Hollister Hovey is a great name, very alliterate. There is something in the number of syllables or the near symmetry that gives it a pleasant flow. Better than the flow, or than the name itself, is that it is genuine. Ms. Hovey was gifted this name by parent, not agent. Who needs an agent when you are born into this sort of thing?
By, born into it, I mean her mom did PR and her Dad had a clothing and wares shop in Nebraska. Add to those roots a dash of New York polish, some Washington and Lee refinement, and you have the genetics to create the sort of blog both Teddy and F.D. Roosevelt would appreciate. The presidents Roosevelt would not be alone as approximately 2,000 people per day visit Hollisterhovey.blogspot.com.
I admit I am one of them. Or possibly I am three of them. I go often.
When we sat down at the Oyster Bar in Grand Central Station to talk I asked Ms. Hovey if she could in any way guess how many New York apartments sported taxidermy before her blog, as compared to now. She simply laughed and sort of rolled her eyes. She claims it started when Freemans opened and that she doesn’t deserve the blame, but as I had never heard of Freemans (my loss), I give her full credit.
The blog began as a place for Hollister to display her paintings. She was doing custom wedding invitations, a hobby of sorts, and needed a venue to “show off”. Around the same time she hosted a string of international visitors who were in want of destinations centered on a certain taste, and the advice she gave grew into the string of recommendations on the right hand column of the blog today.
I think taste is the right word.
When eating, one enjoys flavor. One wants the ingredients to compliment and play off of each other without getting lost in a mess of confusion or clutter. Some chefs take the tact of scaling things back in minimalist fashion. Ms. Hovey does the reverse in a way that would make Julia Child proud.
The blog displays shots of places and things, the Hollister apartment mostly, that are usually old, outdoorsy, and often European. She stews together stuffed pheasants, pewter miniatures and pith helmets, in a way that doesn’t appear dusty or distasteful, or even messy. She does it well enough that her apartment was recently featured in Elle Decoration UK.
This is not her training or even her job. Hovey does PR for the medical industry and quite likes it. By the way she talked with me, relaxed without ever losing her polish; I assume she is quite good. But her blog is better than good. She explains it by saying she doesn’t post anything she doesn’t truly like. The taste she portrays is truly hers, as opposed to some learned theory or prescribed list dictated by others. I suspect her taste is somewhere being written and dictated to others. She has created spaces that are more curated then decorated. In fact, I think she wrote that line on her blog somewhere, or at least it was written about her somewhere, and I later wrote it on my own blog… so in some way she is dictating taste to me. I am comfortable with that.
Comfortable like our conversation at the Oyster Bar. Comfortable enough that she confessed to buying men’s shoes (they are made better) and I confessed to feeling in costume when wearing a hat. She smiled and quipped that we all love the costumes in period pieces, even if we would never wear them. That is how she summed up her blog. It is a reflection of things she has always loved; quality craftsmanship, the finer things, and cool costumes. Things you can like even if it isn’t your thing.
I think it’s more, things we like, and wish were more our thing.