Pink Lady: Nashville Woman Inspires With Her Unique Style
A few years ago, the daughter of one of Lynda Herdelin’s good friends was assigned to write a paper about someone she admired. She chose Lynda.
Titled “A Hero in My Eyes,” the introduction goes like this: “There is a girl who wears neon stars on her skin and drives a hot pink Jeep around like nobody’s business. She’ll blast anything she wants, knows all the words, and if she catches you looking she’ll probably give you a wink.”
“When she read it to me for the first time, I cried,” says the girl with the star tattoos and candy colored car, misting up a little at the memory. Today, the essay hangs in a place of honor on the front of Lynda’s refrigerator, which — like the aforementioned Jeep and most of the 44-year-old New Jersey native’s Woodbine area home — is hot pink and topped with pieces from one of her vast collections of kitsch and collectibles from more colorful days gone by.
“I was born in the ’60s, so I always lean toward that look,” she says. “I love plastic things, too, and that’s more ’70s. Pop art is a big inspiration as is anything related to pop culture.”
Lynda is a maximalist, and like most folks for whom more is more, her collections dictate her décor, not the other way around. “I’m really good at collecting things, but then I have trouble trying to get them all displayed,” she admits. “That’s my problem.”
The solution she came up with is pretty simple, and terrifically fun: fill every space available with as many variations on a theme as you can. Thus, the mantle of her fireplace is heavy with several dozen “big eyed dolls” underneath a large Keane print depicting a 2D version of their huddled masses; atop the landing of the portrait-laden back stairwell sits a klatch of brightly colored roly-poly clowns; and in her kitchen, swarms of smiling, toast-shaped sponges from Japan are affixed to the backsplash above the cooktop. Even Lynda’s cats’ litter box room is decorated with a collection of five-inch plastic lions and bouffant manes that cover the walls. (The cats eat from the back of toy metal dump trucks lined up in the kitchen.)
The outside of Lynda’s house gets the full treatment, too: it’s surrounded by groupings of miniature model horses, wooden stars, pink and green beach balls, and her signature yard flamingos, a longtime assemblage that is so well-known and appreciated that they scored their owner a spot in a Blue Cross commercial a few years ago.
Despite the outside appreciation for her finds, Lynda knows her take on interior design isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. “For somebody coming over to my house for the first time, it’s a lot to look at,” says Lynda, who is a longtime member of the waitstaff at Sunset Grill when she’s not selling vintage clothing and furniture at Pre To Post Modern on 8th Avenue South. “But to me, having all these things around is just so normal. I don’t ever buy just one of something; I always want a collection.”
BIG BOY “I love old toys and characters from restaurants, like Big Boy. I also have a thing for dolls that are real people – like Shaun Cassidy and John Travolta. I have a few sets of Sonny & Cher, too.”
ELEPHANTS A group of pink elephants are collected in a tray in the kitchen. “My niece, who is five, came to visit me recently. She looked around for a while and asked, ‘So, nobody tells you to clean up?’ And I said, ‘Nope!’”
PORTRAITS IN THE STAIRWELL “I hate having my picture taken. So, one year for my birthday, I asked my friends to do a portrait of me. The rest of them are on the walls on either side of the staircase. Some are collages, some are paintings: everybody did something different. One has a pattern that’s made out of millions of tiny stars.”
LIVING ROOM “All the candy in these clear bottles is really old, though my mom will eat some of it sometimes! I got the containers at T.J. Maxx. You can find great stuff in their furniture department sometimes.”
BIKES & BAR The back entrance to Lynda’s home is where she stores her pink vintage-style bike. Below it, a mini Lucite table serves as a bar. The child’s chair was painted by an old boyfriend in homage to Goo, a classic album by the band Sonic Youth.
FENCE A rare picture that captures the very beginning of one of Lynda’s collections: “I want to get a bunch of rocking horses and owls, spray paint them, and put them on top of my fence. So far, I only have a few.” She buys random letter L’s and wooden cutout stars whenever she can; below them, a smattering of her famous flamingo collection.
FRIDGE Lynda covered a regular fridge with colored duct tape to give it its hot pink hue, and stashed a few pieces from her collection of fast food collectibles on top. “This Ronald McDonald head is one of my favorite things ever. It was made to hold a helium tank to blow up kids’ balloons at birthday parties.” Inside the fridge is a wacky collection of blow-up plastic food. “I know it’s kooky. My freezer is filled with fake ice cream and Dilly Bars. I never put real food in it.”
BATHROOM/CLOUDS “This is my downstairs bathroom. Aren’t these clouds cute? I made them — they’re just pillow stuffing. I love this pink television. There’s a cable TV in every room; they never get turned off. I’ve had the big screen TV in the middle room for 10 years, and I think it’s been on the whole time I’ve had it.”
PORTRAIT Lynda, wearing one of her favorite crinolines — another signature — as she poses in her beach ball-strewn backyard. “My friend Kim got the flamingo for me at a garden store on 12th Avenue South that was going out of business. I came home one day and it was in my front yard.”
KITCHEN SHELVES “Multiples are my thing. I find something and then I get obsessed with it. I have a lot of these glass containers with things like ‘Snacks,’ ‘Tidbits,’ and ‘Nuts’ written on them. They’re one of my favorite collections.” On the other end of the shelf, Lynda channels her inner Andy Warhol with a stack of pink Campbell’s Soup cans, sold during Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
BEDROOM “I got the bed from Katie Cook, the CMT VJ. When I first moved to town, I went to a party at her house and saw the bed there. She got it at one of the thrift stores in town. I told her that if she ever wanted to get rid of it to let me know. About 10 years ago, she called me up. She was working with Cledus T. Judd at the time and he really wanted it, but she told him that she promised it to me. I don’t think he was very happy about it.” The matching lamps are from Pre To Post Modern.
Photos by P. Chad Davis
Shauntel Jennings has never slept like a baby. Even as an infant, her mother stood guard over her crib, waiting for her daughter to stop breathing. She shook Shauntel’s tiny body several times each night, rousing her from her breathless sleep.
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