The photo on the left is from the June 06 Martha Stewart Living, on the right is the Baldizzi kitchen as recreated to c.1935 at the Lower East Side Tenement Museum.
The Museum is an imaginarium of immigrant struggle. Its cleaned-up, prettified tableaux are irritatingly appealing to me. "People suffered in these stifling hell holes," I have to remind myself... and yet...that linoleum is... really cute. Somehow the privations of the past become... aspirational./
The Martha aesthetic rarefies the commonplace and defamiliarizes it. It takes the everyday and makes it exclusive.//
In related news, I have irrefutable evidence from that same catalog that my own home decorating style has jumped the shark. Scattered old wooden and metal letters? check. framed flea market-sourced antique buttons? check. Animal horns? I'm afraid so. Rusted metal industrial detritus? Color-grouped depression-era pottery? Done and done. Regardless of whether it's time for a change anyway, what does one do when one's formerly "personal" style, accrued over the years from here and there, is on wholesale offer at Pottery Barn? When anyone can buy all their 'vintage-inspired' needs at one fell swoop, what happens to the genuine collection? This nothing new — I'm sure all the peerage of Britain cough into their handkerchiefs at the sight of Ralph Lauren Home—it's just happened so rapidly and completely. And I happened to feel it personally.
I'm not saying I originated a style, I simply gravitated to the objects I was drawn to and my sensibility grew up around that. A sensibility already familiar to some, yes; there was John Derian or Anthropologie or ABC carpet along the way, for reference/inspiration/validation. Now my apartment could be any Brooklyn boutique— or Restoration Hardware or Pottery Barn outlet. It feels phony. Yet I still like the horns and the 19th century type specimens and the twee rusted objets. The cognitive dissonance is killing me.
[several comments here are from the original post]
|I'd just gotten this linen grain sack (!) up in Hudson, NY when I got the PB catalog. |
Their vintage-inspired linen pillow cover, bottom.
|five images above, my apartment|