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Monday, June 25, 2012

Cover Girl

I'm not sure the word "shocked" can really describe my reaction when I pulled the latest issue of Elle Decor out of my mailbox and saw Food Network's Sandra Lee on the cover. 


If you aren't familiar with Sandra Lee, she hosts a show called Semi Homemade Meals with Sandra Lee where she often cooks in costume and serves up fine cuisine like "Kwanzaa Cake," which is a store-bought angel food cake frosted with store-bought icing and decorated with canned apples, corn pops, popcorn, and candles.  How festive indeed.

Of course, I can't neglect to mention that Sandra Lee's boyfriend is New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, so perhaps that has something to do with why she is on the cover of Elle Decor.  After seeing pictures of the home she shares with Cuomo, I think it *must* be the fancy boyfriend that landed Sandra Lee a cover girl spot, because it surely can't be based on the merits of her home decoration. 

It isn't that the house is completely offensive.  It just seems lightyears away from the inspired spaces we are used to seeing in Elle Decor.  Elle Decor, which is generally considered "the authority on interior style and design," has taken some serious steps backwards with this feature.  Let's take a look.

Mules.

This office is just sad.  The custom bookshelves might as well be from Ikea, and the way they are styled with white books, countless geodes, and urns from Homegoods seems so uninspired.  I thought that desk could make any room fabulous, but that is not the case.

Equally uninspired is her living room.  First off, it drives me crazy to see that mirror hung horizontally.  And while none of the pieces are necessarily unattractive, there is just nothing special about this room.  It feels lifeless.  I love neutrals and have seen numerous chic neutral rooms.  This isn't one of them. 

Her husband's boyfriend's "man cave" is edgier than the living areas, but once again, it doesn't strike me as Elle Decor material.  By the way, have you noticed all the 3-ring binders in this house?  You can see them in the study, in the living room, and in the "man cave." 

The dining room bores me to tears.  I appreciate that she didn't want a stuffy, formal dining room, but this room looks like it is straight from a Pottery Barn catalog.  The choices for this room are very safe (solid chairs, solid natural fiber rug, solid walls, Restoration Hardware table, billiard style chandelier), and it makes the room boring.  I like the Lee Jofa curtain fabric, but it isn't enough to make this room inspiring.
Images via elledecor.com

Goodness knows my house isn't perfect, and I realize this blog post is snarkier than usual.  But it's the job of the editors at Elle Decor to bring readers the very best in style and interior design, and it seems to me that this home was featured because of whose home it is, not because this home is representative of the best in style and interior design.  That makes me disappointed in Elle Decor.  I cannot imagine that this story would have run under Margaret Russell.

17 comments:

Melissa said...

Tell us how you really feel:-) I agree-- not inspiring.

Emma, UK said...

Ha! Being a Brit I have no prior knowledge of Ms Lee or her hideous Kwanzaa Cake. However, I must say, her dining room is so 'old fashioned' (and not in a 'good way') and the mirror above the fire place is just completely wrong. Very good article. Naughty Elle Decor...Sad thing is Ms Lee clearly feels her house is fabulous. As misguided as her Kwanzaa ...

Anonymous said...

Maybe the title of the article should be "Semi-home decor"?! The whole thing is a snooze-fest. I'd prefer tacky to this - at least it would get people talking and show some personality!

Kerry @ Design du Monde said...

I have to say that I thought the office was OK but when I saw the dining room I thought "Restoration Hardware table!!??" I hate the living room too. You are completely correct in wondering why this was in Elle Decor.

Raina Cox said...

This was perhaps the most uninspired issue of ED I've come across in my decade plus of reading it. And Ms. Lee's house was the store-bought frosting on the cake.

P.S. I'm still laughing over "mules"!

goheels83 said...

Oh Semi-Ho. From Kurtain Kraft to the governor's mansion.

(I too, think this is the most blah article I've ever seen in Elle Decor). Disappointing, to say the least.

Julie said...

It is pretty boring. I was surprised to see it, too.

Nina said...

My first comment on your site: AMEN! I wish this woman would go away already.

But thought your HomeGoods knock was uncalled for - I thought you were a fan? Unless you mean HG is great for finding stuff for your own home, but not worthy of inclusion in an Elle Decor feature.

But Sandra Lee - somebody please put a bag over this woman.

Matters of Style said...

Nina- I didn't knock Homegoods. I like mixing in pieces from there. The key is mixing. Her shelves look they were 100% styled from Homegoods.

Anonymous said...

I debated about whether to post this because I didn't want to get slammed with negativity...so, here it is...a blog, in my opinion, should be positive and inspirational. While I don't follow Ms. Lee a great deal, I do know she is a person with feelings. She, as all of us do, probably takes great pride in her home. I can't help but think that if she read your comments she would be hurt. I am sure that was not your intention. Perhaps in the future you could use stories like this as a teaching opportunity. What she did well, and what might be even better.

Matters of Style said...

Hi anonymous. The point of the post was not to hurt anyone's feelings but to state that the feature is not deserving of an Elle Decor cover in my opinion. Sure, blogs provide inspiration, but they are also about expressing an opinion, which might not always be positive. If you follow MoS, you know it is positive 99.9% of the time (and that you would never get "slammed with negativity" here). But a feature like this on the cover of the "best" interior design magazine does merit some discourse. Thanks for your opinion, and I hope you'll stick around.

Pigtown*Design said...

you don't have to print this, but i get so annoyed at anon commenters who preach to the blogger that blogs should be positive and inspirational. well, some are, some aren't.

like you, i am about 99% positive and when i do say something negative, i am chided.

blogs are the thoughts and ideas of the person who writes them, and sometimes, posting something negative is the right thing to do.

i didn't think you were unnecessarily nasty about this, just pointing out that we all expect more from elle decor.

Kim said...

Oh Sarah! I agree about the boring ... but please don't knock the mules! I am her age and we older girls still like mules!! Yes, I have a few old pairs in my closet that I still pull out. AGGHHH! I think you are telling me to ditch them!! Oh well ... I'll do what I need to!

Anonymous said...

"Mules." LOLOLOL.

Debora said...

That. Was. HARSH! But, not enough. hahaha! I'm glad you called them on it. Seriously! Elle Decor? The house wasn't ugly but it wasn't a mazing. Honesty is the best policy right? And if they don't want to loose readers I suggest they listen to constructive criticism.

Nina said...

To the annonymous poster who decried less than positive blog critiques: I disagree with you completely. While perhaps there is sometimes a questionable tone of "voice" used, negative critical comments are completely valid. My feeling is, designers, stylists, magazines, readers, *anyone* that puts themselves out there saying "look at me" has got to be prepared for the possibility that not everybody is going to love or admire their style. If you don't want to hear anything bad, don't raise your hand.

Lauren said...

I'm so glad that you posted this. I was thinking pretty much the same thing when I was reading the recent issue of Elle Decor. I couldn't stop staring at the tragic use of that beautiful mirror on the cover.
As a comment on the "annonymous" reader's point, I'm often more bothered by the incessant positivity on some blogs. I would rather have some real opinions even if they are not always favorable.

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