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No animals were harmed in the writing of this post

TordBoontje

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 . . . )

Viewfromfrontdoor

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.

Art

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.

Chandeliercloseup

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.

Mirrorscloseup

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.

You had me at “Wednesday greetings collectors”

So you know how I said I’d probably mention 20×200.com at least a billion times over the life of this blog, well, you can start counting.

Wednesday’s one of my favorite days because that’s when the 20×200 photography edition arrives. Today featured a double edition from Chinese photographer Shen Wei, and it was love at first sight for the first photo in the pair, “Blessing over the Rice Machine, Guiyang, Guizhou Province.” (The second half of the pair is gorgeous too, it just didn’t –to paraphrase Emily Dickinson–blow the top of my head off.)

I’ve been very drawn to industrial stuff lately, especially scenes that have a certain air of neglect, or maybe I’m responding to a sense of age, of staying power despite or in spite of. . . . In this particular photograph I think it’s especially  the luminous colors that draw me in, that pop of green in the lower right, the earthy paper of the blessing. Maybe I like the idea that there is aesthetic satisfaction to be found in even the most seemingly unaesthetic settings . Something about the composition feels almost postcard-like to me, in the sense that there’s a whole story waiting to be unpacked within the borders of the frame. This is one of those images that I could be lost in for a long long time.

I think I’m going to mosy over to 20×200.com and see if there’re still any $20 editions left to order. I encourage you to do the same (but not if you’re getting the last one and leaving me heartbroken . . . )

More later, since I still have to report back on my finds at this weekend’s Handmade Mart in my hood.

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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