Sunday, December 04, 2011


I watch A LOT of HGTV. Ever since I took my first drafting class in 8th grade, I've kind of been obsessed with interiors. I thought about going to school for interior design but the program at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh was more expensive than full tuition at the University of Pittsburgh so I found myself with a writing degree instead. In the years since then, I've filled my love of design through this network, first with Trading Spaces (where I first "met" Genevieve) and now with shows like Secrets of a Stylist, Dear Genevieve, Property Brothers, and The High Low Project.

Most of the time I could go either way on the new rooms these designers do. Sure they're nice, but they're not necessarily for me. There are always elements I like, but more often than not, I wouldn't have wanted my entire room to look exactly like that. Well, that's changed with the episode I just finished watching, which featured Gen (like how I shortened her name like we're besties?) making over the first home of a 30-something career gal in NYC. The space had good bones but at 500 square feet was tiny and lacked storage and seating (side note: our first apartment in San Francisco was a paltry 475 square feet so I know all about how problematic it is to make a space that small function properly and look good.).

Another confession: even though I get kind of agro in crowds and my anxiety goes full tilt when I'm surrounded by too much noise & people, I've kind of always had this alternate universe fantasy where I lived in NYC for a year. We've already lived in an incredibly tiny space and lived the tell about it, so I have no qualms about our ability to fit our lives into a jewel box sized NYC apartment. And now, I'm a little more design savvy (with more expendable income) than I had way back in 2002 - everything was Pottery Barn back then, thanks to my employee discount - so I have visions in my head of what a NYC apartment could look like, instead of feeling constrained. That said, it's more of a jumble of ideas and thoughts about what I would want than any cohesive design plan.

But this apartment that Genevieve did? Perfection.

Yesterday Alan said to me that my ideal living space is one that looks lived in. This apartment captured that sentiment perfectly. It looked like whoever lived there had an eclectic sense of style and a great love for picking up items that coordinated, but weren't matchy matchy. It looked like whoever lived there was smart, cultured, and interesting. It was a beautiful space.

Unfortunately HGTV does a TERRIBLE job of making the images from their shows available online. Thankfully, House of Hydrangeas also loved the episode and took the time to photograph images from her TV and post them. I love the blogosphere.

Three things that I especially love about this room are the built-in bookcase behind the couch (so much storage!), that grouping of vintage mirrors, and the fact that she didn't try to pretend the TV doesn't exist. So many design shows try to hide the TV - or get rid of it altogether - and I'm always left wondering why they do that. Clearly this homeowner likes TV, and there it is front and center. 

I'm thinking that there must be a space in my house for a cluster of mirrors. I just have to figure out where.