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Cool Crafting, No Hot Glue In Sight

I was all set to post about a cute little crafting project that lets you make a ‘please remove your shoes’ sign because, hey, no one wants beach sand or road sand tracked all over their floors. But as I was poking around the Intertubes wondering what else I could include to flesh things out a little, I happened upon a much radder DIY project that is as cool as the other was country-ish.

DIY pacman chair

I won’t say this is an easy DIY Pacman couch project — think woodworking and upholstery shaping, not Mod Podge and a couple of minutes with a cordless drill. But for those with the time, energy, space, and materials money to give it a go, I say try it! Then (whether or not you’re successful) send me a link so I can feature it here, of course.

Trees, Three Ways

There’s a long tradition of looking to nature for inspiration in art and design, and no wonder. Once upon a time, there was nothing but pure imagination and what you could see around you in the great outdoors. Nowadays we have a lot more to look at, but nature continues to inspire those who create.

tree bed

The tree bed from Shawn Lovell Metalworks is a wee bit pricey at $15,000, but how delightful to sleep and dream in the comforting arms of a break in the woods. There’s even a nest for passing birds overhead!

tree-clothes-line

For those who wish to dry their duds the old fashioned way, Insitu has stylized tree clothes lines, suitable for indoor or outdoor use. The colors are great, though the $600 price tag leaves a lot to be desired.

tree vase, tree pot

These look like slim vases, but they’re actually quite tall. Jean-Marie Massaud’s Missed Tree Flower Pot has a sturdy steel base so you can be quite sure you won’t be left shouting timber as your beautiful pot crashes the ground.

An Elegant, Comfy, Lived-In Space

Among the many books I received as a gift this Christmas, Wary Meyers’ Tossed & Found by Linda and John Meyers was a definite favorite. The husband and wife team visits places where furniture goes to die and brings that furniture back to life in awesome ways. It’s very. very cool.

So imagine my delight when I discovered that the Meyers have on their web site not only pictures of the spaces they have designed and decorated for others, but also photographs of their own home, which they call “a work in progress.”

oriental inspired living room

Color, color, and more color defines this space — but it’s not overwhelming, balanced as it is by the muted couch and unusual but unobtrusive coffee table. This is just one corner of a living room that is elegant and beautiful, but also obviously made for living. It doesn’t look like a cut-out from a magazine; it looks like someone’s home.

mod dining room

Love the table. Love the chairs. Love the sideboard, exclamation point. Love the wallpaper. And love the way this dining room exists seamlessly between the living room and the kitchen.

old fashioned bedroom

And don’t even get me started! This guest room reminds me so much of a childhood spent in the house of a determined art book collector that it’s not even funny. I used to go to sleep surrounded by books upon books in a cozy room with mod furniture and eclectic artwork on the walls. Does this room’s familiarity make me love it more than I might? Just a little, but I like it plenty fine anyway.

I Am Not a Paper Cup, But I Sure Look Like One

Those among us who love coffee or tea or hot chocolate and find ourselves buying it in the outside world tend to accumulate a lot of paper cups on our desks and in our cars. I’m not sure whether those things are recyclable, but I dutifully throw the cups and sleeves in with the paper and the lids in with the plastic each week. Still, it would be nice to not have all that paper and plastic being produced in the name of delicious hot beverages. Coffee from home? We can do that, but the free insulated travel mug we got at a grand opening is so dull. It was in looking for an alternative that I found these travel mugs, which I love.

I Am Not A Paper Cup

The DCI I Am Not a Paper Cup cup is the standard by which I judge other travel mugs, if only because I saw it first. It doesn’t leak, has an air chamber to keep hot things hot, and it doesn’t get overhot to the touch. No logos, and no Styrofoam.

travel mug lids

The I Am Not a Paper Cup comes with amatching silicone lid, but you might lose it, so they sell replacements.

NY coffee cups

Want something a little more colorful in which to carry your coffee? The NY style coffee cup is one suggestion, though I’m not 100% sure you can find lids to match. Full disclosure: I grew up drinking hot chocolate from these (the paper sort) on cold winter days, so I have a certain fondness for them whether they have lids or not.

ceramic coffee cup

Here’s another ceramic cup option, specifically one that comes with a silicone sleeve that looks remarkably like one of the nubby cardboard ones. Benefits? It’s slightly less expensive.

silicone coffee sleeve

Or you can buy the I Am Not a Paper Cup and get a silicone coffee sleeve separately for four bucks (i.e., the price of a latte). The upside to this is that you can choose a color other than “cardboard.”

melamine coffee cup

Of course, if you’re a butterfingers who routinely drops your coffee, tea, or hot chocolate, perhaps the melamine coffee cup would be the best option for you. It’s the least expensive option, it omes with a silicone lid, and it is ready to accept standard-size paper sleeves or a reusable silicone sleeve.

Patchy-Patchy

We’re already in the habit of throwing old quilts over the furniture to protect everything from cat hair, so is it any surprise I’m digging on patchwork furniture? I swear I run the vacuum and the Roomba daily, but our cats are like tarantulas, defensively ejecting their hair everywhere. I’m not sure what it accomplishes, but it sure seems to satisfy them. So, quilts. I’m thinking patchwork couches and chairs would save us a step (though not the need to vacuum hourly).

patchwork furniture

Want to be all patchy-patchy? Try Squint Limited, makers of all things rocking the patchwork look. This isn’t your grandma’s patchwork, however. It’s bright and bold and fun and not at all dowdy.

patchwork couch 2

Of course, there’s nothing wrong with grandma’s couch or something like it. A patchwork daybed, perhaps — easy to do with nothing more than a throw!

patchwork chair

Depending on how DIY proficient you are, you could try your hand at a patchwork reupholster project. Find a sturdy free chair, and you’ve got yourself something sweet on the cheap.

patchwork couch

Big patchwork squares are balanced with little patchwork squares from Bazaar Style: Decorating With Market and Vintage Finds by Selina Lake (a very fun book, if I may say so).

patchwork furniture 2

A traditionally-shaped couch gets a new look with beautiful patchwork fabrics in the home of Mark Homewood, a buyer for interiors and textile company Designers Guild. I love how it’s set in an otherwise modern living area. (via)

Shelving It

The Beard and I are starting to think seriously about home renovations, which is a good thing when you consider that I have an office and he doesn’t, and the entire upstairs of our house is basically unfinished. We think, though we’re not entirely sure, that we’ve figured out a way to turn the upstairs floor (which is currently divided into two fairly large rooms) into two small offices and one big master bedroom. That would leave us with two children’s bedrooms on the first floor and a basement that said children can eventually destroy, thus saving my living room from wear and tear.

This change, if it’s even possible, is quite a ways off, which is fine since we’re still, nearly eight months later, getting used to managing the day-to-day responsibilities of being parents, homeowners, employees, and well-rounded grownup people. Oh, and Horde warriors, but that’s another tale for another day.

Back to those small offices. I’m not sure what The Beard will do with his other than fill it with expensive audio equipment and an ankle deep pile of papers, but I plan to actually work in mine since that’s what I do in my current, rather more expansive home office. Moving upstairs will mean some things have to go — like my freestanding bookshelves, for example. So what to do, what to do…

There’s this:

storyteller shelves

Isabel Quiroga’s Storyteller Shelves could be a fun DIY project resulting in some truly deep shelves. And cheap, too, if I have the patience to scour the classifieds for legged coffee tables that are just about the same width. Plus a similarly-sized desk. Overall, I love the look (not to mention the color!), and it’s something I’d consider if it happened that the Craiglist freebies board became inundated with shorty tables.

(via)

A Puzzle Ready to Be Solved

colorful flooring

Sometimes working with color can take major cajones, especially when it’s not paint or a new couch you’re talking about. When it’s the floor that’s colorful, you can’t just slap on a coat or throw a rug over it when you get a little bored. You’re in it for the long haul. Colorful flooring can be anything from painted wood to linoleum . In this case, I am pretty sure designers Tham and Videgard Hansson used tinted hardwood to create rooms that flow into one another like seasons.

colorful floor

White furniture is used throughout the house, which makes a lot of sense since each individual room reflects some of the color scheme of the surrounding rooms. It’s harmonious as a whole, meaning that working with individual rooms would be difficult, if not nightmarish. Plus, white furniture lets the flooring (and walls, in case you hadn’t noticed) take center stage.

colorful floor

I think I’m in love!

Here’s the floorplan, in case you’re wondering how it all fits together:

patterned floor design

(via)

Browse: The Conran Shop

Every now and then I highlight a shop here on the Home blog, though admittedly I haven’t done so for quite some time. Nothing, to tell you the truth, has caught my eye lately. Today’s seller of note, The Conran Shop, actually re-entered my field of consciousness when I found an advert I’d ripped out of the New York Times Style mag ages and ages ago. I loved the selection of products featured in the ad: multi-color headphones, a miniature electric guitar and amp, toy helicopters, retro iPod docks, and other stuff designed to add a little fun to life.

the conran shop

Here are a few things that just now caught my eye… Charles and Ray Eames succumbed to the charms of the elephant and in 1945 designed a toy version made of plywood. However, it never made it into mass production, until now! This adorable red one is plastic, but what can you do? And how about that spacey radio? Designed by Yves Malka & Pierre de Poucques, the Apollo AM/FM radio’s controls are integrated into the design, rather than relying on buttons and knobs. Have a blast watching your friends figure out how to turn it on! Then there is the cheerfyl Japanese moneybox, the magnetboard sheep with farmalicious magnets, and all of the gorgeous furniture sold by this store.

Seriously, go and have a look — it’s worth the time. Even if, like me, you can’t afford much, it is still fun to browser shop.

This Old House Beautiful?

Today’s post is a shorty because my grandparents just rolled into town. Just about the only house and home topic on my mind today is how when I glanced at the cover of my latest This Old House magazine, I thought I was looking at House Beautiful.

living room

Did I miss an editorial change? I’m used to seeing hardcore manly power tool reviews and full on tutorials teaching things like how to install a deck or water heater. This past issue, however, was full of cozy storage solutions and cutesy upgrades that involved decorating rather than building (or, my favorite, demolition). Not that I’m complaining, mind. It was just… weird.

Four Things I’m Loving Right Now

1. Paloma’s nursery:

modern nursery

All right, so by the time Paloma actually has a proper nursery (hey, she was early) she’ll probably be extremely embarrassed to hear me even saying the word. For now, she spends most of her time in my black-and-red themed home office — the space that will eventually become her room. And we’ll probably keep that theme. But until that dream becomes a reality, I can fantasize all I want about building the perfect nursery from the ground up… or letting ducduc do it for me.

2. The color gray:

gray living room

Cool, somber, elegant. What’s not to like? Don’t think gray is too dark for small spaces. It’s not. A lighter gray can actually make a small space look bigger!

3. Houzz

Houzz

The Washington Post calls it “the Flickr of design idea sites,” which isn’t too bad of a description. You can search through thousands of photos of interiors by professional designers and save the ones that inspire you in your online idea book… Which means yours truly can finally toss out some of the magazine clippings she’s been sitting on for ages.

4. Hanging things up:

picture frames

With the baby underfoot or attached to me at all times, I don’t get much done around the house anymore. Projects like tiling the mudroom or tackling the bare upstairs room have been put on the back burner for the time being. Just about the only thing I can do is affix things to the walls. Hanging things up makes me feel like I’m actually doing something to add a little zest to my living spaces, and I heartily recommend it to those with a desire for change but not a lot of free time.

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