Wednesday, February 19, 2014

When is Good Design, Bad?

Like a lot of people, I enjoy looking at beautiful things. Whether it is a home or a photograph of a secluded spot somewhere or a piece of pottery someone made, I can appreciate how things can enhance the world around it and make it prettier or even at times ugly.
Be that as it may, one thing I have noticed and do not like is how a lot of home design sites are pushing the unattainable.

I know, this is nothing new, but it is getting out of hand.

Recently on Houzz, what I consider a high end design site if there ever was one, there was a feature on a twenty something couple that bought a house in San Francisco. Right there, that one bit of information told me we were dealing with tech money. This young couple had no furniture so they hired an interior designer to fill their space in four days and give it life. Now while the designer did a superb job, which you can see here, I found myself troubled by young people who stated they have no books. Listen, I like my Kindle, but holding a book is way better in my opinion.  But they do read, so what do I care how they access it. What interested me most is that someone stated that they approached a personal private space as a commodity. I responded to that as such:
"Of course they approached it as a commodity. While the designers work is truly superb, and I am sure they consulted with him in regards to their tastes,  it is San Fran and I would bet the young couple are tech money. That dominant industry is all about outsourcing and while their generous means give other fields work opportunities, I wonder just how many of those folks can do anything without some kind of app."

I know it comes across as seriously bitchy, but let's face it, we have a pretty decent sized group of young people with massive equity. These are not the trust fund babies of the Gilded Age. These are kids who lucked out by being in the right place at the right time. Whether they started some company or created an app, some twenty five year olds are worth millions on paper. (Dear God I hope they all have sound financial advisors.) And some of these young people are socially awkward and wired to their iPhone or Android at all time.  Vanderbilts these are not. So yes, they need to hire people to do pretty much anything and everything.
I can hear someone say, "If they can afford to have someone tie their shoes, why shouldn't they?"
You are right, why not? But I also think it is sad. Maybe it is the mom in me or maybe I wish I had their cash so I could just wave my hand and go, "Yes, do fix that bathroom and get it right in five days. Chop, chop."

One of my favorite things is how people play it off nicely in comments. "Who cares how much it cost, it is amazing!" OR "You should be inspired by such elegance." Or "I live in a studio, but this gives me lots of ideas."

I call bollocks.

There is no way in God's Grand Heaven a 10,000sq foot home helps you out design wise in a 250sq ft apartment unless there is a pillow you just have to have.

And this to me is what makes good design, bad. Sure I want to check out someone's $50,000 walk in closet, but not in every single posting.  This is where a lot of the home design sites are starting to go wrong. Apartment Therapy has begun doing this more and more and quite frankly, it is a drag. Without fail there has been a growing amount of houses and apartments posted there from some pricey areas here in the States. Yes it is nice now and then, but all the time? No thank you.

The whole thing makes me think of a few of the frugal blogs I read and how this kind of voyeurism/home porn encourages discontent and poor decision making when it comes to consumerism. We get sucked into the whole Keeping Up With The Joneses mentality, forgetting some of these folks have the means when we may not. Inspiration is subjective, but when you can only find things that are out of reach, then what? I don't know. The content of these sites are becoming a little pricey and while I don't want to look away, I feel like I am being pushed out the door.


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