Architectural In-Digest-ion

ArchitecturalDigest_150Sadly, a favorite magazine of mine called Domino dissolved a couple of months ago. Subscribers like me were offered other magazines from the publisher’s stable. My poor sister-in-law, for whom I had purchased a gift subscription, ended up with Glamour (which she promptly cancelled, understandably), and I started receiving Architectural Digest.

You probably could have guessed this, but I didn’t peg myself as an AD kind of girl. Domino worked for me because it had rooms painted entirely in chalkboard paint and lots of children’s pictures framed as art. AD is for a different sort of crowd—the crowd whose reflecting pools should not be confused with their swimming pools, who would take a copper sculpture and paint it entirely black because copper is so sort of shiny and vulgar, who could fit four (or more) of my house inside theirs and still have room left over for a high end steam room and Godiva chocolate facial center.

If you’re the kind of person who prefers her water in a water glass, then let me tell you, AD is the magazine for you.

Yesterday, thankfully, I was able to find the funny in a publication that could otherwise be known as Wealthy Pretensions Monthly (No offense, anyone, but wouldn’t your hard-earned money be better spent on an endowed scholarship or arts sponsorship? Isn’t there some welfare-to-work program calling out for funds? Maybe it’s just me, but aren’t there still starving people pretty much all over the world? Wouldn’t you rather change lives than buy a new lamp that costs more than my home, car, and wedding ring combined?). Ah, yes, the funny. It’s there; just look past the pictures and start reading the articles.

Here are some choice quotes from the July 2009 edition:

On page 80, about an eager, design-oriented couple furnishing their LA apartment: “To wit: when Allardyce [the designer] found some dining table candidates in San Francisco, they were ready to hop on the first plane to take a look.” (Hang on, I’m feeling like French toast this morning. Paris, anyone?)

On page 74, architect Lars Bohlander on his purchase of a French chateau: “…we went to speak to the architect in charge of it. He was Turkish but spoke fluent Swedish. So that was it. It had to be. We bought it. Of course we never lived in it.” (Can you say ‘shoddy paint job’ in Swedish?)

On page 66, designer Thad Hayes on his client’s storm cloud color palette: “It’s a blue green that’s not very happy.” (I prefer suicidally depressed pomegranate myself—does Benjamin Moore carry that one, Thad?)

On page 115, describing a painfully distilled Miami Beach residence: “A pair of custom-designed silk rugs are the exact shade of turquoise to be found in the shallows near the shore; the blue of a headboard, the color of the deeper water just beyond.” (“The murky brown of the Jersey shore on a particularly bad day; the completely unnecessary use of a semi-colon before a dependent clause; breathtaking.”)

And, my favorite, on page 33, the caption below a 24” statuette belonging to Yves Saint Laurent, which was recently sold at auction: “Probably Italian: $47,698.” ($47,698?!?!?!! Must remember that when the college bills roll around. Tragically deflated college fund? No go. Romanesque statue of dubious origin? Score!!)

For me, who yearns for honorary membership in the post-irony, enviro-conscious, genuinely bohemian thirty-something crowd, it’s hard to believe that such pomposity exists for real in this world. More my speed? Artist Stephen Huneck’s chapel for dogs, featured on page 14. So out there. So genuine. So ridiculous it’s loveable on the scale of a wet dog shaking itself down…except not in the home of anyone featured anywhere else in the pages of AD—just imagine the cleaning bill for that one.


  1. Emily said,

    August 22, 2009 at 10:37 am

    Excellent article and quite enjoyable. =)

    • Cheryl said,

      August 22, 2009 at 12:37 pm

      Hey Emily, thanks! I have mixed feelings about mocking on someone else’s writing, but I really do find it disturbing that Yves Saint Laurent owned a lamp that is worth more than my house–and that a magazine would treat that like it’s normal. Well, he’s gone and the lamp belongs to someone else now. I guess where your treasure is…

  2. Lorraine said,

    August 23, 2009 at 4:36 am

    I loved the blog Cheryl! I have the same sense of perspective. How can people spend so much money on inane objects while others are homeless and hungry – it’s obscene! I think about this each time it’s our turn on Fred’s Van – a mobile food kitchen that St Vincent de Paul runs. I would love to have the money to make a difference. We did a home visit once to a young couple who were expecting their first baby. Vinnies was helping them out with food,clothing and some furniture. They were living in a disused mechanics workshop and were so happy because they weren’t homeless anymore and had a place (at least in the short term) to bring their baby to.
    One a lighter note you discussion about the language used reminds me of the language used to describe wines. I love reading them aloud (but softly) when we go out to dinner.. with suitable posh accents of course…”soft, fruity overtones of subtle chocolate and blackberry with a lingering palate of marshmallow….. etc etc

    • scheirmad said,

      August 23, 2009 at 4:19 pm

      What a wonderful story, Lorraine. Thanks for the contribution YOU make to help others! It really goes a long way!

      I’m going out to dinner with the family tonight and can’t wait to try my theatrics on the wine list!!!!

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