Archive - March, 2010

Terminology Time: Knole Sofas

Like many people, I don’t spend a lot of time thinking about the specifics of furniture. I see something, I like it, I can’t afford it, so I write about it here. The end. But a little education can go a long way when one is at the designing stage of outfitting one’s home (which is when one needs knowledge and imagination more than money). With that in mind, I thought it might be fun to go against the grain and spend at least some time thinking about the specifics of furniture. And writing about, since that’s what I do!


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First on the list: The classic Knole sofa (or Knole settee). When I say classic, I mean Jurassic because you don’t see many new Knole sofas in furniture shops. First made in the 17th Century, with the original having been produced sometime between 1610 and 1620 for the Knole House in Kent, it was not intended to be a comfortable seat for one and all, but rather as a formal throne upon which royalty would have sat while receiving visitors.


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The main defining features of the Knole sofa are the adjustable side arms that rise as high as the back, deep seating, and the carved finials in the rear corners. Those are what make the Knole sofa’s side arms adjustable, actually, for the side arms are tied to the back of the sofa with decorative braided fabric, as shown below. It’s quite distinctive, but also quite old fashioned, so I’m not surprised that the Knole sofa is slowly going the way of the dinosaurs.


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Still Feeling Blue

Still moping because I missed snagging one of House Beautiful‘s lovely blue chairs, I found myself face to face with one of these:

The Evitavonni Blue Chair is contemporary and glamorous and gorgeous and I want one. What is it about this chair? It could be the vivid blue leather or the iconic buttons… am I just drooling over something faddish or do you think this chair could last as trends shift?

NtB Hates: Fake Shutters

Living, as I do, in a town where enough of the houses have remained relatively unchanged (outside, at least) from their construction in the early 1800s and late 1700s, I see a lot of real wood shutters. Real wood shutters on hinges that actually work, I mean. Unfortunately, I also see a lot of houses sporting vinyl shutters nailed directly into siding (wood and otherwise)… this includes *shudder* my own little Cape. Please trust me when I say we’re going to take care of this, but we’re focusing on the inside of the house where we, ya know, actually live first before doing much to the exterior. And yet, knowing as I do that we’ll eventually rip off the faded vinyl siding to expose the original wood shingles underneath and replace the ugly faux shutters with cute real ones that actually work, I am still mortified when I look at my house and see something like this:

What I much rather see is something a bit more like this:

Real shutters rock for so many reasons, not the least of which being that you can move them to clean behind them so wasps don’t have a chance to set up shop. Real shutters can be used for privacy and shade, and they just look nicer, being to scale (unlike oddly small vinyl shutters that wouldn’t even cover the window if they worked) and having all manner of nice hardware.

So why am I not rushing out right now to order custom wood shutters along with the appropriate hardware? Because custom wood shutters can be rather expensive – whether you’re talking board & batten, louvers, or panels, you’re talking $100 per half a shutter (ouch). The good news is that The Beard and I are finally getting off our butts and starting to do renovations that go beyond painting – think hanging drywall and so on – so we’re feeling pretty good about our ability to make our own working wooden board & batten shutters once we start tackling the outside of the house.

Color and Curves Love, Eurolegno

I take back all the suggestions I made a few weeks ago with regard to bathroom vanities. In the void left behind, I’d like to fill everyone’s bathroom with a delicious vanity from Eurolegno. If you’re like me and love color, you’re going to love it when you wake up to find a brilliantly-hued bathroom vanity where your boring or at least normal one used to be. Of course, if you’re not so much about the color, you’re going to hate my guts.

Just the right mix of color, modernity, and traditional curves, no?

Robin’s Egg Blue – Not Just About the Color

I was inspired the other day after coming across this totally sweet necklace from Sea Unicorn to think about robin’s egg blue in situ – in other words, on the robin’s eggs themselves. While decorating with eggs or ersatz eggs is a bit country cutesy and thus not everyone’s cup of tea, it’s certainly going to be someone’s cup of tea, right? And in small enough doses, there are very few decorative items that will brand you as *insert style here*.

So here we go from necklace to home in six simple steps, from DIY spoons (that are quite sweet, actually) to tiny handmade soaps and random fun stuff. Enjoy!

(via Nesting Place)

(via The Shabby Chic Cottage)

(via Southern Living)

(via The Shabby Chic Cottage)

(via Gianna Rose Atelier)

Inspiration: HI-Hotel

Looking for color inspiration? You can’t go wrong with snaps of the HI-Hotel in Nice, France. Designed by Matali Crasset, the public spaces and rooms of this super chic hotel are all designed with different and vibrant color combinations, minimalist details, and an eye toward crispness and modernity. The rooms are all named with monikers that often reflect the shape of things within: Happy Day, Digital, Up & Down, White & White, and Monospace are just a few of the spaces within. Check it:

Ikea Kids – Then and Now

Ikea has been around for a pretty long time, and they’ve been making cool stuff for kids and babies since the 60s. I came across pics of an old Ikea high chair and kid’s table and chair set. Here’s how they compare to their modern counterparts.

The Dino high chair designed by Charlotte Rude and Hjordis Ohlsson-Une was sold in 1969. With its wide base and lack of tray, it was designed to pull right up to the dining room table, much like the Stokke high chair (we have one and loooove it). The ANTILOP high chair is one of today’s Ikea high chair offerings – that and the SPOLING – and, I believe, is meant to be used with the optional tray. Karin Morbing designed the gorgeous red table set in 1963, and I think it’s a hell of a lot nicer than the modern LÄTT set, and not only because the 1963 version was made of solid wood!

(Images via: 1, 2, 3, 4)

Inspiration: Teal and Tomato

Elena Colombo, designer of amazing meditative firebowls, knows how to combine tomato and teal to good effect. In fact, I’m terribly jealous of her skills, since I adore that color combo but have thus far failed to put it into place in my own home. Consider these four snaps of Colombo’s cute-as-a-button bungalow inspiration for those of us for whom combining colors doesn’t always come naturally!

(all images via)

Don’t Be Afraid of Color

…because for real, look how awesome bright, vibrant color can be!


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Go ahead, brighten up your world!

red lamporange chairsyellow rug
green clockblue stoolpurple teapot

The Myth of Magazine Perfection

When I was a kid, it used to really bother me that our house didn’t look like a spread from a magazine… or even a catalog. We didn’t have books neatly stacked in the corners of our end tables or fresh flowers on our night stands. There was stuff, and oh, how that stuff offended me. Count me as one of the few kids who gladly put their toys away. I Looking back as an adult, though, I understand that some stuff is necessary. Sometimes the day is such that you simply cannot contemplate going around the house before bed to straighten up. That’s not to say you can’t have a clean, sharp-looking domicile most of the time, but real people have stuff. The chances of your house looking like these model interiors from West Elm on most days is pretty slim, right?

Yet even though I know that much is true, I still have my doubts about the relative neatness of my little Cape. Is it neat enough? Should I de-clutter more frequently? Does *that* or even *that* need to be in plain sight? My seven-year-old self constantly compares my house to the pages of catalogs and staged homes found in magazines full of stuff I may never be able to afford. Does anyone else have this problem? I’d love to hear I’m not alone!

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