Originally Posted by imatlas
Foo, do you feel that this apartment is an accurate reflection of who you are? What do you expect me to know about you when I look at it?
Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
I ask because sartorially you have gone through a brutally thorough and iterative process to arrive at your style, and as a result, you own it fully. It is an accurate reflection of who you want us to see. When I look at how you dress, I see someone who is meticulous in his concerns for fit and coordination, and who has a very personal twist on a traditionalist approach. In your own very understated way I'd say that you're actually quite flamboyant. (The One Shoe and The One Shirt are both examples of this).
When I look at your room, the most expressive objects are the money cat and the glass globes. They both tell a bit of a story - that you are proud of your family and background, and that you like plants and are capable of keeping them alive. Nothing else about the room tells me anything about you other than that you can assemble a visually appealing cluster of furniture that you have acquired. It is boring, anonymous and unoriginal. Even the globes have long since lost reverted from camp back to kitsch.
All of which is surprising to me, honestly. The very last adjectives that I would use to describe you sartorially are "boring, anonymous and unoriginal". As I said, in your own way I think you're kind of flashy. You make very deliberate choices that tastefully buck convention while staying within the rules. You've done none of that here. Your living room could be one of ten thousand on apartmenttherapy, or a spare room in some over decorated apartment from just about any time in the last 40 years.
If you had approached decorating in any way like you have approached your sartorial style, the last thing you would have done would be to order a bunch of balls from Flora Grubb, or a rug from some rug dealer's website that you yourself were mistrustful of, or going back to Cappellini for more broken furniture. No, you would have gathered your own collection of interesting objets
from junk shops and high end antique stores and filled them with the most unique epiphytes and bromeliads, harvested and brought back from a canoe trip up the Amazon. You would have traveled to the Atlas Mountains and met with the young girl whose wedding blanket you would one day acquire. The coffee table would have been the work of years of collaboration with a cantankerous old furniture maker in Kyoto who only communicates in calligraphy. No one who looked at the room for a moment could ever doubt that anybody else lives in that room but the
Do you think those are questions I concern myself when I think of how to dress?
I do not aim for my aesthetic choices to "reflect" anything about me. What I care about is developing my taste, surrounding myself with beautiful things, and living in a beautiful space. Perhaps this gets at why you think there is such dissonance between the way I dress and the way I've furnished my living space. I've said time and time again that purposeful, directed attempts at "personal expression" are a delusional folly. If there is anything worth saying about yourself, it shouldn't need to be said, and you shouldn't care to say it.
When I look at our living room, I see a beautiful living space. That is ultimately all I care about. Moreover, I'm not sure how easy it is to put together a space that is as beautiful to me. After all, I find most interiors dreadfully ugly. I don't care if it looks like an "interesting" person lives there. I don't judge based on the number of random baubles collected through various hobbies and vacations. What I look for is how the space is organized, how the individual pieces composing the space are designed, how well they are made, and how well their individuals designs complement each other. You're underestimating the time and effort put into our living room. Many, many years of thought went into it, even if some of the precise pieces had not been settled on yet. The truth is, there are probably a half dozen other coffee tables we could have picked, or a half dozen other lounge chairs, and the room would still look equally beautiful to me. But, I spent a lot of time thinking about what qualifies as beautiful, and ultimately, you have to settle on something.
Consider this: when I judge an outfit, I don't ask myself how much I tell about him as a person. I ask myself if his pocket square is too distracting, if the pattern of his shirt is too similar to that of his jacket, whether there are divots or dimples or ski jumps in his shoulder line, etc. This is analogous to how I think of my home.
So, if there is anything that I hope can be said about me based on our living room, it would simply be: "This guy cares a lot about living in a beautiful space." If that's the only takeaway point, I'm more than content.
Originally Posted by imatlas
Maybe not for you, but it certainly is for Foo. How many threads does it really take to decorate Foo's apartment, after all? I mean, it's easy to say "it's just furniture, how much does it really say", but that seems totally antithetical to the intellectual approach that Foo claims to be taking. Of course, the fact is that he decorated it out of catalogs, showrooms and the internet in the space of less than three months, which is pretty much the opposite of carefully developing, refining and honing an aesthetic of home decor.
Again, you underestimate the time spent and knowledge accumulated in this process. More importantly, the decisions have to be made at a certain point, regardless of how ready you are. We are not going to live in an empty apartment until we have exhausted all efforts at research.