Visit Todd Oldham’s house in the Poconos

The mega gallery wall: On top of hand-painted walls, the living room is layered with art. Wayne White’s Sugar tit hangs above the flat-screen TV, here showing an underwater scene, and “the porcelain structures on the far right are my mother’s,” says Todd Oldham.
Photo: Todd Oldham

The house is taller than it is wide. The living room is about 30 feet tall,” Todd Oldham says of the “very strange” home he and his partner (in business and life), Tony Longoria, bought in the Poconos in 1997. “We got the house right after it was finished .” It was “a blank slate,” adds Oldham, “so I went to town.”

The house is among his long-term projects, one of the many overlapping creative endeavors he has engaged in during the more than 40 years he has spent making the world a more interesting place to live.

Oldham had his own clothing line throughout the 1990s (and hosted MTV’s The House of Style), however, the wasteful whims of fashion always weighed on him. As he was putting the finishing touches on an intricately made dress that Cindy Crawford was to wear for her final fashion show, he remembers thinking: Really? How will you spend your time? He decided it wouldn’t be: “I never minded doing as much as possible, but for some reason that dress did something to me.”

He has done all sorts of other things in addition to his fashion line, including producing monographs for AMMO Books on Alexander Girard, Joan Jett, Wayne White, Charley Harper and others and designing tableware and fabrics for Fishs Eddy, interiors for hotels and craft kits for children.

Now he turns to his former work. After years of experience working with museums, “I knew how to handle an archive,” he says. “I wanted to make sure that if I was going to use the endless things we made—hundreds of custom textiles, thousands of handmade buttons—they would be in good condition. I got it out about a year ago and started playing around. ” That led to his latest endeavor: the Todd Oldham Maker Shop. He dug into his archive—the buttons and textiles and raw bandana fabric and custom silk prints and more—to create a sustainable collection of clothing and home accessories. There are quilts made from fashion textiles, end tables topped with prototype tiles and crocheted rugs made from hand-dyed yarn collected over decades, so each one is unique. He will collaborate with artists including his nephew Presley Oldham, Amy Sedaris, Larry Krone, Kathleen Hanna, Daniele Frazier and She Chimp, who are hand lettering for the website.

As for the house, it’s “never finished,” he says, “because I see design as gardening: You’re just constantly making something. It’s been constantly changing, and the design just keeps piling up.”

The living room: Oldham and Longoria’s dog, Eve, stands on the back of a couch partially covered in Pendleton fabric. The ottoman is covered with an Oldham tablecloth made for Fishs Eddy from Charley Harper designs, and the afghan in the corner is from the Todd Oldham Maker Shop. The framed birds are also by Harper. The painting above the window is by Woodrow White, and the painting with a red G is by Woodrow’s father, Wayne White.

The windows in the living room: Oldham himself created the crystal-encrusted window treatments. The fireplace in the center blows soot, so Oldham thought he’d incorporate it into the brick pattern he painted over it: “And then I kept making a background for that Robert Hawkins painting.”

The staircase: “The stripes throughout the house are all painted in three dimensions,” says Oldham: “six inches, nine inches and 12 inches wide.” The stairs lead to the bedroom to the left of the landing, which is surrounded by pink and purple stripes.

The FLOR carpets continue throughout the house and into the living room. “It’s from their office election,” says Oldham. “I got 18 different tiles of the most boring tan and gray and then put it all in. I let it off the smallest part of the house – the carpet lines upstairs in the dining room, but throughout the house the carpet is crooked.”

“It took me a year to make,” Oldham says of the wall covering, which involved cutting out shapes from handmade Japanese paper and applying them to the wall he painted with 20 coats of varnish. There is a handmade scrub brush on the counter and an original jug from Appalachia. Russel Wright ceramic vase features flowers by Oldham’s mother made from coral, real pearls and more.

Bedroom: “The quilt is a mix of literally every year I made clothes, with some piece of fabric from all the collections,” says Oldham. “Our bedroom is kind of stuck on the outside of the house and we had a leak and it damaged the paint and the wall. I didn’t want to put it back the way it was so I just put up dripping red plywood and added a few drips more.”

Eva’s “room”: Oldham turned this corner of the dining-room over to their dog; Eva’s water and food bowls have an honor. The tree was made by a local chainsaw artist, while the owl and Thumper are from a “bizarre pressed cardboard Disney set from around the ’50s,” he says. As for the painting of the woman’s head, he has six of them – each with real hair.

His study: “My downstairs studio can also be an extra guest room,” says Oldham. The two tables are from the Maker Shop. “The tiles are prototypes we’ve made for hotels, homes and shopping centers – some of which have never been put into production – so every table is unique.” The photograph of Sharon Tate with a snowman was taken by Roman Polanski during a shoot Playboy.

Photographs of Todd Oldham

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