I know in the world of decorating one is supposed never to be critical – amazing really when one considers the ever-churning rumor mill – so let me say only that there were highlights. Nothing OMG or I'm Loving This though I did hear a nostalgic Remember when? remark about when decorators used to learn their trade as assistants to the big names.
One such highlight was a basement room done entirely in its own products by IKEA – actually, an eyeopener for here was a room stylish, low-budget, livable, contemporary, and completely in the wrong place or, if not in the wrong place, it was being viewed by the wrong clientele (which I suppose is the same thing). I heard many a snobbish comment but I tell you honestly if I were starting out with little money I would seriously consider, after seeing that room, using IKEA products for my first flat. The disconnect is that most of the people visiting the show house are not just starting out and, frankly, stressing the inexpensiveness of it all, as the docents did, is not what thrills the oh, my dear lord! crowd avidly reeling in faux ticket shock. A highlight, if a strangely misplaced one.
"I do," said our friend, when I quipped "every A-list gay in Atlanta will want a version of this room. "As do I," I replied. We were looking at the brightest highlight of them all: on the lower level, a moody masculine, bodice-ripper of a room by Michael Habachy.
It is clear to me that Mr Habachy is one of Atlanta's most original designers and one who, with nightclubs, spas and restaurants on his resume, brings a completely different understanding of atmosphere and sociability to residential design – not for him the pallid prettiness that suffuses Atlanta decorating. A room where two men in tuxedos might sit, manhattan and negroni to hand, on their long-awaited wedding night, laughing about their first honeymoon thirty-five years before.
It was thanks to Uber we drove up the torrent that was the driveway to the suburban faux chateau hosting the show house (not for us, this time, the drive to the designated parking spot and then the shuttle). I feel I've seen more than my share of these houses, thus I cannot tell you I was impressed by the architecture inside or out. I'm just bored stiff with sheet-rocked grandeur. As to authenticity ... well, a tired joke at the best of times.
I do ask myself why we bother with show houses and I strongly feel that, year in, year out, its always the same. But it could be I just need to get out more – and we are, for in a couple of weeks time we're going to visit the Kips Bay Boys and Girls Club forty-first annual Decorator Show House – neither of us has done it before though we have tried a few times to get their schedule matched with ours and the one time previous to this we did so, they had to cancel at the last minute. Let's hope it isn't another "why did we bother?"
Photos of Michael Habachy's room unattributed on the card I picked up so if anyone can tell me the name of the photographer I would be grateful and certainly would add it to this post.