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

Тетрис!

Yesterday’s Tetris Tiles were so cool that I started looking for other Tetris-themed stuff, like Tetris furniture. Inspired by the classic game, artists Diego Silverio and Helder Filipov created modular stacking furniture pieces that can be used together in different ways.

tetris furniture

tetris furniture

What’s odd is that in my search I found a company called IndoAntique selling what it calls Tetris furniture, but it appears their entire line consists of the T-shaped blocks. Not quite the real thing, is it?

Square, Rectangle, Trapezoid, Tetrizoid!

Why did someone finally start manufacturing proper Tetris tiles? The right answer is “Why not?”

tetris tiles

These custom-made tiles from the UK are crafted from Italian ceramics and are suitable for indoor or outdoor use, meaning you can tile just about anything with them. I have to say I do prefer the actual Tetris piece shaped tiles — with the Tetris pieces, you could base your layout on random choices, making decorating very much like actually playing a game of Tetris — rather than the Tetris mosaic, but that’s only because the mosaics don’t immediately look like Tetris pieces to me. Maybe, however, that would be a selling point for some who would prefer a subtler video gaming reference in their personal space.

If you’re anything like me, you’re lusting after these pretty hardcore and wondering just how much they cost. Prices are based on the size of your order and possibly your color choices — Tetris Tiles can be matched to most Pantone-colour references — so I have no idea whatsoever.

Five Gifts For Dad

Father’s Day is just around the corner (almost) so why not get a jump on it? Consider this post fair warning for daughters, sons, and wives who routinely wait until the last minute to get dear old dad a little something on June 21. The nice thing about Father’s Day is that most dads are more than happy to receive gifts for the home or the garden or the grill, making shopping really super easy. Here are my five picks for fun Father’s Day gifts for 2009:

knife holder

The Voodoo knife holder in red is every bit as sharp as it is… sharp? The set comes with a 8-inch chef’s knife, 8-inch bread knife, 8-inch carver, 5-inch utility, and 3-1/2-inch parer, so the man in your life will no doubt find plenty of uses for it.

alarm clock

The funky little Cubissimo alarm clock in black is cute, but manly enough for dad’s desk. It’s also versatile! It has different displays on each of its four sides: the day of the week, the time, the temperature and the date.

bacon bandages

I think bacon bandages speak for themselves, na?

PI tie

Novelty ties were always a big hit in my family — though whether said ties were actually ever worn was a whole other matter. This PI tie in sage strikes a balance between fun and functional, and is especially good for dads into math and science.

Be Prepared

And for the new dad in your life, there’s the Be Prepared: A Practical Handbook for New Dads, a fun book that ranges from tongue-in-cheek to practical. I actually bought this for The Beard, though I won’t be giving it to him until next month when Father’s Day actually rolls around. Shhh, no telling.

Inspired By Anatomy (More Than Likely NSFW)

Furniture designer and artist Mario Philippona has a thing for the female form. A serious thing. You might just say he’s a tad obsessed with the ladyparts most people describe as private. Indeed so obsessed that he uses the colors and textures of various types of hard woods to emphasize the, er, natural curves found on most women. In his own words:

“The shape of a woman, her organic architecture, combined with my passion for wood inspired me to sculpt these sexy designs.”

Righteo. This is me trying very hard not to make the obvious ‘wood’ jokes. Ahem. As you might imagine, Philippona’s cupboards, tables, and wardrobes are not the sort of furniture you’ll normally see in the homes of friends or colleagues for obvious reasons. Now let’s have a look!

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The Wartime Home

It seems that today, being Memorial Day, is an appropriate day to post about how wartime homes can positively influence the evolution of small and/or affordable housing, at least in terms of interior space utilization. You see, once upon a time in the post-WWII era, the family home tended to be smaller, forcing the people who lived therein to make the most of all available space.

“In the same way that the proud new householders of wartime homes made numerous accommodations and undertook several modifications as a means of coping with the small size of their residences, so too can designers of contemporary affordable housing devise methods of living comfortably in a space no larger than 1,000 square feet,” state [Avi Friedman and Maria Pantalopoulos’s in “The Wartime Home as a Paradigm for Today’s Affordable Housing Design” (1996)]

I have a personal interest in this sort of thing, because my own home (which measures in at 1,100 square foot) was built just after WWII. While it’s not quite affordable housing, it is on the smallish side, so The Beard and I do what we can to keep our little cottage tidy and clutter free. We do a good job, too, though I can’t say we are quite so thorough as the homeowner in this wartime home case study:

wartime homes

One Affordable Housing Research Project drew the following conclusions from Friedman and Pantelopoulos’ article:

SPACE
There are numerous ways a space can be designed so that it feels more comfortable and inviting. The relationship of rooms whether they are adjacent or removed can interrupt or guide the circulation patterns in a home. The amount of natural light that enters a room is also important. Usually, a space will feel larger when there is a plentiful source of natural light entering the room. Floor space is extremely valuable in today’s compact houses. Built in furniture is an excellent way to maintain maximum floor space, especially in bedrooms where built in furniture eliminates the need for dressers and desks.

STORAGE
Abundant storage is necessary in the design of today’s compact houses. Storage is a key selling point, because families accumulate more and more belongings the longer they live in one home. Therefore, the designer must be receptive to the demands for ample storage when designing a small, compact house (Friedman and Pantelopoulos, 1996, 191). There are many ways unused spaces should be used for storage, such as in the corners of rooms, and areas near the ceiling. Attics and basements are also ideal areas for adequate storage space.

Yes, yes, and yes. Then again, is it just me, or does this all seem like common sense?

Stirring the Pot(ties)

The lovely Glinda of Teeny Manolo thought y’all might like to see some, er, unique commodes. Designer toilets, really. The LA Times put up a photo spread entitled ‘Glamorizing the toilet: Designers take on the most utilitarian fixture of all,’ which featured toilets as envisioned and created by designers like Stefano Giovannoni, Wiel Arets, and Troy Adams.

strange toilet

The plum tree design of silver branches and vivid flowers represents spring in Toto’s Miyabi collection. The LA Times also mentions that plum tree blooms were often used in Japanese poem manuscripts. What this has to do with going to the bathroom, I don’t know.

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A Quick Coat of Paint Can Make All the Difference In the World

I have a tough decision to make, albeit a decision that won’t make an appreciable difference in my life until quite some time from now. The choice I am facing is what color I should paint my kitchen cabinets. You see, my kitchen probably hasn’t been updated in decades. In fact, if I didn’t know that my cabinetry was built after the phone company started using area codes, I would have assumed my kitchen was my home’s original kitchen. It’s falling apart in all sorts of little ways that don’t necessitate a new kitchen, so the best I can do in the near future is a DIY kitchen update.

That means doing a little sanding, painting kitchen cabinets… maybe installing a new countertop ourselves if we’re feeling kind of bold. But the sanding and the painting? That you don’t need courage for. That kind of thing is easy-peasy if you’ve got good directions to follow. And the results, if you’re thorough and careful, can look amazing. The hardest part is choosing a color!

painted kitchen cabinets

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Just Right

You know what’s nice? When furniture is just retro enough or just quirky enough. Not so outlandish that it feels like it ought to be in a museum instead of in one’s home. Comfortable, perhaps? Maybe not — calling something comfortable can brand it as uncool or hokey. Good design belongs in every home and can be nice to use without being pedestrian. Young designer Jaan Ugrinsky creates modern pieces that straddle that fine line between art and functional furniture.

awesome chair

awesome sideboard

I think both the chair and the sideboard are aces. Either would fit in well with my very eclectic — some might say mismatched or uncoordinated — decor, which is saying a lot.

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