Ungapatchked – grandma’s living room

Submitted by MeshuggaMel August 27th, 2010
Certifikitsch WinnerClassique d Camembert

First, a definition. “UNGAPATCHKA” describes the overly ornate, busy, ridiculously over-decorated, and garnished to the point of distaste. Thankfully, the point of distaste is debatable. My grandparents, who decorated their home in the mid 1960s, helped my develop a point of distaste without being burdened by conservative standards. If there’s such a thing as haute ungapatchka, this is it.

So, the details. The room has high ceilings. 23 feet I think. The matching electric candle lamps have bases that match the marble of the coffee table stands/urns. The sofa fabric has a floral pattern, with parts of the flowers padded so that they’re raised a good 1/2″. I’ve only seen this fabric in two places, here, and on the sofa at my parent’s house. Sadly, my parents re-covered their sofa in the 80s, but my grandparents, not having kids trashing the furniture constantly, were able to keep theirs. Here’s a close up of the fabric:

Now a view in the other direction. Here you can really get a sense of the height of the room and can appreciate the ornate formality that not even tables covered with photos of grandchildren can subdue. Note that my daughter, one of said grandchildren, is probably the first child to sit on that rug since the 1970s.

The room is full of gems, figuratively and literally. Here is a tree sculpture make of copper and stone. The base is a quartz geode, but I don’t know what the “leaves” or “mushrooms” are.

The coffee table by the love seats has a base with classic Roman themes, with babes, gods and togas in abundance. The plastic foliage adds a lush sensibility to offset the Roman formality, and the vase of bead flowers adds whimsy.

The entrance to the dinner room is guarded by Chinese dragon dog things. Many a passover seder took place here, though we kids were relegated to a card table set up in the kitchen.

Finally, here is my grandmother, relaxing in a chair in her living room. She’s in the lower right corner in case you can’t see her!

7 Responses to “Ungapatchked – grandma’s living room”

  1. Allee Willis

    You know I’m PLOTZING from this whole post. There’s NO QUESTION I would need an oxygen tank to survive a visit to your grandmother’s house. The cut out arches are killing me and every piece of decoration is kitschingly superb!! I want to win a contest and go to your grandmother’s house.

  2. k2dtw

    Your grandparents home is really wonderful… i love how they wanted/planned everything to match.
    Did every family have a kid’s table??…smile

  3. Lisa Rios

    Oh man, what a trip. It’s been at least 10 years since I’ve heard the term ungapatchka. Makes me miss my mom who said that about nearly every house we visited that wasn’t hers. Then after my dad died and she put in that ugly coral and brown marble tile through out her entire house….. I was able to tease her…. definitely ungapatchka.

    I really covet the Foo dogs that are guarding the dining room. Leave it to “my people” to guard the food. Actually, I really covet a lot of stuff in that room. The pillows on the sofa are gorgeous. So many goodies!

    • Allee Willis

      You don’t by any chance have any photos of the ugly brown marble tile floor and (hopefully) the accessories to match, do you?

      I’m so crazy about MeshuggaMel ‘s grandma’s home I want to hop on a plane right now.

      • Lisa Rios

        Sorry, no photos of Mom’s house during that era. Even her dog hated that tile and refused to sit or lay down on that cold tile. So ugly!

  4. Douglas Wood

    Great post! Can’t believe I’ve never heard of “ungapatchka,” especially since my grandparents’ place would qualify. Is it a Yiddish term? One thing strikes me about these photos– why isn’t the floor covered with some earth-tone shag carpeting? The hardwood floor is so beautiful and tasteful (or is it faux wood linoleum?)

  5. Nessa

    wow wow!!!

    I gotta say, this is great.

    Also, the fabric on that couch is pretty much like the fabric on MY grandma’s couch. Must be a thing with grandma’s.