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I Want to Smack This Kid… by Paul Anater

Last week, my hero Decorno ran a piece about a story from New York magazine. She introduced this story as one of her world-famous discussion topics. I thought it was over. But this story has taken on a life of its own and so I’m going to weigh in too. Enjoy the free publicity kid and remember that any press is good press.

This is Maximilian Sinsteden’s dorm room at Drew University in Madison, NJ.

Young Max is a 21-year-old senior with enough connections to get a spread in New York magazine and I can’t fault him for his pluck. His aesthetic sensibilities on the other hand leave me cold. I call it affected clutter.

I can’t tell if the affectation is coming from young Max or from the breathless commentary provided by New York magazine. You tell me.

The standing lamp is Ikea. The wall is covered with artwork by him and his friends; paintings and documents from Jaipur and Bombay; a model from Charlotte Moss; and pieces collected from “tag sales, thrift and consignment stores.”

It’s the “paintings and documents from Jaipur and Bombay” that about push me to the edge. Certainly, there’s nothing wrong with Indian cities, even if the people of Bombay call it Mumbai now. A little colonialism never hurt anybody, right?

The tie-backs are repurposed ascots.

That’s all the photo caption says. Really. Repurposed ascots. No one other than Sebastian Flyte from Brideshead Revisited has ascots lying around and waiting to be repurposed. Argh.

He keeps the bathroom caddy affixed to the mirror with suction cups.

So clever that Max.

The tie rack is by Sinsteden’s father, with finials from P.E. Guerin. The chest of drawers is an $80 thrift-store find.

Good Lord, it looks like a Polo store display. There was a time when stores and hotels tried to recreate a homey atmosphere. Now, so thoroughly has the idea of merchandising penetrated our culture that people try to recreate stores and hotels in their homes. I guess the goal is to make their private space more what? Commercial? I don’t get it.

So am I just a bitter, soon-to-be 44-year-old man? Is there something admirable about this kid’s dorm room I’m missing?

Read Paul Anater’s daily design blog, Kitchen and Residential Design

  • http://doxahome.blogspot.com Jaime @ DOXA

    Hmmm, it’s not necessarily my cup of tea however I totally appreciate this aesthetic. I was thinking I’d be impressed if I had made my way to this dorm room when I was in school…however my guess (ascot and all) is that we are not on the same “team”, if ya know what i mean?


  • admin

    Well I think, if you’re gonna have an Ascot, flaunt it. There is as much arrogance in the design as there seems to be in the young man who pulled the look together, but I have to appreciate the boldness of it all. So no, not my cup of tea either (or Pimm’s cup rather) but still, somehow you have to love it. I liked the “Ascot” comments :)

  • Li naJane

    I agree with Pimm wholeheartedly. This isn’t Max’s aesthetic, he’s borrowed from every Ralph Lauren ad ever made. And the clutter! I don’t know how one could even think in there. Apparently he likes thinking about what tie he is going to wear that day more than anything. The furniture is boring, and overall the design is very “immature” to say the least. While I can appreciate the effort made to beautify a dorm room, the fact that he has shown such pretentiousness really rubs me the wrong way.

  • http://www.chichomeblog.com Sandra

    My son’s room looked the same when he was 16 except for the booze, then he grew up.


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