Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Are you over-propped? / On my wall

One of my lovely stockists and Instagram pals Pretty Dandy posted this New York Times article the other day: How to tell when you're over-propped.
It's about how we have all become amateur stylists because of blogging and sites like Apartment Therapy and Pinterest, and how we display once useful things just as objects, like vintage typewriters, or pointless things like stag heads. And I was all "yeah I'm so sick of colour-coded books and vintage typewriters" until I looked around my home and noticed my vintage abacus and my 'hello' sign and my Danish sideboard complete with Stig Lindberg add-ons!*

But I actually think it's great to be your own stylist, and MUCH better than having an interior stylist/decorator come and do it for you - when they travel the world to pick up a wood carving from Africa to match the rug and those warm tones.

But maybe we should try to be a little bit more original. I am very VERY boreld of seeing the same white scandi apartment going by on Pinterest. And when I say 'the same', they are different apartments. They just all look exactly the same.

I think it's nice to pick up something you really love, with a story that means something to you. Not just coz Doris down the road has got it. Keeping up with the Joneses has gone a bit overboard, so for everyone feeling a bit Blah about their house, or indeed a little too pleased with themselves ;-) two sites that crack me up:
F*** your Noguchi coffee table
Unhappy hipsters 
And here are some things I've acquired slowly over the years that really mean something to me. They all trigger a memory of how I fell in love with each one, and couldn't resist. The wall display however, is far from original ;-)

Caroline - This has disappeared out of my etsy purchases for some reason, which I'm sad about. I can only read her first name :-( 

*I actually don't get colour-coded books by the way. They are very pretty but how the hell do you find anything? Plus Ben would disown me.

p.s. i actually love vintage typewriters. i'm just jealous. 


  1. Ha! I think I'd better put my typewriter away! Just joking, I love it and it belonged to my Dad and I grew up learning to type on it so it's out because it means something to me. But I've stopped looking at the 'big blogs' and instead look to smaller blogs that inspire me way more. And those are the homes I try to feature on my blog too, because they are more unusual, bright, family friendly and unique.
    I like your picture wall btw, particularly the Amanda Blake piece. x

  2. Haha - very funny :) I'm a fan of Unhappy Hipsters but I hadn't heard of FYNCT... Just had a quick peek: isn't the whole F*** thing just a different platform to feature all the usual homogenous interiors anyway? Just saying ;)
    I love your wall of specials. Kx

  3. I must admit to colourd coding my books. Only because the rest of the flat doesn't have enough furniture and my bed is normally unmade. It brings me a sense of control I suppose. Totally agree that you should love what you own (explaining the limited furniture).

  4. Ha! have just been looking at unhappy hipsters, very funny. Pinterest seems to run in loops! Sense of style and taste is a funny one. Did you watch Grayson Perry's program on C4? I found it really interesting. I think it was the middle class program where he was talking with people who lived in this new purpose-built village in Kent. They all expressed their desire for their house to be a bit different, but it turned out that by different they were kind of conforming to the accepted level of taste anyway and all of the houses in this village sort of just looked the same. I think we're all inspired by what we see around us, and if we read a lot of blogs or interiors magazines, or go to art college or whatever, it tends to rub off. I went through a phase of buying country living because I wanted to live in the country (!), until it dawned on me that it just ran in cycles, using the same props over and over again :-)

  5. I think wanting what the jones have only leads to a depressing life. Love what you have and if you don't go thrifting. But don't give up on who you are. I am surprised you didn't mention our fav home down Dorset way... that says it all! xx My typewriter was found in a skip and I love it! x

  6. What a lovely collection. And my kids jeapordize most of our 'interior design' ideas. I guess we can have a beautiful all white scandinavian style flat when they are in their 20s :)
    Love unhappy hipster - always manages to make me smile.

  7. I was going to mention the Grayson Perry doc too - found it really interesting.

    It's such an intriguing one, isn't it? I could not love interiors books more, and find I'm constantly changing different corners of the house but I think that's because I'm easily bored ;)

    Your wall of specials is great and I think you've hit the nail on the head - there's no point in a house full of knick-knacks bought only for aesthetic purposes or to 'match'. If it doesn't come with a story, I don't really want to know!

  8. Uh-oh, I have to admit to colour coding my books (and cds) :-) I can't help it! Our flat is so teeny tiny and the shelves just look neater that way. About the only think that stays neat with a 2.5 year old running wild :-) x

  9. i do hope no-one is offended ;-) you are all tres tres stylish. i live with a man who likes to alphabetize books, so the house would explode if i tried to colour code them! x

  10. I live with a man who collects Donald Duck books which have spines that join together to make a picture! Thankfully he puts them on the shelves randomly!

  11. I love the F*** Your Noguchi Coffee Table site! Not seen that before, and unhappy hipsters is always fun.

    I have to admit to organising the kids dvds by colour. That makes sense though. Isla's 4 and can't read very well yet, but she knows that Totoro has a blue spine, so can find it more easily when I say "how about a nice bit of telly?"*

    *"How about mummy has 40 winks"

  12. Interesting post and interesting comments - if I hadn't had that second large glass of wine, I'd be able to leave a witty, pertinent comment..... ;)
    My open plan sitting / dining / kitchen room is very white and Scandi :( I'm afraid!

  13. My kitchen stayed nice and tidy looking for about a week after getting it finished and even then it wasn't anything as close to some of the 'white' rooms I'd pinned like crazy. I'm sitting here now and it looks like a bombsite. Funnily enough my little lad likes to put things in order and sequence, but it's not very helpful when they're on the stairs. x

  14. I love Pinterest, it’s great for visual bookmarks, but it gets samey really quickly (and I’m guilty of I contributing to that, I’m sure). I have a theory that there are only 200 pins on Pinterest running in a loop (bit like the progs on cable telly:D) But TBH I’m bored with the same elements appearing in the same over styled photos all the time; I find I’m longing to see some mess, randomness and individualism.

  15. Ha Ha love the F*** site, we are all guilty! I can't say I have ever been a fan of colour coded books but now I really want a terrarium! v x

  16. mcmoth, great comment. i feel exactly the same.

    virginia, go get yourself some colour coded terraniums!

    flora, lou is talking about your beautiful house by the way. and that's a perfectly good reason to colour-code your dvds. x

  17. I sit here surrounded by mess longing for tidy open white space... love this post x.

  18. That article really touched a nerve with me as I stared at my colour coded bookshelf... I guess my motto is "if you like it, do it". Doesn't matter whether everyone/no-one else is doing is.

    And I love having my books colour coded, it's just so pretty! Plus I'm pretty visual so I can never remember the name/author, but know exactly what the book I'm looking for looks like.

    I agree that over-propped, samey styling can start to make the whole interiors scene feel a bit stagnant. I like to try and find extra inspiration by following pins and seeing what's at the other end, looking at real-life house pictures as much as possible (Apartment Therapy can be good for this) and looking at homes from the past.

    Then I see my messy office with heaps of papers, cds, plants and chaos all around and realise my home will never manage to be uber-styled so I don't need to worry too much!

    p.s. I want a tiny terrarium too!
    p.p.s. the Grayson Perry programme is AMAZING> love how much angst all the middle-classers had about their style/taste. Looking forward to catching up on the last installment.

  19. I also loved the Grayson Perry series, I've got a bit of a crush on him - is that a bit weird!?

    Fran - the swedish company is called Formpress, I thought they were cheaper than Ary but after converting currency, adding delivery, vat etc. etc. I am not so sure, anyway I am just going to go for it, why not! v x

  20. Oh love this post and all the comments too. That Pinterest board really freaked me out! I think that degree of uniformity only exists on the photo shoots though - when a stylist has been round and removed stuff that doesn't fit and added their own props. I never see houses like that in real-life (and I see a lot in my job) they are all much more personal even if there is a vintage typewriter or a collection of 20 vintage mirrors in the hall.

  21. I also don't get the color-coded book thing, and my boyfriend would also disown me! But I do (sheepishly) admit to having not one - but two - vintage typewriters...

  22. Hi there Francesca, noticed the little painting you got from my open studio looks like there is a little scratch
    on it. im very happy to try to fix for you if you like....
    sue williams a'court


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