New York Magazine came out with their home design issue this week. A seasonal issue that I both love and loathe. I look forward to their home design issues much like I look forward to catching a glimpse of George Clooney in a restaurant with someone other than myself. It’s exciting to see but also painful to remind yourself that you will never ever have something that pretty. To add insult to injury, this particular home design issue has one further distinction— it is the “Family Edition”. As soon as I saw those two words centered underneath the header, my heart broke a little— as a NYC parent struggling to find room to put a bottle drying rack on my kitchen counter, I knew this was going to hurt.
The apartments are all fabulous of course (no surprise, they are in a magazine), all art directed to the enth degree. Every toy is neatly put away or perfectly out of place. White couches look brand new. Works of art, silk upholstered furniture, and various breakables are all displayed as if they never knew the touch of a child’s dirty little hand.
In the home of three-year-old fraternal twins Lulu and Bunny (pictured top), Elmo sits quietly on an occasional chair as tiny porcelain trinkets, pointy picture frames, heavy statues and tall thin table lamps threaten to take the little girls’ lives. Also, I have to wonder how many times a day someone has to pull Lulu and/or Bunny away from the beautiful vintage looking books lining the shelves at floor level. It’s hard to imagine that parents wth a velvet-covered tête-à-tête and a sterling silver tea set are more laid back than I am.
In Tim Nye’s apartment (pictured middle), I have never seen toys so artfully unarranged in my life. This is something I could never pull off with my baby’s toy collection. Granted, his ten-year-old is too old for the current centerpiece du jour in our living room—The Jumperoo. This aesthetic assault on the eyes is the home decor equivalent to the royal blue wall-to-wall shag carpet I had as a kid. Both hideous and impossible to hide. But even without the Jumperoo, I could have a single stuffed animal lying on the floor and the place would look like the cast of The Real World just got through living in it.
The only thing more envy inducing than Lulu & Bunny’s perfectly appointed adult decor and Tim Nye’s “Mess of Toys” masterpiece is the 5,900 square foot apartment converted from a former YMCA belonging to a mother with two daughters (pictured bottom). I’m pretty sure there are farms in Iowa that have less square footage. The kitchen counter space alone looks bigger than my whole apartment. If they had a party, they would need at least five bartenders to man that counter correctly. Looking at the massive potential for that amount of space is enough to make me want to pack my things and leave the city altogether.
That’s the thing that always gets me about New York Magazine’s Home Design issues. Each home inspires the kind of jealousy that makes me think I might not belong here after all. One look at these apartments and you know, these people are never going to have to make that horrible decision of when to leave the city and where to go. They’re not wondering if four people can live in a two bedroom apartment and struggling to understand school zoning laws. Nope— they’ve got it better. But at least I can feel secure knowing that if a porcelain bird were to ever fall off my gold trimmed marble mantlepiece onto my baby’s head, I would most definitely be within earshot to hear the screaming.