I’m Paige Wassel. WAS the Newsletter is your weekly dose of design inspiration, served in a tiny but elegant dish. 


I launched a tote bag collection last week. My bags are made from high-quality upholstery fabrics, dug from deep within the LA fabric dungeons and sewn by me. They’re pretty enough to display, but sturdy enough to carry every day. Snap one up today (okay, enough rhyming) and it will arrive by Christmas. I make a great gift.


If you’re playing Paige Trivia (why are you playing Paige Trivia?) here are some more facts you should know:

  • I used to collect frog things

  • I love to plan—birthdays, holidays, random Thursdays

  • I like to create craft projects for the fam—pottery, painting, jewelry, snow globes (lol), etc. (Do they enjoy this? No.) 

  • I like to forage

  • I had a boyfriend and then I didn’t and it was sad for awhile

  • I fucking kick ass at this thing called WERK

  • I like to drink out of very tiny glasses

  • I like to eat using very tiny spoons or wood spoons—idk what this means for me mentally, but these are my favs:
    Wood Spoons

    Long Tiny Spoons


If you want a unique and beautiful home, you’ve got to hit the thrift stores. This week, I’m thrifting in MF Toronto Ontario, Canada and here’s the best of what I’ve found:

Why would you not pay less to get more?


Home and garden television shows have convinced you that everything in your home needs to be fixed and that is a big lie. When you watch these shows, the HGTV hosts take you into a home and the designers basically pick apart every detail. 

Listen, I’m not saying the critique part can’t be fun. These shows are often entertaining. That’s kind of the whole point. However, shows like what you see on HGTV can mess with your perceptions as a viewer. When you’re looking to decorate your home, or you’re buying an older home that needs work, the HGTV host who now lives rent free in your head delights in telling you everything is awful. This inner monologue tries to convince you that it all needs to be gutted and redone to follow the trends. God help you if there’s not a shiplap wall.

Specifically, here are my problems with these shows:

  • First, everything you see on HGTV is pretty much exactly the same, which has convinced the viewers that their homes need to look this exact way. These suggestions are less about design or personal preference; it's all about resale value. When people are decorating their homes now, they're just thinking about the next homeowner, like, “Oh, I don't want to make this big, unique change because if we sell the home, we want it to fit the aesthetic.” 

  • Said aesthetic has been created by home renovation shows and no one’s presently giving up their 3% interest rate to sell, so they’re stuck in a house that isn’t even done to their own taste. Basically, people are decorating their homes for the resale market and not for themselves, and now they’re finding themselves trapped in a space painted the color of a garbage can.

  • Researchers interviewed a number of couples who were renovating homes and they learned that when renovating, homeowners have two options: fill your space with unique and interesting things that fit your personality, or build wealth through resale, defaulting to using the same damn cookie cutter as everyone else. 

  • Evidence suggests that the homogenization of home décor is due to home improvement shows. The reason that people are more drawn to an all-gray kitchen is because Joanna Gaines is slapping cement-colored paint across walls of kitchens all over the Southwest. But it’s not just her, it’s everyone.

  • Basically, the problem with following HGTV trends (technically known as the market reflective gaze) is that it takes away the desire to lean into a home’s personality, to be unique, to express oneself. It takes away the inclination to embrace bold ideas when decorating a home. The HGTV host in your head says, “What if you have to sell your home in a few years? You're gonna have to cover up all the personality and it's just too much work. Paint it beige. Paint it all beige.” The market reflective gaze makes people see their homes as a monetary value rather than personal value and this feels like a loss.

So what do we do?

  • Change the channel. I feel like there's no show on television that showcases really unique designs. YouTube offers far more options for people with different types of style. On the Architectural Digest YouTube channel, you can watch three different designers style the same room and, spoiler alert, they’ll each look different. There’s a cluster full of high-value customers with untapped buying potential and HGTV is ignoring them or force-feeding them shiplap and bowls full of rattan orbs.

  • Don’t be so quick to tear it all down. The HGTV credo is that your home must be perfect in every way. When the designers go into an outdated house, they want to start from scratch, update it to what's trendy right now, instead of stepping back and saying, “Hey, this bit is architecturally interesting. We could keep this as it has a lot of personality and could come back in style.” 

  • Let old houses be old. Let unique homes be unique. Let’s work with what we have, instead of trying to force the modern farmhouse aesthetic onto an industrial loft in Wicker Park. Do you want to see a very lovely Spanish style building here in Los Angeles get renovated into yet another HGTV dream home? I don’t.

I propose we embrace what’s more interesting, whether it’s in having unique decor or fashion or whatever. Let's make design subjective again. Let’s celebrate what’s quirky. Let's decorate our homes how we want them. Let’s chase those HGTV hosts, with their statement jewelry and big, dumb hats, out of our heads. Decorate for yourself right now, and not whoever comes after you, years in the future. Also, if you’re in a rent-controlled apartment, or you’re locked in a 3% mortgage, you’re literally never leaving anyway, so you may as well make it what you want.

Who’s with me?


Sherwin Williams: Garden Path

Finish: Flat or Semi Gloss

Room Light Level: Any