5 Hilariously Snarky Design Blogs That Will Make You Feel Better About Your Plain, Normal House

Snarky-Houses

Book fireplaces, artsy tableaus, branch hangers. Time to make fun of design! | All images via Fuck Your Noguchi Coffee Table.

There’s a very specific sort of hate-reading that has nothing to do with checking out your sworn enemy’s Facebook statuses or scrolling through the site of a blogger you love to hate. (I have a friend who hate-reads FashionToast regularly, but insists that she has absolutely no deep-seated affection for author Rumi Neely.)

This hate-reading is targeted to design, specifically the old-hat styling conventions that have become something like the copious-knuckle-rings of the fashion blogosphere. This is my favorite kind of hate-reading, and the sort I do most often, with Martha Stewart Living, Better Homes & Gardens and the Restoration Hardware catalogs. I scoff at RH’s stupid playroom setups. Who seriously would dare have an all-white nursery strung with Christmas lights? (Me! Me! I would! It’s so gorgeous, like a fairy land of dreams!) 

Ahem. Back to the hate-reading.

Terrific Villanova Home With Oddly Purple Screening Room

villanova-opener

Talk about a study in contrasts: Outside, this lovely home on winding Greenbrier Drive passes for a traditional Main Line residence, one you can easily imagine delicately strewn with lights in December, though its advantageous position–set back from the road, hidden behind trees and atop a little hill–would make it tough for pesky carolers to reach the door. It’s the kind of home that may have been built in 1981, but evokes earlier times–and I’m not talking about the 1970s.

Or am I? Inside, the home is mostly modern, with plenty of white walls and sleek surfaces. There’s a contemporary skylight and sink, sconces and stovetop. There’s some molding, but it’s as subdued as most of the color palette.

But what happened in the screening room? Its walls, ceiling and microsuede theater seats are all purple. Very purple. If it were a book, it’d be James and the Giant Plum. The only other color in the room comes from three metallic female mannequins, and all I know about them is that they are not Academy Awards.

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Habitat: Colonial-Era Farmhouse in Chester Heights

Photo by Laura Kicey.

Photo by Laura Kicey.

Erin Cochran said it was her husband who first fell in love with their three-bedroom Delco farmhouse. “I can’t say that I did at first,” she said. “He had to talk me into it.”

In 1996, the farmhouse was still broken into three very distinct periods of its evolution. There was the Colonial-era (they are told) foundation of the home, a Victorian-era front porch they believe was built after the Civil War, and a family room that had been added on in 1989. Cochran said the three parts of the home felt disjointed. The main entrance was also through the addition. “You didn’t know where you were when you got into the house,” she said.

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Habitat: Fishtown Church Conversion

Photo: Conrad Benner

Photo: Conrad Benner

Photographer Dominic Episcopo and his wife, Dawn, a makeup artist, have lived in their Fishtown home for 10 years — though calling it a “home” doesn’t do it justice. The former church is vast — much larger than the kind of home Dominic had in mind, even though he was searching for a live-work environment. “It was too much space,” he said, “but it was less [expensive] than most properties that I was looking at, and it had three to four times the space.” He’d only been to Fishtown a few times before he bought there, but the church sealed the deal.

Dominic describes his home’s style as eclectic.

“The building gives off a goth vibe and we painted the woodwork and molding black. I’m a collector so we have everything from animal hides to Persian rugs, 50s modern furniture and industrial objects and antiques. We have great art, mostly photography. I also have a pretty big record collection and vintage rock posters and art.”

His favorite rooms are his studio — “it’s pretty awesome” — and the bedroom.

Slideshow below.

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Art Deco Meets Old-Fashioned in Fairmount

Photo : Conrad Benner

Photo : Conrad Benner

Name/Occupation: Kevin Clerkin, founder of Walk On Socks, and fashion writer/editor Laura Camerlengo, who works with the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s Costume and Textiles collection

Neighborhood: Fairmount/Art Museum

Why did you choose to call this neighborhood home?
Kevin: “We love this neighborhood because it’s laid back and walkable, and it has a lot of great restaurants. Plus, it’s close to Laura’s job, and to Center City.”

How would you describe your home’s style?
Laura: “It’s probably best described as ‘bringing the past into the present.’ Our building dates to 1940, and some of the things that attracted us to this apartment were the original details, like the built-in cabinets in the kitchen and the parquet floors throughout. When we were decorating, we tried to find items from that same period, like the Art Deco ceiling panels from Provenance in our dining room. We mixed these items with new purchases, hand-me-downs from our friends and family, and a few DIY pieces.”

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Is This the Tackiest Decor in Montgomery County?

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.

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Home Design Trends 2014: Navy Blue Rooms

2221-locust-opener

Design blogger Mark D. Sikes was asked by House Beautiful what he thought a 2014 home design trend would be, and he said, “Navy blue will be a big trend for 2014. I’m seeing a lot of the shade on the runways, on the streets, in editorials, in chic interiors… I actually think everyone will get it in 2014.”

At 2221 Locust Street, the owner got it even before 2014, painting the living room walls a rich navy blue framed by white molding. It looks terrific, but everything about this restored 19th-century townhouse is terrific, from its high ceilings and two kitchens to its historic archways, built-in wooden closets, pine floors, and leaded glass windows. There’s a garden out back and access to a rooftop deck as well. And needless to say, the location is phenomenal.

The listing says the home was just appraised for 1.635 million, making the current asking price a “major value purchase.”

Gallery and info below.

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Splendiferous Interiors: Necessity Is the Mother of Fantastic in Old City (GALLERY)

old city transformed home

The home used to double as a hair salon. Unfortunately, the barbershop chairs are not for sale.

The house at 140 Vine Street may look like a typical Philadelphia rowhome, but inside it’s anything but. Cross the rubicon of a traditional front door, and walk into the magical kingdom hairstylist Cynthia Kehl has created. Her unique design aesthetic — a collection of broken antlers to mottled walls and cabinets — was minted by necessity.

“If I could throw everything out and buy new I would,” she says. Because she can’t, she trash picks, she dumpster dives, she goes to flea markets, she gets gifts from friends who understand her singular tastes. “I’m a big believer in using what you have. If I had a cardboard box on the corner, it would be the most fantastic cardboard box you ever saw.”

This house’s transformation was very much DIY. “I never knew one end of the hammer from another until I purchased this house.” It helped to have contractor friends, but Kehl’s artistic modifications are her own. Like the walls, which look professionally treated but came instead from Kehl’s intuition. “I usually have an image in my head of what I want a wall treatment to look like,” she says. “I use whatever I have lying around. I learn to go with my mistakes, and I end up liking my mistakes even better.” It’s a good lesson for anyone embarking on a home project. And the end result looks professional. Kehl likes to say, “Caulk and paint make it what it ain’t.”

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Gallery: Jamie Kennedy’s Quirky Ranch House

jamie-kennedy-opener
Monsignor Bonner High School grad Jamie Kennedy, who was probably voted Class Clown, has relisted his home in the Los Feliz neighborhood of LA — for the third time. It makes sense that someone from an unpretentious background would live in a hood like Los Feliz, which is a far cry from Beverly Hills or Encino. But according to realtor.com, the comedian made plenty of modifications to the home, including the installation of “an outdoor fish tank,” which the listing refers to as “an aboveground koi pond.” The listing also calls the house “beautiful, contemporary, cool, and rare,” and there’s some truth to that, for sure.

Take a look. Gallery below.

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8 Reasons This House Has Been on the Market Since 2011

This Moorestown, NJ, home has some good qualities, but it’s had trouble selling. We think we know why.

The Yellow Brick Road5853573_1We understand the temptation to invoke Southern Europe with those pale bricks (we think that’s what’s going on). But reminding people of that fateful trip to Oz may be less appealing.

Built-in FormicaformicaPoor formica. It was once so desirable. Now a house hunter spots some at an open house and runs screaming. There are several rooms in this house that appear to have built-in formica cabinetry, including a little bedroom, the master bath, and one of the bedrooms. It’s just a beleaguered material.

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