Articles on this Page
- 10/14/10--10:44: _Wall Ideas: Color, ...
- 10/14/10--16:54: _Accent Pillows Done...
- 10/15/10--08:17: _Designers' New Recy...
- 10/15/10--08:17: _Sneak Peek: Design ...
- 10/15/10--10:24: _Cool Halloween Deco...
- 10/16/10--08:36: _Weekly Link Love
- 10/20/10--19:10: _Design Drool: Cotta...
- 10/20/10--19:10: _Trend Spotting: Ove...
- 10/20/10--19:10: _Color Diary: Play W...
- 10/20/10--19:10: _Vintage in the Kitchen
- 10/20/10--19:10: _How to Use Wicker i...
- 10/20/10--19:10: _A Show House Made F...
- 10/20/10--19:10: _The Rent is Too Dam...
- 10/20/10--19:10: _Handmade Halloween ...
- 10/20/10--19:10: _Design Drool: The R...
- 10/20/10--19:10: _Too Busy To Be Eco-...
- 10/20/10--19:10: _Tips for Removing C...
- 10/22/10--16:24: _Don't Be Spooked by...
- 10/22/10--16:24: _Clean a Bathroom in...
- 10/22/10--16:24: _Sneak Peek: Crate &...
- 10/14/10--10:44: Wall Ideas: Color, Pattern and Style
- 10/14/10--16:54: Accent Pillows Done Right
- 10/15/10--08:17: Designers' New Recycling Rules: Zero Waste
- 10/15/10--10:24: Cool Halloween Decor: Flying Crows
- 10/16/10--08:36: Weekly Link Love
- 10/20/10--19:10: Design Drool: Cottage Living in L.A.
- 10/20/10--19:10: Trend Spotting: Oversized Nailhead Trim
- 10/20/10--19:10: Color Diary: Play With Color
- 10/20/10--19:10: Vintage in the Kitchen
- 10/20/10--19:10: How to Use Wicker in Winter
- 10/20/10--19:10: A Show House Made For The Movies
- 10/20/10--19:10: Handmade Halloween Decor
- 10/20/10--19:10: Design Drool: The Real Jersey Shore
- 10/20/10--19:10: Too Busy To Be Eco-Friendly? You're Not Alone
- 10/20/10--19:10: Tips for Removing Candle Wax from Carpet
- 10/22/10--16:24: Don't Be Spooked by Black Walls
- 10/22/10--16:24: Clean a Bathroom in 15 Minutes: Our Minute-by-Minute Guide
- 10/22/10--16:24: Sneak Peek: Crate & Barrel Gets Marimekko Flair
When considering wall ideas, many people opt for safe choices. But Meliisa Warner didn't shy away from bold colors and patterns when she was commissioned to decorate a home in San Francsico. As one of three partners at Massucco Warner Miller (named for the firm's three principals Julie Massucco, Melissa Warner and Carrie Miller), Warner has a way with walls. And as this house shows, her wall ideas are endless.
A bold wallpaper sets the stage for spectacular meals. Photo: Massucco Warner Miller
To learn how we could be as confident as she is with our wall coverings and colorings, we asked Warner about the decisions that went into creating this beautiful home. Here's what she had to say:
Dining Room (above)
The stunning hand-painted, emerald silk wallpaper by DeGournay and the orange chairs strike a nice tension in this classical dining room. "The wallpaper was probably the first piece picked in the whole house!" Warner notes, "The bright orange chairs were picked later to compliment one of the accent colors in the wallpaper's flowers." Gray painted moldings (Ralph Lauren's "Grange Hall") are an unusual and masculine choice to frame this show-stopping pattern.
A wallpaper by Osborne & Little takes this room to the next level. Photo: Massucco Warner Miller
While the Osborne & Little wallpaper (#W5220-0) in the master bedroom is a bold choice with its graphic, retro print and metallic sheen, it actually looks like a neutral when paired with bright, fuchsia drapery. Says Warner of this choice, "The Clarence House coral silk (that was used for the window treatments) was irresistible with the sheen and subtle gold accents in the wallpaper."
Don't be afraid to layer patterns, just be sure to coordinate between adjoining spaces. Photo: Massucco Warner Miller
When it came to the sitting nook off the master bedroom, Warner decided not to continue with the Osborne & Little print but to opt for a different pattern altogether. She chose Nina Campbell's "Deauville" in pearl, a soft zebra-like print, which complements the bedroom's floral wallpaper. Warner notes, "I wanted to choose a pattern that was interesting enough on its own, yet didn't compete with the bolder pattern in the master bedroom. This zebra motif ended up being the perfect compliment and still interesting enough on its own!"
A famous pattern turns a powder room into one of the most interesting rooms in the house. Photo: Massucco Warner Miller
This small bathroom would seem like an unlikely choice for a big, bold print, but Warner says, "I think a small space is the perfect place to use such a bold wallpaper. Oftentimes, small spaces can get neglected, but I think this paper (or any bold paper) can make a more petite room unexpected and fun." The Zebra wallpaper is a legendary pattern by Scalamandré, originally created in the 1940s exclusively for Gino's, a New York City restaurant, which was unavailable to purchase until the company finally released the pattern a few years back. You might recognize its red counterpart as the wallpaper from Margot Tenenbaum's bathroom in the film The Royal Tenenbaums.
Treat every bedroom like it's the star of the house with bold walls. Photo: Massucco Warner Miller
Warner didn't leave all of the drama to the master bedroom. These two smaller rooms both got wall treatments that wow.
In the bedroom above left, the bold stripes are actually painted onto the wall. Warner notes that she worked with a painter to determine the best size for the stripe. Then the painter painted the whole room white. Once it had dried, she used painter's tape to mask off the spots for the navy stripes.
In the room above right, the bold turquoise hue determined much of the room's decor. Warner advises, "If you're using such a bold paint color, I recommend using other neutral elements in the room to balance it out. In this case, I balanced the bolder turquoise with the ivory of the trim, bookshelves, coverlet and rug."
Need more wall ideas? Read on:
- Fresh Floral Wallpapers
- Wallpaper in the Bathroom
- Wallpaper's Curvy New Look
-15 Easy, Chic Ways to Dress Up a Blank Wall
-Grizzly Wall Decor
We all know that pillows make great accents and come in many shapes and sizes, but your favorites may not always work together or in the same room. To help us unstuff the dos and dont's of decorating with throw pillows, we consulted with Taniya Nayak, designer for HGTV's Destination Design, and Designed to Sell and pillow designer Jeanine Hays of AphroChic.
They both had a similar message: When you decorate with pillows, you can make or break the look of a room. Use the perfect pillows, and you've got a brand new couch or bed, but use the wrong ones and it can be a cushiony catastrophe.
Taniya says that she decorates with pillows in a few different ways. First, she relies on them to bring in color and texture. A few bright red pillows can make an enormous difference in an all-beige room. Secondly, she uses them to draw interest.
Pillows can add a much-needed pop of color to a bed or sofa. Photo: CB2
"Changing up the sizes and fabrics as well as the prints can completely change the look of a room," Taniya says. Placing a grouping of pillows on your sofa can make the room instantly seem brighter or cozier.
And pillows are a great way to introduce prints and patterns into a space without overdoing it or committing permanently to a bold color. "Invest in more neutral based larger furniture items like beds or sofas in gray, taupes, whites and chocolates," she says. "Then decorate with pillows as a way to bring it to life. This is where the color, texture and fun comes in or the richness and plushness, if using a monochromatic scheme."
When you decide to add accent pillows, there are a few things you will want to consider before just snapping up all the ones you like from various retailers (we're particularly drawn to this simple rectangular pillow, above, in peacock blue from CB2). It's important to consider the fabric from which the pillow is made. For example, if you have pets and young children, silk probably isn't going to be the wisest choice unless you enjoy going to the dry cleaners every week. More family-friendly fabrics include cotton, linen and similar blends.
Jeanine says that "the perfect pillow will have a fabric that is hard-wearing and easy to maintain." She suggests organic cotton, 100% cotton and linen. "They will stay in wonderful shape for a long time to come," she says, "and can be easily washed if they ever get stained."
Taniya suggests opting for cushions that have removable covers and separate inserts. They make for easier cleaning because you can usually remove the cover and place it in the washing machine. Be sure to check the tag for proper cleaning instructions. It's great because if you get bored of the pillow cover or want to swap it out when the seasons change, you can easily put on another cover to change up the look.
Mix patterns and tell a color story with pillows. Photo: Pottery Barn
Making the Arrangement
Once you've selected your new pillows, it's time to do some arranging. When grouping them together on your sofa, Taniya says it's important to fill the corners by angling the pillows for a more inviting look and feel. Place the largest pillows in the back and gradually decrease them in size as you get to the front -- like a well-arranged group photo. Jeanine suggests that you "make sure that your groupings don't get in the way of seating space."
To get that picture-perfect catalog look, give each pillow a firm "karate chop" in the middle of the top.
In the bedroom, place two oversized pillows next to each other, and add a bolster in front to bring in a different shape and feel.
A bolster is a great way to finish off your pillow arrangement. Photo: Lotus Bleu Home Decor and Interior Design
Since pillows are relatively inexpensive, it's one area in the home where it's easy to follow trends. What's hot right now? Taniya's loving these laser-cut felt pillows from Home Decorators Collection and these Pottery Barn grainsack pillows: "I love the organic nature and texture. Pair these up with some linen pillows and don't be shy with the number of them -- the more the better!"
Jeanine says piping is a hot trend right now: "More designers are having fun and offering piping in a variety of fun colors -- pink, acid yellow, black, green. It's a small way to offer something a little different." Although it's more than just a trend, sustainability in pillows is increasingly growing. Companies like Hammocks and High Tea are creating incredible eco-friendly pillows. "Kapok is the latest in eco-friendly inserts," she says.
Classic patterns are also making their way into modern design. For example, ikat and chevron are growing in popularity, and we're seeing modern takes on these traditional patterns emerge in small boutique companies and large retailers like West Elm.
What are some of Taniya's favorite places to score great pillows on a budget? She suggests trying HomeGoods or online retailer Imagine Throw Pillows. You can also get inexpensive pillow inserts at IKEA and then splurge a bit on the covers.
-select a color palette
-mix and match prints using your selected color palette
-use a lot of pillows for a lush and comfy feel
-use your pillows as inspiration to find the perfect wall color by selecting a color that is very small in scale on the actual pillow
-buy all-beige pillows
-be afraid to splurge on one or two pillows if you truly love them
-be afraid to mix up your fabrics, shapes and sizes
Check out some of our other great makeover stories:
- Decorate Your Bedroom for a Good Night's Sleep
- 6 Inspiring Bedroom Makeovers
- Update Your Living Room in 5 Easy Steps
And if you're still thinking about pillows...
- Find must-have Pillows at AOL Shopping- Washing Bed Pillows: Experts' Advice
We all know that trends in interior design and home furnishings often follow what happens on the runway, so it doesn't surprise me that the latest fashion design aspiration, zero waste, is also being adopted in the home. According to an article in the New York Times, zero waste in fashion is loosely defined as striving "to create clothing patterns that leave not so much as a scrap of fabric on the cutting room floor."
But this is not just another Project Runway challenge. In fact, it's a battle against the industry. This same article points out some grim environmental statistics such as "about 15 to 20 percent of the fabric used to produce clothing winds up in the nation's landfills because it's cheaper to dump the scraps than to recycle them." Artist Lisa Solomon and her business partner Candice Gold have recently launched MODify/d, a company that creates home goods from those discarded fashion industry scraps -- a harmonious union between the fashion and home design industries.
Floor scraps from jackets and pants made into pillows. Photo: MODify/d
Zero waste isn't a new concept in furniture. Since 2003, designers Bart Bettencourt and Carlos Salgado were collecting scraps from the New York woodworking industry and making furniture under the name Scrapile. Whether the fashion industry or the independent furniture designers started this movement is a chicken and egg question, but the fashion industry seems to be getting all of the attention. Well, that needs to change!
I spoke with a handful of amazing designers who have embraced the idea of zero waste, which they mostly describe as the creation of a product that results in minimal to no landfill trash; these designers make conscious use of old materials and products and turn waste into new products, even packaging. And they're taking furniture-making to a whole new level. In challenging themselves to create something new from something old, they're designing eco-friendly items that don't look anything (and I mean anything) like repurposed trash. While some are inspired by the lagging economy and environmental concerns, others are simply following their creative impulses.
Joanne Kelly and Anthony Buggy are co-owners of Think Contemporary, a UK-based interior design company that recently added a line of upcycled furniture to their offerings. They added the collection because of the obvious shift in consumer thinking when it came to old furniture. In Ireland, as elsewhere, people aren't throwing anything away anymore. Instead, they donate it to second hand stores or give it away online. "We saw a gap in the market to reuse these old pieces and to give them a new lease on life using eco-friendly products," she says.
Joe Norman's reclaimed pallet table. Photo: Blue Boat Home Design
Joe Norman of Blue Boat Home Design makes furniture of recycled boat parts, but he didn't intend to become a niche designer or intentionally follow any trends when he started. Instead, he explains, he found that he created some of his most meaningful work using materials with a storied past, or "emotional residue," as he calls it.
Artist and designer Boris Bally, who makes chairs and tables from old street signs, started working with trash because it presented a challenge; he had to figure out how to make "something people valued from something they discarded." It can be a tough sell, he says. "You are essentially repackaging the material and selling it back to them," he says.
Still, he was drawn to the nostalgic feel of reclaimed materials. A former jeweler who worked with precious and semi-precious metals and gemstones, Bally is often reminded of his Swiss roots, a time when his parents took him to scrap yards for fun on the weekends. The family's motto was "use it up, wear it out, make it do, do without."
The trend is beginning to catch on. "Zero waste design will just become 'design,' at which point it won't be a trend because it will be ubiquitous," says Norman.
Think Contemporary uses water-based paints and locally-sourced vinyl decals for their furniture. Photo: Think Contemporary
Challenges of designing without waste
OK, so you're making furniture from old furniture. But what about the tools, power and methods used by these designers? Part of zero waste, at least to me, means producing little waste during each phase of the manufacturing process. From sourcing materials to packaging, the entire lifecycle of the process should have little to no environmental impact.
But it doesn't happen without challenges. For MODify/d, they say that the very nature of their business makes zero waste production tough -- they have to ship their goods somehow. Still, they do whatever they can to reduce waste. They use cardboard inserts to make tags and business cards, vintage zippers and buttons for accents, kapok or recycled plastic bottle fillers for their pillows. They're still exploring their options, but they are hopeful that they can continue to move in an eco-friendly direction; they really want solar-powered sewing machines.
Bally makes everything by hand using locally-sourced materials. He and his assistant use basic tools to minimize the use of electricity and a gas-saving vehicle to transport materials. If a particular sign seems too small or awkward, they repurpose it into a platter or a tray. Smaller pieces and scraps become coasters, key fobs and brooches. Whatever is left over, he explains, is basically sawdust and small metal scraps that he hauls back to the scrap yard to be recycled. The chairs ship flat-packed and are assembled by the consumer.
Norman explains that sometimes, fabrication can be a challenge. Trying to find ways to have a minimal ecological impact proves difficult when the use of large electrical equipment is involved. He's brainstorming alternatives for powering his tools. But he can control what materials he selects and how he transports it.
Boris Bally's upcycled sign chairs sit on top of old corks. Photo: Boris Bally
You talk the talk, but do you walk the walk?
How "green" can you really be if you make eco-friendly furniture at work but go home in a big SUV? The work that these designers are doing begins first with how they act in their personal lives.
Norman and his wife have been living on two main principles -- the first being that people are more important than things. "The stuff we own, make and cherish is in service to our lives, not the other way around," he says. He also believes that what you can do with your community "is far more powerful than what we do alone." They have been studying multi-family communities around the world that are self-sustainable and documenting their findings in a blog.
Bally takes his upcycled lifestyle very seriously; his staircase railing is made from shovels that his UPS driver gave to him, while the window grates on his home are made of drills the electricians discarded when they ran the power. He also works in a building that was going to be torn down -- he saved it.
Says Norman: "The desire to have a minimal carbon footprint really pushes me to take a close look at the value of what I'm designing and fabricating. Every designer has a huge responsibility to create work which does its raw materials and purpose justice. If it doesn't make the world a better place, then I won't make it."
This year's Kips Bay Decorator Show House, the annual fundraising event for the Kips Bay Boys & Girls Club, got off to a rocky start when the original location was sold before the show house could open. Six months later in a new location across town, the Kips Bay Decorator Show House is finally ready for design enthusiasts to come in and drool.
While the 10,000-square-foot limestone mansion is a far cry from our own humble abodes, we found plenty of inspiration in the rooms decorated by twenty top designers -- and lots of good design tricks. Shall we take a peek inside?
A coral pink door and pagoda-patterned wallpaper make a big first impression. Photo: Laura Fenton
The house opens with a punch -- a tropical sort of punch, that is -- with Katie Ridder's coral and taupe entryway. The wallpaper is Ridder's own design, and the bright painted trim is Benjamin Moore's "Autumn Cover."
Steal the look: Don't let your entryway languish in dull hues, follow Ridder's lead and greet your guests with a bright, bold color in the entryway.
This room adds new meaning to the phrase "pretty in pink." Photo: Laura Fenton
Just off the entryway is a petite room designed by Brett Design Inc. The wild snakeskin patterned wallpaper is part of Brett Design's unusual collection of transparent wallpapers.
Steal the look: A Lucite desk is a smart choice for a small room, as it practically disappears. Plexi-Craft offers several ready-made options or you can custom order one to your own specifications.
Who says eat-in kitchens can't be glam? Photo: Laura Fenton
Lavender is a tricky shade, but Eve Robinson Associates make it work in this kitchen with a full dining table. The crisp white trim and cabinets compliment shades of the palest purple and darker hues.
Steal the look: West Elm's Wrap Dining Chair is a close match to the white dining seats in this elegant room.
Not your average theme room, we loved this chef-inspired space. Photo: Laura Fenton
Cullman & Travis's room took its inspiration from New York's rich culinary world and the elusive dinner-at-eight restaurant reservation. The dining table was set for eight of the design firm's favorite chefs and the artwork throughout the space is food-themed.
Steal the look: Bookcases go from boring to beautiful when books are interspersed with decorative objects like the turquoise ceramic pieces shown here.
Vicente Wolf can't get enough of his signature wing chairs. Photo: Laura Fenton
Decorator Show House Tip #5: Consider the Wingback
Vicente Wolf was blessed with a wood-paneled backdrop for his white furnishings. A pair of over-size wingback chairs (a signature Wolf move) makes for a dramatic moment before the fireplace, which is topped with a piece of contemporary art from Wolf's private collection.
Steal the look: The wingback chair is making a comeback -- copy Wolf's style at a fraction of the cost with West Elm's Ellery Chair. Or pick up a copy of his book Lifting the Curtain on Design for inspiration when it is released next week.
McMilen Plus is a youthful division of the country's oldest interior design firm. Photo: Laura Fenton
McMillen Plus's petite bedroom is pretty and soft in shades of gold, sea foam and ivory. The portrait above the bed (of designer Elizabeth Pyne's grandmother) inspired much of the color scheme for the space.
Steal the look: Add drama over a daybed with a DIY canopy to mimic the one Elizabeth Pyne had made for this room.
That weird egg-like thing on the wall? It's a fireplace -- really! Photo: Laura Fenton
Decorator Show House Tip #7: Try This Unique Idea for a Shade
Perhaps the most contemporary and Zen-like of the rooms in the show house, 2Michaels' "urban sanctuary" was a study in minimal, serene decorating with references to birds and nature throughout.
Steal the look: We love 2Michaels' window treatments which is a simple, sheer shade that has been mounted to make the windows appear much larger than they are, filtering the light as it enters the room.
A custom seat is fitted into this dressing room's nook. Photo: Laura Fenton
Decorator Show House Tip #8: Make Wall Decals Work
Darren Henault designed his and hers dressing rooms for the show house and adorned the violet walls in the feminine side with a photograph by Alex Prager, a rising star in the contemporary art world.
Steal this look: For similar wall flourishes, Blik's Iron Vines decals offer feminine swirls that mimic the designs on Henault's walls.
This is a bedroom fit for a Hollywood starlet. Photo: Laura Fenton
Decorator Show House Tip #9: Reinvent Thrift Store Finds
Whites, ivories and metallics all mix in this boudoir designed by Jeffrey Design Group. Inspired by Hollywood glamour of the 1930s, the look is feminine and sophisticated without looking too girly, thanks, in part, to 70s table lamps and black accents.
Steal the look: Create your own custom lamps like the ones shown above by spray-painting a pair of thrift store finds white, then add a simple, off-the-shelf, white drum shade to each and copy the Jeffrey Design Group's trick of adding a border of black suede ribbon for a custom look.
Bubbles take a sophisticated turn in this luxe bath. Photo: Laura Fenton
Decorator Show House Tip #10: Bubbles in the Bathroom Add Whimsy
Inspired by a classic photograph by Melvin Sokolsky, Coffinier Ku Designs, Ltd.'s two rooms were filled with bubbles of all shapes and sizes, including an installation of hand-blown glass bubbles in the bathroom.
Steal the look: While glass artist Suzan Etkin's hand-blown orbs are a true luxury, you can recreate a similar feeling in your own bathroom with Hanging Ball Vases from Jamali Gardens and a bowl of CB2's Bubble Balls. Note: We do not advise bathing with glass balls - this is for inspiration only!
Three small occasional tables stand in for a traditional coffee table in this lounge. Photo: Laura Fenton
Decorator Show House Tip #11: Use Mirrors in Surprising Spots
Outfitted with a bar, books and piles of throw pillows, Aman & Carson's study was a room we'd be happy to curl up in. The camelback sofa is the firm's own design.
Steal the look: Have mirrors cut to fit the back of your bookcases, and they'll open up your room with light. Plus, the mirrored surfaces add drama and depth to a space.
Look again: That's not wallpaper -- it's paint! Photo: Laura Fenton
Decorator Show House Tip #12: You'd Be Surprised What Paint Can Do
With shades of pink, purple and lots of neutrals throughout the show house, Sherrill Canet Interior, Ltd.'s room stood out with its bright blue walls. The room stays grounded with mostly white upholstery and a neutral gray rug from Canet's new rug collection for Stark Carpet.
Steal the look: At first glance, the walls of Sherrill Canet Interiors, Ltd.'s room appear to be wallpapered, but Canet reveals it's actually paint! She had the walls coated in Benjamin Moore's "Blue Suede Shoes" and then added stripes of clear lacquer on top.
A vintage Italian light fixture is a dramatic focal point overhead. Photo: Laura Fenton
Perched at the top of the townhouse are Jennifer Post's black and white TV room and yoga room. Post says she figured anyone who resided in a limestone mansion like this deserved a really elegant place to retreat to.
Steal the look: Restricting yourself to a black, gray and white palette like Post means you'll never have to worry about whether or not something matches your space.
For more decorating inspiration, check out:
- A Tour of Rob Lowe's House
- Decorating Styles 101: Modern Coastal
And we're loving this story on DIY Life about Vanilla Ice's new remodeling show. Really!
Yes, there is such a thing as cool Halloween decor. Forget the plastic pumpkins, these flying crows make for spooky, stylish Halloween decorations.
Craving more Halloween goodies? Check out the great pieces from our sister site Holidash!
Filed under: Fun Stuff
Twilight your bedroom, perfect pumpkin carving tools and a billion-dollar abode in India...what we're lusting over in the blogosphere this week...
Ever wonder how wallpaper comes to be? Apartment Therapy goes behind the scenes. [Apartment Therapy]
Today's question to ponder: Would we be ultimately happier if every bathroom we entered looked like this? [CasaSugar]
Want to see what a billion dollars gets you in India? Check out the world's first billion dollar home. [The Editor at Large]
Earthy accents, raw plaster and gray, oh my! Three interior design trends you need to know about. [The Inside Source]
Keira Knightly's outfit might look better translated into a room. Wouldn't those colors and patterns look great on say, a sofa? [The Frisky]
Want to decorate your front porch with Martha Stewart-worthy pumpkins? Jen tells us what tools we'll need to easily create gorgeous gourd masterpieces. [DIY Life]
Admit it. You LOVE "Twilight". C'mon, we all do. The folks at The Stir came up with a fab bedroom (for grownups) inspired by the spooky series. [The Stir]
Another fashion-meets-home decor moment: Leopard! We think this pillow could give a room just enough of this fab feline trend. When something is this WOW in fashion, you know it's only a matter of time before it's hot on the home front. [Lemondrop]
Holly for Decor8 picks out some of her favorite blue rooms, as originally seen in Style at Home magazine. This might be the most perfect. bathroom. ever. [Decor8]
While living in Southern California a decade ago, Venice Beach was my stomping grounds. I loved the relaxed, artsy vibe in this oceanfront city, where I could drop into a cafe for a cappuccino, hear a poet read at Beyond Baroque Literary Arts Center, or troll for Fair Trade or artisan-made clothing or home decor along the boardwalk -- all to the tune of street-musician funk.
Now when I return I'm filled with nostalgia, but I mostly find nearby hotels disappointing: a mix of high-priced Santa Monica hotels and cookie-cutter chain properties in Century City or El Segundo.
The exterior of three cottages for rent by the week in Venice Beach, California. Photo: Eric Staudenmaier
Since they're owned by a couple who value sustainability, these cottages employ an eco-friendly mantra. Cleaning products are non-toxic. The cottages are solar-powered. Bed and bath linens are made from organic, unbleached cotton. The walls are insulated with recycled denim. Appliances -- because you know you'll want to cook once you hole up in here -- are Energy Star certified. And in a rare move in the lodging industry, 3 percent of gross revenues are donated to local charities.
"Our objective has been to show that truly sustainable design and restoration can go hand-in-hand with beauty and comfort," says, co-owner Cynthia Foster (Dr. Karel J. Samson is her partner), adding that this is "one of the few areas in L.A. where you can walk to everything -- wonderful!"
Le Bebe Cottage
The bedroom (left) and kitchen nook (right) inside Le Bebe cottage. Photo: Eric Staudenmaier
This is the kind of cottage where you're going to spend a lot of time snapping photos of the decor because you'll be dying to replicate it at home.
Aunt Zoe's Place
A cozy little fireside retreat inside Aunt Zoe's Place. Photo: Eric Staudenmaier
Inside Aunt Zoe's Place is a 100-percent vintage kitchen -- in every detail. Photo: Eric Staudenmaier
A chandelier hanging in the kitchen -- made by Foster to match with the glamorous (we're kidding!) job of washing your dishes -- is a fun surprise. Keeping with the historical character was important to the owners. Above, in the kitchen, you can see a vintage leaded-glass rectangular window bought in nearby North Hollywood.
The sunny, bright and light bedroom inside Aunt Zoe's Place. Photo: Eric Staudenmaier
Papa Hemingway's Cottage
The living room inside Papa Hemingway cottage. Photo: Eric Staudenmaier
The bedroom and bathroom inside Papa Hemingway cottage. Photo: Eric Staudenmaier
Sure, you're going to want to hit the beach in L.A. But if you stay here, you may linger in bed longer than planned.
For more Design Drools:
-Eco-Luxe Huts in Spain
-Where Kate Moss Vacations
And if you're craving more about Venice Beach, check out these great pieces from AOL Travel:
How to Enjoy Venice Beach Boardwalk
Venice Beach House Rentals
Pottery Barn's Calais Chair piqued our interest in the oversized nailhead trim trend. Photos: Pottery Barn
Naihead trim has been making appearances on furniture collections for several seasons, but this fall, we're noticing that the trend had gotten bigger -- literally. First spotted on the Calais Chair by Pottery Barn ($299), the new upholstery tacks for trim aren't just a diminutive detail -- they are oversized and generously spaced (see detail above). We love the look for being bold and subtle at the same time. Plus, nailhead trim is always a classic choice.
The trend for oversized nailhead trim has also appeared in other major furniture vendors: Restoration Hardware's Louis XIV Baroque Upholstered Side Chair (below right, $339) is adorned with large-scale upholstery tacks. Crate & Barrel featured a version of their Metropole Chair (below left, starts at $2,499) in a recent catalog with big, bold nailhead trim (please note, the green leather with oversized nailhead trim is available only as a custom order).
Whether it's an easy chair or a formal dining chair, bigger, bolder upholstery tacks are in this fall. Photos (left to right): Crate & Barrel, Restoration Hardware
Upholstery tacks are available at some hardware stores and through online retailers of upholstery supplies (Beacon Fabric & Notions has a good selection). When shopping for nails to make your own nailhead trim, ask for either "upholstery tacks" or "decorative nails." Use a hammer to secure them around the frame of the piece you wish to add trim to -- but be sure you are spacing them evenly for a polished look!
Feeling inspired? Here are more trends to try:
- Trend Spotting: Exposed Lightbulbs
- Trend Spotting: Fall 2010
- Trend Spotting: Tie-Dye Decor
Home offices have become a staple in recent years. Whether you work from home full-time or use your home office for the occasional task (or web surfing), you know that having a comfortable, inspired space can make the hours (or minutes) much more enticing.
Bright colors abound in this home office makeover, and it's just what the doctor ordered for these homeowners. Photo: Benjamin Moore Paints
Interior designer Christopher Coleman hoped to strike that balance while going full tilt on colors for this Westport, Connecticut home, where both husband and wife share the home workspace. You'll be really impressed when you see the before picture (below) -- What a mess!
The overall transformation was radical, from cluttered chaos set against ho-hum wood paneled walls to energizing and motivational order. Photo: Benjamin Moore Paints
Pulling inspiration from other rooms is important in establishing a cohesive feel throughout your home and ensuring that your office doesn't feel completely out of place - you do want it to feel like home after all.
But you also don't want it to feel ordinary.
Color is a great starting place for turning a boring home office into a personal space, says Sonu Mathew, senior interior designer for Benjamin Moore Paints.
"One of the great advantages of having a home office is that you get to pick a palette that pleases you, whereas in most workplaces you have to settle for what is a uniform and sometimes sterile institutional look."
But don't be scared off by brights or colors that you typically don't see on a residential wall. Mathew says to consider color choices that will help to motivate you and keep you alert, stimulated and, above all else, feeling upbeat and happy.
For this project, Coleman selected a vibrant mix of Benjamin Moore colors that include Electric Blue, Pink Mix, Split Pea and Jack O'Lantern, with Yellow Marigold on the ceiling.
The end result may push some to put on their sunglasses, but it was just right for these homeowners.
Computer chairs were covered with a more comfy (non-officey) fabric; a guest chair takes the play on color to a whole new level. Photos: Benjamin Moore Paints
To prevent stimuli overload, Coleman suggests keeping furnishings down to the basics, which he did with side-by-side white veneered work surfaces bookended by matching storage units. He gave standard office chairs a domesticated update by covering them in cobalt blue fabric.
The designer's favorite part of the end result? When the office door is open, the room can be seen from across the main living area.
"All the colors are in sync from the inside-out, which is visually satisfying," he says.
Want more color love?
Put your sunglasses on!
Find color inspiration from a photo.
Need help with color?
Or if you're still thinking about a home office, check out these great stories from other AOL sites:
Home Office Under $2000 - AOL Small Business
Create a Home Office
When I wrote Always the Writer, Never the Client here on ShelterPop, I mentioned that I was dying for some sort of vintage farm table. I got a tremendous response from readers who confirmed that yes, I should indeed get rid of that uninspiring round table that took up too much space and find something that suited my vintage dreams.
So that's just what I did.
My sister and I headed to the amazing Springfield Antique Show and Flea Market, one of the best places for vintage finds in Ohio (and only an hour from where I live). After trekking through the rows and rows of charming tables (on swollen pregnant ankles, I might add), and weighing my options (Did I want wood? Metal? Distressed? Painted?), I settled on this adorable 1950s table. The red accents are perfect for my kitchen and the rectangular size (with leaves that pull out to seat up to 8) was just the right fit. With just a little bit of cleaning and re-painting (just the wooden white base part -- we left the enamel table top alone), it was ready to go! We found retro-inspired chairs at Target (browse the manufacturer who makes them Richardson Seating for inspiration!) to complete the look. Success!
My vintage dining table. Photo: Judi Ketteler
"Buying vintage is often cheaper than buying newly made," says appraiser and historian Elyse Luray, host of both PBS' "History Detectives" and HGTV's yearly special, "The Longest Yard Sale," which features the World's Longest Yard Sale (also called the 127 Sale).
My table was just $75. But that price looks even better when you compare the quality you can get for $75 of vintage (a table that has stood the test of time and is well made); these days $75 doesn't buy you much quality. Plus, you've got a little piece of history there in your kitchen, ready for your family to add its own stories.
Luray offers some tips for getting exactly the piece you want (for the price you want) in your kitchen.
Do your prep work.
First, make sure you have the right transportation. "You wouldn't believe how many people see something they love, and then have to make frantic calls trying to rent a truck after the fact," she says. Also, take measurements before you go. Aside from simply measuring your kitchen space (how much room do you really have in that corner?), don't forget to measure the width of your doorways.
Decide what you want: investment or utility?
A marked and signed designer piece from a company like Herman Miller is going to be pricey, of course. But if you just want the look, you don't need to go the designer route. "If you want to actually use the piece of furniture, don't buy for investment," Luray advises. Buy because it appeals to you and you have a way to use it.
"Condition is the most important thing," she says, especially because once you bring this table or butcher's block or set of chairs home, you need to live with them. For tables, make sure the leaves work. Make sure chairs are sturdy and legs are even. Replacing something can decrease the value, but again, only if you're buying for investment. Things like re-chroming the legs of a table (which I considered doing for my table, but then decided I liked the weathered look), painting, replacing hinges and draw pulls, and re-covering seat cushions are relatively easy and inexpensive fixes. If it's an older piece, part of its charm is that is has some wear and tear, but separate that from true functionality because bigger fixes, like replacing legs, are more expensive and may not be worth it.
See if it's comfortable.
It's a no-brainer, but don't forget! Sit at the chairs to see how they feel, or if you're buying a table, borrow a chair to sit in and sit at the table. Make sure the height is right. For something like a pantry or pie safe, make sure all of the drawers slide easily in and out, and that the construction of the piece feels solid.
Get comparables, and bargain.
Walk around and look at what other similar pieces are selling for. (This is obviously easier to do at a big flea market than at an antique store.) "Use your gut," Luray says. "Always bargain with the seller: they expect you to haggle with them." You can always ask what their bottom-line price is.
Buy because you love it.
"Buy the look and style you want, regardless of labels like antique or vintage," Luray says. If you love it, it doesn't matter if it's 20 years old or 100 years old. "Just have fun with it."
For more kitchen inspiration stories, check out:
- $500 Kitchen Makeover
- 5 Kitchen Trends You'll Want to Avoid
And we particularly love this story by our sister site Lemondrop about women who keep clothes in their fridge -- weird!
Wicker furniture is well-known for its use outdoors. Many assume that it's only acceptable indoors if you live somewhere tropical. But wicker wasn't developed by islanders -- it was the Egyptians who created it. They used reeds and grasses that grew in abundance alongside the Nile River. The wicker craze then moved on to Italy, China and Africa before making its way onto American soil.
It seems a bit wasteful to have a set of furniture that is used for only a few months, then stored away for the rest of the year. What if you could reuse some of your wicker pieces inside all year long?
Can you take wicker inside for the winter? Photo: Getty Images
But how, you ask. Well, there are a few changes you can make to your existing wicker. I also have some tips for buying newer pieces that will help them work year-round.
What you can do with existing wicker furniture:
Paint it. A little spray paint goes a long way. Let's say you have white wicker chairs but you want to bring them inside to accent your living room sofa, which happens to be dark brown. White wicker might not be very complementary, but after a can or two of burnt sienna or rust spray paint, you've got yourself brand new set of chairs.
Paint it and recover the old cushion. Photos: Boongoggle
Recover it. The greatest part of wicker is the removable, easy-to-cover cushions. Often times, wicker comes with just one simple seat cushion -- making for a very easy DIY project for anyone to do. You can change the cushion cover as the season changes by making removable cushion covers -- with Velcro or zippers. This way, you can remove the "winter" seat covers to expose your summery print. As you can see above, Audrey of Boongoggle got an old wicker piece on Craigslist, painted it and added a new cushion for a whole new look.
Use it piecemeal. An entire grouping of wicker furniture screams summer, but take one piece away and place it among wood, metal and glass furniture and it works. Whether a chair, table or sofa, placing one piece in an eclectic grouping will bring some fun texture and interest to a predicable space.
When buying new wicker:
When it comes to buying new wicker, think less Florida and more Bali. Photos: Home Infatuation
Choose darker colors. Wicker comes in many different colors -- the lighter colors and whites being the most popular choices for patio furniture. However, if you plan on reusing your wicker indoors during the winter season, selecting a darker shade might make the seasonal transition indoors a bit easier. You don't have to go ultra-dark, but steer clear of whites and creams, which tend to bring to mind summer breezes.
Make wise selections for year-round use. Photos: Home Decorator's Collection
Check out ShelterPop's recommendations for modern wicker or brush up on how to clean outdoor furniture with a guide from DIYLife .
For interior designers it's usually all about pleasing the client, but occasionally, decorators get to break out and have some fun. A show house, for example, presents a unique opportunity for designers to strut their stuff, and the Hearst-sponsored Designer Visions: Cinema Style show house is no exception. In three luxurious apartments, Veranda, House Beautiful and Town & Country have teamed up with Richard Hallberg, Phoebe and James Howard and Steven Gambrel, respectively, to create spaces inspired by the big screen.
ShelterPop stopped by the show house to tour the glam digs. Here's what we found:
Designer: Steven Gambrel for Town & Country
Movie: Six Degrees of Separation
An open living-dining room in Gambrel's Six Degrees of Separation design. Photo: Laura Fenton
Gambrel decided that art collectors ought to have a pedigreed collection of art on the walls, and Steven Gambrel being Steven Gambrel, he called up Christie's and asked if he could borrow pieces from Denis Hopper's collection before they go on auction in November -- and they said yes. Seriously!
Art dealing goes high-tech with a digital display on an easel in this study. Photo: Laura Fenton
A grouping of art is smartly centered above the headboard in this bedroom. Photo: Laura Fenton
Those jewels are the real deal: Oscar de la Renta. Gulp! Photo: Laura Fenton
Designer: Richard Hallberg for Veranda
Movie: Wall Street
Gordon Gekko doesn't do color: Just black and white. Photo: Laura Fenton
If money buys excellent taste like this, we're all for it. Photo: Laura Fenton
This is where Gordon Gekko crunches the numbers. Photo: Laura Fenton
Yup, that a Warhol on the wall -- Gekko's got taste! Photo: Laura Fenton
A sitting area in the master bedroom of the Wall Street space. Photo: Laura Fenton
Designer: Jim & Phoebe Michael Howard for House Beautiful
Movie: Something's Gotta Give
Something's gotta be taupe! The walls are a combo of Ralph Lauren's "Stony Mountain" and " Frosted Hardware." Photo: Laura Fenton
The x-shaped base of the desk echos the window's unusual design. Photo: Laura Fenton
The walls and bed linens are just the palest shade of pink. Photo: Laura Fenton
They say this tub's built for two, but somehow we can't picture Nicholson and Keaton sharing the space. Photo: Laura Fenton
On the west coast... The busy bees at Hearst must have had their hands full lately: The magazine empire has another show house open in Los Angeles. Esquire's Ultimate Bachelor Pad promises to be a 9,000-square-foot embodiment of masculine style.
If you love virtual tours of designer show houses, read on:
- Sneak Peek: Design Tricks From the 2010 Kips Bay Decorator Show House
- The House That Fashion Built
And if you're a homeowner, don't worry -- you can still enjoy these affordable adorable ideas. True, you can't chant "The rent is too damn high!", but we bet you can come up with something similar enough: "The mortgage is freaking me out!" or "The property taxes are enough to make my head explode."
Just two of the frugal decorating ideas Tria Giovan, Country Living; mylandblog, Flickr.
And he's right - the rent is too damn high here in New York City, but it's also too damn high in Washington, DC and Los Angeles and dozens of other locales around the country. While I seriously doubt he can change the world one slumlord or fat cat at a time, I do think he's got a point. I'm so tired of wasting my money on rent.
My husband and I cringe when we think about what we pay to live in our Manhattan apartment. (Hint: It's probably double most people's mortgages. I'm not bragging - It's the size of a studio, we have a baby, and it eats up most of our salaries.) What's worse? Thinking back to all of the rentals I've lived in since I graduated from college in 1998. I can count nine. That's about 12 years of writing checks to mostly absentee landlords.
In DC, I lived in two apartments I shared with multiple roommates. For one, I paid $290 a month for a year, and in the other I paid $425 a month for five years. I didn't have central air in the steamy DC heat, and we had mice. In the second apartment, the rug was tattered and stained, paint was chipping off the walls, and the kitchen was a hallway with a few cabinets. (I have to admit that I loved this apartment; it's amazing what great light will make you overlook.)
Still, over six years, I shelled out close to $30,000 for rent, and I've continued to send checks to landlords since (though I did own a house for one year in 2008). Just like everyone else who rents, I write checks to make somebody else richer, while dreaming about the house (and stuff) I'll someday own.
That's when I pinch myself.
I don't need a lot of money to decorate the house of my dreams. There's so much I could do with the meager amount leftover after paying the rent each month. I just have to get a bit more creative. I don't want a lavish home, just a pretty one that is comfortable and cheerful.
And my own.
Here are some of my favorite ideas of how to pull off budget decorating -- even if your rent is too damn high to afford much.
Flip your books! And it's 100% free.
In the kitchen: Re-purpose the humble mason jar and make a charming terrarium. Not sure how? We've got the details, plus get more ideas for re-using mason jars.
For the table: Use what you have to make elegant place cards. Even if it's just a humble weekday night, write each of your family members' names on a small piece of paper and use a gold pin to attach it to a pear. This is also a great look for Thanksgiving decorating.
For the bedroom: Buy a new dresser just because you're craving something special for your clothes? No thank you. Paint, tape and new knobs can be all you need for a shocking, stunning piece of furniture that's basically new to you. Check out the full story for more tips!
Looking for money-saving ideas that go beyond decorating? Our sister site DIY Life was also inspired by Jimmy McMillan's platform. Check out their piece: The Rent is Too Damn High - So Save Money by DIYing. Or check out the fantastic The Rent is Too Damn High video on Urlesque!
Check out this great story from our friends at CasaSugar!
So, we've covered classy Halloween decorations, scary movie posters, Halloween lace drapery, and a few Halloween crafts, but what about handmade Halloween décor? Etsy is an endless abyss of wonderful handmade and vintage goods, and the Halloween selection doesn't disappoint. The only trouble is that there's a lot to sift through. So, I've done you a favor and rounded up some stylish and sophisticated Halloween decorations in my latest edition of Etsy Finds.
Bring some bling into your home on Halloween with this Spider Jeweled Pumpkin ($20).
Use this double deck of vintage Alphabet Cards ($10) to spell out festive words like "spooky." This Set of 3 Spooktacular Trees ($45) will dress up any table in your home this Halloween.
This hand-carved and painted Gourd Candy Dispenser ($15) is a great way to store candy for your trick-or-treaters.
Dress up your tabletop with these Halloween Party Pennants ($10 for 6).
Want more? Check out the rest of the story at CasaSugar!
And check out these other goodies:
Home Away From Home: Hi Hotel
Roundup: Bonpoint's Pendant Lamps
The Jersey Shore's got a bad rap these days. In the first season of MTV's hit reality television show "Jersey Shore," eight housemates share a summer rental in Seaside Heights. In the third season, the cast returns to Seaside Heights after a summer in Miami Beach.
Now this doesn't scream modern beachfront pad? It's the exterior of a gorgeous hotel on the Jersey Shore. Photo: New World Group
While the show portrays a party culture, locals know a different Jersey Shore. This Jersey Shore is quiet and relaxed, the kind of place where you can stroll along the boardwalk with shaved ice in a cone or hole up in a coastal rental for the week. Bungalow Hotel, opened in the summer of 2009 by Robert and Cortney Novogratz (the husband and wife team behind SixxDesign from Bravo's "9 by Design"), represents everything TV's "Jersey Shore" is not. The 24-room property is located in Long Branch, just steps from the sand and the Atlantic Ocean, and it's so classy I doubt you'll see Snooki roaming the halls. (But you never know...she is making $30,000 an episode these days.)
Inside, a fresh, white palette is accented by 50 pieces of original art, including surfing photography. Lighting came from Moss in New York City, where the couple's interior design firm is based. In the cafe in the lobby, bartenders mix and pour signature cocktails. (And bonus: Check out Cake Bake and Roll for amazing ice cream!) Kicking back with friends and playing a game of backgammon, billiards or chess is encouraged. The day's surf report is written on a chalkboard in the lobby.
Each room has an eclectic mix of accessories, like this one! Photo: New World Group
The owners had a lot of fun curating funky accessories for each hotel room. Photo: New World Group
Very different from most hotel bars, the one at Bungalow Hotel folds in a lot of nautical influence with slick furnishings like you might find in a SoHo or Tribeca lounge. Photo: New World Group
Bungalow Hotel's indoor/outdoor bar is suited for year-round imbibing. Photo: New World Group
Peeks at other coastal properties:
Florida Coast Vacation Style
Tour Coastal Living's Ultimate Beach House
John Derian's Cape Cod Home
And if you're looking for more on the Jersey Shore TV show, check out...
Jersey Shore - TMZ.com
Jersey Shore - AOL Television
My name is Sara, and I'm a modern-day bag lady. I'm not ashamed to admit it -- I'm completely and undeniably lost without all of my "stuff." My bottomless pit of a handbag is home to just about everything, from notebooks to sleeves of Oreos.
Hell, I've even been known to pull out an entire counter's worth of Bobbi Brown makeup in a pinch! Seriously, Mary Poppins has nothing on me.
In an effort to make reusable bags more mainstream, companies are coming up with stylish options in punchy colors. Photo: Baggu
And just when I thought my list of must-have items had hit an all-time high, I decided to have a baby. Suddenly, my one giant tote turned into one giant tote, a massive diaper bag, a stroller the size of a Cadillac and a traveling pharmacy, stocked with Orajel, baby powder and wipes galore. I repeat: Mary Poppins has nothing on me.
So, long story short, I've recently decided to simplify things. As far as I'm concerned, it's the easy way or the highway. If I don't absolutely need it, I'm leaving it at home. End of story.
Our writer struggles with remembering her reusable bags. Photo: Sara Brown
Unfortunately, this means that my once-dedicated attitude toward living green has taken a major back seat. It's not something I'm proud of, but it's true. It's as simple as this: When running down my mental list of 153 things to grab before leaving the house, my stash of reusable grocery bags just doesn't even cross my mind. Am I the only person who wants to do the right thing but flat-out forgets to most of the time?
"My main problem with reusable bags is that I never remember to keep them with me," says Jessica Spalding, a mother of one in Phoenix, Arizona. "I store them in a closet and always forget to bring them along when I go shopping. I always wish I had brought them once I'm at the store, but it's definitely become harder to remember to bring them since having a baby."
Katie Fagan, who lives in New York City, agrees. She says that she has the best of intentions, and she carries a pretty big tote with her, but if she added reusable bags, it would feel cluttered. "I have to consciously remember to take them out of the cabinet and bring them with me," she says. "As soon as I see a store attendant bagging up my items in a plastic or paper bag, I think, 'I should've brought my reusables!'"
Management at Whole Foods Market, the organic grocery store chain that discontinued the distribution of single-use plastic bags back in 2008, acknowledges that many of their customers forget their reusable bags. "The 'memory and habit' hang-up is tricky," says Lee Kane, EcoCzar for the North Atlantic Region. "Most people don't plan ahead for their shopping excursion to the extent of remembering that they'll need their reusable bags."
The stores have tried all kinds of tricks to help customers remember their bags: They've posted big signs in their parking lots (e.g. "Did you remember your reusable bags?"), similar signs on our shopping carts and even used Twitter to spread the word. "I think all of those things help to some extent, but this truly seems to be the biggest challenge to the success of reusable bags thus far," he says.
Why is it so hard to remember reusable bags? Photo: grainofsaltjd, Flickr
Kane agrees: "We do offer customers a refund of 5 to 10 cents per bag (depending on the region) to encourage our shoppers to bring back bags for reuse."
Still, there are super moms out there. Jenn Marden, a new mom who lives outside of Atlanta, says that she uses reusables as often as possible -- and not just for groceries. "I like to use Envirosax because I can roll them up and keep one in my purse," she says. "I try to keep the rest in my car so I don't forget them (they come in a set of 4 or 5). Plus, they carry significantly more than the average grocery bag, which means less trips to and from the car."
I could do better, I know it. As Katie says, "The majority of people are environmentally conscious, but let's be honest -- we all forget and could do better."
My thoughts exactly. But until I can leave the traveling circus behind every time I leave the house, I've decided to let myself off the hook. At least for now.
Join the conversation: What are your thoughts about reusable bags? Have any clever tips for remembering to use them? Share your thoughts with us on Facebook. For more information about the Whole Foods Market "A Better Bag" product, click here.
For more stylish ways to recycle, we love:
- Turn Bottles Into Art
- Rescue Your Recycling Area
And check out this eye-opening piece from AOL News about reusable grocery bags: Study: Reusable Shopping Bags Rarely Washed, Breed Bacteria. Eek!
Sure, now the home-care market is permeated with cleaning solutions. But there was a time when we relied on good ol' fashioned elbow grease and know-how when it came to cleaning our homes. We may have newer, more advanced options, but there's something to be said about the methods that have stood the test of time.
So we've decided to put old-school cleaning techniques to the ultimate test -- pitting them against high-tech, modern-day cleaning solutions. Our next installment covers a common problem around the holidays: candle wax in the carpet.
Don't let drips get you down! Photo: Flickr, DJOtaku
Candles - they infuse a room with a refreshing scent, add a calming ambiance for a relaxing evening and can create a dripping, stubborn mess if they burn too long.
Almost everyone who loves candlelight has dealt with wax spills - and drips onto the carpet are most frustrating. But it's easier to clean than you might think.
Old Solution: Paper bag + iron
First, remove any excess wax that you can without disturbing the carpeting pile. Cut a paper grocery bag to make a flat surface large enough to fully cover the spill, and place over the wax. With a warm (not too hot!) iron, press down on the bag and move in small circles. The wax should liquefy, creating a grease-like stain that will appear on the bag. Continue moving the bag to a new clean area, and then repeat until all of the wax attaches itself to the bag.
If there is extra-stubborn residue remaining, you can try applying an ice cube to re-harden the melted wax, then repeat the process.
Note: For berber carpets, be sure not to tug at any of the fiber loops as that can cause a run that can span the length of the carpet!
New Solution: Call the pros
Professional carpet cleaners abound, and there's likely one near you that would happily come in to tackle the job -- for a cost. Stanley Steamer charges "$51 for one room" -- but they have a "$99 minimum charge" making it a bit less than cost effective for cleaning one little candle spill.
The Verdict: Save yourself the money, unless you're in need of a multiple-carpet clean. For small jobs, the old, do-it-yourself remedy works like a charm.
Need more help getting clean?
Unclog those dirty drains.
Red wine spills? No worries!
Scuff mark removers put to the test.
Painting walls black is not a new trend, however, we're seeing more people take the plunge. Why? It has to do with the popularity of design blogs and websites like ShelterPop, Desire to Inspire, Style Court and The Design Files (to name a teeny tiny sliver of the amazing design blogs out there).
Seeing other homeowners painting a black wall -- or black room -- makes it seem like less of a professional interior design risk and more of an average, do-able project. Plus, with the rising popularity of chalkboard walls, it's considered homey to paint a wall black.
To show off just how good black walls can look, we put together this inspiration gallery.
Don't be afraid to paint a small space black. Photo: Lonny Mag
Simple black guest bedroom. Photo: Heather McDonald
Heather (DeanStreet on Flickr) explains that she "chose the black -- Knight's Armor (Olympic Interior Latex Eggshell) -- after a long love affair with airy white rooms. The house is from the early 1800's and a guest bedroom seemed like a perfect place to experiment with something new." I think her experiment worked, don't you? The white balances out the dark walls, and the simple modest accessories and warm wood floor add to the room's nostalgic feel.
Painted moldings and trim. Photos: Elle Decor
I've been digging the idea of painting your trim the same color as your room -- all of it so that the trim fades into the background. This whole idea started when I saw Gemma Ahern's gray apartment featured on Design*Sponge.
If you think this doesn't apply to black paint, you are wrong! I spotted a few great black rooms with painted trim and moldings on Elle Decor. On the left, fashion designer Gilles Mendel's paint goes from the floors to the walls to the moldings and is paired perfectly with a black Saarinen tulip table and white chairs, and artwork. On the right, cosmetics executive Aerin Lauder Zinterhofer relaxes in this library and office in his Long Island home. The lacquered shine of the paint makes the space feel more prestigious, even a bit like a sophisticated man cave.
A comfortable desert home. Photo: The Brick House
In Hemet, California, Morgan Satterfield created a relaxing "Southwestern meets mid-century modern" retreat for her guests using Scandinavian decor alongside cowhide and kilim art tied together with Behr paint in pure black semi-gloss.
Go a little bold. Photos: Living, Etc.
In the kitchen, you can go black too! Dark kitchen walls and cabinets add elegance. On the right, Laura Aviva used Benjamin Moore's Deep Space, which is actually a charcoal, but you could've fooled me -- it's the perfect pairing to the IKEA butcher block countertop. On the right, a stainless steel back splash makes these ebony cabinets feel both glamorous and industrial.
Formal black dining room. Photo: Tate Gunnerson
Rob Southern's black entryway. Photo: House Beautiful
Besides curb appeal, the first thing your guests will see is your entryway, so why not make it count? That's what designer Rob Southern did here using Phillip Jeffries' Lacquered Walls in Eyeliner. The foyer, featured in House Beautiful, isn't covered in paint -- that's vinyl!
Photo: Door Sixteen
Door Sixteen's Anna Dorfman makes the black Fir Tree wallpaper from Ferm stand out on her office wall by using it on just one accent wall and then painting the floor, walls and trim white.
Jenna Lyons' risky black apartment. Photos: Melanie Acevedo
Interested in experimenting with color, check out these posts:
- Kate Spade's bold new line of bedding.
- Why gray is turning heads in the design world.
For more great do-it-yourself home ideas, check out DIY Life.
If there were a contest to determine the worst room at home to clean, there's no doubt which one would win. Although the kitchen can be a tough one to tackle, nothing compares to the utter grossness of a dirty bathroom. We won't go into details, but we will mention a few things -- mildew, soap scum, tight spaces around the toilet, mold -- that put the bathroom at the bottom of the chores list.
With all of those roadblocks to cleanliness, one might think that doing the job in a timely fashion is an impossible task. Luckily for all of us, that assumption is incorrect. It is possible! After getting advice from Mary Findley -- veteran cleaning expert, owner of Mary Moppins and author of "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Green Cleaning" -- we were able to transform our dirty bathroom into a sparkling, clean, ooh-la-la loo.
On your mark, get set, scrub! Photo: Alamy.
(You'll notice we're using pretty green products in this guide, but of course feel free to swap out your trusted favorites.)
-White Vinegar (Make sure the bottle says food-grade or made from grain)
-Nature's Miracle (Available at Pet Stores)
-All Purpose Bathroom Cleaner (Mary prefers Bio-Kleen, or any other product that has the EPA or Green Seal of Approval.)
-Two Lint-Free Towels (Old Cotton T-Shirt Rags or Microfiber Cloths)
-Six Light Colored Terrycloth Hand Towels (This is the eco-friendly choice. You can always use paper towels for convenience.)
-Double Sided Tote Tray
-Dirty Rag Bag
-Bonus: A print-out of this article for reference!
Reusable rags, get ready! Photo: Alamy.
First things first. The night before cleaning, pour a half cup of distilled white vinegar in the toilet. "Vinegar is a mild acid. What this does is neutralize and break down the water rings in the toilet," says Findley.
Now you are really ready to go.
Get everything out of the way -- 1 minute
While brushing your teeth in the morning, put whatever you have on your counter tops in a drawer or cabinet for the time being.
Prep the toilet and sink -- 30 seconds
Raise the toilet lid, sprinkle in some baking soda, then sprinkle a little around the sink. This serves as a scrub. Then grab your all purpose cleaner and spray the rim, seat, tops and sides of the toilet. Next, spray the sink and counter tops.
Clean the mirror -- 1 minute
Spray the mirror from the bottom to the top. "If you start at the top, little streaks of cleaner run down the surface, which wastes cleaner and is less efficient," says Findley. If the mirror is large, use both hands -- with a lint-free towel in each hand -- to clean in using circular strokes. "The right hand circles counter-clockwise, and the left hand circles clockwise. Make a figure eight pattern with your hands going up and down," says Findley. "This way you are cleaning and drying at the same time."
If the mirror is small, spray it with your dominant hand starting from the bottom, and use your other hand to wipe down the cleaner in a circular motion. When finished, place your glass cleaner back in the double sides tote tray, and put your dirty rags in the dirty rag bag.
Clean the toilet bowl -- 1 minute
Grab your toilet bowl cleaning brush and clean the inside of the toilet. Since you've already poured vinegar in the night before, cleaning should be easy. "Vinegar is a better disinfectant than bleach," says Findley. "It breaks down the hard water stains."
You're seeing typical blue toilet bowl cleaner here, but we're recommending something that'll do an even better job: Vinegar. Photo: Getty Images.
Clean the Sink and Countertops -- 2 Minutes, 30 Seconds
Grab your sink brush and dampen it with a bit of water. Clean the sink bowls, then rinse the brush. Pick up the toothbrush, dampen with some water and then scrub around the faucet. Then, with two hands, grab two terrycloth towels and wipe across the back of the sink, then across the counter using both hands. Then use a dry part of the towel to dry the sink bowl. If you have dual sinks, use two hands to clean in a circular motion, one sink at a time.
That toothbrush can clean more than your pearly whites. Photo: Getty Images.
The toilet tank, lid and sides -- 2 minutes
Using the same towels, wipe down the toilet lid. Using both hands, wipe down the top of the tank, then drag both hands down either side of the toilet, then back across the top. Raise the lid and wipe around the toilet seat. Lift that up, wipe around the back side of the seat, then around the rim, and back around the seat to dry. Grab your Nature's Miracle and spray some on the floor around the toilet, then use the unused side of one towel to wipe the area down. "Never, ever, ever use bathroom cleaner on tile or granite floors. The chemicals will destroy the surface," says Findley. "I only use water, but if you want to disinfect, the Nature's Miracle contains enzymes that eat up bacteria." Throw the dirty rags in the dirty rag bag.
Clean the shower/tub walls -- 2 minutes
Grab your all-purpose cleaner, and start spraying the shower/tub walls, starting on the bottom left side. "Whenever you're spraying cleaner, move from left to right, bottom to top, to prevent streaks," says Findley. Now, pick up two clean terrycloth towels or paper towels, one per hand. This time, start from the top and wipe the walls with a circular motion. You'll want your hands to overlap a bit, so you don't miss any areas. Circle top to bottom, left to right, and you've just cleaned your shower walls in two minutes.
Clean the shower/tub floor and prep the floor towel -- 2 minutes
Spray down the bottom of the shower or tub with your all-purpose cleaner. Let it set. In the meantime, use water to dampen a towel for your floors -- two, if you are cleaning the floor on your hands and knees. If you'd like to disinfect, add a little Nature's Miracle to the cloth. If you have linoleum floors, it's okay to dampen the towel with all purpose cleaner. When you're done prepping your cleaning cloth, go back and wipe down the shower/tub floor.
Clean the floor -- 3 minutes
In a small space, it's okay to get down on your hands and knees to clean the floor, using your dampened rags. For a larger space, wrap a towel around a sponge mop. "Sponges are magnets for bacteria, and cannot be properly cleaned," says Findley. "I recommend avoiding them whenever possible." Clean the rest of your floor, and viola! You're done.
A few extra tips from Mary...
Many people have soap residue problems that can make cleaning extra difficult. To solve this problem -- buy new soap. "Soap residue problems come from the animal fat and lye that is in most bar soap. Switch to a glycerin-based bar soap, and you'll take even more time out of cleaning the bathroom."
For more advice or tips from Mary Findley, aka, Mary Moppins, check out her website!
We also love these 5 easy things to make your bathroom feel new from our sister site, DIY Life!
Jackie O, in one of her fave Marimekko frocks. But Jackie, where are the flowers? Photo: SI Cover /Sports Illustrated, Getty Images
Of course, the Marimekko and Crate & Barrel partnership falls right into that category and the only downside is that our homes aren't yet prepared for the shock of color, pattern and excitement that's about to hit.
A short history of Marimekko: The first shop opened in Helsinki, Finland, in 1952, after its first fashion show was so successful that women bought the clothes right off the models! But it wasn't until 1960, when Jacqueline Kennedy bought seven Marimekko dresses, that the brand became a must-have trend.
In the 2000's, another trendsetting lady, one Miss Carrie Bradshaw, had Marimekko curtains flowing from her window. Along the way, Crate & Barrel brought the bright fabrics into their store displays and corporate headquarters. But it wasn't until now that the collection that defines "bright pops of color" would garner their own section of Crate & Barrel's flagship NYC store, with plans to introduce more mini-Marimekko-stores in Crate & Barrels across the country as early as this spring.
A few of the kitchen offerings from the collection. Photos: Crate & Barrel
Wondering if this means you'll see more brands set up shop in Crate & Barrel store? Highly unlikely. We asked Crate & Barrel CEO Barbara Turf about the partnership and she made it clear that this was Marimekko-only turf. "We would never do a shop within a shop -- unless it was Marimekko. We've been together for 43 years."
A peek at the store-within-a-store. Photo: 2010 Wellington Lee.
And that's the true allure of the new collaboration: Yes, those in the know can recognize the stylish and iconic flair, but at the end of the day, anyone can see that the patterns are built for real life.
Craving more Marimekko?
Marimekko Coming To A Wall Near You
Color Diary: Inspired by a Fabric
And check out the fashion side of the brand: The Marimekko look on StyleList.