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Shelterpop

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    Getting to know the faces and stories behind our favorite gardens. Today: Brooklyn Botanical Garden Rosarian Sarah Owens.

    Cranford Rose Garden, Brooklyn Botanical Garden. Photo: Marie Viljoen


    Sarah Owens is the Rosarian in charge of the 100-year-old Cranford Rose Garden in the Brooklyn Botanical Garden in New York City.

    1. Why do you garden?

    For the joy of being alone, I am closest to the origin of life. Some call it God or Allah. For me, something different, free from human construction and complication. I feel simple, not female, not male, only one. May sound new-age silly but it's true. And each season, I learn something new and different.

    2. Who or what inspired you to garden?

    I started when I was a young child helping my family with a large vegetable garden and my mother's fussy rose garden. My fondest memory is following behind the tractor when it was time to dig the potatoes. I was allowed to get as filthy as I wanted as long as I retrieved all the potatoes. I wanted to smother myself in the smell of the fresh earth. Gardening was just a part of life growing up. I watched my maternal grandmother find refuge in nature. Even after a debilitating stroke, she would work daily weeding, hoeing, planting. She had such quiet strength.

    3. What was the first plant you grew?

    The first I remember growing all by myself were beans. The thought of being able to eat what I produced was incredibly empowering.

    4. How often do you garden?

    Monday to Friday and often on weekends in spring and fall

    5. What is your USDA zone?

    The Brooklyn Botanic Garden is in zone is 6b-7 depending on the micro climate in the garden. Some spots in the Cranford Rose Garden, like on the hill may even be 7b, as in the winter the wind passes right over and the sun shines all day. I know when there's a foot of snow on the rest of the garden, I can always head there to find a warm clear spot.

    6. What size is your garden?

    The Cranford Rose garden is about two acres. About 1.7 of that are rose beds.

    Rosarian Sarah Owens. Photo: Dodo Loechle


    7. What plant has most disappointed you?

    That's difficult. All plants, when given appropriate conditions, will perform and serve a purpose. I adore begonias but cannot for whatever frustrating reason, grow them indoors.

    8. What plant has made you happiest?

    Roses. When they are at the height of their glory, they are incredibly giving of their fragrance, bloom form, hip display, foliage ... I could praise them on and on. If selected with careful consideration, they are a plant for all seasons.

    9. What do you love about your garden right now?

    I love the riot of color that happens when the roses are at peak bloom with their companion annuals and perennials.

    10. What do you feed your garden?

    I feed the roses Rose Tone once in spring along with massive amounts of alpaca manure, horse manure, compost, corn meal, fish, kelp....

    Roses in the Cranford Rose Garden. Photo: Marie Viljoen


    11. What would you like to grow, but can't?

    I would love to do the noisettes and tea roses proper justice in a warmer, less humid climate. I also adore tender bulbs, salvias, and things that require better drainage and milder winters.

    12. Food, flowers, native or ornamental?

    All of the above together in one big green orgy.

    13. Most inspiring garden writer, thinker, blogger, personality?

    I always liked Gertrude Jekyll's color and texture combos, Sydney Edison's poetry, Piet Oudolf's bold sweeps and quiet whispers.

    14. What plants do you dislike?

    Not a fan of bindweed. Grrrr!!!

    15. Would you like more sun or more shade?

    SUN and a little shade to hide under in August.

    16. Where is your favorite public garden?

    Other than my own?! Hanbury Botanici, Monet's Giverny, Odile Masquillier's La Bonne Maison, Wave Hill's vistas and collections, New York Botanical Garden's conservatory. I am constantly taking inspiration from Max Patch in the Smokies, the Poconos, seashore, etc. I'm sure there are many more I haven't visited that will be added to the list!

    Read more about Sarah at 66 Square Feet and watch her appearance on Martha Stewart...

     

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    Don't have time to browse all the online sample sales everyday? You're in luck: We searched them all and brought back the best.

    Editor's Pick: Small and large Deco cloches from Barreveld, $40-$65, Gilt Home.


    Displaying objects you love or keeping mail inside glass cloches or bell jars is an easy way to accent a side table in the living room or your desk in your working area. Try it with these Deco glass cloches, which have a rustic and aged look.

    Want to snap this up? Move quickly. Sale ends Friday at noon. Check back tomorrow for the next Daily Sampling!

     

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    What's more intimidating than a big empty wall? The endless options of photographs, drawings, screenprints and shadowboxes out there. We're making it a little easier by zeroing in on our favorites.

    We've been following illustrator Vahram Muratyan's blog Paris Versus New York, a tally of two cities ever since it first launched last fall. The blog is a personal side project for Vahram who is Parisian and a co-founder of the design studio ViiiZ. For his blog, he comes up with charming and witty illustrations that pinpoint the cultural differences between Paris and New York-tiny espresso cups vs. Americanos served in big cups; Amélie Poulain vs. Carrie Bradshaw.

    As someone who appreciates art with a little tongue-in-cheek humor, I was thrilled to find out that a dozen of his web-only illustrations have recently become available for purchase as art prints for the home.


    I love how all the prints are so colorful and graphic and also especially clever and cheeky. Whether or not you're a fan of the two cities, every print captures an observation of French and American life so well, you'll definitely find yourself grinning and smiling at many of Vahram's references. Each print ranges in price from $29 for a mini size to $59 for an extra-large one.

     

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    Opening those windows and letting in some natural fresh air is the best way to clear up any stale smells in stuffy rooms. And you'll be saving money on chemical air fresheners!

    Have a cleaning tip to share? Let us know at Twitter.com/ShelterPop.

    Getty; Corbis

     

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    Each week, bring something new to your garden/windowsill/favorite vase -- and impress your friends with your ahead-of-the-curve picks.

    white-currantsJust-picked white currants. Photo: Marie Viljoen

    Plant this ornamental fruit for its beautiful -- and tasty -- berries. Currants belong in every garden that will have them. Low-fuss, adaptable plants, these shrubs prefer to be planted in full morning sun with shade to cool them later in the day. They are hardy from USDA Zones 3-8. Their attractive flowers are followed by pearls of tart, translucent berries in early summer, perfect for stripping from their stems with your teeth or for turning into clear jellies.

     

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    Don't let yourself fall into a shopping rut. Instead, explore some of the best boutiques around the country. This week: Ann Gish, 4 West 20th Street, New York, NY.

    Designer Ann Gish, who is known for her brightly colored bedding and pillows, has finally set up a retail outpost in Manhattan where she is based. From the moment you step into the luxurious and comfortable space, you immediately feel relaxed thanks to the shop's calm and soothing atmosphere. We sat down with Ann and chatted with her about her fabulous new spot, the antiques she picked out for it, and her venture back into clothing design.


    1. What was the greatest inspiration for opening your first New York store?
    It was time. New York is New York, and it's where I live. It was a chance for me to do more outside my normal loop and I love stepping off the cliff. That's what makes life so interesting.

    2. Are any new collections debuting with the new store opening?
    The Scroll bedding, which has accents in polyester-taffeta that's been laser-cut and it doesn't tear. Basket, which is silk-jacquard, is also new.


    3. There's also loungewear in the store, is that also a new venture?
    I first designed loungewear and robes 20 years ago and then I stopped. I'm reintroducing them here for the first time since then. I'm only doing loungewear and robes, though. If they sell, then maybe I'll design more.

    4. There's also a lot of great art in the store, are those also for sale?
    Everything in the store is for sale-all of the art and prints like paintings by this California artist named Michael Ornstein whom I found out through a good friend, and there are also one-off pieces that you won't find again anywhere else.

    5. Where do you find these rare pieces?
    Everywhere! I'm going to London soon and I'll stop by Paris. You never know where you'll find something.




    6. Do you have a favorite piece in the store?
    It's a fight between the hand sculptures that I found in a statue factory in China, a huge chaise, and a gorgeous 1950s Italian ormolu wall sconce. I found the sconce at one of the antique fairs along the piers in New York and I'm hoping to have it reproduced. I've been looking into finding more ormolu pieces, especially porcelain dishes with ormolu rims and handles and the little feet at the bottom.

    7. How has the response to the store been?
    Everyone's been great. I really like meeting all the people who shop in here and finding out about them. My office is right in the store. Plus, I love the openness and lightness. I get to do what I want which is true luxury as far as I am concerned.


    On ShelterPop's wishlist: Dupione pillows with eyelash trim, $160 each.

    ann gish bedding pillowCourtesy of Ann Gish

     

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    Don't have time to browse all the online sample sales everyday? You're in luck: We searched them all and brought back the best.

    Editor's Pick: Damascus wood box (top) and Carved walnut wood box by Wunderley, $59 each, One Kings Lane.



    Hand-carved from damascus and walnut, these Moroccan-style wood boxes are beautifully inlaid with lemon wood and mother-of-pearl. Put them together on your dresser for jewelry or on a console by the entrance to hold your keys. Either way, they'll make for exotic accents on any surface.

    Want to snap this up? Move quickly. Sale ends Saturday, 11am. Check back tomorrow for the next Daily Sampling!

     

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    With spray paint strapped to their boards, a group of street artists turn an empty pool into a wild, colorful piece of art.

    English street artist D*Face is known for his inventive work that takes on everything from pop art icons to Hollywood obsessions (maybe you remember his Charlie Sheen gravestone from earlier this year). But his latest project calls upon something much more simple for the real punch: Skateboards. Well, skateboards rigged with spray paint cans. He and friends Salba and Tristan take over this bland pool to create a look that they describe as both "Pollack-esque" and "so rad." We couldn't say it better. Take a look:

     

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    Let's face it, with all the traffic our refrigerators get, they're dirtier and messier than we'd like to think. So it's good to make it a habit to wipe it down.

    Start by unplugging your fridge and putting all the contents into a cooler for the time being. Then wipe down the inside with warm soapy water and brush the coils, which will make the fridge more energy efficient (look up the manual if you don't know where the coils are). Finally, place a box of baking soda in the fridge, which will keep things fresh.

    Have a cleaning tip to share? Let us know at Twitter.com/ShelterPop.


    Getty; Corbis

     

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    This kitchen might look OK, but lurking behind those cabinets is a ton of wasted space. Here's how to put it to work.



    The Pratt family is lucky to have new, great-looking cabinetry. But once you open the drawers and doors, it's a whole new story. Their subcontractor skimped on the inside shelving, leaving them with vast spaces to be filled with piles of clutter. Not very attractive, and not very conducive to finding what you're looking for on a rushed morning.

    Luckily, our Minute Makeover guru Bob Ritcher has the perfect solution. Shelf inserts maximize space by dividing up the unused area and turning it into prime storage. And by using drawer dividers in the Pratts' junk drawer, he turns it into an organized, streamlined resource -- not an eyesore. Now, things look great inside and out -- just like they should.

    Looking for more Minute Makeovers? See our four-seasons makeover, a kitchen saved by a "culinary man cave" and see how to make open shelving work for you.

     

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    These stunning (and unusual) pianos decked out in wild colors and lavish patterns have us, well...stunned.

    Over the past two weeks, New York saw a different sort of public-art installation for once...pianos. The non-profit organization Sing For Hope asked 88 bighearted artists and designers to revamp old pianos, which were then placed in public areas and parks for people to play throughout all five boroughs.

    Each piano had a different look, but there was definitely no shortage of wild colors and dizzying patterns. Now the most outstanding ten pianos are up for auction at charitybuzz.com with all proceeds going to support arts education in New York. Here's a quick look at a few.

    Fashion designer Isaac Mizrahi kept his opulent sense of style, painting his piano princess pink and then matching it with a giant pink bow.

    Artists like Moira Fain and Scott Taylor took this opportunity to call out New York: Fain's machine-like piece with strangely protruding pipes references Manhattan's subway stations, and Taylor covered his grand piano in a crisscross of lines that nod to the city's gridded street system.

    But our favorite--which also has the highest bid right now!--is designer Diane von Furstenberg's black-and-white upright. It's fabulously emblazoned with the words "Love Is Life," which we think is pretty crazy, sexy, and cool. What's your take on these unusual and over-the-top pianos?

     

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    A look inside the home of the fabulous and dearly departed icon.

    When Elizabeth Taylor's home appeared in Architectural Digest after she passed away this year, it was the perfect tribute. Her Bel-Air house, which she redecorated in 2010 with interior designer Waldo Fernandez was every inch her signature glamour ... yet somehow soft and private, in a disarming way. From the low-key palette of light blues to the loads of framed family photos, it's clear that Taylor's tastes veered toward the personal. And the theme we can't get enough of? Flowers, flowers everywhere -- from chintz chairs to an opulent garden to the detailing on her shower tile.

    Come, take a look:

    Firooz Zahedi for Architectural Digest


    Firooz Zahedi for Architectural Digest


    Firooz Zahedi for Architectural Digest



    Firooz Zahedi for Architectural Digest


    Firooz Zahedi for Architectural Digest


    Firooz Zahedi for Architectural Digest


    Firooz Zahedi for Architectural Digest



    Firooz Zahedi for Architectural Digest


    Looking for more? Head over to Architectural Digest for the full story or see her stunning garden, her many homes and the story of this house hitting the market at 8.6 million.

     

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    Don't have time to browse all the online sample sales everyday? You're in luck: We searched them all and brought back the best.

    Editor's Pick: Black toile dog bed and crate cover by Bowhaus NYC, $58-$99 for bed and $48-$60 for crate cover, Gilt Home.


    We'll be honest, your loving pup won't have a clue (or care) about the fancy charcoal toile on this dog bed and crate cover, but your guests certainly will and you'll immediately look like the most caring master...ever!


    Want to snap this up? Move quickly. Sale ends Saturday, 9pm. Check back tomorrow for the next Daily Sampling!

     

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    Clean a room starting from the top and higher-reaching areas, such as the top of cabinets and shelves, and work your way to the ground. This allows for any dust and dirt to collect on the floor, which should be cleaned last with a vacuum.

    Have a cleaning tip to share? Let us know at Twitter.com/ShelterPop.

    Getty; Corbis

     

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    The celebrity chef and "Hell's Kitchen" host's next stop: Your kitchen table.


    gordon-ramsay-home-kmartIs this what Ramsay's line will look like? Unlikely, but we can dream. Photos: Alberto E. Rodriguez, Getty Images; Getty


    It's easy to feel like everyone and their mother is launching their own home line. Diane Keaton did it, Sandra Lee's doing it, even Justin Bieber's in the game. So while we weren't surprised that Gordon Ramsay announced "Gordon Ramsay Everyday," a collection that will be sold exclusively at Kmart. Ramsay credits his fans as the inspiration behind the collection. "By developing this line, I can make the right tools available to them. And in working with Kmart, I can guarantee each product is being offered at an accessible price." he said. Our friends at Curbed, who first shared the news, have pointed out that the chef's devotion to bargain-hunting may fall closer to home than previously thought: He did file for bankruptcy in 2009.

    What do you think: Would you buy "Gordon Ramsay Everyday"? Tell us in the comments!

     

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    This week, textile designer and illustrator Lena Corwin talks about the dark side of purple.

    We've been following the Brooklyn illustrator and textile designer Lena Corwin's blog and her work for quite some time now. We especially love her charming map illustrations of cities all around the world and as a textile designer she has an impeccable eye for color and pattern. Naturally it got us wondering how Lena sees color from an illustrating and patternmaking stance. So we had a quick chat with her about our July color of the month, purple.

    Scroll down to find out what Lena's favorite shade of purple is and how she sees it applied to a room.

    lena corwin purple colorPortrait and vintage Missoni dress: Lena Corwin

    1. Do you have a favorite shade of purple?
    I have to admit that purple is not one of my favorite colors! It can be too "girly" to me--I tend to be more androgynous in choosing colors. But I love a really dark purple because it's less sweet than standard purple.


    2. What comes to mind when you think of dark purple?
    Eggplant, old oil paintings, the night sky, and blackberries (my favorite berry). I find dark purple to be just so rich, deep, and mysterious.

    3. Do you have a favorite item that is in this dark purple you're describing?
    When I moved to Brooklyn and started gardening 4 years ago, I realized my attraction to dark purple-leaved plants like cimicifuga and smoke bush. I also have a vintage Missoni dress from my grandmother that is this shade of dark purple.

    4. How do you see this dark purple used in a home?
    I recently took a really inspiring floral arranging class at Little Flower School with Nicolette Owen and Sarah Ryhanen. The flowers we chose from were incredible; huge peonies and roses, lilacs, etc. Nicolette and Sarah explained that placing darker foliage at the bottom of the vase anchored the arrangement. I also found that using deep, dark purples at the base made the arrangement not overly "pretty." I think this kind of balance is true for home decorating too. Dark purple can be a way of adding depth and countering the prettiness in a room.

    5. What are three colors that would go well with dark purple?
    Cream, yellow, and pink.

    6. If you could give your dark purple a name, what would it be?
    Nightshade Purple.

     

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    Don't have time to browse all the online sample sales everyday? You're in luck: We searched them all and brought back the best.

    Editor's Pick: Striped tools and cleaning supplies by Alice Supply Co., $16-$49, One Kings Lane.


    We're on a cleaning and home improvement streak! And we're totally digging these bright, candy-colored tools and cleaning supplies that will add some excitement and color to our summer cleaning. They're definitely going to make chores feel much more enjoyable and a lot less laborious.


    Want to snap this up? Move quickly. Sale ends Monday, 11am. Check back tomorrow for the next Daily Sampling!

     

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    Watch Alex McCord and Simon Van Kempen's Brooklyn backyard go from overgrown and under-decorated to polished and playful.




    I've seen the McCord-Van Kempen house on "Real Housewives of New York City" and now I've seen it in person. It's big, it's lovely, it's honestly quite jealousy-inducing. Alex told me that they were extremely inspired in decorating the inside but when it came to their outdoor area, they just didn't know what to do. After waiting and waiting for inspiration That's definitely the right time to bring in a professional, and it doesn't get any better than interior designer Elaine Griffin and her team. With her from some seriously bright new pieces (and Alex and Simon's sons François and Johan), the backyard went through a total transformation, in just one afternoon. Want to get a closer look at the process? Check out our slideshow!


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    A Backyard Makeover for Alex and Simon

    Yes, it's lush, but this space could use some taming.

    A Backyard Makeover for Alex and Simon

    Color, texture and a better take on greenery.

    A Backyard Makeover for Alex and Simon

    A lonely bench and play car.

    A Backyard Makeover for Alex and Simon

    Now it's a grilling station. Yum!

    A Backyard Makeover for Alex and Simon

    Looks lackluster and out-of-place.

    A Backyard Makeover for Alex and Simon

    The perfect spot for roasting s'mores. Love those candle holders!

    A Backyard Makeover for Alex and Simon

    Is cute, but fades into the fence behind.

    A Backyard Makeover for Alex and Simon

    Is bright, beautiful red. Johan approves.

    A Backyard Makeover for Alex and Simon

    It's great-looking, but they don't know what to do with it.

    A Backyard Makeover for Alex and Simon

    Is Accessorized with sweet chairs, mini tables and pillows. Much better, right?

    A Backyard Makeover for Alex and Simon



    A special thanks to HomeGoods for organizing the makeover and supplying all the incredible outdoor decor and accessories. More thanks to Elaine Griffin for her amazing design work, Harlem Flo for the landscaping and all those stunning flowers and Taylor Made Contractors for their hard work (including painting the playpod!).

    Looking for more makeovers? Check out some of our favorite: The four-seasons makeover, a kitchen saved by a "culinary man cave" and see how to make open shelving work for you.

     

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    You've seen our Fashionable Room column where we look to some of the best-dressed starlets for decor inspiration. Now we're turning to the best-groomed men for some pointers.

    This Weekend's Pick: Daniel Radcliffe

    Who doesn't love a boy wizard? This week, Daniel Radcliffe hit the world premiere of his latest movie, "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2", looking every bit grown-up and put-together. And perhaps just a little too somber. Harry -- err, Daniel -- why not bring in a pop of color to keep things interesting? Ah, we'll live. And instead of nagging, creating a crisp, elegant room that mimics his well-tailored ensemble and muted palette.


    Fred Duval, FilmMagic; Courtesy photos


    And you can get the look in your home with these products:

    Clockwise from top left:
    Dupla Ada wall sconce by Artemide, $290, YLighting.
    Gray Engineered Squares Placemat by Chilewich, $13, Sur La Table.
    Pebblestone teapot by Diane von Furstenberg, $80, Bloomingdales.
    Spoon dining table by Kartell, $1886, Velocity.

     

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    Kick off your weekend with a shoppable, fashion-fueled room.

    This Weekend's Pick: Daphne Guinness

    Always a spectacle, style icon Daphne Guinness never fails to stun and awe with her over-the-top fashions. We're obsessed with this ombré robe and wild headdress look that she put together and it's got us dreaming of an Asian-inspired sitting room with glamorous florals and fab colors.

    Fashion Room Daphne GuinnessPortrait: Dominique Charriau/WireImage; Products: Courtesy photos.


    And you can get the look in your home with these products:


    Clockwise from top left:
    Iron Plume sconce, $399, Circa Lighting.
    Photoviolet pillow, $68, Anthropologie.
    Tripod table, $199, West Elm.
    Lipstick Rose chair, $1,518, Horchow.

     

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