Archive - December, 2010

Happy New Year Wishes from Manolo for the Home!

Here’s wishing you and yours a most delightful New Year’s Eve and a happy, prosperous, and beautiful 2011!

Soup and a Sandwich? Yes, Please!

There’s not much that’s more comforting on a cold winter’s day than a bowl of piping hot tomato soup and a warm grilled cheese sandwich. But if you’re like me, figuring out how to serve it – or at least get it to a location that is strategically chosen for movie viewing – is a big pain. A plate and a bowl, and two trips? Or a small bowl on a big plate, where the bowl is sliding around everywhere, threatening to spill soup? I know, I know, I sound like one of those cheesy, inept people on an infomercial… “Opening jars, what a hassle! And it’s so hard!” Still, I do like this soup and sandwich plate from Uncommon Goods for its ability to keep my soup where it belongs.

Great Ideas: A Curtain to Hide an Ugly Wall

Curtains don’t always have to cover windows, you know. Let’s say you’re a renter and are facing the prospect of living or sleeping in a room with one or more very ugly walls. Why not take the curtain concept and apply it to your eyesore of a wall? A few brackets here and there, some hardware, and a beautiful curtain will mean no more suffering ugliness in your personal space.

A Rug for Philatelists and Anglophiles: The Queen’s Head Stamp Rug

Talk about majesty of design! Rug Maker was officially granted a license by Royal Mail to manufacture the Queen’s Head Stamp Rug, a larger than life version of the Queen Elizabeth II stamp that’s suitable for hanging on a wall or *gasp* laying on the floor.

Hand knotted and woven in Nepal from 100% New Zealand wool, these rugs come in a various sizes and colors. The best part, in my humble opinion? The scalloped edges, so like an old fashioned postage stamp just torn from its sheet.

Inspiration: Roses

Roses have long played a role in home decor and decorating. As standalone embellishments – cut roses or rose bushes – the rose has been the front-runner of all the flowers in the world for a centuries. In paintings, carvings, and textiles, roses began appearing (along with other blooms) with regularity in something like the 17th century. And why not? Images of roses are gorgeous whether they’ve been captures true to life or in stylized fashion, in 2D or 3D. Plus, as decor goes, roses tend to be timeless. Not every rose curtain or wallpaper will stand up to the passage of years, of course, but the iconic rose will certainly do so. Love roses? Me, too, which is why I put together a little inspiration for us to share.


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Merry Christmas From Manolo for the Home!

Here’s wishing you and yours a joyous and chic Christmas Eve and Christmas Day!

4 Ways to Make Small Feel Big

Built-Ins, Built-Ins, Built-Ins
Obviously you can bring a ton of furniture into a small house or apartment, but you can maximize the space you have with built-ins like cabinets and cupboards and window benches and bookcases. These don’t have to be as deep as standalone furniture so you’re not encroaching too much on the airspace of the room, and you end up with a place for everything and everything in its place. Have I mentioned that clutter is a major no-no for those of us who live in small houses and apartments?

Divide With Doors
In my house, the kitchen and the living room are open to each other in two ways: a big interior window sort of thing in the wall and the wide doorless doorway between the two rooms. The idea is that a small kitchen and a small living room will feel larger if they’re attached, but instead it ends up feeling like one cramped room because there’s no usage division. Installing a set of French doors in the doorway between the two rooms helps the mind see two separate spaces that are useful and sizable.

Let In the Light
While not a solution for the renter, the homeowner can install more or larger windows that let in light, air, and a view of the wider world that will make a small space feel more ample. Bumped out windows can do a lot to enlarge an awkward space, as can very tall windows.

Make Rooms Do Double Duty
The reality is that if you don’t have a lot of space, you don’t have the luxury of having a room just for X and another just for Y. That means that whenever possible, a room should have more than one purpose. You can put a pretty writing desk in your living room, for example. Your home office can double as your crafting room. A landing can play host to a chest of linens. Bookcases in the dining room. And so on.

What are your favorite tips for making a small house or apartment feel bigger?

My Very Favorite High Chair

The Stokke Tripp Trapp is, in my opinion, the best high chair out there. If you’re starved for space but still need to feed a baby or toddler, it simply takes the place of a normal dining chair right at the table. Add to that the fact that they’re easy to clean and come in amazing colors like red and purple and black aaand they’re just so much cooler than the plastic monstrosities covered in animal prints that can absolutely overtake a kitchen.

What else can I say? My daughter loves sitting in her red Stokke Tripp Trapp because it means she gets to sit at the table with mama and papa instead of off to the side, and that I think is my favorite thing about it.

The one caution I’d offer up is that some people have posted videos of their toddlers tipping the Tripp Trapp. Personally, we’ve never had that happen and I’ve heard that it’s only really an issue if the seat isn’t placed correctly for the height of the table. And every Tripp Trapp high chair comes with base extenders for anyone with a particularly leggy toddler.

Has anyone out there reading had a different experience – perhaps an instance of a tipping Tripp Trapp in your own household? I’d love to hear about it because it seems exceedingly rare.

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