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January, 2009 | Manolo for the Home
Archive - January, 2009

High Maintenance Furniture

Furry furniture

Some furniture needs to be treated to repel water and stains. Some furniture needs to be reupholstered every few years. Some furniture attracts dusk. And some furniture needs to be shampooed and shaved every other day to prevent dreadlocks.


How Do You Organize Your Bookshelves?

Full disclosure: My bookshelves are not organized in any particular way. In fact, they aren’t organized at all. Books are tossed onto my bookshelves willy-nilly, some upright, some sideways. When I’m done with a book, I often put it any old place instead of figuring out where it came from. Part of the problem is that the majority of our books live in the basement den where The Beard has his home office, and I tend to care less about that space than I do about the rest of the house.

Colorful bookshelves

So here’s me asking you:

Feel free to expound on your answer in the comments!

A Chair That Will Tickle Your… What?

Vibrating chair

Is it just me, or is this vibrating chair shaped like a gloved hand just a tiny bit… perverted? A best, you’re getting a pat on the rear. At worst, you’re getting a sensual massage that might just come with the “happy ending.”

Man In a Box

I was reading archived entries in Jetson Green and came across this wonderful minimalist modular home.

Modular house

The Drop House won the Modular Architecture Challenge in 2005 in part due to its good looks and the fact that it’s so easy to customize. Architects Antoine Cordier, Olivier Charles and Armel Neouze created the Drop House concept to illustrate “private housing, industry and customization.” Apparently the design lends itself to passive solar heating and other green ideals we should probably all be looking for when buying real estate.

But I just think it’s really cool looking.

Capturing the Flow

For whatever biological or sociological reason, human beings love curves. Modern, old modern, and post-modern furniture reflects that. No matter how many times angles and clean straight lines come into vogue, the curve remains extant. These chairs from Skandium illustrate this notion perfectly.

Chairs By Skandium

Form and function… the straight line and the curve… everything is balanced. Even the chairs themselves evoke feelings of balance, as the empty space that makes up so much of this beautiful furniture leaves the skeleton poised in mid-air. That said, these pristine and pretty chairs seem to hover around $300, depending on the options you choose, but I have a chair from Ikea that looks very much like these and it cost a whole lot less.

Spanish Style

A few years back, a beloved friend went through a Southwestern/Spanish phase. Everything was colorful braided rugs, turquoise, and rusty ceramic tile. She was even thinking seriously about selling her house and moving to New Mexico to spend her days making art inspired by the original inhabitants of this lovely continent of ours.

While I can’t fault her for her worship of the Southwestern and Spanish aesthetics, I do believe it’s easy to go overboard. Not that there’s anything wrong with going overboard… it just isn’t me. I much prefer a stylized version of the look, as in this Santa Barbara house I found on Sunset Home.

Spanish villa

Tile rugs

Spanish villa details

What do I love best? While the tile rugs are a little kooky (restaurant-ish, really), the fabric canopy on the upper terrace and the lanterns on the ground floor are awesome. I’m also seriously digging the tiled fountain — yes, that is a giant pistachio.

A Minimalist Kitchen

I remember long ago living in a Brooklyn apartment that was totally tiny. The kitchen? Smaller than my mother’s walk-in closet. Luckily, my roommate had already stocked the kitchen cabinets with all of the pots and pans and dishes we could want. Well, as many as could fit in those minuscule cabinets, anyway. Nonetheless we had just about everything we needed to cook almost anything.

Now I’ve heard people say that you can’t make a gourmet meal in an itty-bitty kitchen, but I’m going to say they’re wrong. Check out the Portable Kitchen guide, which is a PDF geared toward traveling cooks, but way useful for those of us with no space to spare.

minimalist kitchen

The best part is that you can get everything you need on the cheap. I mean all these things. As cookery book master Mark Bittman found out, you can outfit your kitchen without spending a gajillion dollars.

I contend that with a bit of savvy, patience and a willingness to forgo steel-handle knives, copper pots and other extravagant items, $200 can equip a basic kitchen that will be adequate for just about any task, and $300 can equip one quite well.

He started with an eight-inch, plastic-handle stainless alloy chef’s knife for $10. Nice. Next up was an instant-read thermometer for $5. Then three stainless steel bowls for $5 and tongs for $3.50. A sheet pan set him back $6, and he continued on with a paring knife, a colander, and a can opener, among other things. He also bought pots and pans, in case you were worried he was starting off with an unfair advantage. Remember, cast iron is cheap!

Everybody Must Get Stoned

Wait, you thought I meant it like that? Moi? Nooooo. I’m talking about stress relief… the kind of stress relief that comes from surrounding yourself with somewhat overpriced bits of nature. Specifically in the bathroom, where thoughtful designers have thought up sorts of cheeky ways to make river rocks into visual stress-soothers.

Stone Hook (single)

For example, here are (admittedly lovely) stone towel hooks. Here is how Viva Terra describes them:

Elements of nature unite to create this clean-lined multi-purpose hook perfect for towels, robes, or clothing. Carefully selected from rivers and beaches of New England and gently rounded through years of tumbling, each stone is unique. And we particularly love that for every smooth stone collected, a rough stone is “planted” for the water to tumble into smoothness.

New England? I live in New England! I think I’m sensing an upcoming DIY project…

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