Tuesday, March 18, 2008

HGTV Rate My Space Real Rooms By Real People: Confessions Of A Love Hate Relationship

New to the show and tell world on line, I stumbled upon HGTV Rate My Space on their web site. It is basically a place where you can post as many photos as you like of your home. Professionals, wannabes, and home decorators are all welcome. The only criteria is that the comments be civil, and the rooms appropriate. More on that later.
Last November I ventured in, as I always do - with energy, lots of energy. Armed with my SONY Cyber Shot camera, I started taking pictures. What fun!
Several lifetimes ago I made my living in the design world. I changed careers, and retired from that line of work. You can take the designer off the project, but...
Being visually over active, I continue to style my house.
Staying in touch with some of my fellow professionals still working can make me wistful. What if I hadn't given it all up for my health, a man I love, and tango?
So here's RMS (as the participants call it) beckoning.
Not being a cookie cutter kind of gal, my spaces invited low ratings and comments.
You can rate a space once, giving it one to five stars, five stars being the best. Frequent viewings can also bestow the honor of prime placement on the site. People vie for five stars and top placement.
A dedicated group, well, a clique of sorts, seems to always be on line viewing, rating, and commenting. You soon get to know them all in a chummy coffee klatch kind of way.
They make newcomers pay their dues with tough comments and low stars.
Most of them are women. And I must say most control the bitch slapping. But it is great when some kooky room gets them all riled up. One guy with a smart mouth was the cock in the hen house for awhile, but he got drummed out of the corp, and sadly quit. Somehow if you hang in there, they accept you, and you become friends, like pen pals that can all read the same letter at once.
They don't like nude art. Especially nude gay art. They complain and the space gets ejected. Oh yeah, HGTV is a Big Brother and a space can vanish for no apparent reason.
Most of the rooms are hideous. But the real people decorating them are so sincere in their pride and accomplishment, it is hard to be mean. A few gems do emerge.
If you look at all the talent doing decor blogs, you would think everyone is visually aware, astute, and able to make a good looking room for Domino Magazine.
Most of the USA is afraid. Afraid of color. Afraid of being different. Making a room that looks like Pottery Barn or Rooms To Go gets high marks and lots of stars. Matching bedding as in the type in the horrendous bed-in-a-bag is the only way to go. Granite counter tops rule. Fat ass couches abound. The sectional is the most rad solution to furniture placement.
I have 38 postings at RMS (and took heat for that too), and often think about deleting them all. Some of the comments got me off my ass, and shook my little world up. Just like they think that everyone is like them, I thought they would all be like the visual vamps out there. It was a shock to get bitch slapped.
I did change a few things for the better. Like get off RMS. But like a little candy sneak thief, I steal a moment there once in awhile, not signing in, no ratings, and not even viewing my own RMS site. The same type of rooms are always there, and the same comments said over and over again. It was disheartening.
I posted a space today. I could care less about the ratings or number of views. I checked in a few hours after I posted, and there they all are, all the regulars, welcoming me with some stars and comments. I felt good for their attention, for taking time to look in and say hello.
I will share some real spaces done by real people from time to time, well, just to keep it real, well at least a different kind of real.


Evelyne said...

You are amazing! I'm so glad you came to find me. This is a really interesting blog. OMG, I'm looking for chairs on Craiglist too. What a great analysis of rms. I'm going back to read more of your blog...so interesting. ~CC (colorchick)

laughter said...

love the blog. What a perfect explaination of RMS. I remember waiting for the group to notice me. I can laugh now but was so dissappointed when my first posting went unnoticed. My big question...how did you find out about rms on tv?

French said...

YOu put RMS so eloquently>>>so many a deserved room goes unnoticed and so many so-so rooms catch all the ratings~~just another monopoly of sorts like being in high school and trying to win the popularity contest~~I hate that part but I do know that I have learned so much from observing, so much so that I am currently taking design classes, not because I want to do this for a living simply to learn about the trade ( so to speak) keep it up here you are doing a great job;) French

Cote de Texas said...

Your blog is so great! I loved this story and would like to see your space - do you give out the url to it? You've got me intrigued now - I've never been on it before.

If you give out the url will you email it to me at mrballbox329@aol.com = if that picture is any indication of your home, I'm dying to see the rest!!!! Joni

therainman said...


Funny how one can appear on RMS and not even realize that he is even noticed only to find he is noticed beyond what he can perceive. You have an interesting take on RMS and one that is shared by many others. I am sure. RMS should be honored by your blog.

mrsben said...

Decorating has always been a passion of mine. I believe it comes naturally to us 'who sews'...which has always been a hobby of mine. When I stumbled across RMS it was like winning the Lotto as what lay before me was a smorgasbord of design without a Subscription. To celebrate my Year Anniversary I decided it was time to log off indefinitely to tackle long over-due upgrades of my own home. To those who are thinking of posting I will share my strategy 'as a Survivor' :) The Spaces: Their creators are 'real' people who have invited you into their home. If you cannot give constructive citicism, then best not give any at all. DO NOT be cruel, atagonize or condenscending. "What goes around comes around". (I've seen it happen.) DO NOT stalk or use crude language. (You will be flagged.) DO NOT repost a space and/or pictures of your children. It's a common error that many 'ewbies' make. Depending upon circumstances, it is vastly considered 'a means for attention'. In most cases tolerance is granted, however for those who neglect or challenge the advice; risk alienation. (Few will visit your pages.) DO NOT be discouraged with low ratings. Many who vote have their own personal system. (Like the author of this blog, I seldom rated.) DO NOT ignore an offer of assistance. Though many on this site have not been trained in the field of Interior Design, they have learned thru trial and error. Attempt to consider or embrace what knowledge they are willing to share. (On the most part, the majority are quite talented and are sincere.) In summary: It can be A GREAT ADVENTURE but will be what YOU make it. So enjoy!!! (P.S: For those that might be curious, I don't drink coffee.)

Elle said...

Hi there! I just found Rate My Space, too (which is how I found your site, Googling it). I'm a new home decor nut, and excited to move into my new place soon so that I can post up pics, too. I totally get what you're saying though. As I was reading all of the comments, it seemed like they knew each other! Weird.

Visual Vamp said...

Hi elle, Welcome to the world of decor blogs and sites! Beware, you will get hooked LOL!
Good luck with your space!
RMS is like a family, so the same people participate. If you get into it, you'll become a regular too.
This happens with the decor blogs too. Once you start subscribing to them, and get the daily postings, you just get into commenting, and knowing everybody.
It does seem weird at first, but then it becomes normal real fast LOL
Send me photos of your space if you like, and I'll post them...blog readers are very talented and love to help.

Anonymous said...

You know, I've never been to RMS. I don't dare at this point. I thought getting rid of t.v. would cause me to spend more time doing what I never had time to. Ha! I'm banging away at this keyboard in front of this screen all the time!

sheryl said...

I had joined the group of past rate my spacers. I always loved your comments and had your blog marked as a favorite. Then computer crashes, new computer enters and I never bothered to find my favorites. Decided I needed time more than ideas I had no money to follow through on. LOL

Thank you for reminding me how much I love the decorator world even if it is only in my dreams!