September 28, 2018 at 9:25 am EST | by Staff reports
We asked LGBT locals about their adventures in home decor

(Photo courtesy Palmer) (Photo courtesy Goldmann) (Photo courtesy McMahon)

Bruce Palmer


Interior designer
Rehoboth Beach, Del.

What’s one of your favorite home decor finds that you got many years ago that still brings you joy?

So my favorite piece for probably 12 years has been this painting by Kamalky Laureano. It hangs at our beach house at the top of the stairs. I’m constantly walking by and still get pleasure every time I pass by. It’s such a conversation piece! People often think it’s a photograph until they get close and examine it. It’s comprised of acrylic, oil and pastel on canvas. It’s so life like and real. People often ask if it’s a portrait of me (blush — I wish).

What’s one item you thought you’d love but after a few years you were indifferent about?

I guess the one thing I thought would be amazing that everyone said I needed would be “Alexa.” Maybe I’m not using her correctly since she never understands me? Or I’m not using her to the fullest. I guess this relationship just isn’t working out. However, she does do a nice job turning on the lamps.

Where do you like to shop for home decor items and what have you learned about your taste over the years in the process?

I still love shopping in New York City. There is such an array of items, I can do one-stop shopping in a day. If I’m looking for vintage or antiques there are plenty of spots Uptown, Midtown and SoHo. If shopping for new items, I love the New York Design Center, Design and Decoration building, DDC collection and the Fine arts building. It has such a blend of periods, styles and inspiration. The city has such an amazing energy about it. If I’m local, I can’t pass up a Home Goods — you’re bound to find something! I suppose my taste has developed over the years. I started out much more traditional and classic, borderline Versailles almost. While I still appreciate the details and craftsmanship, my design aesthetic is much more pared down and transitional these days. I’ve realized that good design is almost everywhere if you can recognize it. The classics have created a background of inspiration while reinterpreting them for today’s standard of living.

Holly Goldmann

D.C.-based trans activist

What’s one of your favorite home decor finds that you got many years ago that still brings you joy?

My Richard Avedon photo of Holly Woodlawn, Candy Darling and Jackie Curtis. It was a gift from a friend. It was the first piece of real art I acquired and the first thing I had framed. I’ve got another original print of Candy Darling too. I’m not 100 percent sure of the photographer. I thought it was Ron Galella, but just Googled it. So now I’m not sure. I bought that from a shop in L.A. The picture of Holly Woodlawn is special, as we’d been friends when she was living.

What’s one item you thought you’d love but after a few years you were indifferent about?

A pink Missoni pouf. Oh did I want that. And it was Missoni for Target. I really needed it. And ended up paying double on eBay. Then it ended up 75 percent off. Well I think it’s in storage. I got a Barbie Pink Jonathan Adler tray to go on it too, the tray is around. I’m just not sure what it’s under now. I’ve got an awful lot of books.

Where do you like to shop for home decor items and what have you learned about your taste over the years in the process?

Now, I tend to make things or just repaint. My apartment is so tiny, it’s more about space and storage. I like to sew, I made my curtains, headboard, bedding in the past. I prefer unique things and mix prints like I do when I get dressed. I think now it’s more about space and storage, than actual furniture pieces. I got rid of my sofa, then chaise and started painting everything pink. You can’t go wrong with shocking pink. 

J. Michael McMahon

D.C.-based clergy/musician

What’s one of your favorite home decor finds that you got many years ago that still brings you joy?

My husband’s parents both immigrated to the United States from the Philippines before they met in Los Angeles and married there. When Ray Valido and I began to live together in 2010, I began to learn about many elements of Filipino culture that he had grown up with and continued to value. One of these customs is to display a large wooden fork and spoon on the wall of the dining room. For me it’s a great symbol of welcome and of the importance of shared meals as a way of celebrating and strengthening bonds among people. I love the way that the Filipino fork and spoon are displayed in our home right next to one of the two built-in china cabinets that we added to our dining room. Those units were designed and constructed by a French immigrant who specializes in building fine furniture. I find the juxtaposition of simplicity and fine design very appealing and inclusive.

What’s one item you thought you’d love but after a few years you were indifferent about?

If I had to single out one piece of home décor that I have tired of, it would be the futon in our recreation room. I had initially liked the idea of a piece of furniture that could function for seating or sleeping, but now I don’t think that it really is very comfortable for either.

Where do you like to shop for home decor items and what have you learned about your taste over the years in the process?

I think of home decor as an organic process, adding a piece here and a piece there. Rather than relying on a particular vendor, I prefer to decorate with gifts that are particularly meaningful, engage a custom builder, shop around various furniture stores or seek out pieces of art that resonate with our taste and feel right in our home. I’ve learned that my taste leans toward pieces that are simple in design and create a feeling of warmth in our home.

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