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Space Saver Staircases

My sister, who lives in Chicago in a late 19th century architectural gem has a loft that needs a new staircase, so I’ve been thinking a lot lately about ladders, and spiral staircases and other moderately affordable, space saving solutions to her problem.

A spiral stair case would be a dramatic and attractive solution. I, mean, look at this:

Sprial staircase

It’s attractive in a modern way, it doesn’t take up much of the precious floor space, and it looks like great fun. The problem, however, is that spiral staircases are really only for the young and healthy. If you’re a stout person, or elderly, or someone with a bum knee, then a spiral staircase is not the ideal mode of transportation between floors. The treads are too narrow and the turns are too tight for many of us to negotiate in comfort.

The better solution, for her however, is a space-saving staircase (especially if grandma comes to visit). The treads are not quite as narrow, and for a loft like my sister has with a shorter distance to top than a full second floor, there’s no need to put in turns to save space.

The traffic to her loft is comparatively light, they use it mostly for storage, so I would say a relatively inexpensive modular staircase might get the job done.

Defying Gravity, Saving H2O

Boskke Sky Planters, which recently won a 2011 Red Dot award in the product design category, may change how you take care of houseplants. Especially if, like me, you have any kind of pets in your home with a serious lust for greens (or kids with a thing for dirt). Currently, we can only keep plants in the bedroom, which is a no cats allowed zone, so I have some Sky Planters on order. I know for a fact that as crafty as my animals are, they cannot jump as high as hanging plants. Problem, research, solution, and here we are:

Chance of over-watering = slight.

Counter space, available.

Rethink how you decorate with plants.

Beautiful with an orchid, but perhaps even better with basil!

Designed by New Zealand designer Patrick Morris.

Spring by Wildspirit

The Spring tabouret created by Dutch designer Erik Jansen for Wildspirit is a simple and elegant seating piece that is most definitely eye-catching.

The Spring tabouret, has the shape of a beautiful flower and is made out of bamboo stripes that have been cut and bowed in a very special way. This nice experiment results in an extremely flexible and functional sitting pouf decorating your kitchen, lounge bar, living room,…

The Spring stool is a flower, made out of a bamboo strain, cut in a new way. It is a nice experience to be carried by this flexible and comfortable stool. When looking to the “Spring”, you always get an optimistic and sunny feeling.

In my house, Spring would look lovely in the living room in those spaces that are too big to stay empty but too small for something like a table or armchair. But is Spring comfortable, as Wildspirit claims? Have a look and decide for yourself. My guess is probably not as comfortable as they’d like you to believe.

Check the unique interplay between the classic table and modern chairs

Spring: Durable bamboo in a beautiful and unique shape

In conclusion: I love the look, but would still rather have one of these.

A Classic Clock Made Modern

There are numerous wooden clocks out there – this one and this one come to mind as particularly interesting examples, not so much this one – but none tickles my fancy so much as this one that caught my eye as I was browsing Etsy the other day.

Could you, WOOD you, love it?

Created by Cameron MacLean, craftsman and owner of Offcutstudio, this maple wood clock has taken the traditional classic alarm clock and pared it down to its basic elements. The blank face and unexpected material turn this basic clock into something much more interesting and engaging. I don’t know about you, but I’d be tempted to pick this wooden clock up just to see if it was heavy or light, smooth or rough.

What say you: Too simple? Or just right? Would it fit into your decor and personal style?

Decorative and Functional: Mariage Frères 1930 Art Deco Tea Pots

Tea, hot and beautiful.

Lovely, no? The emblematic art deco tea pots used at Mariage Frères tea salons since the early days are a beautiful example of how form and function can collide perfectly in an utterly simple household object. Each tea pot is wrapped in a removable shell of highly polished steel, which works to retail heat keeping your tea at the perfect drinkable temperature for an hour. Visit MariageFrese.com to purchase one of their gorgeous tea pots or some of the best – and possibly also most expensive – tea you’ll ever drink. Feel free to double your order and send your excess to moi!

P.S. – Did you know that Manolo for the Home is on Facebook? We’d love your likes and your uploads – it’s a great place to share your decor ideas, pics, and inspiration with the rest of us!

The Essence of Nature/Art/Furniture/Etc. from the Heads at Pulpo

There’s no winning in the game of blogging home decor and accessories and design because you can’t please all of the people all of the time. That’s cool; it’s all part of the fun. I know that utramod isn’t everyone’s cup of tea – when I’ve gone through my mod phases, I’ve gotten complaints – but I have to show off some of the sweet gear from Germany’s Pulpo. The brand, if that’s what you’d call it, works in cooperation with some absolutely fabulous designers to release furniture, lighting, and accessories that explore the essence of the things we find in our homes.

This table, it is the bomb?

A classic clock, pared down some. Or a lot.

Simply natural tea towel hangers, or nature made better.

Don't toss that box!

The essence of lamp?

A pair of antlers I can actually get behind.

I love them all – even the box table, which I think may be the most controversial product in the lineup. And even though nothing from Pulpo comes cheap. What do you think? Could you find a place for a little ultramod in your own home, even if you’re more of a traditionalist?

Inspiration: Bespoke Printed Furniture By Zoe Murphy

If there’s one person out there designing furniture using all of my favorite things, it’s British textile designer Zoe Murphy. Her repurposed mid-century modern furniture pieces and printed vintage textiles are just a treat for the eye! She applies prints she draws of her home town and gorgeous patterns, along with happy colors, in unexpected ways. At least I find her furniture designs unexpected!

Zoe Murphy is my new favorite person

Get a load of those colors...

She even makes art, suqeeee!

Did I mention she makes art for walls, too? Murphy keeps a blog if you want to see what she’s up to these days!

A Sweet Play On the Traditional Starburst Mirror

I should say first of all that this particular sunburst mirror was a cheap and relatively easy DIY project undertaken by Monica Ewing, Sunset Home senior designer. Okay, okay, so she’s got some home decorating cred that most of us don’t have, but the posted instructions seem pretty simple. And it obviously came out gorgeous, so there’s no reason we can’t try it.

Amazing what a little paint can do, no?

But this totally fun play on the traditional starburst mirror started out its life in plain white, and that wasn’t thrilling Ms. Ewing. A few coats of a trip of blues by Benjamin Moore, and this was the end result. Love it! Isn’t it cool what just a little paint (and a steady hand) can do?

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