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How to shop at HomeGoods like an interior designer

Annie Elliott has gained a huge following on social media with her advice on how to scour discount stores for decor that just looks expensive. So, we took her shopping.

With the exception of the plant, everything here came from a shopping trip at HomeGoods with interior designer Annie Elliott. (Marvin Joseph for The Washington Post)

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Who better to help you buy home accessories than someone who does it professionally? Enter DC interior designer Annie Elliott, whose TikTok videos traversing the aisles of big-box stores and dishing out design advice have made her a Gen Z sensation—her first HomeGoods video garnered 4 million views. (She also took her followers with her to Ikea, Target and HomeSense.)

We recently went with Elliott to a Maryland HomeGoods to learn what the designer looks for quality amid the store’s discount decor. “That’s one thing about HomeGoods: You really have to inspect things because they’ve jumped around a lot,” she says. “Just because something is cheap doesn’t mean it’s a bargain.”

So which items are worthy of a place in your home and which are better off staying on the shelves? Here, Elliott shares her tips for spending wisely at the decor store.

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Put furniture to the test

Elliott generally advises against giving out large upholstered pieces at the retailer. If you see something you like, she suggests inspecting the fabric closely. “Heavier wovens with texture are fine, but if the pattern is printed on, it can look cheap and may not wear as well,” she says.

She also recommends trying the merchandise on: Take a seat to make sure it’s actually comfortable, then look at the frame. No one wants a wobbly chair, so Elliott suggests giving it a good shake to make sure it feels stable and solidly made. “When you grab the armrests, you shouldn’t be able to feel the piece of wood that forms the arm,” she says.

Finally, consider the cost. During our shopping trip, most lounge chairs cost around $500—not bad, but as Elliott points out, “Once you get to that price point, you have to ask yourself, ‘Is this better than Crate & Barrel, which has really good quality?'” The Verdict: Only go ahead if the price is right and it looks well made, otherwise you might want to invest in better pieces elsewhere.

Examine assets carefully

Make sure doors on sideboards and cabinets are aligned, and that all drawers open and close smoothly. While shopping, Elliot stopped to give a trendy cabinet a second look only to discover that its facade showed visible paint drips in the trim and that its doors were crooked. “If you’re handy, I think you can fiddle with the hinges and level the doors, but if you have to take it home and fix it, it might not be worth it,” she says.

When asked if trendier pieces of furniture are a good investment at HomeGoods, she advises, “If the price is really low, and you know it’s not going to last forever, by all means go ahead.” However, she offers a more sustainable alternative: vintage. “You can paint a piece of wood you get at a vintage store, and the quality is 9 times out of 10 better,” she says.

The 7 rules for buying vintage furniture online

Elliot says the retailer is a good source for inexpensive, stylish side tables. A wooden mid-century-inspired end table that cost $130 caught her eye, as did a small rattan table for $60 that could double as a plant stand. She also liked a small live event table for $100. “You can’t really fake a live edge, so something like this is a good buy,” she says, inspecting the wood. “It’s a little worn, but because it’s the look of the piece, it feels intentional and it works.”

However, not all tables were winners. She pointed out those with flimsy or cheap metal legs and joints that looked like they were poorly welded. “The thing I advise people to stay away from the most is things that look cheap or poorly put together,” she says.

HomeGoods is a godsend for well-priced, designer-looking lamps, and you can often find an identical pair. Elliott says to always look for ceramic styles, and spotted several designs that were a steal with price tags in the $35 to $50 range. What to skip: lamps with full metal bases, “because when there’s so much metal in one place, it just doesn’t look expensive and the finish might not hold up as well,” she says.

Consider the mirrors, but pass on art

Elliott recommends checking the mirror section, as you can often find hard-to-find smaller sizes that measure 24 inches or less—perfect for small powder rooms. However, when it comes to wall decoration, the designer treads carefully. “Art is highly subjective; I would rather people buy art from a local art school, or vintage store, or get a print from Etsy rather than buy something really generic,” she says.

Make a beeline for the baskets

Elliott is a big fan of the many organizational solutions at HomeGoods, with twine and straw woven baskets at the top of the list. Many of the styles rival Moroccan-inspired versions from higher-end retailers like Serena & Lily, but at a fraction of the cost. “The big ones are especially great for stashing firewood or blankets in a family room,” she says.

Check out the accessories

With everything from hourglasses to obelisks, the decorative object section of the store is a treasure hunt in its own right. What made Elliott’s cut? “Animal figurines because they come in interesting shapes and are a non-controversial way to fill a hole on a bookshelf,” she says. Another endorsement: decorative trays. “If you’re trying to clean up clutter, just put it in a tray and suddenly it looks intentional,” she says.

Many designers and stylists—not just Elliott—will tell you that HomeGoods is their go-to source for large glass containers to display artfully arranged branches. “Most of the glassware says it’s made in Spain and the quality is excellent for the price,” says Elliott, who used several of the glass bottles to fuel her own malfunctioning fireplace.

Elliott says the store can be a reliable place to pick up extra sets of sheets—just read the label to make sure they’re 100 percent cotton, linen or bamboo, and stay away from man-made materials like polyester or microfiber. “I don’t worry too much about thread count, but look for the words ‘percale’, if you want a cool, crisp finish to your sheets, or ‘Egyptian’, if you want a fuzzier, softer feel – both is cotton,” she says.

Pick up and throw pillows

According to Elliott, no trip to HomeGoods is complete without a stroll through the pillow aisle—high praise coming from a designer accustomed to custom creations in luxurious materials. She suggests looking for pillows with zippers, removable covers (because they can be cleaned easily) and avoiding those that are sewn. Her one pillow pees: Tight, overstuffed pillows with no give. “I really object to polyfill when the pillow springs back into shape,” she says. Her preference: a mix of polyfill and down feathers.

When shopping for throws, Elliott says to look for natural fibers. And she believes the more realistic-looking faux fur throws will have a longer life than shaggier options, which already seemed to lose and fray on the shelf. “You have to think that if it doesn’t look good now, once you get it home and use it for a while, it’s really not going to look good,” she says.

Michelle Brunner is a writer in DC, covering interior design and culture.

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Spotlight: Ugo Rondinone’s Witty Takeover of a Swiss Museum Sees Him Curate Himself Into Art History

Each month hundreds of galleries add newly available works by thousands of artists to the Artnet Gallery Network – and each week we shine a spotlight on one artist or exhibition you should know. See what we have in store, and inquire about more with one simple click.

What you need to know: The Museum of Art and History (MAH) in Geneva is hosting their annual Open Invitation exhibition from 26 January to 19 June 2023. For this edition, Ugo Rondinone was invited to take over the MAH building and its collection to produce the immersive exhibition experience “when the sun sets and the moon rises.” Located within the iconic architecture designed by Marc Camoletti (1858–1940), and strongly referencing two famous Swiss artists from the collection, Ferdinand Hodler (1853–1918) and Félix Vallotton (1865–1925), the effort establishes a dialogue between the historical and the contemporary, thanks to Rondinone’s interventions. The proverbial bookends of the exhibition are two works by Rondinone, the sun (2017) and the moon (2022)—circular sculptures over 16 feet tall, the former in gold and the latter in silver—that can be used as starting or ending points for visitors as they meander through the galleries.

About the artist: The Swiss artist Ugo Rondinone (b. 1964) studied at the Hochschule für Angewandte Künste in Vienna before moving to New York in 1998, where he currently lives and works. Rondinone represented Switzerland at the 2007 Venice Biennale with Urs Fischer and has been widely recognized for his monumental public commissions; his two most famous being Human nature (2013), which was installed at New York’s Rockefeller Center and received millions of visitors, and Seven Magic Mountains (2016), an installation of rock totems in the Nevada desert. By working with sculpture, painting, video, sound and photography, the artist’s diverse practice is involved in equally diverse themes and motifs that refer to the zeitgeist through, for example, contemporary vernacular or the iconography of advertising. Rondinone also has a parallel curatorial practice, which gives him a complex understanding of the many ways in which his work and projects connect with the public.

Why we love it: Rondinone’s takeover of the MAH highlights both the artist’s unique artistic and curatorial vision as well as the institution’s premier historical collection and magnificent architecture. Encompassing nearly a dozen gallery rooms, Rondinone invites visitors to explore the unique juxtapositions between his work and that of the historical art and architecture of the room. In one gallery, Rondinone takes a collection of Hodler paintings of Swiss warriors and installs them on plinths, turning them into sculptures to get around. Elsewhere, another gallery is populated with 11 glass horses in various shades of blue containing water from different oceans, a response to the series of paintings by Hodler depicting Lake Geneva and Lake Thun hung on the wall – which inviting a reflection on the natural versus the artificial, “the bounded and the boundless”. Together, each room within “when the sun sets and the moon rises” presents a new facet of Rondinone’s dialectical exploration of his own art practice against the backdrop of a major European institution.

Take a look inside the exhibit below.

Installation view of “when the sun sets and the moon rises” (2023). Photo: Stefan Altenburger. Courtesy of the Museum of Art and History, Geneva.

Installation view of "when the sun sets and the moon rises" (2023).  Photo: Stefan Altenburger.  Courtesy of the Museum of Art and History, Geneva.

Installation view of “when the sun sets and the moon rises” (2023). Photo: Stefan Altenburger. Courtesy of the Museum of Art and History, Geneva.

Installation view of "when the sun sets and the moon rises" (2023).  Photo: Stefan Altenburger.  Courtesy of the Museum of Art and History, Geneva.

Installation view of “when the sun sets and the moon rises” (2023). Photo: Stefan Altenburger. Courtesy of the Museum of Art and History, Geneva.

Installation view of "when the sun sets and the moon rises" (2023).  Photo: Stefan Altenburger.  Courtesy of the Museum of Art and History, Geneva.

Installation view of “when the sun sets and the moon rises” (2023). Photo: Stefan Altenburger. Courtesy of the Museum of Art and History, Geneva.

Installation view of "when the sun sets and the moon rises" (2023).  Photo: Stefan Altenburger.  Courtesy of the Museum of Art and History, Geneva.

Installation view of “when the sun sets and the moon rises” (2023). Photo: Stefan Altenburger. Courtesy of the Museum of Art and History, Geneva.

“when the sun sets and the moon rises” is on view until June 18, 2023.

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Review of “I Always Think It’s Forever” by Timothy Goodman

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An infographic, as the term implies, is information made visible. By its very nature, infographics condense data into essential component parts. At their best, they simplify taxonomies, effective communication at a glance. If you condense your infographic, viewers will lose themselves and drown in details. But by stripping away context and nuance, they can also blur signal into scribbled, generic slogans that stand in for what should be a dynamic story.

Designer, muralist and – from time to time – writer Timothy Goodman knows a lot about what makes an effective infographic. He built a career out of the mold, designing and packaging products for brands such as Uniqlo, Guess, Samsonite and West Elm. One of his home decor designs, for example, revolves around a mug and proclaims this basic (and debatable) formula: “Cheap coffee > No coffee.” Many of his designs are bold, if solipsistic, like a powder-blue Couronne handbag covered in loose letters, reading: “I have to feel what I feel to feel alive.” His Keith Haring-inspired murals and billboards can be seen across the country, from schools and corporate headquarters to the public spaces in between.

These aren’t all, to be sure, conventional infographics, though they do share a certain flair for distillation and summarization. Many of Goodman’s mural statements are akin to word and image clouds, often falsely bold statements spread in large, bold block letters, with individual words grouped together for maximum effect. “Love is unconquered,” reads his Houston Street mural in New York. “You are lovely and you are worthy of love,” says another.

With “I Always Think It’s Forever: A Love Story Set in Paris as Told by an Unreliable but Serious Narrator,” Goodman took his zeal for statement and design to a new level. Or, rather, he shrunk his usually sprawling decrees to 6½-by-8-inch margins, putting them together in a series between two hard covers. Can a muralist and product designer infographic his way to tell a compelling love story, from coup to coeur brisé?

Goodman’s hybrid visual memoir lays out his account of passion and heartbreak over the course of a single year. It begins with his 2019 flight to Paris, a much-needed career break meant for self-discovery and exploration; moved through a brief but intense – and boringly corny – love affair with a French woman, Aimée (“I felt my heart’s story being rewritten. I saw the vision of our future children”); and finally takes us through their breakup and its aftermath. All the while, our narrator emphasizes the strength of the strong feelings he experiences. To understand: “I have to feel what I feel to feel alive.”

Like many of the products and murals Goodman designs, the book is an ode to the circulation of neatly repackaged platitudes loosely disguised as products of enlightenment and self-actualization. Indeed, the book is introduced, and framed, as a manual for “serious” men, that is, men with a lot of feelings. In boilerplate self-help language patchworked throughout, he assures his readers that it’s okay, even “healthy”, to display all those feelings. The resulting hodgepodge – strings of garbled sentences interspersed with single-page colorful mantras and infographics about dating and love songs – is not always coherent. Goodman’s prose most closely resembles the language of ChatGPT: at once familiar and slightly uncomfortable, as if Goodman himself was not entirely aware of the things he was writing, and always unpleasantly inoffensive. The results are predictable, if sometimes incomprehensible, a collection of disparate clichés and algorithmic banalities: “I learned about the kind of partner I really need, about the kind of partner I should be, and that I should always strive to see and be seen.”

Early in the work, Goodman tells us that he was intrigued by a French word he learned while abroad in France, “dépaysement,” which roughly translates to disorientation. He takes the word to describe “this wonderful feeling of living as a stranger somewhere far away from your memory.” But what his description of this love affair with the French Aimée – she of the Chuck Taylors and “one of the biggest laughs of all time” – evokes is a grand repetition of all the sappy sentiments spread all over Goodman’s packaged products and walls. The story is predictable in a word, even if it ends before he wants it to (and before they can realize his dreams of, what else, marriage and children – a boy and a girl).

This is not Goodman’s first extended foray into love as a subject. In 2013, he and fellow designer Jessica Walsh collaborated on what they described as an “experiment,” which took place on a popular online blog called “40 Days of Dating.” The co-workers, who were both single and friends before the experiment began, diligently – and seriously – tried to romance each other. In this early project, Goodman described himself as commitment phobic while Walsh pretended to fall in love perhaps too easily. In two online journals, they meticulously tracked their recurring conversations about how the experiment went and why they thought they would or wouldn’t succeed as a couple. (Reader, they didn’t.)

In his latest work, Goodman seems to have transformed from a commitment-phobe to the one who is now too easily infatuated with love. But if the premise of these various projects is to learn more about what love is, the art – and sentiments – fall flat. After all, infographics have a variety of functions. They can highlight comparison and contrast, follow a process step by step, or map items in relation to each other. But they can’t really capture the messy kinesthetics of attraction, immersion, or even disengagement. You cannot convincingly, or movingly, slogan or chatbot your way into, or out of, the disorienting effects of love or loss. The details are too diffuse.

Tahneer Oksman is a writer and scholar. She is an associate professor at Marymount Manhattan College, where she teaches courses in writing, literature, and cultural journalism.

I always think it’s forever

A love story set in Paris as told by an unreliable but serious narrator

Simon and Schuster. 192 pages $22

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Kimmerer lecture Tuesday prompts lunch feast, watch parties, museum booklet – WSU Insider

Washington State University campus programs share ways to get involved firsthand in the common reading virtual lecture at 6:00 pm Tuesday night by Braiding Sweetgrass author Robin Wall Kimmerer. The lecture, entitled, “What does the earth ask of us?”, is free and open to the public.

Visit the general reading webpage to learn how to join the virtual reading, ask an advance question for the author, find details about viewing parties, and more.

Afternoon feast

Dining Services is offering a special lunch menu inspired by the book on Tuesday at all three Pullman campus cafes – Northside, Southside and Hillside. Entrees of maple-glazed salmon and a vegetarian “Three Sisters Stew” will be accompanied by wild rice pilaf, corn cakes, green beans with candied pecans, and roasted maple squash. Faculty and staff can enjoy the special meal from 11:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m

“After learning about the food references in Sweetgrass braid, we’ve been thinking about ways to support the common reading lecture since early fall,” said Sarah Larson, Director of Dining Services. “I approached the culinary team with the idea for a special meal and members immediately embraced the idea.” Three Sisters Stew, for example, stems from an essay describing native interwoven garden plantings of corn, beans, and squash.

Evening watch parties

Starting late Tuesday afternoon, various groups invite students and members of the WSU community to join viewing parties to enjoy the lecture together. Four on Pullman Campus is hosted by:

  • First Year Programs, which is home to the General Reading Program, at 5:30 pm in CUE 202
  • Native American programs at 6:00 pm in Spark G-45
  • Olympia Hall of Residence at 18:00 in the lobby
  • School for the Environment at 5:30 pm in Troy Hall 309

Viewing parties will also be hosted by:

  • WSU Tri-Cities at 6:00 pm in its Writing Center (CIC 101)
  • WSU Vancouver at 5:45 pm in its Library Building (VLIB) 261
  • Puyallup Research and Extension Center at 5:30 pm in the DF Allmendinger Center, 2606 W. Pioneer

Museum booklet

The Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art WSU is producing a booklet to inspire visitors to find connections between works of art currently on display and themes found in Sweetgrass braid. Titled Common Reading Connections, it contains nine excerpts from reflections written by students in Honors 280 in fall 2022, describing connections they found between topics in the book and artwork. Copies of the booklet will be available at the museum’s reception desk.

In addition to its ties to the Community Reading Program, the Kimmerer Lecture also kicks off the VWS spring guest season.

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Quesnel Art Gallery: Mirror, mirror, on the wall

When you see Brenda Gardiner’s art, you inevitably see yourself.

Many of the pieces now on display at the Quesnel Art Gallery are stylized mirrors. But you might also be surprised at the reflections you can discover in the other forms of art she uses.

This exhibition also features her watercolor work.

“Brenda began painting with watercolors five years ago, inspired and mentored by her good friend Leah Seabrook,” said Marguerite Hall, a gallery spokeswoman. “She admits she gets lost in the medium and often finds that when she ‘comes back’, hours have passed and there are 30 paintings drying on the floor around her. Painting in watercolor calms and focuses her, allowing her to produce ethereal, sometimes whimsical treescapes.”

In a detailed interview filmed for the Quesnel Arts Council, Gardiner explained that in an introductory class she took with Seabrook, she found she understood the genre, and Seabrook was immediately receptive.

“As soon as I put the brush to the paper and saw what the water could do, it was ‘holy crow, this is amazing.’ I still honor her in my work,” Gardiner said. Seabrook passed away in 2020.

The focus of Gardiner’s watercolor work, for this show, is trees and specifically those left behind in the wake of wildfires.

“I’m inspired by the fires that happened, and the devastation, so I try to capture the beauty in the trees,” Gardiner said. “I very rarely paint a black or a brown tree.” One of her favorite subthemes is what she calls “spirit tree” images. “There will be things that people see that I don’t see. It’s a medium that allows that conversation,” she said.

Originally from Smithers, Gardiner traces her roots to the Small Frog tribe of the Witset First Nation. Her artistic routes are all over the creative map, and sometimes specifically indigenous art from her ancestors (drums, feathers, etc.), and sometimes European classical imagery, or abstract or found art.

It is this latter school of thought that permeates the other side of the gallery works in this show.

“In contrast to her watercolors are her mirrors,” Hall said. “These are bold, bright and vivid masterpieces. Constructed from an eclectic collection of objects found by Brenda in a variety of interesting locations across Western Canada, these works of art capture your attention and draw you in. Just when you think you’ve seen all of creation, you find another hidden treasure. “

“I’m the queen of thrift store shopping,” Gardiner said. “The dump boutique, as I call it, up by the dump, oh my, that’s the treasure. I can probably pump out five more mirrors when I leave the house. That’s how much stuff I collected.”

It’s a drastic change to have those mirrors and watercolors out of the house and out in public. Gardiner said the pandemic has effectively slammed the door on art sales and certainly on exhibitions. She can finally show the world what she has been doing with her creative time, during the lockdown period and beyond.

The exhibition opened on January 18th with a reception at the gallery, and will now be open for viewing until February 10th. Titled Another Brenda Lee Production, it can be viewed during regular gallery hours, Tuesday through Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. every day.


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Technology Has Become an Interior Design Statement All Its Own

If you attended CEDIA Expo 2022 last fall, there’s a 99.99% chance you heard the word “design” used in booth after booth. Whether it’s product aesthetics, the ability to hide home technology, lighting fixtures to add function and flair, or promoting healthier smart living (along with much more), the influence of design and the prospects for interior design relationships promoted, was echoed by the Kay Bailey Hutchison. Convention Center during the Dallas event.

That’s a good thing. Manufacturers in the channel are trying to get integrators into projects earlier, and connecting dealers with designers is one way to do that. Once designers understand how integrators can help by creating proposals that use invisible speakers or color-changing lighting or TV mounts that fold into the ceiling (to name a few), they may be the ones who potentially work on their trusted bring technology partners.

The smart home and home design go hand in hand

Last year at CEDIA Expo, designers were welcomed to the revived personal trade show. CEDIA hosted the return of Design + Connection tours that brought interior designers to various booths including Crestron, Google, Harman Luxury Audio, HTSN Nationwide/Azione Unlimited, Lutron, Origin Acoustics, Samsung, Sony and AiSPiRE/WAC.

I visited several of those booths and many more whose exhibitors recounted various ways interior design influenced their product development and engineering, whether it was new products, revisions, or new category entries. I have found that design influences products ranging from LED lights, motorized shades, speakers, screens and even security and automation devices.

Take smart home manufacturer Crestron, for example, with its new LED lighting fixtures or Origin Acoustics working with Bang & Olufsen on a reimagined soundbar that fits in with the Danish company’s renowned design heritage.

Alongside Bang & Olufsen, Leon Speakers as usual showcased its custom soundbars plus its latest artist edition Ente SoundTiles and celebrated a quarter of a century in the industry. In fact, for its 25th anniversary, the company showcased its original Horizon custom-width soundbar, which will be available in a limited edition trim.

Sonance/James Loudspeaker does invisible, custom and low-profile well with their design mantra and one example is the Small Aperture range, in which the small speaker grill hides a much larger footprint chassis installed inside the stud box to help achieve higher performance to deliver despite the ultra-low profile. “Small Diaphragm was kind of the hero product for James for a long time,” says Sonance’s director of marketing, Mike Cleary. Invisible speaker specialist Stealth Acoustics noted at the Expo that the company is expanding its facilities for its impending eighth-generation release of the technology in the coming years.

Interior design pillars are growing more advanced

The display makers have been catering to the home design crowd for years, as the likes of Sony, Samsung and LG have continued to shrink, expand and help their products double as wall art, now capable of filling entire walls with the emergence of microLEDs.

Stylish keyboards from Basalt and the ability of Wall-Smart to built-in keyboards (and touch panels, devices, Sonos soundbar concealment and more) in various construction materials offer unique aesthetic perspectives for integrators and their customers.

The category of LED lighting fixtures has opened up all kinds of avenues for integrators to wow interior designers and customers with beautiful solutions that address many areas and applications. Personally, my favorite eye-catching design improvement at the Expo was the countertop back lighting, shown by some of the fixture suppliers such as Proluxe by American Lighting and Environmental Lights. Something that caught my eye, apart from the usual types of lighting, are 2×1 canvas sheets with individual LEDs that can be used for backlighting applications – especially for beautifying places like kitchen backsplashes and onyx counters and islands.

“You can take the slabs and cut them to size, there are multiple places you can cut,” says Proluxe national sales manager Jennifer Kirkpatrick. “Accent walls are becoming more and more popular. I have a dealer that has a customer who is putting up a Himalayan sea salt stone wall, it’s over 60 feet long and they light it with this canvas. It’s a $90,000 job – but the main place they use it is to underline tabletops.

Throw in some invisible speakers, voice control, motorized shades and lighting control and it doesn’t take much these days to put together a compelling technology package that can fulfill the needs of homeowners and interior designers, especially in often secondary spaces like kitchens and bathrooms.

This is only the beginning for integrators

There is much work to be done to connect integrators and designers, as I noted while attending my first KBIS show last year, moderating a session with integrator and Home Technology Association panelists before an audience of curious designers (HTA’s Josh Christian provides numerous resources for designers to learn tech basics, budgeting, and more). And if CEDIA Expo 2022 is any indication, the tech manufacturers are leading the charge to bring the trades together – there are exciting products across all categories of the custom industry waiting to be installed, so it’s time to get the word out.

It is part of CE Pro’s ‘Technologies to Watch’ series. Click here to read more about the technologies experts expect to shape the custom integration industry.

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‘Edward Hopper’s New York’ exhibit at the Whitney is all about silence

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NEW YORK – Many things disappear in the paintings of Edward Hopper. The most important thing is that it is people. In the first half of the 20th century, he painted New York when it was the largest city in the world, but its streets are often empty, or haunted by only a few isolated figures. New York was then, as it is now, a diverse city, rich in racial and ethnographic diversity, but that too is absent from Hopper’s imagination.

Manhattan was becoming a relentlessly vertical landscape when the artist took up residence there in 1908, yet he frames it horizontally, cutting off the tops of the new high-rises. The erasures of modernity include roads without cars, tracks without trains, and skies without airplanes, cluttering the airspace by Hopper’s death in 1967 at the age of 84.

Perhaps that should make Hopper’s work feel old-fashioned and out of touch, but that’s not the impression that emerges from the Whitney Museum’s extensive and enlightening exhibition “Edward Hopper’s New York,” which features some 200 paintings, watercolors, prints and drawings. does not include The Whitney holds a large collection of Hopper’s work, which was bequeathed after the artist’s death by his widow, Josephine Nivison Hopper. Of all the major museums in New York, the Whitney is the most New York-centric in its audience appeal, and the Hopper exhibition is perfectly on brand: an invitation to New Yorkers, past, present and future, to navel-gaze and to ponder the mystery of why the largest city in the world is both the cause and cure of loneliness.

Silence seems to be the key. If you eliminate people, you obviously eliminate a lot of noise. But the paradox of Hopper’s greatest paintings is that they feel silent, even as their subject matter suggests a soundtrack. There are no people in a magnificent set of watercolors Hopper made of roofs – including water tanks, chimneys and skylights. But still, the city noise can be heard from this height, just a few floors above the fracas?

In a charged photo, President Obama takes a moment to interact with Edward Hopper

There are no trains or people visible in the Whitney’s beloved 1946 Hopper masterpiece “Approaching a City,” which shows train tracks receding into the eerie void of a tunnel or overpass. But the sky is full of daylight, and these tracks were some of the busiest in the world. So why can’t we hear the crescendo howl of their approach, or the descending cry of their passing in the distance? And what about the noise made by the train we’re supposed to be riding on?

When people are present, Hopper’s strategies for representing silence become even more complex. No matter whether we are in the room, or out of it—peeking in with voyeuristic detachment—windows eliminate any sense of what filmmakers call diegetic sounds, those that emerge organically from things within the frame of the image. In Hopper’s 1932 “Room in New York,” we seem to spy through a window a domestic scene in which a man reads a newspaper while a woman in a red dress sits idly at an upright piano and a single note with the index finger of her right hand. But the sense of silence is palpable, and even if we were a pigeon sitting on the window sill, that piano would be mute.

The list grows longer: Curtains flutter quietly in the wind; people gather in a theater without the silent cacophony of the murmuring crowd or the orchestra tuning into the pit; two actors greet an audience on the lip of a stage, but the applause is rushed by some strange audience vacuum. In Hopper’s world, restaurants full of people are as quiet as empty streets at dawn. There is something more than the muted phantasmagoria of urban life going on here.

Curators Kim Conaty and Melinda Long provide enough information to suggest clues to the mystery. Hopper’s obliteration of the ambient noise of the city probably had something to do with his internalized defense against change, especially the loss of the old, low-lying New York he knew from his decades-long residence in Washington Square. Construction was noisy, and it made the city denser and more chaotic. Perhaps in his attempt to freeze time, to hold on to an image of the city that was disappearing, he also froze the sounds. Imagine a film of urban life fixed on a single frame, the image static and the soundtrack inaudible.

At the Whitney: Artists struggle with the aftermath of Hurricane Maria

A chapter of the exhibition devoted to theater (Hopper and his wife were frequent visitors) also raises the question of spectacle and spectatorship, and the way New York turns life into a performance and its inhabitants into a passive audience . The “fourth wall” that separates the audience from the actors seems always present in Hopper’s work, even when the image has nothing to do with the theater. And that fourth wall absorbs all the sound, rather like the walls and shadows in a Vermeer painting seem to absorb every energy extraneous and unnecessary to the scene.

The terrifying thing about being a spectator, whether sitting in a theater, movie house, or on the subway silently staring at other riders, is that it subordinates our consciousness to the more real and majestic reality of other people. We watch, while they seem to be alive. The rise of mass media, magazines, movies, radio and eventually television coincided with Hopper’s decades in New York. His paintings capture a bygone New York, but they anticipate Instagram, in which we defend against our own extinction by building images of perfect lives. In Hopper’s case, it was the perfect city, not idealized, but scrubbed of everything that intruded on his own, private sense of place.

A late Hopper, and one of his most poignant, is not in the exhibit (it is held by the Smithsonian American Art Museum), but it would make a powerful coda to the show. The 1960 “People in the Sun” was supposedly inspired by people seeing Hopper in Washington Square Parking on a sunny day in January. They sit on wooden folding chairs and drink in the light. But Hopper replaced the buildings of New York with an image of open fields and mountains in the distance, perhaps a Western landscape. They could be passengers on a ship or guests at a hotel sitting on the balcony.

However, one man is reading from a piece of paper, and does not pay attention to the spectacle. He looks a lot like an early self-portrait of Hopper himself, with the same hair and profile. And he has the same long legs as Hopper.

It was painted near the end of his life, and one imagines that the paper he is holding is a theater program and he is watching it trying to make sense of what is going to happen. Who is in this show? What is it all about? But the lights are about to go down, the curtain will rise, the drama will begin, and with that a more intense reality will begin.

He will just be a silent figure in the back row, anonymous and nonexistent.

Edward Hopper’s New York Through March 5 at the Whitney Museum of American Art.

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Mountain Projects Waynesville resale store sees early success

In the two months since the Mountain Projects resale store opened in Waynesville, it has already seen serious success in both the number of quality donations and customer traffic.

The store follows a similar store Mountain Projects has in Jackson County called Sylva Linings, which has been in business for about seven years. Brooke Smith, assistant executive director of Mountain Projects, said the people of Sylva Linings were essential to the successful opening of the new store.

“This could not have happened without the help of the people at the Sylva Linings,” said Smith.

The idea for the store had been floated for a while before actual work began to open just before Thanksgiving. While things may have started off slow, Smith said the store has gotten busy in the heart of the holiday season.

“At Christmas we kicked it into high gear,” she said.

The building, which used to house offices, was broken up into several rooms, each with its own section. The store offers a surprising selection of furniture and kitchen accessories at a wide range of values, including some high quality items. It also features everything from clothing and linen to books to sporting goods to jewelry and even wall art.

David Porter, who has been with Mountain Projects since March and is the acting store manager, said people are often surprised by the selection.

“We have a little bit of everything; you never know what you’re going to find,” he said, adding that the stream of donations that feeds that variety has been steady. “And the money made from the sale of these donated items goes back into the community.”

Here’s a look at one of the rooms at the Mountain Projects resale shop in Waynesville. There are several similar rooms, each with their own section. Kyle Perrotti photo

Pam Cunningham, who works at the cash register three to four days a week, agreed, noting that people are impressed with the variety and quality of items, as well as the prices. Cunningham, who recently retired after a 33-year career, said she loves to shop and that part of the fun of working at the store is seeing what kinds of items come in. But while Cunningham enjoys her part-time gig, she was quick to point out that contributing to Mountain Projects’ mission remains the thing that brings her the most joy.

“Mountain Projects is such an important organization,” she said. “If you have roots in Haywood or Jackson County, you know someone whose life has been improved by Mountain Projects.”

The store is open from Monday to Saturday from 10:00 to 16:00. Smaller donations can be dropped off directly at the store at 2177 Asheville Road in Waynesville. For larger donations, call Mountain Projects at 828.507.0837 to schedule a pickup.

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12 cozy corner ideas for your home to curl up in

Small nooks, crannies and awkward corners in a room sometimes present a design challenge, but turning them into cozy, self-contained spaces can be a great way to make them work. Whether you want a cozy corner to sit with a coffee, read a book or work in, there are many ways to make these spaces work.

And of course every room has corners, so there are opportunities to include these cocoon spaces in bedrooms, the dining room, the kitchen or the living room. Here are some of our favorite ideas.

Aditi Sharma Maheshwari

Aditi is an experienced house writer and editor. She has written hundreds of articles for various international titles to help readers make the best home design choices, and spends her days interviewing interior industry experts to bring the latest ideas to her readers. For this piece, she spoke with the world’s best designers to learn ways to decorate and make the most of corners.

12 cozy corner ideas

1. Turn a corner into an indoor/outdoor space

a dining room under a skylight

(Image credit: Timmins + Whyte. Photo credit Tatjana Plitt)

Some nooks are hidden in back corners, while others are located with a view to the outside. In this project, architects Timmins + Whyte designed this glass addition to create the perfect nook to relax in, overlooking the backyard. ‘We introduced a semi-outdoor space, along with a large glass window cut from ceiling to floor, all of which draw light deeper into the house,’ says Sally Timmins, founder of Timmins + Whyte (opens in new tab). “A small sitting area has been created to help enjoy the views while it’s warm inside.”

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5 Creative Ways To Use Metal In Interior Decor


What kind of interior decoration does your house have? Are the walls and floors painted white, or is there a mix of different colors? Do you have any artwork or pieces of furniture hanging on the walls? What kind of material do you use? What about curtains and sheets? Home decoration is an important aspect of any home. Whether you’re planning to renovate your entire space or just revamp a room, it’s important to get the look right. With so many different options available, it can be difficult to decide which trends to follow.

Each season has its own unique set of home decor trends to choose from. Whether you’re looking for a classic style or something more modern, these trends will suit your needs. Keep in mind that each trend has its own set of guidelines and tips that you must adhere to in order to look stylish and professional. And for 2023 we are already starting a new trend by implementing creative metal decorations in the home.

Why do so many people choose metal in their interiors? With its sleek and masculine look, metal is often a popular choice for newly built homes and businesses. But there are other, more subtle reasons to go with metal in your interior designs. Metal is one of the most versatile materials you can use for interior decoration. It has a sturdy look that’s perfect for stronger walls and furniture, as well as a sleek look that can help create a luxurious feel. Metal also reflects light beautifully, making it an ideal material for nocturnal atmospheres.

There are many reasons why metal should be part of your interior design arsenal. By incorporating it into your home decor, you can create a timeless look that will stand the test of time. So if you’ve been thinking about adding metal to your interior decor, here are some tips on how to do it successfully.

1. Use metallic pieces to add interest to your interior decor

Your home is your sanctuary and you want it to reflect your unique personality. One way to do this is by adding interesting metal pieces to your interior decoration. You don’t have to go out and buy expensive metals, there are many low cost, interesting options available. It will give your home a sophisticated edge without breaking the bank. For example, if you’re looking for a simple way to add interest to your interior decor, consider using metal sheet designs. They can be created using traditional techniques such as soldering, welding or fabrication, but they can also be achieved using inexpensive epoxy adhesive sheet cutters.

2. Add metal accessories to your furniture


Adding metal accessories to your furniture can give it an energetic and modern look. They will not only look good, but they can also improve the comfort of your home. When adding metal accessories to furniture, be sure to use the right type of metal.

For example, you can use creative metal wall art in the bedroom, a coffee table for the living room is an aesthetically fine piece, even you can order metal lamps for any corner or place in the house. Adding metal accents to your furniture not only gives your furniture a modern look but can also improve its comfort level. When choosing which type of metal to use, make sure that it is the right one for the specific environment in which the furniture will be used. Whether you’re looking for a transitional piece or something flashy and extravagant, using metal accents in your home is a great way to spruce up your decor and elevate your style at the same time.

3. Add shiny new metals to old pieces of furniture

Have you been looking for a new and inventive way to refurbish your old furniture? If so, you might want to add some new metals to your collection. In recent years, metals have become very popular in the home decoration market. They are stylish and versatile, and offer a high level of durability. If you don’t like the old-fashioned look of your new bed, just make a small investment and buy a new metal bed frame. You will immediately see the difference this piece will make to the entire room’s perception.

4. Fill awkward spaces with sleek storage solutions made of metal


Finding storage solutions that match your unique style has never been easier. Metal storage solutions are the new trend in home decor and for good reason. Not only are they stylish, but they can hold up under heavy use. In addition, they are environmentally friendly.

In recent years, metal storage has become a popular choice for homeowners because of its many benefits. First, metal storage is strong and durable. It can handle a lot of weight and wear and tear, making it ideal for storing frequently used items such as clothes or furniture. In addition, metal is an eco-friendly option because it requires no funding or resources to produce.

If you are looking for a sleek storage solution that will compliment your contemporary home style, metal should definitely be your choice.

A good choice would be metal shelves to store your books, family photos and many small decorative accessories. You can also start a small DIY project and make a flower pot holder that can bring some freshness to the environment.

5. Make geometric patterns with metals that look industrial


Making geometric designs with industrial-looking metals is a fun, creative way to add some visual excitement to your projects. These metals are sturdy and durable, so you can be sure your projects will last. You can use it for art, home decoration or even industrial design. A good idea would be 3D cube lights above your dining table or the kitchen counter.
Want to add some personality to your home’s interior? If so, you should consider metal art. With so many different options available, it’s easy to find the perfect piece of art for your home. In this article, we’ve shared some creative ideas that will help you get started.

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