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Alexandra Lange

More Hell (Beige Edition)


I thought the Kelly Wearstler fan-fest was over last month, when both Vogue and the New Yorker treated her to long profiles, lovingly and uncritically describing the new 1970s direction her decorating has taken. But lo, two of my November magazines feature more Wearstler: Cookie (R.I.P.) has her clever clever idea for book display (put them on shallow shelves, facing out, just like in a store!), Metropolitan Home her shared Malibu beach house. From what I have read, I can’t imagine Wearstler needs to share, so I couldn’t help but wonder how that works on summer weekends. Plus, with all the big shells and puffball sofas, there’s hardly any room for people.

After my last Wearstler post, I discovered a world of fellow haters, most notably the blog Mirror Mirror, which often features her in the Go Fug This Room category (given my love of the Fug Girls and home design I wish I had thought of this myself). And I am sure they too will have a field day with this so-called “beach house.” Never before have I read a beach house story in a shelter magazine in which the beach was so totally invisible. Yes, floors, walls, ceilings and furniture are the color of sand, but the overall effect is of a tasteful marble coffin. Do they need giant squishy chairs in hell? Why isn’t the man on the shelf wearing a bathing suit? Did she import that fireplace from turn-of-the-century Vienna? My new thought is that the de rigeur photoshoot image of her adorable boys jumping on the furniture is there to give the space some energy, and to cover up the fact that there is nowhere to sit. You can only perch or succumb.



Posted in: Magazines

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Alexandra Lange Alexandra Lange is an architecture and design critic, and author of Writing about Architecture: Mastering the Language of Buildings and Cities. (Princeton Architectural Press, 2012). Her work has appeared in The Architect’s Newspaper, Architectural Record, Dwell, Metropolis, Print, New York Magazine and The New York Times.

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