The Insider: Odes against over-styling


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The Independent Online

A friend with awe-inspiring style just had her stunning, interesting home rejected by an interiors magazine for not being "sophisticated enough". Am I the only one to feel intimidated rather than inspired by publications I once loved? Time for some alternative reading…

Who are these people?

Molly Erdman created Elaine and Gary, "a well-heeled couple living amongst abundantly pillowed chairs, giant abacuses and decorative fruit" after seeing an interiors brochure featuring a plate of figs under a table. "Who lives like this?" she thought. Now her Catalog Living blog (, poking fun at excessive styling, has spawned a book (Catalog Living at Its Most Absurd).

Take off the gloss

Fuck Your Noguchi Table is a witty Tumblr blog where glossy interiors photography gets sharp captions. Each one begins: "fuck your…" (insert, for example, "terrarium", "vignette of tiny vintage glass bottles", above, or "fireplace full of logs"). If you can't laugh at your own "deconstructed frame cluster", best avoid.

The real deal

Dropping the smirk, Christiane Lemieux's beautiful book Undecorate features 20 homes that reject "stuffy, professionally designed décor".

Flaw show

Out earlier this year, The Perfectly Imperfect Home is by Deborah Needleman, founding editor of the sadly defunct Domino, an American magazine with style but not pretension. Excellently, it has a section called "a bit of ugly" and this for an opening quote: "Any house or room remembered with pleasure has the look of being loved by those who live in it." Hear, hear.

Ugly ducklings

And if you, like me, rather like many of the homes on (a tough-love blog by an American estate agent) then – hurrah, you're cured!

Find Kate's blog on affordable interiors at