human behavior

I am Jack’s raging houzz addiction

Posted in American Culture & Politics, Habits & Manners, Miscellaneous by humanb on March 31, 2012

Newsy Puli Dog, from Anthropologie. Made from salvaged newspaper.

I was just trying to read the New York Times the other day, not covet stuff. I was looking to self-educate, not shop. But I happened upon an article about the now-popular website

I’m addicted now.

This website is brilliant. Better than Pinterest in many ways, it’s a cornucopia of top-end interior design ideas for every room, and a growing database of fashionable products for the home.

And what makes the site special, is the ease with which you can create an Ideabook into which you can save every design or product that you find on the website that you like. You can even find images of products or interior designs elsewhere on the web and save it to your Ideabook on houzz.

The result?

You covet.

Covet, covet, covet.

I’ve got an ever-expanding Ideabook of ‘must-have ‘ products now, like this growth chart, currently sold out until April 3rd. (So please don’t buy them all before I get one.)

Oversized Ruler Growth Chart. Available from dear lillie.

I’ve got Fight Club (1999) ringing in my ears now:

Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy shit we don’t need.

In my defence, I’m looking to get the growth chart for any relatives with babies, or for my own kid if he or she shows up. (It’s not like I’m getting any taller.) I figured it would be a fun way for kids to learn how to measure things, and a cherished (and transportable) keepsake for mothers. Cool, no?

Or take this:

Chalkboard Placemat. Available from SAND,F

Neat, right?

Same defence: I actually bought one of these as a birthday gift for my niece. Is that a bad idea? Should I be encouraging her to eat quietly? Or to engage in polite conversation?

Well it’s bought. Chalkboards seem to be the it-thing this year for crafty mums. There’s a whole lot of chalkboard stuff on houzz right now, and none of it’s cheap. But apparently, you can make your own chalkboard for the cost of a can of paint. I’ll remember that next time.

And that leads me to one of the good things about houzz. If you’re creatively inclined, you can use the ideas from the site to make things yourself, or to work with what you already have.

If I could sew, I’d be making these ridiculously overpriced beauties that everyone seems to be enamoured with right now.

Unique Design Living Stones Pebble Pillows. Available from

I’m hearing Fight Club (1999) again:

Like everyone else, I had become a slave to the IKEA nesting instinct. If I saw something like a clever coffee table in the shape of a yin and yang, I had to have it. I would flip through catalogs and wonder, “What kind of dining set defines me as a person?” We used to read pornography. Now it’s the Horchow Collection. I had it all. Even the glass dishes with tiny bubbles and imperfections, proof they were crafted by the honest, simple, hard-working indigenous peoples of wherever.

But I’m not buying furniture. I don’t own a house, and that leads me to the second of the website’s charms. You can wish and covet without denying yourself. See something you want? Just throw it into your Ideabook and it’s yours, in a sense. You don’t lose it. If you ever have a house or money or the whim to buy stuff you don’t really need, it’s there waiting for you. All of it. Saved securely in your Ideabook. Maybe you’ll go back the next day and suddenly realise that the lamp you’d saved isn’t so great after all. It’s trendy and gimmicky and actually, kinda cheap-looking:

Liquid Lamp. Designed by Kouichi Okamoto for Kyouei. Available from Generate.

And then maybe you’ll go back the next week and ask yourself: What the hell was I thinking when I saved this to my Ideabook?

Puffball Pouf. Available from VivaTerra.

Shut up Fight Club (1999):

You buy furniture. You tell yourself, this is the last sofa I will ever need in my life. Buy the sofa, then for a couple years you’re satisfied that no matter what goes wrong, at least you’ve got your sofa issue handled. Then the right set of dishes. Then the perfect bed. The drapes. The rug. Then you’re trapped in your lovely nest, and the things you used to own, now they own you.

Okay, don’t shut up.

So I don’t need or want or even like the Puffball Pouf. But that leads me to a third cool thing about houzz. Most of the products on the website are a true waste of money for the simple reason that they’re obnoxiously expensive. You won’t end up buying 99% of what you throw into your Ideabook.

So you’re safe.

Until you find these:

1 Letter Pillows. Available from Etsy.

These are handmade people. Give me a break.  Just doing my part to support American craftsmen and small businesses. And anyway, I only bought three.

1 Letter Pillows. Available from Etsy.


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