!!! Thanks for letting ME vent, and know I'm right behind you;)

Trouvais said...

Well...I'm probably guilty, guilty, guilty of half your rant...but I love it anyway. The good thing about blogging about trends is that you can get sick of them before you put that "in" color on your wall... or put money down on it. Since I do my own painting, that saves me enormous amounts of time/grief (didn't say I was a GOOD painter). I have miserable cold and forgot about it for a moment because of your great catharsis. Merci. PS: Is it OK to use Chic sardonically?! Trish

mimi said...

I love the look of burlap, sisal, linen, etc. but agree that everything will look dated without strong individuality mixed in. It is true that even the best blogs can beat a look to death. But, I love them anyway!

Visual Vamp said...

Love your profound deep thoughts.
xo xo

Vickie H. said...

Well said and needed to be....the truth isn't always pretty. Love your blog and will CONTINUE to do so!

Landscape Designer said...

GREAT POST!!! Your advise about finding things one likes and not worrying about what is IN or OUT.
Sounds like High School to me!

The Boese Family said...

Love it... bring it on! I've always been a fan of your blog, but it just got a little more interesting. :) Keep it coming, please.

Puhvis Kukk said...

I remember buying towels and shower curtains at Pottery Barn like 2 years ago and I pointed out the greek key motive and my husband says nah, it'll be out in no time. I dont think he has ever read a decorating magazine, but wize words nevertheless. It's hard not to get sucked in cause it'll be all over Etsy, magazines, blogs, stores. And what if you have always used sisal rugs in the summer in New England? Same argument goes for fashion, too.

Anyhuu, pls post some pictures of upholstering. Did you take classes (can one do that?)? How did you learn? I am dying to do it.

xx

Anonymous said...

What I'm really interested in is how to do my own slipcovers and light upholstering. Hope you will be posting more about this subject.

Also, I built a house 25 years ago with a white kitchen, carrera marble and wood floors.
I love it as much today as I did then, only the appliances have changed from white to stainless.

Good design is good design and white kitchens are classic. Just sayin'.

Parisienne Farmgirl said...

A-Men.

chair up said...

Thankyou for that breath of fresh air! I needed that.
Angex

Anonymous said...

Nice post as for me. I'd like to read more concerning this theme. Thanx for sharing this material.

Tracy @ ComfortandLuxury said...

Oh my god, will you please be my new best friend? I have been trying so hard to blog my own way, about things that inspire and delight me in the world of design and decoration, but so often find myself feeling out of step because my personal preferences don't fit the current "formula". I don't show much of my own home because it won't get the raves of the formula followers. And I'm new to the biz so have had too few clients yet to show the work I've done for them. Add to that, the fact that I live in Southern California where the hip-ness is palpable but I don't do "hip" (or "chic" or "mod") and I end up feeling like a fish out of water here in blogland. I swear, it's like high school all over again. Thanks for your rant- and for allowing me mine. Hope I didn't scare you :)
btw: I've dipped into your blog a few times before but don't think I ever commented. Sorry for that. I'll be paying more attention from now on.

beki said...

Most definitely blog about what you love! So far, the posts that I've enjoyed the most are those where you've shared what you've done in your own home. I look forward to seeing more of what you've got :-)