perfect lattes and avocado toast
March 15, 2016 1:00 AM   Subscribe

Walk into a tasteful design store, carefully curated fashion boutique, or immaculate Airbnb loft anywhere in the world, and you're likely to find [Kinfolk]'s pristine pages laying in wait, the way bibles nestle in hotel drawers to comfort sinners. All the ideals that now make the publication so instantly recognizable were already present in Nathan's fairy-tale proposal: close friends, home-cooked meals, and a nostalgia for a simpler way of life. [...] Yet for all its ubiquity, the magazine retains a central air of mystery.
posted by divabat (90 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
 
The people behind Kinfolk are so much more interesting to me than Kinfolk the magazine or Kinfolk the aesthetic. I would have loved to hear more about their personal lives (of course, it's their total right to not discuss things like their religious journey).

The aesthetic itself I find somewhat...harsh, controlling, even repellant to those who lack the funds or ability to fit the mold. There is a lot of calm pleasure in looking at a sparse, very clean, ascetically decorated kitchen, with an elegant, thin, chic woman sitting there holding a perfect cup of coffee in an earthenware mug, but something about that feels so muting. Is there a place in the Kinfolk aesthetic for righteous anger? For people who maybe have a couple too many beers and then leave shitty pizza out on the counter? For people whose dogs leave fur all over the couch? For hands with polish chipped off from doing a bunch of dishes?

I look at the Kinfolk instragram and all the clean lines and clean floors and clean, sleek, bleached-out-looking people just feel kind of straightjacketing.
posted by sallybrown at 4:29 AM on March 15, 2016 [33 favorites]


Like, I see you with that overhead instragram of your black coffee and your croissant on a marble table, #kinfolk tagger, but where's the shot of the pastry crumbs going all over your nice cashmere sweater once you take a bite of that thing?
posted by sallybrown at 4:40 AM on March 15, 2016 [13 favorites]


The current issue of Kinfolk is ostensibly about the rejuvenating and enlivening nature of adrenaline. This is the actual introduction to an actual article from that current issue:

"IN THIS NEW COLUMN ABOUT TIME, WE LEARN HOW SLIPPING OFF OUR WATCHES MAKES US FEEL LIKE DEADLINE-DAMNING RENEGADES."

....I look forward to the daring fashion issue in which we are advised to wear white shoes after Labor Day.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:42 AM on March 15, 2016 [9 favorites]


for those skeeved out by this
posted by edeezy at 4:53 AM on March 15, 2016 [6 favorites]


Is there a place in the Kinfolk aesthetic for righteous anger? For people who maybe have a couple too many beers and then leave shitty pizza out on the counter? For people whose dogs leave fur all over the couch? For hands with polish chipped off from doing a bunch of dishes?

You may want to watch The Bothersome Man.
posted by vacapinta at 4:57 AM on March 15, 2016


This is like Anthropologie created a magazine. It has that corporate funky aesthetics cookie-cutter thing going.
posted by Kitteh at 5:23 AM on March 15, 2016 [1 favorite]


with a tiny print run, they managed to move to Portland and hire 8 people, yet TFA says they own it all.

in this sort of thing, someone always has a trust fund.
posted by ennui.bz at 5:27 AM on March 15, 2016 [12 favorites]


Icy trust fund esthetics. There's something about rich people and cleanliness, their shit don't stank. Our American standards of cleanliness are derived from a time in which the women who set the standards depended on an army of servants or slaves to achieve dustlessness.
posted by mareli at 5:43 AM on March 15, 2016 [8 favorites]


I recommend the Kinfolk Instagram over the actual magazine. I appreciate the aesthetics (whatever that says about me), but the writing just seems like space filler. I think they would be better served by doing pure photography with a few captions, maybe a recipe or two.
posted by chocotaco at 5:46 AM on March 15, 2016


A similar vibe comes across whenever I view the Instagram of Kaufamm Mercantile. The aesthetics appear to be positioned as a counterpoint to the noise and chaos and haphazard planning of a dense urban environment, so I get why Kinfolk and KM have their appeal. But as sallybrown said, it's a straitjacket. An expensive, handmade, locally-sourced straitjacket.
posted by stannate at 6:10 AM on March 15, 2016 [2 favorites]


I find stuff like this enormously seductive (although not Kinfolk - it's actually too spare, too white). At the same time, it provokes so much anxiety in me that I just can't. I feel like I can't turn off the prescriptive messages.

And:

1. I'm working class. I have a pink collar job. Woody modern minimalism is not something I will ever be able to afford. This kind of class aspiration serves only to alienate me from my actual class peers. I know that sounds a little Stalinist, but the truth is that I'm a smart, educated weirdo, and my background has encouraged me to identify with people richer than me rather than with my actual class peers, and this has always been a problem for me, socially and politically.

2. Lifestyle magazines (and, to a degree, fashion magazines) are constructed by this contradiction - they entice you to try to add depth to a thing that can have no depth. They present these images that purport to be stills from actual life, and although we all know that they are idealized and heavily art-directed, they still have that power. When we see the images, we think (in part) "if only I could bring that into my life, if only I could make it real/add depth/bring it from the realm of the image into reality". But there's no there there. It's like imagining yourself living in a Thomas Kinkaid painting - what would you actually do? The image points to nothing beyond itself; the point of the image is to create more images. The point of Kinfolk is to generate the next issue of Kinfolk.

3. I've really gone off Denmark since the "take the refugees' jewelry" thing. This is not a claim for the superiority of the US, but it did sour me on the Danes.
posted by Frowner at 6:14 AM on March 15, 2016 [42 favorites]


I had never heard of Kinfolk, and I am once again reminded how happy I am to have left the coasts and live somewhere where I don't even realize most of the time how uncool I am.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 6:15 AM on March 15, 2016 [3 favorites]


@sallybrown, you would have loved my tumblr circa 2011, as it was the antithesis to what Kinfolk is. A picture of several pizza boxes and empty 40's of OE got thousands of notes. My lifestyle and aesthetic back then was very much a combination of "work hard, play harder" and "I'm about to go to this party wearing a turquoise shirt, red cashmere sweater, and a tan cardigan with some brogues". I don't know why people liked it so much, but I ostensibly ran a Portland lifestyle blog without realizing it.

I try not to look at any lifestyle blogs, and only have two food ones added on Instagram. There's something deeply depressing about Kinfolk's aesthetic. It reminds me of my parents, or at least my mother, who would love to have any of the places they photograph, but would easily look at that magazine and state "we'll never have the money for that", a reminder that the lifestyle that Kinfolk is pushing isn't for me or my family, and never will be. My family doesn't have money, my mother works too much for too little money, as do I, and we're both too tired to be makers, to be creative, to have hobbies.

I only know one person who successfully pulls off this lifestyle. She's a dear friend of mine, but it drives me insane. There's a certain type of neurosis behind this lifestyle, I feel. Like a form of anxiety that compels people to make their homes like this and as soon as they fit this aesthetic there's no going back. It makes me feel weird just thinking about it, and I'm not sure why. The second I walk into deeply minimalist and hyper-organized spaces I have anxiety because I'm clumsy and not the cleanest, most dapper looking person. I feel out of place, as if a person of my class shouldn't be there. My girlfriend recently made a joke that whenever we're at parties she always finds me standing next to the trash can. We were getting her car fixed the other week and instead of waiting inside I was standing out by the dumpster. When she saw me there she laughed and said "even outside of parties you're standing by the trash can!" I told her I felt comfortable by the trash can. That's my aesthetic: the trash can.

Also, I find it interesting that while Kinfolk's aesthetic is very minimalist and sparse, it's simultaneously extremely consumerist in a covert way. Like, buy this Eames chair these 30-year-olds somehow afforded and you too can have a great office to publish your blog from. It reminds me of that scene in Fight Club where Edward Norton is talking about things to put in your apartment and it shows his apartment with all the things different things going in it and changing, except this is like the aesthetic opposite of that.
posted by gucci mane at 6:28 AM on March 15, 2016 [19 favorites]


Kinfolk Previously: Spoiler alert, like many of the most successful mommy/lifestyle blogs, it is funded by Churches to be fundamentalist Christian crypto-propaganda.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 6:32 AM on March 15, 2016 [10 favorites]


I have an unnaturally high number of art directors as friends (from working with graphic designers for decades), and you wouldn't BELIEVE my instagram feed - and these are actual friends.

Years ago a friend who worked at Martha Stewart once told me there were a lot of Mormons working there, so it all makes sense.
posted by maggiemaggie at 6:34 AM on March 15, 2016 [3 favorites]


I must confess I still really like the idea of minimalism despite being acutely aware that with a penchant for acquiring new hobbies (and thus new things) and three cats, this will never ever happen for me.
posted by Kitteh at 6:34 AM on March 15, 2016


I'm working class. I have a pink collar job. Woody modern minimalism is not something I will ever be able to afford. This kind of class aspiration serves only to alienate me from my actual class peers. I know that sounds a little Stalinist, but the truth is that I'm a smart, educated weirdo, and my background has encouraged me to identify with people richer than me rather than with my actual class peers, and this has always been a problem for me, socially and politically.

Hi, you're me. I've found that seeking out lifestyle blogs that are more into kitsch and boho to be a much better fit. Sometimes they can trend towards the twee (cutesy stuff featuring animals, flowers, 50's cartoon art, and crocheted covers on things that shouldn't have covers), but at least they're a bit more expansive and exuberant, and you can actually see how you can achieve them.

Think flea market and DIY stuff - they're a bit more cluttered, but a bit more do-able - and come on, you gotta admit that framing a wacky poster about how to brush your teeth in your bathroom, or using a state flag for a headboard, is just cool.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:42 AM on March 15, 2016 [4 favorites]


It's more doable but also, at least for me, more fun, EmpressCallipygos. I can't afford the stuff you have to buy to get their aesthetic, but I also enjoy making and re-purposing more than I enjoy shopping for big-ticket items. I know how to decoupage a bunch of cute flowerpots for my windowsill, and I can get the supplies for a couple of bucks from stores that I can walk to. I'm not ever going to have the space or know-how to tools to make unvarnished wood furniture or the other stuff that are hallmarks of their aesthetic.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 6:53 AM on March 15, 2016


Honestly though, I'll stick up for a bit of minimalism and natural materials. It calms me down, and I haven't spent hardly any money on it over the years.

Does anyone remember the magazine Nest? It was a fancy lifestyle magazine from the late 90s, but with more of an anthropological twist - just here is what some crazy people have done to make their lives work.

And I think a lot of mefites would prefer something like The Selby, even if the subjects are not so down-to-earth.
posted by maggiemaggie at 7:06 AM on March 15, 2016 [4 favorites]


Woody modern minimalism is not something I will ever be able to afford. This kind of class aspiration serves only to alienate me from my actual class peers.

God, so much this. I'm so tempted by these kinds of things, but the world I actually move in is not full of techy types and people with graduate degrees who all earn six figure salaries, and yet my tastes always skew that direction. I think part of it actually is causal, though. The background I'm from is one where having a lot of stuff around starts out as a security thing. If you never throw anything away, then you'll never be without things you need!

But where it ends up too often is hoarding. Not necessarily reality TV show levels, but levels where the amount of junk you have around actually gets in the way. The more I think I'm going to try to do some nice little crafty things and then struggle to make those projects happen, the more my apartment ends up filled with bits and pieces of things that never go together the way I'd like, the more inclined I am to start wistfully thinking about throwing away literally everything I own and starting over with an air mattress, somehow.
posted by Sequence at 7:15 AM on March 15, 2016 [4 favorites]


I first found out about Kinfolk because their Kinfolk Table was featured prominently at the bookshop here in my little English village.

Inside the book it says:
The main cities we chose to focus on were Brooklyn, Copenhagen, our hometown of Portland, Oregon, and the English countryside

In this case, the English countryside is precisely where I live. The photos and recipes were about my local baker! I told everyone I escaped hipsterdom and yet somehow landed right in the middle of it again.
posted by vacapinta at 7:28 AM on March 15, 2016 [7 favorites]


I can't afford the stuff you have to buy to get their aesthetic, but I also enjoy making and re-purposing more than I enjoy shopping for big-ticket items. I know how to decoupage a bunch of cute flowerpots for my windowsill, and I can get the supplies for a couple of bucks from stores that I can walk to.

yeah, same here. I only differ from the "decoupage flowerpots" projects in terms of what it is you are decoupaging onto your flowerpots; sometimes the DIY/crafty crowd tends to use pictures of flowers or cute duckies, but I tend to favor graphic patterns; but that's okay, because since I'm the one making it, I can make it look like whatever I want.

But that style seems to actually allow more space for collections and display.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:30 AM on March 15, 2016 [1 favorite]


I am very white, but never will be young and skinny. And money? haha.

So.
posted by allthinky at 7:34 AM on March 15, 2016 [2 favorites]


That Kinfolk Table book! I have not tried it (their recipes do not appeal to me) but there's some AMAZING vitriol in this Amazon review. For those without the time to read:

"After thumbing through three-hundred-plus pages, it occurs to me that the Kinfolk cookbook is a variation on a single theme: the creation of a life lived in an Anthropologie catalog. It's the reason why we get lost in blogs and the lives of strangers. We want to be happy, always. We want a life free of storms and sorrow. We want our linens, and bowls, and kitchens with reclaimed wood -- and in this way, Kinfolk succeeds, for its America is rarefied and specific, rife with denizens who are preened to dishabille perfection and apply pretty filters to their photos. I recall a similar charade: GOOP. While escapism looks lovely on paper, in practice it's difficult and expensive."

In the interest of honesty, I have to say that I like looking at the Kinfolk aesthetic for inspiration. I find it too literal (aside from the ubiquitous chambray shirts which I love unironically), and I'm well aware that it's really pushing its own bran of consumerism, albeit wrapped in a very attractive mantle of "minimalism". But it's still interesting to study in the way that fashion shows are interesting to study.

(And the actual articles in the magazine are pretty insipid. Do not recommend.)
posted by aperturescientist at 7:42 AM on March 15, 2016 [2 favorites]


for a certain type of pour-over-loving millennial

That sentence makes no sense to me. Is it supposed to be pore-over?
posted by tippiedog at 7:56 AM on March 15, 2016


Pour-over is a coffee-brewing technique.
posted by enn at 8:02 AM on March 15, 2016 [4 favorites]


Pour over coffee

Not sure where the Anthropologie comparisons are coming from. My experiences of the store is that it's a hodgepodge of over merchandised drippy hippy patterns.

But Goop? Definitely like Goop. There's a very rich and white triangle of hell in the intersection of Goop, Kinfolk and Moon Juice.
posted by like_neon at 8:02 AM on March 15, 2016 [1 favorite]


I believe it is a reference to a type of very elite coffee that one would part-take of were one the kind of person who read Kinfolk. The Kinfolk folk do not drink coffee from coffee makers.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 8:02 AM on March 15, 2016


I do wonder about the (ex)Mormon connection. I understand some of the anti-consumer, simple-living, perfectionist aesthetic as having some relationship to parts of the culture, since I grew up in that culture. I had an aunt that compulsively vacuumed on a daily basis even though things weren't anywhere near dirty, which I think was a version of exorcising some shame through compulsive neatness. She also had a regular meltdown every mother's day because she didn't live up to some stringent ideal. I was never clear if the ideal or trying to live up to such a fiction was worst part.

It becomes more than a little ironic when simple living becomes a shame-inducing commodity perpetuating consumerism. Or a shame-inducing ideal of living that requires vast amounts of time, resources and woodworking skills with distressed or salvaged wood.

Now I know who the Martha Stewart for millennials is. I suppose I live in a cave since I wasn't aware of Kinfolk. The closest I had come was seeing the neat staging of every 1.2+ million dollar home in San Francisco which for some reason always seems to feature a minimalist cigar coffee table book on prominent display. Maybe no cigars in Kinfolk, but reminds me of the same trendy groupthink.
posted by clickingmongrel at 8:06 AM on March 15, 2016 [4 favorites]


Also somewhat related to the Christian angle, previous discussion on Socality.
posted by like_neon at 8:09 AM on March 15, 2016 [2 favorites]


I am much too downmarket to have heard of this, though I suppose it is interesting to know about it as a way of understanding what privilege looks like these days.

I actually had to stop reading Dooce because it turned from a funny, coarse woman's blog into a lifestyle blog with pictures of gorgeous rooms and adorable children. Which was giving me anxiety about my rundown rent house, second- (and third-)hand and decidedly shabby furniture, and child who seemed to have a permanent crust of nose-goo that was impossible to wash off, provided you could pin him down long enough to do so.

I have heard she dropped out of that world because the stress was too much, which I can easily imagine.

My goals for my home remain:

1. Everything works/is functional.
2. Doesn't smell/is clean, for a reasonable definition of "clean" most of the time.
3. Can be cleaned up enough to have people over without feeling shame.
4. Room for our stuff to be stored off of the floor/accessible when needed.
5. Has light and space enough not to be claustrophobic.
6. Has enough chairs and lamps (this is our challenge currently)
7. Has room for our art on the walls.
8. Has room for our books on shelves.
9. Is in a neighborhood that I like.

The place we're in now hits all of these, which is a first for us, and I'm so pleased with all of that that I can't be too bothered that I'm still renting, that it's an older house in an aging blue-collar neighborhood, that there's nothing cutting-edge, ritzy or striking about our house. It's just a nice house that suits our needs for now.
posted by emjaybee at 8:19 AM on March 15, 2016 [11 favorites]


There's a tiny part of me that is hoping this thread turns into a very chatty discussion in which we all compare notes on our own decorating aesthetic and give each other tips.

....Partly because I'm in a bit of "redecorate my bedroom" phase now and I'm jazzed about that, and also partly because I have a feeling that all y'all's taste would just be way cool.

So far I've swapped my bedroom nightstand with one of my living room end tables, just because I liked the color better, and I'm starting to knit a throw blanket; I'm also going to rig up some cheap red bandanas for a window valance and will be trying to tie-dye a bedsheet using a shibori dye method. Oh, and maybe I'll get rid of some books and do a better frame for something.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:29 AM on March 15, 2016 [4 favorites]


I stand by my prior analysis that the Kinfolk aesthetic is akin to pornography; an unattainable fantasy that is based commodification. It almost helps to approach it the same way. I'm no better sometimes, but there are great swaths of the population who don't have a good filter for this, and look at Kinfolk as aspirational instead of fantasy.

I like to cook, I like a clean house, and I like sparse modern design. But I don't get to cook elaborate meals all the time (Kinfolk keeps rejecting my recipe for Bachelor Pizza*). I've got a four year old and a black lab at home, man. Shit gets really messy over here. Everything's covered in a fine veneer of snot, dog hair and mud IF WE'RE LUCKY. All we can afford is shitty knock-off Eames chairs for our front porch.

Kinfolk is a dirty clean fantasy magazine that isn't real at all. But hell yes I indulge in that fantasy sometimes.

*Shred any kind cheese upon any type of toast, place shitty pepperoni on top, warm up in any fashion (microwave, broiler, hair dryer), feed to beasts of the house.
posted by furnace.heart at 8:41 AM on March 15, 2016 [8 favorites]


Icy trust fund esthetics. There's something about rich people and cleanliness

The discreet charm of the bourgeousie
posted by Miko at 8:44 AM on March 15, 2016 [1 favorite]


My sister-in-law's home has a neat style. It's a very 70s cottage hippy polish pottery type of thing. All wood furniture, floral patterned tile counter-tops, lots of throws and pillows. Her house has a loft with a sturdy built-in wooden ladder and railing. A lot of cedar cabinets, dark wood floors. It's a cozy kind of place. Or, it was until it flooded under two feet of the Bogue Falaya last Friday. :( Maybe there's something to be said for concrete floors and plastic furniture.
posted by domo at 8:56 AM on March 15, 2016


I stand by my prior analysis that the Kinfolk aesthetic is akin to pornography

But the thing is, pornography has closure. You watch it for fairly specific reasons, if you watch it, and you're done. Even if you try to recreate elements of porn in your real life, there's closure to that, too. Very few people are misguided enough to want to recreate a porn lifestyle.

The issue with "lifestyle" magazines - especially magazines, magazines more than the internet - is that they never stop. There's no point at which it's natural to say "oh, well, I'm done with the unvarnished wood now, I'm going to go do something else". That's why it's a lifestyle, it has this implicit totalization/harmony. And that's why it's so creepy to me.
posted by Frowner at 9:00 AM on March 15, 2016 [11 favorites]


What my partner and I like is what we call "Coze." It's the feeling that no matter what happens, you have what you need. You have every tool you can use, and you can use every tool you have. Dad's garage, a flower shop, a stocked pantry, and tons of shelves and cupboards and small, labeled bins. Grandma's junk room, a garden full of vegetables, a stack of firewood. Flannel and wool and sweat and a few too many lumpy cats rolling around under the couch. Paintings your friends made, pinned (not framed) to the empty wall space, next to post cards, family photos. Six or seven half-complete hobbies shoved on top of the same workbench. Bookshelves, bookshelves, bookshelves. Space for an intimate conversation or a 10-person party.

I don't know if there's a genre name or instagram hashtag for that.

It has its own problems, of course - "How the fuck do we move all this shit into our new, smaller apartment?!?" and "I bought this thing three years ago thinking I would use it and never have. Why do I still have it?" and "We can't keep spending so much money on craft supplies, we need to focus on our student loans."
posted by rebent at 9:06 AM on March 15, 2016 [9 favorites]


I told her I felt comfortable by the trash can. That's my aesthetic: the trash can.

Man, me too - despite many years of sort of denying it. Maybe it's subconscious self-loathing, but I feel vastly more at ease around threadbare crud.

Maybe we should start a Tumblr, gucci mane.
posted by ryanshepard at 9:14 AM on March 15, 2016 [4 favorites]


Frowner: " There's no point at which it's natural to say "oh, well, I'm done with the unvarnished wood now, I'm going to go do something else"."

Surely it is natural to say this when one is bored with unvarnished wood.
posted by boo_radley at 9:26 AM on March 15, 2016


There's a tiny part of me that is hoping this thread turns into a very chatty discussion in which we all compare notes on our own decorating aesthetic and give each other tips.

So I'm really conflicted. I agree with a lot of what people are saying in this thread that Kinfolk are setting up this unattainable, unrealistic, aesthetics porn. However, to me the aesthetic is very "Scandi" as well - a look that very much appeals to me and I find that our flat has veeerrrrryyyy slowly crept towards this look in the past few years.

Trademark Scandi Style tricks I am 'guilty' of utilising in our home:
- White or grey walls, no wallpaper
- Light wood flooring
- Furniture in neutral or natural colors with maybe one character piece in a fun color, like black!
- Subway tiles and open shelves in the kitchen, only displaying the nice pots and bowls (all the rest of our kitchen crap is stowed in bottom cabinet drawers)

Ours isn't super authentic though. We also have a smattering of mid-century furniture and the bedrooms are more French-cottage-shabby-meets-minimal. And it hasn't been terribly expensive either. I stalked eBay for G Plan knockoffs and scored a very nice folding dining table set for less than £200.

But it's very *relaxed*. At least two drawers of the vintage credenza is a junk drawer. I have yet to find a "cool" cat litter box (and honestly who cares). We have far too many books on display about project management and Harry Potter for Kinfolk's approval.

I would think I would like Kinfolk, but I just don't think I could actually be a fan and follow them because I think I'd hate myself for either 1) not ever measuring up or 2) feeling like I'm *trying* to be like Kinfolk, when goshdarnit I'm just being me and I like our home.
posted by like_neon at 9:39 AM on March 15, 2016 [8 favorites]


That's my aesthetic: the trash can.

My favorite Sesame Street-er was Oscar the Grouch - you're speaking my language here!

And yeah, re the icy trust funders - I think the really rich and the old school trust funders are much more about dirty shoes and dirty dogs and mudrooms and attics overflowing with cobwebby broken antiques and old musty couches, etc. Grey Gardens and old British piles. The Kinfolk people are more about bougie consumerism (as is Anthropologie, which has a faux, much "safer" Grey Gardens flavor)
posted by sallybrown at 9:44 AM on March 15, 2016 [1 favorite]


did somebody say trash can aesthetic?
posted by entropicamericana at 9:54 AM on March 15, 2016 [1 favorite]


entropicamericana: "did somebody say trash can aesthetic?"

I expected this to go to Chipotle dot com
posted by boo_radley at 9:55 AM on March 15, 2016 [1 favorite]


And yeah, re the icy trust funders - I think the really rich and the old school trust funders are much more about dirty shoes and dirty dogs and mudrooms and attics overflowing with cobwebby broken antiques and old musty couches, etc. Grey Gardens and old British piles.

And I am SO WEAK to that aesthetic it's disgusting. Hence my love for the older TOAST catalogues. Even though that look only works if you're in an environment where there's enough actually old stuff for old crap to look "vintage" and "well loved" as opposed to old crap. Yet another way that it's unattainable!

(Which is just as well. I don't have time for any of this, siiiiiiiigh.)
posted by aperturescientist at 10:00 AM on March 15, 2016 [3 favorites]


I am not a fan of the icy black-and-white Kinfolk aesthetic (even the name is creepy) but I can't really get behind that old-money hoarder thing either, with its oh-so-subtle advertisement that one has space to burn and is so thoroughly rooted as to have transcended petty concerns like movability, the decorating equivalent of "when I was in school in Boston."

I dream of seeing a normcore lifestyle magazine, all overstuffed microfiber couches and La-Z-Boys.
posted by enn at 10:18 AM on March 15, 2016 [2 favorites]


@ryanshepard I'm so down with that. And yeah, I don't know about the trash can. I'm always by the trash can at parties, and it's completely unintentional. I think it's mostly because I feel like kitchens are the focal point of parties I go to. Everyone congregates in them, everyone has to pass through them, and if you post up at the trash can you're bound to talk to a lot of people, so perhaps it's a weird socialization thing?

Maybe there's some weird class associated thing with it, like a self-loathing. I've always dated within the confines of my socio-economic bracket, typically with partners who are a bit higher middle class than me. I'm able to coast between higher class people and lower class people (that sounds mean to write out) partially due to the fact that my father (and his extended family) are all incredibly poor whites, and my mother's side were pretty well off. I'm basically mirroring them. My current partner, though, is a bit more well off than me, as is her family compared to mine. She laughed when she saw me by the dumpster, and then said it was gross that I found comfort by trash cans (not in a rude way though). For some reason this made me reflect about trash cans. Everyone needs trash cans.

Kinfolk aesthetics are too neat, which is why I think my tumblr from 2011-2012 (RIP 20k followers ugh) was so popular: because I can coast the lines between high class and low class. And that's a delicate line these days. Has anyone noticed that a lot of people, especially white people (I'd say mostly white people), really like to brag about how poor they were when they were growing up? There's a specific sort of mentality amongst people who grow up actually poor in some sense, with various ranges of course. There's something to be said about a photo of mine, of empty pizza boxes and 40's of OE everywhere, getting thousands of notes on a social media website, and it's because it was genuinely trashy. There's no pretention about it. It's like "here's my life, check it out, I don't give a fuck" whereas something like Kinfolk is fake. It's set up! You don't just organize your house that way unless there's something going on with you, like you're intentionally a minimalist (and maybe you are), or you legitimately have OCD. When Kinfolk started getting big was when I stopped doing my tumblr and deleted the entire thing. I felt bad that I was somehow curating my lifestyle to tens of thousands of strangers who all wanted to move to Portland and live it, but the reality just isn't the same. It's depressing to have a bunch of beer cans littering your floor, no matter how "real" that is. And I mean depressing in a sense of "that's sad" and literally depressing, like I was too depressed to clean and that stuff sat there for a week. Kinfolk's aesthetic is slightly more extreme, because there really are people struggling to live that life, but without knowing that it's fairly unrealistic and is also expensive. My friend I mentioned earlier, for instance, is enthralled with that lifestyle, to the point where it's obsessive. I don't shame her or look down on her for it though, because she's had a rough life and she deserves to have a nice place, but she is constantly rearranging everything to fit some sort of look and from my third person perspective I feel as if it is robbing her of energy, but she's her own woman and I trust her judgement.

Kinfolk aesthetic is a weird fabrication brought to us by religious capitalism. It just isn't real. That curated lifestyle of "marry a beautiful brunette woman who'll make you coffee in her tight, high waisted white pants" is so weird. I think about my friends who fit those aesthetics to a T, yet their marriages and families fell apart. They looked nice, like they were perfect couples, and they had the aesthetic down, but the real life part of it bubbled up to the surface. For the longest time I thought Kinfolk's pictures were all done in a photographer's studio with models, but perhaps I'm wrong. Where do they find a lot of these people at? They must be in the Pearl or West Hills of Portland because most of my friends do not live in places that Kinfolk advertises.

This whole lifestyle stuff is weird to me, I guess because I've experienced it first hand but in a totally opposite way. I don't have money, and neither do most of my friends, but I make do with what I have and it works. No one cared until I started posting about it online, and then I realized a lot of people cared. People seem to want direction, but also some sort of validation, like validation that they have good tastes or something, but not quite? Kinfolk basically says "this is good stuff, you should like this." My tumblr said "it's cool to be working a shit job and still party with your friends and you can look nice while doing it, just like me and the rest of these strangers!" and people are it up. And when I mean people ate it up, I mean I literally met someone who moved here because my blog made Portland look cool. Their words. Does Kinfolk make people feel the same way?

There's something also to be said about Kinfolk, and it's that they really push the faux-working class, labor-oriented Pacific NW aesthetic hard. Lots of men in beards, with flannel, drinking coffee from expensive glassware. That isn't real! That's not genuine! How many of these people have ever actually cut down a tree before? The baristas at Stumptown could be in Kinfolk, but they're baristas, not fur trappers or loggers! Kinfolk pushes the aesthetic and the idea of being of this specific working class, without people actually working that way, and that's a huge thing here and I guess elsewhere. Also, I'm basing this off the last time I looked at Kinfolk, which was within the last year and a half, so maybe it's different now. But they've crafted that look so well that it's almost like, minimalism is lumbersexual now. I can just picture it: tall dude with a huge beard, that World War 2, Brad Pitt-in-Inglorius-Basterds haircut, a Pendleton flannel, raw denim, Wolverine boots (or Red Wings), tattoos everywhere, and maybe a fashionable mustache, with his perfect brunette, skinny, overtly femme girlfriend/wife, sipping coffee at the bar in their house with their cast iron pans hung up on their white tiled kitchen and their nice wooden table out of focus yet in the foreground. That aesthetic is so Kinfolk now. It's almost as if being minimalist is masculine now, maybe because it's referencing "simpler times"? I don't know.

This stuff is annoying and I've devoted way too much time to analyzing it now. I'm deeply interested in it though, there's something going on when you're able to tell people what their own tastes are. It's weird and powerful, but distasteful. In the past few years I've begun really loathing lifestyle stuff because it's not genuine. It's got a thin veneer over it, the aesthetic is there and it's popular and well-known, but the actual life isn't there. My room currently? I have no furniture, including no bed (I've been sleeping on the floor), I only own two speakers, and my clothes are all over the floor. This is "trashy" but "genuine", but genuinely depressing. There's also no trash can in here and the one in the kitchen is full so I've been sleeping by a pile of papers and packages. Basically, a trash pile.
posted by gucci mane at 10:32 AM on March 15, 2016 [11 favorites]


Ah, I've never looked at the magazine but I have spent time in a house reminiscent of those shown in the images when, before we lived together, the good lady spent a short period renting a room in a house owned by an interior designer.

The house in question was, to look at, a quite spectacular accomplishment. Perfectly clean, ordered and uncluttered and yet simultaneously warm, cosy and inviting.

To actually live in though it was quite another story. Propped artfully against the impeccable fabric couch (which you must never ever get any food or beverages near, meaning that all snacks, coffee, tea, wine and beer must be consumed sitting on the hard backed wooden chairs around the dining table) was a huge, lovely leather folio full of carefully mounted vintage comics, splayed open just so to offer a tantalising glimpse of nostalgia. A sort of magnificent and towering contradiction as while, to look at, it evoked a feeling of whimsy and memories of carefree childhood, it must never actually be read (too fragile, too artfully arranged to be moved) and it must be carefully vacuumed around so as not to damage it, the pages assiduously dusted with a soft cloth every few days.

The bathroom contained a beautiful shower; one of those great wide perforated steel disks from which the water pours straight down like spring rain. Completely useless for its intended purpose, of course. Since it could not be angled or moved, washing the soap from under your arms or, indeed, anywhere below the neck required filling your cupped hands in the stream and splashing at yourself like someone trying to wash in an airport sink.

Stepping out of the perfectly lovely but perfectly useless shower required you to lean out first to grasp a towel and then lean back in and scrub yourself until all traces of water were removed. You see, it was a particular quirk of the impeccable dove grey stone tiles adorning the bathroom floor that they must never get wet. Getting them wet would permanently discolour them (so we were told).

I don't know. If your love of an aesthetic is such that you are prepared to spend the money and the time (and you have the privilege that you can afford to do so) living in what amounts to a curated museum rather than an actual house then who am I to judge*? It's not for me though. Where we live now might be cluttered and not too clean and our furniture a mixture of cheap and well loved hand-me-down, but we actually live in it. We relax in it, we cook and laugh and love in it. I'm happier that way.

*That said, the person in question also organised their bookshelves by spine colour, which tests the boundaries of my tolerance for the proclivities of other people.
posted by Dext at 10:40 AM on March 15, 2016 [7 favorites]


I don't know. If your love of an aesthetic is such that you are prepared to spend the money and the time (and you have the privilege that you can afford to do so) living in what amounts to a curated museum rather than an actual house then who am I to judge*? It's not for me though. Where we live now might be cluttered and not too clean and our furniture a mixture of cheap and well loved hand-me-down, but we actually live in it.

One of the (many) things that an ex and I fought for when we were living together is that he would hit up the local flea market for nice furniture pieces that were actually really attractive, quality stuff - but then he would freak out if we used them because they were "antiques". So we had like a double set of furniture - the nice stuff that we couldn't use, and the butt-ugly stuff he'd slapped together out of two-by-fours, and I was always like we live in a STUDIO APARTMENT, you dork, remember?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:06 AM on March 15, 2016


I feel the same way about Kinfolk, now that I know about it, as I feel every time I see "Real Simple" at the grocery store: I chuckle to myself and think, "There's a consumer magazine about living simply? Huh"
posted by tippiedog at 11:19 AM on March 15, 2016 [1 favorite]


I am not white, thin, young, or rich, but I've enjoyed Kinfolk the few times I've seen it. Tbh, I thought it was a Japanese magazine and secretly published by Muji.
posted by betweenthebars at 11:53 AM on March 15, 2016 [4 favorites]


I only know one person who successfully pulls off this lifestyle. She's a dear friend of mine, but it drives me insane. There's a certain type of neurosis behind this lifestyle, I feel. Like a form of anxiety that compels people to make their homes like this and as soon as they fit this aesthetic there's no going back. It makes me feel weird just thinking about it, and I'm not sure why.

I have this friend, also, but she's turned her neurotic minimalism into a personal organizing business and brand, so her home and instagram are kind of show pieces for how it can work.
posted by a halcyon day at 12:01 PM on March 15, 2016 [1 favorite]


I know a person who mostly manages to maintain a minimalist aesthetic, but she does it mostly by cramming all the clutter into closets and drawers whenever anyone comes over. Sometimes she'll pick a room and throw all the random stuff in there. You'll walk in the door and she'll immediately say "hi! Don't open any doors or drawers without asking me first!" I find this vaguely endearing.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 12:05 PM on March 15, 2016 [7 favorites]


To actually live in though it was quite another story. Propped artfully against the impeccable fabric couch (which you must never ever get any food or beverages near, meaning that all snacks, coffee, tea, wine and beer must be consumed sitting on the hard backed wooden chairs around the dining table) was a huge, lovely leather folio full of carefully mounted vintage comics, splayed open just so to offer a tantalising glimpse of nostalgia. A sort of magnificent and towering contradiction as while, to look at, it evoked a feeling of whimsy and memories of carefree childhood, it must never actually be read (too fragile, too artfully arranged to be moved) and it must be carefully vacuumed around so as not to damage it, the pages assiduously dusted with a soft cloth every few days.

The bathroom contained a beautiful shower; one of those great wide perforated steel disks from which the water pours straight down like spring rain. Completely useless for its intended purpose, of course. Since it could not be angled or moved, washing the soap from under your arms or, indeed, anywhere below the neck required filling your cupped hands in the stream and splashing at yourself like someone trying to wash in an airport sink.

Stepping out of the perfectly lovely but perfectly useless shower required you to lean out first to grasp a towel and then lean back in and scrub yourself until all traces of water were removed. You see, it was a particular quirk of the impeccable dove grey stone tiles adorning the bathroom floor that they must never get wet. Getting them wet would permanently discolour them (so we were told).


Man, this hits my hate-the-poseurs sweet spot so hard. I'm a little ashamed of the gleeful rush it gave me, like my crappy-looking couch and messy carpet are suddenly valid life choices and I am a Real True Person, unlike this stuffy fake interior designer person with their unlivable "home."

I don't know whether to thank you or worry about my own issues.
posted by emjaybee at 12:09 PM on March 15, 2016


also— as far as personal style, I can coo over spalted pecan and black oxide steel as much as the next design-educated millennial, but I also have a penchant for picking up inscrutable kitchen gadgets at yard sales, and I really love basic terra cotta pots.

The brief of what I do is here, but I accomplish having a relatively presentable home by purposely having more space than needed - we have working rooms that we can leave in-progress projects unattended. Storage at different scales is so important and so often overlooked in today's living spaces in service of maximizing floor area and minimizing cost and then one ends up with a terrible stuffed ottoman with a secret compartment inside.
posted by a halcyon day at 12:11 PM on March 15, 2016 [1 favorite]


*That said, the person in question also organised their bookshelves by spine colour, which tests the boundaries of my tolerance for the proclivities of other people.

Any time I see that arrangement (on Instagram, natch), I am always reminded of Anne Fadiman's parenthetical in "Marrying Libraries," her essay on blending her library with her husband's:
We agreed to sort by topic— History, Psychology, Nature, Travel, and so on. Literature would be subdivided by nationality. (If George found this plan excessively finicky, at least he granted that it was a damn sight better than the system some friends of ours had told us about. Some friends of theirs had rented their house for several months to an interior decorator. When they returned, they discovered that their entire library had been reorganized by color and size. Shortly thereafter, the decorator met with a fatal automobile accident. I confess that when this story was told, everyone around the dinner table concurred that justice had been served.)
You can find the whole thing in Ex Libris: Confessions of a Common Reader.
posted by sobell at 12:12 PM on March 15, 2016 [7 favorites]


This is another one of those Metafilter posts that has been greatly improved by the addition of the Millennials to Snake People browser extension.
posted by redsparkler at 12:16 PM on March 15, 2016


It's interesting - I actually like the white-wall-and-neutral-furniture thing, but that's more because of the same logic that suggests you should get only a few basic solid wardrobe pieces and then you can go totally nuts on accessories. My thinking is, if I go with plain white walls and neutral furniture, but then get a shit-ton of different colored blankets and throws and pillows and artwork and curtains and stuff like that, then it'll be way cheaper and easier to "redecorate" on a whim (am I in a "cozy ski chalet" mood? Drag out the handknit blankets! Summer? Swap that stuff out for sheer blues and greens! Modern? Stylish black and white!)
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:17 PM on March 15, 2016 [4 favorites]


I've worked in bookstores for over a decade, and I've been organizing my bookshelves by color for at least as long. I try to nestle concepts and themes together so that the transition is smooth, and a couple bookshelves are their own subcategories (also color organized), and it's still been the easiest way to track down books in my collection.
posted by redsparkler at 12:28 PM on March 15, 2016 [1 favorite]


redsparkler: "his is another one of those Metafilter posts that has been greatly improved by the addition of the Snake People to Snake People browser extension."

Don't mess with my head, redsparkler.
posted by boo_radley at 12:32 PM on March 15, 2016 [1 favorite]


Color organization can actually work for really visual people. The trick is remembering what color the cover is so you can locate a book. I can't do that reliably, and I'd prefer the subject matter adjacency so I can skip one to the next without going to completely different sections, but it's not a crazy thing to do if you do think more easily in colors.
posted by Miko at 12:33 PM on March 15, 2016 [1 favorite]


My bookshelf is organized by: nothing.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 1:43 PM on March 15, 2016 [1 favorite]


I follow Unfuck Your Habitat as a "normcore lifestyle blog", I guess, because it's mostly unassuming beige rooms with microfiber couches and hey, when they're clean and the stuff that makes the inhabitant happy is visible, they're nice.
posted by clew at 1:47 PM on March 15, 2016 [3 favorites]


(Books by color: DAW yellow here, Springer-Verlag yellow there. Virago dark green. O'Reilly sort themselves by color. The majority of my ecology books are green. History's a mess, though.)
posted by clew at 1:50 PM on March 15, 2016


Once a couple years ago I visited a friend's aunt who lived in the West Village. She had owned this 2 bedroom apartment since the late 60s, and it was covered, every inch, in stuff. African thumbharps, oil paintings, books, more books, photos of her and Harry Belefonte, kitch, camp, high art, low brow, stuff. Gorgeous comfy wooden furniture and bright colored throw rugs, low lights, bright brass pots full of produce in the kichen. The whole thing looked like a Klimpt or a Kandisnsky.

What's that? I want that. It was well-organized, openhearted, diverse, crowded, aggressive, thoughtful, and cozy. It was the true promise of urbanity. Where's the magazine of 60 year old Jewish divorced lesbian therapist pothead interiors?
posted by Potomac Avenue at 1:52 PM on March 15, 2016 [26 favorites]


It was an interesting article and gave me fresh perspective on the magazine. But I found the focus on Nathan Williams, and sidelining of the other three founders, off-putting. There's this weird and annoying tendency in culture to make one person the presiding genius over projects that are by their nature collaborative. Making a portrait of one person in a group is always distorting. Not to mention that usually it's a man that's made the focus.
posted by Kattullus at 1:56 PM on March 15, 2016 [1 favorite]


Where's the magazine of 60 year old Jewish divorced lesbian therapist pothead interiors?

I would subscribe immediately - I hope someone is documenting the quickly vanishing world of 60s vintage freak-occupied rent-controlled apartments in New York.

In the meantime, a lot of the interiors in Lloyd Kahn's books scratch that itch for me.
posted by ryanshepard at 2:03 PM on March 15, 2016 [2 favorites]


Where's the magazine of 60 year old Jewish divorced lesbian therapist pothead interiors?

I would read this. I would collect issues and stick them on my shelves under the 700s section, where I am currently hoarding my back issues of Blueprint, Sarah Susanka's works and my catalog of LACMA's "The Arts and Crafts Movement" exhibit.

(I am not nerdly enough to remember the Library of Congress classification off the top of my head but for whatever reason, my sixth grade "Read Around the Library" project left me with a permanent understanding of the Dewey Decimal system.)
posted by sobell at 2:29 PM on March 15, 2016


You see, it was a particular quirk of the impeccable dove grey stone tiles adorning the bathroom floor that they must never get wet. Getting them wet would permanently discolour them (so we were told).

are you shitting me
posted by Monochrome at 3:28 PM on March 15, 2016 [1 favorite]


Like who would come up with bathroom tiles that mustn't get wet
posted by Monochrome at 3:29 PM on March 15, 2016 [1 favorite]


Who wouldn't get them wet all over and say okay, this is the color they are now?
posted by clew at 3:38 PM on March 15, 2016 [9 favorites]


Like who would come up with bathroom tiles that mustn't get wet

Who would come up with it? I know not. Who would buy it? Well I haven't even told you yet about the wood burning stove which wasn't allowed to be sooty.
posted by Dext at 3:44 PM on March 15, 2016 [1 favorite]


I come from a religious tradition where you're supposed to Live Simply, as if anyone in the socioeconomic circumstances of anyone in my church was ever going to live a lavish lifestyle in one of the world's most expensive cities. Like, what else did you have in mind.

I feel like Kinfolk, at first glance, represents the downside of that attitude, at its worst, in all the nerve-wracking pressure it can put on you.
posted by tel3path at 3:45 PM on March 15, 2016 [1 favorite]


Sorry hit post too soon. Like, there is one admittedly very... superego-y person, who will hector you not to buy stuff from charity shops because that's consumerism and you should be buying either nothing, or locally sourced artisanal Kinfolk-y shit that will last for years and which you obviously don't buy because, being a Good Religious Person, you certainly don't work in anything remotely profit-making.

It just makes me want to dive into a vat of Froot Loops, roll around in them, and then do a trolley dash through Primark before chowing down on a Big Mac and a McFlurry.
posted by tel3path at 3:49 PM on March 15, 2016 [3 favorites]


I too long to have a kitchen where an exposed light bulb fuses with my eyeball while I learn over the counter chopping onions. No more tears, because my eyes have been cauterised shut!
posted by turbid dahlia at 4:26 PM on March 15, 2016


Other than that, it is a very nice kitchen.
posted by turbid dahlia at 4:26 PM on March 15, 2016 [1 favorite]


I don't mind this aesthetic to a point, but I gotta live, man! Plus, I'm poor. Why has no one posted a link to Unhappy Hipsters? It always gives me the giggles.
posted by haunted by Leonard Cohen at 4:46 PM on March 15, 2016 [2 favorites]


For folks after a magazine of 60 year old Jewish divorced lesbian therapist pothead interiors, maybe browse Apartamento magazine?
posted by yesbut at 5:05 PM on March 15, 2016 [4 favorites]


I've spent the whole day thinking about this piece and talking to various friends of mine about it, because it formed a nice critical self-reflection of what my early 20's were like, and it's especially relevant in my life because Facebook has that whole "On This Day" thing where it shows posts going back years to you, as a nostalgic offering, and a lot of the posts it's showing me are the same ones I'd post on my tumblr back in 2011 and 2012. The worst part is that as I re-read this article and think about these things, I desperately want to create a lifestyle blog again, and intentionally have it be the opposite of Kinfolk. If Kinfolk describes what the Portland aesthetic is then I want to describe but the dark underbelly of Portland youth culture is really like. However, I'm not longer 21 and 22. I'm 26, turning 27, still struggling to find a decent enough job and go to school. What's my aesthetic these days? I can't tell. Also, I've totally ditched tumblr and I only use Instagram now. Memail me if you want to add me.

I think I could potentially pull off a lifestyle thing again, I just need to document parties and house shows again, and thankfully this time they aren't at my houses so I won't have to have my security deposits taken.
posted by gucci mane at 5:35 PM on March 15, 2016


African thumbharps, oil paintings, books, more books, photos of her and Harry Belefonte, kitch, camp, high art, low brow, stuff. Gorgeous comfy wooden furniture and bright colored throw rugs, low lights, bright brass pots full of produce in the kichen. The whole thing looked like a Klimpt or a Kandisnsky.

I love that style, too. For a long time I aspired to a somewhat pared-down version of it, which I sort of think of as "1970s UWS Jewish hippie intellectual." But it turns out that this style is hard to ape when you move every two years - it takes at least ten to even start to build up that kind of collection of stuff. And when you're a pretty messy person, it's hard to pull off that much clutter without it just looking like, well, mess.
posted by lunasol at 7:22 PM on March 15, 2016 [3 favorites]


Oh also, when I was in college, I spent most of my breaks fundraising door-to-door for an environmental organization in Boston. I remember canvassing in places like Brookline or Cambridge, and every once in a while I'd come to a house that was, like, high "60 year old Jewish divorced lesbian therapist pothead" decor and the experience never failed to be a complete and total delight. Those ladies were the ones who were most likely to sit me down, give me tea, and talk politics or world travel or my studies while they wrote their yearly $25.00 check. They were my goddamn heroes. I would way rather hang out with them than anyone in these Kinfolk spreads.
posted by lunasol at 7:27 PM on March 15, 2016 [13 favorites]


When I was about 11-12 years old I made a friend who had a house like that. I was from kind of a scruff neighborhood, but his mom commuted to NYC during the day and worked for PBS and seemed so worldly, and their house was this wonderful melange of wooden bowls, woven mats from South American countries, scrolls, an amazing stereo, Ben Shahn prints, and a lot of museum exhibition posters, especially ones from Germany and Italy whose captions I would puzzle over. That house was the first place I ever saw potpourri, spread out in a long wooden trencher on a side table with a woven African runner or something under it. I remember waiting by the stairs there kind of poking through it, wondering why they had a tray of leaves and pine cones. It just wasn't a thing yet - seemed very exotic.
posted by Miko at 7:42 PM on March 15, 2016 [5 favorites]


rebent: you might appreciate the Danish word hygge.
posted by divabat at 8:06 PM on March 15, 2016 [2 favorites]


Miko, you so nailed the aesthetic. Especially those museum exhibition posters.

rebent: you might appreciate the Danish word hygge.

I can't express how irrationally irritated I am that Kinfolk features a set of notecards called "hygge" but the images featured are about as far from actual hygge as you could possibly get, besides maybe a room made entirely of stainless steel, lit by fluorescent lights, with the thermostat permanently set at 50F.
posted by lunasol at 8:19 PM on March 15, 2016


On the topic of decor we love, this slide show from New York Magazine (Architects and Designers on Their Favorite Rooms) lights my heart up. One or two are on the sparser side, but the rest are truly fabulous. It's the kind of aspirational I can get behind because the taste, the furniture, the art, the spaces are so out of my reach that I can't do anything but enjoy daydreaming about it. It's not stuff you can buy, really, just gaze at.
posted by sallybrown at 9:18 PM on March 15, 2016 [2 favorites]


Yes! Hygge, the Weasley family decor style. But with more floral pottery and porcelain pigs. That's what my sister-in-law's house looked like. Very cozy.
posted by domo at 7:29 AM on March 16, 2016


Popping in to say I know people who have appeared in Kinfolk: their homes look nothing like they did in the magazine. It's all in the styling and not least cropping.
One of the friends featured regularly goes flea-market hunting with me, and while she is not a hoarder (like me), she definitely has a lot of stuff.
Personally I'm planning to declutter a bit. Not to Kinfolk aesthetics, just to "see the floor sometimes" aesthetics.
posted by mumimor at 7:53 AM on March 16, 2016 [2 favorites]


Personally I'm planning to declutter a bit. Not to Kinfolk aesthetics, just to "see the floor sometimes" aesthetics.

yeah - I like the "I have collections of cool things" aspect, but I also like seeing space. These days I'm going more for "contained stuff" - floors and tables are orderly, but all the bookshelves are full up and there are neatly stacked boxes that you can see have cool shit in them. Neat stuff on the walls, and lots of soft things like blankets and pillows. Kind of a mid-way between the two.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:27 AM on March 16, 2016 [1 favorite]


My most recent employment (before I decided that I was going into business for myself because enough already) was at a small architectural design shop that is solidly in the Kinfolk aesthetic and demographic. Oh god, it made me so itchy and irritable. We were not a good match. It's not that I don't look at those spaces and think, oh, that looks very organized and serene. But they are definitely "still lifes." Still Life #4 With Blackened Craspedia.

In that office, I got shade thrown at me for my clothes. My introduction of a colorful lamp to my work space was looked at suspiciously. And, as is not uncommon in the architecture profession, a level of perfectionism was expected outsized from necessity. It was such a good day when I didn't show up at that office anymore.

It feels generational, too. These people are younger than me and their friends are doing all these interesting craft/art things. They all have parental support. Their parents are varying levels of well-off but mostly seem to own their own homes and are educated and still healthy enough to rah-rah behind their kids and support their endeavors. They are doing good things with that but the side of precious, minimalist, handmade and expensive feels oppressive to me.
posted by amanda at 9:28 AM on March 16, 2016 [7 favorites]


amanda: They are doing good things with that but the side of precious, minimalist, handmade and expensive feels oppressive to me.

I feel that way too (as much as a white guy can, anyway). It's such an obvious construction. Is there a word for that? When a non-literal wall is put up that shows the differences in class-levels? That's how I feel when I am in places like that, and it's so obvious to me. For example, I went to the governor's ball a few years back. I dressed as nicely as I could, but I was sat next to a bunch of press and business people (the staff of The Oregonian on one side, Wieden + Kennedy on another) and I turned to my friend and said "I'm way too low-class for this I feel completely out of place and anxious." If there isn't a word for that we should invent one.
posted by gucci mane at 11:41 AM on March 16, 2016 [1 favorite]


> it was a particular quirk of the impeccable dove grey stone tiles adorning the bathroom floor that they must never get wet

I collect vintage nambewear in a half-assed way -- if I find a piece in a thrift store I pounce, but I've never bought any new or for more than $10. This weekend a friend found a big pile of it at an estate sale and snagged it for me. Some of it looks brand new -- far removed from the scratched pieces I've found at Goodwill, or the bowl Mr. Corpse ran through the dishwasher, etc. Anxiety! I don't deserve nice things!

It took my mom texting me photos of her Nambé stuff in piles in her pantry and her reminder that it's made to be used to get me to relax and take it all out of the box. Now my TV remotes are in a lovely butterfly bowl, and my Kindle recharges while sitting in a casserole dish.

Where do these beautiful perfect people keep their remotes and their recharging piles and their kitchen scraps container and their children and their hot sauce bottles?
posted by The corpse in the library at 7:00 PM on March 20, 2016


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