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Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Magazine feature vs. real life

 (click any photo to enlarge)

Dumplings, do you remember an apartment featured in the July/August 2012 issue of Elle Decor? I had used its living room shot to declare the issue ruint (this would be the one with Our Lady of Perpetually Insulting Kwanzaa Cake on the cover). Because the abode is so incredibly awesome, it has been showcased again, this time on New York Social Diary. The society blog features the homes and businesses of New York City tastemakers, usually decorators, fashion designers or highly-skilled tradespeople. NYSD famously asks that the spaces not be styled or propped for their shoots, so as to explore how these creative souls truly live and work.

I wasn't a fan the first time I saw this space, declaring in comments: "It looks like something a design blogger would post and 30 or so people would chime in with "Swoon!". But to feature it in ED? Uh, no." After seeing how the style editor (!!!) homeowner really lives in the space, I have to give it to the magazine's set stylist and Photoshop assistant for making a TJ Maxx handbag out of a sow's ears.

 The bedroom IRL.
Notice how ED gave the walls an inky tint (first photo).

 I wonder why ED chose not feature the dog crate cum media stand?

 The living room as seen in ED.

 The living room IRL.

The library/guest room as seen in ED.

 The library/guest room IRL.

The library/guest room IRL.

What are your thoughts, Dumplings? Are you as amazed as me that this space has been held up as an example of good interior design not once but twice in the space of a year?

Photos: 1., 4. and 6. Christopher Sturman for Elle Decor. 2. and 3.,  5., 7 and 8. Jeff Hirsch for NYSD.
The Way They Live: Carol Fertig [New York Social Diary]
Handle with Flair [Elle Decor]


eddielicious said...

Quote from her interview; "I have to ask myself, why would somebody want to buy the Louboutin ones when they can get them for $20 and not that many people know the difference. That’s more the problem for me. I know the difference." The last sentence cracked me up. Kinda like she knows the difference between a curated collection and plain 'ol clutter?

Mark Calderwood said...

I think 'appalled' at this being an example of good design is more accurate. Design Suicide.

It's junk. Literally, junk and clutter with the handle of 'curated' slapped on it to sound elitist.

And it looks it. It looks cheap, half finished and mismatched in the 'couldn't find what I wanted at the second-hand store but this will do, I don't want to spend any money on this' way.

And what statement does it make about the designer? (Apart from the shoes comment which just makes her sound pompous and snotty?) A woman who sleeps in a cold grey bedroom with her 'beloved' dog in a cage and completely subordinates her living/dining area to her work space? Is she really going to create inviting spaces? Or dictate 'style' with an attitude cold and hard as flint?

It's practically an anti-ad for an interior designer.

Carol in Denver said...

Her apartment is full of interesting stuff, that's for sure. What bothered me most were editing errors (editing lacks?) in the article in the New York Social Diary: "deigns" s/h/b "designs," "Carol" s/h/b "Carol's," two of the word "changes" in the same phrase, one of them extraneous, and more. I don't watch for such errors but sometimes they leap out. Dismaying.

Squeak said...

I am in total agreement with Mark. If this conglomeration of "stuff" is considered good design, then my place is ready for its Elle Decor cover!

And I'm so tired of hearing the word "curated" applied to interior design. "Arranged" - perhaps. "Thrown on a table without much thought and forgotten about" - much closer to the truth.

It's unbelievable that this apartment rated a mention in NYSD's House, let alone an Elle Decor spread.

An Urban Cottage said...

"Carol's collection of Hermes boxes serve as a reminder to her respect for quality and classic roots."

That's a gem.

Glamour Drops said...

um....they both look contrived....

Margaret said...

Rooms that scream, "I'm being evicted!" as seen on Craigslist in the "Free" category.

I can do this type of decor all by myself, thank you for reminding me I don't need to buy ED.

e439a728-7ffb-11e0-9b44-000bcdca4d7a said...

This is why I didn't renew my subscription to ED. Wasn't worth it even at $6 a year.

Meranda S said...

Thank you for such a great post. I love to see how these magazines alter the rooms with photo editing programs. It seems to be a bit dishonest, yet everything is being "enhanced" these days. I don't have any problems with the room. It is not my ideal style, but then again, everyone has their own particular looks they like and dislike. I have to say though, there is nothing wrong with saving money. Did you know that 40% of American workers make $20K a year or less? Design for the average American is needed. We all cannot afford a $10 K accent chair for our homes, and lets not pretend to either. Also, if you cannot afford Gucci for your handbags and accessories, don't beat up others for not having it in their homes. Nothing looks more fake than something like a over hyped handbag neatly sitting on the floor...common! I love good design, but this design industry in general is so stuck up! I don't agree with all the photo editing, but I have done it myself, so I cannot complain.... Ah! What a great article, and I love reading peoples thoughts on this. Huge Blessings to you all!

of this earth said...

Oh my gourd, the photos are awful enough... but that interview was as empty and pretentious as her carefully arranged stack of Hermes boxes. Ugh.

Michele from Boston said...

I think someone likes Carol Fertig! I subscribe to her Object Lesson postings which can be really fun and informative. Believe it or not, I get a little freaked out when something like this lands in Elle Decor or NYSD. I must have put it out of my mind from ED, but as soon as I saw that arrangement of gold plastic leaves on the wall, I said "eek!" how did this resurface? Is there genius here and I'm just not seeing it? My favorite item: the leopard stool - LOL. And the sweet dog. Maybe she has a hidden country house?

Raina Cox said...

Michele from Boston - That must be it! She has a Petit Trianon where the real decorating happens.

K. E. Spillman said...

Ah, the dog crate in the bedroom! I am obscurely pleased that this woman doesn't do a better job than anyone else does of hiding this necessary monstrosity.

ChrisToronto said...

But what's with the blue wall in pic #1??? It's gorgeous and really makes the space. Did ED paint the room or just do it in Photoshop?

Raina Cox said...

ChrisToronto - PhotoShop, I'm sure. Former ED editor Margaret Russell was notorious for "fine tuning" photos, especially covers.


Where can I get a media "crate" like that? I see a trend:)
Way to pull the mask off.....