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Back in the day, tattooed coffee tables and UV activated wallpaper were the kind of things that turned me on. I will admit to a streak of freak running wild through my tender veins, but age has tempered the magnitude of my rebellion against the norm. I still hate a white bread and mayonnaise sandwich like Damien Hirst hates poverty, but I no longer feel the need to shock and awe. Right now I shoot for The Prick (no, not that one) — The Prick as in punctum, the little detail that pierces the veil of blahness and sends a shiver of life from tip to toes.

Like this:

Erin Martin‘s room in Elle’s San Francisco showhouse absolutely slays me. The custom light fixture has Louise Bourgeois written all over it, and the little altar is straight genius. This room is lean, mean, and damned sophisticated. Found via The Nero Chronicles.

Or how about this room in Patrice Gruffaz’s home? Someone’s been snacking on magic mushrooms again.

And I am absolutely consumed by Pierre Passebon‘s fireplace. There are a lot of weird details in this apartment, but that fireplace haunts my dreams, and when I can’t stop fixating on things then I know they’re good. Really good.

It’s that little bit of obsession that makes me feel alive.

And crazy.

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I Just Got the Best Present Ever

Yes — the best present ever, because when I opened the link Raina sent me I almost stroked out from the insanity of it all.

I love art, I love houses, and when the two get together and do the horizontal mambo, they make beautiful, very expensive babies. Just how expensive?  Well, if you sold every organ in your body on the black market, you still couldn’t afford any of the art in this house (plus you’d be dead).

I mean, you know you’re rich when Warhol’s rorschach paintings don’t even rate a mention in the listed “pieces of note.” And that’s just the office.

Or maybe the author simply tired of referencing Warhol 8,567 times, since the home of fabulously wealthy psychiatrist Samantha Boardman and her real estate mogul husband Aby Rosen has more Warhol pieces in it than a museum.

Apparently they are also nonplussed by the proximity of so much fragile cash to two tiny toddlers. According to Boardman, “We have taught the kids how to live with [art]  and how to learn from it, but we have also taught them how to respect it.” That’s code for: the nannies steer them around it. Because even the best kid will wait until you turn your back and then drive their Big Wheels into a temptingly towering stack of cardboard boxes… by Andy Warhol.

Still, you have to give the Boardman-Rosens respect for using their superrich powers for good and not evil. They probably could have single handedly bailed out Goldman Sachs, but instead they bought art. Really good art. Francis Bacon is perhaps my favorite painter in the whole universe, and that Damien Hirst sculpture ain’t shabby, either. But that’s not to say that I would have made exactly the same curatorial choices if I were obscenely wealthy.

William de Kooning + Richard Prince = Yes. The table is gorgeous, too, but that terrarium-as-art thingie confuses me.

Cy Twombly = hell to the yes, but Jeff Koons will never be my favorite artist. I know it’s conceptual and all, but it still looks like they decided to hang the kids’ pool toy next to one of the greatest painters of all time. The rug, however, gets my seal of approval (as if they need it).

Taxidermy may be out, but Maurizio Cattelan is the original gangsta. Props.

Check out the rest of the Vogue sildeshow, where you will learn that the kids are adorable but perhaps a wee bit spoiled (not judging — I’d happily move into their life), the library is a hot mess (judging), and outdoor space is at a premium in NYC even for the uber wealthy.

Thanks again to Raina at If the Lampshade Fits for the tip!

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10 Random and Totally Subjective Truths I Hold About Art and Design

The fabulous Sherri over at The Claw tagged me for a little show and tell game of truth or… truth. Phew! I really don’t do dares. Anyhoo, I decided to make it design related, since you don’t really want to know all about the first time I kissed a boy, about the time that I wrecked the family van before I even had a license, or about how I was a super nerd in high school, down to my rabid fascination with the Academic Decathlon and other such socially alienating activities. Boooooring! So here goes nothing…

#1. Money is Wasted On the Rich

silver cross gold pram

So, I’m having a baby, and one of the biggest initial expenses is a stupid stroller. It’s like buying a mini car for your precious. Now, I caved and bought a totally pedestrian Maclaren, but what I should have gotten is this 24 carat gold plated pram by Silver Cross for a mere $12,000. Of course, for that price I would expect a full sized car, but hey — it does have a sound system and satin interior. As an added bonus, it looks like a very stylish coffin, which is exactly what you’d like to imagine your baby in, right?

#2. Maurizio Cattelan is vying with Damien Hirst for the Overstuffed Award

venice museum

I’m not sure why, but I have seen Cattelan’s taxidermied, suspended horses in person at multiple galleries and museums. Maybe a giant, hanging horse is just really hard to forget? I don’t know, but this headless version seen in Venice’s newly opened Punta della Dogana Museum has been haunting my dreams.

#3. Flowers Are Gross

if the lampshade fits

I know this will be a controversial statement, but I think flowers are best left outdoors. I stole this case-in-point image from La Lampshade, because Raina has a knack for eviscerating cluelessly tacky rooms. That hideous purple floral arrangement in the wrong color, shape and scale, for this room is just icing on the already ugly cake.

#4. Plants Are Not Gross

nate berkus

Plants are like the groovier, less fussy sister to the flower. They still bring some green, recycle carbon dioxide, and fill space — just like flowers. However, they do it architecturally instead of decoratively. I’m waiting for someone to call me out on this, but it’s my truth — so take that.

#5. Gold and Chrome Go Together Like Rama Lama Lama Ka Dinga Da Dinga Dong

nate berkus

nate berkus

These images are double dipped from the same Nate Berkus designed abode as above (in case you couldn’t tell), and I would be totally comfortable scooping all of the furniture out, and inserting it into my own home. I love gold, and I love chrome. Never shall I be forced to choose between the two. Amen. Oh, and btw, if you live near Austin, those Pace chairs are available on Craigslist right here. That brings me to my next truth…

#6. Vintage Rules


I would estimate that 90% of my furnishings are recycled via Craigslist, thrift stores, Ebay, or some other outlet for used stuff. Who has the money to buy quality new furniture in this economy? Plus I just like a lot of the older designs mo’ better. I am currently eying this brass clad footlocker trunk on Craigslist for $28. Wouldn’t it make the most stylin’ toy chest, ever? But if you call up the seller and tell him that it bears more than a passing resemblance to a Sarreid piece, I will hunt you down and cut you.

#7. Cheap and Cool Lampshades Are as Rare as Three Legged Unicorns


This is a nice room (except for the puny flowers) from Steven Gambrel, but there’s nothing particularly standout about it. The couch, rug, other furnishings could have come from West Elm, or maybe even Target. So why is it crazy damn hard to buy a lampshade like that for a reasonable price at a big box store? You would think drum shades were all spun from Rapunzel’s hair due to their cost and rarity. Ikea, where are you when I need you?

#8. Art Makes a Room


And if you’re really rich, art makes your room into a museum. While us mere mortals are left to shop at Etsy and local art sales for our masterpieces, the elite collect Franz Kline paintings and Giacometti sculptures. But it’s a good thing homeboy has money enough to buy the big names, because the rest of this 8,000 sq ft space is blah x snooze.

#9. Design Often Requires Stupid Compromises


Sigh. Living with another person means you already have one too many cooks spoiling the brew. For example, I told Hunny Bunny that we should totally gild all of our ceilings in brass tile like this Istanbul home. Can you believe that he said NO? He did point out that our 1980s faux wood ceiling fans would look a bit out of place next to the golden goodness of that tile, but I truly felt that was but a minor hurdle to be crossed in the vague future of “someday.”

#10. Beethoven Is the New Black


Good pal that she is, Karly sent me this link because I bought a Beethoven bust at the Salvation Army and have been painting and repainting him ever since. First he was lame-o white, then I painted him turquoise (which was very cool, but too much for his setting), then he morphed into a bacterial blight of blue and white blotchiness before finally settling into a glossy black. I love my handsome black Beethoven, but in the right space he would also kick ass in sparkly gold, or work some magic in rainbow paint drips. He’s just so versatile!

Well kids, that’s it for all about me day. If you’d like to get lazer tagged to play this game, leave me a comment and I’ll update the post. Holla!

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Ikea, I Hate to Love You

I pretty much don’t buy new things. Mostly it’s because I’m cheap, but when I’m making some pretense at self righteousness (usually when trying to justify the purchase of yet another thrifted chair to the Hunny), I say that I’m saving the earth. Pretty much single handedly. Ok, Karly helps, too. However, we’re remodeling our kitchen, and gosh darn it’s hard to thrift built in cabinets. Plus we’re furnishing/decorating a nursery, and used sheets and rugs for le bebe just won’t work for me. This newfound taste for uh, newness, has resulted in THREE trips to Ikea in the past week alone. If you’ve never been to an Ikea store, just know that a) there is never one conveniently located by your house and b) it takes hours just to navigate the showroom labyrinth.

ikea rounf rock

You see, Ikea’s “floorplan” is actually a nefarious plot designed to keep you trapped within the store for the longest possible time without actually causing brain damage. But I can tell you, it comes damn close. So today, I’m going to shower you with all the Ikea knowledge I’ve gleaned over the past few months of epic trips, in the vain hope that I might spot some goodies for you and prevent Ikea overload should you ever step into the store yourself. Even so, it might be best to tie a rope to your car, all Poltergeist style. Just in case.


First of all, what in the world have I bought there? Well, this corner of our nursery (yes, there is a bed in our nursery, but don’t worry — there’s a crib, too) features a Ludde sheepskin on the rocker ($49.95), the Stockholm nubby throw ($29.99), a pair of black Jorun pillows ($14.99 ea), and linen Aina curtains ($49.99 for 2). Sorry, Le Tigre is not available at Ikea. I have to say that of all these items, I think the curtains are a steal. They’re linen, 8 ft tall with rod pockets in the back and faux pinch pleats in the front. Good deal.

ikea asker

Additionally, I’ve bought a bazillion dollars worth of kitchen stuff there, including Abstrakt white cabinets and Nexus brown black cabinets. (You can read all about my obsession with both in this post.) I’ve been shopping for some kitchen accessories to go with, and I think these Asker egg shaped cups on rails are pretty swift. They also look nice in this cute office, which is sadly marred by that creepy “Hello.” Link via Apartment Therapy.

dining room

And, of course, I love my giant wicker beehive light ($89.99 for the biggun) that hangs in our dining room, which currently looks nothing like this. At all.

In addition to all these purchases, my pinched pocketbook lusts after — but will probably not buy — the following items:

blob lights

Blob lights! Ok, I might actually buy a pair of these bad boys because THE HUNNY LIKES THEM. This does not happen. Ever. Ikea Jonisk, $49.99. Awesome proportions — it’s big.

ikea patio set

I would also lurve to have an entirely new patio set… alas, I am broke. But if you’re shopping for a giant umbrella, Ikea has some super fantastic ones. This cantilevered badass is HUGE. Ikea Karlso, $129.00 for 10 feet of shade.

ikea brommo

Ikea also rolled out these new deck chairs for the summer season. Brommo has all the elements of a classic: clean lines, decent construction, and it’s comfy. Plus you gotta love a good rope chair. $59.99.

ione skye house

You could always imitate the effervescent Ione Skye and buy these lounge chairs for your outdoor wonderland. Karl Skrona is kinda pricey at $169, but if it’s good enough for ex Mrs. David Netto… (Netto, what were you thinking, anyway? Ione is adorable!)

ange chair

If you’re among the rich and famous and have $129 to burn on ONE chair, the Ange is Salternini sweet. Oh, and Karly and I would each like a set of six while you’re at it. Thanks!

door 16

Anna from Door Sixteen has the Karlstad couch, and I have to say that sucker is super comfortable! Another friend has the same sofa in a sectional configuration, and I am sorely tempted to sell my leather sofas and buy one, too. It’s that squishy good. Do yourself a favor and buy the best fabric they have. $599 for gray wool flannel.

ikea rugs

One of Ikea’s greatest strengths is probably their textiles; the rugs in particular are priced well considering the materials and patterns. Clockwise from top left: 1) Admete, two sided cotton runner, $19. 2) Flatweave Jorun, two sided wool, $179. 3) Tarnby, braided jute $99 (much nicer in person — very thick). 4) Stockholm, wool, $229.

ikea duvet

They had some pretty cute new duvet covers when I was there, too. Love this one in a child’s room, styled by Creature Comforts. Unni Slinga, $19.99 for duvet cover and two pillowcases.

Ikea’s other greatest strength is its straight up cheapness when it comes to the basics:

ikea lights damien hirst

Remember my last post about Blobs where I waxed hateful on Damien Hirst and how damn much money he makes for “designing” things like the light configuration in this home? Well, eight Ikea lights later and you’ve got your very own Damien Hirst design. Left: Lillholmen, $9.99. Right: Fado, $29.99. Boo ya!

So, in closing, I would like to summarize all the things I like about Ikea: 1) It’s cheap. 2) Sometimes it’s cool. 3) They have great customer service, as in they will take ANYTHING back. Are you listening muthereffing Target? I’m also in love with tiny Bob, the kitchen designer at the Austin store, and Kumar, the most excellent customer service dude, ever. 4) They have this new deal where using your debit card nets you a 3% credit on your next trip. Yay! Free money! 5) They only have reusable bags — no disposable plastic nasties. 7) “Ice cream” cones. 6) Occasionally they give their products very funny names, like this corkscrew:


But it’s not all sweet smelling rosy stuff. There are things I hate about Ikea, too. 1) It’s far away. 2) It’s really far away. 3) The zombies:

ikea zombies

If you’ve ever been to a brick and mortar Ikea store, then you know eactly what I’m talking about.

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Beware the Blob

It’s heading right for us! During the late 50’s and 60’s, biomorphic design took over homes everywhere with its blobby, soft forms and rounded edges, only to be quashed by the hard shapes and blunt, straight lines of the sleek 70’s. Fast forward to the current design crisis (har har), which endlessly recycles past trends to form a patchwork pastiche of eclectic styles. Translation: ain’t nothing new under the sun. So it should come as no surprise that the blob is back, in all its space age, plasticized glory.

greag lynn bloom house

As architect Greg Lynn, designer of the Bloom House, would have us believe, Blobitecture is a way of life — which is fine, so long as I can snag that coffee table in my local furniture shop. Hubba hubba, that sucka is bubblicious.

greag lynn bloom house

But a great deal of the house is characterized not by its furnishings, but by its groovy custom built ins (many of which were made with Corian, the new plastic), lack of ornament, and clean, white spaces.

greg lynn bloom house

Of course the vast expanses of white are punctuated by flashy shots of color, often in the form of creepy little Japanime characters. It’s like minimalism for disturbed 5 year olds.

greg lynn bloom house

Perhaps taking a cue from Takashi Murakami, there’s a vaguely psychotic undercurrent to the art and sculpture present in the home. The whole house reads like a sterilized acid trip.

greg lynn bloom house

Have I mentioned before that my own tastes tun toward the vaguely psychotic? Love those prints by Malcolm Venville — I really have a thing for wrestlers right now. And the wood frame on Lynn’s Duchess Chair warms the room up a bit. I could live here.

greg lynn bloom house

But did I forget to tell you that the home owners are Oprah rich? Apparently the lights above the breakfast nook are by Damien Hirst, who probably charged a $987,436 dollar fee for the design. Eight Ikea lights arranged in a circle should create a reasonably good facsimile for about $987,336 less.

greg lynn bloom house

However, if you’ve got a zillion Benjamins burning yet another hole in your threadbare hobo jeans, you can purchase one of Lynn’s Recycled Toy Tables. Who doesn’t want a pile of overgrown eggplants grinning up at you WITH TEETH while you slurp down your morning Toasty O’s?

Lest ye think that Lynn has an, ahem, corner on the blob market, may I redirect your attention to the ever zany Karim Rashid’s blobtacular loft?

karim rashid loft

Well, for a guy who likes to create pink blobby bathroom vanities and tubs, I would say this is practically restrained, wouldn’t you?

karim rashid bathrooms

Or perhaps you prefer the designed by My Little Ponies look of Rashid’s home furnishings line? The graffitied signature is so “Barbie wuz here, but now she’s gone. She’s left her name to carry on…”

karim rashid loft

Back to Rashid’s loft. Did I actually use the word “restrained” in the first picture???

karim rashid loft

I take it back. But I actually do kind of dig the desk, which I expect would inspire grandiose, pink tinged blog postings about wildly surreal furniture.

I guess — if you can’t already tell — I feel a litte conflicted about The Blob. On one hand, it’s sort of extremely infantile. On the other hand, I think I actually like these table lamps designed by Rashid.

karim rashid lights

What do you think, smart and savvy readers? Would you ever live in these spaces, or do they bring back nightmares of the blob in your closet that summer you did all those drugs? You can tell me. The blob can’t hurt you here.

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