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    Johnstone / Prine, Splash News

    Yes, she's almost out, but that doesn't mean we can't help make her last days a little lovelier.

    ShelterPop's motto is "Happy homes make happy people." But do happy jail cells make happy inmates? Now, we've heard that Century Regional Detention Facility inmates aren't allowed to decorate their cells -- a lesson Paris Hilton learned the hard way during her stint there in 2007, when her family photos were ripped off the wall by a guard. But since the "Pimp My Cell" online game lets players add everything from photos of Perez Hilton to a bouquet of flowers to an imaginary cell, we thought we'd do some armchair decorating for Lindsay.

    Like any good decorator, we'll start by identifying the challenges with the space (seen over at our sister site PopEater): Small size, no natural light (there's only one six-inch window) and blah walls. And consulting our archive of designer advice and product reviews, we'll take it all on.

    For the small space issue, we recommend...
    1. A faux-headboard. Lindsay has only a boring brown twin bed but we say she should break out the crafting materials and dress up the area with rope, fabric or even framed photos. We don't know how DIY-friendly Lindsay is, but maybe she'll find the experience calming -- it does trigger the relaxation response.
    2. Bigger is better -- larger scale furniture is a more bold choice, and surprisingly, makes the room look larger. Maybe a glamorous, oversized Chesterfield sofa?

    For the light issue, we recommend...
    1. A happy light! It mimics sunlight in order to activate the body's natural mood enhancers. Sorry Linds, it will not help with tanning.
    2. Adorably patterned hanging lights from Paper Cloud -- not only will it add some light from above, but the cheery patterns will liven up the room.
    3. And a favorite way to brighten a room: Mirrors! They'll reflect the light already there, and (bonus!) make the room seem bigger. (Here, some of our favorite ways to decorate with the shiny surfaces).

    For the blah walls,
    we recommend...
    1. Curating her own art gallery! One of our writers recently spilled about his experience doing this and we think the supportive, come-one, come-all approach to decorating would not only brighten the room, but lift Lindsay's spirits.
    2. Maybe she's feeling a little shy about flashing her wealth, so here's another budget-friendly wall-filler: Post-it notes! She can even create an homage to her idol Marilyn Monroe.
    3. Or if she's ready to spend a little more, we say splurge on some statement-making wallpapers -- ones with Swarovski crystals, textured surfaces or nature-inspired images.


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    Johnstone / Prine, Splash News

    Yes, she's almost out, but that doesn't mean we can't help make her last days a little lovelier.

    ShelterPop's motto is "Happy homes make happy people." But do happy jail cells make happy inmates? Now, we've heard that Century Regional Detention Facility inmates aren't allowed to decorate their cells -- a lesson Paris Hilton learned the hard way during her stint there in 2007, when her family photos were ripped off the wall by a guard. But since the "Pimp My Cell" online game lets players add everything from photos of Perez Hilton to a bouquet of flowers to an imaginary cell, we thought we'd do some armchair decorating for Lindsay.

    Like any good decorator, we'll start by identifying the challenges with the space (seen over at our sister site PopEater): Small size, no natural light (there's only one six-inch window) and blah walls. And consulting our archive of designer advice and product reviews, we'll take it all on.

    For the small space issue, we recommend...
    1. A faux-headboard. Lindsay has only a boring brown twin bed but we say she should break out the crafting materials and dress up the area with rope, fabric or even framed photos. We don't know how DIY-friendly Lindsay is, but maybe she'll find the experience calming -- it does trigger the relaxation response.
    2. Bigger is better -- larger scale furniture is a more bold choice, and surprisingly, makes the room look larger. Maybe a glamorous, oversized Chesterfield sofa?

    For the light issue, we recommend...
    1. A happy light! It mimics sunlight in order to activate the body's natural mood enhancers. Sorry Linds, it will not help with tanning.
    2. Adorably patterned hanging lights from Paper Cloud -- not only will it add some light from above, but the cheery patterns will liven up the room.
    3. And a favorite way to brighten a room: Mirrors! They'll reflect the light already there, and (bonus!) make the room seem bigger. (Here, some of our favorite ways to decorate with the shiny surfaces).

    For the blah walls,
    we recommend...
    1. Curating her own art gallery! One of our writers recently spilled about his experience doing this and we think the supportive, come-one, come-all approach to decorating would not only brighten the room, but lift Lindsay's spirits.
    2. Maybe she's feeling a little shy about flashing her wealth, so here's another budget-friendly wall-filler: Post-it notes! She can even create an homage to her idol Marilyn Monroe.
    3. Or if she's ready to spend a little more, we say splurge on some statement-making wallpapers -- ones with Swarovski crystals, textured surfaces or nature-inspired images.


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    We spot about six colors in this suite at Grenada's Mount Cinnamon hotel. Photo: Mount Cinnamon

    The vibrant decor at this Caribbean hotel is blinding.

    Beachfront hotels often incorporate a white or neutral palette to place more attention on the stunning nature right outside. At Mount Cinnamon, a boutique hotel on the island of Grenada, designers did the opposite when preparing to debut the property two years ago. Instead of sand-kissed neutrals, they worked the color wheel and devised interiors that mimic the island's history as a source of exotic spices.

    Since many of us fear decorating with such extreme amounts of color, we wanted to give you a peek inside the hotel -- it proves that there's nothing to be afraid of. Plus, here are a few tips to inspire you to add pops of color to your own home.

    1. Choose brightly colored appliances and gadgets.
    No blah white fridge here! Next to granite countertops in one of the hotel's suites is a bright-orange fridge. It would certainly bring a smile to your face when you're making coffee in the morning. If you're a little hesitant to go all out with an orange fridge, how about a red toaster or a bright-green French press? Echo that color choice in a set of coffee mugs, cloth napkins or cereal bowls, and you'll make your morning rush a bit more fun.

    Mount Cinnamon's dining and bar area is cheerful in its design. Photo: Mount Cinnamon

    2. Don't limit yourself to just two colors.
    It's very easy when decorating a room or small space to spend a lot of time poring over colors -- and thinking you have to settle on two. Wrong! As you can see in the above photo, turquoise, orange and lime-green work very well together. You might even say that this is a cozy place to eat lunch. And notice that not all of the chairs are of the same color. Some tables are flanked by turquoise chairs, others by lime-green or orange chairs. Symmetry is overrated!

    Simple white chairs and white cabinetry are a fitting backdrop for this green fridge in one of the hotel's suites. Photo: Mount Cinnamon

    3. The perfect match: white + lots of color.
    Yes, we know that we just talked about choosing at least two colors, but here's another fun option: Add a very bright color to an all-white kitchen. If you want to attract a lot of attention to an appliance -- such as this green fridge -- or a vase or a piece of furniture that's a shocking color, white objects will help the color really stand out.

    Contrasting shades of green and purple actually work quite well in this bedroom at Mount Cinnamon. Photo: Mount Cinnamon

    4. Color spices up the bedroom.
    There's a temptation when decorating a bedroom to cultivate a relaxing, meditative spot to slumber. That's one approach, but here's one that will get your blood flowing: Wrap yourself in colorful sheets and add coordinating colorful art and furnishings. It will bring a smile, even if you don't feel like getting up that morning.

    Green dining chairs can brighten up a foggy or cool night. Photo: Mount Cinnamon

    5. Color up the table.
    Tableware is among the easiest ways to introduce color. When you're not using those canary-yellow or fuchsia plates and bowls, they can be tucked into your kitchen cabinets or stacked in your kitchen as decor. Or choose colorful chairs to pair with your dining-room table and leave the rest of it neutral, as the table setting above demonstrates. I swear food just tastes better when served on a colorful platter.


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    Vittorio Zunino Celotto, Getty Images

    After no one was interested in the $22.5 million price tag, Ricky Martin relists his Golden Beach mansion at a loss.

    Although it's unclear if he ever intended to occupy the property, five-time Grammy-winning pop star Ricky Martin dumped a whopping $16.25 million in April of 2007 on an oceanfront spread in the über upscale enclave of Golden Beach, Florida. About six short months later the recently out-of-the-closet father (read all about it on ParentDish) had a real estate change of heart and put the posh property back on the market with a much higher asking price of $22.5 million.

    But alas, there were no buyers at the high price and the price of Martin's Mediterranean-style mansion plummeted to $18 million before it was taken off the market. Martin, who has owned several luxury properties in the Miami area, recently relisted the mansion with an asking price of $18.9 million.

    The property is protected by electronic gates that swing open to a large brick motor court that stretches out in front of the five-bedroom, seven-bathroom mansion that measures a celebrity-sized 9,882 square feet.

    A dual staircase flanking a fountain marks the entrance to the rotunda-style foyer and the dramatic, ballroom-sized formal living room (above) that features a voluminous double-height ceiling, a monolithic carved stone fireplace and a trio of arched French doors that open to ocean views and sea breezes.

    The recently redone kitchen has oversized herringbone-patterned brick flooring and a matching barrel vaulted brick ceiling. As expected in an $18.9 million mansion, the cook's kitchen is equipped with copious custom cabinets, a huge work island, top-of-the-line stainless steel appliances and an adjacent breakfast room.

    In addition to the formal living and dining rooms, the bon bon-shaker's beach house has a library, den/game room and state of the art media room (above) with a soaring coffered ceiling. There are French doors -- hopefully fitted with black-out curtains -- and a massive movie screen with operable electronic curtains.

    Were the chisel-chested singer ever to settle into the Golden Beach mansion's inner sanctum, he'd see a massive second floor master suite (above) with shiny hardwood floors, lots of windows, his and his bathrooms and dressing rooms and a private ocean-view terrace.

    One of the two spa-style master bathrooms has marble tile floors and walls, a vast vanity and plenty of windows for light and fresh air. And don't forget the party-sized steam shower and gigantic soaking tub.

    The backyard, where Martin might have worked on keeping his skin that signature bronze, has more than 100 feet of ocean frontage, a passel of palm trees, a swimming pool and raised spa surrounded by a wide brick terrace, a built-in barbecue grill and open-air pool cabana for escaping the skin scorching south Florida sunshine.

    After he sells his apparently never lived in Golden Beach getaway, Martin will be far from homeless. The very "fortunate homosexual man" is still living La Vida Loca with luxury homes in New York City, Puerto Rico, and a even an $8 million home on a private island off the coast of Rio de Janeiro.

    Want more celeb homes?

    Sacha and Isla List Their Midcentury Hollywood Hills Home
    Christie Brinkley Puts Hamptons Home on the Market
    9 Celebs And Their Crazy Extravagant Mansions
    Or check out ShelterPop's past coverage of all celebrity homes!


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    Rebecca Naden, AFP/Getty Images

    The home and design news for the week of July 26 to 30.

    Martha Stewart's company hit a bit of a rough patch, while the Royal Family does its part for the environment. That's a mere smattering of what made headlines this week.

    Prince Charles must figure if the Royal Family can recycle, then why can't the whole U.K.? He's having some curtains at his Clarence House home turned into carrier bags. Plus, he's hosting a garden party in September. Right on, Prince Charles!

    Designer and architect David Rockwell brings his talent to The Rug Company for his first product introduction: A collection of hand-knotted rugs.

    Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia had a rough go of it on Wall Street this past week as the publishing portion of the company continues to struggle.

    Apple is thinking home and office decor with its range of color options for the Mac mini.

    Furniture retailer American Signature is still going forward with its launch of NBA star LeBron James' children's line -- even in the Ohio area, where he's public enemy No. 1.

    Homedics, maker of personal care products, is getting into bedding with Hollander Home Fashions.

    Get ready to mark your ballots: Market-goers will be able to vote in the first Gift for Life/New York International Gift Fair Product Design Competition as the finalists have been chosen.

    Now you can fancy up the floor in your child's room as high-end area rug producer Safavieh unveils its first kids collection.

    Ethan Allen has rolled out a new website for its contract business, which offers product and interior design for the company's hospitality and commercial clients.


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    Cesar Rubio, courtesy of Studio Terpeluk

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

    San Francisco Mission District restaurant Farina was designed by Brett Terpeluk (who spent a decade working with Renzo Piano in Italy) and Monica Viarengo. The interior features handcrafted steel fixtures, shelves, and a bar by British artisan Peter Jeal. The Louise Nevelson-inspired marble counter (pieced together from vintage sink basins) is by Nathan Hunt of Hunt Studios in San Francisco; the round tables feature tops re-purposed from the establishment's former signage.

    Want to steal a piece of this look?


    The red Double Octopus Chandeliers are by Turkish design firm of the moment, Autoban, and are available at Hive Modern for $1,995.

    To see more more take-home ideas from Farina, check out Remodelista!


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  • 07/30/10--11:11: Weekly Link Love
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    Getty through CasaSugar

    Coral walls, California-shaped cheese boards and gold corn cobs...what we're lusting over in the blogosphere this week.

    Preppy style isn't limited to polo shirts and madras shorts. Casa's all about bringing it home with pink and green accents and cable knit accessories. Girly gals, this is a must-see. [CasaSugar]

    Nicole co-threw a bash with Pierre Frey and Josh Greene for some of the best looking (and yes, talented!) designers in town. Check out her scoop on Steven Gambrel, Laura Kirar, Nate Berkus and Jesse Carrier. [So Haute]

    Checking into this hotel is like going down the rabbit hole (and yes, we mean that in a good way). A room full of wedding cakes? Tulle as decor? Oh, we're there. [The Frisky]

    You know that old saying, a happy guest is a guest with a gold-plated corn cob? OK, maybe not, but we still love Michael Aram's cute corn accessories and summer hosting advice. [L.A. at Home]

    Cassandra has coral walls on the brain. Are you brave enough? [coco+kelley]

    Um, hello, Jamie, can you please take us back to college and decorate our dorm rooms? This Bjork poster-inspired interior is making us miss homework. [i suwannee]

    Cheese boards shaped like states? Think we just found our new go-to housewarming gift. [A CUP OF JO]

    With all our complaining about how the too-hot weather has been affecting us, we've forgotten about our plants. Luckily, we got a reminder -- and some tips for helping the poor, hot garden. [The New York Times]

    A Tulsa, Oklahoma dream home that looks totally lived in, totally charming and completely enviable. Oh, to be Ashley Campbell (or any of her four darling children!) [The Stir]


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  • 08/02/10--18:11: Edible Weeds
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    Pigweed (Amaranthus retroflexus). Photo: Marie Viljoen

    Eating weeds has become chic.

    In tough economic times, isn't it comforting to know that instead of tossing those tenacious garden invaders -- the denizens of ditches, intruders in lawns, lurkers in the woods -- you can pull them up and swallow them for dinner? Not only will you be happily surprised and well fed, but you may rest easy knowing that what you are doing is at the height of foodie fashion.

    Clearly, when it comes to gathering wild foods, or plants that are less familiar to you than say, broccoli or beans (and remember that they were new foods, too, once upon a time), some common sense is required. If you do not know what the plant is, do not eat it. Identify it carefully by comparing leaves and flowers with good resources, and preferably with the help of a person who has eaten them before (and lived to tell). If the plant is growing near a polluting highway, think twice. If it grows on a dog-populated sidewalk, walk on by.

    Lamb's quarters lurking in the flower beds. Photo: Marie Viljoen

    Lamb's quarters (Chenopodium album), also called Goose foot and Fat hen (NOT to be confused with Hen bane, which is poisonous -- a notorious error recently made by British food personality Anthony Worral Thompson) is a delicious leafy vegetable. 'It's a weed!' you cry. Well, weeds are in the eye of the beholder, and on the plate of this weed eater. In India, it is cultivated as a food crop, and perhaps the day is coming when we here will do the same. Lamb's quarters are every bit as adaptable and nutritious as chard and spinach, with a milder flavor and soft mouthfeel.

    The easiest preparation of lamb's quarters is to steam the leaves and young stems, and add a smidgen of olive oil and lemon once cooked, with a little salt and pepper. Like spinach, the leaves lose a lot of volume through water, and you need many to make yourself a nice sidedish. Once cooked, I sometimes squeeze excess moisture from them, saute some garlic in butter, return the leaves to the pan, stir, and then eat at once. The cooked, cooled leaves can also be added to frittatas; light, broth-based soups with an egg yolk whisked in at the last moment; or as a nutritious, leafy bed for a poached egg.

    Pigweed. Photo: Marie Viljoen

    Pigweed is a common name given to several unwanted plants, but it usually refers to Amaranthus retroflexus, also called Red root pigweed. Amaranthus is a genus famous for its edible leaves, flowers and seeds, and this pigweed is one of the less glamorous members of the family. It is the bane of many farmers' lives and has been treated with tons of herbicides over many decades. The result: it is quite resistant to our bio warfare. If only the profit potential of this weed would be exploited, we'd sooner see it at the market, rather than as a hazardous weed causing herbicide-related side effects amongst people via the crops we eat. Quite shockingly, this vegetable is described as poisonous to stock. Why? Because of the high levels of nitrates it absorbs from herbicides. The irony is deafening.

    Needless to say, do not harvest pigweed from fields of crops, as the likelihood that it has been treated with a herbicide is high. Eat it from your garden, or far from cultivated lands.

    Sauteed pigweed and crostini. Photo: Marie Viljoen

    I am a recent and very happy convert to this green vegetable: For a tapas-type dish or light main course, fry some finely chopped onion in olive oil until golden. Add the leaves and tender stems of pigweed. Saute until wilted. Add salt and pepper to taste, and pour over some good extra virgin olive oil just before eating. Serve with lemon wedges. It is also delicious as crostini -- on a piece of toasted bread rubbed with a clove of garlic. I have one tenacious pigweed plant in one of my rose containers that regenerates often enough after snipping to provide this healthy snack once a week.

    Field garlic in the woods. Photo: Marie Viljoen

    I was introduced to Field garlic (Allium vineale) on a fall foraging expedition to Brooklyn's Prospect Park under the guidance of Steve 'Wildman' Brill. The following spring I found it growing in abundance in the woods of Inwood in Manhattan, and realized that April was the best time to gather this succulent member of the onion family, as the bulbs are nice and plump. Do not yank out whole clumps, as I did in the beginning, but select the fattest leaves and pull gently. This way you leave small bulbs for another year and also save yourself a lot of unnecessary cleaning and prep work in the kitchen. Field garlic loves lawns. So hold back on the Roundup week killer and eat those weeds.

    Clockwise from top left: cleaned field garlic, picked field garlic, pancetta with sauteed field garlic, baby back ribs with roasted field garlic. Photo: Marie Viljoen

    This lovely bulb rivals ramps for flavor and can be eaten raw, thinly sliced in salad; for raw preparations I leave the green parts and favor the white. Or pickle them, using your favorite pickle recipe. I put my pickled field garlic in Gibson cocktails. They are at their best roasted and sauteed as any other slender onion would be, turning sweet with heat. I roast baby back ribs on a bed of field garlic, or fry slices of pancetta, adding the garlic to its fat and cooking till soft. Added to the stuffing for a roast chicken they are delicious. This is a divine vegetable.

    Edible milkweed (Asclepias syriaca). Photo: Marie Viljoen

    is beloved by butterflies but recently I was taught by friend and forager Ellen Zachos that the common, tall milkweed, Asclepia syriaca, with scented, pale burgundy-pink flowers, is a to rival my favourite broccolini. The parts you pick and eat are either the unopened cluster of flower buds in early to mid-summer, or the seedpods, post-flowering. Rinse them off and blanch them in boiling water -- they cook very fast. After that, it is the old oil-and-lemon treatment for me. I was blown away by how tender and fresh they tasted. Note: The orange-flowered milkweed, Asclepias tuberosa is poisonous.

    Milkweed buds, the raw and the cooked. Photo: Marie Viljoen

    And finally, we come to an herb that is making its way more frequently into farmers' markets, but which remains an irritant in well-mulched garden beds: Purslane, Portulaca oleracea. Purslane has many healthy attributes, all of which are preserved in its raw state. It is exceptionally high in Omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin A. In the Middle East, it is added raw to thick yogurt or labneh and eaten with bread. I add the raw leaves to a warm potato salad, where they provide a slightly acidic crunch. Over at my blog, 66 Square Feet, you will find more recipes, including a slow-cooked South African lamb stew and an Asian stir fry. For a cool vegan soup, visit Last Night's Dinner. Purslane seed is now easily available, including more upright varieties, if you would like to give it proper vegetable status in the kitchen garden.

    Purslane at the market: Photo: Jennifer Hess of Last Night's Dinner

    There are many weeds we have not touched on: young thistles, dandelions, nettles, garlic mustard, chickweed, pokeweed. But I hope these five serve as a good starting point for your culinary curiosity.

    if you want to know more about wild and unlikely foods consult The Forager's Harvest, by Sam Thayer and Identifying and Harvesting Edible and Medicinal Plants, by Steve Brill.

    Now go forth and graze, my friends.


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    Angela Adams has a new collection with Anthropologie. Photos: Anthropologie

    Angela Adams's new line for Anthropologie is a daydream come true.

    When we got the news that designer Angela Adams was introducing a line for Anthropologie, we were naturally excited: Two of our favorite names in home design partnering on a project? Yes, please! Maine designer Angela Adams has partnered with other retailers in the past, but never anyone quite as creative as Anthropologie -- and we couldn't help but think the two were a perfect pair.

    Angela Adams is underfoot with her new retail partnership. Photos: Anthropologie

    The new Angela Adams for Anthropologie line is a small but exciting collection of products. Available online are a quilt and coordinating shams ($58 to $228), a sheet set ($128 to $168), two curtain designs (shown below, from left: "Chickadee" and "Atomic Age," $78 to $108) and three rugs (shown above, from left: "Sweet as Honey," "Velvet Moss," and "Budding Birch," $898 to $1998) -- all classic Angela Adams: Simple, modern and inspired-by-nature.

    Two curtain designs by Maine designer Angela Adams. Photos: Anthropologie

    These designs seem fresher and more nuanced than other products that have resulted from past partnerships with Adams: The "Budding Birch" and "Velvet Moss" rugs stand out as designs that fall squarely into Anthro's boho-sophisticated aesthetic. Based on these products, we've got our fingers crossed that there's more to come in future seasons.

    These adorable dish towels are available in stores only. Photos: Anthropologie

    In a statement about the new partnership, Adams said, "It's a daydream of my garden as the ocean...bringing the seascape to my door." With such an enigmatic description for the new line, we were dying to know more. So, we caught up with Angela to hear more about this exciting new partnership. Here's what she had to say:

    Why did you choose to partner with Anthropologie?

    Anthropologie called us because they love our couture tapestries. We then translated elements of a tapestry into a quilt for them. It was fun to play with those elements and end up with a big beautiful quilt to wrap yourself up in.

    The dishtowels were like candy for us -- we LOVE seagulls and it was a treat to pay tribute to them with the towels. [Shown above; available in-store only.] And who doesn't want chickadees to nest in their window curtains?

    You have partnered with other retailers (Macy's, Bed Bath & Beyond) in the past, how is this partnership different?
    This partnership was really centered around storytelling -- stories that conjure up happy memories of beloved places and the creatures that inhabit them.

    How is this collaboration your "daydream?" What specifically is a daydream?

    This was a fun challenge -- and that's often where the good work comes from. Our designs are so versatile and can speak so many different moods -- creating a different state of mind depending on scale, color, shape and form. I love having a specific challenge and working toward the best possible translation for that goal. For this partnership we wanted to speak to the Anthropologie customer with our designs and share the things that inspire us daily.

    What's your next daydream for your work?
    Oh boy, I have so many dreams running right now that they occasionally get tangled up in one another and then morph into an entirely new idea.


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  • 08/02/10--18:11: Daily Upper: Purrfect Spot
  • Little did Felix know he was an integral part of this room's black and white accessorizing. "Someone go fetch me a flokati rug - my back is killing me."

    Want more Daily Uppers? Get 'em here!


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    This pool in Devoto, Argentina is like a human aquarium. Photo: Alejandro Peral

    In this pool, you can watch the kids swim right on by.

    We've all gone swimming in a pool, but I bet you've never been in a pool quite like this one. The raised aquarium-like pool with a glass wall is just about the coolest pool we've seen -- and we've checked out some good ones lately.

    Andrés Remy Arquitectos created this home in Devoto, Argentina for a young couple with children, and, boy, did these kids luck out. The home, about 5,400 square feet, features living, kitchen and dining areas that face the garden, hot tub, sauna and gym, but we're going to guess that the kids' love the ultra-slick pool best.

    The pool, with its sleek box-like style, was designed to be a focal point in the backyard and because of that, the architects made it extra unique. They added a glass wall so there were views from inside and out. And check this, the couple can see their kids swimming from the indoor/outdoor living space. The pool can also be seen from the bedrooms, which were carefully placed to overlook the water.

    awesome fishbowl poolA view of the home's indoor/outdoor living space. Photo: Alejandro Peral

    Originally, the pool was going to be installed closer to the indoor/outdoor living area, but the house was casting shadows on the planned space. To avoid the shade, they moved the pool to the far end of the house where it is always bathed in sunlight. But then they realized that that only caused a similar problem; the high security fence would cast shadows on it. "That's when we decided to elevate the pool," says Diego Siddi, a member of the design team.

    Since the elevated version wouldn't be visible from the ground floor rooms, they decided to install a glass wall so that the pool could be seen from just about every room of the house. The end result? A pool that's made quite a splash.

    aquarium-style modern poolDive right in -- the water's great. Photo: Alejandro Peral


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    Martha Stewart Living; Getty Images

    Martha Stewart Living magazine is slated to launch in Britain -- and beyond -- this September.

    Watch out Nigella, Martha Stewart Living magazine is slated to launch in the U.K., New Zealand and Australia in September. While the July issue of the magazine may have celebrated "Amazing America," Martha's namesake publication will soon be published abroad by Pizzazz Media under license from Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia (MSLO), and will hit newsstands with the October issue.

    According to The Independent, Martha's plans for the UK include "four magazines that will dish out advice on everything from recipes to weddings; a kitchen-full of Martha Stewart-licensed products; and her own television show."

    While Brits may rejoice at their own version of Martha's signature lifestyle brand, back in 2008, Stewart was reportedly denied a visa to enter the U.K. because of her legal troubles in the United States. It remains unclear whether or not Stewart has cleared this up, but her British publisher said she would visit the country "within the next six months."

    Martha's global expansion won't stop in the U.K. and the land down under: MSLO will also introduce Everyday Food and Martha Stewart Weddings in Dubai with distribution throughout much of the Middle East; Martha Stewart Living also hits Indonesia next month, according to a statement on MSLO's website. Martha Stewart already has global editions of her magazines in other countries including Mexico, Poland and Thailand.

    Want more news about the queen of domesticity?
    Read on:
    - Martha Stewart, The Video Game -- Seriously
    - Uh Oh: Martha Stewart's Laundry Detergent Doesn't Work


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    Turn your backyard into an outdoor cafe for less than $200.

    Sick of sitting in your air-conditioned kitchen or dining room and wishing you could enjoy a lovely dinner on the patio? Whether you want to have a romantic dinner for two by moonlight or take advantage of the early morning breeze with coffee and the paper, having an outdoor dining set is a summer must-have, no matter how small.

    Still, we know money is tight these days and purchasing furniture or other luxury items can be tough. So we found a handful of outdoor patio sets that stretch a dollar pretty far -- all under $200. No matter what your needs, one of these sets is sure to perfect your patio:

    under $200 outdoor dining setsThese sets will make you feel like you're dining in an outdoor cafe.

    I must say that nothing is more fun that gathering a group of friends and hanging out outdoors drinking a few beers and shooting the breeze. The Leisure Accents 30" Round Table with 4 Stools (left), $199, from Walmart reminds me of outdoor bars and taco stands from when I lived in San Diego. They're casual, relaxed and fun. Just pretend you can smell the ocean.

    Nothing says charming outdoor French cafe like an ornate metal bistro set. This little cutie -- Anacapa Aluminum Off-white Bistro Set (right) -- is only $160 at Overstock, baguettes and croissants not included!

    inexpensive casual outdoor diningDid someone say casual dining?

    You can't have an outdoor patio furniture roundup without rattan. This Rattan Bistro Set (left) is just $126 at and has just the right mixture of rattan and metal to make it feel light and summery. It can easily do double-duty and be moved indoors at the season's end.

    What could be more fun than eating outside at a picnic table? How about a picnic table that converts into a bench? This 2-in-1 Picnic Table Bench (right), $99, from QVC goes from outdoor dining to outdoor romance in a pinch. Enjoying a fun barbecued meal with the kids and a late-night glass of wine with your sweetheart has never been so easy.

    Some of the best bargains of the lot!

    This balau hardwood 3-piece bistro set (above, top) is just $149 at Whatever Works. The chairs can support up to 250 pounds and have nifty built-in carrying handles for easy movability. The best part is that you can fold it all away for easy storage in the winter.

    Here come the crazy deals! JCPenney has this 3-pc Folding Bistro Set (above, bottom left) in green or white for just $69! Wouldn't this be great for an apartment balcony?

    This Crofton 5-pc Dining Set (above, bottom right) is a steal for just $79 at The Home Depot. It may not be an heirloom piece, but it'll be good for a few summer backyard barbecues, not to mention a great starter set for first-time homeowners.

    Can't get enough of the outdoors? Get cookin' with these outdoor kitchen ingredients!


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  • 08/03/10--12:11: In Love With Another...House
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    Jodi Helmer

    One writer struggles to believe that a new house does not equal a new and better life.

    Everything would be different -- if only I lived in that bungalow; the charming one with the gabled roof, dormer windows and wide front porch. I would throw dinner parties, sit on a leather sofa in front of the fire, bake biscuits in the kitchen, sip sweet tea on the front porch, wear colorful rubber boots to work in the garden and let the dogs run free behind the white picket fence. It's my own house -- too tall, too thin, too little charm and a neighborhood that's not hip enough -- that makes this lust so palpable. Or so I've convinced myself.

    I stand under a towering oak tree across the street and stare; I walk past after dark to peer in the lit windows for a better view of the interior; I search real estate websites for virtual tours. All the while, I imagine the life I could have if I lived in one of the picture-perfect bungalows.

    Things would be different. Cozier. Better.

    "When you covet a house, it's not the house you're after, it's a different version of your life," said Meghan Daum, author of the book Life Would Be Perfect If I Lived in That House. "We trick ourselves into believing that it's our house that's holding us back; if we moved into a new house we'd be a better cook, our relationships would be better, we'd be thinner, we'd entertain more..."

    I feel better knowing that I'm not alone in thinking a new house equals a new life.

    From the moment I signed on the dotted line to buy this townhouse in 2007, I had plans to sell. Maybe that's why I'm always looking over my shoulder at other houses -- because I've always believed that the house I own now is just a place to live until something better comes along. In fact, each time I think I've eyed the perfect house -- the one I'd cash in retirement accounts and inheritances to own -- I develop a crush on another one.

    Even if I'm fortunate enough to own one of the bungalows in my favorite neighborhood, I'm certain that I'll continue to lust after other houses. I'll develop crushes on houses in more desirable neighborhoods with bigger front porches, prettier gardens and more historic appeal. If there is one thing I know about house envy it's that the condition is chronic; the attraction to real estate never stops.

    A few months ago, I hatched a plan to move into the perfect house. One evening, while I was walking the dogs, I noticed that one of the little bungalows I loved had a "For Rent" sign in the front yard. I took a flyer and spent the rest of the week trying to figure out how I could move into that house. Once again, I was picturing myself hosting dinner parties, drinking sweet tea on the front porch and wearing rubber boots in the garden. A friend suggested that I rent out my townhouse and move into the little bungalow. It was the perfect solution -- and then I thought about what moving would really mean.

    The truth is, I would rather meet friends at a restaurant than entertain; I hate leather furniture almost as much as I hate baking and biscuits; I prefer Diet Coke to sweet tea; and the last time I had a garden, the plants were either overgrown or dead.

    While I am waxing poetic about wide front porches and picket fences, I am ignoring all of the things I love about the house I own: It's just the right size; there are French doors in the kitchen that lead to a private patio, an oversized bathtub in the master bedroom and loads of storage space. There are even dormer windows.
    Blinded by bungalow lust, I've forgotten one of the most important things about the place I live: It's more than just a house; it's a home.

    It's the place where I mourned the end of a marriage and celebrated the thrill of falling in love again. It's the place where I negotiated my first book contract and spent countless hours hunched over a computer in the office to meet the deadline. It's the place where I made Christmas dinner solo for the first time, cutting potatoes and carrots with a dull paring knife and checking the roast 20 times to see if it was cooked. It's the place where I fostered six dogs, doling out rawhides and cleaning up accidents until each one found its forever home. It's the place I retreat to; the place I feel safe.

    The house is not perfect. There are no hardwood floors, no built-ins and no picket fence -- but there are memories and each one is far more important than a big front porch and wide wood moldings will ever be.

    I know I'll never be cured of house envy. I'll continue to fall in love with a new house on each block but the next time I'm standing under a towering oak tree and peering in the windows of a picture perfect bungalow, imagining what life would be like if I lived there, I'm going to remember that it might be a beautiful house but it's not home.


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    With a little prep work, your garden can and will thrive while you're away.

    You may give your garden lots of TLC all season long, but what happens when you're about to leave on vacation? The thought of leaving your prized flower beds unattended for a week or more can be unsettling. But don't let your plans put you into a panic, says Steve Wagner, senior product manager at Plow & Hearth. "If you've invested the time throughout the season to mulch, water and clean-up regularly, you'll be in good shape," he says. "Plus, there's plenty that can be done before you leave."

    First, weed and deadhead, or pull off, spent blooms. This will help ensure that water is reaching your plants and not being slurped down by the weeds. "That way, you'll encourage new growth upon your return," says Wagner.

    Next, you'll want to make sure that your flower beds are properly mulched. "Plants and flowers that are well-mulched have a greater ability to retain water. If you've already laid down mulch earlier in the season, just top it off with a fresh layer. Reinforcing that protective barrier is the best way to help your greens hold moisture longer and keep new weeds out."

    Of course, making sure your garden is watered while your away is a must. A thorough watering just before heading out the door is one way to handle it, but to keep everything well-hydrated for the duration, you might consider investing in a water timer.

    "They're a must if you'll be away for a long period of time," he says. "Whether it's a simple mechanical timer that screws right onto your garden hose faucet or a more advanced programmable one, you'll ensure that your plants will get the proper water they need."

    Ken Novack, nursery merchandising director at Lowe's, suggests pairing a water timer with a soaker hose. "It's designed with tiny holes lining all sides, so when it's placed on the soil's surface, the hose flows water directly to the roots of your flowers, plants or shrubs." To keep this flexible, lightweight tool in place, Novack suggests using a few U-shaped floral pins to anchor it into the ground.

    Also, if your flower beds contain annuals, add some fertilizer. "In mid-to-late August, you should still fertilize every two weeks until the fall sets in -- it will help kill off frost later on in the year," explains Novak. However, if you've got perennials, skip this step. "By now, perennials have nearly completed their life cycle, so it's safe to stop fertilizing."

    And don't forget about your potted plants; group them together out of direct sunlight and go for self-watering planters. No need to replant if you don't have them; you can purchase a self-watering conversion kit for under $20 that will easily work with your existing flower pots.They're ideal for vacation situations," says Wagner. "Simply fill them up before you leave and you're done."

    Finally, if you plan to ask the neighbors to water for you, Wagner says make it as easy as possible for them. "Group your potted plants together and show your neighbors exactly where everything is and what you'd like to be done so you don't come home to any surprises.


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  • 08/04/10--20:12: IKEA Delights Us Again
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    Photo: Courtesy of IKEA

    With five new products that highlight organization, the Swedish powerhouse proves that its products are as clever as they are functional.

    While IKEA has always been a go-to source for inexpensive, well-designed furniture and accessories, it hasn't been an obvious first-stop shop for organizational needs. Sure, everyone loves their photo boxes and magazine holders, but beyond that, other stores, like the Container Store, might be a more obvious choice when thinking beyond the purely functional or decorative.

    Well, their 2011 catalog press preview proved that idea VERY wrong. Filled with clever pieces that emphasize hidden storage and organization, IKEA has plenty of amazing new items coming out that not only look good, but work hard to smartly hide everything you need to keep under wraps.

    Here are five of our favorite new products:

    The KIVIK sofa has secret storage. Photo: Courtesy of IKEA

    KIVIK sofa bed, starts at $799
    This sofa bed has so much going for it. Removable arm rests allow for growth -- start with a smaller sized sofa, and add sections to create a larger one as the family grows. A layer of memory foam creates an extremely comfortable seat, while wide armrests make for a perfect pillow when laying down. The fact that it sits directly on the floor means no creepy dust bunnies underneath, and a removable slipcover makes it easy to clean. But the best feature might be the hidden storage in the arm rest, where guest bedding now has a perfect home.

    Hide your computer in the DAVE desk. Cool! Photo: Courtesy of IKEA

    laptop work station, $79.99
    Like it or not, we are tied to our computers! This adjustable-height laptop work station conveniently closes to hide your computer, and it's small and compact, so it can easily be moved around. It has a compartment with a cable outlet at the back, which allows for hiding unattractive chargers and cords, and it's -- surprise! -- less than $100. It's also available in chic white.

    There's storage behind and under this bed. Photo: Courtesy of IKEA

    BRIMNES headboard
    , $129 for Queen; BRIMNES bed frame, $249 for Queen
    Forget shoving whatever you can under the bed. We all know what happens -- those items are rarely, if ever, seen again. The BRIMNES bed contains roomy drawers beneath the mattress, along with additional storage in the headboard. Easy access means you'll avoid losing items to the black hole of "too much stuff, too little space."

    With IKEA's cabinetry and organizers, you'll never lose track of your toiletries again. Photos: Courtesy of IKEA

    LILLANGEN cabinet, $99; ANORDNA FITTINGS, $4.99-$19.99
    The LILLANGEN cabinet could be a model in its own right. Who doesn't love her sleek, tall silhouette? But, add the ANORDNA interior fittings, and you've got a supermodel of design proportions. The inside of the cabinet can be fitted with a variety of customizable shelves that leave every item -- makeup, hair accessories, tools -- with a place. What a beauty.

    Photo: Courtesy of IKEA

    RETUR recycling line, $7.99-$19.99
    Avoid a bunch of clunky containers and save space with these slim, wall-mounted bins. With recycling rules varying from town to town, you can create a custom sorting area that blends right into the wall.

    Love IKEA? Then you'll love these websites.


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  • 08/04/10--20:12: Drool-Worthy Staircases
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    Risers, treads and railings. Oh my!

    When it comes to stairs as an architectural element, function is the number one priority. If you can't walk up and down, there's no point in having them.

    But that doesn't mean that your stairs can't be a piece of art or reflect your personality. Architects, designers and artists have found ways to take the staircase and turn it into something beautiful and mesmerizing, and we rounded-up some of our favorites.

    dna stairsStairs inspired by DNA (left) and steps that fit into a tiny space (right). Photos: EeStairs

    EeStairs by EeDesign is a worldwide company by Cornelis van Vlastuin and Dick Cluistra who have a passion for developing unique architectural staircases. Not only have they created a DNA-inspired staircase, they have designed a space-saving stair solution that fits into a tiny 3-foot-by-3-foot space.

    ribbon stairsA functional ribbon. Photos: HSH Architects

    This "Ribbon" staircase was designed by HSH Architects back in 2001 in a house in Prague. It looks very beautiful -- and a bit treacherous! Using the undulation of a ribbon as their inspiration, the architects created a beautiful staircase from sheets of 10mm thick sheet metal, fastened to the wall on the left side with invisible brackets.

    drawers in stairsA great alternative to a safe? Photo: Vogue Living Australia

    The ladies over at Desire to Inspire discovered this clever stair storage solution in Vogue Living Australia. I had no idea that this magazine even existed and now I feel like we desperately need to have an American version of Vogue Living again. The staircase was designed by Unicraft Joinery, an Australian company. Not unlike a design you might find in a boat, these stairs use every bit of space to help maximize space as well as hide valuables.

    vertebrae staircaseInspired by humans. Photos: Philip Watts Design

    The custom ironwork of Philip Watts Design goes above and beyond functional. For example, this series of custom aluminum and stainless steel vertebrae-inspired stairs look like something you might find in a science museum. How cool is that drippy metal "puddle" toward the bottom stairs in the second photo?

    floating stairsThese stairs appear to float in mid-air. Photos: Xavier Lucas

    Ecole's Flat #1 has one of the most zen-like, floating (and scary-looking) staircases that I've ever seen. The stairs are held in place by a metal structure hidden in the wall. I wouldn't attempt to try building these in your own home without consulting a professional.

    steep staircaseTreacherous, but inventive. Photos: TAF

    Swedish designers TAF created this teeny tiny steep staircase where a ladder used to be. Can you imaging having to get down once you're up? Yikes!

    vinyl tape stair installationA rainbow spiral. Photo: Freshome

    Artist Jim Lambie took a staircase in the Museum of Modern Art and some vinyl tape and made an inspiring installation.

    blossom staircaseThe petal-like steps of this staircase give it the appearance of a flower from above. Photos: Roland Halbe

    These stairs, in the home of a powerful Malaysian family, almost seem to open up like a blossoming flower. They were designed by Paris-based Jouin Manku.

    wallpapered stairsA more realistic, creative idea that you can DIY! Photo: Ferm Living

    Ferm Living was inspired by steps from a Danish home that used Ferm's wallpaper on the stair risers and they re-created the effect. This is something that you can do in your own home to spruce up your staircase. Simply cut the paper to fit each stair and use double-stick tape to affix the wallpaper to the risers.

    For more inspiring stairs, check out these bold painted staircases.


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    Live every week like it's shark week? Make your home match your lifestyle with these sharp picks.

    Shark Week fans are a loyal bunch: They take over Twitter with constant updates, they TiVo Discovery Channel while they're at work and rush home immediately to catch up. They might even dress the part or get in the mood with crazy shark gear like tents and wetsuits.

    But whether you're a mega-fan, a casual watcher, or even a person who prefers HGTV (guilty!) we rounded up our favorite shark-y home products to give you a chic taste of the craze.

    Clockwise from top left

    Show those sharks who's on top of the food chain by whipping up some sugar cookie creatures.
    Seashore Cookie Cutter in Shark, 3"L, $1, Sur La Table.

    Sleeping with the sharks is no big deal when they're a sweet motif.
    Shark Attack Sheet Set by Tommy Hilfiger, Twin, $23, Overstock.

    Martha named this top-tier paint color after the fabulous Kevin Sharkey.
    Sharkey Gray Paint, 8 oz., $3, Martha Stewart Living.

    Make your walls come alive with this vintage-feeling wire shark.
    Wire Shark, 48"W, $119, PB Teen.

    Perfect for kids who are too cute for plain old towels...
    Shark Hooded Towel, 51"L, $17, Avon.

    A bottle opener with real bite (yes, we went there).
    Shark Bottle Opener, 7"L, $20, Outerbanks Trading Group.

    We don't mind lurking shark fins when they're this great looking (and carrying our favorite seasonings).
    Finn Salt & Pepper Shakers, 3"H, $38, Fitzsu


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    Joe Termini, The Surf Lodge

    At the Surf Lodge, style is an attitude.

    When interior designer Robert McKinley created the Surf Lodge, he took a major departure from his previous, more decadent work, including NYC nightlife hot spot GoldBar. He wanted to get away from the city's hustle and bustle, and hoped to open a hotel where guests are likely to kick off their shoes, relax and have some fun, and he succeeded. Located in Montauk, a small surf village at the easternmost tip of Long Island, New York (about 100 miles from Manhattan), McKinley's Surf Lodge is a Jack Johnson kind of place.

    Surprisingly, McKinley grew up far from the beach, in the suburban enclave of Westchester, New York. But he was influenced by yearly trips to Coco Beach, Florida. "It was there where I was exposed to surf culture, boogie boarding and LOTS of begging mom for a surfboard," he says. This, combined with years of winter sports as a kid, influenced him to "create a place that relates to the ocean like a mountain lodge relates to skiing and snowboarding. We wanted the hotel to be a place for guests to smile, to feel comfortable laying around the lobby in their swim suits, hear a rare Rolling Stones track while watching the sunset, and on a Saturday evening, dance all night!"

    The overall warm, beachy feel is achieved by the hotel's design, which varies from area to area. What holds the design together are certain common elements that run throughout, like pieces of locally collected driftwood. "We collected so much of it from the local beaches, and built all kinds of things -- an outdoor shower, high bar tables, and my personal favorite, the Gilligan's Island-style DJ booth," says McKinley. Surf art and photography pepper the place and include pieces by Patrick Trefz, Joe Termini, Ron Stoner, John Severson and Walter Iooss. In the lobby, guest rooms and restaurant, a retro aesthetic prevails.

    When entering the the lobby (above), guests are greeted with a sunken living room, complete with a movie screen showing surf films and a table stocked with board games. "Guests hang out and play board games all the time!" insists McKinley. The globe could be a nod to McKinley's many travels, all which influence his design, or to the international crowd that the hotel attracts. The colorful flippers, hanging from the ceiling in a row, speak for themselves.

    McKinley wanted the guest rooms (above) to feel like bedrooms, so he used clean modern lines, natural textures (as seen in the hanging basket chair) and pops of color throughout to achieve a relaxed, fresh look. The surrounding outdoor area played a big part in how the rooms were laid out. Every one has a deck that is only six feet from the water (a lake, not the ocean), and in most, the bed is centered to face outside. "This way, you fall asleep and wake up to a view better than any TV can offer," says McKinley.

    The bar area (above) was inspired by Montauk harbor. "It's darker, and feels like a surf shack", says McKinley. "I call it the salty dog room." Old exposed beams, barn wood planking and driftwood are the building blocks for the space. A resin bar top in deep golden yellow creates a moody feel, and gives the space a warm, lived-in look. Colorful surfboards nestled in the ceiling beams and the turquoise bar stools add a bit of brightness and whimsy.

    The outdoor areas are inspired by the water they overlook. The deck's overall clean white palette mixed with hints of driftwood, and pops of orange, baby blue and yellow encourage guests to sit and enjoy the water view and sunset. The most intriguing feature of the outdoor dining area has to be the dozens of baskets that hang from the ceiling. "I purchased all of them back in Haiti about eight years ago, originally for the first night club I designed," says McKinley. "We sold it around the same time we were buying the Surf Lodge, and repurposed the baskets here. They're actually giant cauldrons, used to boil down sugarcane."

    The restaurant's colorful, beachy vibe is largely due to the "Summer Lovin" wall mural, done by McKinley's friend Vin Ficarra. "It was inspired by 60s surf posters and the artist Peter Max." The aqua floors, yellow and orange director chairs and white-planked walls all evoke the feeling of summer.

    So much of what makes the Surf Lodge successful is that its design makes whoever visits feel inspired, relaxed and welcome. McKinley's favorite part about the hotel is that "it feels like a clubhouse, and home away from home. I'm surrounded by friends and people enjoying themselves."


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    Corbis Images

    These green cleaning products are meant to be shown off.

    Swapping out toxic phosphate-filled and non-biodegradable products for their more eco-friendly counterparts has morphed over the past decade from a hippie-inspired gesture to the mark of a cutting edge consumer.

    Here on ShelterPop, we've taken looks at green cleaning guidelines and what to look for in these earth-inspired products, but we've spotted a new trend emerging: Green products aren't just getting better, they're getting prettier, with more compelling, eye-pleasing packaging than ever.

    Most of the brands looking to reinvent their look aren't new - some have been around for generations -- but they've gotten smarter, sexier and more lust-worthy on kitchen counters, beside the toilet bowl, and in the dryer. Newer brands have begun to adopt this model as well, realizing performance and ingredients are only two parts to a successful product; the design also must be stellar.

    "Design is always a very critical part," says Method's Katie Molinari. "We want to create products people want to leave on the counter -- they're almost an accessory they're so beautiful."

    In other words, cleaning products are getting a major upgrade with designer branding. It seems that many of these companies are vying for the dollars of a new target consumer: the hip new breed of homemakers with an earth-savvy conscience.

    We decided to talk to folks at some of our favorite green cleaning brands and find out why these products are suddenly paying so much attention to packaging.

    Photo: Courtesy of TWIST

    Twist Sponges
    Originally designed as an alternative to the conventional, yellow-green scrubbing sponges, Twist brought the loofah out of the bathroom and into the kitchen in a big way. Combining all natural, plant-based products like non-dyed cellulose, agave fiber and hemp, Twist's Matt Bauman says their classier looking packaging is almost coincidental -- the byproduct of its natural earth tone ingredients in a world of "gross, industrial looking" spongeware. The sponges come wrapped in bright and fun retro packaging, and that alone got us to pick them up off the shelf. Here's a list of places to find Twist sponges near you, $4.99 for a package of two.

    Photo: Courtesy of Bon Ami

    Bon Ami Clean
    Bon Ami, founded in 1886, was a pioneer in green cleaning. Carolyn West, Director of Sustainability, whose family has owned the company since the 1970s, says that even after the post-WWII influx of chemically saturated products, Bon Ami kept their formula grounded in all natural ingredients, altering only minor composites to reflect transformations in cleaning needs. Their iconic chick and slogan -- "hasn't scratched yet" -- are a throw back to their simple origins. "In 1886, it was very common for a family to have backyard chickens," West says, "and everyone knew when a baby chicken just hatches it's still being nourished from the egg; it doesn't need to scratch the ground for grain -- that's where our slogan comes from, 'hasn't scratched yet.'"

    When it came to revamping its design, Bon Ami wanted to reach for a younger generation of homemakers while staying true to the company's heritage. Two key facets stood out immediately, West said: "Green cleaning and thriftiness." Bon Ami approached a Berkley-based green design firm to ensure that the new design complemented the product itself -- natural, with historical influence and a fresh, modern spin. They placed the baby chick front and center, giving it a voice to squeak "hasn't scratched yet," and kept the graphics clean and contemporary. Both the packaging and the label are made from 100% post-consumer recycled plastic with no additives, which "sometimes gets a little foggy, but we wanted to keep it that way. It's 'recycled grey' -- the products are as green as we could make them," says West.

    Join Bon Ami's Good Friends Group to be included in regular product giveaways; you can order directly off the site, $3 - $4 each.

    Photo: Courtesy of Method

    Method Clean
    Even with Method's 10-year anniversary approaching, these products may still seem like new kids on the block. Fueled by their early vision to combine form and function, "we wanted products that were beautiful to look at," says Method's Katie Molinari, "but also functional in use." The product line is the brainchild of Adam Lowry and Eric Ryan who united their diverse backgrounds in chemistry and design to create shelf-popping products with enviro-friendly ingredients; they refused to sacrifice scent and smell like many products of the 1990s, while still adhering to strict standards of quality, earth-safe ingredients. "Many people don't know it's green until they get home and flip the label," Molinari says. "It's then that they see it's all non-toxic, natural ingredients."

    Method also follows the Cradle to Cradle design philosophy, considering the past, present and future impact of every product and assessing every ingredient with these standards. Be on the lookout for their revolutionary new dish soap this fall (spoiler alert: it'll be the first with a pump on the market) and in the meantime, look to your closest Target, Loews, Whole Foods, Bed, Bath and Beyond, and Method's website for products and more information on their zero-tolerance for dirty ingredients.

    Photo: Courtesy of Nellie's

    Nellie's All-Natural Dryer Balls

    These throw back, plastic-spiked creations are in line with Nellie's All-Natural Product's greater vision to use "non-toxic, hypo-allergenic and environmentally friendly cleaning products that reduce consumption and allow you to use only what you need." The PVC free dryer balls come with a new natural fragrance option and promise to reduce drying time by 25% -- cutting energy, time and costs. With the feel good fun of their nostalgic packaging, it may not actually make doing your laundry feel like a sock hop party, but it comes pretty close to looking like it. Use the site to find a retailer near you, $24.99.


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