Monday, August 8th, 2005

Finslippy on Children and Design

Alice Bradley, Finslippy

Posted by Alice Bradley, Finslippy | View all posts by Alice Bradley, Finslippy
14 Comments » | Published in Baby Blogapalooza 2005, General  |  14 Comments

Finslippy is the name of a blog from a woman named Alice who has a boy named Henry. Finslippy’s funny. Really funny.

Babies are nice and all, but they don’t give a crap about design, and their taste is horrifying.

I learned this early on, when Henry began to accumulate mountains of tasteless accessories before he was even born. It was like he was sending out orders from my uterus. WISH TO SHOW THEM WHO IS BOSS. STOP. SEND MANY CARE BEARS AND PLENTY OF RATTAN. STOP.

Relatives we’d never met sent us heaps of blankets and crib sets and jingly toys for the baby-and none of them paid any attention to our registry, instead traveling their own crazy paths, providing us with items so ugly my eyes may have bled a little. And we had to keep each item, and take pictures of Henry with each item, and then send the pictures to said relative, or else one of our mothers would cry.

Then Henry began to grow, and lo, the mountain of stuff grew with him until it spilled across our living room rug. Now there are musical instruments and trucks and animals and Star Wars guys and more trucks and also trains. All of which include tiny parts that invariably come loose and get underfoot and send one of us skating across the kitchen floor at 3 a.m.

We tried to point out to him how badly it all clashes with our mid-century modern aesthetic, but the kid didn’t even care. Then we attempted to streamline his toy collection, but that resulted in tears and frantic searches for the beloved [insert name of toy he hadn’t played with in six months here], and in the end we gave in.

So it appears that the child has won. This is distressing, but what truly scares me is I’m beginning not to mind anymore. It might be because I love him, or else I’m beginning to dig how the toys look. And years from now, when Henry is heading to college, I’ll send him off with our George Nelson chair so that I can make room for my new Battle Droid Super Death Station With Working Laser Beams.

It could happen.

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  1. Julie says:

    August 8th, 2005 at 10:21 am (#)

    Why do they make all these toys in glaring primary colors? They make refrigerators that blend into the surrounding cabinetry; why can’t the same be done for a Megasaucer?

    I miss being small enough to play with some of these toys, like a Sit-n-Spin or a Big Wheel. The oven in my kitchen doesn’t hold nearly the same appeal as an Easy Bake oven.

  2. Busy Mom says:

    August 8th, 2005 at 11:35 am (#)

    We are currently furnished in Modernist Neo-Pets.

  3. blackbird says:

    August 8th, 2005 at 2:30 pm (#)

    ha. ha.
    when we had our first we decided that he would only have wooden or woolen toys — no plastic
    that he would never eat refined sugar or white flour
    that everything his eyes fell upon would be peaceful, gentle, and kind…
    He’s 20 now, and has magenta hair, tattoos, giant earrings and is addicted to Red Bull.
    The best laid plans…

  4. edgar blazona says:

    August 8th, 2005 at 3:19 pm (#)

    Well i am in the same boat.. I am actually a furniture designer (Pottery Barn, Target) and my three year old’s room has been quite the discussion lately with my wife (a textile designer formerly from West Elm). How do we blend our mid century furnished house, including his Eames rocker without only shopping at IKEA? How to get around all the bright colored plastic and into some more “modern” colors? We decided it is time to start are own company suppying modern kids furniture and textiles at a price that is affordable. Taking things into our own hands, i have designed a collection that has lots of storage items, awesome modern colors and a few collections of cordinated bedding. Our first shipments arive in the first of December, ready to hit the stores running. So Alice, dont give up.. Help is on the way.. Just a few more months and you will atleast be able to hide your Battle Droids behind some good looking MODERN furniture..


  5. alice says:

    August 8th, 2005 at 6:33 pm (#)

    Edgar, are you advertising on another company’s commercial site? Wow.

  6. Linda says:

    August 8th, 2005 at 8:38 pm (#)

    Edgar…enough of the teasers. What’s the name of this stuff and you are SO bold. Sort of gently folding your own advertising within a comment. I need to take lessons.

  7. cagey says:

    August 8th, 2005 at 10:10 pm (#)

    I just started registering last week for all the crap my fetus will need when he makes his grand arrival in October. I can’t agree more with this column and it couldn’t have come at a better time. I HATE these baby industry people like the spawn of satan.

    So, it’s bad enough that I am weeding through all the ugly crap myself, but now I learn that my relatives may not even look at my registry??? I’ve seen THEIR houses and now they are going to decorate MINE? GOOD GOD DELIVER ME FROM THE EVIL.

  8. Drew says:

    August 9th, 2005 at 12:18 am (#)


    I wanted to chime in and direct any of the few remaining original readers of our design blog (those who haven’t been scared off or beaten into submission) over to Flicker where they can check out Finslippy’s photos from last week’s BlogHer convention out here in SF:

    TIME IN.

  9. warcrygirl says:

    August 9th, 2005 at 6:24 am (#)

    Be thankful your loved ones are purchasing baby stuff from a STORE! When my mother found out my husband and I were finally expecting she promptly went out and bought us the ugliest nursery set ever made…from a YARD SALE. And since she was living with us at the time (never again!) we HAD to use it. I still cry a little everytime I think about it. At least my second child got a decent nursery as my mother was 1,000 miles away from me by then.

  10. edgar blazona says:

    August 9th, 2005 at 11:16 am (#)

    WOW… Im sorry.. I didnt mean for my post to come across like that at all.. We are just so excited to finally have furniture that fits our modern aesthetic as well as meets the needs of our child.. I am sorry Alice.. I did not intend to “advertise” on this site.. I only have the most respect for this site..
    BTW – Nice pictures..

    Edgar Blazona

  11. alice says:

    August 9th, 2005 at 8:54 pm (#)

    I misunderstood, Edgar. I’m impressed with anyone who can design furniture, as I can’t fold a napkin without hurting myself.

  12. Linda says:

    August 10th, 2005 at 10:03 am (#)

    I have no problem with children’s furniture because I simply don’t buy it. Like Alice was saying, the problem is the toys. I don’t mind sending well-meaning but horrifically unaesthetic gifts to the goodwill. But what then do the kids play with? Nobody is making decent children’s toys. Oh, IKEA comes up with something halfway decent once in a while, but if you don’t live in an IKEA city, good luck getting a hold of the stuff. There’s Waldorf/natural, but’s insanely expensive, not in the least durable, and too often has too much of a country look to it. Blah. Pretty much all that’s left is the commercial crap. I just don’t understand. You’d think somebody in marketing would figure out that it would be hugely profitable to offer products that appeal both to kids *and* to the people with the money, the PARENTS.

  13. halloweenlover says:

    August 12th, 2005 at 10:14 am (#)

    Ha ha! I love Henry’s decorating tastes. I keep saying he is a genius.

    I know we are never supposed to compare kids to dogs, buuuutttt, my dogs do have awful decorating tastes and they insist that their balls and stuffed squeaky toys be all over the middle of the living room. No discrete basket for them. I know it’ll just get worse when we have kids.

  14. madness rivera says:

    August 17th, 2005 at 2:34 pm (#)

    My two daughters and two pugs have an amazing eye for design. My husband and I said, “How can we get the children’s’ room to match our eclectic Wicker Art Deco meets Homeless Back Alley Chic?” And the kids said, “You guys have no vision. Let us show you a few things.”

    So, we let the kids decorate their room and I have to say, the decoupage creation of water-colored art overlaying the graded 4th grade papers is edgy. I especially like the work-in-progress of dirty socks near the closet. I went to clean it up and my six year old was like, “You know nothing of Art.” It’s true, I don’t. I felt pretty lame to have picked up her sculpture like that.

    They’ve even bled their style into the bathroom, the kitchen and the living room. (We’ve kept our bedroom a 150 sq.ft. sanctuary of clutter) But the madness of scotched-taped paintings and piles & piles of thin Suess and Calef Brown books does really add a wild mix of Classic contrasted with Contemporary.

    Enter my dogs, the Sisters Pug; they’ve added brilliant sprinkles and splashed of brightly-colored squeaky toys and half eaten Beanie Babies — I mean, my apartment is a living, breathing Performance Piece.

    Don’t overlook the genius that is your children’s’ (and pet’s) design vision, people. We, sadly, almost did.

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