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

A Palette In Your Pocket

I’ve been feeling kind of ansy in my office as of late, which leads me to believe it is high time for a decor change. Sometimes I can satisfy this urge for change with nothing more than an hour spent moving furniture and objets d’art. This time, however, I think nothing less than a new paint job will suffice. It hit me as I was thumbing through the latest issue of House Beautiful and saw the most alluring color of pink on the walls of one of the homes profiled. (Hint: Paint Style from Benjamin Moore is also a great place to find awesome paint colors.)

Benjamin Moore Pocket Palette

Have you ever found that? The perfect color, I mean. That color that just jumps out and sings to you? I was lucky in that I found such a color in the pages of a home decor rag, so all I had to do was read the caption to find out what I was looking at. In the real world, when one sees the perfect color, it is often on a flower or someone’s wall or in a work of art that cannot be easily transported to the nearest wall of paint chips. All is not lost, however, for those willing to drop $299 on the nifty gadget above. The Benjamin Moore Pocket Palette matches colors from, well, almost anything to the closest color in the Benjamin Moore color system. You can scan anything from that gorgeous blood orange in your fruit bowl to your favorite evening gown. Cost aside, how neat is that?

Oh, and that color I mentioned earlier? Razzle Dazzle!

(via and via)

Family As Art

I’ll freely admit to liking family pictures and portraits — my own family portraits, that is. On my living room walls, you’ll find my wedding photo, a picture of my paternal grandparents, posed shots of various family members at significant events, and even a picture of me with my Uncle Antonio in which four-year-old me drew a pirate mustache on the aforementioned uncle using burnt cork.

But really, these images are not very classy and, truth be told, my family pictures are starting to grate on my nerves. As dear as they are to my heart, they simply aren’t as artful or stylish as I’d like them to be.

orange bedroom

What I’d really like to see in my home is something like this. Overall, I like the way the blown-up image in black and white pops against the vivid orange palette. And there’s something a little incongruous about the choice of infant portraiture in this modern space, yet the picture of two babies feels right at home.

The best part is that what we have here is an easy weekend DIY project that almost anyone with a little free time, a camera, and a printer or access to a Kinkos can complete. All you need are a few family photos — which you can jazz up with captions or photo effects — and appropriately-sized frames. If your photo printer can handle it, go for the 13″x19″ photo paper, which will create a much more dramatic and striking image than the usual 8″x10″ size. If you aren’t equipped with something like the Epson Artisan 800, you can get your family photos embiggened at your local print shop. Simple and chic!

Is Your House Making You Fat?

Studies show that while homeowners aren’t any more or less happy than renters, they experience more negative feelings related to their domiciles. And if that wasn’t bad enough, it turns out that female homeowners weigh more than female renters.

Researchers discovered homeowners, on average, outweighed renters by 12 pounds. In addition to excess weight, female homeowners were also carrying around more aggravation, making less time for leisure, and were less likely to spend time with friends.

Apparently the researchers controlled for age, as it would seem logical to assume that homeowners are on average older than renters and people tend to put on weight as they ride the chronology train into the future.

fat house
Fat House by Erwin Wurm (2003)

Alas, age has nothing to do with it. Researchers speculate that homeowners spend less time doing things like socializing with friends, walking, and playing sports because they are too busy fixing roofs, installing new wainscoting, and walking the aisles of Home Depot looking for deals on pedestal sinks for that half-bath they plan to install one of these days.

The findings present a chicken-or-the-egg question for social scientists, who are unsure if home ownership causes these patterns or if people prone to less sociability, less interest in leisure activities and higher stress are simply more attracted to owning homes.

Full disclosure: I am a female homeowner. I may be carrying around an extra pound or two, but not necessarily twelve. That said, I walk every day. And I wasn’t all that social to begin with. But this smacks to me of one of those “correlation does not imply causation” situations.

pirates are cool

Another Ersatz Headboard Idea

Those of us who inherit bed frames don’t get a lot of choice, obviously. But that doesn’t mean we have to wait until the perfect headboard shows up on Craigslist or in the classifieds in the newspaper. I’ve touched on DIY headboards before, but it struck me that I’ve never written about the ersatz headboard idea I used for quite some time.

floral headboard

The most basic version of the faux headboard is nothing more than a screen, fabric covered or otherwise, tacked up to the wall behind your bed. For years the Beard and I used a Shoji folding screen as a headboard. We didn’t even have to attach it to the wall — it stayed put just wedged between the wall and the bed. If you don’t want to DIY, you can always go with a floral screen and a folding screen with built-in storage, which are great for those who don’t have room for proper sidetables.

If you do want to DIY, however, there is no shortage of headboard how-tos out there. The easiest will have you stapling fabric to a simple wooden frame, while the more difficult ones involve a bit of sewing or actual construction work. Still, even for the novice, this is a fairly easy DIY project and nothing to be afraid of!

This Old House Beautiful?

Today’s post is a shorty because my grandparents just rolled into town. Just about the only house and home topic on my mind today is how when I glanced at the cover of my latest This Old House magazine, I thought I was looking at House Beautiful.

living room

Did I miss an editorial change? I’m used to seeing hardcore manly power tool reviews and full on tutorials teaching things like how to install a deck or water heater. This past issue, however, was full of cozy storage solutions and cutesy upgrades that involved decorating rather than building (or, my favorite, demolition). Not that I’m complaining, mind. It was just… weird.

Purplespiration!

Purple is associated with (among other things) royalty, imperialism, nobility, Easter, Mardi Gras, the upper class, poison, friendship, hope, and sympathy — in other words, it evokes feelings that are both light and dark, positive and negative. Perhaps these dichotomies exist because purple can be both intense and gentle. Think byzantium versus wisteria.

purple exterior paint

I long to see the rest of this building. In case you can’t see it clearly, the window itself matches the shutters. Don’t be afraid to combine purples to see what you come up with. If you need to ease into it, grab some paint chips and play.

purple paint

A little purple can go a long way, though as La BellaDonna frequently reminds me, more is indeed more. If you can handle a deep, saturated purple, go for it!

purple walls

Then again, this soft purple makes for a great background for blues and neutrals. It looks like the ceiling, rather than being white or cream, is a very, very light purple. I’m afraid to say all my ceilings are white, but I am fascinated with the thought of colorizing them.

purple kitchen

White kitchen? Forget it. If buying all new cabinetry doesn’t fit into your current home improvement budget, you can always paint kitchen cabinets to give your kitchen a makeover. (via)

purple sofa

Finally, purple is potent, which means even a few dashes of it here and there can really jazz up a room. You don’t *have* to commit to purple if you don’t want to!

And the Winner Is…

jute rug

Carla, who suggested we feature “more articles on how to use common household items for other things!” I e-mailed you, Carla, but if my correspondence was erroneously channeled into your spam box, get in touch with me at Never.teh.Bride@gmail.com as soon as you can.

Congrats! And enjoy!

Tiny Spaces, Big Seats

The obstacles one encounters when furnishing smaller homes are many. As wonderful as itty-bitty flats and miniscule houses can be, the reality is that most furniture is scaled for the comparatively palatial homes that remain en vogue in the US. As reader jojokaffe recently found out, the makers of things like couches either assume either that their buyers have large living rooms or that buyers who want smaller furnishings are only interested in modern pieces. Wrong and wrong.

small couch

My own living room is by no means large, but it does accommodate a full-size couch and a few chairs, so I had my pick of the furniture litter. However, as I’ve mentioned, I did once live in a tiny little flat in NYC, and my roommate and I did not furnish it in the modern style. I suppose our style might have been called “scavenged,” but that’s beside the point. Instead of a couch that would have overwhelmed our small space, we filled our living room with a love seat, a not-quite Louis chair, an armchair, and some cute side tables.

If you need to do the same and are currently shopping around, Furniture for Small Spaces published this helpful — but by no means exhaustive — sizing chart:

sofas for small spaces

Other than that, fitting a sofa into a small space is a matter of downsizing certain features. A couch with no arms or slim arms and one with no legs or hidden legs will usually look more natural in a small room, even if it is taking up a great deal of that room. No matter what style of sofa you prefer, look to avoid excessive curves that widen the sofa without adding usable seating space.

(And speaking of accents for small spaces, don’t forget to enter to win a 3’x5′ FREE hand-woven jute rug!)

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