Is This the Tackiest Decor in Montgomery County?

To each his own, but…

tacky.livingroom
Taste: there’s no accounting for it, they say. They also say it’s all subjective. But there are certain identifying characteristics of tacky, are there not? Frosted mirrors. An overemployment of metallics. A white grand piano in a room with little black sculptures on the mantel.

Well, we need say no more. Below, just a few of the rooms from this home in Pennock Woods.






It should be noted, however, that this home has many fine features. Take a look at the listing to see.

Listing: 1711 Stocton Road, Meadowbrook PA

Be respectful of our online community and contribute to an engaging conversation. We reserve the right to ban impersonators and remove comments that contain personal attacks, threats, or profanity, or are flat-out offensive. By posting here, you are permitting Philadelphia magazine and Metro Corp. to edit and republish your comment in all media.

  • Val

    Good to see they carried through the look into the gym. And hats off to the photographer for being able to photograph in the bathrooms with all of the mirrors in every direction.

    • Liz Spikol

      Val, I thought the same thing about both the gym and the photographer. The latter must be some kind of genius.

      • Robin Feldman

        MAYBE YOU SHOULD POST MY SISTERS COMENT? I STILL FEEL YOU ARE A mean PERSON. eVER HEAR OF karma????????

        • Liz Spikol

          You sister sent me a private email. If she wants to post a comment, she has to do so herself.

  • Gwenny

    I’ve seen worse. It is actually not that bad, if you like this kinda style…

    • Liz Spikol

      If you do see worse, please send it along: lspikol@phillymag.com.

      • Robin Feldman

        I happen to be the seller and after much thought and many thousands of dollars spent, I would love to know your expert knowledge of interior design? who did you train with? Do you even know Stark carpat from KMart? where do you LIve ?ets see pics of you furnishings then we can talk.

    • Robin Feldman

      Thank you, I happen to like it very much, it might not be everybodys taste but it is in good taste and wel thought out.

      • Robin Feldman

        mAYBE ALL THE NEGITIVE PEOPLE SHOULD CHECK OU Zillow. lIZ DOES NOT INCLUDE IN HER PIC. the great , private , country club pool setting , or the 3 acres of lush grounds. Odd Liz why you did not include all the photos. I am sure all these people would just love to see it all so they can make an informed decision .or since all know the address which you just felt compelled to include, they can see it for themselves.So Zillow .com This home has been with the realtor one week .our last home in Society Hill sold very fast , same décor, Less than a week. Maybe you heard of Jerry Blavet . He is beloved Philadelphian, who also operates M a Club down the shore. This was 25 years ago, point being he loved it, made his mind up in about 10 minutes. Think he is still there. So I am certain there people out there that like our taste. I have said it all and after meeting you today, I would have to say poor Liz you need a make over . maybe the magazine can help you out, they do have advertisers that do that kind of thing. Final post,

        • z

          wow. is this home owned by a teenager? The maturity is remarkable.

          And like many naive youth, she might later regret the comments made online that are directly linked to her first and last name. Google has a way of haunting the future.

        • Liz Spikol

          Well, it’s true, I really do need a haircut. And I’m not thrilled with new blush I just bought.

          How about this: Let’s ask a staging expert to give your home a makeover, and a beauty expert to give me a makeover, and turn all these angsty lemons into lemonade.

          • Drew Callaghan

            Liz, I’m one of the photographers that shot this home and it’s very typical of homes that I shoot in suburban PA. The couple that own the home are extremely nice people and want nothing more than to have a positive experience with the resale of their home. Selling one’s home is an extremely stressful and invasive experience. Internet advertising only exacerbates the invasiveness of the experience. I suspect that this type of editorial commentary will continue to be the norm and potentially get worse. Realtors will need to fore worn their clients that they need to brace them selves for the possibility of a negative review in the news media. The challenges facing the real estate industry never seem to cease.

          • Lisa

            Drew – I am familiar with your work and I have always been impressed. Kudos! The problem you bring up, while current, is not actually very new. Regardless of the internet, a realtor should honestly warn their client that their decor doesn’t meet normal standards, etc and could potentially distract buyers from seeing the actual home. Sellers should expect verbal feedback from brokers and potential buyers that tour the property. If honest and upfront, then such feedback would be consistent with any article/blog/etc. We all have our opinions and while some things are better left unsaid, this is a business where it actually does help to share some of them. It’s not like you don’t use the same strategies to market your own work. It can’t be a coincidence that your own website selectively features the more tasteful properties that you have photographed. It’s all about marketing.

          • Liz Spikol

            Hi Drew, thanks for chiming in. You are selling yourself a bit short — the homes you photograph are generally stunning, and you photograph them beautifully (website: http://www.drewcallaghanphotography.com).

            You say this type of commentary is the norm. That’s true. You need look no further than Curbed Philly’s “That’s Rather Hideous” column, which focuses on nothing other than tacky homes. Or the Tumblr site devoted to ugly Philadelphia basement bars, as pictured in real estate photos. Or RealEstalker, which is extremely harsh about decor in real estate listings. I could list many more.

            Here at Property, we don’t have a category devoted to ugly basement bars or hideous homes. We feature pretty homes or unusual homes — things that provoke interest. Naturally there are always human beings behind the homes, and the very flattering things we say about their residences are not noted by them in comments or in person. Good news requires no response.

            Every now and then, however, we have a little fun. We have done critical reviews of decor previously, but this is the first time I’ve heard directly from a homeowner, so it’s an interesting experience. I don’t think the other homeowners cared. One found it humorous.

            I’m sure Robin is a nice person, which I have a sense of, sort of, because I met her when she came to the office to yell at me and then write that I need a makeover (which is true). That has nothing to do, however, with her home being featured. I’ve probably said incredibly kind things about homes belonging to awful schmucks who cheat on their wives. This blog isn’t about character.

            It is true that realtors need to explain to their clients how things work in the world of Internet-based RE sales. You can’t have the benefit of your home being marketed across numerous online platforms without some risk of personal exposure. If you are selling a home and don’t want it included in the MLS, talk to your broker about that before you begin the process.

            Of all the things I find most irksome, Drew, it’s that credit isn’t given to the photographers who work hard to get these great images that allow us to even begin having this conversation. In an ideal world, I’d like each house listing to include the name of the photographer.

            Finally, I feel badly that this post may have exacerbated the pain of other family issues for Robin; hard times are not unfamiliar to me. That said, I stand behind the post editorially.

          • Nancy

            A little fun at someone else’s expense is not fun. When I taught school we taught the children play is only play if both sides are having fun. I do not think this homeowner found your article funny.

        • Liz Spikol

          Also, just as an FYI, your address is part of your real estate listing. I provided a link to the Zillow page for it, whose title (for lack of a better term) is your address. If you want people to go to Zillow to see your home as currently listed, as you suggest, they can only do so by knowing your address.

        • Ali

          Wait… did she just try to defend this decor based on the fact that it worked in 1989? On the upside, the property does seem lovely – and just imagine how the post-redecorating before and after pics could be..

  • Rachel Ezekiel-Fishbein

    I’m stunned, because it’s a gorgeous street. One of the homes is a real log home, that is magnificent inside and out. I wonder who lives in this house.

    • Robin Feldman

      I do and we love our beautiful home. It is regal, opulent and classy. Maybe it is not everyones tatse but so be it. That is why there is 51 flovors of ice-cream. so be it.

  • Shira

    Horrible, ti’s the “Graceland” of Philly

    • Robin Feldman

      REally? What does your house look like ?at is your address? what did you spend and who did you hire as your decorators? let us see it?Easy to critize, huh>

  • Tbird1021

    GOOD LUCK to the seller is all I can say :-)

    • Robin Feldman

      who are you to pass judgement? what degree in interior design do you have?

  • Duchy

    I think this article is mean spirited and reveals the writer’s character. Take the high road sometime and write about something that really matters.

    • Nancy

      I agree with you. The owners are real people trying to sell their home.

    • Robin Feldman

      I am the owner of this home and really appreaciate what you wrote, thank you we love our home and everyone who has come in has had kind words to say about it. I would love to see Liz home and her furnishings , then we can have a discussion .She is mean spirited and has nothing better to do then slam into people who have their home on the market, not very classy.

    • Robin Feldman

      I TRULY APPRECIATE YOUR COMMENT. yOU ARE A KIND PERSON WHO GETS THAT THIS LABEL IN NEGITIVE AND NOT POSITIVE.

  • Robin Feldman

    I think it is Beautiful, rich and in very good taste. Maybe the one with poor taste is you Liz.

  • BB

    Robin, please don’t take everyone’s negative comments to heart. You have a home you are trying to sell, it’s open for the public to see and everyone has a right to their opinion. Of course your taste may not be the same as Tom, Dick, or Harry’s, but that doesn’t mean you should take it to heart. The money you spent on a decorator is your own business, no one else’s. You have to accept the fact THOUGH, if your house is open for walk through’s, and internet viewing you will get feedback from potential buyers, both negative and positive. However, the trend shows in real estate, if all the opinions tend to be the same (negative) then maybe you should do some “restaging” to get the house into shape for the current buyers market wants and needs. I’m hoping your realtor is credible and offered this same advice, because if they didn’t, I have to say, they may not have your best interest at heart….or theirs, as they are trying to make money for themselves from selling your property. IMO, your decorating style may turn buyers away more often than not, and your property will probably sit on the market for a long time. If you have the money, and want a quick turn around, I would tone down the metallics, draperies and fabrics, and mirrors. The outdoor space is lovely, but you have many updates inside including kitchen and bathrooms. These are huge expenses for a new buyer to consider. If you can stage it properly, you may have an easier time selling despite obvious updates. If someone tells you they like it as is, they are lying to you. Every room is like walking into a circus sideshow, You don’t know what you’re gonna get and you’re kind of scared to look. If staged properly, and you invest $10000, you may get that back in purchase price. Just saying. Good luck! Sincerely, B

    • Liz Spikol

      This is helpful. People sometimes think staging costs too much to invest in. But that’s not so. Most of the time, it’s just a question of removing things from view that act as visual clutter. That doesn’t mean buying new furniture, but it might mean putting away some home accents so that the visitor has a “cleaner” view.

    • Palvis

      Excellent advice BB, I think it is the realtors’ responsibility to inform their clients of what buyers are looking for and politely tell them that they are selling their home, not their taste, and will have to adjust their rooms to attract a wider range of buyers. It doesn’t mean your home is awful, it’s beautiful for you, now it’s time to make it appealing to the crowds. I personally would love to stage this home, it has incredible potential to look like a beautiful home, but currently their items are just too distracting. This happens in thousands of homes. It’s not an insult, it’s just a step towards selling your home. You have to pack in order to move regardless, so storing a lot of items shouldn’t be an issue to showcase your home and not your interior design taste. Good luck, moving is always a challenge :)

  • TJDALYIV

    Absolutely revolting

  • Julianne

    I hope the owner doesn’t mind that I got a little bit of design inspiration from their home. This is exactly the kind of statement I want to make in my own home. Kudos to them for breaking out of the boring, conservative, cookie-cutter interior design that is so common. This house makes a bold statement – one that the owners should be proud of!

  • Stacy Beaverhousen

    How long has this house been on the market? I don’t know how the realtor let it be photographed like that. Regardless of taste, it’s just too much. Tone down the window treatments at least. People can’t see the house behind all of the stuff. Is the objective to sell the house, or show off your decorating sense.

  • connied

    though there are many things that are not of my decorating style, there are also many things in the house that are beautiful; namely, the double chandeliers in the dining room, the doors in the breakfast room, the lamps in the master bedroom, the framed mirror over the bathroom sink; the little things are very rich looking (meaning they add texture and interest to a room). kinda interesting there are no pictures of the kitchen or outside. that being said, the article has a tone of ridicule that is unnecessary and hurtful to the owners.

  • Liz Spikol

    On this site, we feature homes for sale at least twice a day. The write-ups are almost always positive — not because we shill, but because there are so many terrific homes on the market. But we are honest about pluses and minuses in order to serve the reader, which is our job.

    Taste is such an interesting concept. We very rarely assume we know what others like. But there are certain signifiers that are used — in movies, quite often — to indicate “tacky.” And there are cultural references, as well. To compare a home’s decor to Liberace’s home, for example, tells us something about its elegance — or lack thereof.

    There are class distinctions, as well. My grandmother’s insistence on plastic slipcovers is a different type of cultural marker. Nonetheless, they were tacky — both figuratively, and literally.

    We have done posts like this before, and there’s been zero response from the homeowner. In this case, we hear directly from the homeowner, which I appreciate. I hope we can continue to have a discussion about taste and design on this website.

  • Val

    Robin, As someone who works in real estate marketing, I have been in your shoes with clients’ homes being featured on various web sites with sometimes hurtful comments and criticism. It’s awful, because you can’t really do anything to stem the tide and it’s very hard on owners who have taken great pride in the homes they’ve worked hard to create, the homes where they’ve raised families, the homes that hold many dear memories.
    We have worked with many sellers who have very specific taste and décor. As beautiful as their homes are, whether because of furnishings or art or antique collections, sometimes they are very busy and not “vanilla” enough for
    sellers to be able to picture themselves in them. Sometimes we can have that discussion with a seller upfront and make suggestions on neutralizing or simplifying the interior – it doesn’t mean that the homeowner had bad taste or cheap things (I’ve
    been in houses with literally million-dollar collections that were so extensive you felt like you were in a store and there should be price tags on things), it just means that to really try and do our job and sell the house for the highest price possible, we need to advise a seller on what the largest percentage of buyers will respond to.
    Probably the best way for a seller to think about their home as soon as they have decided to put it on the market is to stop thinking of it as their house. You need to think of it as a product with other competing products out there. You want your product to appeal to the widest audience possible – what’s the most popular of Baskin-Robbins’ 52 flavors? It’s probably something pretty common, like mint chocolate chip and not saffron lavender hazelnut. So as much as you love what you’ve created, as a seller who probably wants to move on in life to another home, I think it’s best to consider some simple steps to make your home appeal to the widest audience – let them see the best of what your home offers, whether it’s lovely views, expansive room sizes, luxury baths, a fitness room, etc., and don’t make the buyer work too hard to see the good parts. Again, the key is, they need to be able to see themselves living in your home, which presently has a very formal, high-style feel. Most people these days live more simply. Your home is in a terrific, excellent neighborhood, and no one can take that away from it. I certainly don’t want to offend you or pile on to the commentary here. I am just trying to add my objective “two cents” as someone who has worked on literally hundreds of homes for sale since 2006. I do wish you the best as you work to sell your home.

    • Liz Spikol

      I think this is great input. Thanks, Val.

  • Beelove

    Good lord, why is everyone in such a tizzy? Quit picking on the writer – her job is not to sell your home, her job is to write about real estate – and honestly. This is a pretty light post that gets right to the point: that there ARE still homes that look like an episode of The Young & the Restless.

  • Lisa

    It’s a shame that the owner/seller had to read such harsh criticism – but hopefully it opens her eyes. The taste is not for everyone but I see no reason not to poke fun of the design on a blog. The owner’s retaliation – while understandable – is sadly a bit juvenile. Plus the following response only fuels the fire and doesn’t help her case: “Do you even know Stark carpat from KMart? where do you LIve?” Sadly the owner sounds like an elitist and a name dropper. And sadly Stark is not a name worth dropping…

    I am very familiar with the “estates” at Pennock Woods. Stocton Road and Herkness Drive feature some of the absolute worst (or best?) examples of McMansion architecture. There really should be a book – or maybe even a Property article – on some of these architetural monstrosities. From the pink villa to the “estate” with a giant multi-lane portico that looks like it came off of a Motel. Oh and then there is the over-sized ranch with so many wings that it resembles a public school. There are so many animal statues flanking the homes on these streets that one might think they are in a zoo…which they are….a zoo of bad taste.

    • Lisa

      I’m sorry…my above commentary may have been a bit harsh. For what it’s worth, I would not include THIS home’s exterior in a book/article on the architectural monstrosities of Pennock Woods. This is one of the more modest properties (at least from the exterior).

    • Blair

      So well put Lisa. This homeowner is absolutely an elitest, snob,name dropper and an idiot to boot. To connect your real name with an address in a public forum ,come on, kids are taught in elementary school about Internet safety

      • Val

        Actually, in these types of forums, I find it much easier to take people’s comments seriously when they use their names, or at least something that resembles a real name vs. “anonymous” or similar moniker. It’s easy for people to say nasty things and hide in anonymity.

        • Lisa

          …says a user that goes by the name “Val”

          • Val

            Sorry, thought in the profile I set up my full name was available. Val Patterson.

    • CL

      Your comments are dead on Lisa, we sold our home (let’s just say to a well know “tree” family) about 15 years after after The Pennock Woods monstrosities were built and had to take a loss because our home was so close to that neighborhood. Those homes actually drove our value down. They can keep all the gaudy decorations, I’ll take my beautiful stone farm house any day!!

  • Kathleen

    I wish I could live in a home of such splendor! I would feel like King Farouk every day! In a house like this, I would want to dress up every day. What regal elegance! Liberace would be jealous. There is tasteful, and then there is OH WOW! Its like Hollywood, Versailles, the Vegas strip all under one roof. i wonder – is there a car to match?

  • Mike

    Rich People Problems….

  • mike

    I am not surprised at all that our regions most Elitist publication would highlight his property, and then sarcastically put down the taste of the owner… Again, Rich people problems… I am sure the staff and editors are cringing that someone from Northeast Philadelphia (an actual part of the city the magazine is named after but would would wholly like to imagine doesn’t exist) I writing this now.

    Philadelphia magazine, you really should just stick to being an Esoteric Magazine that can be found in the lobby’s of Grand Hotels and Private Main Line Country clubs….

    • Liz Spikol

      Mike, I suggest your read our excellent defense of the Northeast (where my family is from, thank you very much) which ran on THIS VERY SITE. Here is the link to the article titled: “No One Puts the Northeast in a Corner.”

      http://www.phillymag.com/property/2013/09/17/northeast-philadelphia/

    • Val

      Are you sure you’re not thinking of Philadelphia Style?

  • CL

    I grew up in that neighborhood, I remember when that neighborhood was being developed. It seemed to all of us (generational Huntingdon Valley families) that all of those homes in that neighborhood tried to “one up” each other, and it was always an “opulent eyesore”. All the money in the world can’t buy you good taste or class.

  • Robert

    Looks rather jewish, decor-wise.

    • Nancy

      What does that mean?? How anti-semitic can you be??

  • Anonymous

    In full disclosure I know the sellers and have been to their house. The headline of this article is nothing more than an attention grabber. The author is just trying to get people to click the link. This is a beautiful home with some great features, even if you don’t like its decor.

  • kimada

    While not commenting specifically on this house or its decor, it does appear – as I commented on a house in Moorestown recently – that when luxury homes reach the 20-30 year age bracket, as those in Pennock Woods now are, they begin to look strange because they’re not new enough and not old enough. Any of us who spent a lot of money remodeling our kitchens in, say, the early 90’s know what I’m talking about. There’s a curious thing about style and design: We tend to admire the new and admire the old, but don’t especially like the recent.

  • Decorators Unlimited

    This looks the home of the Addams family. You’d expect to see a portraits of Morticia, Gomez and Uncle Fester hanging on the walls.