Case 034: Inqueerior Designfiled May 4, 2021
Has the change in weather and your impending vaccination made you an optimist? Perhaps, as your pre-pandemic clothing (and furniture) goes out with the spring cleaning, you’ve begun to dream of a bigger, better, way of life. Will this be the summer you finally move to the big city, or hang that salon wall you’ve been threatening to put up for years? For queers, there’s nothing new to dreaming up a better lifestyle. Your new Upper East Side one-bedroom will not only feature a walk-in closet, but it’s got to have an enameled subway tile steam shower and a skylight, too! And the girls will gather around the baby grand in the living room, of course. Anything is possible when you ignore financial and practical limits; and who needs them (what is real)!? Nowhere is this blissful naivete more evident than on the screen, where gay set designers and their admirers have indulged us with spaces scaled to dreams, ever-unattainable, possibly delusional, but necessarily hopeful. In this spirit of queer defiance to the economic standards or to any good taste, The InQueery reviews some of the screen’s most impressive, improbable and indelible queer interior designs.
Kurt’s apartment, Glee
What more could a “rising star” of the first-term Obama-era desire than this “shabby” “loft” off the Morgan Ave L stop? Introducing millions of rancid musical theater hopefuls to the “grit” of Bushwick, this massive apartment—which would famously host Sarah Jessica Parker and Shangela in a “Let’s Have a Kiki” bastardization—features ratty reclaimed wood flooring, towering built-in bookshelves and a fire escape the size of a golf course. Wrought iron, in 2011? Trés Soviet! Transforming a Santa Monica soundstage, the likely-traumatized gay set designers staged a consumerist fantasia with a trip to Urban Outfitters and Pier One Imports, complete with a dusty futon, mason jar lamps, and a starmarquee propped on the floor. For the girls who should get around to thrift shopping, but are too busy auditioning, this is your New York, and your dominion!
Molly and Sam’s apartment, Ghost
By 1990, government negligence and homophobia had allowed AIDS to become the leading cause of death for men aged 25–44 in New York City. Many gay men lost their lovers, their livelihoods, and their homes. The latter cannot be said for Demi Moore’s Molly in Ghost, an overall-clad bohemian, grieving her fallen Adonis in a blow-out Soho loft, replete with cantilevered stairs (leading nowhere), and floor-to-ceiling windows. She needs every damn inch of this multi-floor masterpiece for the sake of hosting a shirtless Tony Goldwyn, crying over a pottery wheel, and making contact with the undead. Grief is never kind, but on a wicker furniture set, amongst your sculptures, in a 4,000 square-foot space, it might just be bearable.
Mia’s mom’s apartment, The Princess Diaries
“We met in college. I was young. I wanted to paint!” That’s all you need to know about how princess-to-be Mia Thermopolis’ mother met the secret prince of Genovia, all those years ago. Now, she’s a “struggling” artist in a painfully chic converted fire station. Isn’t San Francisco wild? Oh, how she and her daughter scrape by, amid spiral staircases and a contessa-scale kitchen island. Who wouldn’t pine for a better life, in a hovel of calypso curtains, hanging fruit baskets, ceramic hearts and Elliot Smith posters?
Jules and Rue’s apartment, Euphoria
2021’s Euphoria special revealed to us a future-that-never-was for transgressive teen lovers Rue and Jules, imagined in the cosmopolitan idyll of a shared studio apartment in the big city. What better stage for an impossible, impractical and unaffordable dream-turned-delusion than an exposed brick railroad apartment? Long gone are the day-glo bursts of 2019-era teendom; in this fantasy of adulthood, it’s all haphazard monograms, gothic pastel headboards, and—wait a minute, is that a portrait of Hari Neff taped to the brick? Stay young forever, stay in therapy, and, we beg you: stay away from crushed velvet bedding!
Brian Kinney’s loft, Queer as Folk
How old were you when you first encountered the open-plan concept? In the pilot of Showtime’s ever-outrageous millennium-era bacchanal, naive ur-twink Justin finds himself in this joyless chamber, and proceeds to lose his virginity on sheets of black bamboo, under a custom neon fixture. Naturally, only the finest will do for homeowner Brian Kinney, the sleekest ad-man lothario in Pittsburgh (and by Pittsburgh, we mean Toronto). Who wouldn’t hand over their virtue to a man with a stainless steel kitchen-bar, a mod white dining space, and the industrial pillars necessary to hold it all together? Save your strength for that heavy warehouse door—you’re in for a long night!
Felicity’s student apartment, Felicity
A New Version of You will absolutely need this sprawling three bedroom, where you and the girls can gather over coffee by your massive kitchen island and gossip under angel-white door arches. Every surface of this pre-9/11 Manhattan fantasy is bathed in hardcore chartreuse (save for the quilted bedding, floor-length skirts, and pillows). Need a place to set up your boombox and play the latest Aimee Mann CD? Grab a cinder block, or six, and make your own shelving! And don’t stress; we’re certain your Dean & Deluca tips will more than cover the high cost of rent.
Queer Rating: This year’s inevitable Pride collection of stinks by Boy Smells