Design on TV: The Real Housewives of O.C. Edition


If you allowed yourself to wallow in the cesspool that is Bravo reality TV last night, then you enjoyed a double shot of Housewives madness. While there is much to discuss from The Real Housewives of Atlanta Reunion (Kim’s wig, Dwight’s toolbox and NeNe’s and Anderson Cooper’s love affair), we’re here to talk design, and that leads us to the botoxed grandmother of Housewives, The Real Housewives of Orange County.

Last night the ladies of the O.C. taught us a lot about welcoming new neighbors, marrying old farts — and most importantly, what not to do when decorating your abode. While the horrendous tropical inspired mural in the entryway of new gal Gretchen’s house deserves chiding, let’s focus on the myriad don’ts in real-estate mogul (term used loosely) Jeana Keough’s palace. Jeana decided it was time to give her home a face lift, and by God was she right.

After the jump, the main offenders that we spotted.

Offense 1: Glamor shots on serious non-ironic display Oh Jeana, we get it, you were once a playboy model. That’s nice and all, but we, and your guests don’t need to be reminded that you’ve seen hairspray-ed better days. Photos (and arty ’80s poster images) of you shouldn’t be on prominent display. Limit the number and types of photos up at your home so it doesn’t look like a shrine to the good old days when you were hot. Pick visual images that tell a story or give us a hint of emotion, instead of something that looks posed and vapid. Or give poorly shot photos some panache by opting for black and white (bonus it hides the fact your jacket was Electric Boogaloo purple).

Offense 2: Bad frames Even if you get the artwork right, the whole thing can fall apart in the wrong frame. It might have seem like a great idea for Jeana to class up contempo-prints in scrolling gold frames, but the effect ended up looked trés Sugarbaker Designs. Generally, let the artwork determine its home, with busy prints picking plain frames. But there are times when going bold works. Natty frames can look nice with a coat of paint, and some of Jeana’s gold wonders could have looked surprisingly good painted a bright lacquer red in a more modern space. Even her ex-hubbie’s moose painting could have been quirky chic in a simpler frame, instead of looking like an ode to lodge living.

Offense 3: Letting your ex-husband live with you Snap. It doesn’t matter that you hired your gardener’s girlfriend to decorate (way to call in a professional), you’re going to be miserable every time you step in the door. Forever.

– Kimberly Moreau