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Furniture | Manolo for the Home - Part 20
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Fantastic plastic?

Forget ugly old monobloc white lawn chairs — plastic can indeed be fantastic as is evidenced by the lovely images below. The only thing I can’t vouch for is whether your beshorted legs will stick to these chairs once they’ve spent some time baking in the sun on a hot summer day.

These are prettier than you’d think

The Alchemia Polycarbonate Dining Chair from Calligaris looks smashing as a modern insert in an otherwise traditional dining room, provided you choose the right jewel-like hue.

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Fill your home with stuff that’s good for you

One of the places those of us who are seriously eco-minded fail is in the home. We drive environmentally friendly automobiles, recycle like crazy, buy fair trade coffee and sustainably grown veggies, and organic cotton t-shirts. Go us, right? Then we buy any old rug, furniture made of any old wood, and any old paint. It’s not surprising — after all, the really nice ecologically sensible stuff is reeeaaaaally expensive, right?

You’re only partly right. A lot of it is outlandishly expensive. On the other end of the spectrum, Freecycled furniture is about as low-impact as you can get. And somewhere in the middle you find stores like VivaTerra that have stuff for your home that pairs elegance with eco-friendliness at prices that won’t bankrupt the average buyer.

Peroba Wood Chair ($25 surcharge)Tree Slice Table ($15 surcharge)

I absolutely luuuurve this chair. Oddly enough, however, I had my very own slice of trunk table when I was an apartment dweller. The cross section was a lot bigger and the whole thing was a lot lower, so we gave it away on Craigslist to someone who had the space for it.

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What are you waiting for, exactly?

I’m bummed out today because I just found out that I recently received my last ever issue of Blueprint . Apparently, I’ll be receiving Martha Stewart Living in its place. Waaaah. Why does this bum me out so? Because Blueprint was one of the few mags I could rely on to show me stuff for the home I could actually afford. Sure, it’s fun to browse through House Beautiful with it’s $10,000 couches and $800 lamps, but I get a little discouraged when I can’t afford to implement any of the ideas!

One of the best ideas I ever came across in Blueprint was easy, free, and pointedly logical. Summing it up, the tip read: “Why are you keeping your “good” stuff hidden away? Put it out around your home where you can enjoy it!” I can admit that I’m guilty of having both everyday stuff and nice stuff. While keeping some stuff hidden away, like the good towels for instance, makes sense because you want them to look new when guests come over, there’s plenty of stuff that can take a little wear and tear without changing much.

Too pretty to stay locked away

So what did I keep hidden away until fairly recently? A beautiful full set of Dirilyte flatware in the Empress pattern, for one. What was the point of owning it if I was still using a bunch of mismatched, hand-me-down forks, knives, and spoons? Now my kitchen sparkles every single day. There was also a beautiful khokhloma table that my grandparents brought back with them on a long ago trip to Russia — I found a nice spot for that in my already red office.

The point is, life is short, so we really ought to live fabulously whenever possible. If you entertain a ton, then I suppose there’s no reason not to switch out the workhorses for the show horses because both will see plenty of use. But if you’re like me and prefer that parties take place in other people’s abodes, there’s no reason to keep all that good stuff hidden away. I’d wager that there is at least one beautiful thing — a wine bucket, a candy dish, a footstool, a tablecloth, or a pitcher — that you’re saving for some future day when the right company happens to stop by.

What I’m trying to say is that YOU are the right company. You deserve to eat your microwave burrito off of fine china with the most beautiful of silverware. No one need know that the coffee in your silver coffee pot was made with instant coffee crystals. Similarly, why nibble pricey French pastries off of plates you bought at the Wal*Mart if you have something better right there in your kitchen cabinet? Why put the aromatic teas you love so much in any old pot when your gram’s silver is languishing in the cupboard?

Bust it out! Use it! Trust me when I say your home will be all the more beautiful because of it.

Inspiration to fuel your creative fire

If you’re into stuff for the home, you probably already know that there are 80 billion jillion time wasters out there in Intertubes land. Being that this is the case, I can offer up another time waster without feeling guilty because I know that I will not be responsible for ending your employ or your relationships.

I already know from your comments that at least some of you are into things like Freecycling and furniture hacks, so at least some of you will get a kick out of the stuff at Superuse.

Hang your coat on old Atari controllersLive in a recycled cardboard abode
Pop a squat on some old inner tubesLight up your life with hangers

A quick look around my home tells me that I’ve never re-purposed anything to the extent you see on Superuse. I haven’t, for example, turned an old television into a fish bowl or made a museum-worthy stepping stool out of old glass bottles. My paltry claims to fame usually involve turning an oldeat up desk into a farmy kitchen table and things like that. I am definitely not l337 when it comes to my home decor. Not yet, anyway. I’m working on it.

The sorry tale of my sinking sink

I’m of two minds when it comes to appliances and fixtures that are getting up there in years. On one hand, the logical part of my brain says something like, “If it’s still working all right but looks a little outdated, that’s no reason to toss it to the curb. We’ll find some creative way to incorporate into a new decor scheme.” It’s the budget friendly choice. It’s the environmentally friendly choice.

On the other hand, my reptile mind is saying, “Baby, you’ve just found the perfect excuse to get that new sink you’ve always wanted! You can put it on your credit card…screw the environment.”

Long story short, my kitchen sink is currently propped up on a tower of paint cans to keep it from sinking any deeper into the hole beneath, and my reptile mind has already spent quite a bit of time pricing new sinks. What I discovered, of course, is that there are two kinds of kitchen sinks: the sort I can afford and the sort I actually want.

Model 58173:  Delafield™ Self-rimming Kitchen Sink - White

I can afford the sink above. It’s all right…it’s white, and I like my food prep and personal hygiene spaces to look invitingly antiseptic. It has two basins, which is what The Beard desperately wants in a sink for some odd reason. But the sink I truly desire? It is as beautiful as it is deadly to my bank account, as it would require a partial remodel to even fit it into our current kitchen set-up.

It makes me WANT to wash the dishes

My logical brain sang a little happy ditty when the contractor who came over to have a look at our sinking sink said that an el cheap-o clip could likely shore the whole thing up. Meanwhile, my reptile mind was somewhere sobbing in the background of my subconscious. *sniff*

Unfortunately, the economics of the situation has dictated that we go with the clip fix instead of a new sink, meaning I will have to live with my boring old stainless steel number for a little bit longer. Oh, but I’m putting my pennies in a jar and saving the odd dollar here and there so that one day I can approach our contractor and say, “Rip out the shite you see before you and build me the kitchen that I have mapped out for you in crayon on an assortment of cocktail napkins!”

Furniture porn, and I don’t mean that figuratively

As of this morning, there was a rather…unusual couch for sale up on San Francisco’s Craiglist. A certain Willow created a decidedly NSFW couch…not safe for work if your employer is really uptight, that is. Unfortunately, some uptight Craigslist users decided to flag the classified page before I could find out how much it cost, but a friend of mine just happened to grab the pics so I could show them to you.

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Experiencing the world from a home on wheels

Walking into most campers is like taking a time machine back to the 70s. I won’t lie — I’m a huge camper fan. I love the crazy old school ones that look like silver pill bugs! But unless a camper has been redone or began its life as a custom job they’re usually filled with bad upholstery, horrid colors, and cheap laminates. Bleah.

TerraCross vehicles are more than a little different. For one thing, they’re designed to stand up to harsh conditions and look good doing it. When you buy a TerraCross, you choose between upholstery made of fabric or leather, parquet floors or kautchuk, kitchen counter tops made of wood or stainless steel, cabinets with laminate or real wood surfaces, and more.

terra1.jpg
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You can enjoy your own blue period

Every now and again, my mailbox is inundated with home decor magazines. Where all of them have converged in recent months is in their liberal use of blue. It’s not just one particular sort of blue, either. There are Greenwich blues and icy blues and cornflower blues and cobalt blues. Light greenish blues seem to be dominating at this time, but there certainly seems to be plenty of room for other competing blues.

Did I mention that other than black, blue is my favorite color? There are millions upon billions of ways one can integrate a color into a home decor scheme. Sometimes it’s hard to decide what to do because there are so many options, but seeing what others have done can be all the inspiration one needs. Below you’ll find some blue interiors that will get your creative juices flowing.

OMG that floor is amazing

The thought of painting a floor never really occurred to me until just now. As it turns out, The Beard and I have an unfinished floor in the upper story of our home and I’m sorely tempted to start laying down color!

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