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    D Sharon Pruitt, Pink Sherbert Photography, Flickr; Alice Supply Co.

    Answer quickly: What's more fun: Candy or sweeping?

    No brainer, right? But when it comes to cleaning, we're behind Alice Supply Co. How could we not love a company whose manifesto declares "the days of humble dustpans being shoved away in the closet will soon be over" and that "beige is not a real color." Amen! Their outlook extends to the peppy, electric and stylish cleaning products like a camo print garden hose and nautical trashbags. Also, a striped ping pong set. Because hey, when you're done cleaning, shouldn't you have an adorable way to kick back?

    So when we wanted to give away a broom to you, dear readers, this was the obvious choice. We can't promise that the broom's rainbow handle will encourage you to sweep more often, but it's pretty obvious how much lovelier it'll look leaning against the wall than your old, beige or black broom. And who knows? Maybe if it's in your line of sight instead of crammed in the closet with the sponges and bottles of glass cleaner you'll be more likely to grab the broom for a quick sweep.

    To enter, tell us: What makes you want to clean?

    * To enter, leave a confirmed comment below telling us what makes you want to clean.
    * The comment must be left before 5pm EST on Monday, May 17, 2010.
    * You may enter only once.
    * One winner will be selected in a random drawing.
    * One winner will receive an Alice Supply Co. striped broom (valued at $26.)
    * Open to legal residents of the 50 United States, the District of Columbia and Canada (excluding Quebec) who are 18 and older.
    * Click here for complete Official Rules. Winners will be notified by email, so be sure to provide a valid email address!


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    Angela Rossi gets crafty with Star Wars saucers (and we're not talking the flying kind!). Photos: BeatUpCreations/Etsy

    Star Wars dishes from Angela Rossi guarantee an out-of-this-world dining experience.

    I'll admit I've never been the biggest Star Wars fan, but when I spotted these crazy Star Wars dishes at Oddity Central, I couldn't help but crave more information. A little investigation revealed Los Angeles-based artist Angela Rossi, the daughter of an antiques collector, creates these unusual pieces of porcelain using "orphaned and unloved antique plates."

    Rossi sells these beauties in her Etsy shop for $25 to $75 a piece. While that may sound like a lot, it's a small price to pay for a collector's item, especially if you're looking for a gift for your Star Wars-fanatic brother. Plus, Rossi uses truly fine china: Yoda and the Nymphs (above), for example, is set on a flow blue plate.

    "Luke... I am your dinner." Photo: BeatUpCreations/Etsy

    Also in Rossi's shop? Cheeky tribute dinnerware for characters across the board (everyone from Pee-Wee Herman to The Bearded Lady!)

    Hilarious! Have you spotted any quirky designs lately? If so, tweet us your favorites at!

    For more weird finds, read on:
    -Weird Design: Reader's Choice
    -Weird Design: Lamps With Hair


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    Whether you crave zebra, cheetah or cowhide prints (cruelty-free, please!), there are a few rules to follow when working animal prints into your home decor.

    1. Mix and match.
    Yes, surprisingly, you can mix and match animal prints! Don't take decor too seriously, and play with a variety of colors, textures and prints to make your room roar.

    2. Accent. Stick with animal print as an accent. This way, you can easily bring the look into other areas of your home --- or designate animal print for a certain season. However you choose, accents are an easy way to introduce new themes into your space.
    3. Materialize. Bring in various materials when playing with animal prints -- whether it be wood floors, chrome table legs or tweed sofas. Texture is key to bringing out the best in your animal print!

    For more animal print love, check out Get the Look for Less: Glam Living Room!

    Our experts Maria Greenlaw and Suzanne Caldwell are partners in
    Design House, a personalized design service that's been a feature in Southampton, New York for over 23 years. Maria is a Cornell University graduate with a BS in Interior and Product Design, and Suzanne, an Allied Member of ASID, has a design degree from Harrington Institute in Chicago.


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  • 05/17/10--03:30: Choose The Right Rug Size
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    Finding a rug that matches your decor is only half the battle -- the other half is in the numbers.

    Have you ever seen a living room where the rug in the middle of the floor looks more like a doormat than an area rug? I just saw it the other day on a major home decorating network and I was appalled!

    Sometimes, as much as you love love love a rug, you just can't make it fit. When you're browsing online, it's a lot harder to get an idea of the size of something since you can't see it in person. You might fall in love with a rug only to realize upon delivery that the scale just won't work for your space. So how do you choose the right size?

    http://www.plazarugs.comRugs come in all shapes and sizes, so how do you choose? Photos: Plaza Rugs

    Here are a few handy rug-sizing tips and tricks to be sure that when you select a rug on or offline, you can be confident that you've made a wise decor decision.

    1. Define the usage.
    First, you need to decide how you are going to use your rug. Is it to cover a large area? Will it be used as an accent? Or is it dividing or defining spaces? If you plan to cover a large area with your rug, you'll need to have an idea of where the furniture will sit on the rug. If it is just an accent, know where it will be located and what pieces will be around it.

    2. Measure, measure, measure -- and measure again!
    If you've chosen to get a big area rug, be sure that it is large enough to accommodate all of the furniture and allow at least a 12-inch extension beyond the edge of each piece. For example, if you're placing a couch and two chairs on top, make sure that you can see one foot of the rug on all sides. If you are placing a smaller, accent rug in the living area make sure that the sofa legs do not rest on the rug. Instead, it should frame the coffee table. In a bedroom, the rug should extend at least 18 inches beyond the edge of the bed.

    Don't forget about the size of your room! Make sure you measure wall-to-wall so you don't get a rug that is too large. The edge of your rug should be at least a foot from the edge of the wall. This rule applies mostly to living areas rather than spaces like hallways or foyers. Also, if your furniture is against a wall (like in a bedroom), this rule doesn't apply to that specific wall. In fact, these are more like guidelines than rules -- so adapt them to your space!

    3. Consider shape
    The shape is usually selected based on your personal taste. However, it might be something to consider based on your actual room dimensions and shape. For example, a rectangular rug may fit your space differently than an oval rug, and you may choose one over the other depending on the shape of the room. Rectangular and square rugs are ideal for four-cornered spaces, but a room with odd corners might benefit from a rug with round edges. However, I like to use round rugs in square spaces because they look nice and symmetrical. You can measure round rugs similarly to rectangular rugs (the length corresponds with the diameter).

    choosing a rug sizeTo better visualize your room, try an online software program. Photo: Icovia

    4. Use software
    Using 3D or rendering software to arrange your room will also help you visualize scale. You can move your furniture around and determine the best location for your pieces, which will then allow you to select the appropriate rug for the space. Check out Icovia, Google Sketch Up or Better Homes & Gardens' Arrange-a-Room.


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    These two mattress toppers are relatively affordable solutions to a restless night's sleep. Photos: Organicpedic by OMI

    Easy updates for a better night's sleep for every budget.

    For many (including me) a good night's sleep is hard to come by. According to the National Sleep Foundation, 48-percent of Americans report insomnia occasionally, while 22-percent experience insomnia every, or almost every, night. While they may not cure the sleeplessness caused by the stress of our daily lives, several factors -- like what we sleep on -- can play an important role in improving it.

    "The number one cause of tossing and turning is pressure points," says Gerry Borreggine, president of Therapedic International, vice chair of The International Sleep Products Association (ISPA) Board of Trustees and member of the Better Sleep Council for more than a decade. "This is usually caused by a too-hard or unyielding sleep surface."

    A new mattress can cost hundreds (sometimes thousands) of dollars, so does that mean that those of us with an unyielding sleep surface and an unyielding wallet are out of luck? Nope.

    "Both memory foam and latex pillows can help to relieve pressure points," Borreggine says, "allowing the sleeper increased blood circulation and reducing the need to toss or turn in order to find that perfect sleep position."

    With the help of Borreggine we were able to round up some such products at prices that won't have you tossing and turning over your bank account.

    Top it Off
    If you can't afford a new mattress, Borreggine says, give yourself a bedding makeover by changing your pillow, adding a new, quilted mattress protector or even a new memory foam or latex topper to your mattress set. "Any -- or all -- of these products will give your bedroom set a face-lift, and very possibly supply a 'lift' to you as well," he says.

    Pictured: The Wooly, three inches deep for sleepers who need a softer surface depth or want a bed with a "nesting" feel, $389, Organicpedic by OMI

    The Wooly Lite, one and a half inches deep, suited for sleepers who need just a little extra surface cushioning, $295, Organicpedic by OMI

    Modern updates to how sleep products are made will help you rest easy. Photos: Therapedic International

    Tech Savvy
    Like everything else in our day-to-day lives, technology has also revolutionized comfort in the bedroom too. "You'll find many of the latest bedding products equipped with breathable, anti-sweat materials that control humidity and allow air to circulate through it; bedding products with antimicrobial and hypoallergenic qualities are also available," Borreggine says. "The result is a cooler, more refreshing sleep, less sleep disruptions and ultimately, bedding that delivers improved health benefits."

    Technology is also playing a huge role in the newer, more resilient and better-cushioned sleep products, he adds. When molded, layered or positioned within sleep accessories these materials have greatly increased the degree of comfort provided by beds, pillows and toppers on the market today. Look for these up-to-date products when purchasing new bedding, mattresses or pillows.

    Therapedic Memory Touch Visco-Tech Mattress Topper
    , $150 (twin) to $300 (king), Bed Bath & Beyond.
    This mattress topper features ViscoTech memory foam. With three inches of temperature-sensitive memory foam, this topper adds a nice layer of comfort to any mattress. Best of all, memory foam improves support to your lower back and reduces pressure areas that cause tossing and turning.

    Therapedic Fiber Bed
    , $100 (twin) to $180 (king), Bed Bath & Beyond.
    This channel quilted fiber bed is filled with 43 ounces per square yard of polyester fiberfill for extra sleeping comfort. It's also treated with Invisashield Plus by Nanotex protecting it from stains and spills, and with 100-percent cotton and a 500 thread count the comfort level is beyond compare at this price.

    End the battle over a comfy night's sleep by getting a pillow that fits your rest style. Photos: Glide Away

    It's a Pillow Fight
    Of course, not everyone sleeps the same. And if you have a nightly sleeping companion, chances are high that you'll have opposite preferences on comfort levels -- you're a stomach sleeper who prefers a firm mattress; he's a side sleeper who likes it cloud-like.

    "The one-size-fits-all concept does not work when selecting sleep products," Borreggine says. "We all have a comfort zone in almost everything we do - what we each find comfortable determines how well we sleep."

    The "perfect" mattress argument may continue for the drastically different sleepers -- but you can each get a better night's sleep by personalizing your pillow to fit your specific sleep patterns. Stomach sleeper or side sleeper? Get a pillow that's best for your style.

    Pictured: Contour Deluxe pillow, a memory foam pillow designed for back or side sleepers, and unique air chambers allow for a cooler night's rest, $49.95, Glide Away

    Regent Luxury pillow, a latex pillow with a traditional shape that's perfect for all sleepers, $69.95, Glide Away

    Still Struggling with Sleep?
    Six Steps to Better Sleep
    Sleep like a baby! (And wake up feeling younger)


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  • 05/17/10--03:30: Beyoncé's Home Work
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    Beyoncé Knowles is soon to debut a line of home textiles. Photo: Jason Kempin/Getyy Images

    The superstar's Deréon and House of Deréon brands are coming to the bedroom.

    Home Textiles Today reports that the Deréon and House of Deréon brands are taking it to the bedroom. The brands will begin showing to retailers later this month, after securing a licensing deal with Arrow Home Fashions late last year. The line, to include sheet sets and coverlets, will reflect the brands' fashion roots with an eclectic mix of styles, such as European-influenced prints and metallic threads.

    Prices will range from $150 to $200 for House of Deréon, which deals with the master bedroom, and $50 to $100 for Deréon, the line aimed at the younger set.

    "I've been dreaming about home since we started the line," Beyoncé's mother and business partner in the venture, Tina Knowles, said in the article. "I love pleating. I love pin-tucking. I love beading."

    After the bedding lines roll out, Arrow is taking the collection even further with products for the bathroom and tables. If the line is anything like the rest of Beyoncé's ventures, we're anticipating a solid-gold hit.

    And for more big names hitting your home, check these stories out:

    - LeBron James to Design Furniture Line
    - Vivienne Tam's New Furniture Line: OMG!
    - Kirstie Alley and Oprah Team Up to Redecorate Your Home


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    Sneeboer toolsSneeboer Tools are now available at Restoration Hardware nationwide. Photo: Restoration Hardware

    Beloved by gardeners around the world, these stylish Dutch garden tools are finally available nationwide.

    Seasoned gardeners have relied on Sneeboer tools for decades. Since 1913, the Holland-based company has built up a reputation in providing tools that fit the three S's: Sturdy, simple and stylish. Until now, they were only sold at 13 select retailers in the United States, such as New York Botanical Gardens.

    This spring, Sneeboer tools will become a lot easier to find: Restoration Hardware stores and catalogs nationwide -- as well as the store's website -- unveiled the tools too, becoming a Sneeboer retailer for the first time.

    Each tool has hand-forged, stainless-steel blades and ash wood handles. The products range from typical gardening tools like a hand cultivator ($49) and a transplanting trowel with a heart-shaped blade ($69), to more sophisticated products that aim to make gardening easier. The dibbler ($49), for instance, is an arc with a stainless-steel tip that, with a little bit of compression, creates holes in the soil for planting seeds and bulbs. The Dutch hoe ($89)'s forward-facing blade slices through weeds that are slightly under the soil surface ... requiring less strain on your back.

    It's no question: Higher quality means higher prices with these tools, and we can't help thinking they'll soon be cult-favorites amongst gardeners thanks to a new-found mass availability.


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  • 05/17/10--03:30: On the Hunt: Nesting Tables
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    Nesting tables offer tons of table space when un-nested, but take up little space, when stacked.

    A mid-20th century staple: Nesting tables are both pretty and practical. What else can you turn to when you're hosting an impromptu dinner party in your living room? Nesting tables! I love how, when not in use, the tables fit together so nicely, but if you're in a bind and need some extra surface area --- poof: you've got tons! Brilliant.

    We rounded up a few different styles of nesting tables to inspire you --- from playful and colorful to classically chic. Here are our finds:

    nesting tablesColors unite! Photos, clockwise from left to right: Velocity Art & Design, Serena & Lily

    For the color lovers, add a fun, funky tone to your living room with these bright and funky nesting tables.

    The Splurge: Vitra Nesting Tables Set of 4, $2100, Velocity Art & Design
    The Save: Chai Nesting Tables Set of 3, $370, Serena & Lily

    wooden nesting tablesGet the backwoods look -- at any budget. Photos, left to right: Hudson Furniture, West Elm

    Natural wood grain gives these tables an organic feel.

    The Splurge: Nesting Tables Set of 3, contact for pricing, Hudson Furniture
    The Save: Cube Nesting Tables Set of 2, $200, West Elm

    nesting tables, antiqueThink vintage. Photos, left to right: 1st Dibs, Crate & Barrel

    Perhaps you're craving something more antique, with a bar cart aesthetic? Opt for one of these glass and metal options.

    The Splurge: Regency Style Occasional Tables Set of 2, contact for pricing, 1st Dibs
    The Save: Moreno Nesting Table Set of 2, $400, Crate & Barrel

    clear nesting tablesI can see clearly now... Photos, left to right: 1st Dibs, CB2

    Lastly, go acrylic in a small space to keep your eye from resting on any bulky pieces.

    The Splurge: Charles Holi Jones Nesting Tables Set of 3, contact for pricing, 1st Dibs
    The Save: Peekaboo Clear Nesting Tables, $200, CB2

    See? The options really are endless. So, whether you're saving your pennies or searching for an investment piece, there are endless options when it comes to nesting tables. Happy hunting!

    For more virtual table shopping, read on:
    -Under $100: Side Tables
    -Under $100: Coffee Tables


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    bed bath and beyond amy butlerSurf's up! Photo: Amy Butler

    What's new over at one of our favorite shops? Lots, actually!

    While it's still May, summer will be here before you know it. That means it's time to stock up on summer bedding and linens. You don't want to be caught with that dark, winter-y duvet or that old threadbare beach towel, do you?

    The new collections, available at Bed Bath & Beyond, come from two of my favorite designers whose first names start with the letter A: Angela Adams and Amy Butler.

    First up, Amy Butler's amazing new Welspun beach towels, $20 each are available (pictured, left), just in time for summer. Even when only working with one color, Amy still seems to create the most beautiful products, and these beach towels are no exception. Available in green, blue and orange these lovely beach towels feature her signature leafy floral patterns and they are made from organic cotton.

    Amy has also designed her second collection of bedding for Welspun (below) -- all in organic cotton with low-impact dyes and 400 thread count (cozy and eco-friendly!). Some pieces even feature elegant embroidery, creating an even more luxurious feel.

    bed bath and beyond amy butlerAmy Butler's busy patterns translate well into bedding. Photo: Amy Butler

    The collection will feature six new bedding ensembles: Dream Daisy, Dream Poppy (above, left), Dancing Paisley, Dancing Garden, Sari Blooms and Full Bloom Paisley (above, right). The collections will be available at Bed Bath & Beyond nationwide this month.

    bed bath and beyond angela adamsBring the calm and peacefulness of Maine into your bedroom. Photo: Angela Adams

    If those weren't enough options for you, designer Angela Adams has created two new bedding collections for her Modern Comfort line, also available at BB&B. If you like subtler, softer hues or more minimal patterns, then Angela's quietly sophisticated pieces may be just what you're looking for.

    The Shimmer duvet set and sheets remind me of pebbles on a beach, while her Munjoy Duvet and sheet set is bright like the sun. Yet both designs still have that subtle, New England charm so prevalent in Angela's designs.

    Want to read more about Amy Butler and Angela Adams?
    Check out these posts:

    A tour of Angela Adams's cottage studio.
    Sneak a peek at Angela's new line of quilts for Macy's.
    Amy Butler Design's latest partnerships.


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  • 05/17/10--03:30: Eco-Lingo: Organic
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    Is it just a coincidence that organic foods seem to have the best-looking packaging? Photo: Massa Organics.

    Eco-lingo is being tossed around left and right these days. We're demystifying common terms to help you figure out which words are the real deal... and which are just green jargon.

    Today's word: Organic

    You probably already know that organic food is all natural -- no pesticides or synthetic fertilizers for produce and no antibiotics or growth hormones for animal products. So single-ingredient foods like eggs or veggies are either organic or not, no middle ground there. But it's worth noting that for multi-ingredient foods, there are three USDA-approved levels of organic labels:

    100% Organic: Just what it seems -- no secrets here, anything with this label is guaranteed to be completely organic.

    Organic: If you don't see that trusty 100% before the word, that means your food is made of at least 95% organic ingredients.

    Made With Organic Ingredients: Aha! This one seems like it'd be the one to fool you, right? But it's actually not bad at all. It just means that the food is made of 70% or more organic ingredients. Plus, even the non-organic 30% isn't allowed to include any genetically modified foods.

    Not sure if you should make the commitment? has a helpful list of reasons to go organic, but also the facts about why some organic food costs more and if it's actually more nutritious than non-organic food.

    Verdict: Who are we to argue with a USDA seal? This one's the real deal.


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  • 05/17/10--03:30: Eco-Lingo: Wastewater
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    From wastewater to a flourishing garden. Photos: styler*, Flickr; edible office, Flickr.

    Eco-lingo is being tossed around left and right these days. We're demystifying common terms to help you figure out which words are the real deal... and which are just green jargon.

    Today's word: Wastewater

    Definition: When most people hear wastewater, they usually think immediately of sewage. And then they stop thinking about it. Because, you know, ew. But while that's the most widely-known type of wastewater, it's only one of several kinds. It's a shame to overlook grey water, which constitutes all the other non-sewage water generated in your home -- dishwater, bathwater, laundry water and the like. Grey water can be recycled easily for tasks like watering the lawn or washing your car. Or if you're looking to go a step beyond, you can get a filtration system for grey water and then use it to to flush the toilet.

    Why would you do that? Well, since there isn't an unlimited amount of water on earth, it seems obvious to save and reuse water wherever you can. And when it comes to something like washing your car, it's not completely necessary that you're using fresh clean water -- why not use grey water? And just as you'd suspect, people and companies are looking to wrangle the power of grey water on a larger scale -- like this DIY contraption that sends your washing machine water straight to your plants. So genius.

    Storm runoff also counts as wastewater, since it gets contaminated by all the dirt, grime and chemicals from the roads and sidewalks. But just like grey water, there's no reason not to reuse it. If you set up rain barrels, you can collect rain water for future use and reduce the possibility of erosion.

    Verdict: Don't waste the wastewater! This stuff is the real deal.


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    The handsome couple at Barneys. Photo: Paul Morigi/Getty Images for Barneys New York.

    Jonathan Adler and Simon Doonan trade up on Shelter Island.

    In the spring of 2008, internationally-acclaimed potter-turned-decorator and lifestyle guru Jonathan Adler and his husband Simon Doonan, the clever author and creative director of Barneys NY, spent $1.9M on a Shelter Island, New York home -- a ranch-front house that's a five-minute ferry ride and a world away from the more hoity-toity Hamptons. According to reports from the time, the home, their second to buy on the relatively small 8,000-acre island, was due for major renovation. Whatever magic they worked on the new house must be complete because the couple recently put their first Shelter Island property on the market with an asking price of $1.75M. Their first home (seen below) is a kooky-but-cool getaway they've owned since 1998. We know they're trading up, but by the looks of these photos, we simply can't imagine how amazing the next place is. Maybe we'll find out in a few years if they go for round three!

    The colorful and quirky contemporary is really not so different than one of Adler's retail shops. The 1960's A-frame is chock full of Adler's own designs mixed with pedigreed pieces, eBay treasures, and various knick-knacks picked up at flea markets and yard sales. And it's all placed with the precision of one of Doonan's famously witty and whimsical window displays at Barneys.

    A cornucopia of color. Photo: Penelope Moore / Corcoran Group

    Adler and Doonan clearly do not subscribe to a less-is-more aesthetic and little was done to smooth over the rough edges of the light and airy three-bedroom, two-bathroom house that they worked over in a funky, frisky and frolicsome style. Although beige and relatively unassuming on the outside, the interiors are a 1970's-inspired cacophony of bold color that pulsates and vibrates against the floors, walls and ceilings -- all of which are painted a sun-reflecting, exquisitely glossy, marine-grade deck paint in a shade of cotton ball white.

    Dining room delights. Photo: Penelope Moore / Corcoran Group.

    The dining area looks out onto the covered porch at the back of the house and contains a mixy-matchy mélange of decorative delights that includes a gleaming wood Parsons table with a unique patchwork pattern, bamboo dining chairs lacquered in a vivacious Chinese red and a single, almost freakishly over-sized light bulb that serves as the chandelier.

    Function over form in the kitchen. Photo: Penelope Moore / Corcoran Group.

    Adler and Doonan have stayed true not only to the 1960's architecture of the house, but also to the classic concept of old-school beach house as a simple, casual and comfortable getaway lacking in pretense and/or unnecessary luxury. Nowhere is that better illustrated than the kitchen where the couple went with function rather than new-fangled fanciness. They forwent $40K in de rigeuer stainless steel appliances for utilitarian white versions and instead of all new custom-built cabinetry, the old ones were given a fresh look with paint. By removing cabinet doors, they reveal an eye-catching diorama of dishware and cookery.

    Lofty guest quarters. Photo: Penelope Moore / Corcoran Group.

    An upstairs loft area has vaulted ceilings, a glossy white floor and is done up with the same Mary Tyler Moore-style décor as the rest of the house. A collection of oversized, antique keys hangs above a campaign desk painted the same shiny white as the rest of the room. The bed, littered with graphic pillows of Adler's own design, is covered with a bedspread labeled "Guest," just in case anyone might forget or not know where to sleep.

    A little less color. Photo: Penelope Moore / Corcoran Group.

    Only slightly less chromatic abandon was applied to Adler and Doonan's step-down master suite at the back of the house. A folksy, old-fashioned wood-burning stove anchors one corner and a skylight above the bed allows for late night stargazing. A vintage wall hanging depicting a butterfly hangs above a shimmering vermilion-colored credenza and a shelf that runs around the room above the eyebrow windows holds an extensive, even obsessive, number of Adler's own pottery designs.

    Bathroom beauties. Photo: Penelope Moore / Corcoran Group.

    Even the bathrooms have been given the ol' Jonathan Adler spin of the color wheel with white walls, white tile floors, and jolting punches of eye popping bright color: Orange in one bathroom and orange and olive in the other.

    A tropical paradise on Shelter Island. Photo: Penelope Moore / Corcoran Group.

    A covered deck off the back of the house becomes an outdoor living room in the warmer months, as well as the transition space between the indoors and the backyard, a tropical extravaganza of Himalayan banana plants, blood grass and bamboo. Adler and Doonan are both avid swimmers and sunk a heroic, 75-foot-long heated gunite lap swimming pool into the lawn. An outdoor shower completes the picture of summerhouse perfection.

    Craving more Adler?
    Jonathan Adler and Simon Doonan's "Palatial Gay Fantasia"
    Breaking: Jonathan Adler Junior
    Buzz: Jonathan Adler Paper Products


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  • 05/17/10--03:30: Growing Up: Vertical Gardens
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    For gardeners short on space, plantable walls have become the latest piece of horticultural real estate to obsess over.

    With careful plant selection and some degree of effort to get the infrastructure and irrigation right, vertical gardens are springing up in unlikely places around the world. Here are some of our favorite examples both large and small.

    Woolly Pocket

    1. Woolly Pocket: Los Angeles, California
    Los Angeles hipsters love to garden naturally. Or at least that's what the unusual Woolly Pocket marketing campaign would suggest. It features nude Silver Lake denizens lounging around while tending hanging planted installations. The soft panels-made of hand-stitched felt lined with recycled plastic moisture barriers-can be hung on most any wall. The product's inventor, Miguel Nelson, claims they won't leak even indoors.

    Amelia B Lima & Associates

    2. Amelia B Lima & Associates: San Diego, California
    To get a sense of privacy in their gardens, most homeowners install walls, fences or hedges. However, garden designer Amelia Lima turned an otherwise plain 40 foot-long barrier into a wall garden of tropicals and ferns in her narrow San Diego side yard. To keep things interesting all year long, the lush arrangement of plants depends more on leaf pattern and color rather than flowers. All that's missing is a jungle waterfall but instead a re-circulating drip irrigation system saves on the water bill.

    Getty Images

    3. The Quai Branly Museum by Patrick Blanc: Paris, France
    In a short span of time, green-haired plant scientist and author, Patrick Blanc has gone from something of an enfant terrible to become the father of the vertical garden movement. He has a number of high-profile modernist projects around the world including The Quai Branly Museum in his hometown of Paris. Inspired by planting ideas that he noticed on his excursions through tropical rainforests of Southeast Asia, his large gardens grow without soil in a special layer of felt fabric that helps insulate the planted building through all seasons. In such installations, the species are hardy enough to withstand cold French winters.

    Flora Grubbs

    4. Flora Grubb: San Francisco, California
    Bay Area nursery owner Flora Grubb sets a high bar for gardening trends in her influential San Francisco store. This wall panel is made of several 20-inch by 20-inch trays planted with a colorful tapestry of 2-inch potted succulents. The drought tolerant planting only needs to be hosed down every few days depending on the weather.

    Sammy Todd Dyess , Hotel Bardessono

    5. Hotel Bardessono by Flora Grubb: Yountville, California
    Flora Grubb created another distinctive green wall at one of her garden design projects for the modernist lobby of the Hotel Bardessono near Napa. This time she installed a minimalist arrangement of air plants (aka tillandsias) attached to small metal spikes set at regular intervals. The undemanding epiphytic plants, which grow without the need of soil, are misted every few days.

    Kurt Lango

    6. Hotel Modera: Portland, Oregon
    Landscape architects Jane Hansen and Kurt Lango created a monumental green wall for the courtyard of the Hotel Modera in Portland, Oregon using a variety of perennials and even a few small shrubs. The sideways garden leaves the main flat area free for parties or gatherings from the adjacent bar. No one would now mistake the stylish space for what it once was, the parking lot of a Days Inn Motel.

    7. Flowerbox Building: New York, NY
    It's not a green wall per se, but the façade of the Flowerbox Building in New York City's East Village is a veritable hanging garden of plants. Mac Carbonell of Verdant Gardens Design in Brooklyn, designed the impressive infrastructure of metal flower boxes along with architect Derek Sanders. The automatic irrigation system is connected with the new building's plumbing so that the burden of summer watering does not impose on the tenants (who may or may not be actual gardeners).


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    David Stark in his Flower Shoppe at West Elm. Photo: Patrick McMullan/Joe Schildhorn

    A modern furniture retailer and event designer showcase unusual paper creations in New York City.

    Last night event designer extroidinaire David Stark unveiled his latest collaboration with West Elm: The (purely paper) Flower Shoppe. The Flower Shoppe is equal parts art installation and pop-up shop, with nearly everything for sale. David has created a flower shop in which everything is made from recycled paper, including potted plants, individual flower stems, bird houses, topiaries and even gardening tools and wellies. (A birdhouse with a bird sticking its head into the hole drew lots of attention, but it was marked with a 'sold' sticker within fifteen minutes of the shop's opening.)

    The sign to The (purely paper) Flower Shoppe. Photo: Laura Fenton

    I spoke with David last night at the event, and he shared some of his inspiration for the (purely paper) Flower Shoppe. David said that he set out to create "the cutest corner flower shop," but with a bit of a twist... in his own words, it looks as if you've "dropped down the rabbit hole." With acid green walls and witty paper details like paper shingles on the exterior and a paper cash register and telephone (both non-functioning), this is one Wonderland-like space.

    Paper flowers made from book pages. Photo: Laura Fenton

    David also told me that after years working in the events industry he was tired of all the waste he saw, and a few years ago, he began to really focus on how his work could "walk more lightly" on the earth. For example, David says The Flower Shoppe was inspired by all the books that you see discarded on stoops in New York City (much of the paper used int he creations is recycled book pages).

    Seed packets and seedlings were among the wares for sale. Photos: Laura Fenton

    In recent years, this focus on eco-friendly design has lead to many creative and unusual designs, including his famed design for the Cooper Hewitt's 2007 National Design Awards, in which 6,000 pounds of recycled office paper were shredded and re-purposed into stunning decorations.

    Shredded paper topiaries and a paper bird. Photo: Laura Fenton

    Last spring, Stark installed a cardboard installation at the same West Elm location's opening event, which was made entirely from the cardboard waste from the store (Grace from Design*Sponge snapped some great images last year, if you're curious). And then this past holiday season, West Elm offered a limited edition line of holiday decorations by David Stark.

    Copies of David Stark Design. Photo: Laura Fenton

    During our conversation, David revealed that his Holiday 2010 collection for West Elm will also be fashioned from the recycled pages of books. We can't wait to see what he comes up with next! The event was also a celebration of David's new book, David Stark Design, which, personally, I am dying to read.

    A host of paper tropical plants. Photo: Patrick McMullan/Joe Schildhorn

    If you're in New York, be sure to stop in to see the shop in person.
    The (purely paper) Flower Shoppe will be open inside of the West Elm location at 62nd and Broadway for four days only (today, May 13, through Sunday, May 16):

    The (purely paper) Flower Shoppe

    @ West Elm Broadway
    1870 Broadway at 62nd Street
    New York, NY
    11 am to 8 pm

    And if you're far away, why not recreate one of David Stark's creations at home?
    Design*Sponge has a great how-to based on one of the smaller pieces from the (purely paper) Flower Shoppe.


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    A Loll Designs modern Adirondack chair is among the new goods from the Gilt Groupe's home category. Photo: Gilt HOME

    Gilt HOME grows with new categories and more frequent sales.

    Attention all bargain hunters: Gilt Groupe has just announced that they're expanding their home category! Gilt is better know for its luxury fashion goods, but the home section of the site has been such a success that Gilt HOME is broadening its scope into indoor and outdoor furniture, upholstery, art, lighting and other decorative accessories. Plus, they'll be offering luxe home services (like built-in wine cellars and high-end flower arrangements) and even gourmet foods.

    Not only that, Gilt has promised to double the frequency of its sales. According to Home Furnishings News Gilt HOME will offer "an average of 15 home sales a week from some 200 brands, including Cuisinart, Kyocera, Ligne Roset and Missoni Home." (Maybe we can finally afford the Missoni towels we've been covering for years!) Also on the list of new designers are two ShelterPop favorites: Angela Adams and John Robshaw -- swoon!

    Among their participating designers is Jonathan Adler (another SP fave!), who says, "I believe great style is universal -- from your clothes to your curtains, personal style is expressed through all outlets, so it only makes sense that Gilt has furthered their presence in the Home category."

    The Gilt Groupe has more than two million members, and you could be one of them: Gilt has generously extended an invitation to ShelterPop readers to join the Gilt Groupe. Simply head to to sign up for discounts on luxury home goods.

    These Jeanette Farrier Kantha cushion covers and Missoni Home's Krono beach towel are two of the items you'll find on the new Gilt HOME site. Photos: Gilt HOME

    Interested in the items pictured in this post? Mark your calendar with the following dates:

    Top: Loll Designs Patio Furniture, Compact Adirondack Chair (sale on 5/14)
    Above: Jeanette Farrier Throws and Pillows (sale on 5/27) and Missoni Home Beach Towels, Krono Beach Towel (sale on 5/15)

    Want to learn more about private sample sales for the home? Read on:

    - Private Sample Sales Get Decor-Friendly
    - Secret Source: One Kings Lane


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    A sweet, vintage lamp for sale on Goodwill's auction site. Photos:

    You can shop Goodwill's choicest items from the comfort of your own home.

    You probably recognize Goodwill stores as a place to load up on quality used clothing, kitchen items and books at affordable prices. Furnishings, however, tend to be slim pickings at these stores. You're more likely to find a particleboard bookshelf or a retro - and not in a good way - lamp.

    Thank goodness Goodwill knows the difference between high and low quality merch: They save the best of their donations for their online marketplace, This online portal for Goodwill stores across the country, has been an awesome resource for scoring vintage and antique finds since 1999. Not just furnishings, collectibles and art; but designer clothing, handbags and jewelry (like Burberry and Coach) are sold here too, as well as computers, toys/games and musical instruments.

    Goodwill's online auction site is a lot like eBay. Photo:

    Although auction listings change daily, here are some items we found available for the home on a recent troll through the site:

    Old (Yellow) Cast Iron Desk Lamp (bids starting at $18, auction ends May 18)

    Art Deco Gerdago Harlequin Pixie Figural Lamp (bids starting at $140, auction ends May 19)

    Glass Shoe Collection (bids starting at $6, auction expires May 22)

    Antique Mahogany Federal Style Sofa (bids starting at $200, auction ends May 19)

    Vintage Roseville Blue "White Rose" Vase (bids starting at $52, auction ends May 16)

    Waterford Crystal Rose Trinket Box (bids starting at $11, auction ends May 21)

    Also, the store location for each item - whether for auction or sale - is listed for each item, in case you want to retrieve your goods in person. For some items there is a buy-it-now option just like you would find on eBay (look for the sign next to a listing), if you're not the type to relish the thrill of a bidding war.

    Want more Secret Sources? Check out these posts:

    - School Outfitters, a source for classroom cool wares.
    - Nimli, our go-to eco-source.
    - Housing Works, an online outpost for some of New York's finest thrift stores.


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    Fountain pattern
    Add drama with Fountain in Midnight. Photo: Graham & Brown

    Designer Amy Butler brings her quirky, colorful patterns to wallpaper.

    Just in time to freshen up walls for spring, Amy Butler (author of Amy Butler's Midwest Modern) has teamed up with England's Graham & Brown for a line of exclusive wallpapers, available now. This collaboration marks the company's first collaboration with an independent American designer.

    The collection, which is produced using eco-friendly water-based inks, includes six motifs in six colorways, for a total of 36 papers to choose from. Created to mix-and-match, the designs feature Amy's signature pop-artsy florals and romantic geometric patterns.

    Passion LilyAbove is the Passion Lily pattern. Photo: Graham & Brown

    Among our favorites are 'Fountain,' an ornate, damask-style print influenced by Amy's travels to India and Indonesia (top image), 'Passion Lily' a graphic, trellis-like spin on a floral motif (middle image, above), and 'Georgia,' a vintage-inspired option with a trailing pattern of cotton blossoms (bottom image). The designs fit right in with the rest of Graham & Brown's contemporary-yet-accessible product range, which also comprises special lines from Umbra and Marcel Wanders.

    Abstract stripes from Georgia in Stone. Photo: Graham & Brown

    After lusting after Amy's fabrics, totes and even rugs, we're more than excited for another opportunity to inject our home with her special brand of mid-century modern, nature-inspired prettiness. Which of her wallpaper patterns do you like the best? Send us a message via Twitter @ShetlerPop

    Do you love Amy Butler as much as we do?
    Read about Amy's latest wares at Bed, Bath & Beyond.


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    marble round tables, coffee tablesCan you spot the splurge? Photos, left to right: DWR, CB2

    One of these marble round tables is less than $300 -- can you tell which?

    Sure, marble is a luxurious surface that commands a high price tag. While we adore the original Rubik Round Coffee Table ($900) at Design Within Reach, there's something to be said for big savings. CB2's version, while nearly identical, is a far cry in price at just $300.

    Sometimes, though, you get what you pay for. The pricey DWR option offers floor-protecting pads on the base, stainless steel legs and a solid marble tabletop. The CB2 version goes for more budget-conscious (and lower quality) Carrara-style marble and chrome. Not bad, and for the price, I'd say it's a steal indeed.

    Tell me, readers? Where do you save, and where do you splurge? And what's the best deal you've ever scored on a coffee table? Tweet us your thoughts at!

    For more High Vs. Low finds, read on:
    -High Vs. Low: Peacock Mirrors
    -High Vs. Low: Cowhide Rugs


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  • 05/17/10--03:30: Fragrance in the Garden
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    Common blue violets. Photo: Marie Viljoen

    Scents for all seasons.

    One of my sweetest childhood memories involves fragrance. We had an old lilac bush growing at the front door and every spring my mother would allow me to pick a bunch of flowers to bring indoors. This was after I took it upon myself one year to cut off every flower head I could reach and give them to her as a present. I can still see the tears in her eyes. Under the lilac grew deep purple violets. We made posies of them and they smelled heavenly. Wisteria grew over the garage and in early summer roses bloomed and filled the air with their musky perfume.

    Growing fragrant plants is pure pleasure.

    Climbing Iceberg roses. Photo: Marie Viljoen

    I now garden on a very small terrace in a very big city, but still try to capture as much perfume as I can from spring to late summer. Having a garden that is fragrant enhances our enjoyment of the things we grow. Sitting outside in the evening with a drink or cup of coffee, breathing in air that smells delicately of roses or night-scented nicotiana, is a balm to the soul. I do not have the space for big climbers such as wisteria, or shrubs like lilac, but here is a wish list of plants that I would grow if I could (including a few that I am able to grow now in my modest space).

    Daphne odora "Aureomarginata". Photo: Marie Viljoen

    1. Winter daphne (Daphne odora) is a thrilling source of cold-weather perfume. I have walked into a New York City-garden in February to smell its intense, lemony-sweet fragrance everywhere. All daphnes prefer some shade, with dappled morning light and full afternoon shade best. Hardy from zones 7-9, I have also seen them happy in protected spots in zone 6b. They need plenty of moisture and superb drainage.

    "Abraham Darby", by David Austin. Photo: Marie Viljoen

    2. Roses seem to be the quintessential fragrant flower. I cannot think of another shrub that gives us flowers for as long as they do. I always look for a rose that is a repeat bloomer, so that once they start in spring I can expect flowers through November in my USDA 6b zone. Many David Austin roses are bred for scent, and my favorite is 'Abraham Darby' (seen above). Its lusciously double, pink petals are heavy with fragrance. They tend to smell strongest in the early evening and make very good cut flowers, too, bringing their scent indoors. 'Iceberg' is a reliable rose whose white flowers are perfect for an evening garden. My Iceberg climber came from the Antique Rose Emporium. Remember that roses need full sun to thrive, meaning no less than six hours for the healthiest growth. Prune in early spring and fertilize during their bloom-season, stopping about six weeks before your zone's first frost date.

    Lilac. Photo: Marie Viljoen

    3. Lilacs come to mind immediately when we talk about scent. With about 2,000 cultivars available now, it is easy (or not!) to create a collection of them. Blooming from early to late spring, their lovely flowers will last about two weeks, and then it will be over. I think they are worth the wait. We take for granted something we have all the time. They need full sun and benefit from light pruning immediately after their flowers have faded. Usually they do not require fertilizer, but mulching with compost is always beneficial. For an informal, fragrant hedge, plant lilacs six feet apart and keep pruned to the height you require.

    Viburnum farreri. Photo: Marie Viljoen

    4. If full sun is a challenge, Mohawk or Korean Spice viburnums are delightful early to mid-spring shrubs for gardens with dappled shade, afternoon or morning-only sun. They do not bloom in full shade. Appearing on the stems before the leaves, the flower clusters are richly-scented white snowballs with a touch of clove. Mohawk's buds are red and open to a creamy white. Viburnum farreri blooms earlier, has delicately pink flowers and is highly scented. Cold-tolerant viburnums require minimal fuss as long as they have good drainage.

    Raulston allspice. Photo: Marie Viljoen

    5. Raulston allspice (Calycanthus x raulstonii 'Hartlage Wine') is an unusual and arresting choice for woodland to partially sunny gardens. Large, ruffled, scented burgundy-red flowers open in mid-spring. This deciduous shrub grows best in dappled shade. You can grow it in full sun if enough water is provided. If you cannot find this particular cultivar, look for the native Carolina allspice (Calycanthus floridus) which has a stronger scent and more subtle flowers.

    Rhododendron austrinum. Photo: Marie Viljoen

    6. Sick of rhododendrons and azaleas? Don't be. The deciduous Rhododendron austrinum is a riot of slender, gold-orange flowers whose scent invites you to push your nose into them. This is a stunning shrub for a semi-shady garden but it does very well in full sun, too. Native to Florida's panhandle and Georgia, it is hardy to zone 6. Another deciduous azalea, Rhododendron 'Pink and Sweet', has larger blooms, pale pink and apricot, and a delicious fragrance. Lightly acidic soil is best for this genus, and add lots of organic matter to keep these beauties happy.

    Wisteria. Photo: Marie Viljoen

    7. If you have the space and a very sturdy support, you can grow a Wisteria vine. They can be pruned into standard forms, and some nurseries sell them this way, obviating the need for a strong trellis. Not every wisteria is created equal. Look for Wisteria 'Amethyst Falls': It is a cultivar of Wisteria frutescens, which is a hardy American native, not the invasive Asian vine, which is a pest. The flower cascades are smaller than the long bunches of old, but they have plenty of perfume to keep humans and bees drunk with pleasure.

    Confederate jasmine in my mother's garden. Photo: Marie Viljoen

    8. Confederate or Star jasmine (Trachelospermum jasminoides) is unbeatable for summer fragrance in warmer climates (it is hardy from zone 8 upwards). Its white flowers are exotically and heavily scented. It can be grown in containers, in compost mixed with potting soil, and in the ground it requires good drainage. It is fairly drought tolerant. Help it twine by attaching tendrils to a trellis or arbor. It can be grown as an annual in colder climes, or overwintered in a cool room or garage.

    Birdsfoot violet. Photo: Marie Viljoen

    9. Some consider Violets to be a weed but if you remember that the leaves and flowers can be eaten perhaps you will think otherwise. Violets are springtime. The native birdsfoot violet has lacy leaves and gorgeous flowers. It is summer-dormant so is best planted where another perennial's foliage can provide cover for it when resting. Common blue violet is another charmer, far more prolific and a good source for the posy that I mentioned earlier.

    Doll's eyes or baneberry. Photo: Marie Viljoen

    10. One of my favorite perfumes belongs to the woodland native, Doll's eyes (Actaea pachypoda). I first smelled the fluffy white flowers in the Native Garden at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, and was captivated. Their scent is citrusy and strong, and like so many scented plants, becomes more conspicuous towards twilight. They are one of the most beautiful wildflowers of the eastern woodlands. Towards late summer the distinctive white berries make this plant doubly ornamental. But be warned: the berries are very poisonous. This is not a perennial for a garden where small children play. They like humus-rich soil, so compost-addition is helpful, as well as dappled shade.

    Hosta 'Fragrant Bouquet'. Photo: Marie Viljoen

    11. Some of the best flowers for a fragrant garden are Hosta 'Fragrant Bouquet' and 'Royal Standard', two sweetly-scented plantain lilies whose late summer flowers are a pleasure long after spring is a cool memory. Happiest with some afternoon shade, or in dappled light, these trouble-free, cold-tolerant plants have tropical foliage and tall, pure white flowers. If you are lucky, they will be visited by hummingbirds.

    Abyssinian gladiolus. Photo: Marie Viljoen

    12. One of my favorite flowers of all time, the Peacock flower or Abyssinian gladiolus (Gladiolus callanthus, sometimes still sold under the old name, Acidanthera) comes into bloom in early fall. Officially hardy to zone 7 it can be grown in colder climates in a very protected spot, or as an annual in zones below 6. Tall stems bear breathtakingly gorgeous white flowers with purple throats, whose perfume increases by the hour. These are bulbs that can be planted in spring for late summer and fall bloom.

    Nicotiana sylvestris. Photo: Brighton Plants

    13. Nicotiana sylvestris is a statuesque member of the tobacco family that is a spectacular filler for points in your garden where some low maintenance drama is needed. And then there is the scent, which is divine. Plant it near a window, or an outdoor table where you can smell it while dining al fresco. For unusual chartreuse highlights choose Nicotiana langsdorfii (below), which I find to be fragrant in the evening. Nicotiana has enjoyed mixed reviews. It can self-seed aggressively, and make itself unpopular. To avoid this unruly behavior, deadhead the flowers before they set seed.

    Nicotiana langsdorffii. Photo: Marie Viljoen

    There is a scent for every season. When planning a fragrant garden, think about it in terms of what you want to smell and when you want to smell it. If you have plenty of room, stagger the sequence of scents. And if you only have a tiny space, choose the fragrant flower you love best and love it once every year.

    And remember: keep your windows and doors open!


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    Big Bird, Martha Stewart and Adam Stewart, CEO of Sandals International, celebrate Martha's new craft classes at Beaches Resorts. Photo: The Martha Stewart Show/Nick. D.

    The week's home and interior design news for the week of May 10 to 14. Plus, a peek ahead to next week!

    This week's home news presents plenty of chances to help others and the environment, and once again, Martha Stewart's been busy. That's just some of what's happening in the home this week. We'll also give you a sneak peek of the week ahead.

    Making a colorful statement, Pantone unveils a new tool, Pantone Plus, which the company describes as the "next generation" of its Matching System.

    Nothing like adding a little luxury to the home, right? Gilt Groupe launches and expanded home category with an average of 15 sales a week.

    Whirlpool gets "smart" about energy saving--with a timetable, to boot: The company announces its plans to make all of its appliances smart by 2015.

    Fifty interior designers, including Charlotte Moss, Ty Pennington, Miles Redd and Jamie Drake, did their part for charity with Housing Works in the Design on a Dime event last weekend.

    Meanwhile, across the river, the 8th annual BKLYN Designs took place last weekend. If you missed the show, check out BKLYN Designs Flickr set from the event.

    And speaking of charity, mark your calendars for another home-related shopping event in New York: From May 20 to 23 you can attend the Kip's Bay's Pop Up Shop while the charity awaits a home for its annual Show House. One Kings Lane is hosting an opening reception on Wednesday, May 19th, for those who want to get the first look at the goods. Before that, though, One Kings Lane is featuring L.A.-based interior designer Kathryn Ireland at its Tastemaster Tag Sale.

    Martha Stewart's Home Depot partnership keeps on growing: This week a collection of 12 hand-held gardening tools launched exclusively on We love the robin's egg blue details -- they are so Martha!

    Now you (and your kids) can learn to put together crafts like Martha Stewart, while vacationing with Beaches Resorts as new classes teaching some of her techniques will be offered there. (Big Bird, pictured with Martha above at a taping for The Martha Stewart Show, will join Beaches Resorts' extended partnership with Sesame Workshop, as well. Tune in on May 25th to catch Marty and Big Bird making crafts together!)

    More Martha: Home Decorators Collection debuts its exclusive two new collections of ready-to-assemble Martha Stewart Living furniture.

    Go beyond San Francisco and see more of the modern residences around with the Home Tours program expanding to Marin.

    If you're a fan of home textiles designer Liora Manne, her latest line of novelty mats is making its debut on the Home Shopping Network on May 17.

    Talk about getting the word out! Paint brand Benjamin Moore is rolling out a $15 million print ad and social networking campaign.

    And looking ahead to next week when Design Week opens in New York City...

    The 22nd annual International Contemporary Furniture Fair (ICFF) opens tomorrow at the Javits Center and runs through May 18th.

    The Conran Shop celebrates it's official opening at ABC Carpet & Home tonight, you can catch a sneak peek of the store here.

    Designing Wonderland, the Parsons School of Design BFA Thesis Show opens at 3rd Ward for one night only, tomorrow, May 15th from 8 pm to 12 am.

    The second annual Model Citizens NYC, a showcase of 50 independent designers, opens from May 15 to 17 to coincide with ICFF and Design Week.


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