September 11, 2022
"Don’t you love Okotoks in the Fall? Makes me want to watch You’ve Got Mail."
Well, I guess if I’m being completely honest, I always want to watch You’ve Got Mail, but the urge is especially strong at the first hint of Fall. In a lot of ways, I’m not typically nostalgic when it comes to the 90’s. I’m not eager to revisit my grunge phase, but I do have a special place in my heart when it comes to 90’s interior and set design. Enter You’ve Got Mail and, more specifically, Meg Ryan’s apartment.
Meg Ryan, or actually, Kathleen Kelly’s apartment was cottagecore before cottagecore was cottagecore. Floral fabrics, twee wallpaper, framed botanical prints, rustic French country furniture, cozy oversize roll arm sofas and chairs, ruffles and stripes; all layered and combined in the most effortless of ways. It’s the perfect foil to Joe Fox’s more modern, clean lined apartment at 152 Riverside Drive and both apartments serve to highlight the differences in the lives of their owners and the manner in which they conduct their businesses. Both characters own family run businesses, Kathleen’s inherited from her mother and Joe’s from his father and grandfather, but the two could not have taken more different paths. The Kellys value the quaint and personal, greeting their customers by name and offering firsthand knowledge about the books they carry. The F-O-Xs specialize in selling “cheap books and legal addictive stimulants”. I think this difference is at the crux of what sets the stage for our (my?) enduring love affair with the film’s interior stylistic choices.
So, what is it about Kathleen Kelly’s apartment that still resonates 24 years after the movie’s release? I definitely think a healthy dose of 90’s nostalgia plays a role. A not so small part of me longs for the day when cabbage rose chintz on roll arm sofas reigned supreme. But more than that, a big part of the allure is that the apartment is part and parcel to the quaint lifestyle she’s carved out for herself amid the hustle and bustle of New York. The charm that first greets us in her historic brownstone apartment as Shopgirl logs on to AOL at her slightly cluttered French country desk extends to virtually all areas of her life: The Shop Around the Corner, a vintage style storefront with an atmospheric interior evocative of a bygone era; her unhurried morning routine, stopping for flowers, a pumpkin and coffee on her way to work; and a social network that has her crossing paths with literary New York. Most of us won’t ever live in New York, own a children’s bookstore, or be invited to parties where there’s a heated debate involving caviar, but we sure as heck can wallpaper our living room and use a chintz fabric on our sofa. So, let’s get the look, shall we?
December 11, 2022
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August 14, 2022
"Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist." - Pablo Picasso
When you think of creativity, rules probably aren’t the first thing that come to mind. But in art, as in life, there are certain rules that point us in the right direction and give us a better chance for success; interior design is no exception. The following are guidelines for some of the most common stumbling blocks I see, those tricky little design conundrums you shouldn't need a degree to master.