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    When you gotta go, you gotta go, but you might want to unzip here.

    We've all been there -- You're on the road or walking around town and suddenly you've got to "go." No Starbucks or McDonald's in sight and you're scrambling to find a bathroom, and fast, and then you find yourself squatting in some filthy gas station bathroom. Yuck.

    Well, a new competition proves that not all public restrooms are created equally.

    America's Best Restroom is a real competition where you get to vote on the bathroom where you'd most like to go -- it's like American Idol for bathrooms! Sponsored by Cintas Corporation and already in its ninth season, hundreds of entries were narrowed down to only ten bodacious bathroom finalists, one of whom will have the bragging rights to be called "America's Best Restroom."

    The finalists are all stylistically very different from one another. They were chosen because they all have something important in common: cleanliness. When it comes to the throne, I'll take cleanliness over design any day of the week. But this competition is about who's polished and pretty.

    Take a look at the finalists below -- you'll never look at number two the same.

    America's Best RestroomPhotos: America's Best Restroom

    The Fountain on Locust is a popular restaurant in St. Louis, Missouri (above left, lower left) has beautiful ornate fixtures and lots of designer mirrors and other reflective surfaces. It looks very sparkly.

    Lawrence Dumont Stadium in Wichita, Kansas (above right, lower right) makes you feel cozy and at home with its hand-painted murals and lots of floral accents. It also has an adorable baby-changing area adorned as the "Lil' Rookie Changing Station."

    America's Best RestroomPhotos: America's Best Restroom

    I never would have guessed that the Santa Monica Pier in Santa Monica, California (above left, lower left)) would have such a modern and clean look! The beachy bathroom even has an undulating roof reminiscent of ocean waves.

    The Grand America Hotel in Salt Lake City, Utah (above right, lower right) is a gorgeous hotel to begin with, but their restrooms are phenomenal. With Carerra marble, bronze and crystal chandeliers, floor-to-ceiling commodes and beautifully inlaid African Anegre Wood, this luxurious bath sure does make you feel like a princess. I've been lucky enough to stay at the Grand America and while there, everyone kept saying "you've gotta go see the bathroom!"

    America's Best RestroomPhotos: America's Best Restroom

    Rivue Restaurant & Lounge in Louisville, Kentucky (above left, lower left) boasts custom light fixtures, translucent red sinks, floor-to-ceiling red stall doors and cloth towels. Don't you just love a cloth towel?

    The Embassy Theatre in Fort Wayne, Indiana (above right, lower right) has a unique Egyptian design with ornate fireplaces, fancy gilded columns and custom wall treatments. It really feels like you're in a palace.

    America's Best RestroomPhotos: America's Best Restroom

    The swanky bathroom in the China Grill at Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada (above left, lower left) has fancy lit fountains and individual glowing pods, each with its own TV.

    Bryant Park in New York City (above right, lower right) has a full-time attendant, fresh cut flowers, scented oils and electronic seat covers.

    America's Best RestroomPhotos: America's Best Restroom

    The Muse Hotel in New York City (above left) has individualized restrooms, each themed for a different Muse.

    Joe's Farm Grill in Gilbert, Arizona (above right) makes eating and washing up fun with their futuristic design that features TVs, G.I. Joe and Barbie Dolls, and automated fixtures.

    So who do you think is going to flush -- er -- crush the competition? Head on over to America's Best Restroom to vote and tell us who has your vote in the comments! Voting is open until August 31, 2010 and the winner will be announced in September.

    For our Canadian ShelterPoppers, there's a similar competition called Canada's Best Restroom!


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    Are the Clintons on the move? Photo: Bennett Raglin/

    The home and design news for the week of June 11 to 16.

    Wow, HSN sure is busy these days! And it really pays to be the Clintons. That's just some of what's happening in the home and design world this week:

    We gave you a peek inside Jonathan Adler's studio the other day. Well, some of the ideas born there will be coming to HSN in October as it debuts his home collection.

    But before that, Martha Stewart makes her live HSN debut on July 19.

    London's Claridge hotel is getting a little more glamorous as Diane von Furstenberg will lend her stylish touch to 20 of the rooms.

    That Secretary of State gig must pay big: Bill and Hilary Clinton are said to be closing on an $11 million mansion in New York.

    Congratulations from ShelterPop! Mitchell Gold, co-founder of Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams, married his partner Timothy Scofield last month in Iowa.

    Were you Googling yourself at work Thursday and wondering, "What's that cool-looking Google doodle?" It was in honor of the birth 125 years ago of legendary home textiles designer Josef Frank.

    College students probably aren't thinking about going back to the dorms just yet, but JCPenney and Target are.

    August is a big month in the Big Apple for new companies making their summer trade show debuts.

    Speaking of trade shows, the Atlanta International Area Rug Market is going on right now and Nourison is bringing its expanded Calvin Klein line to the floor.

    While he's looking to latch on with an NFL team, football player Terrell Owens revealed a post-playing ambition: working in interior design!

    Auto products manufacturer Bosh is out to make your gardening work a little easier with new corded and cordless tools.

    Thinking of getting your kitchen or bathroom renovated in a few years? Maybe you should see if the designer you pick is a Brigham Young University -- Idaho alum; they just won a pretty big award.

    Who says unreal innovation can be found only in the comic books. Check out this lamp. Iron Man would be proud!


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    Frenchmans Lookout Kate MossOne of the posh amenities at Frenchman's Lookout -- located on the West End of Tortola in the British Virgin Islands -- is a backyard pool, complete with chic chaises. Photo: Frenchman's Lookout

    Borrow the breezy, island decor of this Kate Moss vacation favorite.

    Every celebrity needs an island getaway to escape the paparazzi, and for British model Kate Moss it's a privately owned villa on the island of Tortola in the British Virgin Islands. Owned by a Massachusetts man, and available for weekly rentals, it's a sister property to the place where Bill and Hillary Clinton spent many summers on Cape Cod.

    Frenchman's Lookout
    is perched on the top of a hill, which affords practically unobstructed views of St. John, the Sir Francis Drake Channel and the surrounding turquoise waters -- with the occasional yacht cruising past. The 10,000-square-foot villa has five bedrooms spread across two floors.

    Now we realize that you (like us) may not have a salary like Ms. Moss or the flexible vacation time for that matter. But that doesn't mean you can't copy this amazing villa's decor style, which evokes island living at its best. We're talking fresh white linens, perky-patterned pillows and shades of blues, greens, browns and khakis. These are complemented with simple wood furnishings and plantation-style accents.

    Still, don't let the villa's beauty intimidate you. There are plenty of design ideas to be stolen! Let's start outside...

    Frenchmans Lookout Kate MossA hammock provides a quiet place to nap or sleep on the villa's wrap-around porch. Photo: Frenchman's Lookout

    1. Install a hammock!
    Even if you have just a small front porch, or a tiny patch of grass in your back or front yard, spend less than $100 and install a hammock. You now have a place to wile away the day with a good book -- or simply close your eyes and snooze with a cool breeze on your face.

    Brightly patterned pillows really stand out against a neutral palette of earthy brown and white. Framed pictures of nautical scenes are perfect eye candy for a rainy day if you're reluctantly stuck indoors. Photo: Frenchman's Lookout
    2. Add Caribbean color

    Spice up a blah interior with blues, greens and yellows -- in the brightest shades possible. Look to globally inspired shops and boutiques for something that screams beach-vacation paradise -- from the Caribbean to Hawaii.

    Wicker steamer trunks at the foot of these two beds hint at vintage nautical scenes from day's past. Twin sets of turquoise pillows mirror the nearby water's pure blue color. Photo: Frenchman's Lookout

    3. Wicker can be wicked cool
    No longer just for the patio or porch (or grandma's house!), modern wicker works wonderfully indoors too. Small trunks, like the ones photographed here, are one option, but you can also look to other inexpensive accessories such as wastebaskets, side tables or decorative baskets to hold house keys, jewelry or outgoing mail.

    Frenchmans Lookout Kate MossIn each room are 12-foot ceilings, a carefully made design decision to cultivate an open-air feeling, even when the double French doors are shut. Dark-stained woods, a ceiling fan and a four-poster bed continue the plantation-style decor. Photo: Frenchman's Lookout
    4. Go dark with furniture
    Many Caribbean resorts, especially those in the plantation-style like this one, opt for dark-stained furnishings. Without redoing your entire house, you could start by incorporating photo and art frames that are constructed of darker woods.If you like the look, try staining a few pieces of furniture.

    During the warmer months, replace your window treatments with sheer white curtains to billow in the wind right before a storm or on a breezy summer night. Photo: Frenchman's Lookout

    5. Swap your curtains
    With longer days of light in the summer, you don't need to pull the shades shut until well after dinnertime. Choose sheer white panels to allow as much light as possible through the windows before the sun finally sets.

    Frenchmans Lookout Kate MossLike the rest of the rooms, the living room does not have wall-to-wall carpet. Instead, area rugs are carefully arranged over smooth tiles. Photo: Frenchman's Lookout

    6. Consider tiles in the living room
    Large, chunky tiles for flooring not only feel cool to your bare feet -- a bonus during summer -- but the look is more like a resort than a private residence. Practically speaking, it's also easier to clean up sand and water when you have tile flooring. Even in a landlocked setting, it adds an airy, casual feel.

    Frenchmans Lookout Kate MossEven if you only have a small outdoor space -- and lack this postcard-perfect view of St. John -- ditch the plastic or wrought-iron chairs in favor of a teak armchair with comfy cushions and bright pillows. Photo: Frenchman's Lookout

    7. Invest in quality outdoor furniture
    Chairs, tables and chaises designed for outdoor living should be an extension of what's inside your home. (You wouldn't put plastic chairs around the fireplace, would you?) Spend a little more money on weather-resistant teak wooden chairs for your outdoor space and chances are you will use them more often.

    Plus, outdoor furnishings -- even if you buy them at a big-box store like The Home Depot, which sells teak chairs for $298 a pair -- are a nice focal point for your front or back yard. Don't forget to adorn them with inexpensive cushions or pillows!

    Got vacation spots on the brain? Some interesting ones here:

    Would You Take a Farm Vacation?
    Lindsay Lohan Moves Into New Loft (For Rehab)
    The Top 10 Most Over-The-Top Celebrity Homes
    Plus, browse through ShelterPop's archive of cool homes!


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    Our friends at the much loved design site, Remodelista will be regularly contributing to ShelterPop. They'll be giving us amazing design finds from around the world that (here's the best part) you can buy here in the US or better, have shipped to your door.


    When Remodelista sees something they love they don't just pine over it: they recreate it!

    Admired recently in the New York Times: a low-cost kitchen in a 250-square-foot converted garage in Seattle, designed and built by artist and designer Michelle de la Vega using a mix of new elements and reclaimed materials from local salvage yards. We can also see this configuration installed in a garden shed, a barn, or any other outbuilding to create instant (and separate) summer guest quarters. Below are two items to create the look in your own kitchen.

    Above left: Wine crates used as storage drawers and shelves is a great idea; contact your favorite winery to see about getting used wine crates. Other sources include your local wine store, Craigslist, or Wine Pine, which sells Classic Wine Crates for $20 each.

    Above right: Japanese luxury camping company Snow Peak makes a convenient, all-in-one Chopping Board and Knife Set; $49.95 at L.L.Bean.

    See the whole room deconstructed at Remodelista's Steal This Look: Instant Camp-Style Kitchen.


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  • 07/16/10--12:05: Make a Room Divider
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    Decorative screens can stylishly divide a room or cover up an ugly architectural feature. But why buy an expensive one when they're so easy to make?


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  • 07/16/10--13:06: Weekly Link Love
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    Kids rooms we wish we could move into, a website that makes catalogs LOL-worthy and a tablesetting we're dying to copy...What we're lusting over in the blogosphere this week.

    CasaSugar has a new obsession: Décor Demon. And you know when she talks (err, types) we listen up. [CasaSugar]

    Furniture that plays hide and seek. Hello, space-saving savior! [The Design Blog]

    Anne at Design*Sponge takes on kids rooms and shows us 30 of them that we would put ourselves up for adoption just to live in. [Design*Sponge]

    Nicole is tackling her catch-all closet and was brave enough to post the "before" photo. Can. not. wait. to see the After! Also: a Serge Gainsbourg pillow? Lucky! [Making it Lovely]

    Rosemary at's Smitten turned us on to Catalog Living, the most hilarious site we've seen that's completely devoted to...catalogs. Don't believe us? Just you wait... [Smitten]

    The Campana brothers' collection for Venini is so playful, so cheerful and so awe-inspiring, we have a feeling we'll be thinking about it all weekend. [If It's Hip, It's Here]

    No room on your bookshelves for bookends? These are worth clearing out space for. Records, elephants, crystal balls, oh my! [The Frisky]

    Since seeing Krista Ewart's work in the July/August 2010 issue of House Beautiful, we can't stop thinking about her fearless use of exploding color and pattern. Luckily, neither can Casey and Lindsey! [bellevue and rose]

    Wondered about the Josef Frank illustrations on Google's homepage this week? Aaron at Apartment Therapy, as always, tells us everything we need to know. [Apartment Therapy]

    This table setting inspiration is meant for tabletop but we think it'd look picnic-perfect splayed out on the grass. [The Stir]


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    Our friends at the much loved design site, Remodelista will be regularly contributing to ShelterPop. They'll be giving us amazing design finds from around the world that (here's the best part) you can buy here in the US or better, have shipped to your door.


    When Remodelista sees something they love they don't just pine over it: they recreate it!

    Admired recently in the New York Times: a low-cost kitchen in a 250-square-foot converted garage in Seattle, designed and built by artist and designer Michelle de la Vega using a mix of new elements and reclaimed materials from local salvage yards. We can also see this configuration installed in a garden shed, a barn, or any other outbuilding to create instant (and separate) summer guest quarters. Below are two items to create the look in your own kitchen.

    Above left: Wine crates used as storage drawers and shelves is a great idea; contact your favorite winery to see about getting used wine crates. Other sources include your local wine store, Craigslist, or Wine Pine, which sells Classic Wine Crates for $20 each.

    Above right: Japanese luxury camping company Snow Peak makes a convenient, all-in-one Chopping Board and Knife Set; $49.95 at L.L.Bean.

    See the whole room deconstructed at Remodelista's Steal This Look: Instant Camp-Style Kitchen.


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    Unlimited Style Real Estate for Hilton & Hyland

    Whose house is this?

    What sometimes controversial tell-it-like-it-is television talk show host owns a behemoth Beverly Hills mansion that includes this garish (or, some might say, opulent), funhouse-like breakfast room lined with dizzying, beveled mirrors?


    He is licensed to fly single engine private planes.

    In 2005, Forbes Magazine estimated he earned a staggering $45 million.

    He once launched a line of weight loss products but quickly pulled them off the market after the FCC launched an investigation into their effectiveness.

    He made a cameo appearance in Scary Movie 4.

    One of his two sons married a Playboy Playmate in the backyard of his Beverly Hills home.

    He's currently involved in a legal tangle with the decorators who worked over his master suite.

    What do you think?

    Want the answer? Get it here!


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    Scandinavian style takes its cues from nature. Photo: Copyright Ryland Peters & Small, 2010.

    The clean, cool style of Scandinavia is wildly popular -- and not just because of a certain big, blue store.

    For a cluster of countries with a relatively small population, Scandinavia certainly looms large in the design world. In fact, it often seems that the whole design community is Scandinavia obsessed. While we too agree that the designs of this northern region are appealing, ShelterPop wanted to get to the bottom of the trend.

    To better understand the rage for all things Scandi, I spoke with Sara Norrman, contributing editor to the book Simply Scandinavian and managing editor at Living Etc., (which happens to be one of my favorite magazines) about the popularity of Scandinavian style. Here are the reasons why Scandinavian style looms large -- and no, it's not just thanks to IKEA, but their cheap-chic designs don't hurt the style's popularity either.

    Ikea storeThat quaint little Swedish retailer we all secretly love. Photo: Håkan Dahlström/Flickr

    1. It's democratic.
    "Scandinavian style is very now because it's a very democratic kind of style," says Normann, "Especially coming form shops like IKEA and Ilva, you have design that's available to everyone." Scandinavian style is egalitarian in that it's very affordable, -- and it always has been. Unlike other European styles that look towards the rich for inspiration, like Baroque and Rococo styles, Scandinavian style comes from a grassroots level. "It's about living well with what you've got," says Normann.

    Capturing natural daylight is a common theme in Nordic style. Photo: Copyright Ryland Peters & Small, 2010.

    2. It's full of light.
    Who doesn't love a bright, sunny space? In Northern Europe people crave light, and as a result Scandinavians have designed to capture as much light as possible. Whether it's in architecture, furniture design or materials, light is at the core of this style of design. Love of light can mean natural light, big windows and no heavy curtains to get the last dregs of light, but it can also mean love of interior light like candles and fire -- Scandinavia is obsessed with any kind of open flame in the home.

    3. It's versatile.
    Scandi style is popular because you can use it anywhere in the world. "There are aspects to Scandinavian style that are versatile and all encompassing," says Normann. "It's a very easy style to live with whether you live in Nairobi or Oslo." She also notes that far-flung Japanese interiors are fairly similar to the modern, Scandinavian style.

    Love of natural materials like wood is a hallmark of Scandinavian style. Photos: Copyright Ryland Peters & Small, 2010.

    4. It embraces nature.
    "Scandinavian style stems from using materials for your home that grow outside your window," says Normann. The houses of Norway, Sweden and Finland were built from wood, not with bricks or stones, and inside you'd find wood walls, wooden furniture and even bark accessories. The love of natural materials: Wood, wool, felt and raw metals is easy to understand and almost universally appealing.

    Two iconic examples of Scandinavian design. Photos: Room & Board (left) and MoMA Design Store (right)
    5. It's practical.
    When it comes to design, Scandinavia embraces usefulness; Normann explains, "Whether it's a Wishone chair by Hans Wegner or anything by Alvo Aalto, [an object] can't just be a pretty thing, it must work -- and work really well." Plus, this northern style is about function rather than catching up with other people, says Normann. Above: Hans Wegner's Wishbone Chair in oak ($960, Room & Board) and Alvar Aalto's famous 1936 design, the Aalto Vase ($105 to $145, MoMA Design Store).

    6. It's timeless.
    Scandinavian is a style that's a very lasting style -- designs from half a century ago look as modern today as they did when they were first designed. Plus, in today's climate with the recession, "people want to pare back, instead of going all-out-glam," says Normann, "People want to have a simple approach, calming woods and homes that are light and bright." All interior room shots from the book Simply Scandinavian. (Contributing Editor Sara Norrman. Ryland Peters & Small, $29.95;


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    An ordinary gazebo becomes a romantic dinner setting when a wood-plank table is topped with a candle-lit chandelier. Photo: Red Cover, Alamy

    Chandeliers aren't just for formal dining areas.

    By now we're all familiar with the latest styles of outdoor rugs, colorful patio accents and modernized weather-resistant wicker -- but now it's time to go beyond the basic shopping list and think of finishing touches.

    The best place to start: mood lighting. Yes, lanterns and over-sized citronella candles can help do the trick. But for that extra-special touch, whether you have a lush garden setting or an urban outdoor escape, consider adding an outdoor chandelier. It will add a touch of romance and a lot of charm.

    Many companies are making outdoor-friendly light fixtures (the electric kind) but there's something to be said about an "old-world" style candle-lit fixture. The one in the photo above adds an elegant ambiance to evening entertaining, while in daytime it provides some extra architectural interest to the casual gazebo. Lazy country days have never looked so chic.

    We were feeling so inspired that we rounded up a few of our favorite outdoor chandelier ideas:

    Dazzle your outdoor seating sets with a chandelier decked with pretty crystals (as seen in Country Home Magazine) or an ornate iron beauty (featured in Southern Accents) that adds rustic elegance. Photos: Country Home and Southern Accents.

    Repurposed Pretty
    It can be hard to find the perfect dramatic chandelier that's suitable for the outdoors. Instead of narrowing your search simply to the exterior-friendly section at The Home Depot, scour thrift stores or flea markets for a statement-making chandelier (one that no longer works will be extra budget-friendly). Simply remove the wiring and replace the bulb sockets with taper candles and voila, outdoor chandelier. Bring the fixture in during rainy months to prevent rusting.

    Country Home magazine featured the crystal chandelier (featured above left) in a roundup of their favorite outdoor rooms. Check out their slideshow of 13 photos for some al fresco inspiration -- our favorite is easily this pretty setting with the chandelier centerpiece. Southern Accents magazine also highlighted their Top 10 Pools, Patios and Porches featuring this hard-to-beat expansive lakeside porch (shown above right).

    Seemingly casual dining spaces get an extra burst of interest when a rope-hung formal chandelier tops it all off. Photos: Better Homes & Gardens and Domino

    Tie One On
    If you're lacking a spot from which to hang a chandelier, don't fret: use a swag of rope to drape a pretty fixture over a simple table for a dramatic outdoor setting, as was done in the romantic scene for a Domino magazine shoot (above right). Better Homes & Gardens featured a home with a similar strategy -- roping a candlelit chandelier from a porch awning -- in their roundup of Casual Porch and Patio Dining.

    Do it Yourself
    Still can't find the right fixture to bare the outdoor elements? Make your own out of a wire basket and some jam jars! Or recycle some bottles for this colorful option.


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    Welcome! Can we get you something to eat? Photo: Courtesy of House Beautiful.

    House Beautiful Editor-in-Chief Newell Turner and Flipping Out designerJeff Lewis give us the scoop on their Rockefeller Plaza dream kitchen.

    House Beautiful has a thing for kitchens. Each issue has a curated page of kitchen products, each house-tour spread has at least one dreamy kitchen shot and they even have a designated "Kitchen of the Month", playmate style (no, they're not centerfolds but we kind of wish they were).

    So it makes sense that their big event pays tribute to the busiest room in the house by building a kitchen in the busiest part of New York City: Welcome to House Beautiful's Kitchen of the Year 2010, live from Rockefeller Plaza. Today kicks off a week of cooking demos, tastings and naturally, serious kitchen envy for everyone involved.

    A glimpse at that outdoor space. Photo: Courtesy of House Beautiful.

    "I'm most jealous of the fact that there are 44 doors that I can open all at the same time," says Jeff Lewis, who took on this project in addition to his 18 clients and, oh yeah, his reality show Flipping Out. "I'm one of those people that loves the indoor-outdoor feel so much that if I didn't have five pets that could escape, I'd have every door and window open all the time. I'd even live in a tent outside." Really? "OK, it would be a designer tent."

    Newell Turner, House Beautiful's new editor-in-chief, has his eye on the Walker Zanger tile (seen below). Used to create a blacksplash, these sculptural tiles caught Turner's attention because while he's seen them on the market, not many designers have actually used them. And it's not just the fact that Jeff used them, it's how he did it -- in repetition. "I think it makes the wall very three-dimensional. And when you light it, the wall becomes very sculptural."

    Courtesy of House Beautiful

    Sculptural is a big word with this kitchen -- after all, it's the first time in Kitchen of the Year's three-year history that the design has been so contemporary, and Turner tells us the bold look may be showing up more in the magazine as well. "We're always exploring the definition of House Beautiful and we're now asking: What is it about contemporary that's House Beautiful? In the case of this kitchen, it's the softer side."

    And who knew the softer side would be ushered in by a high-energy reality star with obsessive compulsive tendencies? "Jeff is really good at doing clean livable spaces that are not cold, hard or austere. There's still a lot of warmth in the kitchen, especially in the materials," Turner explains. "[Jeff] thinks the way a homeowner would think, about what works and what wouldn't work in reality and he makes it beautiful and practical -- never superfluous."

    Turner's right: Lewis actually thinks so much like a homeowner, he thought of himself as the homeowner of the kitchen. "I designed this kitchen completely for myself," Lewis told us when we asked about the inspiration. "And I don't care if anyone else likes it. I like it."

    Want to spill on that countertop? Feel free! Photo: Courtesy of House Beautiful.

    Both Lewis and Turner advised that we keep an eye out for the stunning CeasarStone island -- Lewis has been dying to recreate one in his own home, and Turner already has the material in his upstate New York home. "It looks like natural stone, but is actually a new high-tech material that's better than stone in so many ways. It's so easy to take care of!" he said. "And for someone like Jeff, who loves a glass of wine, it doesn't stain like marble."

    Wine, you say? Another one of the exciting features is the KraftMaid wine rack, which Turner thinks will be one of the major ideas viewers can take away from the kitchen. "It's a rack, it's a screen, it's a wall; it gives you storage and organization but it's transparent so it's not a barrier."

    Lewis' take: "It that were in my house, I'd drink the wine faster than I could buy it."

    The kitchen is open July 19-23 but if you don't get to there in time, House Beautiful's website has got you covered. It's got photos, videos and lots of fun extras like interviews and a guide to their sponsors (Kate Spade. Toblerone. The list is a who's-who of designer favorites) . After Friday, the kitchen turns into Bar 30 by House Beautiful, a place for sweaty midtowners and tourists alike to grab a drink al fresco. For the full experience, pick up the October issue of House Beautiful to see the big feature.

    Please, take a seat before leaving. Photo: Courtesy of House Beautiful.

    Want a taste of the fun atmosphere? We asked Turner and Lewis for a few favorite summer recipes. Enjoy!

    Newell Turner's Summer Gratin: "It's a beautifully colored dish, so easy to make and it's great as leftovers."
    Start with cut-up eggplant: salt it, let it drain for 30 minutes, rinse it, then lightly fry in flour. Place the pieces at the bottom of a clear bowl or deep dish. Now cut up the following in equal-sized pieces and layer them row after row, alternating veggies: sqaush, zuchini, tomatoes. Bake it for 30-40 minutes at 350 degrees or until it's soft. Then drizzle with a little bit of olive oil and add salt and pepper to taste. Bonus: It sits well in the fridge and makes for great leftovers.

    Jeff Lewis' Bloody Mary: "The size of the glass? That depends on how hard my day is."
    Combine Grey Goose vodka and Mr. & Mrs. T's Bloody Mary Mix. Always salt the rim with celery salt. Add in celery, green olives and Worcestershire sauce, then add limes and a little bit of lemon juice. "It's a big production, but it's amazing."

    Want more kitchens?
    See our coverage of Kitchen of the Year 2009 with Ina Garten!
    5 Kitchen Trends We're Pretty Sure You'll Forget
    Plus, see past kitchen coverage from ShelterPop!


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    Douglas Friedman, Harper's Bazaar

    We get a peek inside the fashion designer's oh-so fabulous home.

    When past tenants of your building include Jackie O and Marilyn Monroe and even the fictional inhabitants are shrouded in glamour (paging Eloise), you know that your decorating has to err on the side of pizazz. So it's only natural that Tommy Hilfiger and his bombshell wife Dee would make their home into a trove of artwork, opulent fabrics and glitzy accessories. No white sofas here -- even their baby's Nautical-inspired room has style to spare. And the black and white bedroom? Anything but basic.

    Douglas Friedman, Harper's Bazaar

    "We had a vision to create an old-world atmosphere complementing the old-world Plaza," says Tommy, and they certainly brought it to life -- with help from the commissioned Eloise mural and furniture from the Duke and Duchess of Windsor. Of course they also had to put their own modern spin on it with the 20-plus Andy Warhol paintings and whimsical touches like a teapot-shaped topiary on the Central Park-facing terrace and dining chairs with a decorative bone inlay. "We like to go shopping on the weekends," Dee says. You can see the fun they've had in putting it all together. A red wagon in front of the Basquiat? Stuffed animals beneath the chandelier? Yes, please!

    Douglas Friedman; Terry Richardson, Harper's Bazaar

    Want more? Check out the story and slideshow or pick up the August issue of Harper's Bazaar (doesn't Cameron Diaz look sassy? We bet she'd fit right in at Casa Hilfiger).

    Want to see more famous homes?
    See Uma Thurman's old NYC digs
    How Clean is Niecy Nash's House?
    Whitney Port's Apartment Feels Like Home
    Or browse through all of our celeb homes


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    Anderson Ross, Getty

    Keeping your hardwoods like new with these expert tips.

    In the world of floor coverings, there are two categories of people: carpet people and wood-floor people. If you're a lover of wood flooring, chances are you enjoy the click-clack sound of heels on hardwood, the gleam of a freshly waxed floor and the aesthetic of a warm, wood-covered living area.

    And although wood flooring is considered lower maintenance than carpeting, it still requires upkeep. We asked Christopher Davis of the Wood Floor Covering Association (WFCA) for tips on keeping those precious floors gleaming.

    For Starters -- Are Your Floors Sealed?

    Determine how (if at all) your floors are sealed. Cleaning techniques vary depending on the finish -- not the wood type -- so clean accordingly. Not sure what finish you have? Simply rub your finger across the floor. If no smudge appears, the floor is surface sealed. If a smudge does appear, the floor has been treated with a penetrating seal, oil finish, shellac, varnish or lacquer, and then waxed.

    For surface-sealed floors: Typically, new wood floors are sealed with urethane, polyurethane or polyacrylic. These are the easiest to care for because they're stain and water-damage resistant. Simply sweep, mop and relax.

    For penetrating-seal-treated and oil-treated floors: Also common, a penetrating seal or oil finish soaks into the wood grain and hardens. This type of floor must be pampered and protected with liquid or paste wax.

    For lacquered, varnished, shellacked and untreated floors: Although these finishes are not as resistant to moisture, spills and wear as the other sealants mentioned, treat these finishes (and floors with no finish) as you would "penetrating-seal-treated and oil-treated floors."

    This will all make more sense once you get to the tips below. But first, a photo to make you chuckle.

    Don't forget to lift up the rug to take care of the hardwoods underneath. Photo: a440, Flickr

    Tips for Cleaning Surface-Sealed Floors

    -Use oils, waxes or furniture sprays. Oil leaves a residue, furniture spray creates a too-slick surface, and wax makes recoating difficult. Also avoid straight ammonia, alkaline products and abrasive cleaners that can dull or scratch the finish.

    -Never rely on water alone or a vinegar and water solution. Water won't-budge dirt buildup, and (despite what some people think) vinegar and water is not as effective as soapy water, and it may even dull floors sooner.

    -Mop with a soaked sponge. Wring it out completely and mop in the direction of the wood grain. When the water starts to look dirty, immediately empty the bucket and mix a new batch of cleaning solution. Better yet, says Davis, invest in a micro-fiber mop and use it regularly. "These things are the greatest inventions since sliced bread, maybe better," he says. "They pick up all the built up grit that can scratch a wood floor surface."

    -No need to panic if you find hairline cracks in the floor. Dry heat during the winter can cause wood floors to shrink and crack. Those cracks should close up on their own during the summer months -- using a humidifier can also help.

    -Contact your floor manufacturer for the best cleaning product for your floor -- if that's too hard to find (or too pricey) opt instead for plain soap and water. Add a quarter cup of mild or pH-neutral soap, like liquid dishwashing soap, to a bucket of water. That should do the trick.

    -Sweep daily if possible, and mop once or twice a week in high-traffic areas, like the dining room and kitchen.

    -Tackle scuff marks with a bit of baking soda on a damp sponge. (It's like a magic eraser!)

    -Plan for consistent maintenance. Even "low-maintenance" surface-sealed hardwoods will require recoating (see below) every five to seven years.

    Tips for Cleaning Penetrating-Seal-Treated, Oil-Treated, Shellacked, Varnished, Lacquered or Untreated Floors

    -Never use acrylic, water-based, furniture or one-step waxes. Acrylic and water-based waxes can turn floors white, furniture wax creates a slippery surface and one-step waxes can trap and seal in dirt. Additional "no-no's" according to Davis are oil soaps or other household cleaners that contain ammonia, tung oil or lemon oil.

    -Never damp-mop waxed floors. Simply vacuum and sweep the surface regularly. "But for heaven's sake," says Davis, "do not use the beater bar that is used to vacuum carpet. Carpet fibers need to be beaten up to get them clean. All that attachment does to a wood floor is beat it up." Instead, use the empty headed attachment with felt surrounding it.

    -Use a stripper to remove old wax buildup. Choose a product the floor manufacturer recommends, a commercial product or mineral spirits.

    -Get stripping: Strip your old wax and apply a fresh new coat about once or twice a year, depending on wear. If a high-traffic area gets dull in between treatments, you can spot-wax that area.

    -Follow these tips for cleaning problem areas. White water spots? Add a small amount of mineral spirits to an extra-fine (0000) steel wool pad and gently rub the area in a circular motion. Food stains? Wipe the surface with a damp cloth, rub dry and wax; work from the outside edge of the stain in toward the center. Heel marks? Add a small amount of wax to an extra-fine (0000) steel wool pad and gently rub the area in a circular motion.

    Tips for Keeping Floors Happy

    Use rubber-backed or non-ventilated mats or rugs; they can damage your floor. Instead, opt for rugs made especially for your hardwoods -- and remember to shake them out regularly.

    -Allow stiletto heels and untrimmed pet claws to run rampant (or even stride casually) across your hardwoods. They can cause dents and scratches that are not covered by the average flooring warranty. "Also avoid golf shoes or any other spiked shoes that you'd use to aid in fertilizing a lawn," Davis advises. "Commercial flamingo dancing in stilettos is also not advised."

    -Leave the HVAC on. "Wood floors love 35 to 55 percent relative humidity and temperatures between 60 degrees and 80 degrees," Davis says. "Only do this if you want your floors to have a long life."

    -Place mats or area rugs at each entryway to collect the dirt that gets tracked in; particles of dirt can act like sandpaper scratching your floor. Also place mats in areas where water might be splashed, like near a kitchen sink, to protect those areas from damage.

    -Protect your floors from over-exposure to sunlight -- which can fade, darken or change your floor's coloring -- with window treatments and area rugs wherever possible. Be sure to rotate the area rugs and furniture regularly to allow floors to age evenly from UV exposure.

    -Prevent friction between your flooring and legs of furniture by covering table and other furniture legs with protectors. And if you plan to drag heavy furniture over a wood floor, Davis says, "use clean floor protectors, rubber wheeled dollies or multiple professional weight lifters for this purpose."

    -Consider taking that extra step for floors with excessive wear-and-tear. Screening and recoating will make your floors look like new. (Screening is a process used to abrade the polyurethane finish currently on your floor, then fresh coats of urethane are applied for a like-new look.) If that doesn't solve the problem, you might need to consider hiring a professional to sand and refinish the floors. If the damage is only in a small area, you may be able to save yourself all that work if replacement boards are available from your manufacturer.

    Got cleaning on the brain? Good for you!
    Get a Greener Clean
    Clean with Style -- O-Cel-O Teams Up with Christian Siriano
    How-To: Clean Your Deck With a Pressure Washer
    Weeknight Speed Cleaning: 30 Minutes to a Cleaner Home
    Or check out more cleaning articles from ShelterPop!


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    A trend that gives us one more excuse to fire up the grill.

    Summer weekends mean summer barbecues and not that we don't love a slick stainless steel grill, but hey, what's wrong with injecting a bit of pizazz into your grilling? We're thrilled to pick up on a trend that will get any outdoor cook excited: Grills have gone blue, red and many other colors of the rainbow. So, we've rounded-up some of our favorites. Be warned: These grills are hot.

    Weber Smokey Joe Grill, $50, Crate and Barrel
    Nothing speaks retro and chic more than this avocado-green charcoal grill. Its porcelain enamel finish is laid over a lightweight steel bowl and lid with a handle. Slip into your plaid shorts, pedal pushers or best sundress, grab some vintage floral plates, and serve your guests kebabs of chopped vegetables and grilled meat on a stick.

    Fyrkat Picnic Charcoal Grill, $50, Bodum
    From the same company that makes tried-and-true -- not to mention colorful -- French presses. This bright-orange charcoal grill is just 14.2 inches tall but has all you need to grill a whole fish or a bunch of burgers for friends. An enamel-coated steel lid and bowl is supported by chrome-plated steel legs. Place it on your terrace and we guarantee that it will be a conversation starter, or tote it to a pre-game tailgater or your local park. (Note: It also comes in sky-blue, canary-yellow, avocado-green and white.)

    m.i. grill Tabletop Gas Grill with speakers, $144, Walmart
    Another grill perfect for small-space living, this grill (steel with enamel coating) even has speakers for cranking tunes; it's compatible with iPods, MP3 players, Zune, standard CD players and XM/Sirius. (Two gadgets in one? A definite plus!) Instead of a red lid, or a red bowl, the entire grill is a flaming red. And no spindly legs either -- its base is strong and stylin'. Don't worry about throwing a big barbecue. The grill's surface area for cooking is 161 square inches.

    Kenmore 3 Burner Gas Grill with Back Burner, $300, Sears
    Midnight blue is a calming color, especially when your dinner is being cooked underneath a midnight-blue lid while you sit nearby and do, well, nothing. With more bells and whistles than the above grills, this one claims to have 559 square inches of cooking area, so yes, this is a party-perfect grill. There's even room on each side of the cart to hang your grilling gadgets, hot pads or dishtowels. It's got porcelain-enameled cast-iron cooking grates. (Note: It also comes in a softer shade of red than the grill we featured above, and a copper-y shade of brown too.)

    Weber Green Performer Grill, $330, Crate and Barrel
    If you like the avocado-green look, but the Smokey Joe Weber isn't going to cut it for your family's meat needs, go with the next model up. Powered by gas, the two-wheeled grilling station hasn't lost its retro look despite the modern-day additions of an easy-touch gas ignition, one-step cleaning system with removable ash catcher, and a hinged cooking grate. Heavy-gauge porcelain enamel covers the lid and actual grill. Its attached granite-style thermostat work surface also has hooks for mitts and a wire storage shelf.

    Minden Master Propane Gas Grill, $500, Minden
    We saved the best grill for last, although we do realize it's the most expensive. Style? Definitely -- This shade of green is classy! Convenience? Yep, with a reported half-hour grill time. There is also an option to add on various custom-grill options like a bamboo cutting board or a condiment tray, even an ice bucket with a lid (to hold the fish you're about to grill?). (Note: An intense, bright shade of red and also royal blue are available.)


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    Canvas launches an online store, Photo: Canvas

    Now you can buy your favorite Canvas pieces online.

    New York City's design aficionados have been heading to SoHo for drool-worthy homewares with a simple, organic feel since 2006 when Harriet Maxwell Macdonald and Andrew Corrie opened Ochre. The shop's global wares include Christiane Perrochon and Daniel Smith ceramics, Kirsten Hecktermann cushions and throws, and Miller Harris fragrances.

    In 2009, Andrew Corrie decided to take his vision and create a line of products in keeping with the Ochre aesthetic and Canvas was born. The line made an instant splash in the design community for its artisan-made quality, natural style and versatile color palette. Canvas wares have been gracing the rooms of stylish homes and pages of design magazines ever since.

    Today, Canvas lovers can browse the company's wares and shop online at the newly launched, an online shop housing all the lovely Canvas goodies. We checked out the site, and it's almost as good as a visit to the store itself. Here are some of the amazing items we saw:

    The Corkscrew Collection and the Mila Pendant Lamps. Photos: Canvas

    We're crazy for all of the Canvas line, but some of our favorite items include the Corkscrew Collection of solid wood tables and stools, ($340 to $670), and the perfectly simple Mila Hanging Pendant Lamps ($198 each).

    Ceramics from Canvas in vintage white. Photo: Canvas

    Ceramics are another staple of the Canvas line, with a hand-thrown dining set and pitcher by ceramicist Judy Jackson, organically-shaped Belgian plates and bowls, and a simple bistro collection of dinnerware and serving platters.

    A classic design with solid pine legs -- perfection! Photo: Canvas

    If money were no object, we'd immediately kick our IKEA dining table to the street and replace it with Canvas's minimally elegant Wooden Trestle Table ($1220), but for now, we'll save our pennies.

    Who doesn't love hand-woven, natural fibered textiles? Photos: Canvas

    Canvas's selection of textiles reflects the company's love of craft and artistry from around the world. The company's cotton Indian Blankets ($115) and their hand-woven Kantha Quilted Blanket ($220) would both be great summer bedspreads.


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    Darwin chair flip pagesChange the look of the chair with the flip of a page. Photo: Johannes van Assem

    You may never get bored of your decor again.

    Chances are that there's something in your house that you fell in love with, had to have and now you're just plain sick of. It happens to all of us, whether it's an overexposed trend or a tired pattern. What if you could simply change it with the flick of your wrist?

    That's why we love the Darwin chair. Its constructed like a flip book, with a hinge placed at the head rest. Just flip the page up and over for a brand new look. Imagine the possibilities of a chair like this -- wallpaper patterns, Pantone colors -- there are so many potential variations.

    Designed by influential New York-based graphic designer Stefan Sagmeister, the Darwin chair was inspired by the idea that trends don't change, they evolve. Thus, its namesake. As graphic designers, the Sagmeister team understands how to convey a message through illustration, but they wanted to take it a step further and apply it to a piece of furniture.

    The Sagmeister team's graphical representations of evolution. Photos: Sagmeister, Inc.

    The sheets used in the chair are printed with intricate patterns that showcase the creation of the universe. Stefan explains that they begin with the big bang and make their way through creation of the earth, development of plant, animal and human life and end with the present age of technology. (Pictured above from left to right are graphical images representing before the big bang, plant life, the dinosaurs, birds and the future.)

    The prototype was purchased by the Graphic Design Museum in Holland and will be on exhibition, but there will be a limited edition of 10 chairs manufactured and distributed by Droog.

    Check out another strange and unusual chair: a chair made from an old scooter.


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    Gardening is even better when it's earth-friendly. Photo: Rob Melnychuk, Getty Images

    Sure, gardening brings us closer to Mother Nature, but is your garden truly green?

    While plants help to clean the air and are good for the environment, many people use chemical insecticides and fertilizers in their gardens, which are harmful to the environment and the people and animals that come into contact with them. Plus, in the hot summer months gardens can become huge water hogs. Here are a few tools to get your garden onto a greener path:

    An easy-to-assemble and affordable compost bin. Photos: Gardener's Supply Company

    The first step to greening your garden is to forgo chemical insecticides and herbicides. Opt for organic options instead (hint: look for a label that says OMRI, which is a group that certifies organic products through a rigorous testing process).

    Another way to feed your flora without harming the environment is to start composting. Composting creates nutrient rich soil that will nourish your plants naturally and it keeps kitchen and garden scraps out of the waste stream.

    Compost pailsA compost pail you won't be embarrassed to display on your kitchen counter. Photo: Crate & Barrel

    All you need to start composting is a bin to contain the compost. We like Gardener's Supply Company's no-nonsense Simply Natural Compost Bin ($100) for its simplicity, its easy assembly and basic, but attractive design. You'll also want to invest in a compost pail for your kitchen to gather scraps as you cook. A metal pail, like one of Crate & Barrel's Compost Pails ($40 to $55), is better than a ceramic model because you can bang it against the compost bin without fearing it will break.

    Not only does compost nourish your garden, amending your soil with compost will also increase the ground's ability to retain water, reduce runoff and improve drainage, all of which are earth-friendly results.

    Martha Stewart SeedsMartha Stewart Seeds are 100% certified organic -- hooray! Photos: Martha Stewart Living

    Starting your own plants from seed guarantees that they haven't been treated with chemicals -- it also gives you the satisfaction of a front row seat to the miracle of life. We're thrilled to see that Martha Stewart has introduced a line of seeds as part of her partnership with Home Depot. These 100% USDA Certified organic seeds are available for $2 a packet. Martha's collection includes 29 vegetables and 9 herbs. Don't worry, it's not too late to take advantage of these earth-friendly seeds; you can sow these varieties now for fall harvest: "Broccoli - Green Sprouting Calabrese," "Lettuce - Bibb (Limestone)," "Lettuce - Black Seeded Simpson," "Lettuce - Parris Island Cos (Romaine)," "Spinach - Bloomsdale Long Standing and Swiss Chard - Ruby" would all be good choices.

    Paper pot maker and biodegradable potsOpt for greener ways to plant your seedlings. Photos: Green Nation Gardens and TerraCycle

    When you start those seedlings, there's a greener way to sow your seeds. Instead of using plastic pots, create easily biodegradable seedling pots out of newspaper with this Paper Pot Maker ($15) from Green Nation Gardens. If you aren't planting directly into the ground, the greenest option would be to reuse a container you already have. If you're in the market for a new vessel, we like TerraCycle's Biodegradable Fiber Pots and Saucers made from rice husks, and bamboo and coconut fibers. (We're also big fans of the company's organic Garden Fertilizer - it's made from worm poop!)

    Rain barrel and diverter kitSave water -- and money! -- with a rain barrel. Photos: Home Depot and

    Another ecologically unsound part of gardening is water waste. The best way to combat this is to plant drought-tolerant plants appropriate for your climate. Another easy way to cut your water use is to collect rain water with a rain barrel. While many models are ugly plastic jugs, Home Depot offers a pricey-but-pretty 67 Gal. Wooden Rain Barrel for $249 (be warned, one customer review reveals that it comes unassembled). For a no-frills rain catcher, try the Upcycle 50 Gallon Rain Barrel ($80) that links to other barrels to fill from one downspout. Attach either directly to your gutter's downspout with a Basic RainReserve Diverter System ($45).

    When you water, do it in the most efficient way possible: First, always water in the morning. If you wait until the sun gets hot, much of your watering will be lost as evaporation. When you water use a hose with a soaker attachment, which is much more efficient than a sprinkler. And last but not least, don't water unless plants need it!

    Want to learn more about earth-friendly gardening? Check out the Sustainable Sites Initiative, which was introduced last year by the American Society of Landscape Architects, the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center at The University of Texas at Austin and the United States Botanic Garden. The Initiative's report includes proposed guidelines for creating sustainable landscapes, which even offers a point system for rating a landscape's sustainability (much like the LEED rating system).


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    $500 kitchen makeover A kitchen gets a $500 face lift. Photo: Michael J. Lee

    In tough times, an interior designer tests how far she can stretch a dollar.

    Massachusetts-based interior designer Linda Merrill has spent almost a decade cooking in a tiny kitchen -- and dreaming of the day when she had the time and budget to renovate it. When she first moved in, she replaced the kitchen floor with graphic black-and-white checkerboard patterned tile, but she didn't do much else. The cabinets were dated, there was little counterspace, and she was tired of having a kitchen that's "small with only two fairly useless drawers," she says. It was especially tough because she sees so many beautiful kitchens as an interior designer.

    It wasn't as though she didn't have big ideas and lofty plans. The problem? She didn't have the money to design the kitchen of her dreams. Her budget was only $300.

    Ouch. Still, Linda was determined to get a beautiful space with some sweat equity. She employed the help of a friend and rolled up her sleeves and got to work.

    First, she scraped off the dated popcorn ceiling, sanded, primed and painted, which cost about $50. She then purchased some embossed beadboard wallpaper which cost $25/roll (4 rolls total) and was much easier and cheaper to install than real beadboard. She painted the paper with a glossy trim paint. (You can see it in the above photo -- on the right wall.) It looks like real beadboard, doesn't it?

    Linda cleaned and painted the cabinets inside and out. She painted the cabinet exteriors herself in a two step-process, with two different shades of dark green paint, and then sanded with steel wool to give them a distressed look.

    $500 kitchen makeover Learning to sew the skirt and window shade saved Linda from paying a seamstress. Photos: Michael J. Lee

    The 20 glass knobs were purchased on eBay for $50 total, which saved her from purchasing much more expensive antique crystal knobs. She and her helper also built a new counter (almost like an island bordering the kitchen wall) with an old closet door that was taking up space in Linda's garage. The new counter has a skirt made of environmentally-friendly burlap, and Linda had enough extra material to make a matching window shade for a total of $17.

    Linda spent an additional $200 on paint and other supplies, which brings her total to about $500 (not including the appliances, which she received on a trade). "As with all home reno projects, it takes longer and costs more than anticipated," Linda says, but doing it herself saved her at least $2000 in labor costs for a painter, carpenter and electrician.

    The biggest challenge Linda faced with this renovation besides her budget was time. Although she had help, her friend was only available on Sunday afternoons, and Linda's schedule was jam-packed, so the entire project was stretched out over a period of a few months.

    The kitchen before the renovation. Photos: Linda Merrill

    Want to try out your own $500 renovation? It's possible, says Linda.

    "Learning how to do things oneself is a huge money saver," she says. "Even if it's just on the demolition and debris removal end of things." Also, spending some time looking into your options will also help you save -- Linda wanted crystal cabinet knobs, but knew they weren't in her budget. "Instead of just passing on the idea and picking any old cheap knob, I researched online for the best deal I could find and found some in my budget with the exact look I wanted." All you need to do is spend some time comparing prices and doing some shopping on eBay or Craigslist. You might even be able to find items at local garage sales.

    It's also important to be creative and "reuse what you have," she says. It's good for the environment and the pocket book. "Furniture can be reupholstered, cabinets repainted, doors can be turned into kitchen counters," she says. A fresh coat of paint isn't expensive but offers the biggest bang for your buck.

    And finally, if you know someone who is a plumber, electrician or other professional, take advantage of that and make a trade. Maybe you're an accountant and can help them with their taxes in exchange for some rewiring?

    From the very start Linda knew she could create a beautiful kitchen with a limited budget. She believes that knowing what she wanted up front was "instrumental in all the decisions made along the way...every decision I made was done with great care and consideration of the practical needs of the space." So, if you know how your space functions and what you want, there's no limit to what you can do in your space, even when times are tough.

    Want to learn how to do things on your own to save money? Check out our sister site, DIY Life.


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    This historic home was home to the Walsh brothers, Mikey and Brandon, in the film "The Goonies." Photo: Jeff Wallen

    Twenty-five years after the movie's release, fans still flock to the small Oregon town where it was filmed.

    Confession: As a kid, I watched "The Goonies" a lot. I blame '80s hotties Sean Astin and Corey Feldman for getting me hooked, watching it over and over again on my parents' VCR.

    Written by Steven Spielberg, the 1985 film's story is simple: Developers plan to expand a golf course and country club in the Goon Docks neighborhood of Astoria, Oregon, and as a result the Walsh family may be forced to move out of their home. After finding a treasure map in their attic, the Walsh brothers round up a group of friends who set off on a quest to save their home, outsmarting criminals and finding a pirate ship along the way. Who can forget Chunk (Jeff Cohen), the chubby-cheeked kid, who loved to tell tall tales and was forced to do the unforgettable truffle shuffle, or Mikey (Sean Astin), the sweet-as-pie, determined younger Walsh brother, who leads the group to One Eyed Willy's treasure?

    The historic homes of Astoria, Oregon serve as the backdrop for the adventure, and the Washington Post reports that thousands of fans still visit the town to tour some of the town's buildings and homes used in the movie. In June, many of the original "Goonies" stars traveled to Astoria for a 25th-anniversary bash (lasting four days) that included viewing the movie, an '80s-theme night out on the town, meet-and-greet with fans in attendance and bus tours to film locations. (Did you know that Corey Feldman is now in a rock band? I didn't either. His band, The Truth Movement, performed during the celebration.)

    One of the houses featured in the film is the beautiful historic Victorian shown in the photo above. The house, located at 368 38th Street, is where the Walsh family lived. It's closed to the public, but it doesn't stop gawkers from standing outside and staring. We'd rather kick back and relax on that gorgeous porch.

    Lucky fans of "The Goonies" get to explore the attic that is where the boys' adventures began. Photo: Jeff Wallen

    The attic (above) inside the "Walsh" family home figured large in the movie -- after all, it's where the Goonies find the treasure map that sets them off on their adventures. It's a bare bones space, but with cathedral ceilings and skylights, we think it could be transformed into a pretty amazing craft or yoga room. As part of the Goonies Anniversary event, tourists could pay $25 to tour the interiors of the homes featured in the film.

    An ordinary kitchen this is not. It's one of the filming sites for "The Goonies." Photo: Jeff Wallen

    Clark "Mouth" Devereaux's (Corey Feldman) house was also in the Goon Docks neighborhood. Rhonda Solheim (shown above), who owns "Mouth's" Astoria house, opened it up to visitors recently as part of the anniversary celebration.

    Another building that visitors love to check out: the Clatstop County Jail (see below). Now home to the Oregon Film Museum, which opened in late May of this year, it was the site of "the Fratelli brother breakout," as the Portland Oregonian puts it. At 732 Duane Street, you can even walk into jail cell number two, where Jake Fratelli spent some time, and admire the modest furnishings: four bunks. Museum officials have jiggered a live webcam video so that your friends and family can see you in the cell.

    The former Clatstop County Jail became the Oregon Film Museum this year. Photo: Jeff Wallen

    The cast of "The Goonies" poring over a treasure map that their characters find in the film. Photo: Everett Collection


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    Coffee table books are a living room's best friend -- a sleek, stylish way to let guests know just how cool you are.

    Summer means houseguests and being a good houseguest means giving a memorable gift -- and what better than a picture-perfect coffee table book? Beth Whiffen, a regular contributor to The Inside Source, eBay's online style magazine, recommends coffee table books for every personality. For the full article, see The Inside Source!

    You can tell a lot about a person from what's on their coffee table. Besides adding a personal touch to home decor, an interesting selection of coffee table books can spark conversations, fill awkward silences and double as an inexpensive way to display art -- all while hiding the water rings on your furniture. (They also make great gifts!) So what do you want to say about yourself through your displayed reading material? Check out our selection of eBay's coolest coffee table books and pick one that piques your interest.

    For the colorful character: Hotel LaChapelle by David Lachapelle (buy it now price, $38.63)

    For the pop culture enthusiast: Portraits by Helmut Newton (buy it now price, $19.99)

    For the island-hopping jet-setter: Island Hotel Stories by Francisca Matteoli (buy it now price, $41.83)

    For the nature lover: Cabinet of Natural Curiousities by Albertus Seba (buy it now price, $850)

    To get the scoop on what to get the other people on your list (Sunkissed athlete? Fashion die-hard?) see the full article!

    ...And check out our past collaborations with The Inside Source.

    The Inside Source, eBay's online style magazine, brings you the hottest goods and the latest trends, tips and shopping stories from leaders in home and garden, fashion and more.


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