The Novogratzes have made a career of mixing high and low, and here at Apartment Therapy and Ohdeedoh we talk about it so much that we almost take it for granted. But remember that a few decades ago, mixing high and low didn't exist as a design concept. Seeing the Novos hitting all the hip Brooklyn shops in this week's episode made me think about what a relatively new phenomenon the demand for vintage is.
Sure, Goodwill and the Salvation Army have always been around, but traditional second hand stores were created to meet the needs of cash-strapped shoppers, not interior designers, and the trash to treasure ratio can be pretty exhausting. So now we see the proliferation of all these adorable vintage boutiques where the good stuff has been boiled down to a concentrated, shiny design demi-glace. And the Novos use them like an ace up their sleeves. Thrifting has arrived.
Back in the 80s, when preppies and yuppies dominated pop culture, it wasn't called "vintage", it was called "used", and buying second hand was not something people aspired to. Now we rarely see a house tour or room tour that doesn't contain a thrifted element, and owners proudly proclaim them as such. Nobody wants a house that looks like a furniture showroom display. We want warmth, history, and humor. We want one-of-a-kind pieces that show off our unique design tastes and our scavenging prowess.
Fashion designers have long admitted to finding inspiration in the styles that kids on the street are wearing. Coco Chanel said "Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only. Fashion is in the sky, in the street, fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening." And when we can find the perfect balance of sky and street, of high and low, of Le Corbusier and Craigslist, then we attain design Nirvana.
So tell me, readers, what were you thinking about as you watched Episode 6? The legitimization of thrifting in the high-end design world? Chalkboard paint? Bob's hats?
Thanks Bob and Cortney! Watch Home by Novogratz on HGTV Saturday nights!