Archive - May, 2011

For the First Time Ever, Loving the Mess!

Hate to see a messy table? You just might like this one. AZE Design‘s “MESSY” project brings back the idea of really spending time at the table as a social event. For many of us, meals are taken on the go, alone or in the car – the Messy tablecloth wants to remind us that a meal is an opportunity to spend time together. For breakfast or for dinner, MESSY is a reminder that meals are best shared, even if that means things get a bit messy in the process.

Finally, a spill I don't have to worry about

Messy breaky, yum

AZE Design is a polish design studio established in 2006 by Anna Kotowicz and Artur Puszkarewicz, with a focus on combining traditional handicraft techniques – hello, embroidery! – with contemporary materials and processes. Kotowicz and Puszkarewicz practice what they call MINDMADE design, which aims to transform everyday situations into usable art. In this case, I’d say they’ve succeeded beautifully!

DIY Decorating You Can Actually Do (and Be Proud Of)

I’m a big fan of DIY decorating – mainly because I’m not exactly loaded in the money department. Would I hire someone else to handle all the finer details of my house if could afford it? Absolument! As it stands, though, if I want something, I can either keep wanting it or figure out how to make a reasonable approximation of that something in my extremely limited amount of free time. The good news? Once you start on the DIY decorating path, you learn some skills and the whole DIY thing gets easier. The bad news? Getting started isn’t always easy, especially if you’re stepping out onto the path with zero experience.

And that’s where tutorials fit in. Of course, if you (like me) scour blogs for DIY decorating tips, then you know that what’s out there ranges from uber fabulous to weirdly wtf. Books tend to be one step up from blogs in the DIY decorating department, if only because there are editors busting out the quality control on the step-by-step so you don’t get to Step 5 and start scratching your head.

Right now, when it comes to DIY decorating, I am digging on Crafting a Meaningful Home: 27 DIY Projects to Tell Stories, Hold Memories, and Celebrate Family Heritage.

If you can follow directions, you can prettify your home. True story.

Crafting a Meaningful Home contains 27 projects designed to tell your personal story or to share your cultural heritage (all of which can be done on a budget by the novice DIYer). All of the projects come from well-known designers, so you know you won’t just be slapping craft paper on tissue boxes when you decide to buy this book.

Of course, necessity isn’t the only reason to engage in DIY decorating and to turn what we already have into something more beautiful. Elise Boulding said: Frugality is one of the most beautiful and joyful words in the English language, and yet one that we are culturally cut off from understanding and enjoying. The consumption society has made us feel that happiness lies in having things, and has failed to teach us the happiness of not having things. In this case, new and mass produced things.

P.S. – I also like this book and this book… what are some of YOUR favorite DIY guides, online or off?

Inspiration: A Splash of Pink

Too much pink, and a room can end up looking like my daughter’s room. Which is great when you’re 2 – we get a lot of compliments, actually – but possibly not so good when you’re 32. Decorating with pink? Proceed with caution. Maybe think in terms of splashes of pink instead of huge swathes of the stuff. Kind of like this:

Pink door by Alain Briot

An arrangement of pink blossoms

(more…)

The Classic Greyhound Statue: Yes or No?

Upon first glance, white ceramic greyhound statues seem like something you’d find in a new Long Island residence with Italinate features, lots of pink pastels inside, and a huge fountain set in an inappropriately small lawn outside. What can I say? I grew up on Long Island and saw a lot of places like that, and the older I became, the less I liked them.

While I haven’t changed my mind about the giant lawn fountains or the raging palette of pastels, I think I’m changing my mind about the white porcelain greyhound sculptures. I’m not saying a greyhound statue is something that would find a forever home in my little house, but I could see one serving as a foil for other types of decor for a while. And white is still white hot, as is shiny white ceramics. Even ceramic animals!

So enter the greyhound statue!

Greyhound in repose

Greyhounds upright

Or a greyhound in a collar?

I say that while I like ceramic greyhound sculptures, I’ll add that they’re not for every person or every decor. In my own little house, I think they’d come off as kind of ironic, and a nod to a weird past. What say you: Regal, or ridiculous?

Inspiration: Mason Jar Lights, Y’All

If you drink homemade iced tea from a mason jar, you may be from the south. Or you may just be visiting me, since a good portion of our drinking glasses actually started out as pasta sauce jars. Surely, mason jars aren’t everyone’s cup… of tea? But I like the way they feel: not delicate, but not particularly heavy, either. Substantial, you might say. And that heft is precisely what makes them good for using in DIY projects. Like mason jar centerpieces, for example. Or how about lights!

Easy enough to do, I should think, and virtually free with the right sauce.

Design*Sponge has an easy tutorial (though it does require an electrician)

Well, y’all, what do you think? Oh so awesome, or way too rustic?

Pallets In the Bedroom?

Looks great, but where'd it come from?

If I say shipping pallet furniture, what comes to mind? I immediately think of stacks and stacks of flat pack being unloaded at Ikea’s back door, but that’s just me. And it’s just wrong. Turns out that people are making more than just frames out of old, no longer useful shipping pallets. There are a ton of DIY projects for the home out there that start and end with shipping pallets. Shipping pallets, you may be surprised to discover, can be made into everything from headboards to patio furniture to bookshelves and more.

But is it safe?

Maybe, maybe not. It all depends on where your pallet was born and what it has been used for since. If you want to embark upon a DIY pallet project, make sure the pallets you have at your disposal were made in the U.S. and used within its borders. Pallets used for international shipping, you see, have to be treated with some heavy duty pesticides that sink right into the porous wood. Would I want my kid sleeping up against wood treated with methyl bromide every night? Not particularly. So when you’re collecting pallets for projects, stay safe and make sure you know their chain of custody before making them into a coffee table.

What say you: Pallet furniture… cool or meh?

4 Ways to Make Your Office (or Cube) Your Own

Make it yours, even if it isn't!

Decorating a home office? No problem, it’s yours. Rip up the floor, put up wallpaper, switch out the furniture, bring in a pet bed, whatever. You can do whatever you want because you own or are renting the space. But what about those people who are stuck in an office or worse, a cubicle? Floors? You’re stuck with them. Wall color you don’t like? Too bad. Lighting terrible? There may be a workaround, but are there outlets available? Making an office feel truly like a home away from home isn’t always entirely possible, but that’s no reason not to spruce up your workstation a little bit. It could even make your job feel a little less like a job!

Here are four things to think about when decorating an office or decorating a cubicle:

Consider Your Corporate Culture
Do you work in finance or entertainment? Is your office dress code buttoned up or dressed down? It’s important to remember your corporate culture when decorating an office or decorating a cubicle. If you have art and accessories in mind, imagine how your boss would feel about a client seeing them. When an office or cube looks like a teenager’s room, the occupant has gone too far. Keep it grown up, unless your clients are kids. Decorating an office or a cube with grown up gear isn’t always the most fun option, but higher ups are often sticklers for seriousness. In fact, studies have shown that too much decorating can get you passed over for promotions!

Get Thee Some Cute Desk Accessories
Maybe in your particular workplace you can’t decorate your office much, but you can at least ditch the plain black stapler and tape dispenser and calendar desk blotter in favor of something more colorful and interesting. How about a DIY trashcan that lets you reuse all those pesky plastic bags. And speaking of cute desk accessories, you can create a color scheme just for your desk – making it your island in a see of corporate conformity. Best part? Your coworkers may be so jealous of your cool gear that they start upgrading, too.

Ditch the “Art;” Bring In Your Own Art
If you’re decorating a cubicle, you can hang smallish things on your “wall” but if you’re in an office, you may have been assigned that space, only to find out that a boss or owner had already hung something like art on the walls. Ack. But why not just take a deep breath and ask the boss(wo)man if it would be all right if you brought in your own office-appropriate wall art? Worst s/he can say is no, and sure, it’s a possibility. But there’s always a chance that the “art” in situ was already there when boss(wo)man showed up and s/he hates it, too.

Not Everything You Contribute to Your Office Ambiance Must Be Useful
So you brought in some awesome desk accessories, like so:

cat tape dispenserpop up pencil holderpencil sharpener
pink scissorsrobot desk lamprainbow file folders

Now what? What about something like a big wooden ampersand? Or a Buddha statue? Anything, within reason, of course, but if you can figure out some way to tie your office decor or cubicle decor together (color palette, theme, etc.) all the better.

Image: Style North

Inspiration: Beds Plus Storage

In small spaces and big ones, you can never have enough storage. Under the bed is one piece of real estate that, in my opinion, not enough people utilize. Sure, you could grab a couple of those flat plastic bins meant to slide right under, but if you can incorporate storage right into the bed itself, why not?

From home-designing.com

From ilovewildfox.com

digsdigs.com

From livingetc.vom

From myhomeideas.com

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