2011: The weird, the wild, the woolly

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So many story pitches crossed our desks last year — hundreds every day — that we simply couldn’t investigate for you, dear reader, the wonders of Poo-Pourri, the air freshener for your commode, or ScentSicles, the scented Christmas ornaments with the strangely anatomical-sounding name. Here we present the list that we’ve titled: ‘Stories We Didn’t Cover in 2011.’

Tebowing your wall: Wall graphics company Fathead jumped on the Tim Tebow phenomenon earlier this month, releasing a life-sized graphic of the Denver Broncos quarterback on bended knee. We’re not sure which is worse: Paying $99.95 for the vinyl decal or writing about it for the Google clicks. (Oops.)


Golden gluttony: Lest anyone worry that the global recession had put an end to mindless excess, Arcaro Martini announced it was making the “first gold hot tubs in the world,” vessels lined with 24-karat gold and wrapped with Swarovski crystal-studded leather on the outside — a refined flourish for pimp style.

Shocking love: The press release for PetFree promised “a mobile wireless system for creating pet safety zones.” The more we read about it, however, the “training system” sounded an awful lot like an indoor electric fence to keep Kitty off the dining table and Fido off the sofa. We asked a spokeswoman whether “establishing a safe pet-free zone” meant electrically shocking the family pet. Funny, we never did receive a response. May we recommend goldfish instead?

Potty perfume: When it came time to test the Poo-Pourri spray deodorizer for the toilet, none of the L.A. Home crew stepped forward to give it a whirl. That’s a shame, with such alluring scents as Heavy Doody, Royal Flush and our favorite, the simply named Poo-Pourri No. 2. Pantone color of the year: The worlds of fashion and design always jump on the Pantone Color Institute’s color of the year, which for 2012 is Tangerine Tango. The color authority may describe Tangerine Tango as a spirited hue that dances with reddish undertones, but we all know we’re still just talking about orange. For some equally evocative color-of-the-year alternatives, Times colleagues suggested Smoker’s Tooth White, Mom Jeans Blue and, for the person who’s pessimistic with cheer, Pink Slip.

Members-only shopping sites: Gilt. Fab. One Kings Lane. The Foundary. OpenSky. Design Story. Enough Already.

Guest “curators”: The only thing more annoying than online stores with artificially limited inventory and daily spam are online stores with artificially limited inventory, daily spam and a celebrity telling you what to buy. Do we really need the Judds making design recommendations?

Human furniture:
And the winner for most realistic portrayal of a floor lamp goes to ... the model for House of Hackney, the London home furnishings company that launched in spring with an email showing a young woman smartly dressed in a wallpaper print, black boots and lampshade bonnet.

You-don’t-see-me blankets: The wear-your-home phenomenon continued at Ventura Lambrate, one of the independent design showcases held in conjunction with the annual Milan furniture fair in Italy. The gallery representing designer Emilie Pallard said her mohair blanket, called Domestic Disguises (pictured at the top of this post), was about seeing the world from a different perspective and exploring “the gray area between being there and not being there.” Mmmm, OK. But will it keep the cat off the sofa?


— Lisa Boone


Most viewed home galleries of 2011

A year in community gardens: A Times series

Milan furniture fair 2011: Best (and worst) in show

Photo credits, from top: Erik and Petra Hesmerg; Fathead; Poo-Pourri; CB2.