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Shelterpop

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    What kinds of goodies can you get for $140?...$180?...$300?

    We showed off our favorite cheap finds and crazy pieces from the Brimfield Antique Show and now we wanted to include you, savvy readers, in one of our favorite games from the show: Would You Rather. We'd set a price, find two completely different products, and then debate on which one was a better buy. Here, give us a hand and weigh in on which of these products you think delivers more for the money.

    First Up: The $80 Edition. Would you rather score this curvy, modern-looking acrylic chair OR one of these retro-happy metal letters or numbers?

    All photos: ShelterPop.

    Your call!



    Next: The $140 Edition. Would you rather take home these ornate and feminine floral bookends OR the more childlike and whimsical daisy chandelier?


    Your call!


    And last for today: The $185 Edition. Would you rather pin that exquisite bow brooch to your cardigan OR serve up a cake on this too-lovely pink and turquoise cakestand? Note: Cakestand is from Bedford on the Square Antiques (botsa@aol.com).

    Your call!

    Happy voting! And let us know the reasoning behind your choices in the comments below!

     

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  • 05/20/10--10:36: Eco-Lingo: Fair Trade
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    TransFair USA


    Eco-lingo is being tossed around left and right these days. We're demystifying common terms to help you figure out which words are the real deal... and which are just green jargon.

    Today's word: Fair Trade

    Definition: Swapping your favorite design book for a throw pillow? Yep, that's a fair trade. But capital-F Fair Trade is all about rewarding manufacturers who produce things sustainably by paying a higher price. You've probably noticed that at the supermarket, Fair Trade coffee or bananas cost more than the run-of-the-mill kind and it's because the fair trade versions are grown and produced in situations where the labor conditions are safe and harmful chemicals are prohibited. And your dollars go to farms that invest in local scholarship programs and organic certification.

    TransFair USA is the US' non-profit third-party certifier that determines which products can be listed as Fair Trade after an intense auditing. Right now they only provide certification for coffee, tea and herbs, cocoa and chocolate, fresh fruit, sugar, rice and vanilla. So if you see other products, like wood or cotton or crafts, that are labeled Fair Trade, you might want to do a little digging. If they're not certified by TransFair USA, who's declaring their product Free Trade?

    Verdict: The Real Deal. But watch out for imposters. Anything called Fair Trade should have the Fair Trade Federation logo (above) on the package and you can find a list of certified products on their site.

     

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    You can create a home office and dining room in one space -- Kristan will show you how!

     

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    Take a look at the photo and read through the clues. Can you figure out which celebrity lives here?

    What comedically fearless and famously face-lifted funny lady has hosted a veritable who's who of hoity toity high society in this fussy, gilded and heavily embellished salon on the Upper East Side of New York City?

    Can you guess who lives here? Photo: Sotheby's International Realty.

    Hints:

    1. Known for her raspy voice, brash attitude and foul mouth.

    2. Gets paid big bucks to eviscerate famous red carpet walkers for their fashion faux pas.

    3. Once said, "I don't exercise. If God had wanted me to bend over, he would have put diamonds on the floor."

    4. Appeared on - and much to the chagrin of her fellow contestants - won "Celebrity Apprentice."


    What do you think?


    Want the answer? Get it here!

     

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  • 05/21/10--20:37: Eco Lingo: Straw Bale House
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    Eco-lingo is being tossed around left and right these days. We're demystifying common terms to help you figure out which words are the real deal... and which are just green jargon.

    Today's word: Straw Bale House

    Definition: Like most of these terms, the name says it all, yet can tell you nothing. Straw bale houses are... houses built using bales of straw. Of course! But what would possess someone to do such a thing? Well, straw makes for excellent insulation, reduces your energy costs and -- bonus! -- it's cheap. If you're thinking that straw walls sound especially susceptible to fire, take note -- the straw is coated with plaster and the bales are packed so tightly that there's not enough oxygen for the spontaneous combustion you may be worried about. The real issue here is actually the opposite problem: the straw getting wet. If it's not dry when installed, or if the plaster isn't sealed tightly enough, you run the risk of your straw bale walls decomposing. Yuck! There's plenty of informative videos over on Straw Bale if you're considering building a new home -- or starting an intense remodel.

    The Verdict: No one will huff and puff and blow your straw bale house down. This, if done right, is the real thing.


    Looking for more?

    Luxury in 2010: WiFi, Solar Panels, Modest (but cozy) Homes
    How To: Winterize Your Doors and Windows

     

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    Knoll's new book, released this month, would be the perfect addition to a mid-century coffee table. Photo: Knoll

    A new book highlights more than 70 years of Knoll's iconic mid-century designs.

    Knoll. Designers and design-lovers know the name well. It may not ring as familiar to the everyday ear but chances are high that you've seen, sat on or perhaps even owned a Knoll piece in your lifetime.

    For more than 70 years, this iconic furniture powerhouse has brought many notable names from the world of mid-century design to the masses. Ludwig Mies van der Rohe's Barcelona collection, Eero Saarinen's Tulip chair and tables and Harry Bertoia's wire chairs are merely a few examples of Knoll's vastly recognizable goods.

    Knoll: A Modern Universe by Brian Lutz with a foreword by Reed Kroloff, a new book released this month celebrates the rich history of this seven-decades-old company, showcasing the many products and names for which the company is so well known (as well as those lesser known). Here's a sneak peak into this tome that's sure to become a coffee table classic.

    The Barcelona Collection is likely one of Knoll's most highly recognized. Photo: Knoll

    Barcelona Collection, designed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and Lilly Reich in 1929

    The Barcelona chair is likely one of the most recognized and replicated chairs in Knoll's history. The chair, designed by architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and his longtime partner, architect and designer Lilly Reich, was inspired by campaign and folding chairs of ancient times. Although the chair was exclusively designed for the German Pavilion at the Ibero-American Exposition, a world's fair held in Spain in 1929, it quickly infiltrated the design scene worldwide when Knoll began producing the collection in 1953. Unauthorized reproductions proliferate worldwide and are sold under different marketing names -- to spot the real thing look for Ludwig Mies van der Rohe's signature, which is stamped into each chair.


    Bertoia's work with molded metal resulted in the fluid designs of his wire collection, including the popular Diamond chair (at right) and side chair (at left). Photo: Knoll

    Bertoia Side Chair, designed by Harry Bertoia in 1950

    Harry Bertoia's first foray into the world of mid-century design wasn't what you'd expect - in the early 1940s, while running his own metal shop, he designed and crafted wedding rings for both Charles and Ray Eames (names that also would become synonymous for mid-century design).

    Bertoia and the Eameses began working together providing technical work for airplane and medical equipment. But this Italian-born artist couldn't contain his creative genius for long. In 1950, after a few years of working under the guise of the Eameses, Bertoia moved to Pennsylvania to establish a studio and work with Hans and Florence Knoll. His now highly recognizable wire collection soon followed. In his own words, "If you look at these chairs, they are mainly made of air, like sculpture. Space passes right through them."

    Knoll was a trailblazer in crafting stylish office furnishings. Photo: Knoll


    Generation chair, a Knoll and Formway design collaboration in 2009

    Knoll: A Modernist Universe isn't just a study of Knoll's furnishing history, it's a look at a furnishing evolution. This is particularly the case when it comes to Knoll's latest office furniture. In 2009 Knoll released its Generation chair, an intricately architectural design meant to (hopefully) perfect our nine-to-five seating position. Just as the award-winning chairs of Knoll's past raised expectations for innovative design, their current productions continue with the same principle.

    Interested in modern and contemporary design? Check out these posts:

    - Emeco teams up with Coca-Cola.
    - Uhru Design's latest collection at BRKLYN DESIGNS.
    - Timothy Oulten Brings British Design Stateside.

     

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    cleaning with baking sodaBaking soda, boiling water, and aluminum foil clean tarnished silver-plated heirlooms. Photo: Noricum, Flickr




    Baking soda isn't just for deodorizing your fridge or for cooking: We explore he many joys of using baking soda around the house.

    How can baking soda be good for cleaning, baking, deodorizing -- and even weeding -- all at the same time? Vicki Lansky's book, Baking Soda: Over 500 Fabulous, Fun, and Frugal Uses You've Probably Never Thought Of, explains it all. The book was a runaway hit in 2003, and it still is today, because frugal times call for frugal ingredients that get the job done as well as store-bought formulas. We scoured our sources and found a few more unusual ways to put inexpensive baking soda to work at home. (For more on this miraculous green ingredient, refer to Lansky's book.)

    1.
    Washing food
    Make a paste of baking soda on a clean sponge, and then wash toxins off the skin of fruits and vegetables. Rinse well before eating.

    2. Drain cleaner
    Okay, baking soda it isn't as powerful as commercial de-cloggers, but it costs virtually pennies to make and is a great first line of defense. Take a half cup of baking soda, pour down drain followed by half cup of white vinegar. Place a glass bowl over the top of the drain for two hours, then rinse with hot water. This should remove grease and dirt build-up through the pipes.

    3. Vacuum odors
    Sprinkle baking soda on the floor, then vacuum it up to kill odors in your vacuum.

    4. Welcome mats

    Speaking of floors, according to Lansky's book, you can ditch and deodorize the dirt at your front door by sprinkling baking soda on welcome mats, then vacuuming up the powder.

    5. Soft hands
    Make baking soda into a paste and use on hands while washing dishes. It'll help remove tough baked-on food while softening your hands at the same time.

    6. Musty books
    Do you have some old and musty books that you can't bear to throw out? Sprinkle some baking soda between the pages, and brush it out a few days later for a fresh scent

    7. Mothball smell
    According to the blog, Green Eco Services, the smell of mothballs on clothing can be removed by adding ½ cup of baking soda to your washing machine's rinse cycle to eliminate the odor.

    8. Oil and grease
    Sprinkle soda on the garage or basement floor to soak up oil and grease.

    9. Weathered look
    If you want a quick way to eliminate mold and mildew while achieving a weathered look for your deck, Green Eco Services recommends you use baking soda. Wash your deck with a solution of two cups baking soda in one gallon water, and use a stiff straw brush to work the solution into the wood, then rinse with cool water for a clean, yet aged patina.

    10. Weed killer
    Sweeping large amounts of sodium-rich baking soda into the cracks of your paved walks and driveways will eliminate weeds and dandelions.

    11. Canvas cleaner
    To clean anything canvas, rub on a paste of baking soda, then rub off.

    12. Burnt pots
    To eliminate seriously burnt-on food, pour in a thick cushion of baking soda, add an inch or so of water, and put the pot on the stove to boil. After boiling for a minute, try scrubbing again (don't burn yourself). The burned-on mess should come right off.

    13. Plastic shower curtains
    One of the best tips in Lansky's book alleviates this stubborn problem and cuts down on the amount of money spent on shower curtains: Wash mildewed or dirty plastic shower curtains in the washing machine on the gentle cycle with a couple of bath towels, and add in a half cup of baking soda and detergent during the wash cycle. Add in one cup of vinegar during the rinse cycle, then let drip dry.

    14. Automatic dishwasher detergent
    Make an automatic dish washing detergent using baking soda (and it works): Simply mix two tablespoons baking soda and two tablespoons borax, as a alternative to commercial detergent.. If you prefer to use your dish washing detergent, but want a cleaning boost, then just sprinkle a good amount of baking soda over dirty dishes, then wash as usual.

    15. Stinky clothes
    We know that baking soda deodorizes just about anything, but here's another way to use it for clothing with a deep smoke or gasoline odor. Place the clothing in a plastic bag with baking soda for two days, then wash as usual.

    What about you, dear readers? How do you use baking soda around the house? If you have a tip on cleaning with baking soda that isn't listed here, and possibly not in Lansky's book, please share the wisdom here with our readers.

     

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  • 05/21/10--20:37: Eames on Auction
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    Artist Aakash Nihalani's tape-and-paint creation and Elbow-Toe's On the Wings of Desire. Photos: Billi Kid

    An Eames classic gets an eighties-inspired overhaul -- for charity.

    If Charles and Ray Eames recreated their molded plywood chair would it look like one of these graffiti-inspired works? We're not sure, but we know they'd love seeing their famous chairs put to use for a good cause. The mid-century masterpiece has been re-imagined in 20 different ways for the "Eames Inspiration" project, a fundraising effort for Operation Design, a non-profit art and design group who helps brighten work spaces in New York City schools.

    Twenty prominent street and graffiti artists were tapped for the project, which is being curated by the Public Works Department, and charged with recreating one Eames seat each. Their inspired works are now up for grabs to the highest bidder on eBay and displayed in the window at Barneys New York for the duration of the online auction. (Bidding ends on June 1st ).

    This good deed (and the chance to own a piece of design history) doesn't come cheap, with bids starting at $1,000 per chair. These three are on my eBay watch list nonetheless. Here's a sneak peek of the work:

    Above: Artist Aakash Nihalani adorned his chair with tape and paint. While Brooklyn-based artist Elbow-Toe, whose mythical art is typically done in woodcut, stencil, and large-scale charcoal drawings, created this piece called "On the Wings of Desire" using silkscreen, acrylic paint and paper.

    Photos: Billi Kid


    Eames's ergonomic intent is spelled out on this piece by twin brothers Ad and Droo Deville of Skewville (left). They used a walnut wood stain, acrylic paint, and spray paint effects for their design called "Today's Special".

    Creative duo, UR, designed this homage to New York City and named it "NYC Layers" (right). It's made using burned newspaper clippings and a polyurethane coating.

     

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  • 05/21/10--20:37: Trend Watch: Shaggy Chic
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    Fuzzy, furry and all types of shaggy textiles are making a comeback.

    You've heard of shabby chic, yes, but what about shaggy chic? Such is the newest trend in the realm of pillows and upholster. From the looks of it, the more shag, the better. Check out our top pillow finds that are shaggy, fuzzy and undoubtedly chic.

    Short and Sweet
    You never miss a date with your razor, so why should your decor? Want your shaggy pillows trim and proper? Here's the look for you:


    shag-pillows

    Some like it short... Photos (clockwise from left to right): Pillow Decor, Allegro, QVC, Bellacor, Rocky Mountain Decor, BedroomFurniture.com, Boscovs

    1. Fur Suede Decorative Pillow, $8, Boscovs
    2. Morley Faux Fur Pillow, $20, BedroomFurniture.com
    3. Dennis Basso (set of two) Faux Fur Pillows, $40, QVC
    4. Faux Fur Ribbed Mink Pillow, $46, Bellacor
    5. Alpaca Fur Pillow, $100, Allegro
    6. Chinchilla Faux Fur Pillow, $50, Rocky Mountain Decor
    7. Neutral Faux Fur Throw Pillow, $30, Pillow Decor


    Hairy and Happenin'
    You love a bearded man and have no problem incorporating extra facial hair into your decor. We've got just the pillows for you!:

    shag pillows

    Some like it long! Photos (clockwise from left to right): Bassett, Amazon, CB2, Posh Posada, Things Trendy, PillowsAndThrows.com, Walmart

    1. Mongolian Fur Pillow Cover, $40, Amazon
    2. Baby Blue Pillow Set, $50, Things Trendy
    3. Champagne Faux Fur Pillow, $35, PillowsAndThrows.com
    4. Fleece Shag Pillow Cover, $20, Posh Posada
    5. Beige Shag Accent Pillow, $80, Bassett
    6. Pop Of Plush Toss-It Pillow, $13, Walmart
    7. Shaggy White Pillow, $40, CB2

    Ready to take the shag-covered plunge in your own home? Yeah, me too. Happy shopping!

    For more furry products, read on:
    -Under $100: Throws
    -Ingredients For The Coziest Bedroom Ever

     

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    Jonathan Adler at the launche of his new clothing line. Photo: Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images

    The home and interior design news for the week of May 17 to 21.

    Read up on some of design's biggest names, find out about some great sales and learn what those people who make that home stuff are up to. It's all in the news this week.

    Earlier this week, all of New York was a-buzz with Design Week and ICFF. The 2010 ICFF Editors Awards were announced on Monday, and ShelterPop will be filing our notes from the show next week -- stay tuned. For ICFF news in the meantime, check out The New York Times's excellent article "Inside the 2010 ICFF."

    Architects Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa, of the firm Sanaa, accepted this year's Pritzker Prize -- on Ellis Island!

    P. Allen Smith, the celebrated green thumb and garden author, will introduce a new home bulb collection.

    7 For All Mankind has teamed up with Jonathan Adler on a fashion line -- is there anything Jonathan Adler can't do? Busy Mr. Adler was also exhibiting at ICFF over the weekend.

    if you're in the New York area, run, don't walk to Design Within Reach's Weekend Warehouse Sale in Secaucus, New Jersey -- the deals are legendary.

    Want to know how those companies that make your favorite piece of furniture or the rug in your living room are doing? Home Furnishings News has put its annual "State of the Industry" report online.

    Martha Stewart and Sirius XM want to get you ready for some summer cooking with the chance to download some free recipes. Earlier today Martha and her team set up a Martha Stewart breakfast station with free breakfast at Twelfth Avenue and 26th Street for New York City's 'Bike to Work Day' -- how awesome is that?

    Natura World steps up its efforts to make sure the bed bugs don't bite with its Natural Silver Technology, scheduled to be on all its mattresses by June 1.

    California-based interior design firm has extended its reach with plans to handle the look of southern Africa's most luxurious hotel.

    Whew! Target announces more expensive goods won't be coming until next spring. Stock up while you can!

    Also on the retail front, Stein Mart is getting its new home department ready for a late August/early September debut.

    Looking for Africa-inspired pieces of work for the home? Afrikdecor has unveiled its designs for the summer.

    Artist Kate McRostie is entering a deal with Williamsburg where her images will be featured on a number of gift and home products.

    Some new wallpaper lets your child embrace their inner artist.

     

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    Just some of our winners. Photos: 9SpotMonk; Green Stationery; ShelterPop (2).

    We're doling out awards to our ten favorite pieces from the National Stationery Show.

    For anyone who gets a mini thrill from stroking a letterpress card, or feels the need to send a thank you card for even a car ride home, the National Stationery Show is a dream come true -- a giant convention center filled with sentiments that range from snarky to sappy, illustrations of gorgeous engraved flowers and quirky cartoons and everything (oh, everything) in between. We spent the day sniffing out our favorites, and are awarding ten of them the first ever ShelterPop Stationery Awards. Congratulations, you guys!


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    The ShelterPop Stationery Show Awards

    Don't be fooled by the lackluster recycled paper of 9SpotMonk's Recession line -- its witty letterpressed messages are sure to impress and crack up any recipient. And way more creative than "Congrats on the new baby", right?
    $3 each, 9SpotMonk.

    The ShelterPop Stationery Show Awards

    Reusable placecards from Any Random Jane come with sweet caning on the side and a dry-erase marker so you can easily scribble new names for every party on your agenda -- from tea to cocktail.
    $20 for set of 10, Any Random Jane.

    The ShelterPop Stationery Show Awards

    Half moons of exotic patterns, taken from the photographs and designs of Fine Day Press founder Ashley Austin, come together to form a card that's disarmingly chic, yet totally charming. Who knew bold stripes and delicate blooms worked so well together?
    Cards not yet on site, Fine Day Press.

    The ShelterPop Stationery Show Awards

    Yes, paper giftwrap is gorgeous, but trashing all the scraps at the end of a party is such a shame. So we're over the moon for Chewing the Cud's organic fabric wraps. Wrap your gift in it and the lucky recipient gets to pocket the cheery printed wrap...until they give their next gift!
    $12, Chewing the Cud.

    The ShelterPop Stationery Show Awards

    Want to give a card that offers, well, just more? Elum's new line has a delicious recipe letterpressed on the back. Totally sweet.
    Cards not yet on site, Elum.

    The ShelterPop Stationery Show Awards

    It was hard not to love stationery industry vet Marianne Cook's story: after learning that the average adult uses 745 pounds of paper in their lifetime, she started Green Stationery, which uses 100% recycled, FSC-certified, chlorine-free paper printed with soy inks, all manufactured with wind power electricity. (And it doesn't hurt that her patterns and colors are fab.)
    $17 for set of 12, Green Stationery.

    The ShelterPop Stationery Show Awards

    We simply could not contain our excitement over Lifeguard Press' new summertime additions: personalized acrylic trays from Jonathan Adler (pictured) and Lilly Pulitzer. As if we needed a new reason to be gaga over all things Jonathan & Lilly, we're daydreaming about a different-patterned tray in every room.
    Trays not yet on site, Lifeguard Press.

    The ShelterPop Stationery Show Awards

    Yes, we saw both the process and the finished product of the Epic 6 letterpress machine from Lifestyle Crafts and we were floored. The starter kit will only run you $150, which is less than serious stationery aficionados' annual paper budget.
    $150 for Epic 6 Tool/Letterpress Combo Kit, Lifestyle Crafts.

    The ShelterPop Stationery Show Awards

    Never thought there'd be a place for seahorses and airplanes on a formal table? Pennsylvania-based Timeless Paper's new line is all about adorable and unexpected shapes. The cheeky forms contrast with the elegant script and make for a fun -- but never wacky -- take-home conversation piece.
    Starting at $1 per card, Timeless Paper.

    The ShelterPop Stationery Show Awards

    The wildly bright patterns from MacBeth Collection have appeared everywhere from buckets to flip flops to paperweights. So we shouldn't be surprised that they're now gracing mini paper speakers that will out-cute your iPod before you can say Beyonce. Speaking of B, wouldn't she love the flame stitch ones on the left?
    Speakers not yet on site, MacBeth Collection.

    The ShelterPop Stationery Show Awards



    Craving more stationery goodness?
    Our sister site AisleDash was also there, and spotlighted all sorts of fabulous companies like Rifle Paper Co., SusyJack* and more.

     

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    What lucky gal splashes around in here? Photo: Coldwell Banker-BH East / Wayne Saks.

    Take a look at the photo and read through the clues. Can you figure out which celebrity lives here?

    What drop-dead gorgeous, Golden Globe-winning actress owns this backyard swimming pool? The pool's not even the best part: It's located on a small estate in a gated and star-studded enclave in Los Angeles.

    Hints:

    1. Though she's only in her twenties, she's appeared on David Letterman more than a dozen times.

    2. Says she'll never be in a horror film or any other "Jennifer Love Hewitt-type" film. Snap!

    3. Is a strict vegetarian since the age of eight.

    4. Speaks four languages (English, French, Japanese and Hebrew)

    5. Has had both a band and a lip gloss named after her.

    6. Has palled around with fashion icon Isaac Mizrahi since she was a teenager.


    What do you think?



    Want the answer? Get it here!

     

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    Attractive (and efficient!) cleaning and organizing tools for every taste.

    I know I've said before that I hate to clean, and I still stand by that statement. But lately, I've been feeling especially inspired to finally tackle the clutter. Perhaps it's spring in the air, or maybe it's my yummy-smelling new cleaning products. Whatever the case, I'm ready to grow up and exercise my right to clean.

    However, first, my household supplies are in need of a major overhaul. After all, why should my decor have all the fun? Certainly I can find some stylish utility items around the web? You betcha. Check out a few products that tackle double duty --- form and function! I dare you to find a dust bunny among the mix:

    A few classic household supplies just may inspire you to clean! Photo: MUJI, John Lewis, Compostable Goods, Vivax, Trash Cans Unlimited

    Minimalist: You're classy and simple, and so are your household supplies. Here are a few to add to your collection:

    Dust Pan, $4, MUJI
    Prune & Trim Set, $32, John Lewis
    Hemp Tea Towels, $9, Compostable Goods
    Car Vacuum Cleaner, $120, Vivax
    Smart Can, $50, Trash Cans Unlimited

    household cleaning suppliesA hippie's favorite supplies. Photos, clockwise from left to right: Equinox, FullCircle, Amazon, IKEA, Drugstore.com

    Nature-Girl: For the lover of all things organic and natural, consider a few surprisingly beautiful wooden and natural fiber options around your home:

    Organic Cotton Grocery Bag, $9, Equinox
    Vegetable Brush, $4, Green Feet
    Bamboo Hand Broom and Dustpan Combo, $30, Amazon
    Molger Step Stool, $25, IKEA
    Teak Bath Mat, $40, Drugstore.com


    Let's get colorful! Photos, clockwise from left to right: Morgan Company, Elizabeth's Embellishments, Alice Supply Co., Stacks and Stacks, Seltzer Studios.

    Color-Queen: Want to step it up a notch? If you have an unhealthy affection for color, we've got the cleaning supplies for you:

    Polka Dot Hippo Bucket, $20, Morgan Company
    Yellow Dinner Apron, $24, Elizabeth's Embellishments
    Striped Plunger, $20, Alice Supply Co.
    All-Purpose Cleaning Gloves, $5 to $7, Stacks and Stacks
    Striped Toolbox, $60, Seltzer Studios

    You're getting in the cleaning spirit, too, aren't you? Get to work!

    For more cleaning inspiration, read on:
    -Clean and Green: Eco-Friendly Tools
    -66 All Natural Cleaning Solutions

     

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    modern beddingCheck out a few of our favorite modern bedding sources -- for every style and budget. Photo: DwellStudio

    Your source for modern bedding: Duvets, shams and stylish sheets.

    Ready to spice up your bedroom (we're talking bedding, folks!)? I've always been a fan of neutral, traditional bedding, but lately my eye has drifted to the many bold, graphic and modern prints on the market now. With so much great design for the bedroom, why limit yourself to something plain? Check out a few retailers that put the excitement back into the bedroom. Whether your style is flirty, fun or classic, there's something modern for everyone --- at every price point:

    modern bedding, dwellstudioDwellStudio is a hot spot for classic, yet modern, bedding. Photo: DwellStudio

    DwellStudio
    It's no secret we're huge fans of DwellStudio, so admittedly, I often hop over to DwellStudio's inventory first. Not only is this line affordable (especially the Target collection!), but DwellStudio offers a more classic, timeless look than most modern bedding retailers. In fact, I can envision snoozing in their Draper Ash set for the rest of my life. After all, stripes make a lovely neutral and are always in style!

    Price point: $200 to $300 (or $50 to $90 for the Target collection!)

    blissliving, modern beddingIntroducing the bold and the beautiful from BlissLiving! Photos: BlissLiving

    BlissLiving
    From BlissLiving comes funky, floral (and sometimes tropical) designs that are sure to brighten up even the dreariest of bedrooms. Not for the faint heart or color-shy, BlissLiving offers high-quality and pattern-filled bedding basics. My favorite? The Chang Mai, which was designed by an 11-year-old!

    Price point: $225 to $275

    marimekko, modern beddingOvercome your fear of pattern with Marimekko bedding. Photo: Marimekko

    Marimekko
    A perennial favorite, Marimekko is no stranger to the ranks of great design. Known worldwide as a modern source for loads of pattern, fabric and texture, Marimekko is gracing everything from walls to beds across the world. Fun, playful and never too serious, Marimekko brings out the inner pattern fanatic in everyone (even me, an admitted pattern-phobe!). I'm craving the sweet Kevatjuhla design for my future child (or let's be honest -- myself!).

    Price point? $25 - $175

    amenity bedding, organic bedding, modern beddingChannel your inner hippie with Amenity bedding. Photo: Amenity Home

    Amenity Bedding
    For the modern, environmentally-friendly consumer, Amenity Bedding is full of organic, luxurious bedding that is as beautiful as it is green (and we're not talking color!). Printed individually with non-toxic, water-based dyes on 300-thread-count cotton, each piece has been organically grown and organically processed.

    Even better? The floral and fauna patterns are simple and sweet, perfect for a quiet afternoon nap or morning sleep-in session. Snooze the alarm and cuddle up to great eco-friendly design!

    Price point: $65 to $315


    twinkle living, modern bedding, floral beddingTry modern, feminine florals with Twinkle Living. Photos: Twinkle Living

    Twinkle Living
    Craving a more feminine take on modern bedding? Twinkle Living may be just the fit for you. With an international spin on this glamorous trend, Twinkle Living offers affordable designs that can brighten up any bedroom on a budget. I love the ZigZag design, which would look lovely in a chevron-inspired room!

    Price point: $155 to $190

    inhabit living, modern beddingWith a mod color palette, Inhabit Living's bedding breathes new life into midcentury bedrooms. Photos: Inhabit Living

    Inhabit Living
    Last, but certainly not least, Inhabit Living offers modern, graphic-inspired bedding with a geometric slant. From stripes to squares and a fresh, mid-century color palette, Inhabit looks perfectly paired with a mod, mid-century bedroom.

    Price point
    : $50 to $225

    So, dear readers, have you found what you've been dreaming of?
    Whether you're in love with Marimekko or falling for Twinkle Living, consider investing in a modern bedding set. Who knows --- you may have sweeter dreams and sleep better!

    For more bedroom looks, read on:

    -5 Dreamy Upholstered Headboards You Can Make Yourself
    -10 Ways to Update Your Bedroom... for Less Than $10

     

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    Snappy style. Photo: Chris & Rosemary Johnson of Ro Ro Ro Your Blog.

    It's not what you think: This LEGO project is all clean lines in a sophisticated palette.

    We get a kick out of innovative LEGO design here at ShelterPop -- we loved the idea of the LEGO kitchen and LEGO house, but when it comes to reality, would we actually want to live with either of those colorful creations? Um, no. A little too flashy, a little too silly and a little too similar-looking to something a toddler might whip up.

    But then we saw the sleek black and white bench from SoCal bloggers Chris and Dolores Salomone of the fantastic Humble Ablog and had a major change of heart. When Chris became obsessed with George Nelson's famous 1946 platform bench he knew he had to have it. But since he wasn't up for the $700 pricetag, he and Dolores took on a DIY version using the handy plastic bricks.

    "At first, there were two schools of thought: Use random colorful LEGOs to really emphasize what it's made of, or try to make it look normal from afar, so people would be surprised when they saw it up close," Dolores tells us of the 4' by 18" bench, built entirely of LEGOs and PVC glue. "Without glue, it would come apart if you looked at it funny," she adds.

    The process of building the table took about four hours, but only after tons of planning, 3D drawings, and practice runs. Though their adorable and brilliant time-lapse video makes it look like a total breeze:


    Now that the table's a permanent fixture in their home, the Salomones are enjoying living with their LEGO masterpiece. They clean it with a simple duster, they don't let excited guests sit on it and there are not yet any future plans to create an empire of modern furniture made from plastic bricks.

    But we're sure this won't be the last we hear from this creative couple: Chris was inspired by the positive reaction to the table, telling us "I have lots of ideas, and often wonder if I'm the only one who thinks they're good. The fact that people thought it was neat -- that's reassuring to me." Dolores adds: "My husband's an extremely creative guy and I can't wait to be a part of another one of his many inventive projects."

    The happy couple with their work of art. Photo: Chris & Rosemary Johnson of Ro Ro Ro Your Blog.

    We think that the original platform bench craftsman George Nelson would have been impressed by the duo's handiwork. "The simple joy of taking an idea into one's own hands and giving it proper form, that's exciting," the master has said. And he's famous for insisting that designers need to deal creatively with human needs, which Chris and Dolores certainly did.

    The one-of-a-kind table's not for sale, though Dolores says they'd be willing to give it up for a thousand bucks. "But that's only because we would go out and make a new one and have several hundred dollars left over to fatten our pockets with." Ha! Or maybe they'll attempt to recreate other notable designs out of outside-the-box materials. An Eames chair made of army men? A Barcelona chair out of alphabet blocks? We're keeping an eye on these guys.

    Looking for more inspired design?
    Wacky Design at the Brimfield Antique Show 2010
    Designs of the Weird: A Bed Made of Corian
    Clever Thinking: The Murphy Nightstand

     

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    Sweet Swedish style: Martha Stewart Living's Larsson bedroom furniture for Home Decorators Collection

    Martha Stewart's just launched new home and gardening lines -- plus she's found a crafty way to make going on vacation even more fun.

    Can't get enough Martha? Neither can we. Nor, it seems, can the rest of the world. In addition to overseeing exclusive collections for Macy's, EK Success, 1-800-Flowers.com, and Bernhardt (oh, and running a magazine empire, plus hosting a daily TV show) the country's most popular multi-tasker has branched out into new territory once again. Here's what Martha's been up to lately:

    Ingrid dining setThe Ingrid dining rooms set. Photo: Home Decorators Collection

    The big news: Martha has teamed up with Home Decorators Collection for two ranges of bedroom, dining room, and office furniture, inspired by classic Swedish design. The whitewashed Ingrid Collection (above) is distinctly feminine, with curved lines, delicate wood turnings, and antiqued hardware.

    Larsonn Desk SetThe Larsonn home office set. Photos: Home Decorators Collection

    We like how feminine Ingrid contrasts and complements the ebony-hued Larsson Collection (top photo and immediately above), which has a clean, almost Shaker-like simplicity. Both lines include a bed, desk, console table, bookcase, mirror and dresser -- making it easy to Martha-fy practically every room in the house!

    Get down and dirty with Martha's gardening tools for Home Depot.

    The Home Depot's gotten in on the action, too. While they have already begun offering Martha-branded paint, rugs, patio furniture and accessories, the home center's website has expanded its collection to include garden tools. Ergonomically designed, featuring cushioned handles in Martha's signature robin's egg blue, the 12-piece collection contains everything you'll need to flex your green thumb, including bypass pruners, a trowel and even a small weeder.

    Martha Stewart Crafts at BeachesAdd some sparkle to a beach trip at Martha's Crafts Studio. Photo: Beaches Resort

    Now that you've given your home and garden that special Martha touch, what's a girl to do? Why not take a little trip -- specifically to a Beaches Resort, where you can lounge around the newMartha Stewart Crafts Studio. Developed specifically for Beaches, this series of classes teaches glittering, stenciling and scrapbooking, among other techniques. When Martha previewed some of the Beaches crafts last week on her show, it was revealed that the resulting handmade souvenirs are distinctly better than anything sold on the boardwalk.

    If that's not enough for you, we hear Martha's also going to the dogs. She's got a new line for PetSmart hitting stores soon! And for all you crafters, a fresh set of spring paper punches is on its way.

    Can't get enough news about Martha Stewart?
    (Neither can we!) Read on to find out about her other recent ventures:
    - KB Home offers A Kitchen Just Like Martha Stewart's
    - Martha Stewart Clean Now Available
    - Breaking: Martha Stewart, the Video Game -- Coming Soon!

     

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    backyard barbecue kitchensExtend your kitchen - outdoors. Photo: Getty

    Take your backyard from basic barbecues to real-deal dinner parties. Here, everything you'll need.

    There's a rising trend in outdoor cooking. No, it's not another grill with gadget attachments. It's the outdoor kitchen! Most people will purchase a grill and a patio set and call it an outdoor kitchen, but the kitchen I'm talking about has got it all, from the bells to the whistles. Let's take a closer look at the specific ingredients you will need to recreate the heart of your home outdoors.

    outdoor kitchen grillBBQ islands come in a variety of sizes. Photo: Outdoor Kitchen Depot


    1. The first item is, of course, a grill, but this ain't no ordinary grill. I'm talking about a big mamma jamma -- preferably a fixed or built-in BBQ is best. If you are handy, you can create your own built-in station or you can buy a ready-made station. They come in lots of sizes from a plain old grill to practically an entire kitchen. You can even buy them with built-in seating areas and cabanas.

    2. Storage, storage, and more storage!
    Just as you do with your indoor kitchen, you will need places to store barbecue tools, pans, attachments, plates, cups and just about anything else you might use outside. You want these to be easily accessible -- you don't want to have to carry everything outside when you're ready to cook and then back in again. If you're lucky, your grill island will come with built-in storage, but they don't all come with the essentials. Be sure to consider working this into your plan or you'll regret it later.

    3. Outdoor sink. Burned your finger? Need to wash you hands after touching that chicken? Got some dirty dishes? Having a sink might seem like an outdoor luxury, but it's very practical. Just think about how often you use your sink when preparing dinner indoors. Imagine having to open the back door and go into the kitchen to access the sink -- you'll quickly find out that an outdoor sink is almost a necessity for frequent grillers.

    outdoor kitchen beverage stationTreat your guests to a wide variety of beverage options. Photos: Choose Outdoor Kitchens


    4. Beverage cart or refrigeration station. Part of every backyard summer barbecue is the drinks! With a backyard beverage station or a refrigerator, you can store the party drinks outside so that they don't take up lots of room in your inside fridge. For the hardcore party-people, options include a built-in blender, martini bar or even a beer or wine cart.

    5. Work surface. Having counter space in your outdoor kitchen is just as important as it is inside. Where else do you chop veggies for kabobs or put those frozen burger patties?

    6. Extras. There are lots of add-ons for those of you who wish to cook out in the fresh air. From outdoor fireplaces to pizza ovens to rugs and lighting. Have fun with it!

    Ready to start creating your dream outdoor kitchen?
    Check out this handy outdoor kitchen design guide. Also, check out our post on cooking up an outdoor kitchen.

     

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    On the outside, they look great. As for what's in them? Your secret. Photo: Coco Company.

    Win a charming (and utilitarian!) pair of baskets for your home!

    Baskets are the ultimate catch-all -- and we're not just talking about how well they catch all the stuff you throw their way. We mean that a good basket will play any role you ask of it, and play it well. So we're delighted to give away a set of two classic, sturdy and totally lovely baskets from Coco Company -- one at 13" by 13", and another at 17" by 17".

    Looking at these beautiful pieces has us all nostalgic for our favorite basket tricks here at ShelterPop. So in honor of the giveaway, here's a look back at some of the best ways to use baskets at home:

    -Set up a basket to collect no longer needed clothes from your family members: When the basket fills up, you can bring it to a local charity. How thoughtful! And good for de-cluttering.

    -Take advantage of their good organic looks, and use them as grounding elements for more exotic colors -- like purple!

    -Put attractive baskets on your bookshelves so you can stash stuff in style.

    -Use Peter Walsh's idea for a "Friday Box"...but make it a "Friday Basket"!

    Some of our other favorite roles for baskets: recycling center, mail drop, laundry depository, wastebasket, toy box, magazine storage, keeper of keepsakes, or the ultimate job: collection center for all the knick-knacks, must-haves, treasures and clutter you can fit in there.

    Can't wait to find out if you've won? Check them out on the site -- CR148L and CR148S and email baskets@coco-company.com or call 847-398-COCO to buy.

    To enter, tell us: What would you do with these baskets?

    * To enter, leave a confirmed comment below telling us what you would do with these baskets.
    * The comment must be left before 5pm EST on Monday, May 31, 2010.
    * You may enter only once.
    * One winner will be selected in a random drawing.
    * One winner will receive two Gathering baskets (valued at $136.)
    * 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!

     

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    The outrageously patterned bench, rug and plywood flooring in Nathan Thomas' booth were prime examples of risk-taking at its best. Photo: Allegra Muzzillo

    There's no better place to spot design trends than this annual charity event that gathers together some of today's leading interior designers.

    Design on a Dime is an annual fundraising event for Housing Works, one of the country's largest grassroots HIV/AIDS service organizations. Each year a group of designers creates room vignettes in which every item is for sale with the proceeds going directly to Housing Works. This year's event raised $700,000 and provided endless hours of inspiration for design lovers.

    During this year's Design on a Dime event, we couldn't help but notice a few congruities among the 50-odd room vignettes. Although some of the old chestnuts (deer antlers, animal skins) still made cameos, it's still nice to see some fresher things coming our way. Could they be mini-trends in the making? We think so!

    SPOTTED: Strong Geometrics
    Triangles, rectangles, polygons and zigzags abounded at this year's show, making cameos on walls (Juniper Tedhams' blown-up tribal patchwork), chairs (bargello patterns on several hundred vintage occasionals) and floors (from checkerboard linoleum to cubist carpets).

    Kristen McGinnis deftly displays a pleasing cube-on-cube dichotomy. Photo: Allegra Muzzillo

    Kristen McGinnis's expert juxtaposition of a sculptural gray cube on that graphic rug made for a vignette-within-a-vignette.


    Buzz Kelly Interiors takes to the walls with an all-encompassing stripe. Photo: Allegra Muzzillo

    We particularly enjoyed how Buzz Kelly spiked sharp, EKG-esque lines across his three walls.



    Boffo's one-of-a-kind pieces were composed of reclaimed-wood shipping palettes. Photo: Allegra Muzzillo

    Another standout? The Boffo booth: The Brooklyn-based design team's handmade reclaimed-wood furniture (also gaining in popularity) was a gorgeous pastiche of rough-hewn diamonds and chevrons.


    SPOTTED: Pattern on Pattern (on Pattern)

    Though the act of pairing patterns is hardly a new design concept, a good mixed prints scheme always pushes the envelope a bit. This year, every risk seemed to pay off -- in spades.

    From the wall coverings down to the bedding, Kim Hull's pattern layering made her little girl's room apropos, yet not too cutesy. Photo: Allegra Muzzillo

    Kim Hull's charming little girl's room struck near-perfect harmony in which her mod fabrics set an appropriately playful tone without heading into cloying territory.



    Who would've expected such unabashed eclecticism from Laura Kirar for Traditional Home? Photo: Allegra Muzzillo

    And Laura Kirar's Traditional Home booth was a daring blend of bold colors and, ironically, a shining example of eclecticism at its best. The scheme's sassiness and unpredictability was a welcome surprise.


    SPOTTED: Whimsical, with a Surreal Twist

    Old is certainly new - and vice versa. We saw a strong, anything-goes sentiment at this year's event, which we totally loved. And it got us thinking about how we've been seeing a refreshing shift toward the tongue-in-cheeky lately.

    True to form, Derek Warburton glams it up in his La Vie En Rose-inspired room. Photo: Allegra Muzzillo

    While daredevils like Derek Warburton (above) and Nathan Thomas (below) went for an enjoyable over-the-top approach, other designers, too, worked in whimsical -- even surreal -- elements. (Ty Pennington's huge saddle horse, anyone?)

    Nathan Thomas' booth is at once deliciously juvenile, traditional and surreal. Photo: Allegra Muzzillo

    Maybe it's because everyone's "gone thrifting," or there's just a newly found affinity for quirky, slightly off-kilter things? Or perhaps it's all a sign of renewed optimism?

    Todd Romano flanks a Roy Lichtenstein print with shadeless Christopher Spitzmiller lamps. Photo: Allegra Muzzillo

    Whatever the catalyst, a new sense of adventurousness seems to be taking hold. And we like it. A lot.

    Did you attend this year's Design on a Dime event? What trends did you spot? We'd love to know!

     

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    Megan Maloy, Getty Images

    Many pet owners love a good cuddle, but is it unhealthy for you (or your pet) to spend the night together in the same bed? Our writer explores this (potentially furry) issue.

    Like most relationships, there are usually two sides to every story. And the same goes for whether or not you should invite dogs or cats into your bed at night.

    From the human perspective, experts have found that pets definitely disrupt their bed mate's sleep patterns. In a widely cited study in 2002, John Shepard, M.D. found that more than half of the 300 patients he surveyed at the Mayo Clinic Sleep Disorders Center reported that their sleep was disturbed by their cats or dogs. Not surprising when you consider that dogs hog the mattress, snore, wake you up at 3 a.m. to have their tummies scratched, attack your toes under the sheets, leave your bed full of hair or -- worse yet -- slobber. Cats, meanwhile, tend to be nocturnal and love nothing more than jumping on and off the bed all night and chasing shadows in the bedroom.

    And then there's the issue of your relationship with other humans. Dog trainer Kellyann Payne, a past-president of the Association of Pet Dog Trainers, warns that some dogs who sleep next to their owners can start to be very possessive over beds, and may growl when someone other than their owner comes near them. Something to think about if there's a special someone you'd like to invite into bed with you too.

    It might be hard to hear for dog owners who love nothing more than curling up with the pooch, but sleeping with Rufus isn't the greatest idea for him either. "We encourage people not to sleep with [their] dogs," says Scott McKay, D.V.M., staff vet at Doctors Forster and Smith. "It's really better for dogs to have a clean, comfortable space that's all their own. It makes them feel more content." Not only that, making that leap into bed, especially if your bed is high off the ground, gets harder and harder for dogs as they get older and contend with arthritis and hip issues.


    It's tough breaking old habits, eh? Photo: Getty Images


    So how do you break the news that it's over?

    Generally, the transition from your bed to doggy bed is much harder on you than on your pooch (despite the puppy eyes and pathetic whimpers). "When you give a dog his own little bed, he's probably not lying there contemplating why you kicked him out," McKay says. It's not punishment even though some people find it hard not to see it that way. Instead, it's like their little special "den" where they feel safe.

    If you want to make the transition to a dog-free-bed, McKay suggests you give it at least two weeks. Don't throw in the towel after the first night. A few of his tips:

    1. Introduce your dog to where you want him to sleep and establish that as his special place. Spend time there with him and put his favorite toys there.

    2. Reward your dog when he goes to his special place with praise and attention, or a treat.

    3. In the morning, give him lots more praise and attention, so that he gets the idea, "Oh, when I sleep in my own space, in the morning, I get rewarded".


    Finding the Right Bed

    "It may take a few tries to figure out what your dog will like. Some dogs prefer an orthopedic bed. They can be especially good for older dogs. Other dogs love round donut-style beds while some might just like to nest in a pile of blankets," says Payne. "The best way to start is by looking where your dog is choosing to sleep right now. Dogs who choose the floor are likely to enjoy a nice thin or firm bed. Those who seek out the plush comforter or pillows on your bed are likely to enjoy a cushy donut. My dog Jasper, a PBGV (Petit Basset Griffon Vendeen) who I got from the local shelter, loved to dig through my laundry basket from day one. He is the one who loves a pile of old receiving blankets on top of his bed."

    If you're going to invest in a dog bed, look for one that is stain-resistant, odor-resistant, machine washable, and well-made. Payne likes the William Wegman Pet Beds (below) available from from Crypton Super Fabrics. "They are more expensive, but they're worth it," she says.

    William Wegman Pet Beds


    Another tip for finding a truly durable bed is to look at the ones that are marketed as indoor/outdoor, like the Ultimate Deck/Patio Dog Bed from Drs. Fosters and Smith. For her own dogs, Jasper the PBGV, and Nemo, a basic brown dog who was found in a sewer, Payne prefers bolster beds like the orthopedic Luxury Bolster Dog Bed. "Having a backing or bolster provides them with a sense of security, much in the same way that many dogs will pick a corner of a couch, the corner of the room or even choose their crate. That is my theory anyway," she says.

    A pooch-free night's sleep is a personal choice, of course, but if you're finding that you can't make it through your six to eight hours because of your pets, don't fret about moving them into their own beds. Instead, think of all the energetic hours of daytime play time you can have with them if you're well rested. Walkies, anyone?

     

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