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Liza Giles {designer}

I’d like to devote the next few days to featuring images that inspire me, ones that I think best fit my design aesthetic, whatever that is – I still don’t know. I was trying to describe it to my friend yesterday and she said I sound like Lily Allen in the beginning of this video as I attempted to sum up my style. I think she’s right. But perhaps another pal of mine recently nailed it with Crack House Chic. Not! More on that below. So let’s first look at the abode of Liza Giles who works as a senior stylist for Designers Guild London. It’s very much the style I fell in love with 12 years ago in London and one that I’ve stuck close by ever since.


Looking with lust at her very hot flat, shown here in the Swedish Elle Interior (my copy above, thanks to Tess), I’ve enjoyed examining all the details, thinking of ways I could be more imaginative as a designer myself. I recently shared some of my favorite images and books with a native New Englander and she didn’t share my enthusiasm as she referred to spaces like Liza’s (shown here) as, “Crack House Chic”. I was both amused and offended. Is that how some perceive such spaces? Like a run down crack den with a touch of glam? How sad!


When I see industrial bits combined with feminine details like embroidered lampshades or handmade quilts in bold prints, I coo in delight. An old wood coffee table with a few pale stains from coffee cups topped with a gorgeous Asian teapot filled with peonies, I’m all over it. White slipcovered sofas sprinkled with velvet worn pillows in fuchsia and teal, sounds like a place to spend the afternoon. But a crack den? This comment left me a bit frustrated, but also enlightened because I mistakenly assumed that most people envy such spaces and even if they wouldn’t live in them, they still appreciated such design. But many of my real life American friends don’t get why this style is attractive to me. Perhaps that’s why most magazines here shun this look for the most part and precisely why so many of us “alternative crack den types” love British, Australian, Dutch, and Scandinavian glossies because sin dens filled with heroine addicts lounging in their less than Ethan Allenified digs attract us.


I see these rooms as creative, inspiring, playful, romantic and filled with a sense of history and personal style. I don’t imagine doing lines on the marble table. I don’t envision myself passed out for days fully dressed in the lovely clawfoot bathtub. Liza Giles’ pad was not only featured here in Swedish mag Elle Interior, but also in UK glossy Elle Decoration. But surprise! not yet featured in US Elle Decor. Interesting, huh? Does the average American look at these spaces as undesirable and run down? I mean, in a land where symmetry and establishing focal points are still all the rage, along with chocolate and robin’s egg blue, I guess I can see why.


What I love about this look: Classic combined with trendy finds and flea market scores. Bright white walls with amazing color dotted around the space, single walls decked out with a bold paper, all the prints and texture everywhere, lavish materials (silk, velvet, trims), and the whole bohemian beauty that feels so uncomplicated, casual, artsy, and most of all inviting.

Some can call it Crack House Chic if they want, but I call it wonderful, beautiful, and elegant. I’ll take it and live happily ever after in complete ecstasy – not the drug, the feeling. :)

(images: elle decoration, uk edition october 2007 (no 182) and elle interiors, swedish edition november 2007 (No 7), all photography by James Merrell, via: this is glamorous and a beautiful living.)

Posted by decor8 in designers, inspiration on January 03, 2008

Your comments...

  1. Jill Clarkson commented
    January 3rd, 2008 at 7:28pm

    Thanks Holly, I like these rooms, they’re eclectic, colorful and fun. But do you realize that since you’ve mentioned the words “crack” and “crack house” a few times in this post that the FBI will now be reviewing your blog?? : ) LOL just kidding! ; ) Great post. Hope you had a great holiday and best wishes for an awesome 2008!!! ; )

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  2. Forever Chic commented
    January 3rd, 2008 at 7:38pm

    Crack house chic, eh? I really love these spaces, and that’s not what they say to me. Crack house would be more industrial and dirty, and these spaces are neither. There’s a fine line between deliberately eclectic and jumbled/messy, and these are the latter. But hey, whatever slogan works for you. Anyway, they’re beautiful and I really appreciate what thought and flea-market-hunting skills went into them.

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  3. decor8 commented
    January 3rd, 2008 at 7:39pm

    Ha! Yeah, I guess I’m going to rope in a bunch of nuts now from keyword searches, huh? Oh well, that’s why I have comment moderation. :)

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  4. decor8 commented
    January 3rd, 2008 at 7:53pm

    Forever chic – you may want to read the entire post as this is not what I’ve labeled this look, I’m mocking a friend who called it this and how completely odd I think it is that this style is perceived this way. I’ve gone back and edited the post to bold more of my points so others don’t miss my point as perhaps if you’re skimming the text and not really reading it all, a person may miss my point!!

    Thanks for your comment, it helped me to make the adjustment by bolding the text that I want to highlight for other skimmers. ;)

    xo
    Holly

    p.s. I don’t read entire posts of all blogs either, so I get how this could have happened.

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  5. Forever Chic commented
    January 3rd, 2008 at 7:56pm

    I read the post; I was just adding my own comments on why your friend was a little off base.

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  6. Kate F. commented
    January 3rd, 2008 at 8:00pm

    Hmm, the moniker doesn’t click with me either… Maybe it’s just my immersion in the girly-design-blog world, but it seems to me like this style is becoming the new big thing. Sort of born of the neo-craft, Etsy-fueled style movement, where people are more focused on handmade, vintage, or otherwise unique items. I guess if I think harder I realize that most people are still aiming for the more uniform Jordan’s Furniture/Ethan Allen Matching Living Room Suite thing, but it sure doesn’t feel that way online!

    I’m just relieved by this move towards quirky, warm spaces, and away from MCM, which has always been a bit cold and bare for me. I much prefer to hang some home-made paintings on my slightly cracked horsehair plaster walls, and arrange odd things on my fantastic old mantelpiece.

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  7. decor8 commented
    January 3rd, 2008 at 8:00pm

    Oh okay, when you said “whatever slogan works for you” I thought you meant ME and not… oh nevermind! I just would hate for anyone to walk away from this blog thinking I’m classifying a gorgeous look in such a negative way. I’m glad this is not the case. :) :)

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  8. Melissa de la Fuente commented
    January 3rd, 2008 at 8:03pm

    Gorgeous rooms….I love them and aspire to them. Thank you for sharing Holly!
    xo
    Melissa

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  9. Chookooloonks commented
    January 3rd, 2008 at 8:05pm

    I dunno, I kinda dig the name “crack house chic.” It brought to mind a space that had a strong edge (“crack house”) and a innate sense of style (“chic”). Though yeah, I see how the crackhouse connotation might be a bit … much.

    Maybe your stile is more “Edgy Chic,” or something? Perhaps that phrase captures it more?

    In any event, yes, I can certainly see its appeal. I’m not sure it’s *my* style (I think mine’s a bit more bohemian than edgy), but I certainly ooh and aah over these images as well.

    Thanks for sharing!

    K.

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  10. Anonymous commented
    January 3rd, 2008 at 8:07pm

    Hi,

    I think to each his own. Although I see the character, the glamour etc… and I do think these rooms are beautiful, it all depends on your taste. At the same time, I do see how your friend could’ve come up with that phrase. Sorry! I do love though. Love the addidas with the fabulous settee and fabrics. really cute.

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  11. Stephanie Hobbs commented
    January 3rd, 2008 at 8:10pm

    Oh wow, this is EXACTLY what I love! The stark white with pops of color, its GORGEOUS! These images you’ve posted are so inspiring and definitely not crack house chic at all, those people are crazy.

    Thank you so much for posting these, I love them!!

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  12. decor8 commented
    January 3rd, 2008 at 8:20pm

    Kate F: Oh this is most certainly growing into a movement here in the states, I think Anthropologie and Domino is helping that, along with all the craft fairs, independent stores now featuring art nights, bloggers, and of course the amazing influx of foreign design elements hitting our shores from Asia and beyond. It feels like it could almost become mainstream here as well and I’m all for it. At least mainstream in certain areas of the country.

    I think that online, it’s “normal” for us to see this design style, but when you take it to real life it’s really not entirely embraced yet. Almost everyone I meet has never heard of Etsy and few know what blogs are. Yes, really. When I go into the city, it’s slightly different, but there are still those with quizzical looks on their faces when I try to explain the handmade movement.

    Many still love their recliners with cup holders, puffy sectionals, chain discount furniture stores, torchiere lamps, and ceiling fans!

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  13. Megan commented
    January 3rd, 2008 at 8:32pm

    At least it’s a nice crack house…

    That phrase made me think of a sort of hipster “Andy Warhol-esque” factory vibe.

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  14. Carlene commented
    January 3rd, 2008 at 8:42pm

    I love these rooms! I love how they are so playful and elegant all at the same time! I totally agree it is very “Anthropologie-like”. Now thats a store that is truly influenced by the world!

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  15. Anonymous commented
    January 3rd, 2008 at 8:53pm

    I love the way you describe this – it just has a fluidity to its interior that I just love — elegant but lived in.

    By the way, I love your blog and it is a daily read for me.

    It is funny, because I think of a “crack house” as dark and dusty with no light – this to me, seems quite the antithesis of that.

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  16. Tobey commented
    January 3rd, 2008 at 8:54pm

    If this is “crack house chic” call me a junkie cause I love it! Heehee…..
    Seriously though, I think it’s gorgeous and is totally my style.

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  17. littlemithi commented
    January 3rd, 2008 at 9:06pm

    This is the best “other people’s homes” you’ve shown us Holly! Exactly what I love – and very much how I’d like to make my and my industrial-designer fiance’s home look like.

    Whatever moniker people decide to call this style, I’m glad you’ve made it clear to us readers that this is what you like, as it reinforces in me why I love reading your blog, and why I’ll keep coming back for inspiration :)

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  18. Peggy commented
    January 3rd, 2008 at 9:16pm

    Holly, fascinating post. I am offended by the term “crack house chic,” but imagine your friend who uttered this term is a hipster. I imagine she was being humorous when she uttered it. But what about these terms that I’ve heard a lot of lately: “ghetto chic,” “pimp your fill in the blank,”. These terms need to be left out of decor. I have encountered crack houses, ghettos and pimps, and they are not pleasant things. Nor should a positive spin be placed on unacceptable situations that we rich Americans should be eliminating. Okay, I’ll get off my soap box now, I’m sure I’ve offended enough.

    That said, I love this style. I was doing shabby chic in my home long before Rachel Ashwell named it. I did it out of necessity because all of my furniture came from the garbage.

    I see these rooms as a more upscale shabby chic. But they are really just chic. The place does look den like, but like a goddess’ den. I adore industrial mixed with feminine. The person who created these rooms is very artsy indeed. I tend toward modern decor, so my only problem would be the amount of clutter. I prefer to live in less clutter, but that’s my taste. I can appreciate the clutter of a prolific, creative mind.

    Sorry to write so much. I felt very inspired by this post!

    P.S. – I tend to like European decorating magazines better than American ones as well.

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  19. moline commented
    January 3rd, 2008 at 9:21pm

    Holly, I absolutely adore this style. We are thinking about adding some of these white and metal Eames chairs to our 100 year old greyish french table and add all our Turkish and Zara-home glittery beady cushions. We so try to have am eclectivc style and the more we do the less people are understanding what we are doing and cannot see the concept. With people I mean these people you mentioned who don’t know etsy or what blogging ot and who still think you still have to buy from one supplier so that everything matches in one room. buddha in our house lives friendly together with mosque toppings in one room whilst the Catholic Virgin of Guadeloupe watces everything. people who come to our house try to explain all these “mismatches” as the style one aquires because of moving and travelling so much so you cannot integrate everything.
    For me the pictures are so inspiring and I also saw the video and had to laugh out loud.
    You know, we abandoned the traditional living room and now have only the dining area and one sofa in the library. No typical German three- and two-seater combo with a coffee table in the middle. From year to year we are developing our personal way of designing our home in a way it suits more and more the way we want to live: sitting for hours around a table. Using furniture and texture that is appealing to the eye but also good for children to keep tidy. Our relatives could not utter words of appraisal because nothing is what they had known before and everything looked so “improvised” for them.
    So I am more than happy that you post things like this in your blog to inspire us!!!
    You know the “Nordlicht” book from Denmark? There are similar houses and it is so close to her style and although it is only a few kilometers away people here don’t know anything about the style…
    For me this style is very sophisticated because you have to have brain and experience to appreciate it and people who cannot understand it tend to diminish it somehow… Enough talking now! Bye!

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  20. kelly commented
    January 3rd, 2008 at 9:22pm

    I love these images (thank you so much for sharing them!) but I always have a difficult time bringing this look into “real life” myself. Whenever I try to work a distressed piece of furniture or artfully/messily hung pictures into my decor, it *does* end up kind of looking like a crack house. :)

    Perhaps the person who came up with this phrase has seen badly-done versions of these photos in real life? There’s a fine line between “vintage” and “run-down,” certainly.

    And who knows… maybe the crack houses in her area are a lot fancier…

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  21. Veronica TM commented
    January 3rd, 2008 at 9:44pm

    i could not agree more with you! these spaces are inspiring, inviting, creative and warm. but i am not american…
    thank you for sharing these beautiful photos!

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  22. mimulus commented
    January 3rd, 2008 at 9:47pm

    I agree with Peggy, the term CHC is offensive…addicts have a little interest in gorgeous interiors (and I think these rooms are drop dead gorgeous) addicts have a whole different agenda.

    although I love these rooms, i can’t help feel a little cold seeing them..meaning they look comfortable for summer weather, but feel chilly for a london winter.

    thanks for sharing holly!

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  23. SF commented
    January 3rd, 2008 at 10:17pm

    I love the pictures, Holly! These rooms have energy, style and heart and look like a person took interest in them……
    They remind me of Amy Butler’s “Mid-western modern” style– but with a little more “flair”.

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  24. Anna at D16 commented
    January 3rd, 2008 at 10:17pm

    Okay, first? I was CHOKING when I read that bit about “chocolate and robin’s egg blue” (see my comment here).

    The other thing is that I totally love this look, but really…it looks just like my old Brooklyn apartment (and all of my friends’ apartments) did in the mid-late 90’s (minus the chandeliers, Kartell chair, etc.!!). That’s not a bad thing, but it’s amazing that anyone could be critical of this kind of style. To me, this is classic “New York artist” decor — stuff found on the street, borrowed from friends, bought at stoop sales, refurbished with scrap paint, and so forth. This is just what comes naturally to those who are creative, urban, and maybe a little bit thin in the wallets (which isn’t a bad thing, if you ask me). :)

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  25. Lobster and swan commented
    January 3rd, 2008 at 10:33pm

    Thanks for posting about this, Holly.

    I too fell in love with this article when it was in the british elle decoration. Its one of my favorite’s. This would be my perfect home if I didn’t have a man to consider!

    To described it as “crack house” is harsh.

    It is an amazing mixture of old, new, pretty and modern. This type of article is exactly what I hope to find when I open the pages of an interiors magazine.

    I like to think (hope) my style is similar to a toned down version of this. (well If I went nuts and let loose with wild abandon at home maybe!)

    Jess

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  26. Another Shade of Grey commented
    January 3rd, 2008 at 10:36pm

    These pictures, to me, are “modern feminity”. Very nice.

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  27. Andee commented
    January 3rd, 2008 at 10:39pm

    I love these rooms. If I had to choose between a boring, matchy matchy, everything purchased from the same showroom or this, I’d take the “crack house” any day! I think the term Personalized Chic would be much better, though.

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  28. cartolina commented
    January 3rd, 2008 at 10:51pm

    Holly,
    I don’t care what you call it – it’s brilliant!
    Perhaps because I am British it reminds me of many apartments I have been in in London. Perfect.
    Can I move in?

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  29. Brandie commented
    January 3rd, 2008 at 10:54pm

    I suspect that the friend that created the label “crack house chic” enjoys following trends that one would see everywhere in design – something that is safe and accepted easily. BORING! I am with you, Holly…I much prefer the european tastes in design. They stand out more, mix color, and allows one to show their personality – be it in fashion or home interiors. Keep up the great work! I look forward to reading your blog every week.

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  30. Mirka commented
    January 3rd, 2008 at 11:27pm

    Hello Holly, thanks for the inspiring post. I must say I don?t understand the term “crack house chic” when talking about these interiors. To me these are very sophisticated and elegant rooms. And what is important to my opinion, is the combination of old things with new ones, that makes those rooms more real. So is life, too, a combination of past & present in many forms.

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  31. LallaLydia commented
    January 3rd, 2008 at 11:44pm

    that is a beautiful armoire. I always love shimmering silver paired with deep purples or bright fuschia pinks or elegant lavenders…

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  32. JoJ commented
    January 3rd, 2008 at 11:52pm

    Hi Holly ‘n all

    I smiled when I read of the gulf between the interiors that mass America considers “stylish” and those that us readers and lovers of Holly’s blog do.

    I am a Brit living on the South Island of NZ where, almost without exception, homes are styled in putrefying shades of putty and sludge: see the photo gallery attached to http://www.nzhouseandgarden.co.nz/Articles/CoastingHomeinWaikanae.asp

    I spend a lot of time in Melbourne for work, and make frequent trips back to London, so I’m lucky to have access to (what are for me) inspiring interiors shops ~ I plead each time with check in staff not to charge my excess baggage when I come back from those places!

    Of course, I’m also blessed to live in an age of technology where I have a whole virtual community of people who ‘get’ why this house would be considered beautiful, charming and spirited.

    My subscription to UK Elle Deco is worth every penny!

    Keep up the wonderful work, Holly.

    Jo in NZ

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  33. lindsay commented
    January 4th, 2008 at 12:08am

    jeez. if my house looked like these photos i would feel so proud. and if your friend considers this to be crackhouse-esque, i can only imagine what she would consider my place! (our first house, old, handmedown furniture, etc, blah)

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  34. Anonymous commented
    January 4th, 2008 at 12:08am

    Sue:
    I come from Singapore where the done thing is to go to an interior designer who will prescribe a L-shaped sofa, an Arco lamp and gleamy melamine cupboards. Every new apartment looks the same, plasticky and hotel-like. I love the clean white-bread look as much as anyone but the stuffy houses in House Beautiful can be infuriatingly too ‘done’. So my new apartment will have ornate turquoise Chinese cabinets, Indonesian teak, hacked Ikea furniture and old Korean bowls from my mom. If people visit and comment on how ‘unmatchy’ the house is, I’ll have done my job right. I love your eye, Holly and your friend must not have visited many crack houses and perhaps should practice some hesitation before condescension.

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  35. Joel commented
    January 4th, 2008 at 1:49am

    just trying

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  36. Abbey H commented
    January 4th, 2008 at 2:16am

    All of these rooms are SO fabulous! Yes, they’re different from what I think the average American likes, but that’s a good thing.
    Our house is full of vintage/recycled finds- not only do we like how they look, but it really just makes our life easier. We have a seven month old and we enjoy the luxury of not freaking out about spit-up flying all over a five thousand dollar chair.

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  37. nan commented
    January 4th, 2008 at 2:22am

    Being truly artistic (with anything)requires an ability not to have to conform and go with the crowd. If you’re going to go with the artistic in life, you have to get used to conformists having a problem with that, because it’s just not their way.
    I think these rooms are capital-W-onderful. If someone else doesn’t like them, well, to each their own. Look at history — when it comes to art and design, conformists always eventually come around — years later. Don’t let them stop you now.

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  38. kayte commented
    January 4th, 2008 at 3:54am

    ok, this house is the most gorgeous thing i have ever seen!
    if this is crack house chic then i am addicted! ha!
    oh, all the layers and colors and patterns. so, so amazing.
    is it really hard to get swedish elle decor? i’m going to be in london in a couple of weeks; do you think i could get it there?

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  39. Brandy commented
    January 4th, 2008 at 3:57am

    I was inspired by the January issue of Real Simple as well. Recommended good read for all.

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  40. CraftyDragonFly commented
    January 4th, 2008 at 4:03am

    I love designs like those because they are accessible even by a student like me. I love a lived room, I love the naked wood over my dresser, I love the cracks on my TV table because they tell my story; not a story dictated by trends.

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  41. sacredgypsy commented
    January 4th, 2008 at 4:17am

    All I can say is “Yum, Yum, YUMMMMMMMMMMMM”! I love these rooms and feel they are a wonderful example of individuality. As a 40 something living in small town mid America I believe that this is a look most women I know would never consider. I think they would view it as undone and temporary, something they would have lived with in their college years out of necessity but not now as mature women. It’s too bad that so much of our individuality can be left behind as we “grow up”.

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  42. alice commented
    January 4th, 2008 at 5:17am

    i love these rooms. very beautiful and inspiring.

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  43. Heather Moore commented
    January 4th, 2008 at 11:06am

    Hee hee! I think I can safely assume that your friend has a lazy eye that can only see beauty in things that fit her narrow defition. I reckon she’s got a lazy vocab too. I mean, “Crack House”? How did she come up with that awful description for such a lovely place?

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  44. Linda commented
    January 4th, 2008 at 3:40pm

    I have been working for years to declutter my spaces. This makes me want to go shopping. I love it.

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  45. Lisa Hunter commented
    January 4th, 2008 at 3:43pm

    Holly, I think your friend must have meant “opium den” when she said “crack house.” These rooms definitely have the opulent/exotic Graham Green-novel opium den feel.

    I bet she just misspoke.

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  46. G commented
    January 4th, 2008 at 4:13pm

    I’m guessing that your friend didn’t mean it in the true sense of the word.

    As an “average American” I love these looks and why I love the glimpses into other design aesthetics than what is most often shown in American home design mags.

    Thank you for showing them here as I’m lapping it up.

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  47. Anonymous commented
    January 4th, 2008 at 4:47pm

    Crack house chic?! I guess beauty is really in the eye of the beholder… and what we are tought by our culture. As an european i often think that american style lacks a bit of soul, it is too much showroom, straight from the factory, without history or patina. i don?t mean to offend anybody. your article made me see how the perception of beauty is colored by our culture. thanks for your writing! caroline

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  48. Anonymous commented
    January 4th, 2008 at 5:02pm

    I LOVE this style! I think that if home decorating is your “crack” then you can identify with the name CDC. kind of like you barely have enough $$ to squeak by but any pennies go towards decorating your home (much like I’m guilty of). dig this post. thanks.

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  49. :: A S K :: commented
    January 4th, 2008 at 5:30pm

    Whatever you want to call it, it’s gorgeous.

    I LOVE her rooms! I had actually been eyeing those vintage Eames Era prints of the oriental ladies for awhile but I had forgotten all about them and the name of the artist … but it is Vladimir Tretchikoff and now I want them again!

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  50. Anonymous commented
    January 4th, 2008 at 7:16pm

    I think ?crack house chic? is a brilliant moniker for this aesthetic. When I see rooms like this, I think of Courtney Love not the CEO of Citicorp. This look is NOT Anthropologie, btw, it?s Urban Outfitters (same company, of course). It?s that I-found-this-in-the-dumpster-and-I-don?t-intend-to-do-anything-to-fix-it-up look. For example, take the French wardrobe in the second to the last shot. It doesn?t have the patina of age (and original finish) that a fine antique would have. It hasn?t been painted either. Instead there?s some kind of chalky crap on it (looks like primer) and the mirror front has been removed and not replaced with anything. The piece has been totally disrespected. This is what gives it a ?crack house? feel. Do you see what I mean? The clothes are crammed in there and they don?t look like they?ve been respected either. The photo above that one, the bathtub and mirrors pic, looks like total squalor. Chic squalor to be sure, but still. Where is the hand towel in the this pic? Ah, it?s on the edge of the bathtub. It?s sure not going to dry there, especially not in London! (Btw, where is the big fluffy towel for drying up after your bath?) There?s a tiny lamp hanging above the sink. Can you imagine putting on your makeup there? Can you imagine being in this bathroom at night trying to get ready to go out? If you?re going for the smeared eyeliner/I-partied-all-night look it wouldn?t matter. And where do you put your contacts on? There are mirrors galore but none above the sink. See those cracks in the floorboards? Have you ever lived in a room with floorboards like these? Bugs crawl up, dirt gets stuck in there. Your heel gets stuck between the floorboards (and damaged). If you look at the displays on the walls in all these shots, there?s one thing in common: off kilter or haphazard art arrangements. This too gives a disorienting feel that contributes to the ?crack house? aesthetic. Yeah, if you were high, it wouldn?t matter what the art looked like. Doesn?t matter if it?s crooked. The fact that the walls are white gives it a temporary feel (as if the inhabitant is a renter, or more likely, a squatter). The intense, psychedelic colors also allude to tripping, as does all the plastic 60s furniture, which gives a nod to the good old days of ?turn on, tune in, drop out.? I could go on explaining, but I think you get the idea. It may seem like an insulting name, but I?ve attempted to give you some concrete reasons why the name is justly deserved. There is temporary/disposable and sad feeling to these rooms, as if the occupants could pick up and go at any moment. Everything looks light enough to carry out, or not worthy of saving (like the French wardrobe).

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  51. Anonymous commented
    January 4th, 2008 at 9:05pm

    I think all the photos are quite lovely but so not my taste. I would call them more boho modern stealing from you subsequent post myself. I agree that not many Americans will decorate in this style and more Europeans will (undecided about Australia since I have never been). But the decorating style matches a lot more architectually (is that a word?) to Europe than most of America with some exceptions in some of the larger East Coast cities.

    Additionally I have seen Decorating Cents on HGTV that is based in MN do several makeovers in this style, so it is out there just rare.

    One of the reason the style is not my favorite is I am not a fan of cracked paint, that just screams fix me and another thing to do on my list. I do appreciate well worn items that aren’t cracked and scraggly.

    Wendy

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  52. Pargie commented
    January 5th, 2008 at 1:51am

    This is the most incredible pad I’ve seen in a while. Whoever said this looks like a crack house must be smoking crack =)

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  53. annechovie commented
    January 5th, 2008 at 2:24am

    Hi Holly! Happy New Year! I appreciated what you articulated so well in this post. I loved your term “Ethan Allenified”! I think that Europeans, by and large, have more of an appreciation for self-expression and the freedom of being a unique individual in their dress and the way they decorate and live. I think that many Americans are too interested in just “fitting in” sometimes, so everything becomes generic and overly mainstreamed. They let others dictate what they should have in their homes, instead of developing their own style or having any confidence in their own choices. Hence the success of places like “Rooms to Go”. Yikes…

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  54. Anonymous commented
    January 5th, 2008 at 2:46am

    Um…your friend was kidding. She was notlikening these gorgeous environments to actual crack houses. As with ‘heroin chic’ in the nineties (of which this, along with ‘shabby chic’, is but a continuation with today’s MCM and minimalist influence mixed in), the ‘ironic’ or gently sarcastic CHC is honouring the elegant decay of a romanticized version of vibrant, visceral, patina-of-memory-soaked youth. Glamour. Nothing more was meant by the comment – it was a compliment.

    Bohemian chic is a more palatable, Americanized name & suits the look well. Great site, Holly.

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  55. decor8 commented
    January 5th, 2008 at 2:49am

    Hi Anon – Actually she wasn’t kidding – she was pretty flat out straight faced when she said it. She abhors this look, to her it’s very “Salvation Army meets Betsey Johnson” as she said tonight when I called her. Not all of my friends embrace what I do, it’s not a big deal to me as she has a right to her opinion, but man sometimes…. Rrrrr!

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  56. Pr?t ? Voyager commented
    January 8th, 2008 at 5:22pm

    Awesome house! I wish I could be that cool!

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  57. www.projectblancoyd.typepad.com commented
    January 9th, 2008 at 5:05am

    I do love these rooms and this style too. I understand what you mean about Americans not understanding much in the way of Great Design. I see it often when realtors come through my home with all its artsy-ness. I live in a more conservative city, Philadelphia and sometimes I would love to just board up every ethan allan and pottery barn I come across.

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  58. alis commented
    January 16th, 2008 at 2:39pm

    WOW, I think this house is amazing. And I can’t imagine stoned ppl can think of such elegant details; it looks like everything was put together masterly and beautifully. You could “insert” me in this house and I could live happily ever after!

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  59. kam commented
    January 16th, 2008 at 4:03pm

    It is a lovely and brilliantly done home.
    And it is true that most Americans love what the TV tells them to love…they don’t have exposure to other ideas.
    Occasionally you will see some soft “new” feature talk about some woman who does something DIY and it is said to be so original…and I have seen it on Craftster so many times I thought it was last year.

    “I think that online, it’s “normal” for us to see this design style, but when you take it to real life it’s really not entirely embraced yet. Almost everyone I meet has never heard of Etsy and few know what blogs are. Yes, really. When I go into the city, it’s slightly different, but there are still those with quizzical looks on their faces when I try to explain the handmade movement.

    Many still love their recliners with cup holders, puffy sectionals, chain discount furniture stores, torchiere lamps, and ceiling fans!”

    You summed it up perfectly here.
    In fact I think you described my Mom! ( actually I just bought her a sectional a few months ago…she HAD to have it…according to her….so long as she is happy.)
    I am so glad that my husband feels my ideas enrich our lives and home….not that they are strange.

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  60. Anonymous commented
    January 25th, 2008 at 2:08am

    I’m offended too! It’s Saarinen, not Eames!

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  61. shelly commented
    January 26th, 2008 at 1:51am

    You are definately a hip chic. I love your style pics. I’d love you to share with my folks some time.
    Michele

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  62. Catherine Gammon commented
    August 6th, 2008 at 8:51am

    Hi
    Im a Surface Pattern student currently studying in Wales Uk. Ive decided to go down the route of studing fashion for interiors for my second year. Your style and designs are interesting and are similiar to my personal tastes. Are they are any other designers like yourself who I could research? Where do you get your ideas from?
    Any other info would be gratefully recieved.
    Really happy I came across your site and had a look at your work. :)
    Cath

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  63. alek commented
    October 8th, 2008 at 4:14pm

    Hi, Holly,

    I’ve been obsessed with the white armoire shown here (I’ve seen it in a few other photos as well) and I was wondering if you or one of your readers know where I might get my hands on one. I thought it was a passing thing but I’m in the market for an armoire and I don’t think any other one will do. Thanks for any help you can lend!

    aleks last blog post: Lemons

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  64. dollface commented
    October 20th, 2010 at 2:16am

    i rarely comment on blogs, especially ones posted so long ago, but i just had to make a comment.
    i have to say, as an American, i am both embarrassed and not at all surprised that your American friends try to categorize and reject this aesthetic in such a narrow-minded way.
    i have many friends that can talk all day about how they love etsy and vintage shopping, but at the end of the day, they all still seek out that cookie cutter decor found at the stores mentioned in previous posts.
    i really love this look. it is inspiring, and exciting to imagine emulating. what i appreciate most about it is that is cannot be duplicated. you could certainly scour the globe trying to find similar pieces and copy it as much as possible but it would never be the same. this look is amazing because it appears so soulful, so personal. it looks like someone filled their home, their sanctuary, with everything they love and cannot live without, and arranged it in a way that pleased them. which, is what i think everyone should do, it is amazing how peaceful it is to come home and be surrounded by a giant canvas you filled all on your own. it is easy to find another persons space so beautiful, because you are finding them beautiful. pieces were not placed in the space to match or to follow a fashion or trend, but simply to make them smile. each piece appears to have a story, a feeling, that a tray of ceramic pears from a catalog simply cannot compete with.
    thank you for your post, it has helped remind me of what i love most about decorating.

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  65. Viktor commented
    April 6th, 2011 at 10:09am

    I just stumbled across looking for a replacement mattress for my courbousier lounge. Where does one find such a thing?

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  66. Christina commented
    July 15th, 2011 at 7:46am

    I don’t know if anyone will get this comment seeing as most of the others were posted three years ago but I am from the US and I totally LOVE you designs! I just moved into a rental home and I want to paint all the walls white and get color in through the decor. I love furniture that looks old and worn and has history. These photos inspire me and I hope to make my new home have as much character as yours!

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  67. Roshnee commented
    March 22nd, 2012 at 7:37am

    *sigh*
    I just hope that India doesn’t rid of this chaotic symmetry we have followed for years and follow the Americans to their focal points.
    We are magpies and have collected years of cultural influences and our new breed of designers are being introduced to the idea of less is more. While its great that we are opening up our horizons, we need to strike a balance somewhere to accommodate this random beauty that exists in our daily life.

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