Martha Stewart responds to ‘harsh’ criticism of Maine living room decor

 (Getty Images for WSJ. Magazine I)
(Getty Images for WSJ. Magazine I)

Martha Stewart has addressed the “harsh” backlash she’s received over her living room at her Maine home.

Alongside a photo of the room she posted on 3 July, the 83-year-old lifestyle guru defended her newly remodeled living room against criticism from her followers. The photo displayed one area of the large room, showing a sofa, chairs, as well as a settee gathered around a coffee table beside a wall featuring a fireplace and several framed lithographs of birded by Carroll Tyson, titled “6Audubon of Maine.”

In the caption, she wrote: “I rarely read all the comments that come in after I post but because I was so happy at the transformation of my Maine living room I did go through many of the comments and was surprised at the harsh judgment so many displayed!!!”

She added that she completed the renovation and decoration with “Maine helpers,” writing that they spent three hours switching the old furniture with brand new pieces. The “Maine helpers” were “pleased” that the new pieces fit the vibe of the room and were proportionate to the space.

According to her, this was not the final look of the room, with it being an attempt to fill the space “quickly and efficiently” rather than a decorator’s professional installation.

“Making a house a home, or a room a beautiful livable space takes a lot more than three hours,” she continued, noting that she would be updating her followers throughout the rest of the decorating process. “Of course, there will be color, plants, mirrors, a new rug or two and other art and objects.” She added: “Stay tuned!!!!”

Stewart’s Maine vacation home - named Skylands - is located in the Seal Harbor area of Mount Desert and was purchased in 1997, according to her official website. She had been in the process of updating her 12-bedroom home and decided to share the progress she had made with her living room.

She captioned the 3 July post: “Big day rearranging the furniture in the three main living rooms at Skylands. We switched the living room from gray blue upholstery to a creamy pale buttery yellow.”

“The library is much more comfortable now and the faux Bois table is now the card table,” she added, noting that “all the yellow” upholstery on the new furniture came from her Hamptons home on Lily Pond Lane. “I love the rustic yet elegant charm of this lovely 1925 house.”

But to her surprise, the public was quick to call her decor and furniture “stuffy” and “sterile.”

“Doesn’t look homey and inviting,” one person wrote. “Looks more like a furniture showroom than a home. Sad to see.”

“It looks like a quirky bed and breakfast,” another commented. “The lack of color is drab. Looks like a stylish old ladies home. I do like the audacity of the multiple bird prints. But that’s the only imaginative thing in the house. Everything screams B&B lobby or worse grandma’s house.”

“I’m not going to lie, I love you. I’ve been watching you for 30 years. This kind of reminds me of a haunted mansion,” someone else admitted.

Others defended Stewart’s living room update, with one person writing: “Your living room is beautiful Martha. Ignore the negative comments. People who talk negative of others are not happy with themselves.”

“Sorry for the ‘haters,’ they don’t know what they’re looking at,” another added. “I understand the comfortable, functionality of this space. It makes perfect sense.”