Friday 2 October 2020

Decor Crimes in Quotes


Why do all regenerated harbourside spaces, anywhere in the world, feel and look exactly the same? Same paving, same glass office blocks, same bit of street art... same preserved crane, same selection of chain bars. (Guy Moore via Facebook)

Architects and planners the world over have bought the same "regenerated harbourside spaces" kit.
(Tom Bourgeois)

My wife has painted a "feature wall" in our kitchen, using a cheery bright orange. My older son says that he now feels as if he's in a children's home, waiting to be fostered. (@Lord_Steerforth)

Victorian furniture, grave and heavy, appeared at variance with rose-coloured Axminster on the floor and rose-coloured damask at the windows... There was some kind of flowered paper on the walls, but almost every inch of it was covered by innumerable sketches, photographs, and engravings of famous pictures... the furniture vied with the walls in supporting photographs of every relation and friend she had ever had. (Patricia Wentworth’s The Chinese Shawl, 1941)

If ‘St Just’ had been pebble-dashed, with a circular recess for the door and an enormous gable... ‘St Anthony’ must be purple brick, with a portico supported on pillars like Tudor chimneys. (Mary Renault The Friendly Young Ladies)

The sort of man whose taste might run to a cocktail bar in the living-room. (Judge at the trial of a nightclub owner and fruit machine salesman)

Urban motorway philosophy. Knock down half the city to be able to drive in quicker but then have no city worth visiting. See Birmingham. (Martin Battle via Facebook)

McMansions... are thrown together from a mishmash of signifier features (ie “Palladian” windows, “impressive” facades, fake stone, fake brick, fake stucco, columns, multi-storey foyers, at least two garage bays, multiple surface materials, “cook’s” kitchens - read as oversized, master suites - read as oversized, master baths as part of master suites - read as oversized, etc.) (Zach Woods on FB)

The Art Journal in the mid-19th century deprecated “landscapes and pictures” on pottery, 3D naturalistic patterns on 2D surfaces (especially cabbage roses on your carpet), and they loathed the imitation of ribbons on fabrics. They moaned about a “perspective representation of a railway station” as a repeating pattern on wallpaper. They were not keen on cut-glass tableware. They were horrified by a popular blue jug in the form of a tree trunk. There was a special Chamber of Horrors at the nascent V&A to display these solecisms. Dickens wrote about an unhappy Mr Crumpet who realises he is living among these “horrors”. “The paper in my parlour contains four kinds of bird of paradise, besides bridges and pagodas.” So what were we supposed to have on our walls? “Sober, conventional treatments of foliage, exhibiting considerable skill in design and arrangement,” wrote The Builder in 1855.

Candid snaps ... show how the couple have transformed the crumbling period property into a polished country pile complete with marble floors, indoor pool and a walk-in wardrobe to house the designer clothing collection... Personal touches - including an antique chandelier that once hung in a Northampton theatre, and a giant family portrait hung in the bathroom - lend the home a classical feel... The boys' bedrooms are decked out like a castle and an airport. (Daily Mail. The ground floor is marble-tiled throughout, with waist-height panelling in a dark colour and “metro tile” shaped panels. There's a fireplace with logs but no fire irons, and stone surround so narrow that you could never safely light a fire in it.

Usually what happens is that buildings usually get a wildly unsuccessful makeover as they go out of fashion and are then left in such a bastardised state that they aren't worth preserving. You used to see a lot of weak attempts to postmodernise modernist buildings in the 80s. Now we see attempts to modernise postmodern buildings. (Austen Redman via FB)

More here, and links to the rest.

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