Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Top Ten Bad Design Elements - What Not to Do

Do you read Cote de Texas? Houston designer Joni Webb puts together some wonderful photo essays discussing the elements of design. Her guest room, featured in this post, is so inviting it makes me want to drive 15 hours for a chance to be her guest.

I'll admit to being a slave to design at points in my life. My poor family experienced a living room painted in test strips of color, for almost a year because I couldn't make a decision.

Perhaps it was my decorating angst that sent my daughter into design school. We paid for 6 years of college so that she could earn her master's degree in design and project management. She now works for a prestigious group of engineers and architects, designing hospitals and other large commercial projects. I'm tell you all this for a reason. It will be revealed as this tale progresses.

Joni posts some wonderful pictures of kitchens that are to die for, and inviting family rooms. Although high-end interiors are not something that everyone can afford, we can all use them as inspiration and do our best to use some elements in our own homes.

She has decided to count down the Top Ten Design Elements. The first on her list is linen; linen slipcovers, linen window treatment, linen bedcovers. Linen, linen, linen.

I've decided to play along with Joni and list the Top Ten Design Elements of a Budget-Challenged, Multi-Generational Rural Household, in other words, what not to do.

My first design element is an accessory. PLASTIC FRUIT. (Yes, capital letters, I'm shouting).

It looks kind of pretty in this picture. Trust me, it's not.

I know, it's horrible. Believe me it's not my choice. This is the problem you incur when living in a multi-generational household. Plastic fruit and scary dolls (more about that another time). For years I'd return home from a hard day at work and the first thing I'd see when walking into my home was plastic fruit. It was demoralizing but it drove home the point of how important it is to have a home that is beautiful and comforting.

Rubber leaves.

This is an embarrassingly bad design element. It's in-your-face bad. I won't lie, I've dreamed about terrible plastic fruit accidents. One dream involved a grease fire which burned the fruit, creating a noxious cloud of gas. Another dream had the fruit accidently falling into the garbage disposal. The only problem was, we don't have a garbage disposal.

A hard styrofoam plum, quickly shriveling to become a styrofoam prune.

In order to maintain my sanity, I've made peace with the fruit. I refuse to let the ugly fruit bring me down. I became a glass half full of fruit accepting energy.

Dented fake peach - an abomination.

And now, the rest of the story. My uber-educated design-school-graduate daughter loves the fruit! Actually, all the grandchildren are arguing over who gets the fruit when and if grandma leaves this mortal realm.

They're fighting over plastic fruit. Who would have thought? I guess there are good memories in that fruit. When they were kids they'd pull off a plastic grape and stick on their tongue. Admit it, you've done that!

All is not lost though. My daughter and I have already discussed painting and decorating my sewing room (her former bedroom). We settled on a calm blue (morning fog) on the walls, black accents (picture frames, pillow trim) and linen drapes.

See Joni? I've already purchased some linen panels at Target. I guess there's still hope. I'm trying.


Louise said...

I guess it's at least good the children have nice memories of their grandmother. And may you be granted extra portions of strength when you look at the fruit!

Anonymous said...

Can the fake fruit be divvied up equally so there are no hard feelings when you are gone.. LOL Perhaps the child that gets the dented piece could have a second piece to make up for the damaged inheritance.

The Blue Ridge Gal

Vee said...

What a fun post! As my grandson lifted his great-grandmother's plastic plum to his lips, he asked his father what it was. The reply:
"It's a plum, a fake plum." Would you believe that this phrase has taken on a life of its own and is used countless times to describe things through a week.

Can't wait to see what your darling girl helps you accomplish in your sewing room. I know it's going to be great!

Lisa said...

Haha! My grandmother had fake fruit in her kitchen too! And yes, all us grandkids would pretend to eat it....or use the grapes as missiles to pelt at each other. :)

Becky said...

Oh yeah......plastic fruit present on all tables in my growing up years!! :)
I personally preferred the rubbery grapes you could keep squeezing. And squeezing. You get the picture!
Did you acquire any sequined fruit during the 70's? Guilty. Fortunately, I had them stored away in the basement of an apartment house we were renting and they were stolen. Whoda thunk they would be theft worthy!!


ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha aha..gee this is tiring to type...ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha...i'm wearing my faux cuban fruit hat right now...ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ahahahahhahahahahahahhaha LPxo

Karen Deborah said...

This is funny. I was going to suggest you throw the plastic fruit away, but you can split it up and give it away! I can't handle all that stuff anymore. I have enough crap in my house without plastic or SILK remember all that?
I love your old sewing machine.

martina said...

Remember the fake grape clusters from the 1960s? They were either rubbery or fiberglass, with glitter on them to make them look fresh picked. We didn't have them but everyone else did. Mom did decorate a white wicker hat and bag with plastic yellow daisies back then. At the time she thought she was very clever. I have the picture-quite retro.

BellaDella said...

You are so funny. I am laughing out loud at my desk right now and I so needed that.

Karen Deborah said...

what color blue and which paint brand?

LDF said...

It's not plastic fruit I remember, altho Grams had a bowl of that in the kitchen ... it's DOLLS ... half dollies (bottom half sawn off and thrown away) in dusty volumous crocheted dresses, or with massive skirts made out of ingenious things like corkscrews of foil from cigarette packages or ugly plastic lace doilies. Those damned ... er, DARNED ... dolls were everywhere! I will not allow half dolls in my place, although I do love my raggedy annie and andies.

Rebecca said...

Oh, the things that make memories. My sister has a faded, dented cookie tin from our Grandmother. Ugly but filled with memories.

ksarra said...

LOVED this post, it was sooooo funny!!!! Do you remember the half dolls with the crocheted dress that covered the roll of tissue???

cathycan said...

I love it! I was just looking at a little arrangement I have on my dining table and all of the sudden thought, "oh my gosh, this plastic foliage is hideous!"
All you can do is try...and read decorating blogs!

LydaBabes Going Ons!!!! said...

There is nothing like dust on your fruit. I think all Grannys had these. Had the sparkly kind too. I am getting ready to sell mine at the garage sale..... Great story....

Cote de Texas said...

omg omg omg - I JUST SAW THIS!!!!
3 am, I am cracking up!!!!!! I didn't know you were this funny!!!

what a treat! thanks!