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The Home Beete Questionnaire: LA Moffa

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I met Christiana Moffa more than a decade ago when we both lived in Chicago. On her first day of work at JP Morgan, she sang me happy birthday. And believe me, this gal can sing! (You can take a listen here.) I always loved visiting Christiana’s Chi-town apartments.  I admired the way she ably mixed high and low, dramatic and classic—in both her dress and her decor. Moffa’s since gone Hollywood, but lucky for us, she’s still just as sassily stylicious as always.

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THB: Where do you live?

Moffa: Los Angeles (in Century City, just between Santa Monica and Beverly Hills)

THB: In five words or less, your home is . . .

Moffa: My sanctuary of Moff.

THB: What do you do at home?

Moff: A lot of things, but mainly read, exercise, and enjoy my lovely kitties.
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THB: Your favorite room?

Moff: I love my living area because it has art, furniture and accessories from every type of era.  It’s eclectic.  When I sit on my sofa and read or watch TV, I love how I feel.  I feel “home.”

THB: What’s your favorite piece of art or memento or plain old thing in your home?

Moffa: I have soooo many; that’s what makes up my style, I think.  But I did get a lovely vintage Parisian ad.  It’s a sketch of a male foot and a female foot, flirting and playing “footsy” under the table.  The caption says “Le Bas Scandale,” which means “the Scandal Below.”  Very Standard Era.

THB: What could you never throw out . . . though maybe you should?

Moffa: Despite my shabby chic apartment, I’m actually quite good at getting rid of old, antiquated items or those that could go to someone in need.  The only things I tend to keep forever are underwear and socks.  Hmmmm… I just admitted that on a blog.  Oh wait!  I have something – my old hat rack, which is broken on one side.  A new one is certainly in store.
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THB: What’s the best piece of decorating advice you ever got?

Moffa: “It’s okay to mix woods.”  People seem to have this idea that furniture has to match. I don’t think ANY of mine matches!

THB: What’s on your home wish list?

Moffa: At some point, a nice, long, chic chaise lounge in my bedroom.  However, I need a bigger space for that!  I would also very much like a washer and dryer, but that’s not as glamorous.  Plus, I rent.

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THB: Got color?

Moffa: All KINDS of color!  Themes tend to be burgundies and terra cotta tones, as well as champagne and sage.  Then I’ll throw in gold or blue, just for kicks.

THB: Any last words?

Moffa: La vita è bella! Live in a beautiful space that you love, and that brings you peace.

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No animals were harmed in the writing of this post

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Buona sera, bon soir, and hola.

So, I’ve been toying with the idea of sending a Home Beete! questionnaire to some friends with groovy pads. I thought perhaps I’d take a test run and be my own guinea pig. Feel free to chime in on which questions you wish I’d ask–instead of, in addition to, which ones are a big yawn, and which ones floated your boat, revved your engine, and did other good stuff.

(Editor’s note: Wow, reading these questions and knowing I have to answer them just made me quite anxious. Sigh . . . )

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THB: Where do you live?

Paulette: I live in Silver Spring, Maryland in a one-bedroom apartment with loads of closet space. Yes, I am boasting.

THB: What’s your favorite room and why?

Paulette: The living room. I have comfy couches, art I enjoy looking at, my gorgeous Gee’s Bend cotton rugs (bought majorly on sale), and a new TV with cable. It’s the first room I’ve put together that made me think I just might have some decent interior design instincts.

THB: What’s your favorite piece of art or memento or plain old thing in your home?

Paulette: That’s a hard one since my place is somewhat things-central. One of my favorites is my 20×200.com print of Sarah McKenzie’s “Lift.” (Not pictured below, sorry.)  It’s a painting of a crane–the industrial kind–in bright colors, and it makes me ridiculously happy every time I see it.

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THB: Describe your aesthetic in three words.

Paulette: Paris apartment Bloomsbury-style

THB: What’s the best piece of decorating advice you ever got?

Paulette: Learn to edit. You don’t have to have everything  you love out all at the same time. It’s okay to swap things in and out. It’s also okay to periodically rearrange your rooms until they feel Goldilocks-right.

THB: What’s on your home wish list?

Paulette: I’d love to have another Tord Boontje chandelier. I’d also love to have ceiling space to put another Tord Boontje chandelier.

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THB: What do you do at home?

Paulette: Read, write, dream, putter. What don’t I do nearly enough–dust/vacuum/straighten up. I am, however, pretty good about washing the dishes!

THB: What one item that you can’t bring yourself to part with should really go to the Salvation Army or freecycle or the trash?

Paulette: I’ve actually been on a clearing-out kick, and I’m both horrified and fascinated that after three or four trips to the thrift store, I still haven’t run out of things to give away. I probably should get rid of the broken vintage clock I have that I bought when I decided to give into my genetic predisposition for clock fancying.

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THB: Got color?

Paulette: I live in a rental, so everything’s kinda beige. If I was motivated, I’d either repaint everything Benjamin Moore’s Decorator White, which is great for backgrounding art and won’t piss off a landlord, or I’d commit to picking a color–Paris gray? turquoise?–and painting some accent walls.

THB: Any last words?

Paulette: What I love best about my apartment is that it “looks” like me.

Ready, Set, Launch!

I’ve been procrastinating starting this blog for months now despite my frequent declarations of a launch. I had figured out some things I wanted to feature, but I couldn’t figure out the “why.” Why did I want to write this blog? What was I supposed to write on the “about this blog” page when I had at least a billion different takes on “home” cycling through my head? And with so many people much smarter than me in this arena out there, why add my voice to the conversation?

I’ve been trying to check out some new magazines, one of which is Paper. In their design issue, they spotlighted a magazine, apartamento, which features homes as they’re actually lived in: reams of unfiled papers, unmade beds, rugs turned up at the corner you always trip on. Published in Europe, apartamento is only available at Urban Outfitters and American Apparel. So on the way home one evening, I snagged the last remaining copy from the 7th street UO outpost. (Thankfully the mag had been marked down from $25 to $9.99.) As I enthusiastically flipped through apartamento on the Metro, I found myself silently–and not so silently–exclaiming, “Wow!” I wanted to make everyone on the train car run out and buy their own copies so they culd be awe-filled with me. And that’s when I had my Oprah Aha! moment about my motive for The Home Beete!: enthusiasm.

This blog is about my enthusiasm for creating “home” whether that means hanging art on the walls or creating a welcoming space for guests or figuring out how to look like a nester without actually being one or simply daydreaming about your some-day home as you eagerly devour stacks of house porn. I hope this blog will encourage you to investigate your own enthusiasms and to refine, expand, and understand your own definition of home. To paraphrase William Carlos Williams, who’s to say you’re not the happy genius of your house or apartment or your mom’s basement?

So to get started, here are a few things about which I’m particularly enthusiastic . . .

Here's my beloved, already dogeared copy of  Apartamento No. 2. (I'm furiously on the hunt for a copy of issue # 1.)

Here's my beloved, already dogeared copy of Apartamento No. 2. (I'm furiously on the hunt for a copy of issue # 1.)

1. apartamento–It’s totally PIA to get a copy, but the writing is so intelligent and the homes are so delightfully unstudied, quirky, and real-peopley that hunting it down is absolutely worth it.

Dear Mr. Boontje: I apologize for my inexpert wrapping of your garland lamp, which makes it look way less cool than it actually is.

Dear Mr. Boontje: I apologize for my inexpert wrapping of your garland lamp, which makes it look way less cool than it actually is.

2. Tord Boontje–I don’t remember when I first discovered this Dutch designer, but I immediately fell in love with his ultra-glam take on nature. I’d coveted his lamps for a couple of years, and I finally took the plunge last year with two of his garland lamps. And yeah, I do like bragging that my lamps are  in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art.

Domino. RIP March 2009. Sigh, sob, sigh . . .

Domino. RIP March 2009. Sigh, sob, sigh . . .

3. Domino magazine–So why am I touting a magazine that published its last issue in March? Because it was absolutely perfect, that’s why. The tone, the featured homes, pages and pages of cool covetable stuff, the way after reading each issue, I felt like I was that girl, that cool downtown Paris apartment woman who also has a magical way with scarves . . . So, get thee to Ebay and buy up any copies you can get your hands on from anyone who’s foolish enough to part with their back issues. And you can also pick up the Domino book, which has culled the best of the best from the mag’s brief but monumental existence to make all of our lives just a little bit more decoratively hip or something like that . . .

From 20x200.com, my print featuring one of the chairs from Luke Strosnider's series "Every Chair at the Visual Studies Workshop." (p.s. I just ordered two pieces by Jorge Colombo who's work is being featured on the next "New Yorker" cover.)

From 20x200.com, my print featuring one of the chairs from Luke Strosnider's series "Every Chair at the Visual Studies Workshop." (p.s. I just ordered two pieces by Jorge Colombo who's work is being featured on the next "New Yorker" cover.)

4. 20×200.com–So I had to put this Web site at number 4, because if I had put it in the number 1 spot, thereby continuing to zealously evangelize about it to anyone who’ll listen, I’m pretty sure Jen Bekman–the genius gallerist behind 20×200–would seriously file a multi-state restraining order. In a nutshell, Bekman works with visual artists to create affordable editions (starting at $20) so that any art appreciator can also be an art collector. Many of the artists Bekman works with already have their work in permanent museum collections, so believe me, this isn’t art school level stuff. Here’s the deal, I’ll probably manage to work 20×200 into so many future posts that’ll you’ll be able to make a drinking game out of it. So do us both a favor and just go to the site and fall in love with it already so you’ll be appreciative rather than annoyed by my (many, many) future mentions.

Soooo, I could go on and on, but given that this post is now officially way over the legal limit for blog posts, I’ll save some enthusiasm for future posts.

In the words of the divinely sculptural Jonathan Adler, “See you later decorator” . . .

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