Archive - December, 2009

Drawer Clutter? Box It!

As drawer organizers go, most are pretty boring. You pay for a molded piece of beige plastic that, hey, is at least easy to clean and keeps forks or tea bags or whatever from migrating all over your drawers. Sharilyn of lovelydesign found this lack of pizazz distressing when she decided to find a drawer organizer for her little girl’s kitchen gear. What’s out there wasn’t pretty and it certainly wouldn’t inspire a wee one to keep plates and bowls and cups in good order.

drawer organizers

drawer organizers 2

drawer organizers 3

So what did Sharilyn do? She created her own drawer organizers and made them just as durable and as customizable as anyone could wish for using thick millboard and bookcloth. The best part? She posted the directions as a pdf so DIYers can craft their own drawer organizers… which don’t have to be pink or pretty, of course. Yours could be black and masculine or, um, green and neutral? It all depends on what sort of paper you use.

An Elegant, Comfy, Lived-In Space

Among the many books I received as a gift this Christmas, Wary Meyers’ Tossed & Found by Linda and John Meyers was a definite favorite. The husband and wife team visits places where furniture goes to die and brings that furniture back to life in awesome ways. It’s very. very cool.

So imagine my delight when I discovered that the Meyers have on their web site not only pictures of the spaces they have designed and decorated for others, but also photographs of their own home, which they call “a work in progress.”

oriental inspired living room

Color, color, and more color defines this space — but it’s not overwhelming, balanced as it is by the muted couch and unusual but unobtrusive coffee table. This is just one corner of a living room that is elegant and beautiful, but also obviously made for living. It doesn’t look like a cut-out from a magazine; it looks like someone’s home.

mod dining room

Love the table. Love the chairs. Love the sideboard, exclamation point. Love the wallpaper. And love the way this dining room exists seamlessly between the living room and the kitchen.

old fashioned bedroom

And don’t even get me started! This guest room reminds me so much of a childhood spent in the house of a determined art book collector that it’s not even funny. I used to go to sleep surrounded by books upon books in a cozy room with mod furniture and eclectic artwork on the walls. Does this room’s familiarity make me love it more than I might? Just a little, but I like it plenty fine anyway.

Airstream Living On the Chic

Were it not for my having chosen to acquire a husband, a baby, and too many cats, I’d be just fine living in some tiny flat. When I lived in Costa Rica, I rented a teeny condo that was no more than a bedroom that barely accommodated a full bed and an all purpose room with a two-burner hot plate and sink installed. I’m not sure that I’d go as small as these folks, but having lived as a subletter in various New York City apartments, I got used to spending all my time in a bedroom-size space to avoid talking to roommates.

Of course, once you’re comfy living cozy, there’s no longer any reason to limit yourself to stationary housing. Those Tiny Houses can be towed around quite easily with a truck. And there are absolutely brilliant caravans out there! I’m particularly besotted with the restored 1959 Airstream owned by Andreas Stavropoulos. He painstakingly restored it to its former glory, then went a step further, installing mod track lighting, a cabinetry system that allows for quite a bit of storage, cork flooring, and cheerful paint.

airstream living

It’s parked in the backyard of a co-op, near a garden and some friendly chickens. My only question is, seeing as that Stavropoulos removed the necessary facilities, where then does he poo?

airstream living 3

Not in the lovely sink, I hope, bordered as it is with its brushed metal backsplash and deliciously simple cabinetry. There’s a ton of storage under the bed, which is the only reason that the owner’s wardrobe can be contained within a tiny Airstream.

airstream living 2

Add in a home office, and you have everything the singleton needs in one tiny Airstream… excepting a bathroom, of course.

(via Dwell)

Boot Tray: Do I Need It?

Living in New England after having lived elsewhere for most of my life, I am constantly amazed at how much snow falls each year. And with that snow comes the sand they use to grit the roads and the rock salt everyone uses to de-ice driveways and sidewalks. Never in my life would it have occurred to me to spend money on a tray upon which to put dirty boots, but the combination of plenty of wet and snowy weather and a mobile baby has changed my mind. I need clean floors, which means I need a way to sequester the sand and salt and melting ice that doesn’t involve simply leaving shoes on the floor of the mud room.

boot tray

Do I need a boot tray like the one above? OMG, yes. Preferably in a mud room as large and airy as that one. Do YOU need a boot tray? That depends… do you live in a snowy or wet locale and prefer clean floors to somewhat yucky floors? You could, I suppose, clean every day or even after every outdoor excursion, but that’s a little silly when a boot tray will keep dirt and other ick sequestered for a time.

boot tray 2

Mistress Martha suggests taking a mass market boot tray and customizing it with smooth river stones. On one hand, I love the way this looks and it gives the water somewhere to go so boots aren’t sitting in it. On the other hand, that water is then hiding in nooks and crannies created by smooth river stones, necessitating regular cleanings of one’s boot tray. In the end, we decided we’d rather have a low maintenance boot tray out of which I can tip lingering moisture than a chic one full of problematic stones.

Happy Holidays From Never teh Bride and the Manolosphere!

gingerbread-house

Here’s wishing you and yours the happiest of holidays (including those that have come and gone) and a beautiful new year. My gift to you is a link to a tutorial for a sweet and sentimental gingerbread house from King Arthur Flour. While the instructions suggest using their gingerbread house kit, the many tips in the tutorial could easily be applied in the making of any gingerbread house. Enjoy!

The Lightbulb Goes Off! A Perfect DIY Party Decoration?

As long-lasting CFLs become the norm, we’re all starting to find ourselves with incandescent light bulbs we don’t need. There’s not much you can do with those burnt out light bulbs other than toss them (or recycle them in some locales), but what about all the unopened packages lingering in your basement or under your sink? If you’re not inclined to simply use them up since you’ve made the switch to CFLs or perhaps LEDs, why not get crafty?

light bulb vase

The Lauren Daversa Events blog has a great tutorial for DIY light bulb vases that seems to have been cobbled together from various instructionals that were less thorough. The list of supplies one would need seems fairly straightforward, and as long as you don’t have a fear of working with glass, the instructions look pretty straightforward as well. These light bulb vases would be wonderful for a party with a pretty floral theme, but might also look great on a covered porch that wasn’t subjected to a lot of rain or variations in temperature.

If you give this tutorial a try, let us know your light bulb vases turn out!

Laundry Gets a Lift

Think of laundry rooms… what comes to mind? A corner of the unfinished part of a basement, like mine? A moist, linty space where clutter gets out of hand very quickly? Or do you picture something organized and, dare I say it, pretty? It’s easy to ignore the humble laundry room, but perhaps it is nearly as easy to take the time to make it a little nicer to be in.

laundry-room-582x436

It might even be chic, like this mostly monochromatic laundry room dotted with splashes of color — love that rug — and complete with a sofa on which to rest one’s bum while folding laundry. (via)

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Bigger On the Inside Than the Outside? It’s All Done With Mirrors, Obviously!

Almost all home owners and apartment dwellers could use a little more space, not necessarily for stuff, but rather for the breathing room. Many houses simply don’t have enough windows to let the outside in, and apartment windows frequently open on views encompassing the sides of other buildings, trashy courtyards, and metropolitan sprawl of the least aesthetically pleasing sort. Knocking down entire walls costs big money. Putting in new windows costs less money, but isn’t by most people’s measure inexpensive. So short of giving away one’s earthly possessions, how can one open up a space on the cheap?

Wall mirrors. You read that right, simple wall mirrors. They bring light into a room, especially when placed opposite an existing window, and can even mimic windows when hung like panes and decorated with window treatments. A large wall mirror becomes a focal point, reflecting back the entire room resulting in a depth of space that makes a living room or bedroom feel expansive.

mirrors as windows

This doubling serves a second purpose in feng shui, where a wall mirror that reflects something good or lucky — think a treasured family portrait or beautiful objet d’art picked up on your travels — that positive energy will be doubled, too.

When you’re hanging wall mirrors, play around with the shapes and sizes and styles you choose. A classic wall mirror can beautify and open up a small space like a foyer or stairway landing, while a modern wall mirror will look great hanging above a couch or mantel. Try mixing traditional wall mirrors with mirrors like Jason Nipp’s Umbra Movamira mirror, which is evocative of a large small-paned window.

Whatever you do, make sure your wall mirror or wall mirrors aren’t reflecting clutter, lest that negative energy come back to haunt you in the form of even more mess!

Heat That’s Hot

When you can’t live without something, you can at least make it look good. Heat, for example, is something those of us in certain parts of the world cannot do without, which means that radiators and other heating elements tend to get the shaft. It’s there, we accept it, and we move on to “more important” things like the color of our walls. But why should the humble workhorse that is the radiator not have a chance to live a life of high style? Radiators drab? I just say no. Check these flashy numbers out for a little taste of what I’m talking about.

decorative radiator 1

Colored, European-style radiators that match one’s decor perfectly, whether they’re in the bathroom or the bedroom. Like a nice warm towel or shirt in the morning? Pegler has you covered with bright radiators that are a lot more cheerful and chic than your average heat source.

decorative radiator 2

While some might find these tall hotties a little creepy in the dark of night, they are quite cool. The Oreste & Emma radiator designed by Andrea Crosetta might look best in a public space where it will be seen by a lot of people.

decorative radiator 3

In traditional spaces, cast iron is where it’s at. The Cast Iron Reclamation Company carries gorgeous, old school radiators modeled after those produced in France in the 1890s.

decorative radiator 4

Cast iron doesn’t have to look old fashioned, however. Just look at this unique radiator designed by Joris Laarman for Droog Design. It’s very pretty and modern without being overwhelmingly angular or unfamiliar… it’s like the traditional radiator’s younger cousin.

decorative radiator 5

Of course, if you have established radiators that you cannot replace for financial reasons or because you don’t own your flat, you might be able to incorporate them into your decor. Some people paint their radiators a contrasting color so it stands out, but Wary Meyers Decorative Arts painted this Park Slope radiator to make it blend in.

A Table Kids Can Write On Over and Over Again

Fact: Kids like the write in furniture. Fact: Getting ink out of upholstery or crayon off walls is tough. One simple solution is providing children with furniture that they can write on without fear of punishment. That might mean a play table in a daughter’s room or son’s room that gets graffitoed to within an inch of its life. A better solution, however, is a write-on/wipe-off chalkboard table that will look as sweet in the nursery as it will in a big kid’s room.

chalkboard table

This neat chalkboard table from Mod Mom Furniture fits the bill, though it is unfortunately only available to residents of Los Angeles. The rest of us can go the DIY route with a kids play table from somewhere like Craiglist or the naked furniture store, a can of chalkboard paint, and a lazy Susan. Slap on the paint, affix the lazy Susan with screws, and *voila!* you have a custom chalkboard table that might just save your walls. Or a flat surface on which you can write a grocery list… since there’s no reason a chalkboard table should only be for children.

(Via Droolicious)

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