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

Blogwatch: loving. living. small.

I’ve known the joys and sorrows of occupying and decorating small spaces, which is why I tend to come back to the topic again and again here at Manolo for the Home. And there’s no shortage of blogs dedicated to small space living, though I’ve just recently found one I simply have to share. loving. living. small. is written by a female in marketing in Los Angeles. Hey, that’s just what the blogger’s profile says!

small apartment decorating

So what’s great about loving. living. small.? From decorating small to eating small to effectively working clutter in a small space, loving. living. small. is like a bible for those of us whose houses or apartments aren’t exactly what you’d call expansive. My own home only clocks in at 1,100 square feet because the seller decided to include the finished basement in the equation. Take that away, and you end up with a four-bedroom home that is totally teeny. Maybe not as small as some of the apartments I lived in post-university, but small enough to ensure that I’m still a huge fan of this topic. If you can relate, go and check out this blog.

One more thing: loving. living. small. will be updating to a custom url soon, so be on the lookout for that change. The good news is that when it happens, loving. living. small. will still redirect via Blogger so it won’t just disappear.

Join the Manolo for the Home Blogroll!

nantucket house

It’s that time of year again… that’s right, the time of year when we here at Manolo for the Home open our blogroll doors to any and all! We’re always looking for new friends with whom we can exchange links, whether they are individuals blogging about their own homes or home improvement projects, design bloggers, or even designers and crafters who blog about their creations.

So if you’d like to be included in the ranks of our home and lifestyle blogging peeps, leave a comment on this post and be sure to include a link to your site!

(image via)

A Different Kind of Crazy House

I’ve written about weird houses and unusual structures before, but this is one of the weirdest!

the crazy house

Hang Nga Guesthouse and Gallery in Dalat, Vietnam is better known as The Crazy House and it’s not hard to see why. The base of the guesthouse was built to resemble a giant tree, but more of a scary horror movie tree than a friendly fairyland tree. The whole structure is riddled with unexpected twists and turns, rooms where one least expects them, organically shaped windows, and… er… animals. Stone animals, that is, like bears, giraffes, and spiders.

the crazy house

Built in 1990 by a woman named Dang Viet Nga (the daughter of a former president of Vietnam), The Crazy House immediately began attracting attention. She saw an opportunity, and opened the house to the public, who’d happily pay a small fee to gawk at the house’s statues and pools and oddly-shaped rooms.

the crazy house

Her creative ideas have distinguished the house from all others in Dalat. She notes that the natural surrounding inspired the design. “Living in the Da Lat, the surrounding wilderness inspired me to focus on nature,” she said, adding that in the past, people lived closer to nature, and as a result, closer and more harmoniously with each other.

My verdict? I’d love to visit, but I wouldn’t want to live in it.

Blue and Brown: Outdated?

Ah, blue and brown. It’s a color combo I got to know while dealing with weddings, from teal and mocha to ice blue and chocolate. I’ll admit that at first I hated it because it always came off as so babyish. Then I realized that it wasn’t the combination that felt immature, but rather the specific blues and browns that are so often seen in wedding color schemes and on bridesmaid totes and shower invitations. Change the hues, and you’ve peaked my interest.

Of course, some would rightly say that this color pairing has been done to death and back again, so let’s leave it where it belongs, i.e., in history’s pages. I say that if you like it, feel free to surround yourself in it, and screw the haters. It all depends on whether you’re a slave to the latest trends — and there is nothing wrong with that! — or looking to create a living space you could see yourself occupying for at least a few years before you change it up.

If you are a fan of brown and blue, the good news is that it’s still available on everything from bedding sets to shower curtains to lighting accessories to to dog collars. And, of course, in all sorts of other places as well.

brown and blue

My favorite brown and blue interiors are those that are wickedly unbalanced, with either scads more blue (like this one) or an overload of brown. Yay, accent pieces and showstopping furniture!

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Never teh Bride Loves: Purple!

I know that it wasn’t that long ago that I posted a selection of purple interiors — which y’all loved, yay! — but a recent search for purple slipcovers brought this versatile hue to the forefront of my mind once again and I started tooling around Amazon in search of cool stuff in said color. Here’s just some of what I found:

purple paring knifepurple graterpurple radio
purple office chairpurple toasterpurple ottoman
purple thermospurple coffeemakerpurple pillows
purple couchpurple lamppurple bottle opener

As always, click on any of the pics for more info. My faves are the purple slipcover (obviously), the purple coffee maker, and oddly enough, the wide mouth thermos. The lamp is a pretty close third, though!

More Bookshelf Etiquette

When I last wrote about organizing bookshelves, a bunch of you weighed in after voting in the poll (which is still open). Some people organize by size, others by color, others by topic or genre or author, while the rest of us just kind of stash books wherever they fit, whether that means on bookshelves or not.

Bookshelf Organization

As it turns out, those are by no means the only ways of organizing a bookshelf. In a recent Guardian article, Sarah Crown and John Crace put forth the idea that rearranging one’s bookshelves alphabetically is a bad mistake because alphabetization is, according to them, the most banal approach to bookshelving. They go on to suggest these alternative ways of arranging a home library.


The literary snob

Old Penguins, heavily creased to denote re-reading, are lined up in rows of orange, black and grey. These can be bought by the yard at most secondhand bookshops, and are a very easy way of acquiring instant intellectual credibility.

The David Cameron

Books by important members of the new Tory World Order are prominently displayed where they can be seen by everyone. Acolytes can ascertain how close to power they are by the position of their own books.

The Jeffrey Archer

Shelf after shelf of your own book in every imaginable translation and edition – frequently in multiples of 10. Come to think of it, this applies to almost ever author I know.

The ‘I’m desperate for a shag’, male version

Must include prominent copies of The Golden Notebook and The Second Sex and any dreary rubbish by Ian McEwan lying around to show you are in touch with your sensitive side. Best to hide any well-thumbed copies of Belle du Jour and La Vie Sexuelle by Catherine M under the bed.

The “I’m desperate for a shag’, female version

Doesn’t really require books – it’s the last thing a man will notice. But on the off-chance you bring someone home who can read, it might be an idea temporarily to lose anything too intimidating by Andrea Dworkin. Unless you’re a lesbian, in which case you might like to put it on the coffee table.

The kleptomaniac

Easy. You just arrange your books in accordance with the numbering system of the library from which you nicked them.

Personally, I like the sound of The Jeffrey Archer!

Hey Kids, Get Off My Lawn!

I will freely admit that if I lived on a corner lot, kids and grownups walking over my lawn to shorten their journeys by a few feet would drive me absolutely out of my mind. I am a stickler about grass even if I do find dandelions cheerful and see no problem with letting them do their thing in my lawn for a few months. Even if I subscribe to the values of the Food Not Lawns movement and grow squash and other produce in part of my front lawn. Even if I hate most yard work other than trimming the hedges. A brown streak in my lawn? No thank you!

Get off my lawn!

But I might stop short of installing a corner fence if I didn’t already have some sort of fencing. A tiny little bit of fence just seems so odd and out of place, leaving me to wonder whether I’d rather deal with a funny fence or a path running through my lawn. Am I the only one who thinks that corner fences look just a bit weird?

Yellow and Teal: A Love Affair

Yellow by itself can be striking or calming, depending on the shade. In some cultures, yellow was the animating color for life, and it suggests joy, gaiety, and merriment. In decor, yellow is often one of the first colors people notice because it has a tendency to catch the eye. And yet, yellow can soothe, as is evident here:

yellow in living room

Then there is teal. This color can have an old-fashioned 50s and 60s retro feel, but with an unexpected sophistication and richness. Teal can signify trustworthiness, devotion, and healing. I cannot argue with the vintage feel of teal. Observe:

teal office

When combined, yellow and teal are striking, especially if one color or the other is used as an accent color:

yellow and teal

From Canadian House and Home: “In this new ode to a Grecian urn—as well as busts, vases and goblets—Palladian principles of scale and symmetry mix with fun colours, while decorative laurels, pearls and rosettes add authenticity. Black chairs and lampshades offer striking contrast to the yellow wall.”

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