Archive - September, 2010

You Can Forget About Breakfasting In the Nude

As weird chairs go, I suppose this one could be weirder, but at least it can double as a dish drainer in a pinch. What’s the strangest chair you’ve ever seen?

Fungi Shui

How faaareakin’ adorable is this limited edition fungi shelf designed by Katharina Mischer? Limited Fungi brings endangered mushroom species to life and is a part of the RealLimited series, which points out limitations in reality. And speaking of limits, Mischer’s unique shelf is being presented in an extremely limited run of just 12.

The work features an endangered Austrian fungi species figured in tin, growing on an old “rotten” wooden board. Each tin mushroom is numbered and represents one mushroom left in reality.

Buying Limited Fungi (you can find it at Droog) helps saving biodiversity, as part of the price goes to environmental projects that try to save the lovely Kuehneromyces Lignicola, which is the specific fungi species included in the shelf.

NOT a Plain White Chair

Isn’t this bent wood chair from Brocade Home just adorable? I’m squeeing over the high gloss white paint job that suits it much better than silver, one of the other available colors.

It gets a little lost in all that black and white in the display room, what with the beautiful cutouts in the back of the chair fading into the background so that it looks like a plain white chair at a glance. I’m thinking, though, that most of you reading this don’t have huge swathes of busy monochromatic wallpaper in your house or apartment. Or maybe you do, who knows. Do you?

Ceiling Height: The Highs and Lows

Growing up, I saw mainly your standard 8-foot ceilings. Then I lived in a flat in Germany where the ceilings (and the beautiful windows) absolutely soared. But I was only in Berlin for a year, so the culture shock I felt upon returning to the States did not involve ceiling height oppression. Now in new construction, ceilings seem to have shot up to a respectable 10 feet or so, but here I sit, writing this in a classic revival Cape with its 8 footers. Which frankly, never even caught my eye until I started looking into ceiling heights, and now I keep looking up, wondering if I ought to feel oppressed by my low ceilings.

According to an Apartment Therapy survey, the majority of people prefer a ceiling height in the 8-10 foot range, with ceilings that are ‘at least 10 feet’ a close second and very few people preferring 8-foot ceilings or something even shorter. Me? I loved the high ceilings I had in Germany and then again in Brooklyn, but I wasn’t the one paying the heating bills. And really, I love the coziness of my Cape – a quality that is in part due to the low ceilings. Also, I pay for heat now, so low ceilings are def a plus. In other words, I’d say there are benefits and drawbacks to every ceiling height, standard and taller. (I can’t think of any benefits of anything lower than 8, though.)

Since I’ve experienced plenty of both, I thought I’d talk today about some pros and cons of high ceilings and low ceilings.


The Pros: They look awesome, and some people find that they feel freer in a space with high ceilings. You’ll never have trouble decorating a space with high ceilings because you’re not limited by furniture height or the size of wall art. And you can toy with the idea of a painted ceiling, if you like.

The Cons: Supposedly, a room with a high ceiling can make inhabitants feel small and insignificant, though I never noticed this myself. In a room with high ceilings, the eye is drawn to the height of the room, making the horizontal dimensions of the room seem narrower. Spaces with high ceilings can be more difficult to heat and cool, depending on the design of the home.


The Pros: A lower ceiling can make a small room appear wider. Easier to heat and cool, if only by virtue of there being less airspace needing temp control. Some people find low ceilings cozier and homier than high ceilings.

The Cons: Decorative ceilings and thick crown molding and things like chair rails are right out, and tall people can feel decidedly cramped even if you don’t draw attention to the lowness of the ceilings. That feeling might be even more acute in a wide room. It’s tough to find the right ceiling fans and also to jump on the bed, boo.

I told you, now you tell me: How tall are the ceilings where you live? And what ceiling height would you actually prefer?

Branching Out!

What could be easier than finding a cool (and dry) branch, spray painting it to make it pop, and hanging the result on the wall or displaying it in a vase? Not much, that’s for sure! So for all those who like to go and look for pretty leaves in the fall, I suggest keeping an eye out for interesting branches – the manzanita branch seems to be the most popular choice – that might just fill that annoying hole in your decor. Here’s some painted branches inspiration:



‘One Made of Felt, a Pretty Face Is a Basket’

When I first saw the Akanbe Folding Basket by designer Houziyou Takashi, I was already in love. Part storage container, part play mat, the Akanbe also happens to be absolutely freakin’ adorable. Utility plus cuteness… cutility? How can you not like that? And I like it even better now that I found this description of it:

I’ll be fine also surprisingly heavy, magazines and accessories organized, easy to store children’s toys. Matt will use when playing as a spread, as it folded when put away are clear.

Smile♪ When you have a basket of cute, cute looks just like a hand that has Akanbe. Just to laugh it easy out there is no tongue. Thanks are Akanbe Bello, I have a painful hand basket.

Assemble felt like a piece of origami, it 留Mere button eyes, and made the basket. Not only fashionable and cute, which depending on how many ideas are useful and fun basketball.

Do you suppose that was Mr. Takashi’s original description of the Akanbe Folding Basket?

Who Knew Homemade Breakfast In Bed Could Cost More Than a Breaky Out?

Designer Peter White remembers his dad bringing mom a delish homemade breakfast in bed and the crystal bud vase toppling over into the pancakes. Quelle horreur! In response to the memory, White whipped up this charming breakfast in bed tray with a built-in bud vase. The price tag is a little high at $99, but breakfast is cheap, right? How do you show mom you really care with an inexpensive omelet if not by serving it on an absurdly overpriced breakfast in bed tray?

Note: If the above link doesn’t work, look this plastic tray up on TWEAK directly. For some reason, it’s labeled in the url as “chalkboard-stickers.”

Don’t Care Who You Are, Don’t Care What You Do

But whoever you are and whatever you do, DO NOT DO THIS:

Seriously, don’t. I’m so adamant about this that I’m not even going to tell you where you can buy it.

DIY Chalkboard Like a Pro (Instead of Like Me)

Ah, chalkboard paint. I love you so – in fact, I’d go so far to suggest you’re one of the most awesome inventions ever. I mean, come on. Chalkboard paint! Make anything into a chalkboard, and it comes in different colors, too. But, my gosh, are you fickle when you’re not applied to a perfectly smooth surface.

That’s right, my dear readers. If you love the thought of a DIY chalkboard do be prepared to brush on about a bazillion coats and sand thoroughly between each one. If it’s something like a chalkboard table you’re after, that’s one thing because most tables start out relatively smooth. But a chalkboard in the kitchen or in a kid’s room on a normal wall? That’s what we did, and what we thought would be a simple couple-of-coats job turned into a two-day, all day project for The Beard while the baby and I were in Florida.

Oh, things turned out all right – the baby’s room now has an almost floor-to-ceiling framed chalkboard (magnetic, even) that she’s going to love when she’s older. But ask my husband and he’ll tell you that it was a real pain in the rear.

So how do you get a DIY chalkboard like a pro? Easy: Chalkboard decals. There’s no painting, no sanding. You don’t have to worry about taping off an area, and getting cool shapes like fruits, elephants, and such becomes a whole lot easier when you’re dealing with a peel and stick panel. If I was doing the whole project over again, that’s what I’d go for, since the decals aren’t that much more expensive than a can of the paint. The only bonus to painting? A lot of leftover paint, so now I can find smooth things to chalkboardize!

Above: Word bubble decals from Scribble

NtB Loves: Jamie Drake, the King of Color

If your tastes run toward the colorful, you probably adore Jamie Drake’s high-end interior designs as much as I do. His firm, Drake Design Associates (previously), has gained a worldwide rep for color schemes that are at the same time eclectic and sophisticated. Some may wonder how you can stay classy when you’re working with more than three main hues in a room, but Drake does it and he does it well.

These are the offices of Drake Design Associates, to give you one example of how Drake plays with color. With clients as diverse as Madonna and Mayor Michael Bloomberg, he must of course design spaces that aren’t as richly colorful, but even his neutral interiors feel bright and brilliant.


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