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Monday, September 13, 2010

How the top 1% decorates

Now hold on Dumplings, don't change the channel. You have arrived at La Lamp Shade. Normally, Traditional interior design with a capital "T" is not my cup of tea, but Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles has published the official photos of the 2010 Atlanta Symphony Associates Decorators’ Show House & Gardens (cuh-rist, that's a pretentious mouthful) which we're going to discuss.

I had the distinct honor of
touring this show house with my newest BFFs - Susie of Eye Spy, Nelya of Head Over Heels, and Jennycakes of My Favorite and My Best during RainaFest 2010. The house was located in Tuxedo Park, the snootiest part of the Buckhead which is the swankiest neighborhood in Atlanta. You don't live here unless you have more money than God and some serious social aspirations.

The first area we entered after the grand hall (see first photo) was the dining room. An overzealous docent gave us a rather stern lecture on not-touching. The walls were draped because the owner wasn't willing to have the very old and very ugly wallpaper removed. This room is a study in what good photography can do for a truly lackluster space. It was cramped and dull and I couldn't wait to move on... the keeping room and kitchen. If you like the Restoration Hardware look, this area would have made your panties damp. It was a master study in greige.

The two kitchen islands cleverly connected with a pull-out shelf. The bookmatched marble at the stove was breathtaking - no joke. Jennycakes wasn't feelin' it though.

This room was adjacent to the kitchen and my first impression was "Holy crap - that's a lot of dusty coral." If you're a fan of match-y match-y decor, this room would have made you swoon.

This indoor-outdoor room by Melanie Turner of Turner Davis Interiors was by far the prettiest in the entire house. Though not large, it had hundreds of square feet of charm. The windows were screened and open to the outdoors with treatments made of Sunbrella fabric.

Adorable x 1000!

I don't even remember this room. Question - is racist imagery offensive when rendered by a Master? In this case, Warhol.

Another example of an awkward room photographing well. This cabana room off of the pool was cavernous and the designers struggled to fill it. The chairs were placed so far apart, one would have to yell to carry on a conversation.

This space was a large landing at the top of the main staircase. The designer decided to make it a conversation about high-low decorating. One half was filled with mostly high-end furnishings, while the other side (separated by the console bookcases) was furnished with lower-end chain and catalog pieces.

Can you guess which is which?

And last and certainly most least is this master bath by one of the biggest asshats I've ever had the displeasure to meet. This twink (who had a gazillion photos of his wife and daughter displayed - uh huh) was workin' the crowd. After looking us up, down, and sideways, he asked us who we were. We happily explained that we were a group of interior design bloggers enjoying an afternoon out. He sneered "Oh, blooooooo-gers." Then you could see the light (a dim bulb) go on as he calculated some blog coverage for his room. Suddenly, Mr. ICan'tBeBothered was all syrup-y charm.

He explained that not only was he an interior designer but also a fine art painter and a furniture maker. He name-dropped like the most desperate of social climbers and mentioned he had worked with Miles Redd on a recent Atlanta project. By the way he talked, you would have thought he was Redd's right-hand man. Well, it turns out all he did was a mural in a bar area. He slammed and disparaged Redd's work in a hilariously lame attempt to puff up his already out-sized ego. HoneyChild could only wish he was in Miles Redd's league - trust - because this bathroom was about 5 years too late to the Hollywood Regency party.

I have attended and been a participant in many a decorator show house, and I will say that Atlanta interior designers bring it like nobody's business.


nkp said...

1. I love you. But that's no news.

2. I have been waiting for this review for months. You did not disappoint. But that's no news.

3. And as for your last bit of commentary on Mr. Asshat, I laughed (cackled) out loud in carpool just now. You forgot the $80,000 (really, did he say that?) worth of Pratesi handtowels! But your take on it-priceless. And that's no news.


Edith Hope said...

Dear Raina, In today's world, at least on this side of the Atlantic, one has become very used to vulgarity. This is vulgarity with a capital 'V', combined with the most dreadful ostentation. From my recent posting, you may imagine I have a 'thing' about curtains - justified if those depicted here are anything to go by!

Raina Cox said...

nkp - I had totally forgotten about those stupid towels. He did shill those, didn't he?

Also, I'm sorry for misspelling you name. I've fixed it.

Ms. Bright said...

I don't know who did that awful bathroom, but from your description I would bet a billion bucks I know who it MUST BE.

And that is the most amazing and brilliant rant on him!

All fact, 1,000,000,000%!

Raina Cox said...

Ms. Bright - ;)

susieq said...

Love it! I'm laughing out loud! Bravo for the recap!

ArchitectDesign™ said...

Holy Cow, thats a serious design house! like many though -it's so overdone. oh my that bathroom.....and by the sounds of that guy -you get what you deserve. Not a fan of fake people.

David said...

A realtor here in KC once refused to speak to Brett and I until we were the only ones left at his open house. He asked where we currently lived, we told, and he was suddenly VERY interested in speaking with us. Douche.

Looking at the "About" page on your asshat designer's website (I'm sluthy!) I see that the last line reads:

"Exhibiting raw talent and relentless spirit, has gained the notice of a wide range of design enthusiasts, publications and blogs."

I bet that "blogs" is a recent addition.

The Down East Dilettante said...

Oh, Raina my sweet, there isn't even room for me to comment on everything this post brings up---but I'll try to be concise and stick to some highlights---Is it racist when the picture is by Warhol? oh, yeah, anytime it's used south of the Mason Dixon. That dining room is so horrible in so many ways I can't even count...but let's start with the curtained walls, the color, and those icky chairs...

The hall? Classic, dull elegant

The room you like? Absolutely yes

The kitchen? What is it with these people and their overwrought kitchens? how f-ing much kitchen does anyone need, and why must it try to look like a showroom at Bendel's? It's a kitchen, fer gawd's sake.

The bathroom that your name-droppy guy did (and what is it with decorating queens and name dropping? Does it somehow make the work better? And I actually kinda love the powder room, although I'd say it's seventy years late...but, hey, I'm gay, I love nymphs and goddesses in strict classical formation on walls, what can I say?


Design Blooms said...

Ha!!! I love the name asshat!! so funny! Its so good to hear real stuff on a blog! That door has GOT to go.

sherri said...

not surprised the asshat was hired to work in fuckhead, i mean buckhead.

MyLittleHappyPlace said...

I'm really not deserving of your brilliance, and my love for your calling-out of asswipes is unabated.

Keri Batchelder Hoffman said...

I love this post! The only thing in that house I loved was that blue chair and little table in the first pic.

david john said...

raina, you rock!

Raina Cox said...

TDED - That was actually the W/C in the master bath. It in no way related to the obese acid green horse (which it sat opposite) or the goofy dog sculptures in the orange vestibule connecting the bath to the master closet. All of that madness crammed into one area.

Raina Cox said...

david john - Thank you, my Darling!

my favorite and my best said...

sir asshat was a doucher times a billion zillion.
i met him once before at the sferra party and he was a snooty doucher then too. my mother would call him a "pisher".
what do we jews call him?

oh...and i still love the idea of a padded door in the crapper. i could use my forehead as leverage against it whilst dropping a titanic sized chocolate iceberg.

Raina Cox said...

MFAMB - "what do we jews call him?"

Pisher - Yiddish word to describe someone who is arrogant, spoiled, and conceited, and thinks he is a big deal. Literally means an adult who is still in wet diapers.

Your Mom had it right.

erin@designcrisis said...

I like:

Checkerboard floors, delicious bookmatched marble, fabric draped walls (at least in theory), and most of the racist room (but not the racist parts).

Your rousing recap kept me awake through the rest. Wish I could have been there!

Visual Vamp said...

So wish I could have been there with you all.
xo xo

Nutbird said...

Most show houses are fundraisers. The press that the organizers receive attract people to visit these houses. The show house itself is an empty house and selected for its location (very crucial in New York City) and size. Often times the layout and shape of the rooms is the least important part of securing the show house. Most designers lose money on their rooms. They usually don't recover the cost of the draperies, upholstery, and decorative painting. I don't know why any kitchen designer would ever volunteer to supply a kitchen.
The designers try to make a statement and get a little free advertising. But you know all this. Your title is how the 1% decorates. This is not true. This house is how the decorators who volunteered and are working on these possibly awkward rooms decorate. Most of the 1% never have their homes photographed and published. Also because someone lives in an expensive neighborhood, this does not mean they are socially ambitious.

autrichenoire said...

I found Mr.Asshat(thanks David)! Imagine my delight when a photo of him drawing the obese horse confirmed it!
Serious question(not really) isn't the padded door in the crapper(nod to our resident poet MFAMB),the grossest, most unhygienic, poop dusty thing ever?

Raina Cox said...

Autrichenoire - In regards to the door, that was my first thought as well. A big yellow padded petri dish.

Topaz said...

Raina, thanks for always telling it the way it is. So many bloggers fawn over pretty much everything -- good, bad or indifferent -- so they can shill for advertisers and editorial mentions. Your many fans know we might not always agree with you, but you are never less than honest in presenting your opinion.

Bromeliad said...

Love decorator showhouses - the good, the bad and the ostentatious. Loved the pretty room. And even liked the foyer. Thanks for the tour.