New and Improved

On Monday, Decorno threw out the question to her readers, "Is it All Too Much?" And she posted a few rooms that made some folks furrow their brows and say, "geez, yes."

But, being a great over-thinker, I couldn't leave it at that. (You should read the comments if you haven't already; it's an interesting discussion.) We of the shelter magazines and the tear sheets and the vintage design books, we like to see patterns. I'm not talking trends, the things of the moment that suddenly every it-girl with an it-address must have.

A very valid question was, is the age of excess and trying too hard to be wacky (there is an old HG Mayer Rus column on "fun" in decorating on just this subject that is classic) a backlash against the Liagre of the 90's? Perhaps.

But, I think there are a couple of other things at work here. One is definitely the swing of the pendulum. Once we tired of the mid-century resurrection and felt the need to mix we might have gone a little fusion-crazy. If you can pull your period chairs in with the Nelson coffee table, then maybe you can add the antlers and the coral and the rococo mirror and the garden seat, too.

And the other thing is where you choose to gather your information. I'm not in the business of marketing or demographics, but I am fully aware that I while I sometimes enjoy domino, I am not its target market. So, if it's geared to a younger market maybe that is why it's seeming so frenetic to me. And, as one of Decorno's readers noted, a lot of what we see is over-styled and I'm not sure that is the designers' fault. Even in one of my favorite magazines I've noticed in the last few issues that many of the rugs look as if they have been unrolled just for the shoot. And it bugs me.

There are two publications that don't seem to get a lot of press in the blogs I read. Metropolitan Home may be a bit too modern for some, but their features are not styled-to-death. The other is Western Interiors, which seems to be picking up some steam. This is not to disparage any of the other stalwarts of the news stand, just a nudge to cast your net a little wider to see what you might find. A reason to buy more magazines - who would argue with that?

The images above are from Metropolitan Home, July, 2008. Architecture by Francine Monaco and interior design by Carl D'Aquino. Photography by Peter Murdock.