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Deocrating My Imaginary Restaurant

Il Milione Restaurant in Hong Kong

Sometime I like to imagine that I’m opening up a high-end restaurant or bar, which is odd, because my very brief brush with working in a restaurant, bussing tables, left me scarred for life. But then I see a picture like the one above, of the restaurant Il Milione in Hong Kong, and think that I’d like to own a restaurant.

I have to clarify that I don’t want to be a celebrity chef, I just want to be the owner, the guy who sits at the bar talking to customers and occasionally easting tasty things my chef sends out from the kitchen.

Here’s another picture from Il Milione (taken from the website of Hill Cross Furniture, the English firm that provided all of the furnishings.)

Il Milione Restaurant in Hong Kong

This is the real reason why I want to own a restaurant, because I want to hang out in semi-public spaces that look like this, and because I want people to admire my good taste.

Also, because building a restaurant is the ultimate exercise in remodeling, you find a space, imagine what it will look like, and then try to impose your vision on that space given your budget and the competency of your workmen and contractors. Picking out chairs and tables to put in my imaginary restaurant is my idea of fun.

Happily, I know my limits. Building the restaurant according to my vision, and sitting at the bar in it after it’s open, is about as far as I want to actually go in the food service industry.

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!

Loving: CLINQS (plus Bonus Feature)

I’m not a big fan of wine glass charms, what with their being so clinkety-clinkety when I’m just trying to drinkety-drinkety. But I’m also no great fan of inadvertently sharing stems with either people I do not know or people I’d rather not kiss. Enter Clinqs, reusable drink stickers made of vinyl that are tough enough to get washed or even microwaved without losing their stick. And despite the name, there’s not a clink to be heard.

Clinqs for cold

Clinqs for hot

Also, WANT:

Pencil hedgie!

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!

Mismatched Dining Chairs Take the Blah Out of Budgeting

When outfitting the kitchen or the dining room with somewhere to sit, don’t feel like you have to buy four or six or eight matching chairs – especially if buying eight of the chairs you love is way impossible within the confines of your budget! Mismatched dining chairs can be a lot of fun when you make the effort to have fun with them. Let’s say you can get ONE of those chairs you love. Why not source the rest of thrift or consignment shops or Craigslist? Look for interesting shapes that complement that favorite chair – but don’t worry too much about color, because paint and glaze can go a long way toward achieving a unified look. See?

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Not Necessarily My Style, But I’m Still In Lust

I don’t know the story behind this table – I found it on my wanderings and a Tineye search yielded nothing – but I’m finding it really, really inspirational. Normally, I lean toward Saarinen’s beautiful Tulip table when I think of how I’d like to outfit my kitchen. But there’s something about invading my rather artificial and absurdly colorful cooking and eating space with natural, unfinished wood that makes me feel a little giddy.

Does anyone else get a kick out of doing that – of taking something ridiculously out of place and making it the focal point of a room that’s decorated in a completely different style?

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.

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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