Art imitating life? I don't think so

Metropolitan Home magazine and Showtime cable television have teamed up to bring us a Designer Showcase house inspired by Showtime series. "The House that Hollywood Built"
They might look striking and beautiful in the glossy pages of a magazine photo shoot, but seriously, would anyone be able to live in some of these spaces?

I think the way to approach these crazy designs is to to take one or two elements and work them into your own designs. Drama and high impact is key here...For instance, I love this glowing "grenadine hue" as they refer to it. A bit over the top if used too generously, but a great pop of color for an accent wall, throw pillow, piece of art, etc. Snazzy and decadent, paired with rich browns and sparkly golds.

They say that "luscious raspberry, fuchsia and rosy tones are perfectly paired with buttoned-up grey and charcoal hues" in this room, but IMO, the balance is WAY off. To stand spending any amount of time in this lounge, you'd need a heavy dose of neutrals for balance. The tiny bits of white and charcoal give you some respite, but not nearly enough to be realistic.

I think one of the major problems with spaces that are designed specifically to be photographed is that they don't take into account the visual ergonomics of how it will feel to actually spend time living in a room.

Case in point. The Showtime Media Room. As the description so aptly states, "Clearly a room where no one will be in the dark"(source). Obviously, the designer of this room thought nothing of visual ergonomics associated with extreme contrasts.

Here's another way to think about it: Think about going into a movie theater-the walls are always dark. The movie screen is often surrounded by dark curtains, and the lighting is low. This is all designed to give you the best viewing experience-low contrast between the screen and the walls prevents eye strain while adjusting from one area to the next. It keeps the attention firmly fixed on the brightest object in the room- the screen.

The show appears to be quite successful, as it certainly has stirred up conversation. I dare you to look at these rooms without having a strong opinion about at least one of them!

You can check out this showhouse for yourself if you live in NYC: September 13-October 26, 2008.

Thanks to Catherine from The Color Council for the tip!
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