Ground Condition #11

Bringing it home

Safe to say we’ve reached the nostalgia stage of the pandemic. Most people haven’t done anything out of the ordinary for nine months or more, so we’re mining the vault for memories of vacations, parties, human contact, and the most quotidian details of our autobiographies. (Personally, this exercise helps me manifest the day I’ll share a giant cocktail, one straw, with all of my friends, while exploring a design museum that’s also a garden, on a beach, while wearing real shoes—HBU?)

One thing I wonder about re: 2020. Will we ever feel nostalgia for it, or will this year vacuum itself from what we choose to remember? In a period where we witness life unfolding in real time online, the tedium tends to feel magnified. Whereas—as Stella Bugbee articulated so well for The Cut—major life events are slipping by less remarked upon, as many of us struggle with how to be on social media in an era of such disquietude.

Meanwhile, I’ve been mulling why this article in WWD about interiors being “influenced” has unsettled me. I’m all for an unexpected boost to the furniture industry, and happy to see up-and-coming designers and indie vintage dealers getting their due. But the show-and-tell, instant-gratification mode of home decorating presented here undercuts the value of long-term nest-feathering: Collect over time, mix inexpensive/utilitarian/actual thrift with things that cost more for a reason, and please god don’t bother with a “vignette” unless you are a professional prop stylist.

Putting together a convincingly authentic home takes time, and patience, and can’t be manufactured as a sort of quarantine hobby. It’s the difference between your grandparents’ house and TGI Fridays: decor that’s intentional in its pursuit of nostalgia will never read as the real thing.

That said, hating on influencers or whatever blown-glass lamp happens to be trending is beside the point. ***Self-realization alert*** I’m starting to understand that my own rush to make things “perfect” is self-defeating, not to mention impractical, and it makes me sad that anyone living so publicly feels pressure to perform domesticity. Perhaps in 2021, we can allow ourselves some blank walls, some works-in-progress, some unresolved corners.

The Year in Review, Design Edition

Pleated lampshades. Quilts. Checkerboard. Scalloped edges. Design-y Judaica. Storage crates. Cabinet fronts. Figurative rugs. Digital Baroque. Streeteries. Plexi. Freaky candles. Virtual exhibitions. Tigers prowling through gardens (?). And finally, Instagram as the graphically-inclined self-help platform:

A post shared by hannah pahl (@hannahpahl)

Shopping, Bonus Round

As much as I live to give, it was a relief to take it easy on holiday gifting This Year. However, I always have a list going of evergreen ideas and figured I’d share some of them—just in case you’re in the market for a circa-March “thinking of you” token:

For your twenty-something first cousin who’s trying to make her apartment cute: State circle napkins, $40. For the tiny replica your best friend spawned: a set of House board books, $17.

For your mentor/career inspiration (these in honor of JLL because I feel like he would appreciate): a trio of merino socks in zippy colors, $59. For your new S.O.’s mom with intimidating taste: Leather trivet, $60.

For your group text friend who left New York for LA: Desert Oracle subscription, $30. For your neighbor/colleague/child’s teacher/someone you don’t know well but want to endear yourself to: A next-generation “cool” puzzle, $26.

For your practical grandpa who doesn’t want any gifts: Candle trimmer, $15. For the entire fam: A retelling of classical mythology that everyone can read + gift card to local bookstore, ~$50.

For someone whose kindness you can’t possibly repay but you’re going to try:
Simone Bodmer-Turner vessel, $395. For someone whose kindness you can’t possibly repay but you’re going to try, foodie version: A case of Oracle olive oil, $40 x 6.

Things I’ve Recently Enjoyed

Did you all catch the profile of the high-end carpentry wizard who constructs elaborate environments for wealthy New Yorkers? Ezra Klein interviewed Madeleine Miller, author of Circe (see above), in a wide-ranging conversation about the contemporary relevance of Greek myths and the poetry of Sandra Boynton. Jezebel ran a series exploring the “mysteries and fantasies” of rooms in the 20th-century home. Emoji garden 💆‍♀️. I’m always extra curious about the furniture set designers select to represent “thirty years in the future,” à la The Midnight Sky. Eames chairs seem to be a common thread. :) This TikTok mocking March, a rarified home goods boutique in San Francisco. Crowdsourced moving tips! GQ toasts Chiclet for it’s “right-now energy” and I couldn’t have said it better myself: “No vintage chair seems as poised for a moment.”

OK y’all, we made it to the end of this arbitrary time marker. Hopefully we’ve all learned something: fortitude, generosity, how to fix minor plumbing disasters. No promises for next year, except for sticking to a Saturday send schedule (whoops, happy last Monday of 2020!).

Take care out there,

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