Design TV

Monday, April 23rd, 2012

Mad Men Takes a HoJo To Go


Posted by Becky | View all posts by Becky

Did any of you feel a wave of nostalgia for a Howard Johnson’s road trip stop while watching Mad Men last night? I kept thinking of my family driving from Ohio to Cape Cod in the family truckster (a tan Ford station wagon with wood paneling and flip up seats in the way-back) and stopping for a hot dog and an ice cream cone. The bright colors, light fixtures and even the waitress uniforms actually looked retro-fresh in last night’s episode.

Somehow, the combination of pot pies and orange sherbet leads to a devastating fight between Don and Megan, and he abandons her in a HoJo’s parking lot. How could he not, with that fabulous honeysuckle dress with matching chevron coat? It was made for a HoJo’s. Girlfriend even had on matching pink sunglasses. Tory Burch has got nothing on Megan’s costume designer.

Only that devilish cad Don Draper could make the iconic Howard Johnson’s roof look sexy.

Anyway, the wave of nostalgia made me want to look into the history of Howard Johnson’s. Because I’m lazy, most of this information was compiled via Wikipedia, so take it for what it’s worth.

Howard Deering Johnson opened drugstore in 1925, but soon realized that the soda fountain was the most profitable part.  He started tinkering with ice cream and the business changed direction toward becoming a restaurant that became known for fried clams.

In 1932 a second restaurant was opened, one of the first franchise deals in the U.S. The first motor lodge was opened in Savannah Georgia in 1954, and it was designed by architects Rufus Nims and Karl Koch. From there, in a nutshell, the business boomed and the motor lodges became known for their ubiquitous roadside advertisements:

In the 1960s and ’70s, there were over 1,000 HoJos across the United States and Canada.

There is a site completely dedicated to posting pictures of former HoJos, called

Then, new owners and more new owners and big changes, bland architecture and a new logo that’s no fun. The End.

Oh, P.S. Also, when you Google “Howard Johnson,” this guy is interspersed between all of the motel pictures. He’s a singer:

Images 1,2, 3 via

Image 4 via

Image 5 from Wikimedia Commons


Thursday, April 5th, 2012

Interior Therapy – Have You Been Watching?


Posted by Becky | View all posts by Becky

Jeff Lewis is one of those love him or hate him kind of guys. I love him. It doesn’t even have anything to do with his decorating, which can be a bit one-note (it’s a nice, clean, often heavy on the chocolate brown tones, Ann Sacks-tiled note, but one-note just the same). It’s his facial expressions and the crazy stuff he lets fly out of his mouth that make me love him.

Last night on Interior Therapy he butted heads with client Ross Matthews. I am a Ross fan in small doses, but clearly five days was way too big of a dose for Jeff. I had no idea someone with a voice as high as Ross’s could drown out everyone else. In this case, Ross bulldozes over his partner Sal’s desire for clean and uncluttered decor with a Vespa and a pile of every single designer line from Target. In one glance I recognized Orla Kiely, Missoni and DwellStudio for Target stuff right off the bat, all thrown together in a hodge-podge way that frankly made me see the same Target hoarding problem in myself.

While Ross wanted a new kitchen and Sal wanted a new backyard, Jeff took one look at how overstuffed their home was and knew they needed to expand into their garage. In just five days, he created a salon for Sal, a fashion stylist, to work with clients. The space can also serve as a media room and guest room. He also turned that driveway into a patio:

This is the best garage that doesn’t look like it used to be a garage makeovers I’ve ever seen. Usually it’s ridiculously obvious. French doors, light fixtures and not having a driveway pulling up to the space are the answer. The inside is a chic spot to greet clients, show off the clothes and have them try them on for fittings:

I give this episode a “Bravo!” Did you watch? What do you think of Jeff?

All images via


Wednesday, March 14th, 2012

I’m Flipping Out; Interior Therapy with Jeff Lewis Airs Tonight


Posted by Becky | View all posts by Becky
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O.K. Bravo-heads and Zoila fans; a new Jeff Lewis show starts tonight. It’s called Interior Therapy and it’s on at 9 p.m. east coast time. I know all of you who have watched Jeff in the past either love him to death or cannot stand him; there is no in between. While I’m in the former group of Jeff lovers, I am not so sure how I would feel after having him move in with me and give me and my house therapy. While I could use some clutter-clearing, I imagine he might give his patients O.C.D. tendencies that last long after he packs up and leaves.

image via, and probably brought to you by PODS

image from

In other Interior Therapy news, Bravo did this fun promotion with decorated taxis recently. I have to say, this interior looks the opposite of Jeff Lewis style, which usually involves exposed ceiling beams, simple Ann Sacks tile, and maybe a Barcelona chair or two…

image from

While his Elaine Benis lookalike, rappin’ assistant Jeni Pulos would probably hop right into this crazy whip, I don’t think Jeff would set foot inside it for a million bucks. It would probably make his blood pressure soar, I mean, what’s on the ceiling, old terrycloth robe belts? Here’s one that’s a little more Beetlejuicy:

image via

As a bonus, Jeff will appear on Watch What Happens Live tonight with Andy Cohen and Kristen Johnston. It should be a great group.

Will you be watching tonight? Do you love Jeff or hate him? Either way, let us know in the comments section!


Tuesday, February 21st, 2012

Find Jess from New Girl’s Childhood Wallpaper


Posted by Becky | View all posts by Becky

My DVR has been stacking up with the Zooey Deschanel show New Girl. I finally caught up this weekend. It’s basically stupid funny, which we can all use a little of now and then. Anyway, the flashback to her youth totally cracked me up. While fretting about an upcoming date with that guy who is known as “that guy who was a Mac on the Apple commercials who used to date Drew Barrymore,” Jess laments to her friend “everything I know about sex I know from Spencer and the Clinton impeachment trial.”

We flash back to Jess as a tween, glued to her portable radio and tantalized during the 1999 trials in her girlhood room.

Afraid she’s been busted by her mom, she hurls the radio and replies “Mom?!?!?!? I’m not listening to NPR!”

However, the plot is beside the point. The star of this scene is that fabulous wallpaper. It’s fun, flirty, floral, a little retro-yet modern, pink and orange…what else could you want in a fun and eclectic wallpaper for a girl’s room? It’s Momento by Amy Butler for Graham and Brown. Yeah. We got that. What’s amazing is that it’s totally groovy in a retro mid-modern dining room, lounge, hallway, what have you – super versatile:

Are there any stylish TV sets you’ve been admiring lately? I can’t think of any that have knocked my socks off since Mad Men began. I had high hopes for Pan Am but they don’t really compare.


Tuesday, November 8th, 2011

Mad Fashion on Bravo


Posted by Becky | View all posts by Becky
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Have you been watching Mad Fashion on Bravo? I have, as I pretty much watch everything on Bravo, well, except for Most Eligible Dallas, which looks too awful even for me. Anyway, I loved Chris March on Project Runway because he’s so creative and hilarious, and it’s so much fun to see him in his element, creating costumes like a Mardi Gras outfit for Jennifer Coolidge.

See that fab rug in the background? Yeah, we got that. It’s the Thomas Paul Flock Dhurrie in Green and Cream, and it will ground your room with a vibrant layer of a rich mossy green oversized pattern. The Thomas Paul Rug Collection is made of high quality wool with the finest construction available. It’s kind of baroque-goes-modern:

Never in a million years would I have thought to pair it with hot pink, but in the case of March’s studio, it works.

Have you been watching Mad Fashion? What has your favorite challenge been? The most shocking thing to me is that the clients tend to hire him about two days before a crazy event and they whip something together in no time flat! I’m just hoping that one day someone will actually choose to wear one of Izzy Decauwert’s fabulous wigs – she puts so much time and love into them and it seems no one ever opts to top of their outfit with her creation. Where do crazy unused wigs go after such rejection? The Wendy Williams Show?

Besides seeing Jennifer Coolidge, who is always hilarious on TV and movies and in “real life,” Dina Manzo’s closet was my other favorite thing about this show. It was so much larger than my entire house and it’s shoe heaven. Totally insane:

Anyway, if you haven’t caught this little gem of a show it really is delightful. Check it out on Bravo; I’m sure it’s on like ten times a week like every other show on Bravo!

First and third photos via