|Me, reading in an overly dramatic way that makes me look like a lizard, Jen on the left, watching and thinking "Oh, honey, you're gonna need some chemical peel on that neck if you don't stop making that face, bless your heart."
It is no surprise to anyone that one of my truest and dearest friends is the incomparable Jen Lancaster. She said a whole bunch of really nice stuff about me here. She is often saying nice stuff about me, and if you know me, most of the time I am saying nice stuff about her too. I've always been grateful to Printer's Row Book Fair for fixing us up on our first blind date, and to the Universe for ensuring that we would choose to have a second date. I met Jen before I met her books, and then was delighted to find that same snarky wit present in her work that I so enjoy in her company.
The fact that our current books are dedicated to each other sort of says it all. And if you haven't read her stuff, go buy it right now. Just click here!
Many things have changed for me since Jen came into my life. I now have a small Real Housewives additiction, whereas before Jen, I was pretty reality-TV free. I have a renewed love of all things 1980s, and have now been given multiple chances to embarass myself in public with outfits almost entirely made of THINGS I STILL OWN FROM HIGH SCHOOL.
|Not only am I wearing my own stuff from HS, but Tracey is wearing one of my old jackets and some jewelry.
Jen, of course, just looks like Jen.
I have had more girls nights and cupcakes than I can count, and a ridiculous amount of laughter.
When I met my Charming Suitor, from the very first date, Jen led the charge of Team Charming Suitor, our other gal-pals Gina and Tracey following suit, and at every step of our budding relationship she quizzed and queried and cheer-led and generally made it clear that she was in absolute unflagging support of my new relationship, even though she knew it would alter the amount of time we could spend together.
And when she decided to up and move her madras-clad ass up to the suburbs, effectively eliminating our spontaneous midday pilgrimages to Whole Foods, not to mention our standing Wednesday night girl dates, I made a lot of noise, I made a lot of snarky comments, and I sneered....and then I went out to see the houses they were looking at and gave honest opinions, and eventually, my blessing. Because you want your friends to get what they want, even if it sucks for you.
Today, Jen has a post up on her blog that encourages you to come see me, and by proxy her, at my signings this week. She also shows off some of the window treatments and wallpaper that came with the new house. And as her best friend, I feel it important to point some things out about these items.
When we went to see this particular house I said many honest true things.
It has great bones. It is in impeccable shape. It feels like them. I could see them really enjoying life there. It has some wonderful special Jen/Fletchy details. (no, I am not talking about the gun rack in the kitchen, I am talking about the sun porch and the special icemaker. the gun rack is just a scary bonus.)
But since I am honest, I will say the following.
Whoever originally chose the wallpaper and window treatments for this house was deranged or heavily medicated or perhaps had seen Changing Rooms once too many times.
Below is Jen's current post, you'll see my notes peppered throughout....
At some point I'm going to learn to make announcements prior to the last minute.
Today is not one of those days.
But so you know, my friend Stacey Ballis is doing some book signings this week and Fletch and I will be there. Okay, maybe Fletch won't be at the second one, but he's definitely coming tonight as he's currently in the middle of a steamy bromance with Gina's boyfriend.
For which I am very grateful, since Fletch's man-crush on Charming Suitor led to a very uncomfortable drunken lap dance at last year's 80s bash, and it was definitely time for his affections to be spread around.
Here are the specifics:
Tuesday September 14
Barnes and Noble Webster Place
1441 W. Webster
Thursday September 16
Barnes and Noble Old Orchard
55 Old Orchard Shopping Center
Friday September 17
Emcee for the Annual Grown Up Spelling Bee (yep, a spelling bee. with prizes. there may be slots available, so call and sign up!)
The Book Cellar
4736 N Lincoln Ave
I won't actually be at the spelling bee one as I have to go to court that day regarding the idiots who tried to break into my house. (Related story - after this happened, my friend Caprice emailed me and was all, "YOU ALMOST GOT ROBBED?" to which I replied, "No, two morons almost got shot. Big difference.")
(I imagine this is not a story I will share with the judge.)
I imagine that she will also refrain from mentioning that she practically live-tweeted the event, and that the way she told Fletch there was a problem was by running through the house yelling "Perimeter Breach!!!"
Anyway, as you know, I've moved. I may have mentioned this a couple of hundred times. However, I haven't said much about the house and that's been intentional. The thing is, it's tough sledding out there for a lot of people right now. Many folks aren't buying new homes so much as they are trying desperately not to lose their old one. If they aren't in short sale or foreclosure, they're underwater on their mortgage or in a situation where a mortgage isn't even a distant possibility.
Trust me, I know what that's like; I've been there.
In regard to this house, I don't want to be all, "And this! Could be yours! If you were me!"
I'd rather just share the funny stuff, ergo today I'm rolling out...
THE GALLERY OF UNFORTUNATE WALLPAPER
When we ran across our house on the MLS, we immediately wrote it off. We didn't want to see it and I put "the wallpaper will haunt my dreams" in the comments section. But eventually we switched realtors and our new lady brought us here. And although we still hated the wallpaper, she helped us look past it to see an impeccably maintained home, with solid construction and a new roof and a yard the dogs would love.
At this point they brought me out to see the house, and both Jen and Fletch made all sorts of noises about the plans they were making design-wise, the desire to bring in a professional for guidence, they bandied about terms like "color story" and "design plan" and "wallpaper removal".
I would like to point out that later that night I called our friend Penny and made the following Nostradamus-like predictions:
1. Jen and Fletch would buy this house, and be happy there.
2. They would end up keeping a huge percentage of both hideous wallpapers and tragic window treatments, as the love for the house and an affinity for kitsch would eventually be the downfall of future design.
3. In either the packing or unpacking they would find the video camera purportedly stolen by a former cleaning service, prompting the cancellation of said service.
So here we are. Now let's get on with the show.
Did I say elephant in the living room? I meant elephant in the great room.
Yeah, it's a curtain and not wallpaper but I felt it had to be seen. Also, the more I live with this piece, the more it charms me. These curtains are pulling me in... not unlike the light in Poltergeist.
It is not a window treatment. It is the curtain to the sideshow of the Circus of the Criminally Insane. And slightly shiny, which doesn't really come across in this photo. On the upside, if one is going to be possessed of five cats, providing this volume of tassels for their enjoyment will only save you money in cat toys in the long run.
Also, in terms of curtains, I'd be remiss if I didn't say that I like these in the master.
Not bad, right? Pretty matchy-matchy with our stuff, too.
More tassels. But she is right, of all of the violations, this is very minor.
(BTW, I'm sorry about how blurry the photos are. I think I got my iPhone sweaty yesterday when I was outside.)
(Also not pictured, enormous muddy paw prints all over the duvet. Loki likes to get wet, dig for chipmunks, and then jump on the beds. It's AWESOME.)
Anyway, this is where the curtains go a bit off the rails.
And by "a bit off the rails" Jen means to say "holy shit, it's Satan's golf pantaloons!".
You would think I'd be all over pink and green striped balloon valances. You would be wrong. Just because I collect Barbies doesn't mean I want to live in her Dream House.
Methinks she doth protest too much....and if you think I am lying, do ask that she post pics of the guest room, which looks like it could be Barbie's Suite at Betty Ford.
Now we'll move onto the first paper you see once you walk in.
This isn't so awful, except that it's frigging everywhere - in the foyer, down the hall to the bedrooms, down the hall to the kitchen, up the stairs, and in the loft area. And for the record, I don't own a single thing that matches powder blue flowers.
This also, not so bad. Especially considering what comes later....
Hey, at this point of the tour is anyone hungry? What would you prefer?
Perhaps some kind of game bird?
Fortunately in my dining room, you don't have to choose.
Again, this is some of the stuff that made me bark with laughter when I first saw it, but now at night the room almost takes on a certain glow and... the light, Jen! Run away from the light!
Jen fails to mention the entire lack of SCALE in this print. When is the last time you saw a raspberry three times the size of a phesant's HEAD?
NOTE: Dear Wallpaper Designers, Please step away from the crack pipe. Thank you, Stacey
Pretty tame comparatively, right? I think so, too. Expect this to stick around for a while.
The colors on this are in fact pretty tame, and it is in good shape, so I gave it my tentative approval. I also said to stay away from embroidery in the towels and accessories, we shall see if that sank in...
The next couple of entries aren't so bad either on their own, but when you put them together with everything else... I'm not sure I understand the statement they were making as a whole.
Unless that statement is, "Let's see how much unrelated wallpaper we can slap on these walls."
This is the upstairs guest bath.
|Nosegays, wherefore art there nosegays?
In the context of the rest of the room, it works. For now.
And this is the laundry room.
The walls don't have pink spots. I think that's a function of my sweaty iPhone.
Were it not for the stupid border, I'd be fine with this bathroom's paper, too.
However, this room becomes less okay when you see the related bedroom wallpaper.
What prompts a person to say, "You know what this room needs? Eight thousand powder blue ribbons repeating all over the walls."
Please feel free to do your best Nancy Kerrigan impersonation here, crying, "Whhhhhhyyyyyyy? Whhhhhhyyyyyyyy? WWWWHHHHHHHHYYYYYY?" I know I have.
Also, not pictured? The two inch thick Cookie Monster blue shag carpeting.
Also not pictured? Stacey weeping openly, and begging Jen and Fletch to at least consider painting over it...I feel like one of those Toddlers in Tiaras is going to pop out of a closet with her little dentures gnashing and her mascara running, going all Chucky in this suite.
Now, you epileptics in the group might want to avert your eyes for this.
Staring at this, I can see through time.
Can you see through time to a place where some interior designer sat in front of a pile of cocaine and this wallpaper swatch saying "THIS ONE! IT HAS TO BE THIS ONE! BUT IT NEEDS SOMETHING...."
Yet to get the full effect, you need to check out the border, too.
"...CHINESE MUSICIAN BORDER!!!! sssssnnnnnnnnnnnniiiiiiffffffffffffffff"
The room is so visually stimulating that it's hard to keep ones balance while using the powder room. I tell girls to spot the border and boys to stare at the towels. So far no casualties, but it was touch and go for a minute on Labor Day.
I told Jen in no uncertain terms to lock this room during parties, as even the most minimally tipsy guest is going to vomit Ro-Tel dip the moment they enter this powder room.
Hmmm. POWDER room. (see note on coke-sniffing designer)
Seriously, those beige birds are looking pretty good right now, aren't they?
And finally, for those who didn't believe me when I mentioned that the kitchen wallpaper was covered in monkeys perpetrating hate crimes against Asian men...
Ghastly. And vaguely racist.
As for this stuff?
The light is dangerous! Don't go near it! Don't even look at the light!
Wait for it, wait for it....
I already love it.
Told you so.
(Notice she didn't mention that she already had some wooden monkey art that matches it nicely.)
Anyway, hope to see you guys tonight or Thursday.
As do I.
You'll recognize me because I'll be the gal holding paint swatches.
Also? They found the video camera :)
In all seriousness, despite my fun at their wallpaper's expense, it is a lovely house, and both Jen and Fletch are all glowy since moving, and I wish them years of happiness.
And I promise, on behalf of all who love them, I'll keep working on the wallpaper issue....