Friday, July 11, 2008


First off, let me express my deep respect and awe for stylists. They are the ultimate merchandisers. They take products to new levels of desirability by placing them in dreamy lifestyle scenarios. Despite being completely fake and two dimensional, we covet these ideal lives and in turn, rush out to buy, buy, buy! Or so is the hope of companies like Crate and Barrel, Pottery Barn and Ikea.

All of the aforementioned companies make great stuff. Stuff that in the past I have really, really wanted, needed even. Stuff I was willing to stand in line for when my plate of Swedish Meatballs had all but won off. Seriously, it's not the stuff that bothers me. I love my Crate and Barrel Popsicle maker! The Pottery Barn shower curtain liner, that I got by ordering one too many for my friend's wedding, was the longest lasting liner I have ever owned. And dear Ikea, your cheese grater slays me! I wish I had cause to buy more, but alas, one is all you need.

In my opinion, this is how it should be. A girl or boy picking his or her favorite items based on need, desire and taste. The catalog images provide inspiration for the daily use of said items and maybe help you see things that you might not have noticed otherwise. Way to go stylists! For a while there you almost made me want to buy some giant wicker balls and cover all my books with white paper!

I feel a need to apologize for my first post in ages turning so negative. I don't want to be known as someone who tears things down, but after receiving the latest Crate and Barrel catalog, well, let's just say I'm offended and leave it at that.

Which came first, the carpet, the chair or the lime green books?
I think it's pretty common for lovers of green, especially when it comes to the pickle varieties, to always be drawn to items of that color. If I had an unlimited income, I might fall into this category myself, so maybe there is some truth to this styling technique. Still, I think it's pretty basic to stick to one pretty bold color. If you're going to go that way, really go that way and fill the room with even more green. If I were given these exact same props to use, I would have made the wall white or an almost yellow green to allow for another accent color. Then I would have added a few more props that weren't green. Maybe something pale yellow or blue. Then I would have tried putting all the green books on one shelf, because that seams like something a normal person might try.

Maybe people dream of color coded rooms, where book bindings match the carpet and the pen you leave angled just so. I dream of spaces that leave breathing room for all colors and the parade of items I'm sure to drag home from the flea market. I never want to be limited to jusst one color extreme. Yikes. What else can you put in this room?

It would have to be bright orange, green, or turquoise, right? Is my problem that I'm just not into bright, solid colors? I think the quilt is nice, but the room just reminds me of a transitional summer patio collection or something.

This room tells a similar story only at a different temperature.
Even a flower arrangement would look out of place up there. And flowers look good anywhere!

This carpet would be GREAT if it were the only colored thing in the room.
And this last room is just the hugest pet peeve ever! I can't really name it or put my finger on it, but I know it has a lot to with the shaker posed on the little shelf.
I never thought I would praise the Pottery Barn catalog, but at least their rooms are more neutral and inspiring [to me]. Ikea has the corner on inventive/inexpensive/stylish design and at least they send out fewer catalogs. The trees and I are very thankful for that.


Kj said...

Is this all Crate and Barrell? the red plastic lamp looks Ikea.
Kim, i lov this post. it rally is annpying the way i've seen catalogues recently, styled as if someone said "here's the thing you have to do on every page" and then other catalogues pick it up as well. (need i mention the backwards book phenomenon of 2006?)
But you get to the important point- these rooms have cesed to look lived in, and instead are impressionistic. it's more like stylized paintings of rooms than a snapshot of what "your home could look like if you buy this vase..."

badly done, C&B, badly done.

Anonymous said...

Crate and Barrel used to have some nice stuff about 10 years ago, stuff that was actually luxurious, well-designed or interesting. Now when their catalogue comes I invariably open it and say "Ewwww." Not only is the styling crap, the products look cheap as well, and not fun cheap but boring cheap, which is indefensible!