Friday, September 26, 2008


I ordered the Toast catalog, of course, the reason is that I have seen pages from it photographed on various blogs and have learned soon that it was easy to get. There is a lot to look at. What leaves me astonished though is the setting taking place in rooms that look like abandoned hotels or decayed houses. Cracks on the walls, wallpapers coming out of the wall, rusty water pipes and so on. And all this new and beautiful stuff sitting in such a scene. It looks very trendy. I have noticed that earlier with old furniture in other magazines that they don't sand it after they pull them out of a barn, they just leave the old paint flaking. And it looks good to me (not to my dad though, for him it is like resigning on living environment, as if it was a sign of dirt). So now, when I look again at the offers of various real estates in Czech Republic, from now on I won't complain about the horrible state of these extremely expensive houses and instead of that will be pleased that I get very stylish old junk house that at least the Toast readers would be envy of. Even when I look around my apartment where I live now, even here I can see places that I have always considered shameful and rather didn't look at, now I see it through different eyes. The holes in the wall become a viewing spot, flaking doors will be carefully kept that way the whole time we live here, parquet floor rather shabby so that it has the required trace of history.

I am trying to think (he, he) why is all of this, especially in Toast catalog, so attractive and so well corresponding with our mind. The only thing that comes to my mind is that it wants to show how ecological their lives, and potentially ours, are. When you imagine how popular it is to eat bio and dress organic, to maintain and cure landscape with the smallest possible intervention, to cure oneself with no chemical medicine, to give birth naturally, every little detail of the life is lead under the magical word NATURALLY, even the psychological site of it (it is actually very hippie idea, quite old by now), now it also comes to buildings and furnishing to leave them in the state we found them, we don't recreate them according to our vision, as if they had their own life that we don't want to hurt. The idea is not to change it much and not to overdo the general maintaining, as if it was possible for it to renew through its own hidden power. The fact that it falls on your head is another thing. (It is actually quite interesting idea, all these old houses around towns that no one takes care of, their falling stucco facades would suddenly grow in new ornaments and we would watch it change like flowers and decide wheather we cultivate it or leave it rustical... and wonder what we have been missing for centuries).
So I think in these photographs, there is some symbolic of healthy environment, which is quite paradox, because you shouldn't clean there much. I don't think they are aware of it and show it like that on purpose though, I just felt like I could envision it and interpret it right in its highest peak of appearance.

By the way, I like the knitted nightie on page 41 and I think it is going to materialize in my fading apartment.


Merruli said...

I've been browsing the very same catalog. And recognize many of your thoughts. I spent my childhood in an old farm-house, which at the time wasn't considered stylish. While looking at those pictures, I couldn't help but thinking whether I would feel as stylish wearing those clothes in those settings. Now I live in a modern house and I kind of miss the soulfulness of old houses.

Those two-sided pyjamas in the catalog looked so comfortable and inviting.

Bohemian girl said...

Does the farm-house still exist? I also grew up in an old house, but this one was in a small town and has nice historical elements. And I used to get very scared there. I used to have very wierd dreams, it gives me the creeps even today, when there is obviously nothing to be scared of there.

Merruli said...

Yes, my parents are still living in there. They have been renovating the house, but not according the old style as I would have. Yes, being scared was definitely an element there too, I never liked being there without lights or alone.

Jill said...

It's so interesting that the decrepit house look has become trendy in magazine and catalog styling. I grew up in a very old house and just spent the last 5 years fixing up the old house where we live now too. We took down the crumbling old wallpaper, but did live with it over the first year or two. Sometimes it was a little creepy. I have to say I love the styling in Toast. I think I'm going to order a catalog too...didn't realize it was easy!

raining sheep said...

Is photography not a great thing or what? I can take a picture of a 'corner' of my home and make it beautiful but no one sees my sofa that the cat decided to make love to with her claws, or my absolutely empty living room with no furniture in it (our house is too big for us - 2000 sq. feet. or 186 metres squared) - we only use our family room to sit in, or my ugly paint. The camera lens can 'style' anything and everything to make it look wonderful and interesting. Dilapidated becomes beautiful, old becomes romantic...reality is quite different...we don't see all the mice making a home in the walls. However, it is so fabulous to look at it because it is absolute feast to the eyes.

Anonymous said...

This post is very interesting and amusing, and I couldn't agree more. Francesca (I found you via a comment on natural birth, which was exactly my thinking too -- through experience)