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    After six months on the market, the actress' Malibu home just went into escrow. You'd think she'd be happy, but after looking through these pictures, we can't imagine how she could give this place up.

    charlize theron houseGetty Images; Coldwell Banker via AOL Real Estate

    Dear Charlize,

    Well, congratulations on getting one step closer to selling your 2,095-square-foot house. Especially if you're going to get just under $7 million, which I'll admit, sounds like a really attractive amount of money to pocket. And I know the home has painful memories of your relationship with Stuart Townsend, so you're probably really anxious to unload it, but...

    Are you sure you don't want to live here anymore? It's freaking gorgeous.

    charlize theron houseColdwell Banker via AOL Real Estate

    Char (I can call you Char, right?), this place is amazing. Not only are you perched riight on the beach with a crazy-beautiful view, the inside of the house is just as lovely. A sky-high upholstered headboard with a built-in bookcase surround? Windows everywhere? This place is far too serene to just...leave.

    charlize theron houseColdwell Banker via AOL Real Estate

    Usually stone-surround fireplaces can look cheesy but this one looks downright modern. And the funky white seats flanking it only add to the charm. I'm not even sure I can decide on the best-looking seating option in here. Is it the window seat? That comfortable leather chair? The daybed?

    charlize theron houseColdwell Banker via AOL Real Estate

    And finally, that bath, that glorious, gigantic bath with a straight view into the ocean. Is giving up a bath this size worth the cash, Charlize? I'll just let you think about that one as I retreat to my own, tiny, view-to-nowhere tub and seethe with jealousy at the thought of the new owners taking advantage of this place.

    Maybe your new place is even nicer? If so, send pictures.


    Want more celeb home fun? Check out:
    Dear Kelly Rutherford: Is Your Decor Really Worth an Extra $1,000 a Month?
    Dear Sally Field: Can I Have Dinner at Your House?
    Dear Jennifer Aniston: I'll Help You Simplify Your Life


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    After languishing on the market, a Beverly Hills home got a makeover to help push it along. The result? Chic, bold and star-worthy. Starting with the bedrooms...

    This 90210 home has been on the market for nine months. It's in a great location and is a great size (4-bed, 4.5-bath, 4,432 square feet) but still, no takers on the $4.5 million pricetag. You won't be surprised that the home underwent a major makeover to help it sell -- lots of agents use home staging to push things along. But this makeover is a liiittllle more dramatic than what you may have seen before.

    BEFORE: This bedroom isn't too terrible, but it sure is boring. The furniture and bedding is nice but there's too much open space...and that's just encourging the eye to rest on the plain, drab beige carpet. it's clear that this bedroom isn't being used to its potential.

    AFTER: Black and white and chic all over! The bed frame fills the space and takes away that vacant feel. There's a bold stripe motif, and it pops on the blinds, chaise and bedding. The old, exposed brick has been painted in a fresh, clean white. And no more wood paneling...

    Now that the beige carpet is gone, the hardwood floor's been painted black and partially masked by a white shag rug. And with neat and tidy window treatments, the view can get the attention it deserves.

    Now, onto the next bedroom...

    BEFORE: The guest bedroom isn't exactly fulfilling it's intended role. Looks like it's being used as a secondary office space. But the decorative pieces on the table and less-than-comfy-looking chair don't exactly lend themselves towards a productive work environment. The beige carpet isn't doing anyone any favors and the zebra rug looks out of place in the otherwise risk-less room.

    AFTER: This is such a better way to utilize this space. Now guests can stay in a mod, chic bedroom. Just like the master bedroom, this room has the bold black and white theme, as seen in the blinds and the bedding.

    Accents are in fire-engine red, which help bring some life into the space. We love the structured, high headboard. It fills the wall and centers the room. One little thing we'd like to fix? The dresser that is not centered under the window. But considering what this room used to look like, we'll let the minor detail go.

    Now tell us: Do you prefer the new, graphic look? Or prefer the lower-key "before"?

    For more shocking before and after pics, check out a romantic bedroom makeover and a grown-up bedroom makeover.


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    Good news for Paula Deen fans: The chef is expanding her reach from the kitchen to the whole house with a line of decor from Springs Global.

    paula deen decorA look at what the collection will probably not be (though we kind of like the idea of a "y'all" pillow). Photo of Paula: Alexander Tamargo, Getty Images. Photo illustration: ShelterPop.

    Even non-cooks know who Paula Deen is: The cheerful, butter-loving Southern chef who has also reached levels of internet fame thanks to a ham-throwing incident and um, riding things.

    So it's not just the foodies that will rejoice at the news that Paula Deen is launching a home collection for a spring/summer 2012 debut. Because unlike Deen's other line, Paula Deen Signature, it won't just be kitchenware. The collection will include bedding, bath, lighting and decorative accessories. (Just like fellow celeb-chef-turned-designer, Sandra Lee's line.)

    "My dream of helping others realize the opportunity to express how they want to live is a passion of mine," says Deen, in a press release. "And every piece in my Home Collection echoes my love for making a house a home, and has my blessing."

    It'll be interesting to see what kind of items the Paula Deen Home Collection actually has in store (and no, it probably won't include a butter pillow, though that would be kind of amazing). Right now, all we can do is take hints from the items in her Savannah-based store. That means lots of silver roosters, scrollwork and sassy sayings like "Put Some South In Your Mouth."

    We can't wait.

    What other celebs have launched decor lines?
    Best Celebrity Home Decor Lines
    Justin Bieber to Launch Home Line
    Rachel Bilson's Edie Rose Collection Hits the Table
    Aerin Lauder & Sandra Lee Each Announce Upcoming Home Lines


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    Not all throw pillows are sweet and decorative. These urban-inspired accessories will bring a touch of concrete jungle to your living room.

    Check out this story from our friends at If It's Hip, It's Here!

    weird designs

    Typically one does not want to rest their head on a manhole cover. Not unless it's one of the fun inkjet printed throw pillows by Rhonda of Brooklyn's In the Seam.

    weird designs

    Available in two sizes, Rhonda has created round comfy throw pillows with images of manhole, or sewer, covers (both domestic and international) from photographs she took herself. The gritty urban imagery is surprisingly neutral when mixed with both modern and antique interiors.

    weird designs

    Prices range from $42 for the smaller pillows to $85 for the larger ones. Buy them here.

    Looking for more weird design? Check out...
    Weird Design: Lamps with Hair
    Weird Design: An Updated Chia Pet
    Weird Design: Star Wars Dishes


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    The tennis star lists her Miami Beach home for $9.4 million. But we're more concerned with what's outside her house: That perfect pool and bordering lake.

    anna-kournikova-houseGustavo Caballero, Getty Images; AOL Real Estate

    Dear Anna,

    So I hear you're done with that 6,600-square-foot house of yours. Ah, on to bigger and better things, right? Especially once you pocket the $9.4 million you're hoping to get for the place. But before you get serious about selling -- I mean, before you start really staging the place or baking cookies in the kitchen to encourage people to pony up the cash, let me make you one offer.

    Don't sell the house.

    Instead, stay in the house. But sell passes to your pool. I promise to buy one. Or a bunch, to share with my friends. And if you're feeling crazy, set up a cabana and sell drinks so we can lounge around those pool chairs and sip on tropical cocktails. Please?

    I know, it doesn't really make sense for you. But think of the people, Anna. Think of all the people who would pay to sit around your pool -- or the bordering Sunset Lake -- and just tan, splash and soak up the view.

    It's just an idea, OK? And I totally get it if you don't want to say yes just yet. I'll be patient. And I'll have my swimsuit ready, just in case.


    Want more celeb home fun? Check out:
    Dear Charlize Theron: Are You Sure You Want to Sell This House?
    Dear Kelly Rutherford: Is Your Decor Really Worth an Extra $1,000 a Month?
    Dear Sally Field: Can I Have Dinner at Your House?


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    Last week, top New York City designers came together to raise money for Housing Works...and pulled out all the stops. We're naming favorites, from a horn-turned-vase to a SpongeBob-inspired room.

    design-on-a-dimeA look at the Nickelodeon-designed room. Photo: Amy Preiser

    Design on a Dime is one of the best decor events of the year, and for good reason: It combines all sorts of guarenteed-good-time elements. Stunning, fantastic "rooms" built in booths by top designers are completely on-the-spot shoppable (like the custom lamps? They'll slap a "sold" tag on them). Add in the facts that all the money goes to charity and that passed hors d'oeuvres included Churros and its basically a slamdunk.

    When you're dealing with a room filled with so many amazing designs, there's only so much you can praise for beauty. So I'm doling out a few less-expected awards to the crowd:,feedConfig,localizationConfig,entry&id=999053&pid=999052&uts=1304967175

    Design on a Dime Bests

    Freshly folded shirts make for a lovely wall border over at the De La Torre Design Studio booth.

    Design on a Dime Bests

    Yes, there was more than one -- Ramona was also there. Alex McCord shopped the HomeGoods booth, picking out lanterns and a gigantic butterfly chair (seen here) for her new garden. "I have a new rule," she told me. "I only buy things when the money goes to charity. I mean, I'm spending anyways, the money might as well go to a good cause."

    Design on a Dime Bests

    An antique horn gets a second life as a perfect display for spring flowers at Tiger Lily's Greenwich's booth.

    Design on a Dime Bests

    The mundane is blown-up into a mural and becomes suddenly fascinating over at the Paul Smith booth.

    Design on a Dime Bests

    The in-house creative team for Nickelodeon created this surprisingly chic Spongebob-inspired booth.

    Design on a Dime Bests

    A mantle filled with flowers? Yawn. A bunch of mini-mantles, each supporting a single bud vase? Now that we can get behind. Loving this look in Miles Redd's booth.

    Design on a Dime Bests

    One of the night's sponsors, Valspar, had a big, inspiring booth filled with painted furniture of every color, type and style. And yes, it made me want to go right home and tackle my big, white entryway table.

    Design on a Dime Bests

    Want more great design? Check out...
    Weird Designs: Decorate With... Manhole Covers?
    Dispatch From Milan: A Chair Made of...Clothes?
    Design Pin-Ups: hOmE's Evan & Oliver Haslegrave


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  • 05/10/11--07:23: Go Bold With Pink Decor
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    Red -- watch your back. These pinks are so bold, so dramatic and so sexy, they might just take your place as the glamour girl of the color world.

    At the 2011 Kip Bay Showhouse, pink had quite a presence. But not pale, blush tones that whisper chic: We're talking bright pinks and rich pinks that shout with glee "I am pink, hear me roar!"

    If you're considering bringing a bold hue into your room, may we suggest this showstopper? Here are our favorite ways to bring it home:

    pink decorNathan Wayne Studio. Photo: Courtesy of Nikki Pepper

    Pink Decor Idea #1: On the Table
    Nathan Wayne Studio focused a foyer around this wild pink lacquer table. But it didn't stop there. A large vase of hydrangea pumps up the look.

    pink decorLeft: Harry Heissmann Inc. Right: Wayne Nathan Studio. Photo: Courtesy of Nikki Pepper

    Pink Decor Idea #2: On Chairs
    In a small bedroom designed by Harry Heissmann a psychadelic giraffe chair showed off pink's more daring side -- and proved that velvet upholstery doesn't have to be stuffy. Back in Wayne Nathan Studio's area, a leather pink chair falls gets extra power from the funky seat shape and holds its own against dramatic graphic artwork.

    pink decorKemble Interiors. Photo: Courtesy of Nikki Pepper

    Another take on seating -- Kemble Interiors uses a peachy-pink -- almost salmon -- on this out-there chair-meets-daybed. The stripes of tone-on-tone pink hammer home the rosey message and make us want to curl up with that magazine. Perhaps with a cocktail...preferably one with watermelon?

    pink decorAmanda Nisbet Design, Inc. Photo: Courtesy of Nikki Pepper

    Pink Decor Idea #3: The Walls
    The walls were splashed with paint in Amanda Nisbet Design's bedroom -- a creative move made all the more intense by the bright shade of pink. By taking advantage of the color's natural sweetness, the room looks cute and put-together -- not at all messy.

    Want more color? Check out:
    Tribute to Turquoise Trends
    Red Saves a Bedroom


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    Christiane Lemieux knows all about brightening things up: She's the founder and creative director of cheery-chic decor brand DwellStudio (and yes, a cheery-chic gal herself).

    Spring is finally here after an absolutely frigid winter. I am using some much-needed color therapy to bring warmth indoors. Since textiles are my first love, I love to layer in bright, punchy fabrics to banish the memories of a cold weather instantly. Here are a few tips for using color to change the season inside your home!

    spring decorationClockwise from top left: Target; DwellStudio; Diptyque; Target

    Check out some of Christiane's favorites:
    Mandala Wood Placemat
    , $10, Target.
    Diamond Ikat Citrine Pillow, $58, DwellStudio.
    Diptyque candle in Jasmin, $28-$60, Diptyque.
    Suzanni 7-piece KitchenTextile Set, $20, Target.

    And now check out her tips!

    Warm Up the Kitchen: I love our new kitchen accessories for Target because they are so bright and cheerful -- perfect to bring some sunshine and warmth into the hearth of the home.

    Dress The Table: Dressing a table is similar to decorating a bed. I like to play with patterns, mixing-and-matching prints, layering in different designs and incorporating texture to add flair and personality to my gatherings.

    Turn the Bedroom into an Isle of Paradise: I'm a lover of our fine-feathered friends. What better way to give your bedroom life and color than with these bright, lovely creatures?

    Trick Your Senses: This time of year, I buy candles that remind me of swaying palm trees and hot sand or cool ocean breezes...who needs a plane ticket when you can have these?

    Add a Pop of Color: A patterned side chair paired with a neutral sofa is great way to add a pop of color and design statement to a room.

    Brighten from the Ground Up: Adding a colorful rug as a base breathes new life into any room.

    Toss in Vibrant Colors: Layer an extra throw and some bright pillows onto your favorite sofa or armchair to turn it into a colorful escape from the cold.

    Go ahead and turn your interiors into your own mini-island paradise!

    Happy Spring!


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    In our new series, we peek into the lives of people living without standard (and non-standard) home luxuries. This week: My life with no cable.

    New Yorkers are trained to live without quite a few things: Dishwashers, laundry machines -- even dividing walls, sometimes. But today I'm calling out one of the household staples that I've lived without ever since my childhood in California: Cable TV.

    Pretty certain this TV doesn't have cable either. Photo: Age Fotostock

    My parents claimed that they skipped cable so that we'd all spend less time in front of the TV but it hardly seemed possible. There I was, watching "The Simpsons" on Thursday evenings and the late, great TGIF line-up on Friday nights. My grandmother didn't have cable either, but by some fluke had a channel that was a live feed of a TV guide, scrolling through what was on on every channel. I'd sit in front of that channel for hours, fascinated that so many things were on TV at that very moment!

    No, the absence of cable didn't go far in keeping me away from TV.

    I only noticed the issue when friends at school started up conversations. First, about Nickelodeon shows, later, about MTV music videos. Why did all my friends know what these bands looked like, while I had only heard them on the radio? And why was I the only one left watching TGIF while my friends tuned in to sexier stuff? I felt like a freak and became self-conscious about our lack of channels beyond the standard 13 and started taking every chance I could to escape to homes with cable. Including, but not limited to, joining my contractor father on jobs to client's houses so I could watch hours of "Pop-Up Video." Or opting to stay at a sleepover after a friend's parents had just had a wild, awkward fight so I could finish the scandalous MTV show "Undressed." Or spending hours at the hospital with my grandmother so I could lay in the adjustable bed with her and watch "Rocko's Modern Life." Now, when the conversation turns to old cable shows, all of my references are tangled with these bizarre experiences.

    It was much later when I understood the real reason my parents never got cable: Cable is expensive. And since my parents are terrifically frugal, they simply saw it as one thing we could skip. My new roommates, however, were not frugal. And they talked me into a fully loaded system, complete with HBO, TiVo, OnDemand and just about any amazing thing a TV could do. And for the next six months, I slipped into a hole. With my new cable system, there was an updated version of the low-tech channel I used to watch at my grandmother's house: A magical channel that told me what was on all the time. And because I had TiVo, I could watch it all. Sure, I couldn't sleep as much. And sure, I could cancel plans with friends so I could come home and watch DietTribe. But I was catching up on years of limited exposure to TV shows. I owed it to myself to watch as many Lifetime movies as I possible could fit into a weekend.

    I like to think that had my roommates not moved out and taken their cable contract with them, I would have recognized the danger and put an end to the TV-watching myself. But I did do the next best thing: Went back to a cable-free lifestyle and didn't look back. And these days, because it's a personal choice, I don't feel like an outcast when my coworkers extol the virtues of "Mad Men" or "True Blood." I'm proud of my thriftiness and freedom from the tyranny of cable shows. I wear it like a badge, proclaiming "Oh, I don't have cable," as if I'm revealing some sort of willpower. Like those people who say "Oh, I don't keep processed foods in the house."

    But of course, there's always someone to trump me. "Oh, I don't even have a TV," they'll say.

    Now that's just absurd. Freaks.

    Looking for more stories of "living without?" Check out: Living Without: Could You Go a Year With No Dishwasher?


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    Your kitchen can be more than a place to store food -- it's the perfect spot to grow a mini herb garden.

    The O'Haras love to cook, so adding a herb garden is a natural next step to make their kitchen an even more enjoyable place.

    An herb garden is an inexpensive way to cultivate your own flavorful ingredients. And considering the huge payoff, it's quite easy to set up. First, add hooks for hanging plants and baskets. A rod or rail will fit right in the window frame and support hooks for suspend containers. Make sure your containers have holes in the bottom for proper drainage and for easy watering right in the sink.

    For best results, choose herbs that can tolerate and thrive in direct sunlight. The O'Haras are growing rosemary, basil, thyme and oregano. Yum!

    THE GOODS: For IKEA product information, scroll over the items in the video.

    And check out the rest of our Minute Makeover series for more terrific ideas!


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    True design lovers can't limit their aesthetic crushes to furniture and patterns. So we're spotlighting the designers that make us blush. This week, we can't take our eyes off Rafael de Cárdenas.

    My crush on Rafael de Cárdenas started with his work. His use of geometrics in a rainbow of colors is so modular and modern while still feeling decidedly warm and dare I Then I saw de Cárdenas. Yep, sexy. Not only is he rocking the smoldering handsome look, he punctuates it with focus-on-my-brains-not-beauty glasses.

    rafael-de-cardenasSee what I mean about that look? Photo: Tim Barber

    Aside from his work as a designer of homes, shops and exhibits, de Cárdenas is presenting his first collection of furniture at New York City's Johnson Trading Gallery this Friday (through June 25). The collection, which pays tribute to Bruce Goff and Frank Lloyd Wright, is built off of simple cubes and triangular or semi-circular forms that come together in amazing ways. And the best part: Not only does it looks like some sort of dreamy lovechild of a rocketship and a robot, it appears to be terrifically functional.

    rafael-de-cardenasCourtesy of Rafael de Cárdenas

    We'll have to wait to see the rest of the pieces until Friday but for now, take in the electric hues of the Cape Town, South Africa men's boutique he designed. Doesn't it make you want to run out and buy loads of cube shelving and spray paint?

    rafael-de-cardenasA peek inside Unknown Union. Photo: Inge Prins.

    It's a staircase, it's storage, it's a doorway... oh, it's classic de Cárdenas. I'll be dreaming in ombré tonight.

    A peek inside Unknown Union. Photo: Inge Prins.

    Have a designer to nominate for the next Design Pin-Up? Let us know on Twitter! And check out last week's pick: Design Pin-Ups: hOmE's Evan & Oliver Haslegrave


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    Just because your neighbors' laundry rooms are plain and drab doesn't mean yours needs to be. Brighten things up with our expert's advice.

    laundry room ideaseoshea, flickr

    Help me! I spend so much time doing laundry -- I might spend more time in my laundry room than my living room! What can I do so that it's not so sad looking?

    Home Rescue: Laundry rooms can get a lot of use, especially in large households. Yet most people don't even think of decorating this small space. Stop neglecting your washer and dryer -- they work hard for you! So we asked designer Patrick Hamilton: How can you cheer up a laundry room?

    Laundry Room Idea #1: Add Art
    "There is a great trend toward color to jazz up washers and dryers, but to me, it ends up looking like you tried to park a Ferrari in your laundry room (plus I think it will become dated very quickly)," Patrick says. The better way to pump up the visual action? A painting, framed photo anything else to add color to your white space. "It's something to gaze upon while you're waiting for the rinse cycle."

    Laundry Room Idea #2: Keep It Consistent
    "You shouldn't feel like you've been put in a 'time out' when you're off folding your delicates. Extend the same kitchen cabinets, countertops or flooring into the laundry room," says Patrick. Sound too expensive for a room that's rarely seen by guests? Who cares? It's seen by you.

    Laundry Room Idea #3: Light Things Up
    Relying on a bare bulb or cast-off floor lamp in here? Upgrade. "Under-cabinet halogen or Xenon lights, incandescent or halogen overheads banish the blahs from wash day," says Patrick. And if you can, go with the best (and cheapest) option: Natural light. If you've got it, flaunt it.

    Laundry Room Idea #4: Make a Storage Switch
    When you walk into the room, are you greeted by detergent bottles? Change things up. Patrick suggests banishing open storage boxes for decorative ones with lids, replacing open shelving with closed cabinets and making sure you've got that laundry room staple: A foldaway ironing board. Just because it functions as a laundry room doesn't mean it has to look like a laundromat all the time.

    Thanks for the tips, Patrick! We know have a cheery, bright -- not to mention organized -- laundry room.

    And be sure to check out our other home rescues to save the rest of your home:
    3 Steps to Curb Appeal
    Bedroom Design Online


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  • 05/12/11--06:22: What is a Garden?
  • Filed under: , ,

    Our resident expert praises the imaginative, unexpected gardens that have popped up around New York City. Come take a tour through her eyes.

    While I design gardens for a living, life in a congested city has trained my eye to spot and appreciate plants growing in unlikely places, and to reconsider what a garden can be. Outdoor space is a luxury in New York City and many people must do without it. The consequence is creativity, and it is from these unusual little gardens that I draw a lot of inspiration.

    what-is-a-gardenCity sidewalk garden. Photo: Marie Viljoen

    The garden above is cut out of the sidewalk and squeezed between a wall of graffiti and a busy industrial street. The gardener has not planted hardy shrubs guaranteed to withstand pollution and road salt, but delicate English cottage garden flowers that call to mind the England of Merchant Ivory movies. She gardened instinctively instead of doing as she was advised, and the result is an unexpected and compelling contradiction.

    what-is-a-gardenTen square feet of garden. Photo: Marie Viljoen

    Squeezed into a brownstone's front yard, I pass this garden on my way to the subway. It is tiny, no more than five by two feet, but close inspection reveals that the person who lives here loves plants. There are fescue and sedge grasses, euphorbia and irises, allium, echinops, berberis and small species tulips, all sharing the cramped rectangle in a tapestry of texture and color.

    what-is-a-gardenWisteria on a New York City townhouse. Photo: Marie Viljoen

    No space for a garden? Grow one straight up. Wisteria blooms once a year for perhaps ten days, and then it is all over. But what a party while it lasts.

    what-is-a-gardenBoston ivy makes a greenwall. Photo: Marie Viljoen

    Many climbers provide vertical gardens: Boston ivy is a rippling green curtain until its red leaves drop in the fall; honeysuckle blooms in spring, climbing hydrangea and trumpet vine in summer. In the South Confederate jasmine perfumes the air intensely enough never to be forgotten.

    what-is-a-gardenOil drums become a garden. Photo: Marie Viljoen

    Using recycled objects in the garden is all the rage, but before it was the rage, hard-up and innovative gardeners routinely re-used found objects in order to satisfy the urge to plant, and grow. In this garden in Red Hook, Brooklyn above), old oil drums have been sawed in half and painted blue. They are an excellent size for perennials and small shrubs. The color unifies them and provides contrast for the plants they contain.

    what-is-a-gardenA restaurant recycles cans. Photo: Marie Viljoen

    While I have used small coffee cans to grow tomato seedlings and annuals, a restaurant reappropriates huge feta cheese cans to grow herbs and vegetables on the steps leading to its basement. This simple, cheap treatment turns an ugly entrance and sidewalk into something worthy of attention, and respect...It has become a garden.

    what-is-a-gardenWindow box garden. Photo: Marie Viljoen

    I do not use many annuals in my work - I look to the longevity of perennials, shrubs and trees, which return every year. So it is easy to forget what annuals do: Provide flowers and color for an entire season, or for an entire growing year. The beauty of a window box is that it can be planted to suit the season or to suit your mood. Conservative blues and cool pinks for a few weeks, then outrageous hot pink and orange the next. If your moods swing, let the window box's moods swing with you. Say it with flowers.

    My first city garden was on a windowsill. And I grew a basil forest in sunny bathroom. People who love plants will find ways to grow them but it helps to know that you are not alone. Plants have a calming, humanizing effect on us. And whether they are growing up a wall, down from a hanging basket, sweating in terrarium on our nightstand or baking on the fire escape, their influence on our daily lives should not be underestimated. Chances are that wherever you find yourself, you can find and make a home for something green.

    Still have gardening on the brain? Check out:
    Edible Garden: Grow Your Lunch!
    Tour Kirstenbosch: A Stunning South African Botanical Garden
    Curating a Rose Garden


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    Thought it would be awhile before you were impressed by Charlie Sheen? Check out his new Beverly Hills house.

    charlie sheen houseArlene Richie/

    Dear Charlie,

    I admit, I don't expect much from you. But after seeing photos of the $7 million house you bought from "Black Swan" producer Mike Medavoy, I have to hand it to you: I think that's a pretty great decision. 9,000 square feet sitting on half an acre of land, complete with a giant kitchen, giant pool, stunning views and all sorts of extra amenities like an outdoor bar and two-room guest suite. It's all quite, as you might say, "winning."

    As I'm sure you know, AOL Real Estate has all the details. But perhaps you'd like to take a virtual tour so you can pat yourself on the back again. Come on in!,feedConfig,localizationConfig,entry&id=999386&pid=999385&uts=1305213426

    Want more celeb home fun? Check out:
    Dear Charlize Theron: Are You Sure You Want to Sell This House?
    Dear Kelly Rutherford: Is Your Decor Really Worth an Extra $1,000 a Month?
    Dear Sally Field: Can I Have Dinner at Your House?

    And check out our past coverage of Charlie Sheen:
    Charlie Sheen's Home For Sale
    Charlie Sheen's Houses: Which is Better?


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    No, we don't actually think you're going to decorate for Friday the 13th. But that doesn't mean you can't draw inspiration from the incidental holiday.

    Unless you suffer from paraskavedekatriaphobia -- fear of Friday the 13th -- you probably don't care much for that once-in-awhile day when the dates line up. But before you let the day go by without acknowledging it, why not pay tribute to the date by bringing in decor that laughs in the face of superstition. After all, Halloween shouldn't be the only day you get to bring in spooky pieces...

    friday the 13thCourtesy photos

    Clockwise From Left:

    Freak out your guests by asking them to walk under your bookshelf:
    Folding Library Bookshelf, $279, Urban Outfitters

    Flank your favorite scary stories with these black cat bookends:
    Cat Bookends by Spisani, $265, Barney's

    Remind yourself: Don't step on a crack...
    Giclee Print of Rainy Sidewalk by GarneyGirl, $58, Etsy

    Store your meds in style with this vintage case:
    Lucky 13 Pill Box by Mmim, $4.50, Etsy


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    Before your weekend fills up with brunch dates (fun!) and errands (less fun), pencil in some time for yourself and these floral projects from our sister site, DIY Life.

    From classic floral arrangements to inventive gardening projects, there are so many ways you can make your home more cheerful with flowers. Check out some of our favorites.

    Weekend Project #1: Create Your Own Centerpieces
    Yes, you can build a centerpiece (or even a wedding bouquet) that looks professionally designed. The secret? Using a deceptively simple spiral hand-arranging technique.

    centerpiece weekend projectsGrayson Handy

    Weekend Project #2: Grow a Kitchen Garden
    A kitchen garden window box of herbs is the answer for those who like the idea of a garden, but can't commit to a summer of tending a whole bed's worth of plants.

    kitchen-garden weekend projectsHGTV

    Weekend Project #3: Make a Boutonniere
    These crafty pin-ons that go beyond the expected flowers.

    boutonniereEllen Frost

    Looking for more great projects? Check out...
    Let's Upcycle: Sisal Rope
    A Playhouse Plan That You Can Sew
    Our Favorite DIY Projects from the ReadyMade 100


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    If you've been itching for a getaway, why not spend the weekend at Frank Sinatra's Palm Springs house? Sure, it'll cost you, but think of the stories...

    Maybe you just got an enormous tax refund. Or maybe you're desperate to make your friends jealous. If so: Get your credit card ready and bid on two nights in Frank Sinatra's iconic home.

    Aside from having a famous former owner, the house has four bedrooms (with ensuite bathrooms), a pool house with kitchenette and Sinatra's original recording studio. While many of the rooms have been updated, the best parts of the place are the little pieces of history.

    For example, within this picture-perfect kitchen: A chip in the sink where Sinatra once threw a bottle while furious at Ava Gardner.

    After cooking dinner, you can retreat to the dining area to eat while looking out onto the famous neighborhood (Cary Grant's former home is just around the corner).

    Vintage designer furniture makes the place look like it's been preserved in perfect condition. We bet whoever's lucky enough to stay here will come back with the urge for some fabulous new mid-century modern art...

    Important pieces for a good party: Bold lighting, comfy seats and curtains that close off the entire room (who knows what could be going on in the pool?)

    One last shot of that piano-shaped pool, now during the daytime. If you're bidding on this, make sure to save some cash for a vintage-inspired swimsuit so you can lounge around stylishly.

    Want more celeb home fun? Check out:
    Dear Charlie Sheen: Nice Job (With Your House)
    Dear Charlize Theron: Are You Sure You Want to Sell This House?
    Dear Kelly Rutherford: Is Your Decor Really Worth an Extra $1,000 a Month?
    Dear Sally Field: Can I Have Dinner at Your House?


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    Tour ELLE DÉCOR's showhouse and find out how to bring the best ideas home with you.

    Touring a designer showhouse with a magazine's Editor in Chief sounds intimidating. But after walking through the ELLE DÉCOR Modern Life Concept House with Michael Boodro, I felt entirely inspired. And not just inspired to marry rich so I can quickly move into the +Art building -- actually motivated to go back home and try out some of the brilliant ideas that Boodro pointed out. Here, a few of the best tips:


    Bring in... a workhorse divider
    Designer Beth Martin, on behalf of Caligaris, divided the living room from the kitchen with a mirror. Not only does this make the adjoining rooms feel like distinct spaces, it reflects the living room so it looks twice as big!


    Bring unexpected motif

    In the office, Oliver M. Furth used USM Modular Furniture's shelving system to create an ombré bookshelf, by mixing up the white, black and grayscaled pieces. A super simple move with a major effect.


    Bring in... a craft backsplash
    Designer Grant K. Gibson took on the kitchen on behalf of Bosch and brought in Chinese takeout menus for the backsplash. Totally unexpected...and yes, kind of useful in an irreverent way.


    Bring in... a dazzling window treatment

    In a charming guest bedroom, Sara Story (on behalf of The New Traditionalists) took advantage of the natural light's beauty and brought in a creative window covering: Painted glass. Love how the light still shines through, while giving the room privacy.


    Bring in... a brilliant backsplash
    We've already seen great ideas for a mirror and a backsplash but we have to share this genius one that combines both. Katie Lydon's mirror backsplash makes the room look bigger, reflects light and adds sparkle. And best of all, as Boodro pointed out: So easy to clean.

    Check in next week to see more about the Concept House - including my interview with Boodro about his house (and how you can give your house an ELLE DÉCOR touch in an afternoon).

    And for a sneak peek video tour of the Modern Life Concept House by ELLE DECOR editor in chief Michael Boodro.


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    We're obsessed with StyleList's "Look of the Day." We're obsessed with decor. So why not put them together in a shop-able, fashion-fueled room?

    This Weekend's Pick: Alexa Chung

    Model and downtown fashion icon Alexa Chung got all girly at the Chanel Cruise 2012 show last week, stepping out in pale pink Chanel dress and bow-adorned Louis Vuitton pumps. The look is feminine and laid-back -- the perfect pairing for a sweet bedroom. And you can get the look at home: Click on the images below for product details and buying info.

    To start, a sophisticated lighting fixture that plays off of Alexa's artfully disheveled hair. We especially like that it adds a more daring touch to the otherwise soft room. The sequined pillow is directly inspired by the pockets of sparkle on her dress, as is the ruffled, blush-colored duvet. The combination of the two pieces could feel too cutesy but is saved by a substantial headboard -- a leather piece with nailhead trim that grounds the room the way her black shoes ground her outfit. The backdrop for the room is this beige rug with hints of sparkle, which mimics Alexa's fair complexion. And the pale blue and black end-of-bed bench plays off of her blue eyes and thick black liner.

    Check in every weekend for another fashionable room. Take a look at last week's Demi Moore-inspired room and past rooms that pay tribute to...
    Sarah Jessica Parker
    Helen Mirren
    Jennifer Garner
    Diane Kruger
    Evan Rachel Wood


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  • 05/15/11--02:16: Unique Home Bar Ideas
  • Filed under: ,

    Feel like your home could use a dash of glamour? Grab a stiff drink. A stylish home bar does wonders for tired rooms.

    Check out this genius home rescue from our friends at CasaSugar!

    While I'm sure you'd be happy to have one, you don't need to dedicate an entire room to drinking to be able to enjoy a cocktail at home. You can make a bar from any sort of tabletop surface and still create a stylish space where the good times are flowing. Over the years, I've culled a lot of ideas and inspiration for home bar design from around the web and from friends' houses. Come knock one back with me.

    home bar ideasCasaSugar

    If you come across a statement-making cabinet that you love, turn its shelves into your bar! The great thing about this is that all your glassware will be eye-level and you'll have much more space than a tray. Don't have a pretty cabinet like this one? Just use your built-ins!

    Don't want to splurge on bar furniture? Head to Ikea and turn a basic Lack Shelving Unit into a bar.


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