Thursday, February 08, 2007

2. andrea & michael

or, you can never have too much glitter

In my previous post (2: elizabeth & goil) I surmised that Elizabeth may have known too much about her client -- but forgot to think about the client's point of view. That is, she looked at the room from the point of view of the mother of a young boy.

On the flip side there's Andrea. Andrea stated in her interview that she grew up with brothers and was the mother of two boys and she really didn't know much about girls. The first thing that popped into my mind was "glitter!" And in the end, it was so sweet and funny because her client's critique of the room was that she wanted to have more glitter.
Here is the thing. Every year I spend time with two nieces (one is actually a daughter of friends but she is like a niece) who are 7-8 now. It is sort of like their art camp with their auntie. I learned this my first year and it has remained true every year: you can never have too much glitter. This is actually the secret to life.

After glitter comes pink, purple, princesses and ponies, in terms of what is important to girls. My nieces are precocious girls whose parents are intellectuals and whose mothers are feminists. But this is their culture. It is insanely girly. Have you seen what is marketed to girls lately? Parents of girls (the parents who have any sort of brain at least) are driven mad by all of this stuff. What can you do? Hope that the girls are smart enough that they will figure it out. We did. Anyway, my point is that you don't have to completely capitulate to this insanely frilly girly girl culture but you gotta work with it. They want to be princesses. Sparkly princesses. Don't we all?
Anyway. First off, I just want to point out that neither Andrea or Michael have a desk and that's just a basic functionality problem.

I like this Tiffany blue with the taupe palette but it feels too much like what we want to make a girl's taste into rather than what it actually is. My biggest problem is that the empty display shelves just scream "I don't have a clue!" I mean that is just a total failure of imagination.

At least Michael knew enough to know that girls like to run around with glittery red shoes and party dresses and butterfly wings. (Not all of them of course!) And Michael put nail polish on the bed and let me tell you something girlfriend that is an extremely important activity!

Okay, there are parts of this that are a little too old but shabby chic is actually one of the strategies my friend uses to negotiate what her daughter wants in her room with something she can live with. The wall colors probably should have been, yes, pink. Pink and white stripes like the door would have been bright. The chair was a little drab. With light enough pink and white he could have used rose reds for accents. He'd have to put up more shelves for the ponies, of course.

But this room is not a failure of imagination. In that way it is much more successful as a room than Andrea's.

I think this room is, in some ways, more successful than Goil's. The nail polish, butterfly wings, party dress, sparkly shoes -- these all speak to knowing something about what it is like to inhabit the imagination of his client. As opposed to a large red plastic pepper?

This much is for certain: the judges were far too hard on Michael. At least Jonathan admits this in his blog. However no one, so far, is cutting Michael much slack on his design. I just hope he didn't get too discouraged by all the negativity. I sense a decorator of great talent there but he is having trouble finding his way out.


Anonymous said...

I completely agree with your assessment of Michael's room. My daughter would have loved the shoes, dress-up clothes AND the polish.
Michael knows more of what girls like than Andrea.
The pirate room was nice for a little boy, but I think it would be a pain to change the room once he tired of it. Many of the rooms would work for the 10 year old as he or she grew into teens.
Elizabeth's soccer room was a mess!
Mom always said "Don't play ball in the house."

hughman said...

nice that michael has a talent like you on his side!!

but take away the accessories like the shoes, the polish, the wings - what are the bones like? all it needed was a chennile bedspread and eau de old people!

eric3000 said...

You may be right about Michael turning out to be a talented designer but I saw no evidence of it in this 1980s Miami motel room he recreated.

trixie said...

Well at least he'd be one terrific ten year old girl!

roorooB said...

Ooooo ...

you said "decorator".