Do interior designers know what homes are for?
A parlor fantasy on a toilet lifestyle
My mom gives me her finished copies of House Beautiful, which often makes me angry, not inspired/awed. I feel like each article should come with a disclaimer saying how much the home, property tax, designer’s services, materials, and upkeep cost, along with how long the contractors took and how/where the owners lived while the place was being reno’ed so we be real with what people are paying for.
One thing that always makes me laugh is the fantasy that the designers in the magazine often sell: a way of life that doesn’t exist for most people in the 21st century (even the very wealthy), especially families. Notice how you never see televisions?
Here are some of the hypothetical situations in which a home was decorated in a recent issue where the magazine bought a mansion and had decorators do it up:
I would like to read a home decor magazine that has more relatable, or at least honest scenarios from decorators like:
“For impromptu cocktail parties, there is an extra recycling bin in the living room— permanently.”
“The owner wanted a luxe place for the mice to shit, so we created built-in shelving beneath the stove and painted it in a high gloss.”
“I love the idea of having a place for the hostess to momentarily fume over her husband asking her why she’s so stressed out right before one of their legendary cocktail parties, which is why I created this tiny butler’s pantry with an ice machine.”
“With a busy family of five, the owners requested a closet specifically for filling up with shoes and mess to shove away quickly when company or a cleaning service is coming over, then to spill out the next time the door is opened. We decorated it with a funky animal print wallpaper so that it will be a fun experience when it’s time to attempt to shut the closet door.”
“To make grocery trips more manageable, we installed hooks throughout the mudroom to hang plastic and reusable shopping bags before they fall off and drift around the house.”
“For cozy evenings, the custom couches in the living room come with storage for afghans in dark colors because they always end up on the floor despite the custom afghan storage space.”
“We built out the den because I wanted a bigger space where everyone in the family could look at their devices and ignore each other.”
“This family with young kids loves to entertain, so they walled off the basement completely, The Cask of Amontillado-style, to keep the children from coming up and asking for things or firing Nerf guns into the hostess’ famous bœuf bourguignon.”
“The family has a large dog, so the designer chose a couch in a washable fabric so the mother of the family has a place to whisper ‘I never knew real love until I knew you. I love you the most. Let’s run away together’ into her pet’s ear.”
“This couple likes to drink. A lot! But in a fancy way. Their house has a wet bar on every floor and features an elegant wine cellar plus an extra wine cave for the rarest vintages. It’s so sophisticated. The children know by now to speak in hushed tones in the morning. Built-in shelves with clever hidden electrical outlets outside their bedrooms have hooks for soundproof headphones to ensure devices are charged up and at the ready to help parents wake up at 12:30, realize they missed kid’s soccer practice again and question their lifestyle but decide they can’t change anything because the house is the way it is.”
“For chilly midwest evenings, the architect installed heated floors in the kitchen so that the kids will be guaranteed to lay on the floor during the busiest times of the day.”
“The primary suite is accented by an $8,000 slipper chair designed to be covered with laundry 6.5 days a week.”
“The rugs are washable for the three times per day the dog vomits and eats up some of his own vomit but not all of it.”
“The parents’ bathroom door is cleverly soundproofed, to keep out the sounds of screaming and pounding.”
“The kitchen was designed with state of the art features like a second refrigerator and backup identical cabinets so that a spouse can still look for things while the mom is cooking, but in a different place.”
“Even the most utilitarian spaces can provide unexpected pops of joy. The children’s bathroom floor was hand-painted in a whimsical design that reveals itself twice a week when the bath towels are picked up.”
“The original owners had a sad little breakfast nook off the kitchen. But kitchens are for families! We blew out the nook into a full blown dining area and put a huge custom kitchen table there where I envisioned the family would pile their shit up on it every single day.”
“The decorator decided to turn the powder room into a jewel box of a space, adorning it with a tiny chandelier to distract everyone from the fact that it’s a room where everyone poops.”
Thanks for reading Evil Witches, a newsletter for people who happen to be mothers. New here? Here’s what the newsletter is all about. If you have any questions, feedback, or suggestions for future issues, you can reply directly to this email or leave them in the comments.
If you are not a paid subscriber, I hope you consider joining us. You sponsor weekly free posts like you see today and get access to subscriber-only content, intimate, funny and helpful threads. Plus, it’s 30% off now if you get yours before the end of the year!