Magic Markers on Muslin: Your Thoughts?
I had huge reservations on posting this, I feared the home owner would contact me and tell me to either bite it or she'd do a drive by and take out all of my windows. But then I thought that if you have a living room that looks like this and you allowed the The New York Times to feature it then you must not really care about the opinions of others. And that's pretty cool.
I'd love to get your thoughts on this NYC apartment that AT calls the Kidcentric Townhouse in the East Village. Homeowner Pamela Bell is one of the four original partners in the Kate Spade brand. In celebration of 15 years of hard work, this 42-year-old single mum has decided to take time off and dedicated her home to her three children. You can read the article When Perfect Is Not The Goal and view the slideshow here.
My opinion: It's hard to judge how another person wants to live. Period. It's Ms. Bell's decision ultimately. Truth be told, I'm jealous that she has a $4.3 million townhouse. I could easily split time between there and Germany, I'd gladly trade that life in exchange for my New Hampshire home at any time. And another thing that I respect is that her home is painted in colors chosen by the children. Brilliant! The fact that the whole family was involved in the color selection is quite thoughtful.
I look at that sofa, marked up by her daughter and her classmates, and think it looks pretty cool. But then the practical side of me kicks in and that side isn't too keen on marker art scribbled all over a very expensive sofa. And chair. But it isn't mine, so who really cares. She likes it and good for her. My only wish is that she had offered the sofa pre-markers to me first and I could have given her my Room & Board one. (Sorry R&B, but John Derian wins in this case).
I'm not sure if their are other pieces in the home where she has allowed marker art... Perhaps the sofa and chairs are it and if that's the case perhaps she views them as works of art and if so, fine. Go for it. But if the children have free reign over the walls and floors and anything else, I wouldn't allow it personally because some of the designer pieces in my own home are like books, I cherish them and would never do anything to harm them. I wouldn't draw in my favorite books nor will I allow my future children to mark them up. But who cares what I would do. This is Ms. Bell's home. But back to the book thing, if I do have a book that isn't quite a treasured piece (a 1969 cookbook that is already in poor condition) then I may decide to alter it in some way. Same goes for a dresser or chair that I no longer like. I give myself permission to alter it anytime I please - new fabric, new paint, etc. I think this may be the approach that she has taken here and so part of me totally gets it.
Now to make a sweeping could-be-controversial statement having to do with money. Another paragraph I dread writing but here I go...
I think it may also be a money thing. Clearly if you have millions to spend on a home then money is viewed differently than say, how I look at it. I will never own a home worth 4.3 million dollars. I have accepted this truth as most of us have. Big deal, I live large in other ways. I have lived on all income levels actually, from poor single girl to married woman with a crash pad in Germany. So I have saved a little cash and my bank account is okay. Just not million dollar okay. But I'm happy with what I have, but my mother was raised on a huge farm in Rhode Island and my dad was born in Kentucky to a working class family. Though I was raised slightly different, their roots influenced me. They were always quick to remind me of the sacrifices that they made as kids whenever I would play the "only child" card to get my way. They didn't buy it, I wasn't allowed to be the cherished only kid, I was to respect them, others, and our family property. I had my creative play space yes, but it wasn't on the family sofa with my trusty set of smelly markers (cherry was my favorite). I recall when I was 4-years-old my mother gave me an original Shirley Temple doll, one that she was given for Christmas as a little girl. I took permanent markers to the porcelain face and to this day I still remember watching her cry. She wasn't angry, she was deeply hurt. Years later she told me it was her fault to give it to a child in the first place, she should have waited until I was older and understood the value of things. It meant something to her and seeing her sadness impacted me so greatly that I looked at material possessions differently after that.
A cherished doll and a John Derian sofa are very different things so it could be that Ms. Bell does not attach herself to items in her home enough to really care what the kids do to them. If that is the case, I applaud her. Sometimes I wish I could detach from worry and not care about staining the rug.
What is YOUR opinion? How much decorating direction from the children do you allow in your own home (or would you allow)?
(images from the new york times)