The Male Equation

The other night, I was in a Pinterest-induced stupor, conjuring up images of

what will be

in our newly-purchased house in Virginia - code name:



(because I know you want to follow

that board


Initially, we'll take a live-with-it-and-plan approach on a lot of the house, but we're tackling a few messier projects before or as we move in. One of those is the Family Room - or what we'll use as a family/tv room.

For starters - it is

vewy, vewy


...and nondescript.

My hope is to do away with the circa 70s paneling, add some much-needed mill work, and turn it into a jewel box of a room, all glossy, cozy, and layered like so...

Key to my plans are: rich, high-gloss paint (color TBD), and saddle/caramel leathuh.

So, I was stoked when I saw


MCM-esque leather sofa from JCPenney getting good reviews.  The Hubster's not the biggest fan of this style, so....

Me:  "Ben, do you think you could stomach this sofa for the family room at Wallingford?"

Ben:  "It looks like I would slide off."

Score: Ben - 1  Sofa - 0

How do I compete with this?

Happy Monday, peeps.

(P.S. - no baby, obvs)

He Said, She Said does Pinterest

Ben is forever catching me "pinning," and honestly, he just doesn't get it.  So, I tried to illustrate to him the lure and addiction that is Pinterest.  I think it's safe to say I didn't succeed in convincing him that all my "looking at a bunch of pictures" is a purposeful use of one's spare time, but as always, he offered some interesting commentary....

Me:  Can you believe this is a child's room?  I think it probably cost about a bajillion to do it.
Ben:  Yeah, I'd love for it to be MY room.  But I'd shit-can the Ghost chair.

Me:  I died when I saw this couch.  It's on Craigslist, so it's cheap.
Ben:  Oh, if it's on Craigslist, you simply must have it.  It goes great with the grass.
Me:  You're such a buzz kill.

Me:  What about a pink, English roll-arm?
Ben:  You want a bubble gum couch?  It just doesn't look comfortable to sit in.  I think if you sat all the way back, your feet would stick straight out.

Me: This bedroom inspires me for Rio, because we'll probably have a small room.  I lurv the walls.
Ben:  Get rid of the lavender/purple pillows, and the chicken-wire windows.  Feels too English-y to me.
Me:  What?  It's totally Boho.  The windows almost Moroccan.

Me:  I just pulled this up.  It feels like a chic hash-hish den.
Ben:  Yeah, I like it.  Like the furniture.  Like the floors. The rugs, too. My parents had some friends who were very chic, artsy partakers of the "fine herb."  This room totally reminds me of them. Is that a late-night Taco Bell bag peeking out from under the couch?
Me:  No.  If they're chic, their munchies are much more refined.

To follow me on Pinterest (and you should) go HERE

He Said, She Said - Hello, Stranger!

Yo, yo - it's been forEVAH, hasn't it? I think I've mentioned before that Ben travels a lot. In fact, some days I wonder if we should just call him our "house guest." So, when he's finally planted on Terra Firma, we pour a little wine, and I make him look at pictures of rooms and give commentary while I type verbatim into a blog post. This is our idea of Date Night - it's really cool, or really lame, depending on your point of view, but it's how we bond over design. ;)
First out of the gate...

Ben: Well, the first thing that jumps out at me is the Doctor's office carpet - what's up with that? They go for this eclectic look, and then they cheap out on the rug?
Me: The first thing I notice are the lines of the frame holding all those pictures above the mantel. I'd like it much more as a mirror.
Well, those orchids will die up there above that fire.
Me: It's staged, you know.
Ben: Yeah, but they could make it a tad more realistic. And, I don't know about the skill level of the "stylists." Check out those wires coming down from the lamps. Not good.
Me: And here I thought it was the color scheme that would get you all fired up.

Me: I really kinda like this room - amazing natural light - but the mismatched lamps make me cross-eyed. I need lamps to be in pairs - at least in this room.
Ben: I really don't like the chandelier, I don't think it matches the room at all.
Me: This room is totally NOT about "matching."
This rug is much better than the one in the first pic, but I wouldn't hang out in this room.
Me: Agreed on the rug, but I could totally hang in this room.

Ben: This is a joke, right?
No, this is someone's very expensive, marble bathroom.
Ben: Well, then I guess it just goes to show money can't buy taste. If there was a party, and you were a little bit buzzed, or even a lot buzzed, and tried to take a leak in this bathroom, you'd probably get vertigo and end up puking. And then crashing into that almost-invisible shower. Oh, and what's that in the tile pattern below the window? You know what I think it looks like?
Me: We keep it pretty clean here at MLHP...
Ben: Well, it rhymes with sha nay nay.

Ben: First Impression: Cardboard Model. You could make a cardboard model of this room. Very easily.
Me: You know, you're messing with the work of Steven Gambrel, no one messes with the work of Steven Gambrel.
All those patterns make me think I'm supposed to see an image after staring at it for a few minutes. Another vertigo candidate.
Me: I'm not a big fan of the earth tones, but I appreciate that he went beyond the usual white moldings look.

Ben: Kinda dig it.
The high gloss, yellow ceiling just sings it for me. I'm loving all the attention given to ceilings these days.
Why would you put the back of a chair next to a fireplace? I just think the room should center more around the fireplace.
Point taken, but I think without seeing the rest of the room, I'll assume it all works out.
Ben: Why do you always pick out such oddball rooms to show me?

Me: I don't think they're oddball, I just pick rooms that seem to have a lot to discuss. Why don't you pick out a room?

....24 hours later...

San Miguel de Allende

Ben: OK - here's a room I really like. It happens to be in San Miguel.
Me: Aww, sweet - where we were married. What is it you like about this room?
Ben: I like that it doesn't look so "decorated." I like the white walls. A lot.
Me: So, you don't like it when interiors try so hard? You prefer there to be not as much of a "look."
Ben: Right. Interiors don't need to be over-thought. I mean, look, that old sconce thing fell off the wall, and they just said, "Screw it. Put it on the table, then."
Me: You know, some might argue that it actually takes more talent to pull off an "un-look," and still have it be very stylish and appealing. These owners are skilled designers.
Ben: OK, whatever, but that's my two cents.

He Said, She Said - Mardi Gras

In honor of Mardi Gras/Carnaval, I cornered the Mister of Casa G to give us his thoughts on some rooms styled in the traditional, festive colors of Green, Gold, and Purple. Enjoy!

Me: This room actually makes use of two of our featured colors: green AND gold - did you notice that gold ceiling? What d'ya think?
Ben: Well, I've been looking at it for over ten minutes, and I still have no feelings whatsoever.
Me: What would your first thoughts be if you walked into this room?
Ben: Um...Holy S*#t - this room is freakin' GREEN! Does a leprechaun live here?
Me: Okaaaay...what else?
Ben: I think it should have shag carpet?
Me: So, you think it's dated?
Ben: More that it's over-the-top. That whoever lives there is trying to make "a statement."

Me: You know, yellow has been a "trendy" color for the past few years, but I'm still not over it. I do love me some good yellow, and this bathroom is cute and clever.
Ben: Is my depth perception off? Do you have to straddle the bench to use the sink? Won't water spill over into that floor register? No way.

jamie drake's lavender living room
Ben: Three words. Dizzy. Bubble gum. Cotton Candy.
Me: Bubble gum AND cotton candy?
Ben: Yep, that's all you need to write. I told you, I would not like purple rooms.
Me: But, there are some instances where purple does work!

Me: I think dining rooms are places where purple can work, and I love the idea of color introduced in a ceiling, but I'm not sure a grapey hue is where you'd go with it.
Ben: Well...I'm looking at that large radiator, and thinking this room must get really cold. I would've left the floors natural, and kept a warmer color palette. The purple and gray and white just look icy. Not exactly a place that makes you want to linger over food.
Me: *smile*

banquette by palmer weiss

Me: Well...that's a good segue...because I think this eating area IS cozy and inviting. Cheery, at the very least. Looks like the banquette fabric is laminated - perfect for kids. I'd actually love to have a spot like this, especially if I had a Slim Aaron's print above it!

Ben: Looks very Sixties to me - I like it!

Ben: Egghhh!
Me: Yeah, they went a little Easter egg.
Ben: I think it's horrible. The only way you know this isn't a child's room is the bar cart back there.
Me: Another case of not quite getting purple right.

Me: You know, I love green, but this room just goes beyond what I can handle.
Ben: I think it's Kermit the Frog's room! Look...
Me: The valance looks like Kermit's collar!
Ben: And that big canvas - lilly pads.
Me: Kind of a shame, because the elements alone, I dig - the headboard, the bedding, the pendants in lieu of standard bedside lamps. They just didn't know where to stop.
Ben: I think you'd hit those lights with your head all the time.
Me: Maybe.

Ben: Where's the Before?
Me: Hmm?
Ben: It says "After" - where's the before?
Me: I don't know, I skimped on the source links for this post - sorry, Sources.
Ben: Why are there two thermostats?
Me: I guess there's a showerhead up there somewhere.
Ben: Why? They have that shower nozzle attached to the tub filler. There's no soap dish, no place for shampoo...I'll call it - spend a little more, and do it right.

Me: Finally - a good purple. A muted, grayed-down lavender.
Ben: I like the floors. Somehow that animal skin also looks purple.
Me: Lighting. Great lamp. I loooove that lamp.
Ben: Yeah, the lamp is good. Bamboo? This little area is fine, but when I see that there's another purple door back there, probably a gateway to more purpleness....I don't know...

He Said, She Said does the Latest Lonny

When I did my first run-through of the latest issue of design e-zine, Lonny, I was almost breathless. Each page seemed to be better than the one before.
However, not wanting to be the Happy Clapper* type who can't offer a fair critique, I thought it best to call in my better half, to provide the year's first He Said, She Said: The Latest Lonny.

Me: Ben, you're first on deck (pass a piece of chocolate, too)

home by hillary thomas via lonny
Ben: The only thing I don't understand is the purpose of that thing over the window on the left. It looks like Captain Crunch's hat.
Me: It's a pelmet. Remember, we made one for Avery's room?
Ben: And the couch, it's strange. Three people sitting on that couch would mean all of their knees touching. I think anyone walking into this room sees that couch and says, "I'm not sitting there, I'm heading for the wishbone chair."
Me: Well, I really love this room, including the strangely-angled sofa. I'm honestly having a hard time getting past those glorious curtains, though. I'm having a curtain obsession these days.

lynn nigro kitchen via lonny
Me: Superb. And I don't normally favor dark-cabinet kitchens this much, but that touch of Quadrille wallpaper is a stroke of genius.
Ben: I'm not sure I would've gone with such a stark white backsplash behind the stove - seems to beg for splatters. I think at first, those dark cabinets would seem cool, but after awhile, they'd drive you freakin' nuts.
Me: They'd drive ME nuts, or just whoever?
Ben: Whoever had to cook in that kitchen every day.

lynn nigro bookshelves via lonny

It's bookshelves, I know. I just think this is a great example of perfectly non-perfect bookshelves. Not as overly-styled as you typically see in design publications.

Ben: What? This is VERY styled. Just because it's messy doesn't mean it's not styled.
Me: I don't see it as messy at all, but I give you that it probably DID take more effort than you'd assume to look this "unstyled."
Ben: Now I know what we can do with our spare chairs - face them AWAY from the tv - that makes sense.
Me: :(

living room by jariath mellett via lonny
Ben: I think it's cool. Everything but the bed.
Me: Daybed.
Ben: Still. At my age, just seeing a bed makes me sleepy. I'd probably fall asleep, and that would be quite the conversation killer.
Me: Yes, it would, but I wouldn't let you do that. You know, I'm not sure WHY I like this room, or really if I have that much emotion about it at all. I know it's photographed well, and that's probably the main draw for me.
Ben: Where's the tv?
Me: OK, moving on...

bedroom by trip haenrisch via lonny
Ben: The bed appears very comfortable, but everything seems really crammed into the center.
Me: This is actually one of the few rooms in this issue I could seriously not handle living in. The "center aligned" effect is obviously done on purpose, but I can leave it. Well, I'd take the Massimo Vitali photos and bail.

*Term "Happy Clapper" coined by the brilliant and should-be famous, Raina.

He Said, She Said: Eclectic Design

It's been way too long since Ben and I sat down for a He Said, She Said post. Just letting you know, we were drinking and blogging...

If I had to classify my taste these days, I'd probably put myself in the "eclectic" column. More and more, I appreciate reconditioned or repurposed, quality over quantity, collected, with a touch of the unexpected. Easier said than done, for sure.

I tried to pull together a few images of rooms shunning the "matchy-matchy" look to see what Ben had to offer...

First room. What d'ya think?

Eclectic Bungalow Living Room eclectic living room
Ben: Well, the layout of the room reminds me of our first house in The Heights in Houston. Fireplace saddled by built-ins and windows.
Me: Yeah, this is probably a Craftsman.
Is that a dog bowl?

Me: No. It's a Chinese Garden Stool.
Ben: I don't understand those round mirrors. A mirror is of no use in that placement. You certainly can't see yourself in it, it doesn't reflect light or make the room seem larger. Don't get it, and don't like it.
Me: So, I guess a round mirror in a fireplace doesn't float your boat?
mirrors-as-windows via manolohome
Ben: That's just dumb.
Me: Maybe, but the tall, mullioned ones make me tingle.
Ben: I thought this was a G-rated post?
Me: OK, wrap up the first room. Like it?
Ben: Yes, but I think a lot of people will hit their shins on that low bench thing, probably spill their red wine on that white rug.

Me: I like the room, but I don't like the art arrangement - reads too "crafty" to me.
Ben: Is the theme of this post white, shaggy things? There was a white shaggy rug in the first pic, too. There's a lot of dead animal references in this room. Furry throw, deer skull, hide rug.... I agree with you on the art. One, great piece of art would've been better.
Me: This is more of a "real" home - it's not one that's been professionally styled for a magazine, so I like the attainability.
Ben: It's cozy. I could make it work.

preston living via LDV blog
Me: I'm not sure why I included this picture. It's not eclectic - it's high glam.
Probably because it has another animal with white fur in it. We don't have any white fur in our house. We're such losers.

OK, so forget the "eclectic" theme - what about this space - Yea or Nay?

Naaaay....just like the horse. Gray chair is hideous. Black chair looks like it puts you in a "seeing the dentist" position. And what is it with dead animal stuff these days? Horn leg and ram horn tables. Too many hard edges.
Me: These people do not have kids. Most likely, they are Todd and Margot (I don't knoooow, Margot!)

italian interior design
Me: This room is by an Italian designer, but I can't recall who.
This just doesn't look like much to me.

Me: Chandy is pretty amazing.
Too much brown, with too much black. And what's up with the chaise lounge in the mix? Everyone's sitting around talking, and lounger person says, "Hey, I'm just gonna take a little snooze." Why would you need two lamps that close together, too?

I think they were trying not to overdo it with furniture, because the space itself is so badass.

Ben: No dead animals. I'm not inspired.

...and after that, the wine won out.