Sunday, February 19, 2012

Design Bunged

After we bought our house, I started reading interior design blogs.  You know the kind: that picture real people's houses, with detailed descriptions of how their living room went from blah to rah after only 800 hours of sanding, painting, reupholstering and scouring antique shops and dumpsters for the perfect mid-century magazine rack.

I would read these blogs, then look around our house, with its Reno Depot bookshelves and 1980s lighting fixtures, and think how perfect and effortless my life would be if I, too, just put in a year's worth of weekends staining, scrubbing and vintage-hunting.  But whenever I did manage to make some improvement to our home, like when I finally hung a mirror that had been sitting in the garage for the past year, I'd stand back, stare at it for about 5 seconds and think, 

"Now all we need to do is replace that chair and find the right rug and a new shade for that lamp and also redo the floors and all the cabinets and install a vintage chandelier and THEN I'll be able to relax."

And I'd go back to feeling like a lazy asshole who can't get her shit together enough to have a respectable shabby-boho-mid-century-chic home.


"Finally!"  I thought. "Horrah!  You see?  I'm not lazy.  I just don't want to misspend my life!"
But upon further examination, it seems old Mary's idea of an "imperfectly kept" house is still a far cry from mine.  Some of the so-called "clutter" displayed in her book is suspiciously matchy-matchy.

Not to mention the pets.

I have long harbored a desire to start a Design Sponge-style blog where people send in photos of the disaster zones their houses actually are, so that those of us who want to set our couches on fire after spending 5 minutes on such sites can feel a bit better about ourselves.  For now, I'll start with my own.

Two years ago, filmmaker Tony Asimakopoulos and writer Natalie Karneef moved into a vaguely unattractive duplex in Park Extension, the only neighbourhood in Montreal where they could almost afford to buy property.  They needed a suitable home that they each had their own space to be moody get away from each other when they annoyed each other work.  Within this short length of time, Natalie and Tony have created a space that reflects their love of dog toys, wiring,  plastic bags they don't want to throw out, and Greek take-out containers.  

Image above: The house was built in the 1940s, and we're pretty sure the bathroom floors haven't been changed since then. Isn't that stain of unidentified origin just darling?  One can only imagine the kind of effort and consideration that go into leaving exposed red wiring underneath a baseboard heater.

Image above: We took our wreath off the front door in January, and then hung it on the inside of the door to our apartment, since we're too lazy to bring it down to the basement.  Yes: in our house, Christmas lasts all year long.

Image above:  Bathroom again.  That gorgeous coral pink 1980s tiling on the walls is just brought to life by the accenting baby blue tiles.  Here, however, the builder must have run out of blue, so he thoughtfully finished the job with white.  Eccentric, isn't it?

Image above: What's a square foot of floor space without a dog toy to make it cosy?  "Roadkill" here is one of Ruble's favourites.

Image above: This is the lamp that hangs in our front hallway.  Tony decided to pretty it up with a red gel they use on film lights.  Now, instead of a plain old boring hallway, ours looks like something you'd find in Amsterdam.  That's in Europe!

Image above: No house is complete without a old gift bag/pharmaceutical/dog toy/plastic bag/laundry closet. We highly suggest incorporating one of these - you'll be so glad you did.


  1. Very funny:) I can sort of relate... but more on the money and time note (rather than lazy). It took years to gather all the necessary mid century teak and designer this and that... and yet, it's never quiet like it is in SF Girl by the Bay...
    Anyway, looking forward to seeing your nest:)

  2. Love this. I should do one for The Bunker. (That's what I call our place.)

  3. If you ever do start such a blog, I would gladly share.

    Now that my kid is in kindergarten and wants to go play at peoples' houses, I get to see how other relative strangers manage their, ahem, clutter. I am pretty much deciding who I'm going to be best friends with based on how much crap they have lying around. The more crap the better.

  4. Love, love, a I know what I've been doing wrong all these years...I haven't OWNED my crappy, slightly hoarder design ideas!
    Thanks are one fabulously funny writer!

  5. This was so funny...finally someone who makes me feel really good about my "hoarder" design instincts

  6. Send me your photos! I'll be happy to include them in the revolution.

  7. Enjoyed this a lot! Thanks. Was debating with my wife what too share from our flat. Will a constantly flooded bathroom do?

  8. Absolutely, Erik. Send away.