Category Archives: House style

6 Ways To Win A Sturdy Gal’s Valentine Heart


Cue brief spate of curmudgeonly grumbling. Valentine’s Day, like Christmas at its nadir, has a bad habit of turning substandard stuff into “gifts.” I mean, if you didn’t want the bouquet of blackening roses and baby’s breath on February 13th, you probably don’t want it on the 14th either. So say Sturdy Gals. However, give [...]

Get Ready For The Holidays, Decorate Your Table First


American Thanksgiving is on the way, Christmas and other winter holidays not far behind. I say that in a very benign tone of voice, no cause for alarm. The commercial forces of the world want us to focus on presents and decorations but all I can think is, time to start feeding people. I was [...]

“Reggie Darling” And “Darlington House” In June’s Architectural Digest


Don’t read this post. Seriously. Instead, stop by your bookstore, or newsstand if those are still to be found, and acquire the June edition of Architectural Digest. You will not regret it. Should you already be a subscriber, pick your copy up off the coffee table and open its lambent and ink-scented pages. If you [...]

Moominmama Makes A Mug


We rarely talk home goods here. As I’ve said, High WASPs are apt to let their rugs and sofa reach states of disrepair they’d never suffer in their clothing. But there is one High WASP habit I’d like to mention. And then enable. I imagine we are not alone in The Random Mug Collection. Yes, [...]

Do You Collect Thingies?


I have explained previously that High WASP families are a little odd about their houses. For all our focus on aesthetics, and our well-demonstrated love of high-quality clothing, we prefer a little shab at home. Fabrics fray, paint cracks, entire living rooms stay put for decades. We don’t buy for change. But we do love [...]

Flowers In The House, When Summer Is A-Going Out


The California garden’s on the downswing, gang. White roses pinken, and brown. Pinken is a word. We say so. Lavender drops its little petals. Rose campion remains vibrant, but only from a distance. Up close, gnawed and tattered. The Unknown Shrubbery steps up to help her faltering sisters. There’s strength in numbers. Tell no one [...]

What Do You Think About “Vignettes” In House Decor?


Let us now revisit the cranky, snobby, but good-in-a-pinch High WASP world. We will turn our blue-eyed, sun-crinkled gaze on home decor. This is dangerous territory. We take our houses very seriously, even more so our homes. Today we are quite crabby about vignettes. The glorious Mise prompted our crise de snob, her post here. [...]

Home Made


High WASPs, as we have amply demonstrated, focus intently on what to wear out and about. At home, however, it’s a different story. We let things fray, call each other princesses over Thanksgiving dinners, and burn the choucroute. Home is also where we face our lack of small motor coordination. Welcome to my house, currently [...]

The Limitations Of Sturdy


RESOLUTION: The problem was in the line from the house to the street. But not roots, simply a narrowing of the 60 year old pipe, combined with the usual confluence of suspects. I asked the plumber what I should do in future. For this situation, drain products do nothing, as the problem was outside. He [...]

The Best House Guest Present Ever


Hand towels. Is there anything more perfect than an embellished hand towel? That’s a rhetorical question, hyberbolic, even. And yet. The season for house guest presents, often called “hostess gifts,” is upon us. A house guest present means you are spending the night at someone’s house. A house guest present calls for something that will [...]