Am I the last one to know that underwater hotels exist? I’m not even sure I want to sleep below sea level, but something about New York’s humidity in deep August has had me plotting my escape at any chance I get — entertaining a whole world of weekend alternatives only a few hours away that I’d never before considered, in the shape of Tiny Homes on Airbnb, Happier Campers and Getaway Houses. But I can’t say I’ve ever made it through one night of camping in a tent without immediately retreating back to my roofed home at the first sound of an owl’s hoot, and I can’t get too far on a road trip while my driver’s license is still a static item on my to-do list, so I am attempting to channel these adventurous summer whims into something more realistic: home improvement projects. As you’ve likely heard ad nauseam, good artists borrow and great artists steal, so below are some home decor tricks I’m planning to stash in my getaway van. If you recommend any small-change, big-impact maneuvers that have dazzled you lately, let me know your gems of insight below in the comments.
Frames aren’t just for works on paper
I loved the way Katie Hunt repurposed this leopard balloon, given to her by her best friend Rachel at her birthday party. “I kept it and framed it because it reminds me of a beautiful night where I was surrounded by so many people I love,” Katie told me, when I told her how much I admired the idea. Framing an item that isn’t usually associated with wall art manufactures a delightful element of surprise, and flattened on the wall, Katie’s balloon commemorating good times with good people looks like a bit like the contemporary and humane take on a rug President Theodore Roosevelt had. I’m taking baby steps in this category, having framed a set list from a concert this spring, and I’m looking for more ways to go big and still go home.
Like you, a salon-style wall can be multi-dimensional
There’s a lot going on here, not least of which is the little portrait of a man in the red cap hiding behind the sofa over there. Artist Isa Beniston has a real sense for marrying her paintings with 3D objects, including a marlin that seems to be simultaneously poking fun at and revering the interior of a 20th century yacht club, and a vintage banana light. It’s a welcome reminder that a salon-style wall can be multi-dimensional. A little round is sound.
Utilitarian necessities can be the life of the party
Bonus round from the brain of Isa Beniston: she painted a flat file pink, transforming a mundane, utilitarian office object into a Warheads Sour pop of color. So smart. Suddenly I need a flat file.
You can live in a museum like they do in the book From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler
View this post on Instagram
Designer Jens Verrbeck collects vintage toasters. . ‘My collection is mostly pre-war. Among the exceptions is a unique American piece called the Toast-o-Lator – bottom shelf, far right. The toast moves through it like a car through a carwash; the peephole is there so you can watch it go by. . ‘I have no idea why so many engineers have been fascinated by toasters, why they came up with such crazy ways to turn the bread over, and why they were designed in so many styles.' . Find out more about Verrbeck’s collection at toastermuseum.com. . What do you collect? Let us know in the comments, or tag us in a picture using #collectingwithchristies . 📷 by James Mollison. . #art #artist #artwork #collection #collecting #toasters #toast
I am trying to Kondo and blossom into a burgeoning collector at the same time. With goals at odds with each other, the solution here is committing to one collecting project at a time. Amassing a collection of peculiar or everyday objects (toasters of every variety!) makes your home part residence, part museum (See also: The Nancy Kerrigan Tonya Harding Museum).
Your shower curtain can be the highlight of your bathroom
View this post on Instagram
The master bathroom of our project in @archdigest – the floors were copied from Cy Twombly's studio and the shower curtain is orange vinyl – lip paintings by @jamesenglishleary, Marcel Wanders rope chair and Noguchi lamp from @johnson_trading, rug by @orleyshabahang! #architecturaldigest #archdigest #sethcameron #alexandracunningham #jamesenglishneary #noguchi #marcelwanders #orleyshabahang #johnsontradinggallery #salon94design #jordanhruska #michaelbargo #flotowarner #ch_herrero #cytwombly
I am taking cues from this orange vinyl shower curtain ASAP. Has taking an indoor shower ever looked more fun? I can get on board with the idea of a see-through shower curtain even more than a see-through tote bag, and it’s devilishly inexpensive to DIY. Can double as a film gel if you’re into multi-purpose objects and cinematography.
Customize small details, or the perfect gift for a friend
File this one under: have a friend who loves you enough to commission Marian Bull to whip up custom sprinkle-inspired ceramics with her magical potter fingertips just for you. Or alternatively, commission something similar for a friend out of love and selflessness, hope that karma one day brings you your own specialized ceramic collection.
Invent the ideal reading nook
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what a space needs in order to become the perfect reading nook: natural light for daytime, lamplight by evening, a comfy chair with potential to be a favorite chair, a side table for a glass of lemonade and an ottoman or some such to elevate your feet. This pink corner seems to have it figured out.
An interior designer’s solve for the fluorescent overhead glare of a dorm room light
This is really a note to self in case I can ever time travel back to eight years of living in dorms — designer David Netto cooked up a plan to cozy up his daughter’s room at boarding school and subsequently wrote about it for Town & Country Magazine. He Instagrammed the little visualization of his care package here, and noted that the keys to sprucing up a dorm room are selecting items that are “cheap, cheerful and modern,” avoiding the kind of furniture that might seem like a status symbol and leaving room for the student to fill in the blanks with their own teenage goofiness. Lamps for atmospheric lighting are crucial; so is compact furniture that doesn’t make June’s move-out day a family-wide calamity.
Make your own wallpaper
Chopping up books can make wallpaper, too! Think of all the opportunities here: an encyclopedia on dog breeds, a workbook of unsolvable geometry problems, an exhibition catalogue of Ellsworth Kelly paintings, a tome of Gnomes, etc.
A little neon goes a long way
Neon seems kind of high-maintenance and even a little twitchy and spooky when the sun sets, but I think just a touch of it adds some flare to an apartment that otherwise abides by conventional lighting standards. It’s kind of like a quippy spot illustration in a long New York Times Magazine think-piece. I’ve been on the lookout for a deaccessioned street sign that says “1 HOUR PHOTO” or “KODAK” and won’t rest until I find my neon soulmate.
Dig deeper than Shia LaBeouf in Holes on eBay
I am in awe of Molly Young’s myriad talents, chief among them her knack for sleuthing out orb-like, Mento-adjacent lamps from the depths of eBay, which to me encapsulate what the Jetson’s creators thought the future’s furniture would look like. This “trick” here is more an altering of perspective when acquiring decor: I think there’s merit to dedicating time spent researching and deep diving into niche furniture, vintage or long forgotten, until you can find something that feels well-earned, instantly beloved, and which no one else on Pinterest has.
Purgatory clothes be gone
Okay, okay, I know this isn’t a room and hardly an interior, but I think this might be the most fantastical, aspirational bullet point included here. Remember when Haley wrote about purgatory clothes? In an ideal world, this is what the chair in my bedroom looks like. In reality, it’s a tower of unsorted, half-wrinkled clothes I wore two weeks ago. How will they ever find their way to the washing machine or to the dry cleaners? My final trick is to trick myself into establishing my bedroom chair as an art installation, changing every 24 hours as I plan the next day’s outfit.
Feature image by Heidi’s Bridge of Eileen Kelly’s apartment.