Designers Reveal Their Guilty Decor Pleasures
- Next1 of 9Courtesy of Melissa Warner Rothblum
- Previous Next2 of 9Courtesy of Christian May
- Previous Next3 of 9Courtesy of Sienna Oosterhouse
- Previous Next4 of 9Courtesy of Donna Hall
- Previous Next5 of 9Courtesy of Jay Jeffers
- Previous Next6 of 9Courtesy of Kristen Kilmer
- Previous Next7 of 9Courtesy of Roman Reiterer
- Previous Next8 of 9Courtney Small
- Previous Next9 of 9Courtesy of Melissa Warner Rothblum
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Design Rebels1 of 9
By Naomi Chrisoulakis
Who says good taste is king? Even top tastemakers can have a weak spot for questionable knick-knacks and downright dated decor. We asked interior designers to dish on their guilty pleasures—find out how they make them work with the rest of their style.
Light Up2 of 9
Christian May describes himself as a "firm believer" in questionable taste. "If everything is a masterpiece, it makes a house feel like a museum, not a home, so the quirky and the personal will always have a place in my decor," the Los Angeles–based designer says. "My Rougier floor lamp from the 1980s is totally tacky in a Scarface kind of way, but I still love it and can't bear to throw it away. It travels from room to room and I put it to use whenever I need something tall to complete a pleasing vignette."
Work of Art3 of 9
Sienna Oosterhouse's husband might think the painting that hangs above their bed looks like "some kind of Superman flag," but she won't be parting with the colorful artwork anytime soon. "It was made by my uncle in the '60s. He said it was never finished and he had always wanted to change one of the blue stripes to pink, so I took it upon myself to complete the piece." She's made it a part of her home, she says, because, "it is very dear to me and fits in with the architecture of our Case Study–style post-and-beam home."
Monkey Business4 of 9
Donna Hall always tries to incorporate the unexpected in her interiors, and this "crazy" music box fits her personal bill. "My boyfriend bought it for me the first time I saw Phantom of the Opera so it carries the memory of a fantastic night!" By making the monkey the statement piece on the shelf, and keeping everything else "clean and neutral," Hall prevents the place from going too gaudy.
Mirror, Mirror5 of 9
San Francisco designer Jay Jeffers is handy with a can of spray paint, and has a soft spot for objects with a personal history. "My mother bought this mirror for me at a flea market in North Carolina when I was a starving design student," he says of the mirror he painted gold. "I think it was $40, maybe $50, and it has lived with me in many homes since then. It's currently in the master bedroom, above a Laszlo dresser and amongst some of my favorite trinkets and art."
Coffee Kitsch6 of 9
Eco-conscious designer Kristin Kilmer is always looking for the potential in ugly furniture. "I found this tacky brass coffee table in the garbage," she admits. "I dipped it in brushed nickel, then added a custom, chunky slab of zebra wood with industrial castors to give it a contemporary look."
Art of Zen7 of 9
When Los Angeles designer Roman Reiterer moved in with his fiancee, his collection of Buddha ornaments disappeared—for the most part. "Creating a new home with someone means compromising, and her style is more clean and modern," he says. "But I did manage to keep one Buddha, who adds a touch of fun to our otherwise streamlined style."
Paint Job8 of 9
Courtney Small's collection of paint-by-numbers began out of necessity: She needed cheap and cheerful art to furnish her first apartment. "I love the way the paint colors have aged, and that they're hand-crafted and unique. Now, friends buy them for me at flea markets."
Game On9 of 9
When Melissa Warner Rothblum sees an old tic-tac-toe set, she has to have it. "I loved tic-tac-toe as a little girl so I get so nostalgic when I see these sets! Although some may think it's a little kitschy, I think it makes a room feel inviting and approachable."
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