I try not to be too judgmental about other peopleís houses. Whatever makes you happy ought to be just fine with me and everyone else.
But oh, Lord, sometimes itís hard.
Some lapses in decorating judgment are just so egregious that I have to cry foul. Iím issuing tickets for these design crimes right now.
ē Furry toilet seat covers. Two words: germ factory. Ditto for the little matching rugs.
ē Christmas in July. You may think that when your holiday lights are turned off, people wonít notice them. You would be wrong.
Iím not talking about a few festive light strings that make your backyard sparkle on a summer night. Those are fun. Iím talking about neglected icicle lights drooping from your gutters. Those are pitiful.
ē Really fake flowers. Iím not a purist. I donít object to using faux flowers outdoors, maybe in a front-door wreath or a pot on the porch.
But itís not a good look when your flower boxes have tulips blooming in August or your foliage has faded to blue-green. When you can spot a fake from the street, it needs to go.
ē Vinyl brick veneer. There are some great fakes out there. Vinyl brick is not one of them.
Iím not sure the stuff is even made anymore, but itís still clinging to a whole lot of walls.
Hint: You can buy veneer brick thatís just a thinner version of the real thing. It looks like regular brick, not a disco-era imitation.
ē Faux painting gone wrong. Lots of us went crazy for sponge painting and rag rolling in the í90s. Few of us did it well.
I cringe to think of the sponge-painted yellow stripes I imposed on a bathroom back then. I was going for Provencal. I got Ringling Bros.
Thankfully, this design crime is easily remedied with a fresh coat of paint. In one color.
ē Throw pillow profusion. You shouldnít have to make a concerted effort to sit down. Thatís all Iím saying.
ē Architectural identity crises. No matter how hard I work out, Iím never going to look like Beyonce. No matter how much gingerbread you put on your brick ranch house, itís never going to look like a Victorian.
Better to honor your homeís architecture and play up its best features than to try to turn your house into something it isnít.
ē Dusty dried flowers. Iím not a fan of most dried flowers. With the possible exception of hydrangeas, dead plant material just doesnít appeal to me.
But thatís just my preference, not an indictment of anyoneís taste. What is a crime is letting those flowers grow a layer of dust. It makes them look like theyíre decomposing before your eyes.
ē Tchotchke hell. Collections are wonderful. Bric-a-brac spilling onto every surface is not. Itís like living in Times Square. On New Yearís Eve. All the time.
So what about you? What are the design crimes that drive you to distraction?
Tell me about them. Iíll share my favorites in a future column.
You can email or call me using the contact information below. Iíll need your name and the town where you live, as well as a daytime phone number in case I have questions. I wonít publish the phone number.
Just donít bother complaining about orange. Have you seen my kitchen?
Mary Beth Breckenridge can be reached at 330-996-3756 or firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also become a fan on Facebook at www.facebook.com/MBBreckABJ, follow her on Twitter @MBBreckABJ and read her blog at www.ohio.com/blogs/mary-beth.