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- 11/04/10--21:24: _Bright Idea: How to...
- 11/04/10--21:24: _Design Drool: Arabi...
- 11/04/10--21:24: _On the Hunt: Sustai...
- 11/04/10--21:24: _Bright Idea: Montag...
- 11/04/10--21:24: _Homes of the Electi...
- 11/04/10--21:24: _Designing In...London
- 11/04/10--21:24: _Your Garden in the ...
- 11/04/10--21:24: _Decor That Says Som...
- 11/04/10--21:24: _As Women Changed, S...
- 11/04/10--21:24: _Five Ways to Bring ...
- 11/04/10--21:24: _Design Drool: Decor...
- 11/04/10--21:24: _Got an Hour? You Do...
- 11/06/10--05:26: _Secret Source: Chic...
- 11/06/10--05:26: _Grown-Up Baby Furni...
- 11/07/10--05:53: _Weekly Link Love
- 11/09/10--09:40: _Design Drool: Javie...
- 11/09/10--09:40: _Lotta Jansdotter In...
- 11/09/10--09:40: _Beating Soap Scum: ...
- 11/09/10--09:40: _Bright Idea: Recipe...
- 11/09/10--09:40: _A Recycled Plane Is...
- 11/04/10--21:24: Bright Idea: How to Block an Ugly View
- 11/04/10--21:24: Design Drool: Arabian Delights
- 11/04/10--21:24: On the Hunt: Sustainable Storage For Recyclables
- 11/04/10--21:24: Bright Idea: Montage of Mirrors
- 11/04/10--21:24: Homes of the Election Day All Stars
- 11/04/10--21:24: Designing In...London
- 11/04/10--21:24: Your Garden in the Winter: Making it Work
- 11/04/10--21:24: Decor That Says Something
- 11/04/10--21:24: As Women Changed, So Did Kitchens
- 11/04/10--21:24: Five Ways to Bring Autumn Into Your Home (Today!)
- 11/04/10--21:24: Design Drool: Decorating Small Spaces at the Top of the Townhome
- 11/04/10--21:24: Got an Hour? You Do This Weekend, Thanks to Daylight Saving Time.
- 11/06/10--05:26: Secret Source: Chic Shelf Paper
- 11/06/10--05:26: Grown-Up Baby Furniture From Tiffani Thiessen
- 11/07/10--05:53: Weekly Link Love
- 11/09/10--09:40: Design Drool: Javier Senosiain's Snail House
- 11/09/10--09:40: Lotta Jansdotter In Her Brooklyn Studio
- 11/09/10--09:40: Beating Soap Scum: Two Methods Put to the Test
- 11/09/10--09:40: Bright Idea: Recipes (and Food!) as Art
- 11/09/10--09:40: A Recycled Plane Is Malibu's Next Dream House
There's nothing worse than working hard to get a room just right and still having to put up with the one thing you can't change: an ugly view.
Sure, curtains would solve the problem, but if you keep them closed, you'll lose natural light. Blinds are as outdated as halogen lamps, and the wrong sheers can have a way of making any room look like a dorm room.
But there is one chic solution that will help you block an ugly view and still let the sun shine in: window films.
Photo credit: Rut window screen from ScandinavianDesignCenter.com
Easy to apply, and even easier to remove, window films work like contact paper for your windows. But we're not talking about the faux-stained-glass films that are unfortunately popular on many front doors -- we're talking about colorless or light opaque patterns that look great in any room of your house or apartment.
Photo credit: Door Sixteen
Window films are also great for the kitchen. Unlike curtains, they won't absorb the fragrances of your delicious meals.
Photo credit: All Buttoned Up
Photo credit: Emma Jeffs
Perhaps the most drool-worthy window films come from UK designer Emma Jeffs. Introduced in 2006, Jeffs's window films are elegant and modern, but they're also fun. And pricey ($76 a roll). We've had decent luck finding what we like to call "Emma Jeffs knock-offs" that do the trick on eBay for about $12, and the less-fun but still practial version from IKEA is $4.99 a roll.
For more decorating ideas, check out:
- Design Tricks From the Kips Bay Show House
- Wall Ideas: Color, Pattern and Style
- The House That Fashion Built
And don't forget to consider window insulation film!
Maryam Montague was working for a consulting firm in Washington, DC when she realized she was ready for a change. She didn't want a new job; she loved her work. She wanted to live somewhere else. She could move anywhere -- her husband, an architect, was ready to head to a new locale, her two kids, Tristan, 9, and Skylar, 11, adapted easily to new places, and her boss told her she could work from anywhere. The couple was living in Africa at the time, and they considered going back to the U.S. or making a home in some of the other places Maryam has lived, such as Senegal and France.
They settled on Marrakesh, Morocco.
"Once upon a time...," she writes on her blog My Marrakesh, "in a kingdom far, far away (not kidding about the kingdom part) an American couple with two children decided to eschew any plans that they might have had for house with a white picket fence (do people still have those?) and move to a city that was not their own. This blog is their tale to make that city their home, to make it their Marrakesh."
Maryma (left) and her collected treasures (right). Photos: Maryam Montague
Maryam, who has lived and worked in Senegal, Nepal, Pakistan, Namibia and Bangladesh, says she was drawn to Marrakesh for the "delicious food, hospitable people, the fantastic weather and the amazing architecture and design," she says. "It was just the right combination of new world conveniences and old world exotica."
Most of all, it seemed like the perfect place to raise her family. Living a nomadic and international jet-setting lifestyle as a humanitarian worker, while exciting and adventurous, can also make one feel like no place is truly home.
But home is what they now have at Peacock Pavilions, an 8-acre estate that she and her husband built from the ground up. Surrounded by olive trees, Peacock Pavilions is both Maryam and her family's home as well as a boutique hotel. Two of the three pavilions are guest houses (Atlas and Medina Pavilions); the getaway sleeps ten people (double occupancy) in five bedrooms with access to the estate's five acres of olive groves and an 800-square-foot pool and pool pavilion. Maryam's part of the estate is about 4,500 square feet with four bedrooms, five bathrooms, a den, great room, kitchen, library, dining room and two offices in an attached tower.
Global patterns and worldly decor are mixed with graphic modern furnishings and art. Photos: Maryam Montague
Living in Morocco has had a profound effect on the way she's decorated the home's interiors -- she has embraced lots of color and pattern, and mixed in different styles for an eclectic look. When it comes to pattern and color, Maryam says that there's "never enough!" The home has modern conveniences, like clean, modern lines and open concept living, yet the design is distinctly Moroccan through the addition of fountains, arches and a dome.
A cozy bedroom and bath rich with texture and pattern. Photos: Maryam Montague
And surprising they are. Traditional and modern Moroccan and worldly goods live in harmony at Peacock Pavilions, where you might find vintage Spanish billboards alongside a table made from old Moroccan street signs. Or perhaps a Moroccan tent covered in painted embroidery designs and filled with plastic furniture from the 1960s.
French poster art is mixed with religious iconography and glittery pillows. Photo: Maryam Montague
Since the weather there is often comfortable in the 60s and 70s (with the exception of the scorching summers), Maryam and her family spend a lot of time outdoors and even enjoy an outdoor cinema. Living as expats has afforded them the luxury of having some domestic help; the family has a cook, housekeeper and gardener to assist with the household chores. Apparently, the dollar goes quite far in Morocco!
Peacock Pavilions overlooking the pool. Photo: Maryam Montague
Although she's found a place to call home, Maryam isn't ready to stop traveling. Says Maryam: "So far I have traveled to 72 countries. And if I haven't been somewhere, it's on my list!"
Souvenirs from her travels. Photos: Maryam Montague
Take a few more house tours:
-A Show House Made for the Movies
-San Francisco Home Has Walls that Wow
If Maryam's tale has put you in the mood for Moroccan food, you'll love these recipes from KitchenDaily.
While it's fabulous to be able to sort paperboard from glass jars in the comfort of your own kitchen before lugging it all out to the curb, I've found that most of the recycling containers on the market aren't very eco-friendly. They're often made from non-sustainable materials like plastic and stainless-steel.
In search of a better solution, I searched the web for recycling bins, bags and boxes to help close the recycling loop. Here are some of my favorite options.
Eco Fabric Market Tote and The Newsprint Bin, both sold at The Container Store. Photo: The Container Store
Eco Fabric Market Tote, The Container Store, $20 each
The Newsprint Bin, The Container Store, $10-$20 each
Newspapers you've already read - as well as junk mail you don't intend to - stack neatly inside this bin that's available in three sizes (small, medium and large). Newspapers were actually used to construct these bins, with the papers woven and hand-rolled into the design. How cool is that?
KangaRoom Recycle Bags, KangaRoom, $13 for two
These perky green bags are born out of recycled materials. They stand on their own, but when it comes time to take them to your outside recycling containers, simply grab a hold of the reinforced handles. They can be washed as easily as plastic bins too -- Use either a wet sponge or a light-spraying nozzle.
Wood Strips Magazine Rack, Sears, $38
Wood planks that have been resurrected from aging boats, buildings, homes and schools in Thailand are reborn into a spot to store discarded junk mail and magazines. I like the shabby-chic/coastal look of this container with its pastel pieces of wood and rope handles. It would go well in a cottage-y or vintage-decor home.
One last idea: Don't spend more than a few bucks!
Consider using reusable shopping bags sold at many grocery stores, like Whole Foods to organize your recycling -- Each of the Whole Foods' bags contain 80 percent post-consumer recycled content (mainly plastic bottles). They cost no more than a few bucks, and even if you don't use them to lug home your groceries, you won't feel so guilty if you find another use for them.
We have lots of eco-friendly decorating ideas on ShelterPop! Don't miss:
- A Green House You'll Actually Want to Live In
- Make Your Bedroom Greener With These Simple Tips
And this story from Lemondrop made us chuckle: Have Greener Sex -- Really!
Mirrors are a great way to make a space look bigger and brighter, especially if you have few or no windows. But the right mirror can also work as a piece of art on your wall.
If you have the wall space to play with, forget hanging one extra-large mirror. Instead, hang a collection of smaller mirrors -- matched, mismatched or somewhere in between.
"Compared to art, decorating with mirrors is less expensive and more neutral," says Claudia Juestel, the principal and founder of Adeeni Design Group, a firm in San Francisco, California offering green design services. "Still, you can combine and arrange mirrors into different layouts, just like you would with art." (Here's a tutorial on hanging art.)
And if you want your mirrors to lighten up a room, a collection can also help break up a not-so-nice view.
"It's always important to remember what you're reflecting. If you're hanging them to bring in light, and the reflection is not that attractive, a collection of small mirrors will fragment the view and make it more abstract. A not-so-interesting reflection will immediately become more interesting," Juestel says.
Still, the best thing about any collection of mirrors is that it can completely reflect your style. Your montage can be shabby chic, rustic, contemporary, funky, stately or casually elegant, depending on what pieces you use and how you put them together. Luckily, when it comes to vintage and antique mirrors, finding smaller pieces is a lot easier than over-sized mirrors, Juestel says.
Here are a few of our favorite mirror montages:
Mirror decorating made easy. Photo: Anthropologie.
On a big, brick wall, that's not necessarily a bad thing.
The trend finds its way into a charming restaurant. Photo: Megan Garrelts, Bluestemkc.
This collection screams "shabby chic." The etched lace and heart-shapes on their own could come off as too cutesy or country, but when arranged so close together, it works wonderfully.
White-framed mirrors bring a shabby chic sensibility. Photo: Flickr, kimhas8cats
A collection of mismatched mirrors painted the same color as the wall can add uniformed texture and depth, and brighten up a dark, narrow space, like this hallway. It can also add modern flair to older pieces.
"If you have mirrors with all different kinds of moldings, shapes and colors, you can paint the frames all one color to tie them together in a more contemporary look," Juestel says.
If you'd like to try this at home, here are some great tips on freshening up vintage mirrors.
Whichever style suits you best, Juestel offers three suggestions for making your montage of mirrors shine:
1. Combine a mixture of different sized pieces.
2. Map out the layout on the floor in front of the wall, before you start hanging anything.
3. When it comes to your arrangement, "start from the center and go outwards," she says. Or align the outer edges and work inwards. "With the second option, the middle may become irregular, but that's fine since the outside edges align."
You can also make a wall montage using family photos or your favorite dishes.
The ads for any political election can be contentious, but this year's ads are hitting home -- literally. Candidates are being battered in political ads for having second homes, sprawling estates, anything that reads extravagance. At a time when unemployment is high and thousands are losing their jobs, "living large," as The New York Times reports, translates to out of touch.
Try to guess the candidate who lives in this luxe apartment building? To find out, click through our gallery. Photo: Manuel Balce Ceneta, AP
In an ad released by the National Republican Senatorial Committee, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who is up for re-election in Nevada, was accused of "living at the Ritz-Carlton while thousands are losing our homes." (Reid says he lives in a 2,200-square-foot one bedroom condo on the second floor of the Ritz-Carlton in Washington, DC -- not the penthouse, like the ad suggests.)
In the West Virginia Senate race, Democratic Governor Joe Manchin III accused his opponent, Republican John Raese, of owning a mansion in Florida. While a photo of the home is revealed in the ad, a narrator reports: "That's O.K. for John Raese, who lives in a Palm Beach, Florida, mansion with a pink marble driveway. But it's not O.K. for the rest of us, who work to pay our bills and struggle to afford insurance." (According to the Charleston Daily Mail, Raese does own a mansion in Palm Beach.)
So what do the homes of the election all-stars look like? Check out our gallery! We're peeking into the homes of Former Alaska governor Sarah Palin, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and more of your favorites (or least favorites).
Which of these homes are your favorites? Weigh in on Facebook!
When I'm flipping through a magazine or reading a blog, I'm always curious to see where the person featured lives. Although the internet can make the world seem like it's shrinking, there are still many differences when it comes to design, decor and style, depending on where you live. In the US, we have a mixed style; most of what we've adopted as "American" was brought here by someone of another culture.
To find out what's popular in London right now, we spoke with Rebecca James, creative director of Interior Desires, a London-based interior design studio.
Rebecca (left) says a big trend in London is mixing natural materials with glitzy glamour, which she calls "organic glam" (right). Photos: Rebecca James
Defining London Style
What is London style? And no, we're not talking about Keep Calm posters and Union Jack pillows. We're talking about the essence of real British style.
While Londoners seem particularly fond of retro style, says Rebecca, folks here are also drawn to shabby chic. Londoners travel and collect things, and many of them infuse many different styles into their homes. Their rooms become almost a mish-mash of collectibles: "I would say there is no herd mentality in London as people are more confident of their personal identities, so there is no dominant style," Rebecca explains.
Here, individual expression is more valued than a particular brand of home furnishings.
Rebecca says that she's noticed a style she calls "organic glam" emerge in the last few years. Think: "glamorous objects or pieces in natural, earthy surroundings," she says. As with most trends, this one started with fashion. "You can see it in the latest fashion campaigns where diamonds are shot against rainforest backgrounds or glamorous watches against earthy backgrounds," she says.
Londoners are currently drawn to red wood flooring -- like cherry and iroko -- and Brazilian wood floors. Rebecca has also been seeing a demand for natural stone and Italian porcelain tiles.
When it comes to furniture, a mix of solid wood and burr veneer finishes have been a popular way to cut costs in both kitchen cabinetry (as shown below) and furniture. On the high end, Londoners have been drawn to onyx, a pricey stone that packs a big shiny punch on counter tops and sinks.
Clean, clutter-free and space-conscious is a trend adopted from Eastern influences. Photo: Rebecca James
What's Changed in the Last 5 Years
London homeowners are embracing what Rebecca calls "understated decadence," where simple and minimal boxy lines are replaced with softer curves and details. While we noted that country style is coming back in a big way here in the US, it seems like they're dealing with similar recession challenges by focusing on details. She's noticed a rise in the desire for accents like piping, rusching and 3D textured fabrics.
Londoners are also embracing global trends, such as Asian influences in the form of functionality. By this, Rebecca means that pieces of furniture are doing double duty as storage, and less clutter is key. And in true zen form, more people are interested in purchasing functional furniture that serves a purpose rather than adding something to the home just for show.
What are some of the most popular products that Londoners are purchasing for their homes?
Here, Rebecca's picks for what's hot at home in London right now.
What's popular right now in London.
Above, from top left: Simpsons mirrored console tables are made and designed in England with quick turnaround; Butler sinks, or as they are commonly known in the US, farmhouse sinks; Tom Dixon copper light pendants -- we love these too!; High end contemporary rugs from The Rug Company; bespoke furniture by Timothy Mark; George Smith handmade chairs.
In London, Asian influence is front and center. Photo: Rebecca James
Looking to infuse some London style into your own home? Rebecca knows where to get the good stuff: These stores "have very exciting and affordable collections for homeowners varying from traditional to modern and they are all easily accessible to homeowners."
Here are some shops you just can't miss:
- India Jane: "Perfect for replicas of classic pieces"
- Brissi: "Shabby chic, particularly love the silver wrap furniture."
- Mrs Robinson's: "Gems from Scandinavia and beyond."
- Habitat: "One stop shop for home owners."
- Liberty: "Legendary British institution with quirky and exciting pieces."
Not quite ready for a British home invasion? Keep calm and design on with these great posts:
- Design Drool: Eco-Luxe Huts in Spain
- Best Flea Markets in the World
Check out this great story from our friends at CasaSugar!
The days are getting shorter, and the temperatures are getting chillier, which most likely means you'll be spending less and less time outside. But before you abandon the outdoors and hibernate for the Winter, tackle these 10 essential tasks to ready your yard for the change of season.
Flickr; Drew And Merissa via CasaSugar
2. Store hoses. If hoses are left on outdoor spigots, they can cause the spigot to freeze and crack. After taking the hose off of your spigot, turn off the water supply, and leave the spigot screwed open so remaining water can drain out.
3. Prep your pots. Empty out all terra-cotta pots, and turn them upside down in a shed, garage, or other protected area to prevent cracks and breakage.
4. Give your garden tools some TLC. Make an appointment to have tools such as pruners and saws sharpened; if you do it now, you won't have to deal with a pair of dull snips when you need them in the Spring. Clean trowels, rakes, shovels, and other tools, and give them a good oiling to prevent rust before storing them out of harm's way.
5. Clean up your veggie garden. Turn over beds, pull out weeds, and make sure everything is harvested from your plot. If you're overwintering hardy veggies such as parsnip, carrots, or rutabaga - which actually turn sweeter after a frost - these vegetables should be covered with a layer of straw or mulch.
6. Coddle your compost pile. To prevent your compost pile from going dormant in freezing temperatures, keep the aerobic activity high by turning it and adding fresh amendments of straw, leaves, and kitchen scraps.
7. Trim dead wood. To prevent dead branches from breaking off and flying through your window during a windy storm, trim all dead branches on trees on your property. Store the wood for use in a backyard bonfire on a chilly evening.
8. Make notes. Before you forget, make a list of what worked and what didn't in your yard and garden this last growing season. What vegetables loved your veggie patch? Anything hate it? Do you need to add a particular bush or flowering plant in the Spring? How about hardscape issues? Write it all down now, then file it away on your computer as a handy reference come Spring.
9. Inspect your Winter tools. Are your snow shovels in good shape? Does your snow blower need an oil change? Do you have supplies of sand and salt for combating slippery steps? Preparing now will save you time and worry.
10. Clean your gutters. While not the most entertaining task in the world, it is an essential one. Cleaning debris out of your gutters will prevent them from breaking mid-Winter, which means one less headache for you. Learn how to do it here.
Want more CasaSugar goodies?
Decorating Ideas to Steal From the November Anthropologie Catalog
Setting the Table With the Novogratz Family of SIXX Design
The other night I was eating dinner with some friends when John Mayer's "Say What you Need to Say" came on. It got me thinking: These days everyone says what they need to say, and they even say things that they don't need to say at all. Twitter, statement tees and Facebook walls have allowed us to easily express our moods and what's on our minds.
And it hasn't stopped with the internet and t-shirts -- like most trends, it has made its way into home decor.
Hang a message made from paper or fabric letters above the bed and be reminded of it morning and night. Photo: Courtesy of papernstitch
When the recession hit, we saw the emergence of the "Keep Calm and Carry On" posters; the message seemed to encapsulate the kind of thing we all needed to hear as the stock market and housing prices fell. And the messages have become sunnier since.
There are other creative ways to decorate with words. Check out a few of our favorites:
Because they are in several languages, anyone can understand what you're trying to say with these two posters by Made by Girl. Photo: Courtesy of Made By Girl
Affordable Prints & Posters
There are countless small presses creating witty, hand-printed posters that you're bound to find something that suits your personality. We love this clean, graphic poster (above left) that says "hi" in several languages. Wouldn't this be perfect for an entryway?
Some other sources for fab posters: Keep Calm Gallery, Vllg. and Etsy, specifically Lisa Barbero, All Good Things, and Tucker Reese.
Why cover part of the wall when you can cover the whole room? Blik customized this wall decal for their client, Allison Thomas.
Personalized Wall Decals
The popularity of wall decals has increased exponentially since they first came on the scene a few years ago. Besides beautiful imagery, wall decals now come in the form of quotes and letters. A few companies even offer the option to create custom decals, so you can say whatever you want, however you want to say it!
Blik created the custom wall decal shown above, which looks more like wallpaper, and sites like Wall Candy Arts, Vinyl Silhouettes and Hu2 will do the same.
Spell It Out
The trend of propping letters up on a mantle or mixing them in with a variety of other objects is nothing new, but it doesn't seem to be going out of style any time soon. (Wouldn't you love to drink a cup of coffee in the kitchen above? We would.)
These days letters come in a variety of materials -- metals, wood, vinyl and and paper -- so it's easy to come up with a very personalized statement. We love these options from Anthropologie, Wall Candy Arts, Woodland Manufacturing and Happy Monkey Designs.
Design Sponge shot Jen Bilik's of Knock Knock's home in Los Angeles. She used to live off 14th street in NYC, and looking at the subway sign every day in LA makes her remember her old stomping ground. Photo: Courtesy of Design Sponge
Hanging a subway sign on the wall is a great way to express your love of all things urban. It can also be nostalgic. Jen Bilik's of Knock Knock used to live near 14th Street in NYC, so she looks to the sign in her California home (shown above) as a reminder of her times in the Big Apple.
Ebay is a fantastic resource for finding authentic signs, but we thought that the reproductions from Subwaysigns.com, Amazon and Underground Signs were as good as the real thing.
We're also loving these decorating ideas:
- Got an Extra Room? Here's what to do with it.- Decorate a Room Inspired by Fashion
- Get Inspired by Staying in Someone Else's Home For a Week
Head over to DIY Life for some great advice on how to buy shower doors!
When you go to defrost a packet of edamame, you probably don't think about the decades of social change and technological advances that went into the design of your kitchen. But the kitchen is constantly changing to reflect different social realities and values of the day.
"The kitchen has always been politicized," says Juliet Kinchin, who recently organized, Counter Space: Design and the Modern Kitchen, on view at the Museum of Modern Art. "It has a bearing on these really huge issues about how we want to live. In a world of shrinking resources...it isn't just a matter of the more or less efficient arrangement within one room of the house. [The kitchen] has a bearing on these really big issues: Where our food comes from and what type of food we want."
The 1926 Frankfurt Kitchen is a model of efficiency. Photo: MoMA
In designing kitchens, we've had to explore similar questions over time to figure out how to make them functional: How often do we shop? How long do we keep food -- since that's dependent on how much design storage we need. What sources of energy should we choose? Much of this is dependent on a much larger infrastructure than any individual kitchen, and the same was true in the past.
In the beginning of the 20th century the kitchen transitioned from the realm of the servants to part of the main household for a combination of reasons. First, there were new, cleaner forms of energy, like electricity and gas, which made a kitchen more attractive to cook in. Plus, the times were changing. Kinchin says that more women were going to work in factories, rather than rich people's homes. And as less women were trained to be servants, more women had to learn their way around the kitchen.
While hard to imagine now, in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, several domestic reformers (including Catherine Beecher and Christine Frederick) addressed the servant-less household -- a topic not discussed in proper society at the time. These middle class women were trying to raise the status and visibility of housework, a revolutionary idea at the time. Christine Frederick argued for more rational and efficient layouts of kitchens to reduce the drudgery. She even adapted the principles for Frederick Taylor, an expert in time-motion studies, for her book on household efficiency: The New Housekeeping.
Time-motion studies and interviews with real housewives influenced the design of this compact and ergonomic space. Photos: MoMA
Factories that made ammunition in WWI were converted to manufacture bins for the Frankfurt Kitchens of the 1920s. Photo: MoMA
Glass cookware was developed in reaction to the shortage of metals during World War II. Photo: MoMA
This Wesselman still life addresses the abundance of post-war American kitchens. Photo: MoMA
So, the next time you find yourself considering a remodel, consider the kind of future you hope for and design a kitchen that helps realize those goals. Do you want more solar energy? Do you want fresh, homegrown herbs and vegetables? Do you want to conserve water? These questions are about lifestyle, design -- and politics.
Interested in reading about kitchen design? Check out these posts:
- Make Your Kitchen Comfortable
- Computerized Cabinets: Kitchens of the Future?
- A Budget Kitchen Remodel
And we couldn't talk about kitchens without sending you to our sister site, KitchenDaily!
1. Turn a scarf into a table runner.
There's this striped J Crew scarf I own that, while I love the chocolate-browns, creams, turquoises and mustards, doesn't come out of my closet often enough. I was about to drop it into a donation bag for the local Goodwill store when a decorating idea spun through my head. Why not repurpose it as a table runner? No stitching or cutting necessary. I simply laid it horizontal across my coffee table. Voila!
2. Perfume your abode with apples and pumpkins.
I get tired of all of the fake smells that waft from candle wax, like "apple cobbler" and "pumpkin spice." Why not go for the real thing? Slice a pie pumpkin in half vertically, scoop out the seeds and stringy insides with a spoon, place the two shells in a shallow baking dish in the oven (pre-heated to 375 degrees) and drizzle them with maple syrup. In 90 minutes you will have the most delicious, warm pumpkin you have ever eaten. And it will make your home smell divine. Trust us on this one.
Short on time? Buy a frozen apple pie from your market's frozen-foods aisle and bake it in the oven. Mmmm. This scent throughout your house will beat out lit candles any day!
3. Decorate with throw blankets.
Drape hand-knit, chunky, cable-knit, cashmere or mohair throw blankets -- the more texture the better -- over armchairs, rocking chairs and the backs of sofas. Or fold into large squares and arrange on top of ottomans. This is the time of year when there might be a chill in the air.
Red Throw, Crate and Barrel, $60
"Lauren by Ralph Lauren" Cable-Knit Throw (in tan, white or red), Bloomingdale's, $50
Cashmere Throw (in seven different colors), Williams-Sonoma Home, $298
"Quirky Heirloom" Throw, Anthropologie, $198
Alamy | Getty
4. Frame fall color.
What I like to do during autumn is pluck a few brilliantly colored leaves off the lawn of my favorite park, lie them flat between sheets of wax paper inside a book, and then frame those leaves after a few days of drying. You don't have to deal with matting or any kind of expensive frame. Just drop them into the picture window of any 5' by 7' frame. Even if you don't have leaves in your yard, chances are that a neighbor does. Take a few of those fall leaves without any guilt and use them in your framing project. It will be a reminder of this glorious season long after it's over.
If you live in a climate where the tree leaves don't change color, look to pine cones or any kind of tall grass growing nearby. For a reminder that the season is changing, arrange pine cones in a bowl on the living-room table or place the grasses inside a tall vase.
5. Hang a wreath on your front door.
No, we don't mean an evergreen or cypress wreath for the winter holiday season. We mean one built from dried fruits, berries or vegetables, or pine cones, or even fake leaves. Above are two wreaths that we'd love on our front doors.
Mixed Leaf Wreath, Pottery Barn, $29
Corn Wreath, Williams-Sonoma, $70
Preserved Magnolia & Pomegranate Wreath, Restoration Hardware, $89-$199
For more ideas on how to ready your home for fall, check out:
-Fall Trends 2010
-Brights For Fall in Home Decorating
-Flowering Fall Herbs
Most people have it -- that dreaded space that you've been dying to makeover but you're not quite sure what to do with it.
When a friend contacted me to help her solve such a conundrum for the top floor of her Seattle townhome, I immediately wanted to help.
Photos: Allison Lind
The task seemed daunting. But I decided to take on the challenge.
The room was previously just a glorified storage area where guests occasionally slept and the homeowner occasionally worked. The first priority was to bring some life -- via color and pattern -- into the room. I started with the walls. Should I paint the space or wallpaper it? I decided that the perfect wallpaper could transform the room and brighten it up, so I went on the hunt.
Photos: Allison Lind
There are a few odd alcoves in the space, and I wanted to paint them colors that would contrast nicely with the wallpaper. In one alcove, I located the play space for her nephews. Here, I chose a rich turquoise that was playful enough to please the boys but serious enough to still feel grown up.
My friend has a vibrant personality, and I wanted the space to reflect that. While it may seem like there's already enough color here, I sensed that we needed more. I decided to begin hunting for a piece of furniture that would add even more color to the space.
I was thrilled when I came across a burnt orange daybed, which just happens to fold out into a queen-sleeper for even more guest sleeping space. The orange offered the perfect colorful contrast to the bright blue. (Orange is, in fact, fun to decorate with. Check out our round-up on orange!) I chose black chalkboard paint to help offset the intensity of the hue.
With so much bright color and pattern now there -- and more to come -- we kept furnishings sleek and simple.The lounge chair and sofa provide ample space for guests to hang out and watch TV, or for business clients who visit her home office to sit for a comfy meeting. Plus, the sofa folds out into a queen-sized sleeper. Jonathan Adler helped (Thanks, Jonathan!) add some extra quirky personality with his ceramic Giraffe Lamp.
Photos: Allison Lind
Here, I painted the half-wall with more chalkboard paint. (It's like instant decor since you can scribble sayings on it or draw different pictures on it everyday, if you wanted to!) Then I picked up a funky locker-style cabinet (find it at IKEA!) and adorned it with a flat screen and shapely black lamp with black shade for effect.
The result: An unused corner suddenly has a purpose.
Lastly, we fixed up the home office area, which is located on the other side of the stairwell. We kept the desk and chair because they do the job and look nice (and my friend was working from a small budget). But we added low shelves for extra storage behind the desk, including some green filing bins to match the green chair. Surprisingly, the green plays really well off the orange and turquoise in the room. (I was a little worried about it clashing!)
The homeowner was obviously pleased -- she called me complaining the next day that she was still stuck in her new office because she "didn't want to leave." All the difference that a little money and two days of work can get you!
Want more fun before and afters?
Here's another office that's sure to wow.
Get a load of this bland to glam bedroom.
What can three days and only $1500 bucks get you?
Sometimes all it takes is a can of paint.
Looking for a way to fill that extra hour you'll gain this weekend when daylight saving time begins? Here's a few of our favorite quick and easy projects.
Daylight saving time begins on Sunday, November 7, at 2am local time. So unless you're up until 2am Saturday night, get ready to turn your clocks back an hour when you wake up on Sunday. Yes, it's that dreaded time of the year when the dwindling daylight hours get even shorter, while the temps drop even lower. Really, couldn't we just crawl into our beds and hibernate until spring arrives?
Sadly, no. But, as it turns out, there is a bit of a positive spin on the dreaded daylight saving time. Think about it: This weekend you'll have a whole extra hour to dedicate to one of the many projects you've been putting off all year. Need some inspiration? Here are a few of our favorite project that only take an hour! (We promise.)
Still have Daylight Saving Time on the brain? Check out these pieces from our sister sites
Daylight Saving Time saves $12 in electricity per year
Daylight Saving Time May Throw Off Our Internal Clocks
Daylight Saving Time Costs Us More Than Sleep
Chic Shelf Paper
When Francie Christenson and her husband Eric moved to a new home two years ago, they had a hard time finding shelf papers that they actually wanted to use in their home. Says Francie, "We knew if we were frustrated with this lack of selection, there had to be many others who were as well." So, the couple decided to create a one-stop-shop online for shelf papers. The result is a website with 275 designs to choose from, including several customizable designs.
Leopard and lavender shelf paper makes for a much more lovely drawer-opening experience. Photo: Chic Shelf Paper
The Christensons didn't just go out and stock up on the prettiest Contact paper they could find. Rather, they set out to create their own shelf papers, using materials from the digital printing industry. By sourcing their own materials, the Christensons have been able to offer higher quality and greater variety than any local housewares stores could ever offer.
Things to Know
Chic Shelf Paper offers tons of basics with solids and stripes in addition to their funkier patterns. However, with 275 patterns, not every pattern is as "chic" as the next. We're big fans of the selection of graphic designs offered on Chic Shelf Paper's site. See some of our favorite prints below (clockwise from upper left): Cross Me Yellow, Pink Scallops, Greek Spiral - Navy Blue, Hexagon Highway - Lime Green, Black and White Triangles and Interlocking Links - Peacock Blue.
Here are some other fun ways to transform everyday furnishings:
- What I Learned After 500 Makeovers
- Budget Furniture Makeovers
- Make Your Own Lampshade
Tiffani Thiessen and celebrity designer Lonni Paul of HGTV Design Star team up to launch PetitNest, a sophisticated line of furniture and decor -- for kids!
You may remember her as the bubbly bombshell, Kelly Kapowski, from "Saved by the Bell," but today Tiffani Thiessen (she dropped the "Amber" back in 2000) is taking on two new roles: Mother to baby Harper Renn and most recently, designer. That's right -- Thiessen has joined forces with Lonni Paul, the award-winning designer and reigning female finalist from HGTV's hit show "Design Star," to launch PetitNest, a new line of infant and childrens' room furnishings.
Courtesy of PetitNest
The design duo first met when Paul designed a guest room for Thiessen on HGTV. But it was when they worked together on Thiessen's kitchen in her 1920s traditional-style home that inspiration hit. "We were just beginning to work on the baby's room when we realized that there wasn't a lot of furniture out there that appealed to adult taste," says Thiessen. "From there, Lonni and I decided to create a line that would aesthetically connect the nursery to the rest of the home."
The result: A "modern contemporary" furniture and bedding collection that looks all grown up but still boasts plenty of childish charm.
"We really wanted to create something that could also be used as a child grows -- and could even work in other areas of the home," says Paul. "It's really furniture that you won't outgrow because it doesn't look too juvenile."
Photos: Courtesy of PetitNest
"We express ourselves every day through style: From what we wear to where we live," says Thiessen. "We want to give parents the freedom to express themselves and to create a room for their child that is a true reflection of who they are." And Paul agrees: "Kids rooms should flow naturally with the design aesthetic of the rest of the home, while adding a bit of whimsy and playfulness. That is exactly what PetitNest offers."
Photo: Courtesy of PetitNest
Want to hear more about the collaboration? Check out ParentDish's interview with the designers!
A new online magazine, setting the table for nine and candy creations... What we're lusting over in the blogosphere this week.
This home really got around -- it was featured in seven magazines. Photo: Courtesy of Decorology.
Is this the most popular house in the design world? It was featured in not one, not two, but SEVEN publications! [Decorology]
Another online design magazine announces its arrival -- High Gloss Magazine's first issue will be out in January. We can't wait... [La Dolce Vita]
Like all things vintage, wallpaper is making a major comeback. Check out some of the past's greatest hits. [The Inside Source]
A wood plank ceiling painted white evokes Scandinavian living and make the whole house feel clean-lined and fresh. Design for Mankind's lovely Erin Loechner chronicles the process of installing one in her own home. [The Stir]
Do you think that setting your own table for two, three or even four is tough? Try setting a table for nine. Cortney and Bob Novogratz of SIXX Design show us how it's done, and give us their spin on the modern holiday table. [CasaSugar]
Wouldn't this beautiful bottle subtly glam-up any bathroom/vanity/dresser? Come to think of it, the sophisticated yet sweet color scheme would be fantastic for an entryway or guest bathroom... [The Frisky]
Nail polish can repair window screens? Who knew?! DIY Life doles out several other unusual uses for nail polish -- you'll be surprised to find out what else it can do around the house. [DIY Life]
Get happy -- and stop eating all of those snacks lying around the house -- by turning your leftover Halloween candy into something super cute. [Lemondrop]
Check out this lovely apartment that marries more-is-more inclinations with modern style. Designed by Scott Guthrie in Ian Schraeger's super-luxe building in downtown NYC, 40 Bond, it will get give you your fancypants fix for the week. [Curbed National]
Holly shares photos and inspirations from her trip to Marrakesh, and makes us all want to infuse our homes with tons of color in the process. [Decor8]
Architect Javier Senosiain was inspired by a snail's spiral shapel when he designed "The Nautilus," a residential property completed in Mexico City in 2007. "Nature is my biggest source of inspiration -- observing and not copying it," he says.
Owners Magali and Fernando Mayorga, who have two sons, requested a simple mother-of-pearl finish for their home's interior and exterior walls and ceilings, which Senosiain promptly delivered. The result is a walk through one of the oddest (and oddly beautiful) homes you've ever seen.
In looking over photos of this uniquely shaped home, we quickly came up with ideas on how to use the space.
Senosiain calls this space the "belly" of the house. It's where the structure bloats outward. Perfect for hosting movie nights! Otherwise, the room could be used as a gathering space for a small, intimate party; the pinwheel seating style makes it easy to carry on a conversation with several guests.
The absence of stained-glass windows -- a dominant feature elsewhere in The Nautilus -- provides for more of a retreat-like space in the bedroom.
On the right, a sink displays exquisite handicraft with small blue stones molded into Grancrete, also used to construct the home's exterior. The trickling sound of water helps cultivate a relaxing feeling, sure, but it also helps us to imagine the sounds a snail hears along the water. Pull up a chair next to this stone-and-gem work of art. Who needs a spa?
Check out a few other inspiring spaces
-Cottage Living in L.A.
-The Real Jersey Shore
And we love the Awe-Inspiring American Architecture from AOL Travel!
Lotta Jansdotter is like the big sister you wish you had - the one who always looks cool and was really good in art class. Jansdotter was at the forefront of the handmade movement before words like handmade, craft and blog became a part of our everyday lives. Before the days of Etsy, Jansdotter, the author of six craft books, built an empire with her silk-screened homewares and accessories. Today, you can find these items everywhere from independent boutiques to big brand stores like Barnes & Noble and West Elm.
Lotta Jansdotter in her Brooklyn, NY studio. Photo: Laura Fenton
ShelterPop visited Jansdotter at her Brooklyn studio to see where she works and discuss her latest book. The workshop, which is housed in a former factory, is a three-dimensional embodiment of her handmade life.
Jansdotter's latest book "Handmade Living" is a departure from her how-to books of the past. Instead of a project-based book, Jansdotter has created a tome dedicated to what she calls "handmade living," with nary a step-by-step instruction in sight. Instead, the book is more of a portrait of Jansdotter's life. It features a sneak peek into Jansdotter's home and studio, an inside look into how she entertains at home and a list of her favorite design resources.
Jansdotter published a similar book with a Japanese publisher a decade ago, but her U.S. publishers balked at the idea of a less structured craft book. Finally, Chronicle Books decided to take a chance on the avant-garde lifestyle book. "We didn't want to spell things out so much," says Jansdotter of the looser, laidback vibe of her new book.
A few examples of how Jansdotter lives the "handmade life" everyday: She sews her own table linens. With leftover fabric scraps, she makes an impromptu mobile. When she craves a new pillow, she makes one. She's noticed that more and more people are embracing the crafting life. "When you said 'craft' five years ago, it meant something different," says Jansdotter. Today, craft is "fancy, refined, good-looking - almost a luxury."
Jansdotter is clearly full of energy with several new projects on the horizon, including a book about creative people's work spaces, a 2012 calendar, a limited edition of hand-screened prints and a t-shirt design collaboration with her seven-year-old god son, among many others. ShelterPop toured the space where these projects come to life. Take a peek inside:
Above: Jansdotter looks over designs for a new wall calendar - she figures out patterns and designs using photocopies of her own drawings.
Jansdotter's space is full of life and is clearly being used by a creative individual. Photo: Laura Fenton
Jansdotter has a similar set-up of shelves over cabinets in her living room at home. Photo: Laura Fenton
A mobile made from fabric scraps hangs at the center of this photo. Photo: Laura Fenton
Like many Scandinavians, Jansdotter has a penchant for natural fibers and the color blue. Photo: Laura Fenton
Natural light floods Jansdotter's studio even on an overcast day. Photo: Laura Fenon
Inspiration lies in favorite photos, a child's drawing and even a faded blue shirt. Photo: Laura Fenton
Do you love Lotta style? We sure do. One lucky reader will get a mega-dose of Lotta's style. We're giving away an autographed copy of "Handmade Living."
* To enter, leave a confirmed comment below telling us about your best crafting project.
* The comment must be left before 5pm EST on Friday, November 12, 2010.
* You may enter only once.
* One winner will be selected in a random drawing.
* One winner will receive a copy of "Handmade Living" (valued at $29.99).
* Open to legal residents of the 50 United States, the District of Columbia and Canada (excluding Quebec) who are 18 and older.
* Click here for complete Official Rules. Winners will be notified by email, so be sure to provide a valid email address!
Scenario: You return from a long day of work, and the crisp fall weather has chilled you to the bone. You head to the bathroom eager to take a long, relaxing soak in your tub. Gasp! It's covered in soap scum. Forget relaxation -- it's time to clean. But what's the best way to tackle the task? Find out in our next installment of testing old versus new cleaning solutions.
A scummy tub leaves little inspiration for relaxation. Fight it with our simple tips. Photo: Corbis
The Problem: Soap Scum
If you fall behind on your bathroom cleaning schedule, that pesky residue takes over.
There are multiple theories on the "old way" (or natural way) to clean soap scum.
- Pour warm vinegar into a spray bottle and apply to the scummy area. Let sit for about 30 minutes and scrub with a sponge or brush. Rinse with water.
- In a spray bottle, mix one part ammonia to two parts water. Spray where necessary and scrub with a sponge or scrubbing tool such as a brush or scouring pad. Rinse with clear water. (To avoid skin irritation, wear gloves when using ammonia.)
- Moisten a dryer sheet and rub onto dirty area to remove the soap scum. Rinse with water.
- Mix one part automatic dishwasher detergent to three parts water. Spray solution onto the dirty area and let sit for about 15 minutes and scrub with sponge or brush. Rinse with water.
- Make a paste of baking soda and water; apply to walls and scrub. Rinse with water.
I tried the first option -- spraying vinegar on the tub -- since vinegar's reputation as an efficient multi-tasking house cleaner prevails. I scrubbed and scrubbed...and nothing. This time, sadly, vinegar failed to live up to expectations.
Perhaps my tub was extra scummy, but this old-school technique just didn't quite do the trick.
There are countless tub-cleaning products on the market, but the one that kept coming up as a recommendation from friends, family and experts was Kaboom. I promptly purchased the Shower, Tub & Tile Cleaner and took it home to put it to the test. I sprayed a thick layer (for insurance) over my scum and let it sit for about 10 minutes (you could probably do less), and with very minimal scrubbing effort, the scum was gone.
I typically err on the side of using natural products whenever possible. But my soap scum job was just too big of a job, and that's typical in most households where we don't have time to clean our tubs daily. If you're reading this, chances are your scum is more out of control than a day's worth of build up, so grab a bottle of Kaboom next time you're in that grocery store aisle. You won't be sorry.
Tip to Keep Your Tub Clean:
After a good cleaning, apply a layer of furniture wax or polish to the walls of the shower and tub to help keep the soap scum from sticking to it.
Now that you've tackled the bathtub -- remove soap scum from those glass shower doors!
Still inspired to clean that bathroom?
Take some time to unclog your dirty drains.
It's a small space, so opt for healthy cleaning techniques.
Illustrator Claudia Pearson loves food. She loves it so much, in fact, that she designs art inspired by it.
Food is a big part of our day to day lives, she says. We decide where our food comes from, how it's prepared, how to present it on the table. And Pearson, who values pure, simple food made from ripe and fresh produce, decided to translate her vision to the canvas.
Photo: Claudia Pearson
The idea came to her in an unexpected place. Pearson says she does lots of shopping at local farmers markets in Brooklyn, New York, where she lives, to prepare seasonally fresh meals for her family. In speaking to the farmers, she began feeling a connection to the food she purchased, and she began drawing and recording the seasonal produce she saw.
In collaboration with chef Sung Uni Lee, who runs a business to teach individuals how to cook, the duo created new recipes and illustrated them.
Photo: Claudia Pearson
Here's an idea. Use these simple and healthy recipe illustrations to create a cookbook wall in the kitchen. Pearson showed us what she did in her kitchen (above), and the cheerful prints made us smile.
For more information on the recipes, check out Claudia's blog. Purchase the art on Etsy; prints cost as little as $18.
And of course, if you're looking for more recipes, we must turn you on to our sister site, KitchenDaily!
Photo: Claudia Pearson
- Design a Montage of Mirrors
- Decorating With Family Photos
- Dishes On the Wall. Yes, Please!
When California Mercedes dealership owner Francie Rehwald purchased a 55-acre plot of land above the ocean in Malibu, she knew that she wanted something unique. The land had history: It was the site of Tony Duquette's eccentric residence made of found structures that was destroyed in a 1993 fire. Rehwald wanted to continue on with Duquette's original vision and create something unique using recycled materials.
The main residence is almost complete. Photo: David Hertz
She wanted a feminine structure featuring sensual curves and rounded edges, and she had been interested in green building, so she began discussing her needs with LA-based Architect David Hertz. Hertz specializes in upcycling and sustainable architecture. When Rehwald mentioned her desire for a curvy house, Hertz had a crazy idea: What if they used a retired plane to build Rehwald's new house?
He didn't tell her his idea at first. He wanted to do some research. So he took photos of plane wings from his window seat when traveling. He walked through airplane graveyards in the California desert, photographing planes from various angles. Then, at a subsequent meeting, he told her: He wanted to build her a house from a Boeing 747 jumbo jet.
An aerial shot of the house. You can prominently see the plane's wings. Photo: David Hertz
And why not? There are lots of planes just hanging out in the California desert waiting to be recycled. It was the perfect marriage of supply and demand: A 747 airplane at over 230 feet long, 195 feet wide and 63 feet tall provides more than enough raw materials to build a generous home (one wing is over 2,500 square feet!). Rehwald loved the idea and jumped "on board" immediately.
Using the airplanes as inspiration, Hertz designed Rehwald more than just a home -- he made her a compound. The plane's wings are designed to function as the home's roof, with two stabilizers from the tail section putting a roof over the master bedroom. A section of the fuselage is being used in the kitchen; a row of several of the plane's windows are now between the kitchen and office.
The wing roof is the most prominent feature of the main house. Photo: David Hertz
In addition to three bedrooms, three bathrooms and 4,000 square feet of living space, a 50-foot long section of the upper fuselage will serve as the roof of an art studio. The upper first class cabin will become the guest house's roof, and the lower half of the fuselage will cover the animal barn. Finally, a fire pit and water feature will be created from the engine cowling. What isn't used from the plane -- which isn't much! -- will be recycled. One extra cool bonus: Hertz cut off the nose of the plane and created a 45-feet-tall meditation pavilion in which the cockpit window serves as a skylight.
You're probably wondering the same thing that I was -- Where do you find a plane? And how do you buy one?
The plane that would become a home. Photo: David Hertz
Many of the planes in the desert graveyards are owned by large airlines and some by private owners. Hertz was able to purchase one of these planes and give it a whole new lease on life as a home. For the price of its raw materials -- primarily aluminum -- Hertz bought a full 747 plane for the reasonable price of $35,000. Comparably, a brand new 747 costs about $200 million.
With 4.5 million parts to use, the plane was ready to go, but Hertz now had to figure out how to get it to its new home. Unfortunately, he couldn't just fly it there. Most of the pieces were cut up and transported by helicopter. They had to close five highways at night to get it all there.
Renderings of the meditation pavilion and the main home. Photos: David Hertz
One of the biggest challenges in making this project happen was getting government clearance. Hertz had to get the OK from 17 agencies, which took a year and a half. Using an old plane that still kind of looks like a plane also required registration with the FAA so that it isn't mistaken for a downed aircraft.
The Wing House -- as it is has been dubbed -- is almost complete. Hertz says that Rehwald should be able to call it home by next summer.
If this has given you a major case of travel fever, be sure to check out our sister site, AOL Travel.
Love oddball architecture? So do we. Don't miss:
- A Modern Cave
- If You Build It, They Will Come
- World's Largest Treehouse