-or- My Condo is Better Than Your Condo!
This past weekend was the Holiday Candlelight Tour of Homes in my neighborhood. I'm certain these events are as popular in your community as they seem to be in the Greater Atlanta area. Every little part of town has some kind of "tour of homes" once or twice a year. Ten or fifteen very proud, brave souls open their homes for the public to traipse through and comment on, usually as part of some larger event, like a community festival or something. Inman Park, Candler Park, Virginia Highlands, The Atlanta Downtown Neighborhood Association, etc... all these little niches of Atlanta take great pride in the amenities they have to offer and one way of luring potential residents to their communities is to let them see how people actually live there.
I always justify my attendance at a tour of homes by saying, "I'm getting ideas for my own place," when in reality I am just looking forward to making fun of other peoples stuff. Luckily my boyfriend is similarly inclined. Don't get me wrong, when someone has done it right, I am the first to offer up the praise, In fact we saw three really amazing homes this time around. But who cares about the good ones? When Trading Spaces comes on don't you just HOPE it's HILDI about to do some horrible thing to someone's room? Of course you are! No one says, "Yay! Doug did another tasteful master bedroom makeover." But people DO say, "Did you SEE what Hildi did to that living room? How will they ever get the peanut shells and shredded wet suits of the walls?" I freaking love it when a homeowner cries on that show. Anyway, THAT is why I shelled out the 40 bucks for two tickets to the Holiday Candlelight Tour of Homes. We were not disappointed.
Before you go on... if at any point in the next three paragraphs I offer a critical view of something you have done in your dwelling, please know that these are just the rantings of some dude who has almost no furniture or design elements in his own home. I'm sure that if any of the quirks listed below are elements of the decor in YOUR house they are done tastefully and look fantastic.
Here are a couple of our favorites from the tour:
The fan: Now, I am all for having a favorite team. I think that's great. Sports isn't MY thing, but to each his own I say. I DO however think there is a limit to which one should limit his or her appreciation of any one particular sports team. A token here or there, or even a room with a theme (within limits) is appropriate. I don't think that one should have a photo, figurine, statue, lithograph, portrait or any other visage of his or her Alma mater's team mascot in EVERY ROOM, in ADDITION to the themed room. Sports fans are not the only perpetrators of this particular crime. Fans of a soft drink, or a tropical island or even a color should not festoon his or her entire home in all things relating to said drink, locale or hue. Mix it up folks!
The build it yourselfer: Again, I am all for this. Make the changes you CAN make by yourself, BY yourself! Absolutely. Paint, swap out electrical sockets, maybe even replace some tile, but unless you are an architect, do NOT add a room on to your house on your own! Yes, you can do it, and Lowes can help but it is going to look like crap. The problem with most of these additions is that people buy older houses, and then tack on a modern addition... which CAN be cool, it really can, but you have to do the WHOLE house, you can't leave your living room looking like grandma's parlor, with it's yellowed, plaster walls, crown molding and lace curtains when you are going to lead your visitors through a 1920's arched doorway into your drywalled, laminate floored, stainless applianced, skylighted kitchen of tomorrow! The addition looks obvious and separate, because you were thinking about a great kitchen, not a great house.
The designer: I'd like to hire one... I really would. I think having a set of different eyes, a set of educated, trained, HONEST eyes offer an opinion or advice would be awesome! I mean, what do I know about decorating? Yes, there is the gay thing, but I didn't get the dancing, dressing or decorating part of the gene... just the attraction to men, and typically men who also didn't get the dancing, decorating or dressing gene... so the gayness is useless to me in this regard. Touring a designers home may have turned me off to the whole "hiring a decorator" idea all together though. Nothing looked comfortable, or livable. Who has a WHITE FLOOR? Who says, "I think, the best place to put the color that is the most easily made dirty is on the surface that comes into the most contact with my black soled shoes and sweaty feet." As for art, I will never question someone's taste in art... far too subjective a thing to question. I DO think that one should own art because of the meaning a piece has to it's owner or a feeling it evokes, not because it matches the pillows.
After all was said and done though, I have to say that the representative homes from my building were by far and away the nicest on the tour. But what do I know?
This New Condo was not on display this year, and probably not next year but who knows... might be fun to be a fly on the wall as hundreds of people mill about in my modest space and pick apart all of my design choices and furnishings. I've had my fun mocking the taste and choices of my neighbors. It MIGHT be time for a little pay back.