Archive - April, 2011

I’m in Lust With This Built-In Book Nook

A built-in book nook to die for!

When I’m reading, where I actually am has never been the important thing. I love reading on packed trains, in turbulent planes, and yes, I’m even one of those nasty people who will happily read in the bathroom.* If I’m truly immersed in a book, the rest of the world just disappears. But I understand that for many people, the enjoyment of reading is heightened by by doing the deed in relative comfort, and perhaps even in beauty. Do I need a built-in book nook to be a happy reader? No. Nor does anyone else. But I am nonetheless in true lust with this particular built-in book nook, surrounded as it is with built-in shelves and filled with its many throw pillows. And the drawers and the wallpaper! I think I could even happily sleep in it, as long as I didn’t have to share.

Do you have a special reading spot that enhances your reading experience?

*In my defense, with a toddler demanding my attention it’s one of the few places I can read for a few minutes without any interruption!

NtB Is of Two Minds When It Comes to Decor – Are You?

Sometimes I think I really want my entire living space to look something like this:

Mmmmodern classic

Then I wake up the very next day and find myself longing for something like this:

Cute and colorful

It’s just one of those things – unless you have two homes or a really big house that allows for for multiple decorative zones, you have to make some exclusionary decisions when you’re planning our your decor scheme. Maybe one day you lust after a modern look and the next you’re suddenly feeling the country thing… or even that you can’t reconcile your love of studio apartments with your desire not to be living above and below other people. I think living style can be even harder to narrow down. House in the suburbs? A few acres in the country? Bustling city flat? How can you ever really choose?

Where do you find you’re of two minds when it comes to decor?

Sweet Ideas for the Parent: Curtain Room Dividers in Studio Apartments

How much space is necessary to raise a child? I would never claim to be an expert, even with a child of my own. Some days, I feel like we could happily roam the country in an RV. Other days, my little Cape Cod house feels almost too small to contain the twister that is a tantruming toddler. If you’ve ever wondered how someone could possible cope with raising a child in a small home, it may surprise you to learn that I’ve known a few people who’ve shared studio apartments with partners and toddlers. And successfully, too. Could I do it? Sure, Do I want to? Nope! With a baby, maybe, but not with a toddler. Sometimes – very occasionally, promise – it’s that cheap hollow door between her and me that keeps La Paloma on this earth.

IF I was going to move into a studio loft apartment with my family, I think I would at least need something, anything to differentiate my space from kid space. Maybe that space would be a corner for a grownup bedroom or a built in reading nook or even a biggish closet with the doors taken off that’s just big enough to hold a desk. But whatever it was, there would be curtain room dividers. Nice heavy, drapey ones that you couldn’t see through. DIY drop cloth curtains, perhaps. If you think hospital curtains when you think curtain room dividers, don’t! Curtain room dividers for the studio apartment family, even the single gal or guy, can look pretty darn good!

Super small spaces can benefit from a couple of curtains

Even if all that's blocked off is the bed...

You could SO DIY this one

What else is great about curtain room dividers in small spaces? In addition to looking good, they provide you with another degree of flexibility when it comes to how you utilize the available space. And they’re a lot less expensive than bookshelves and standing room dividers. Installation can be super easy, too, and there’s the fact that there are a bunch of different ways to hang a curtain in a rented space that won’t make it so you lose your deposit.

While a curtain room divider may not be as good as a wall when it comes to putting yourself in time out so you don’t FedEx your kids to Dubai, they’re still better than nothing!

Sushi Furniture That Looks Good Enough to… Sit On? Love it lots!

Looking for seating that’s trend-friendly and different and modern and also inspired by food? Then how could you not dig sushi furniture from Sushi Style by Mimi Tin? These definitely don’t fall into the category of ‘cheap and funky gear that’s all but disposable.’ Tin uses silk thread to weave the designs on her entire line of sushi furniture, from the multi-purpose ottomans that can be used as a chair or, when you remove the “seaweed wrap,” as cushions to child-sized sushi beanbags and other fun things.

Mimi Tin, of Sushi Style

The Cali ottoman

The Carrot ottoman

And poufs!

As you probably guessed, this particular sushi furniture isn’t cheap, but I was actually surprised to see that it doesn’t cost more. An ottoman and cushion set – sushi wrapped in seaweed, I mean – will run you $625. And if that feels a bit steep in the context of your current circumstances, you can always sate your appetite for sushi furniture with one of Mimi Tin’s adorable sushi poufs!

Sweet Inspiration: Candy Dots

Candy dots… candy buttons… whatever you call the classic candy, it’s pretty cute. If you didn’t happen to see it, I featured a candy dots wedding cake over at Manolo for the Brides last week, and it got me to thinking how much I’d love candy buttons fabric. And then THAT thought made me wonder if anyone out there has been inspired by candy dots. Turns out there aren’t many – makes me think candy buttons furniture would fall into the DIY realm – but I did find a few interesting things to get the DIY part of your mind racing!

A candy buttons bench for Lollies Candy Company by Jellio

You can buy an indoor Button Bench - with rubber buttons - at Jellio's website!

The bummer is that the indoor and outdoor benches were the only candy dots inspired furniture I could find. BUT I did find some fun accessories for one’s person that are perfect for anyone who still finds herself jonesing for these sugary nibbles.

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Yes or No: Are Decorative Plates Just for Grandmas?

I guess I’ve been a little obsessed with walls and wall art the latter half of this week. So I promise this will be my last post about walls and things that go on walls for at least a fortnight or so. What got me thinking about decorative plates was these decorative plates that used to adorn my grandparents’ walls – they were illustrated with extremely striking images from old Russian folk tales and they were my introduction to stories like The Snowmaiden and Ivanushka the Simpleton. These particularly decorative plates were really very beautiful – I think they were issued by the Metropolitan Museum of Art and were based on paintings by noted artist Boris Zworykin. But even so, when I think decorative plates, my brain always jumps to the dorky commemorative plates that were advertised on TV when I was a kid.

In other words, I have mixed emotions about decorative plates. But after looking around a bit, I’ve found that a plate display can be pretty cool, especially when you’re using cool plates and not weird commemorative plates featuring politicians, baseball legends and dead Hollywood icons. Here are a few examples:

I'm liking the swoop

Pretty!

Fun decorative plate designs by Christopher Paul

So what do you think? Can decorative plates move past their terrible 1980′s incarnations, back to the days when people who just hang pretty plates up in lieu of art or photographs? Or have they been ruined by their association with people who can’t stop buying Franklin Mint products?

And Following In the Footsteps of Yesterday’s Post…

A little more nightmare fuel. Because apparently for every 100 super chic or cute or comfortable furnishings or accessories for the home, there are frightening things being produced by small artisans for those who don’t find the real world scary enough. Like pillows featuring children’s heads with empty eyes or even, for the outdoorsy types among us, vegetables with faces. So you want a wall of art? How about a whole wall of these:

It's trying to get in!

An up close and personal view of your worst nightmare

From the shop listing:

A wooden support structure is built. To this, styrofoam is added and carved into the basic tentacle shape. It is then closely covered in aluminum wire mesh. In the meantime, newsprint is boiled, then whipped into a mush. The mush is allowed to dry over a period of several days, then it is ground into a fine powder. This is combined with sawdust, glue, starch, linseed oil and a bit of bleach and applied to the mesh by it pushing into the mesh to form a very solid base coat. After this coat dries, it is refined with rasps, and a finer mixture of pulped tissue paper,glue and gypsum is applied and allowed to dry. This makes a very nice finish coat. After it dries, the whole piece is sanded and further refined. Each sucker is built in a 3 stage process over a period of several days. Once the piece is thoroughly dry, it is painted in many thin layers with an airbrush. The depth of the color is further enhanced by a finish coating of highly glossy shellac. The end product is both lightweight and quite durable.

And a steal at $1,100! Okay, not really, but it’s pretty obvious that a lot of work goes into one of these bad boys! Would you buy one?

Christa Loves: Art Walls!

Much much better than the wall of empty frames is the art wall. Much more grown up. Much less five minutes ago. The art wall is classier, too. Here are some great examples of real-world art walls. Remember, art doesn’t have to be expensive! You can even DIY it!

All the Best by Ronda Carman™: Deconstructing the Art Wall

from James Leland Day

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Make It! A DIY Cushion Ottoman

Box cushions and wood and some casters equal fabulosity

Right now, I am resting my tired dogs on my old nursing stool, so I get no points for style. But I wood would get points for style if I took it upon myself to whip up a rolling DIY ottoman with these sweet cushions and just the tiniest bit of elbow grease using the instructions originally found in the sadly dead Blueprint and then later on in Martha’s blog and then even later on in Casa Sugar. Looks easy enough, though I think if I were making one of these DIY ottomans I’d sew the pillows together tightly (and as invisibly as possible) and then attach them to the base.

What do you think – is the end result worth the time and effort when a cute cube ottoman will not break the bank?

For Monday, Two Looks That Have Got Me Giddy

Just a quick tidbit of inspiration to get your mind rocking and rolling on a Monday otherwise filled with boring things like TPS reports and people asking you how your weekend was even though they don’t actually give a fig. ACTUALLY, SCRATCH THAT. I give a fig. Please tell me and everyone else how your weekend was in the comments and we can all virtually high five each other because we are awesomesauce.

OMG that chair!

OMG that wall!

P.S. – Have you visited Unhappy Hipsters lately? It’s still a winner! And it makes me giggle especially since not too long ago I had some peeps who lived in a Brooklyn apartment that would have been so perfect for that blog.

Images: Lonny

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