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    Jaime Derringer

    We've got you covered. We're building 100+ slideshows and reviews of our favorite booths. Come on in!


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    Home design inspiration at your fingertips.

    So long scrapbooks and online bookmarks! Thanks to the new Houzz app for iPad, you now have a digital place to sort, save and share your favorite home design ideas. With over 40,000 photos and 50,000 idea books to browse, Houzz has the largest database of home-inspiration photos on the net, which you can check out by style, room and location. And whenever you find ideas that speak to you, just save them to your own virtual idea book for offline access. Plus, you can find information on designers, architects and contractors from your area. But beware: Like candy for design addicts, once you start perusing the Houzz pages, it can be hard to stop. Consider yourself warned.

    According to its loyal users, here are the top five features of the Houzz app:

    1. In addition to beautiful photos, there are thousands of helpful articles, which feature tips on how to improve the design of your house, as well as home decorating ideas.

    2. The high-quality images, paired with the larger iPad screen, give you a real sense of how the rooms feel and flow.

    3. You can join the Houzz community to post comments, ideas and questions for other users and designers. Plus, if you'd like a little feedback on your own house, you can even upload photos of your home design projects for people to comment on.

    4. Your personal idea book isn't limited to just images. You can also makes notes to yourself about what you like about the spaces, so you're not having to jog your memory each time you revisit a photo.

    5. It's completely FREE!

    Download it from iTunes here.


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    Jaime Derringer

    We've got you covered. We're building 100+ slideshows and reviews of our favorite booths. Come on in!


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    An image that will appear in the premier issue of Rue. Photo: Manny Rodriguez, Rue Magazine.

    A new online decorating magazine is launching on September 16th.

    There's been a lot of buzz around Lonny, the online-only decorating magazine started by former Domino assistant Michelle Adams and photographer Patrick Cline. But what there hasn't been is a clear competitor. On September 16th that will all change when a new decorating magazine hits the web: Rue Magazine. And because we can't get enough of design mags -- online or off! -- ShelterPop has an exclusive first look and interview.

    Above: Sage and Gentilello take a break from a New York City shoot. Below: The Rue logo. Photo: Amy Preiser, AOL

    The idea for Rue hit Crystal Gentilello on her 27th birthday: An online magazine that drew on her inspiration from design blogs, magazines and her time spent living in Rome. While Gentilello -- and her co-founder/Executive Editor Anne Sage -- may not be household names, they're well known in the design blogosphere for their sharp eyes, clever posts and boundless enthusiasm for design. Gentilello's blog Plush Palate began in May 2009 and has drawn a devoted following and adoration from blogs like The Decorista and ABCD Design, while Sage's blog The City Sage was recognized in the September 2010 issue of Martha Stewart Living as a site to bookmark. It has also been named one of the world's top 15 design blogs by Côté Maison.

    The gals are joined by Managing Editor Alaina Kaczmarski and Market Editor Caitlin Flemming, of the blogs Live Creating Yourself and Sacremento Street. Wondering how these bloggers who hold staff meetings on Skype -- two are from Chicago (Gentilello and Kaczmarski) and two from San Francisco (Sage and Flemming) -- can break into the tight-knit and elite world of interior design?

    They already did. Rue's first issue includes designers from ELLE DECOR's top 20 and HGTV Design Star and photographers that have shot for just about every design magazine on the newsstand, past and present. House Beautiful, Vanity Fair, Town & Country, Domino and more. "The reaction so far has been amazing -- the design community has been unbelievably supportive and everyone's been quick to say: 'How can we help?'" Gentilello told us. In fact, there will be a toast to the magazine at the New York Design Center's appropriately-titled "What's New, What's Next" event at the Saladino Furniture showroom. (Other programs during What's New What's Next are headlined by print magazine editors from House Beautiful, British House & Garden and Interior Design.)

    An image from one of the Dallas, TX shoots. Photo: Manny Rodriguez, Rue Magazine.

    The team has flown between New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Dallas and Chicago for their shoots, and we visited one of their New York City shoots last month, at a elegant and feminine apartment decorated by a well-known blogger/interior designer. Gentilello and Sage greeted us with kindness and excitement, letting us snoop around the shoot while the two editors collaborated with the designer and photographer on styling vignettes in the home. Sage shifted nesting tables, the designer set the desk to look like it was just left by a chic woman writing her thank you notes and Gentilello kept a close eye on everything going on in the room, asking questions, peering at the images on the camera screen and considering angles for each following shot.

    We were delighted to get a firsthand look at the process and are proud to present the first sneak peek at the magazine's gorgeous images. Watch for more peeks over the coming four weeks from other design sites and keep track of Rue through their Facebook and Twitter.

    Want more design news?
    Mad Men Furniture Is on the Auction Block
    First Look: Betsey Johnson's Eloise-Themed Suite For The Plaza
    Jason Lee Puts Eclectic Los Feliz Home on Market
    And see more news & trends from ShelterPop!


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    A clean home is important -- but more so is the health of our kids (furry and otherwise). Photo: Getty

    Somehow in the midst of cooing and belly scratching, our beloved pets create a consistent mess -- follow these tips to keep on top of it.

    No pet owner will argue against the following: Our pets are our children. From the day they enter our homes, they solidify a spot in the family tree. And, of course, like all of us, they can be a bit untidy (and perhaps like some family members super high-maintenance). But, unlike human family members (most, at least), pets are incapable of cleaning up after themselves, often leaving behind a fury, muddy mess wherever they go.

    There are cleaning solutions, machines and utensils galore -- and you probably already own a slew of them. But to really keep a leash on your home's cleanliness, read through this guide; we promise it'll help keep your home in purrfect shape. (Yeah, I couldn't help myself.)

    Do use a vacuum with brushes, fans and powerful air currents. "These features all combine to destruct fleas," says Jackie Cooper, director of marketing and communications for Electrolux Home Care Products North America. "Research from The Ohio State University shows a vacuum can kill fleas, so use it to your advantage."

    Do put a cap on the amount of toys in the house at a given time. Like children, cats and dogs don't rely solely on toys for amusement, so for the most part you're just creating extra clutter. If you have kids, have them help take part in the pet's care by being responsible for putting all of the pet's toys into a basket each evening.

    Don't let pets roam free. Limit your pet's play area by blocking off specific rooms you want to keep clean or that are unsafe for them, Cooper says. In the rooms appropriate for pets, minimize the clutter so that there is nothing to be knocked over. Also, install shelves that are fastened to the walls and choose sturdy furniture. Minimize breakables so that your pet can play -- and you can relax.

    Don't submerge pets in water for a bath, Cooper advises. "Instead, try using the minimum amount of water needed, poured over your dog or cat, to cut down on potential mess." Or, if it's warm and sunny outside, she adds, take your pet outside to speed up drying and reduce clean-up time.

    Don't wait to bathe and brush your pets until after several days playing outside. "After romping around all those dead leaves in the yard, their coats are often loaded with dirt and dander that scatters around the house and can contribute to poor indoor air quality," Cooper says. To avoid this problem, brush pets' hair before they re-enter the home from outdoors and bathe them regularly.

    Do keep the right tools on hand for cleaning up your pet's most common messes, advise the experts at BISSELL, who created an online Pet Lovers Community, which offers tips on cleaning and care and an on-hand expert to answer questions. BISSELL's research shows that about half (51 percent) of dog and cat owners admit to using a "quick fix" like an air freshener or candle to hide odors, throwing away a rug the pet had an accident on instead of trying to clean it, or flipping over couch or chair cushions to hide fur. If you have the right tools, cleaning up after your pet will be simple, and you won't have to resort to those "band-aid" fixes.

    Do tackle pet hair with a vacuum with superior suction and specially designed tools for removing pet hair and dander. (Product placement? Of course! Try BISSELL's Pet Hair Eraser Vacuum, $149.99.)

    Don't let your pet's potty accidents sit, say the folks at BISSELL. This is especially true if you have a cat, because cat urine is actually more concentrated -- and likely to stain -- than dog urine. Absorb as much of the moisture as possible with old towels -- being careful to blot rather than rub -- before applying a carpet solution. If accidents are common, consider purchasing a portable deep cleaner (like the BISSELL SpotBot Pet Deep Cleaner, $129.99).

    Do tackle "recycled meals" (pet vomit) with an oxygen-active formula to remove tough, color-based pet stains - often the result of dyes contained in pet food - along with the odors they create.

    Do minimize tracked dirt by quickly rubbing down dogs with a towel after walks, making sure to include their paws -- especially on rainy days when mud, water and who knows what else easily clings to fur.

    Do keep cleaning products stored out of reach of children and pets. Vacuum cleaners, sprays and deep cleaning machines can be super enticing to a curious child (or pup).


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  • 08/19/10--13:25: Coffee Table Decorating
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    You love your coffee table, but why leave it plain -- or worse, cluttered? Here, three ideas for creating beautiful, fun coffee table vignettes.


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    Splash News

    In a secluded love nest high in super swank Bel Air Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson get cozy.

    Even though 'Twilight' super stars Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson work overtime to keep the details of their relationship on the down low, rumors are rampant that they're shacked up in a secluded love nest high in super swank Bel Air. The scuttlebutt got started after an airborne paparazzi snapped a photo of a vintage Chevy Nova, identical to the one driven by the scruffy actor, parked in the carport of the recently remodeled contemporary crib.

    Splash News

    The house the couple are said to be holed up in is actually the guesthouse of a private estate that hangs over the scenic Stone Canyon Reservoir. Listing information ShelterPop dug up shows the angular 2-story glass and stucco structure contains an open living area, full gourmet kitchen, office, one large bedroom, two bathrooms and massive walls of glass with panoramic views of the reservoir and surrounding mountains.

    Splash News

    While it's not known how much dough the couple is coughing up for their cozy, quiet and perfectly private hideout, the entire estate was listed for lease in the spring of 2010 with an asking price of $22,500 per month.

    Splash News

    Property records indicate the lovebird's hideaway is owned by Hollywood scion Charles Evans, Jr., an artist and producer with only a couple but impressive credits such as 'The Aviator' with Leo Dicaprio and Johnny Depp's directorial debut 'The Brave.' Evans' father founded the Evan-Picone fashion label and produced a myriad of films such as 'Tootsie' and 'Showgirls' and his uncle is the legendary Hollywood actor and producer Robert Evans.


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    Douglas Friedman, Harper's Bazaar

    Jimmy Choo Founder and Chief Creative Officer Tamara Mellon has a stunning and over-the-top home. But that doesn't mean we didn't spy some budget-friendly ideas.

    Many women dream of owning a pair of sexy Jimmy Choo stilettos. Tamara Mellon? She has over 1,000 pairs. But it's only fair, considering she's the one that discovered Mr. Jimmy Choo back when he was a London cobbler and turned his name into a must-have label for glamorous ladies.

    As you'd expect, her home, as seen in the September issue of Harper's Bazaar, is about as glitzy, seductive and luxurious as the heels she lives in. But looking at the images, we couldn't help but notice some fantastic home ideas that can be reproduced on a budget.

    Lesson 1: Create a Grid
    We love the look of the six framed images of snakes (above) by high-profile photographer Guido Mocafico. Why not recreate the look with six images within the same theme by pulling them from an inexpensive calendar. (We're not really snake people, so we'll recommend this flower calendar.) Frame them under glass with six identical frames (try your local dollar store for some inexpensive ones).

    Lesson 2: Four Is Better Than One
    What a fantastic idea: A fabulous bench created by four X-benches in a row! (To the left) We've often seen two X-benches at the foot of a bed, but it makes sense that Mellon (or perhaps her interior designer, Martyn Lawrence-Bullard), would be the one to take this trend to new lengths. We found similar leopard X-benches at Sears for $50 a pop so rather than shell out for a longer bench, buy three or four of these babies to scoot together -- or pull apart for more casual guest seating.

    And then we hit the mother lode: Mellon's shoe closet (get the video tour!) Honestly, we wish we had a budget-friendly idea for recreating the look of 1,000+ pairs of designer heels but ladies, we don't. We will say that IKEA has a $10 shelf that can be mounted at an angle for shoe storage, but beyond that, you're on your own.

    Tell us -- what other ideas did you get from Mellon's to-die-for home? And to get more read the interview, see the full slideshow and pick up the September issue of Harper's Bazaar on newsstands now!


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    Planning an al fresco dinner allows for more creativity in setting the table.

    Farms and wineries often host outdoor dinners during the summer and fall months. They're set against a drop-dead gorgeous background of grape vines or gardens sprouting with vegetables. And they're just as upscale as indoor parties. We're talking rustic tables matched with comfortable seating (none of those wrought-iron or plastic patio chairs) and twinkling lights that coax the party into early morning. The food is far above picnic fare -- think several courses and drinks, maybe microbrews or bottles of wine -- laid out buffet-style for guests to graze on.

    Worried your backyard doesn't resemble a farm or vineyard? That doesn't stop us from inviting friends over to enjoy the great outdoors. We talked with two California designers -- Rachel Hollis (Chic Events) and Kishani Perera (Kishani Perera Interior Design) -- who have years of experience planning memorable outdoor dinner parties. "I treat the outdoors just like another living space," says Perera, who has designed events for Molly Sims and Kate Bosworth.

    Try these tips, no matter if you have an acre of land to play with or a teeny balcony.

    An example of a place card that incorporates a vintage photograph. Photo: Kristine Hansen

    1. Seating arrangements and place cards
    Even a casual party requires a little bit of thought to ensure guests are compatible with their table mates. "Don't put the two funniest people at the same table because everyone else won't have a good time," says Hollis. She has a great idea that we are itching to steal. Snap candid Polaroid photos of guests as they arrive, says Hollis. Don't have an instant camera? Pick up inexpensive, retro photos or postcards from thrift stores or antique shops. Glue or clip these photos to paper stock and write each guest's name below or next to the photo.

    summer table
    Go casual by arranging comfy cushions on top of a blanket -- or directly on grass. Photo: Getty Images

    2. No table? No worries.
    Perera is not at all ashamed about not having expensive patio furniture. That's because she's figured out how to get that chic-rustic look on a budget. Either buy a secondhand table constructed of solid wood (hello, Craigslist?), or upgrade your current dining room table so that you can start using the old one outdoors. (Just think: you can score a brand-new indoor dining table...) "If it has a rustic look to begin with, that's nice," she says. Flea markets and eBay are good spots to look for pieces with a distressed or patina finish.

    Perera does advise investing in chairs appropriate for the outdoors which won't collapse under your guests -- and upholstery or cushions that can withstand the elements. You don't want to have to replace these chairs in a year because they are ratty, rusted or faded. Perera really likes West Elm chairs and favors a mix-and-match look.

    If you're still coming up empty, ditch the idea of a table -- like you mean it. Set up dining areas with plush seat cushions or pillows -- even better if they are Moroccan-style in bold, bright patterns -- arranged on the grass or deck. "If you can make it seem like it's on purpose, nobody will second guess it," says Hollis. Or, bring out the coffee table -- and call it Japanese-style dining.

    Borrow from nature to build a table setting, using items like fresh-cut flowers, peacock feathers and seashells. Photo:
    Red Couch Recipes and Pink Frosting

    3. No-fuss, pretty decor

    When setting a table outdoors, you don't have to worry about creating two-foot tall vases of expensive flowers or ornate arrangements as centerpieces. Mimic the outdoors by keeping it simple. Hollis suggests plucking from the backyard, such as wild flowers, stems of grass, twigs or whatever is growing in the garden. You can even tie a long leaf or tall grass around rolled napkins with silverware tucked inside. Or, arrange monochromatic fruit in big a bowl and call that your centerpiece. (Remember that scene in the "The Break-Up" where Jennifer Aniston sends Vince Vaughn to the market in search of lemons to drop into a glass vase?)

    Woven placements evoke summer's nighttime breezes and a tin container is appropriate for storing and cooling beverages. Photo: Tales from the Red Velvet Lounge and Restaurant Girl

    4. Switch to summer-y materials
    No, we don't mean beach balls or sail cloth. Forgo the heavy, embroidered tablecloth you pull out for Easter and Thanksgiving in favor of something lighter and more seasonal. Look for bamboo, linen and cotton napkins, table runners and tablecloths. For flatware and plates, turn to the new bamboo products, which Hollis says are all the rage in California. "It looks great but it's easy to pull off," she says. All of it is disposable, which means you won't have to stay up late doing dishes. Lightweight melamine plates work well, too. And galvanized-tin cylinders make great vases.

    summer table
    This deck pops with all sorts of color, and with the help of a stylish turquoise outdoor area rug. Photo: Fog City Sparkle

    5. Don't be shy about color!
    "If you have a bright pink tablecloth or lemon-yellow napkins, this is the time to pull them out," says Hollis. A color like chartreuse or tangerine might seem "off" when paired with a room that's awash in neutral colors -- or colors that contrast -- but outside it's fair game. Plus, it's festive! Outdoor-specific, inexpensive rugs in bright colors are popping up all over the place at retailers like Crate & Barrel, Pier 1 Imports and Cost Plus World Market. Perera likes the idea of buying up a bunch of these rugs in fun geometric shapes. "I would buy five of them and layer in a Bohemian-type look," she says.

    summer table
    Setting up a buffet takes a load of work off the host -- and allows for seconds. Photo: Persson, Per Magnus, Alamy

    6. Keeping guests comfortable
    The best parties are those without rules. A buffet arrangement does just that. Guests won't feel embarrassed about going up for seconds or not finishing a particular food set on their plate. Plus, let's be honest. It's a whole lot easier to set out a stack of plates and silverware than it is to arrange place settings. A self-serve bar with alcohol, mixers, ice, garnishes and glassware eliminates hosting duties in the drinks department, too.

    Keep bugs away from where you'll be eating by doing as Hollis does. "I'll burn citronella candles a few hours before guests arrive, then blow them out," she says.

    An intimate atmosphere begins at sunset -- and when you turn on the outdoor lights. Photo: Getty Images

    7. Mood lighting
    When the sun starts to fade the party should not come to a screeching halt. About a half hour before sunset, start to light votive candles, candelabras or luminarias. "I love to make an event magical with a lot of twinkles and candlelight," says Perera.


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    Jaime Derringer

    We've got you covered. We're building 100+ slideshows and reviews of our favorite booths. Come on in!


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    Purple is not just for little girls. And it's not just an accent color. What we learned about using this wedge of the color wheel at home.

    I've always been obsessed with purple. I preferred it to girlie-pink when I was a kid, even as an aspiring fairy princess. In high school, when I was old enough to art-direct my own bedroom, I had my dad paint the walls a deep lavender to contrast my all-black IKEA bedroom set (this was in the 90s, when black furniture was somewhat the rage.)

    I've always thought purple and its various hues, like violet, orchid and plum as The Thinking Girl's pink. But after a few years with a lavender sleep chamber, I felt I'd grown out of the entire purple wedge of the color wheel, and have since switched to pale blue for the accent walls in my apartment.

    "Up until a few years ago, people thought of purple as kind of childish," says Lauren Nelson, an artist and interior designer based in Boston, Mass. "My clients would only consider it for their kids' rooms."

    But let's remember that Tyrian purple dye was rare, expensive and highly coveted by ancient Romans, before it became the signature color among European monarchs. So, the color has a regal history, too.

    It now seems that purple, in all its variations, is making a comeback in fashion and interiors.

    "We're using it as a grounding color for rooms now, instead of just an accent color, like on a pillow or a throw," Nelson says.

    Not sure if you're ready for pansy-purple walls or an aubergine sofa? New York City-based interior designer Kevin O'Shea offers the following insight on how he decorates with purple:
    o. Combine purple with a pop of bright yellow. There is something harmonious and cheerful in the contrast.
    o. You can also use purple in all-white environments. A dark purple cashmere throw on an all-white bed is a simple way to elevate the sense of richness and luxury in a room.
    o. A purple lampshade on a vintage chrome or nickel lamp makes a bold statement in a living room that won't overwhelm.
    O'Shea says that purple also "lends itself to unexpected applications," and suggests painting the inside of a closet with a soft violet for "an unexpected touch of luxury." Or, change the walls of a powder room to royal purple for a "jewel box" feel.

    As for me, I'm poring over swatches of violet as I prepare to repaint my kitchen. I think it will look fantastic against the stainless steel organizers I already have on the walls.

    And for extra inspiration, we've assembled some of our favorite new items in delicious shades of purple:


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    ugly garden decorEclectic -- but in a good or bad way? Photo: LoveJanine, Flickr

    A stunning garden ought to reflect smart design.

    The kind that makes you stop in your tracks and gawk. We're not talking just about plants and flowers that are lovingly cared for, but also the accompanying decor: birdhouses, water baths, pots, planters, trellises -- you name it. This is where you can flaunt personal style, be it contemporary, Old English, traditional or hookah lounge (Moroccan-style seat cushions, anyone?).

    So, we ask, what the heck is going on when a company puts out a product for the lawn that is downright atrocious?

    In our continual search for hip garden decor we have, unfortunately, come across a few ugly ducklings. Here, we've compiled them in one place. Would you put these in your garden?

    Storage Rock, $429
    This mock rock is probably bigger than a doghouse. Built from tacky UV-resistant polyethylene, and in a drab gray color that looks nothing like actual rock, it can store all the unattractive junk that one might find lying around, such as shovels, garden gloves, hose and hand tools for weeding or planting. The irony is that when you stuff it all into this "rock," you end up with an extremely large, faux-mineral formation as the focal point of your yard!

    Tail Wagging Dog Sprinkler, $30
    Why remind us that dogs do in fact urinate on the grass? The manufacturer is so keen on getting you to like this product -- which sends the dog's tail wagging back and forth, emitting water so much force we think someone might get hurt -- there is an offer to create a custom sprinkler in the dog breed of your choice. Okay... Poodle or beagle, we still prefer a plain-old, rotating sprinkler.

    Decorative Porcelain Plant, $30
    Seriously, how hard it is to actually grow a plant? We love the sarcasm in a lot of Urban Outfitters products, just not this one. Maybe if you are going for a futuristic look in your backyard, you might be drawn to this monochromatic fake plant-and-planter combo but even then, ick.

    Alligator Feet Pot Stand, $78
    Anthropologie, one of our favorite retailers for its bohemian take on home design, tries to win us over by describing the feet on this, er, planter as "chocolate." Made from iron, it's an imported product and is designed to hold cute little planters. Even so, the idea of an alligator in our back yard is too weird.

    Gnome, $21
    Looking like a cross between Santa Claus and a troll, this gnome perched on top of a toadstool doesn't fall into the "cute" or "artsy" categories at all. And, as a terrible substitute for solar lighting, the toadstool glows in the dark. There's one word for this garden gadget: creepy.

    Motion-Sensing Owl, $50
    Motion sensors we get -- that is, if they are simple lights that provide safety and security as you reach your front or back door. But a motion-sensing plastic owl that hoots and hollers to keep pests away from your garden? Geez. We can do much better than this. The manufacturer calls this "realistic." Any bird or pest with fair eyesight will be able to tell that this is plastic. It's insulting to animals.


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    "We actually don't know what is 'the front' of the house. It's an ongoing argument between my husband and I. I think it's where the entry court is." Photo: Ruth Hasell

    Two architects imagine the house of their dreams in sunny Southern California.

    When Ruth Hasell and her husband Gary set out to build their dream home from scratch, they had a wide frame of reference to draw from. The two are both architects in Southern California -- a place with a rich history in residential design; the area has been a base for modern pioneers such as Frank Gehry, Richard Neutra and Donald Wexler.

    With Ruth's background in designing homes and offices for clients in California, and Gary's career as a planner, designer and builder for Disney's hotels in Asia, what did The Hasells want when it was time to build a home for themselves?

    "We wanted a modern house that was contextual, but not something that looked like all the neighbors' places," says Ruth. "Something 'California' that's appropriate to our climate and latitude."

    After five years of planning, obtaining permits, sourcing and building, the end-result is a stunning hillside ranch house -- but not a typical one-story bungalow. The Hasells were careful to make sure the home fits to the natural contours of the hill on which it is built, which meant they had to be "less concerned with symmetry and how it looks, and more concerned with how it feels; making it more experiential."

    Below are photos and a guided tour by Ruth, so you can experience their modern homestead, too.

    Photo: Ruth Hasell

    "Here, you're looking at the entry from the garage. That bit of roof, which was made with standing seam metal is what adjoins the house to the garage."

    Photos: Ruth Hasell

    (Left) "We installed a 56-foot skylight here, which is one of two in the house. It illuminates the center of the house, and we get to watch the clouds pass throughout the day. Once, we saw a double rainbow that stretched across the entire house." (Right) "The whole roof is separated from the walls by windows around the edge of the house, so there is a patch of light in every space. The counter here serves as a natural gathering place for guests."

    Photo: Ruth Hasell

    "The sun moving across the skylights always puts a different pattern on the wall. At night, when it's really bright and clear, the moon casts shadows, as well."

    Photos: Ruth Hasell

    (Left) "This a view the of outdoor patio from the living room. There's an outdoor fireplace there, and my daughter, Ariel, says it's the best place for coyote watching." (Right) "We're not alone on this, but we like to use our things as part of the décor -- our books, our dishes. It adds color to a house and gives it dimension."

    Photo: Ruth Hasell

    "This is the master bedroom. We positioned the bed facing east, so we wake up to spectacular sunrises."

    Photo: Ruth Hasell

    "We used different species of wood for different parts of the house. The floors are in what's colloquially known as 'tiger bamboo,' an eco-friendly, sustainable material with a lively pattern, which is a nice contrast to the concrete walls."

    Photo: Ruth Hasell

    The cabinets are made of walnut, and the structural beams throughout the house are made of Douglas Fir.

    Photos: Ruth Hasell

    The master bathroom was constructed with all-natural material like stone, concrete, and glass.

    Photo: Ruth Hasell

    "All the main rooms have large pocket doors that extend the space to the surrounding outdoor decks," says Ruth, who wanted to incorporate the outdoor spaces into the living spaces.

    Photos: Ruth Hasell

    Top: A view of the house with the pool, day, and night. Bottom: A view of the house from the green space behind it.

    Photos: Ruth Hasell

    From left: Laundry room, staircase leading to Ruth's office and a meeting area for Ruth's clients, which also has a great view of the pool.

    Photo: Ruth Hasell

    In a borrowed Japanese style, the Hasells had most of the storage, "...built in. Less need for Ikea," Ruth says, "and [it] leaves space for a few featured pieces."

    Photo: Ruth Hasell

    The Hasell Family's inaugural Thanksgiving in their new home, with a few guests -- wish we'd been there ourselves!


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    Rubrik glass accent doors in turquoise cost $39-$119. Photo: IKEA

    A bright and unusual sight hits IKEA. We like it.

    At first, the idea of installing IKEA's new Rubrik cabinet doors in turquoise seems like a too-bold move. Who would want to cover their kitchen in bright blue? But, after thinking more about it, and seeing how nicely the glass accent doors look against neutrals like white, the idea is more and more appealing. So often, rooms that are the most expensive to change -- kitchens and bathrooms -- are the most boring. When watching shows like House Hunters, it's amazing how many people want the same thing in a kitchen: dark wood cabinets, granite counter tops, stainless steel appliances and hardwood floors. Isn't that a no-fail recipe for a safe, but, dare I say, boring room? Sure, it sounds nice. But, just like the kitchens and trends of years past, that seemingly classic combination will look dated one day, too.

    So why not live a little, and have a bit of brightness to look forward to at breakfast, each morning? Pantone's 2010 color of the year is still going strong, and no matter what the season, or year, turquoise on white will always look beautiful.


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    Four tastemakers invite us over for a look at their at-home hang out spots.

    Day after day, interior designers and stylists make a living creating perfect spaces for others. To give clients exactly what they need, these professionals offer up a unique mix of problem-solving and style smarts. But what happens when decorators are given free reign to design for themselves? We asked four hip designers -- Cortney and Bob Novogratz of Sixx Design and Nine by Design fame, Eve Robinson and Emily Chalmers -- the same question: What is your favorite room at home? They kindly opened their doors and let us in on their sources of inspiration, what it's like to design for themselves versus designing for clients and what their rooms say about them as people.

    The Novogratz's kitchen gives them energy and makes them feel creative. It says to people "We're happy and like to have fun!" Photo, left: Tim Geany. Photo, right: Costa Picadas.

    Cortney and Bob Novogratz of Sixx Design and Bravo's Nine by Design have been infusing their unique blend of vintage and modern to the New York City area for the past 15 years. When asked to name their favorite room at home, there was no hesitation. "The kitchen is where we as a large (nine member!) family spend most of our time, whether we're eating or doing homework."

    As for their inspiration? "We really focused on the outdoors, and combined the sleekness of the interior space with the natural elements outside." In order to accomplish this, they installed a retractable, glass garage door to serve as one of the kitchen walls that faces the porch. "The open, airy feeling makes the whole space feel like a Parisian café." Speaking of France, some of the couple's favorite items in the room were purchased at French flea markets, including the lights over the kitchen island. "Everything in our houses reminds of where we found the pieces. It's like reliving your best travel experiences over and over!"

    The Novogratz's new book, Downtown Chic, can be purchased on

    It was important for Robinson to keep the wonderful character and charm of the old house, but at the same time make it feel modern. Photo: Peter Margonelli

    Eve Robinson's clients hire her for the unique way she combines traditional design elements with modernist style. At home, a more "cheerful, whimsical, fun" side of her personality comes out, especially in the living room of her Watermill, NY country house. Like the Novogratz's, Robinson's big inspiration for the room was the outdoor space. "We added stone to the brick fireplace's façade to give it natural texture and warmth, while the hot pink and red of the rug and artwork are reminiscent of the colorful sunsets and summer flowers outside. The blue sofa fabric echoes the sky," she says.

    For Robinson, the room is all about being comfortable, relaxed and happy, which is reflected in the layout. "Since we use the house year round, I wanted to create an intimate seating area around the fireplace. We can easily pull up extra chairs or an ottoman so there's a place for all of our family and friends." Some of her favorite pieces are the vintage 1950s chairs upholstered in a floral pattern by Judy Ross, the fun and functional cork-painted-top coffee table designed by Paul Frankl, and the clean lined sconces by Stephen McKay.

    Interestingly, she found that designing for herself was a very different experience compared to designing for a client. "It's a huge challenge, and infinitely more difficult! I'm very decisive with my clients, but tend to be less so when it comes to my own projects. In this space, I chose the rug before I had chosen the other furnishings, which is the opposite of what I normally do with clients. Typically, the rug is the last piece that fits into the puzzle."

    Eve Robinson's home is featured in the book, Designers Here and There, by Michele Keith, and is available for purchase at

    Chalmer's London apartment was originally an industrial warehouse. Photo: Debi Treloar

    Interior stylist and shop owner Emily Chalmers has spent her career designing interesting spaces for magazines like Elle Décoration, Living Etc. and Good Housekeeping. She carried on that tradition at home in her favorite space, the living room in Central London that she shares with her husband Chris and their two cats. For Chalmers, the architectural elements served as inspiration. "The basic original features -- the unplastered brick walls, painted concrete floors and the height of the ceilings -- made a great blank canvas! We left the windows uncovered, used the deep ledges as bookshelves and the exposed pipe work to hang odd bits of decoration."

    The space shows off Chalmer's love of color and pattern and avoids a too-complicated look by "sticking to three main florals in the same colorway, which holds the decorating scheme together." The eclectic mix of furniture and accessories comes from markets and junk shops around the world, and has slowly evolved over time. "I bought the cow skin rug at a market in Amsterdam, where my brother lives, and carried it back to London in a backpack!" says Chalmers. Family connections also played a part in acquiring the black and white canvas.

    "Brooklyn-based artists Faile are friends of my brother, and I was lucky enough to choose a piece of their work after a gallery show a few years back." Speaking of family, Chalmers feels that her "lovely family home" did have an influence on the warmth of her space now, but her eclectic style is more of a reflection on her current mood and personality.

    Emily Chalmer's book Cheap Chic can be purchased on


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    girls bedroomThe pink pom pom "pillows" (Martha Stewart Crafts from Michaels) were the perfect shade of pink to complement the room, and look just like the camellias cut outside. Photo: Maria Carr

    A California mother and blogger gives her daughters' bedroom an elegant update.

    Northern Californian blogger Maria Carr happily has her hands full with her large family of four children and a cowboy husband. Besides raising her family, Carr loves to decorate, and she chronicles her projects on her blog Dreamy Whites. Carr's love of light colors recently expanded to her daughters' room. "I was inspired to repaint my daughters' room a soft dove gray after I discovered a blog called French Larkspur," says Carr. "I fell in love with the way the author, Tracey, had decorated her daughter's room. It inspired me to get my paintbrush out that weekend!"

    Vintage shutters as decorLeft: Carr's daughter loves playing the guitar, and they thought it would look great displayed out in the open. Right: Carr moves these shutters all around the house, but for now, they've taken up residence in the girls' room. Photos: Maria Carr

    For girls aged 15 and 11, the room is decidedly not kid-like, but Carr's daughters' are okay with that. Surprisingly, they're actually the ones who requested the mature makeover! "We live on a ranch, and all my kids outgrew playing with toys at a young age," says Carr. "They spend most of their time outside riding horses and taking care of their pets." Their only request? No pink walls!

    Pink flowersCarr loves these blue glass bottles, which can be found at any thrift store. Photo: Maria Carr

    Carr's objective in redecorating the room was to create an uncluttered, calm feel. She succeeded by opting for a soft color palette throughout the whole space and by repainting not only the walls but furniture as well. "Almost everything in the room has been repainted," says Carr. The twin beds were snagged at the bargain-basement price of $100 a pair from an antique store in the process of moving locations. "They were actually painted yellow," says Carr. "I covered them with Benjamin Moore's 'Decorator's White', then lightly brushed 'White Dove' on top to soften the tone." The shutter cabinet was found at a local store and painted white, and the chandelier was found on eBay. "Just when I think I've found the perfect room for the chandelier, I realize there's a better place for it. This is the third time it's been moved!" says Carr.

    Vintage roses chandelierThe shabby chic chandelier was found on eBay. Photo: Maria Carr

    When asked about why she loves decorating with white, Carr has a practical answer. "I have a large family, and I've found that decorating in light colors is the easiest way to keep things looking fresh. I also love how light and airy a mostly white palette makes a room feel. This is a very small room, so keeping it white gives the illusion that the space is bigger than it really is."


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    Some of Canvas's ecologically responsible wares. Photos: Canvas

    Canvas's founder Andrew Corrie talks frankly about running a sustainable, fair-trade business.

    When English couple and designers Andrew Corrie and Harriet Maxwell Macdonald decided to open their Soho store Ochre in 2005, they focused on beautiful, high-end lighting and accessories for the architect and designer market. As the store was flooded with foot traffic, they decided to create more affordable accessories that appeal to a wider audience.

    Andrew Corrie at the Ochre store. Photo: Canvas

    Years of traveling to craft fairs lead to relationships with a variety of talented craftspeople. This, combined with Corrie's place on the board with the philanthropic group Aid to Artisans, gave him the idea to create Canvas, a line of sustainable, fair-trade products. "Canvas is much more about the enjoyment of things that are made by hand," says Corrie. "We focus on soft textures and color palettes, and whenever we can, try to be green and support fair trade."

    What makes Canvas interesting -- besides the gorgeous products -- are the stories behind the company's fair-trade principals. Corrie believes helping people help themselves is the key to building a better, more sustainable world. Canvas's reach is widespread as a result: The bath towels are made by a weaving cooperative in Southern India; gold glazed bowls are made in Peru; paper mache bins are made in Haiti and alpaca throws are made by a group of female weavers run by Marcela Contrera, general manager of Weavers and Designers.

    "The groups we work with are local people who happen to have skills in a certain craft," says Corrie. "Frequently there is an amazing skill level that the participants already have, for instance, textiles in India." The goods are bought at market price, which is typically more expensive, but Corrie believes that customers are willing to pay for timeless, well-made and unique products.

    When asked about what it means to be an eco-conscious and sustainable company, Corrie's answer is a bit unexpected -- it is clear that being totally green is complicated, to say the least. For instance, if a shopper buys organic cotton sheets, they might think they're making a green choice. However, producing cotton organically requires almost three times as much water as non-organic, commercial cotton. In an area with significant droughts, like certain parts of India, buying non-organic is actually a smarter choice.

    Many of Canvas's goods are created by far-flung artisans. Photos: Canvas

    "Even though 80-90% of Canvas has a green story, we do not claim to be the green police," says Corrie. "We do the best we can and are always seeking to improve, but sometimes we'll sell something purely because it is beautiful and has the right shape -- for instance, our Syrian glass. Anyone who claims to be 100% green has to be looked at closely." The company's push for sustainability can be seen in much of the American-made furniture made from recycled New York City water towers. "The incredible gray color and patina can only come from cedar mixed with NYC pollution," he says.

    Corrie is drawn to other shops that try their best to be green and sustainable, and he's a big advocate of the Green Depot, which is "basically a Home Depot, but selling green products." He also loves ABC Home, noting, "Paulette Cole, the head of ABC, is a visionary. She's been banging the green drum consistently for years." He's also a fan of BBDW, where he says the founder "knows more about wood and making things than anyone I've ever met." Ted Muehling, a Manhattan store where all products are made on the premises, is another favorite.

    Corrie admits that his shopping picks are on the more expensive side, but he believes that those companies have more leeway to choose how the items they sell are produced. For more affordable, green picks, Corrie advises shoppers to head to local flea markets and craft fairs, the very places Corrie found some of the artisans that contribute to Canvas.

    Besides asking questions and remembering to not take the "green" label at face value, Corrie says the best way to be eco-conscious is to shop thoughtfully, and avoid buying things just because they are cheap -- and just because you can. Corrie and Canvas strive to "make beautiful things that people will keep for a lifetime." Says Corrie: "We want to make something that lasts, gives pleasure, and most importantly, won't end up in a landfill." We couldn't imagine a more noble mission for a home brand.

    Can't get to New York to visit Corrie's shop? No problem. Here's an in depth look at Canvas's new website.


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    Colorful lifeguard towerAll the newly painted lifeguard towers feature a bright, bold palette. Photo: Portraits of Hope

    A public art installation on Southern California beaches is a lesson in creative therapy.

    A lifeguard tower on a sandy beach is a picturesque sight to behold, mix in a strong dose of colorful paint with a good cause, and you've got some of the most cheerful coast guarding stations imaginable. Summer of Color, a public art project by the non-profit organization Portraits of Hope, has transformed Los Angeles County's lifeguard towers into colorful, beachside art installations. They will remain on view until the end of the summer.

    Based in California, Portraits of Hope is a non-profit organization that plans and executes motivational art projects that merge the "production of dynamic public art works with creative therapy for hospitalized children and civic education for students of all ages."

    Lifeguard tower with flowersPortaits of Hope frequently uses flowers, like those seen here, as they are symbols of peace. Photo: Portraits of Hope

    Thousands of children -- many of them physically and medically challenged -- in schools, hospitals and social service programs (including The Braille Institute, Special Olympics, Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitative Center and Program for Torture Victims) lent their artistic touch to the colorful panels that are installed on the walls and roofs of the lifeguard towers of Summer of Color.

    Graphic lifeguard tower roofThe lifeguard stations can be viewed from land, sea -- and from the skies above! Photo: Portraits of Hope

    Stretched over 31 miles of beach, created by 6,000 children and more than 2,500 adults, and potentially viewed by 45 million So Cal beach visitors, this is thought to be the largest public art project in the United States to date.


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  • 08/25/10--20:47: Buzz: Bombay Is Back
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    The brand is back with a showroom display and a launch slated for September 30. Photo: The Bombay Company

    The Bombay Company is debuting its new collection with a Fifth Avenue showroom and a QVC special.

    It's been a long time coming for fans of The Bombay Company since it filed bankruptcy in 2007, but the wait is over as its first 250-piece collection is currently on display in a penthouse showroom on Fifth Avenue in New York City. The collection showcases the global look that The Bombay Company is known for with a wide range of items, from tabletop to accessories to textiles.

    But that's not all. As Home Accents Today reports, a collection is set for its TV closeup with a QVC debut on September 30, signifying a joint effort between the brand and the retailer. The line will be featured on a one-hour special and include 14 home decor and accent pieces ranging in price from around $29 to $180.

    "We want to demonstrate our commitment to the marketplace and present a fully realized vision of the home lifestyle brand consumers know and love," said Will Hollands, chief merchant of The Bombay Company and president of Hermes-Otto International USA LLC -- which holds the license for Bombay products in the U.S. -- in a statement.

    Bombay is bringing back many of its top sellers for the relaunch, such as the Asian Garden dinnerware and the D'Orsay table collection. New looks include updates on the herringbone travel trunks, as well as the damask candle lantern.

    Hollands will be on QVC to give viewers the lowdown on the goods for sale. So Bombay fans, set your DVRs!

    For more on The Bombay Company, check out The Bombay Company's Return.


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    bemz country slipcoversNew Bemz slipcovers go country. Photo: Bemz

    Why more of us are gravitating toward country's simple, down-home look.

    I recently got an email that Bemz, the company that creates custom slipcovers for IKEA furniture, has developed a new line of shabby chic slipcovers called "Loose Fit - Country Style". Recent issues of Architectural Digest and Dwell have focused on country style living. And in case you haven't heard, Rachel Ashwell is back. What's causing this re-emergence of the down-home country style? It may have something to do with the struggling economy.

    Country style is all about comfort, color and "lots of patterned fabrics, rustic furnishings, even a campy aesthetic," says Heather Wells from Wells & Fox Architectural Interiors. It's reminiscent of simpler times and a leisurely lifestyle that's easier to keep up with and maintain, and this may be why the style is currently gaining popularity. It is the very opposite of the uncertain economic times we're experiencing outside of the home. "When society is feeling challenged economically and politically, they look to their homes to take the edge off. They look to a style to comfort them," says Wells.

    country style and comfort at homeSummer Thornton defines country style as chic and comfortable. Photos: Summer Thornton

    Designer Summer Thornton says there are many different interpretations of what country style actually is. In her mind, it's less farmhouse style and more chic, a palatable "blending of vintage pieces and items with patina to create an aesthetic that is notably laid back." She sees rooms mixed with glamorous pieces and old antiques like Milk Paint furnishings, all of which communicate a particular kind of lifestyle. "Usually the people that are interested in something with a country look are more laid back. But again, what type of country are they looking for -- usually its something simple, casual and often times with lots of linen and cotton."

    Heather and her team have been working on several projects that incorporate this simpler aesthetic. She notes that even in their more formal projects, she is using handmade fabrics and rugs and items that feel more homespun and comfortable. "It does seem to be a trend that when times are tough, people want simple and comfortable," she says. "Back to basics."

    In the past, when we've experienced easier, more comfortable economic times, style and design focused more on the complex, artistic, luxurious and fanciful. For example, when times were good in the automotive industry, we saw the emergence and almost overnight sensation of the SUV, and with the economic downturn, cars just seem to get smaller and smaller to compensate for gas prices, environmental concerns and lifestyle changes.

    Summer isn't sure that the popularity of country style is directly related to the economy, but she does think more people are looking to make their homes more comfortable. "Vintage pieces remind us of times past, simpler times and fond memories with family," she says. "As a society we apply so much pressure to ourselves that many people are just seeking a place of peace, comfort, and serenity...and country style certainly provides that."

    I agree. After a long day at work, there's nothing better than sinking into a deep, soft, broken-in sofa. It's like an old pair of jeans; there's an element of nostalgia and history that fits you like a glove.

    country interiorsMore people are gravitating toward a farmhouse feel. Photos: Wells & Fox

    Because of this shift in economics, along with the demand for vintage decor, there's no denying that there's been a rise in flea markets, handmade crafts and thrift stores. Summer has noticed this, too: "There's this new show called American Pickers -- for some reason more and more people are interested in the hunt for old things." She chooses to purchase as much vintage for her clients as new items, regardless of style, because it offers a uniqueness that can't be bought in a retail store. I think the same could be said for heirlooms.

    Whether or not this shift toward a nostalgic lifestyle is a result of the economy or not, we're in it for the long haul. Now, where did I stash that floral duvet?

    Recent ShelterPop stories about country style:
    - How To Be At Home With Country
    - Inside Country Living's House of the Year


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