28 July 2011

Wabi Sabi isn't another word for lazy

I have been avoiding Apartment Therapy for the better part of the last year. My blood pressure has been thanking me. But like a bad car accident, there are some times when I just can't resist looking.

So yesterday afternoon I went over to AT to see if they'd matured in any way since my last visit lo those many months ago. I should have known better.

On the front page, one of the undergraduates over there was proclaiming partially painted walls as the new trend. It's funny, any time one of those yahoos spots something half-assed and is a loss to describe it, the fall back pronouncement is that it's Wabi Sabi. No it's not.

Wabi Sabi is a uniquely Japanese anti-aesthetic that admires the beauty of the undone, but more than that, it's an appreciation of nature's hand in the undoing. US Retailers and trend setters have been trying to make a commodity out of Wabi Sabi for years and so far it hasn't stuck. Thank God.

Maybe the problem is that Wabi Sabi is inherently anti-consumerist and Wabi Sabi takes time. Add in that Wabi Sabi is usually unplanned and Pottery Barn (and their cheering section at AT) are left spinning their wheels.

So here's a primer. This is Wabi Sabi.

Photo by me

This is laziness.

via Apartment Therapy

This is Wabi Sabi.

via Outsider Japan

This says "I don't know how to use a paint brush."


This is Wabi Sabi.

via Outsider Japan

This is an eyesore.




16 comments:

  1. I thought I was the only one that didn't get that half painted thing... That old door is just gorgeous!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I think so too. Would that I were Japanese so I could really get the whole Wabi Sabi thing.

    ReplyDelete
  3. AT is the Forrest Gump of decorating sites - well-intentioned, smiley and friendly but ultimately dumber than a box of hair.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Well, considering that it's written by unpaid 20-year-olds I suppose I shouldn't expect much. But still. An un-cut-in ceiling is a new trend? It's Wabi Sabi? My head hurts.

    ReplyDelete
  5. go paul! A gem here. and as always thanks for sharing from the . . . heart.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Thanks JB. I haven't ragged on AT in a while.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I think they intended to put up crown and ran out of money/time/friends to help.

    ReplyDelete
  8. What ever it was, I just hope it wasn't intentional.

    ReplyDelete
  9. There is no excuse for laziness. They should have either put up the molding or cut in the wall paint. If they ran out of funds, then cutting in is the way to go. Don't do something half way and then hide behind "Oh, it is the latest trend."

    ReplyDelete
  10. You can say that again. Trend schmend.

    ReplyDelete
  11. i love it- my kitchen is very wabi sabi, and it has been for the past 5 years! (nothing to do with the fact that i'll have to sand the whole goddamned thing because it was originally painted with an amazing frictionless paint to which NOTHING will stick, which i found out after repainting one wall).

    ReplyDelete
  12. Well then I have a Wabi Sabi kitchen too. My floor's falling apart. Maybe instead of cursing it I'll celebrate its un-done-ness. Thanks Christian!

    ReplyDelete
  13. I can't deny that I think this room is kinda cute, but there's no getting away from the fact that it would continually conjure up demons of painting projects past. I'll pass.

    ReplyDelete
  14. There is a beautiful picture book called Wabi Sabi (http://www.amazon.com/Wabi-Sabi-Mark-Reibstein/dp/0316118257).

    And to be quite honest, I think that blue-painted room is very boring. It looks like it's from a hip magazine... from last year. We've upholstered an armchair in lime-green, how edgy.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Good God, if I did that to any of my clients houses I'd be fired on the spot.

    ReplyDelete

Talk to me!

Related Posts with Thumbnails