Friday {postscript} / Trading Spaces Throwback (But Mostly Gen)

This Halloween post on 6 of the Scariest Trading Spaces Makeovers got me waxing nostalgic about the TLC show that started us all watching home deco on cable. I loved it, hubby Chris hated it, and both of us agreed we’d never trust ANYONE, let alone neighbors, with a blind reno of our home.

I say Chris hated the show, but the truth is he never REALLY watched it. He passed through the room while I watched. Or I’d turn on reruns while getting dressed, and a particularly squealy audio would bring him to the TV, toothbrush in mouth.

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Everyone hoped Vern would get their house, or maybe Gen or Laurie, but NEVER Doug or Hildi (though Doug did some good work).

Gen (Genevieve Gorder) was my favorite, but she tanked once in a while, too. I’ll never forget the moss wall she did in someone’s bedroom. She had the stuff shipped in fresh from Oregon or Washington or British Columbia—someplace in the northwest, someplace really damp. My mold allergies kicked in just watching as they attached it to some poor, unsuspecting couple’s wall. She was pregnant then with Bebelle (now 6); maybe it was a pregnancy craving thing. Wish I could have found a photo of it, but in all the Internet, one doesn’t seem to exist (probably part of a settlement agreement).

And yet, Gen proved herself ahead of the curve, even though her technique (glueing?) left something to be desired. Vertical gardening has since made its way into the mainstream, and moss walls with built-in irrigation systems are popping up in residential as well as commercial installations, outdoors and in.

A few months ago I found HGTV’s Genevieve’s Renovation on streaming Netflix and added it to my queue to watch next time Chris headed out on a business trip. I gotta say, I’d trust THIS Gen with my home in a New York minute, though I don’t think my savings or my credit rating would survive. Basically the show is about the designer and TV host buying the apartment next door to hers (a fifth floor walk-up in an 1850s New York City brownstone) and combining the two spaces. She moves rooms around, experiences unexpected problems that impact budget (no surprise there), but in the end has a gorgeous place (or there).

No moss, but an old building with lots of rot, so my allergies would still keep me away, even post-reno. Suffice it to say the results are stunning and, if you’ve already seen the show, worth looking at again.

Dig the work/spa combo

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Love the tons of workspace, as well as the natural edge on the central desk. My favorite thing, though, is that peaked brass pot on the top shelf.

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If you’ve seen the series, you know Gen installed a soaking tub in her office when her homeowner’s association nixed a hot tub on the terrace (just beyond the grilled door). The terrace reno fell through anyway, due to cost over-runs, but the office tub seemed almost as weird to me as the moss wall, especially considering clients visit the space. Just not when she’s soaking, I guess? Or…?

A kitchen steeped in marble

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Gorgeous marble, but I’m lovin’ the counter stools. They’re upholstered with threads culled from the looms on which silk sari fabric is woven. Truly, the entire home has a well-traveled bohemian vibe going.

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This is the dining room, as viewed from the kitchen. Killer light fixtures, huh?

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And a view into the kitchen from the dining room that shows the cool floating stairs. I’m grooving on that hot pink bench!

I do think it’s interesting how a kitchen that is largely white with a few black accents can seem so colorful. The color seems to spring from natural finishes—wood, stone and metals—but also in little pops from a pillow or upholstery, the covers of cookbooks, plants and other accessories. Even I might enjoy cooking in a space like this!

Black never looked so inviting

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I confess I’m too chicken to EVER paint even ONE wall black, but this room is my favorite in the entire house. I love how the cognac leather loveseat pops against the black walls. The room also gets incredible light, which is what sells the black.

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This carousel zebra at the end opposite the loveseat is my favorite thing in this-my-favorite room and in the overall reno. Initially Gen sat it on the apothecary chest (also cool), but the construction supervisor suggested mounting it so it looked like it was flying—an inspired idea that makes the space move too! I. Want. That.

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I love the repeat of chevrons throughout the home—in wood and tile floors, and the draperies and pillow here. It ties everything together without being matchy-matchy.

I don’t wanna grow up!

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Especially not if I had a room like this. Though it’s hard to tell from this photo, the hand-printed wallpaper Gen ordered for daughter Bebelle’s room arrived in two colorways instead of one, and most was in the bolder color that wasn’t part of the original order at all. She improvised because of time constraints and used the lighter shade in the inset where the bed sits. It was a happy mistake, I think, because it ups the design factor of the room.

Second to having a bedroom like this as a little girl? Having a best friend who has one. I see plenty of sleep-overs in Bebelle’s future. That swing will get a workout! Hope no one collects any splinters!

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The best part of this bathroom you only catch a glimpse of in the mirror: An entry door salvaged from a school with “TOILET” stenciled on its half-pane of frosted glass. This is such an elegant, elegant room any little OR grown-up girl would love. It also doubles as a guest bath. When can I come over for a soak?

Gen’s hideaway

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It’s all about the carved Moroccan doors, another wonderful boho detail.

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Using an antique treadle sewing machine cabinet as a night table makes me wish I’d inherited the one my grandmother owned.

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More Moroccan doors open into Gen’s spectacular closet, with the entrance to her bathroom beyond. The stacked washer and dryer IN the closet is a terrific idea and saves a lot of running around to collect laundry and to put it away. Smart cookie!

See/read more about Gen and her home at Genevieve Gorder at Home and Inside Genevieve Gorder’s Gorgeous Home.

And for a throwback chuckle…


The clips from the actual show look as dated as Paige’s shrunken shirt, but if you loved the show (as I did) you can enjoy it in throwback here:

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