Trade of the Week: Collector’s Styles

Jul 5, 2012 by

Better Homes and Gardens Collector's Styles

Collector's Styles by Better Homes and Gardens

As a general rule, Better Homes and Gardens knows their target audience: the well-coifed soccer moms and garden enthusiasts who populate the suburban South like boll weevils in a cotton field. But occasionally, they reach out to a more… specialized element of the interior decorating community.

And by “specialized element,” I mean Hoarders.

BH&G’s “Collector’s Style” is a thinly veiled attempt to reconcile the needs of the average garbage gathering shut-in with the glamorous world of High Style. Sure, the book looks cheery enough. But if you read between the glossy photographs depicting towering stacks of porcelain chickens (p. 169) and cough drop tins (p. 126), a darker picture emerges.

Take “collector” S. Scott Mayers, who describes himself as “a soul therapist.” Mayers lives in a mid-century tsunami of crockery and yard sale flotsam, all of which is barely contained by the lava-red walls of his California compound. Or the Fosters, a St. Louis family of craft mongers who specialize in fantasy forest creatures, tooth-pick sculptures and “paintings by psychiatric patients.” The family is not pictured, though the abandoned lawn chairs in their dining room are thoughtfully accompanied by a monolithic rabbit made of bottlecaps.

The one thing that these people seemingly do NOT collect is punctuation:

“Collecting is an acquiring thing for us probably an obsession but a very good one.”

Better Homes and Garden’s “Collector’s Style” promises to demonstrate “innovative ways to avoid the atmosphere of an institutional setting,” perhaps overlooking the inevitable destination of most of their intended audience. So whether you’ve been stuffing busts of Napoleon in your fireplace for years (p. 85) or only just started stockpiling cats, “Collector’s Style” is the Better Hoards and Landfills book for YOU!

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