In January I tried to host a holiday party but panicked at the last minute and desperately un-invited everyone via email. Not only did I not have a Christmas tree, but I suddenly noticed my pathetic apartment was not worthy of hosting a party. My molding windows, the stacks of magazines piled high and leaning on the floor, my sad plants and IKEA furniture just didn't cut it. Even though my friends all said it didn't matter, it seemed criminal asking them to come eat some food on mismatched, unremarkable plates, knowing everywhere else there were apartments lovingly decorated and equipped with hip, space-saving ideas, or at least full of unexpected displays of ironic found objects. I couldn’t let anyone know just how mundane my lifestyle really is. And I blame The Selby.
The selby.com is a lifestyle blog. It’s basically beautiful photos of interesting people’s interiors, a photo blog shot by Todd Selby in the vein of “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous” for the creative set. Like The Sartorialist meets MTV Cribs. On top of the regular shoots, it also features videos and corporate collaborations with companies like Zara, Coach, Louis Vuitton and Hennessy, using Todd Selby’s light-infused photography, his knack for eyeing details, and his wacky little watercolor drawings, to take the fantasy of someone else’s life and apply it to a brand. It's fantasy on fantasy- pictures of fascinating people wearing buyable clothing. You might have seen the book published recently, The Selby is in Your Place, or the articles Mr. Selby does for the NY Times on food porn now, but that is for another article.
I'm not into home decor. I know my apartment building is crappy. Looking at amazing loft spaces is not going to change where I live or make me feel better about what I can’t afford. Also, I think of home decor as sort of a sad woman’s activity. As in, “I don’t have any creative outlets, so I’m going to spend the weekend painting my living room vermillion”. Somehow, though, I keep going back to The Selby. Because the photos often feature people I admire, or am vaguely fascinated by, the voyeuristic appeal of seeing what someone like publisher Angelika Taschen has in her fridge makes me put away my "I don't do curtains" manifesto.
There are also people my age featured, young artist-stylist-model-musician types who do have creative outlets and their houses are still photogenic. This is what upsets me. It gets me looking around, sipping my morning coffee, looking at my half-assed walls hung with art in the wrong size frame on a random place on the wall. My lack of creative organizing. My lack of tchotchkes. Where is my wall of records? I only have enough for one shelf-full! I start pulling out hooks and nails and trying to think how to better organize my jewelry while I’m still holding my coffee mug. I go into a panic.
Then I think, I don’t want to be impressed with your adult toy collection. It’s annoying to look at the walls covered with band fliers and stolen street signs, or your obsessive way of ordering your books in color combinations. And then I hate myself for worrying about it in the first place, and I put all my tools away and let the magazine pile stay slumped over on the floor. I also look at these two amazing antidotes to the cool-kid ironic decor, and I feel better about myself and my lack of decor-inspirado.