Categories
House Lifestyle

Coziness comes from life

Quoted 6 SMALL WAYS TO MAKE A HOME FEEL COZY (aestheticsofjoy.com)

[C]oziness comes not from what you *put* in your space, but [how] you *live* in your space…

Coziness is about intimacy, but we don’t often think about intimacy when decorating our homes. Truly cozy spaces in a family home are ones where we feel drawn to be together, to be so close that we can feel the warmth of each others’ bodies.

I’ve been annoyed that even over the past ten years of living here, my living room does not feel cozy or inviting, no matter how many throw pillows and blankets I add. And I think she’s onto something here with her description of “rhythms of coziness”: using the space makes it become cozy. We spend almost no time in our living room, so we don’t really have memories or rituals in the space, and the accessories of life and comfort don’t make their way there.

Scale is another tricky element — with only two people, we’re floating around in too much space, and the raised ceiling looks pretty but feels less human scale.

Categories
House Lifestyle Mental Health

Home organization is often a quest for control

Liked Perfectionism and the Performance of Organizing by Virginia Sole-Smith (Burnt Toast by Virginia Sole-Smith)

Organizing is a complicated drug. It’s about instant gratification and control… But it’s also an illusion of control…

My husband calls it Nesting Mode when I get super into making the house better.

I’m not sure there is a more peak White Lady moment than texting your friends photos of your newly organized Tupperware drawer…

Lol I just reorganized my snack shelf this weekend and sent a photo to my mom and sister 😂

But lots of people, particularly straight women in cis het partnerships, play the role of the Noticer in their household, which tends to translate to also being the Organizer and resetting that balance requires the less organized partner to start valuing that there is now a place to put the permission slips and library books…

I’m working on letting go of more things / caring less — although I am extremely attuned to Noticing shit that “needs” to happen. I’m also trying to give my partner more opportunities to take ownership of how our house is organized, like having him help me figure out where to store our salad fixings after I removed them from the snack shelf where I’d been keeping them with the other nuts and dried fruit.

See also: The Mental Load

Categories
Art and Design House Technology

Neutralizing reality to sell

Liked this house may or may not be real (Tumblr)

In my travels as McMansion Hell, I’ve increasingly been confronted with houses full of furniture that isn’t real. This is known as virtual staging and it is to house staging as ChatGPT is to press release writing or DALL-E is to illustration.

The better this rendering technology gets, the more it will rely on these totally neutral spaces because everything matches and nothing is difficult. You are picking from a catalog of greige furniture to decorate greige rooms.

This is where things are heading: artifice on top of artifice on top of artifice. It’s cheap, it’s easy. But something about it feels like a violation.

If neutrality makes a house sell, then personality – at all – can only be seen as a detriment.

So who’s doing this? The answer is real estate itself aided by their allies in mass media who in turn are aided by the home renovation industry. In other words, it’s the people who sell home as a commodity. That desire to sell has for some time overpowered all other elements that make up a home or an apartment’s interiority to the point where we’ve ended up in a colorless slurry of real and unreal.

Emphasis mine.

Categories
House

Read Jungalow

Read Jungalow

From Justina Blakeney, the ultimate guide to designing wildly creative interiors that are free-spirited, layered, and deeply personal Jus…

I dug a lot of her example rooms. I especially liked the first section of the book where she created mashups of two cultures. It also resonated with her sharing her family heritage and personal feeling of being mixed culture being an important part of her. The pattern and materials section was usefully presented. The DIY section was quite short and didn’t add much, I would have dropped that and expanded the first section or dug into color more. I appreciated the variety of plant metaphors they used throughout 😉

Succulents spill out of drawers in a tall chest of drawers
I love the casual spillover of plants though wonder if that’s a nightmare to water – and also makes the rest of the drawers harder to use

 

A bureau is decorated with white varied patterns, a light yellow wall and gold framed mirror behind
This gold toned vignette feels so warm and fun without being overwhelming

 

Pink bedroom with hot pink walls and lamp, patterned pink headboard, pink art, and a pretty calathea with pink stripes
😍 I love love love this pink immersion – my office wall is a similar hot pink and I’ve contrasted against it but this is spectacular
Pale pink walls and copper scalloped tile bathroom with scallops extending over the vanity as a backdrop
I really like the scallops as a backdrop on the vanity, adding an elegant feminine detailing against the dusky pink – I like the sheen of the dark copper with the pink
Categories
Future Building House

Designing a future based on the biases of the past

Liked Why the ‘Kitchen of the Future’ Always Fails Us by Rose Eveleth (Eater)

In a world full of incredible technology, why can we still not imagine anything more interesting than a woman making dinner alone?

Writing off all these hypothetical kitchens as nonsense ignores how powerful the effect of their messaging can be.

Gender role stereotypes are so obnoxious — even though in my household I am the one who cooks. We went to an open house in the fancy part of our neighborhood once just to see what it looked like inside. The realtor chatted with us, and as we’re walking out the door, he points at my husband and tells him, “She wants a new kitchen, and you’re gonna pay for it!”

😶

[Engineers and designers] operate on the premise that people don’t know what they need until it’s built for them. This is a useful principle in some ways, but when it comes to reconsidering how people interact with spaces and appliances they use every day with fluency, it results in an approach to innovation that only calls for talking, never listening.

The result is an array of potential futures that are strangely both unaware of the culture from which they spring, and at the same time constrained by it.

A “we know better” perspective? Here’s another opportunity for co-design.

Solving for problems with technology is exciting / venture capital-izable, while the more common “boring” problems that make a kitchen easier to use probably involve: improved storage, simpler / easier cleaning, and lower maintenance.

What would my dream kitchen have that I don’t have now?

  • A counter depth fridge with freezer on the bottom, not the side –> stop food from getting lost in the back of our fridge
  • An induction stovetop (currently have electric coil 😢) –> easy to clean stovetop that I won’t burn myself on
  • A hood range that actually vents outside –> healthier indoor air quality while I’m cooking
  • More counter space, especially next to the stovetop –> more room for mise en place / less stressful cooking
  • An easy-to-clean, low-maintenance countertop (currently have tile 😭) –> cleaner countertops that don’t always look grimy like tile grout
  • An easier-to-use pantry (ours has wire shelves that stuff falls through, and the shelves are too deep to see everything) –> less annoyance, easier access
  • Storage that’s easier for a short person like me to reach and use (I can’t reach half of the cabinet where we keep cups) –> less annoyance from lugging my stepstool around
  • Appliance storage so I don’t have to heft my heavy stand mixer up from floor level –> would use my appliances more often
  • Somewhere to store cat food (right now it’s in overflow storage under the stairs) –> save myself a trip down the hall

I could currently buy any of these things, if I had the money. No new inventions required.

New kitchen inventions I would like:

  • A blender that’s not a pain in the ass to wash.
  • Dishwashable non-stick pans.
  • Knives that hold their edge like carbon steel but don’t rust or react with red veggies.
  • Storage for tupperware — an apparently impossible problem 🤣

We’ve now lived in our house ten years without remodeling the 1988 kitchen 😂 Sure, a new kitchen would probably work a little better and be prettier. Yeah, I have a Pinterest inspo board, but I can admire pretty things without buying them. And how many hours of my and my husband’s lives do I really want to trade for a fancier kitchen?

See also: The Politics of Kitchen Design

Categories
Art and Design House

Read Modern Americana

Read Modern Americana

Do-it-yourself décor inspired by iconic patterns, classic fabrics, sentimental items, and the Americana style.Designer Max Humphrey celebrates the elements of modern Americana and shows how they can drive personal decorating styles in traditional country settings, contemporary urban lofts, and everything in between. Humphrey gives readers confidence to create their own stylish digs with unique flair using things they collect, buy, inherit, or dumpster-dive for.

Photos and personal anecdotes highlight collectibles and DIY-ables from Max’s design and styling portfolio—such as bandana wallpaper, botanical prints, bunk beds, clocks, old maps, gingham and plaid everything, Pendleton blankets, camp vibes, and vintage signs. The book features casual and thrifted as well as custom and high-end furnishings and includes design elements from a range of Humphrey’s interior design projects from East to West coasts.

This was focused on the pictures, which are what I came for 😉 Brief introductory paragraphs and short captions offered the perfect amount of text to call my attention to the highlighted item in the photo spread. The page design was attractive and varied to complement the style of the photo or design element — my one quibble is that I found it a little confusing when the title for a double-page spread was on the right-hand page instead of the left.

I liked the way this was organized, by material type or design element (e.g. fabrics, collections, tile). It covered a lot of ground so there were only two to four pictures for each specific example (e.g. denim, canvas, within fabrics). That seemed fine since elements were also scattered throughout the designs pictured throughout the rest of the book, so you could see those elements in use in more examples.

The designs broadly felt very complementary, clearly designed and styled by the same person. Just a couple examples that felt slightly more on the modern side than the americana side, but that seems fair given the title 😉

Categories
House Reuse Shopping

Online estate sales

Bookmarked CT Bids (ctbids.com)
Categories
Art and Design House

Read Absolutely Beautiful Things

Read Absolutely Beautiful Things – A Bright and Colourful Life

Not especially to my taste though I appreciate a maximalist perspective in a world where minimalism reigns. I finished more for the book design — I liked the full spreads with a pullquote accompanying a full page photo.

I had to lol at her lament that she develops tons of custom concepts and her clients refused when they saw the prices — I mean, I want a beautiful, cozy home but I also can’t afford to spend a fortune and the slightly less cute option from Target is nearly as good most of the time. It seems like half the time I splurge on something it’s a mistake. Also, the hill she dies on is custom lampshades and cushions? 🤣 Stuff like this reminds me that I am not rich, actually 🤑

Categories
House Learning Meta

Elevating a book collection to a personal library

Replied to How to nurture a personal library by Freya Howarth (Psyche)

Meaghan Dew, who works on collections and reader development in a Melbourne public library, suggested that a key part of nurturing a personal library is working out what you really want from it. The aim is ‘not what you think your library should be’, she told me, ‘but the library that you are actually going to use and appreciate on a regular basis.’

I’ve always acquired books individually, without consideration for the rest of my collection; I’m intrigued by this perspective shift of personal library versus book collection as a thought experiment. I’m not sure what I would change by thinking of my books as part of a whole.

My books currently fall into a few categories:

  • Art books
  • Graphic novels, comic books, and zines
  • Hiking and travel
  • Gardening and plant / wildlife reference
  • Personal growth and productivity
  • Design and writing craft reference
  • Assorted nonfiction
  • Assorted fiction

This balance reflects what I like to read in hard copy, what I want to have handy for reference, and what isn’t available at the library so I need to buy it to read it 😉 (Another metric I’ve added for keep/discard in my thirties, after giving away dozens of indie comics: how hard it would be to replace or access elsewhere.)

A personal library can serve as:

  • a store for memories… a way to rediscover and revisit ideas and feelings…
  • a tool for research, which lets you encounter new ideas; and
  • a source of various pleasures: entertainment, escapism, solace, beauty, inspiration, and surprise.

Sometimes I feel like I could dump a bunch of the graphic novels, which I basically never reread, but this article’s suggestion of a store for memory perhaps fits my reasoning for keeping them around.

Packed personal bookshelf with art books, comics, non-fiction and reference books, plus a fuzzy alpaca stuffie
My bookshelf: art books on top by necessity (height), graphic novels and comic strips overflowing on the second shelf, reference and personal growth on the third shelf, nonfiction I haven’t read yet and craft books on the fourth, and out of sight on the fifth is fiction.

For years my personal allocation of books was whatever fit on this bookshelf; I purged and donated books (too) aggressively. I have disappointed people who know how much I read with the paucity of my physical collection 😂

But I have been buying more books in recent years, especially during the pandemic. So I said my Collected Sandman doesn’t have to fit. Then I granted myself an allowance to store comic collections in boxes (Fables, Lucifer, Transmet, Saga). Then I let myself put my husband’s books in a box — he can get his own bookshelf 😉 Then I started to squeeze books in horizontally. All this to say… I need a second bookshelf 😂 Part of a collection is presentation and ease of access, and right now they’re packed to the gills, the divisions visually unclear because I mostly can’t fit bookends, and not very inviting to peruse or use.

Categories
House Lifestyle

Read The Home Edit Life

Read The Home Edit Life: The Complete Guide to Organizing Ab…

When at home or on the go, you don’t have to live like a minimalist to feel happy and calm. The Home Edit mentality is all about embracing your life–whether you’re a busy mom, a roommate living with three, or someone who’s always traveling for work. You just need to know how to set up a system that works for you.

In the next phase of the home organizing craze, Clea Shearer and Joanna Teplin go beyond the pantry and bookshelf to show you how to contain the chaos in all aspects of your life from office space to traveling bags to pet supplies and holiday storage. Take quizzes and get to know your organizing style, tailor it to your family’s lifestyle, and lead the low-guilt life as you apply more genius ideas to every aspect of your life.

Haha, this book was not remotely relatable 😂 All the examples are celebrities’ homes? They own many beautiful things, so it’s easy to make it look good. Lots of large collections of things (emphasis on shoes, makeup, crafty goods), but I don’t think putting my junk in neat containers will make it look pretty 😂

If only my fridge looked like this 😂

I laughed that they gathered up their cat toys, which weren’t all shredded and gross, and skipped over advice about the litter box, a big home challenge IMO 😉

Very traditional, heteronormative vibes, aimed squarely at the upper middle class mom.

I liked all the rainbow pictures, and it was fun that the design makes the edge of the book a rainbow too 🌈

The number of single use items in this book makes me want to cry lol