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Oh Deer!

deer head

This trophy is just a little cheeky, no? Canadian Tristan Zimmermann, grad of Ontario College of Art and Design, invented, ahem, Plastidermy, seen here in this life-sized trophy head, lasersmithed of pure Swiss glacial acrylic. Sending $485 to A+R (a terribly fun and pricey shop) will net you a flat pack parcel of crystal clear deer head parts that are easily slotted together and mounted to the nearest wall.

Perhaps just the thing for vegetarians looking to impart their domiciles with that oh-so-American hunting aesthetic?

Junk In the Trunk

When I was leaving for university, my mom and I came across a trunk when we were shopping to furnish my dorm room. It wasn’t anything fancy — not a lovely vintage steamer trunk or a handcrafted leather trunk or anything like that — but it was nice to have. Funny, it wasn’t even particularly good for hauling stuff since the handle wasn’t comfortable and it was kind of bulky. After I graduated, it languished in the basement until I moved into an apartment in Massachusetts, where it gained a new life as a coffee table after my new oversize couches made having a full-size coffee table impractical.

trunk coffee table

Now my living room is even smaller, and I’m still trying to squeeze in a good amount of furniture. That shoddy old trunk is still pulling its weight as a coffee table and as a storage space for boardgames, old Nintendo consoles, and video game cartridges. And you’d never know that we hide our secret immaturity in there, since it looks rather highbrow in an old fashioned sort of way.

trunk coffee table

Both of the above trunks are available at Pottery Barn, though I’d recommend scouring garage sales and estate sales for some old trunk lovingly battered by college students and other assorted youngins. It’ll have more character that way… and be wicked cheaper.

NTB Loves: Lime

Summertime may feel like it’ll last forever once it gets going, but the truth is that it’s winding down ever so slowly. I like to keep summer in my life all year long with fun colors. Like lime! It’s so summery — when do we have limeade? Key lime pie? Summertime, of course. If you want to ensure that your summer last, in some capacity, all year long, try these limey goodies on for size:

Ultra Soft Studio Lime Chair, Set of 2

This Ultra Soft Studio Lime Chair would look as good in the living room as it would in a home office or the corner of a bedroom. I especially like the generous-yet-cozy curves.

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Inspiration: The Outline of Things

I stumbled upon this room created by the writer of Inside A Black Apple and was immediately hooked on the idea of grouped framed silhouettes. It didn’t hurt that I’d just been asking myself if I was capable, with my limited shop-fu, of creating a silhouette of her wee little head. I can’t answer that (yet) but that doesn’t mean I’m not on the lookout for framed silhouettes from other sources. Etsy, perhaps?

Framed Silhouettes

Isn’t this bedroom just divine? I love how all of her framed silhouettes are grouped into one corner. That said, silhouettes aren’t just for bedrooms! Far from it. Below the cut, you’ll find some silhouette inspiration that ranges from classic to eclectic. There’s even some plaid in there!

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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.

Paint a Canvas Floorcloth

Let’s say you don’t have a thousand or so bucks lying around to spend on the perfect rug. You can forget all about it or lust after the rug from afar. You can look high and low for a cheaper version of the rug you really want. Or you can approach your little rug funding problem with the DIY spirit.

canvas floor covering

While I don’t know how feasible it is to dye a rug or draw on a rug, an artfully painted canvas floorcloth can stand in for other kinds of floor covering and are easy for the novice to tackle. So, floorcloths… right now you may be saying “Huh?” Which is okay, because I wasn’t aware that floorcloths existed either. Here’s the skinny:

The floorcloth originated in France and became popular in American in the early 1700s. At that time the floorcloth was made from recycled ships sails and the use was utilitarian. In early American colonies they were used to cover bare wooden floors or sometimes dirt floors. After being used for so long as a necessity, they eventually lost their popularity with the arrival of linoleum flooring.

The floorcloth eventually made a comeback but with a revamped attitude. Today’s floorcloth is not for necessity, but rather as a piece of artwork for the floor. The design is only limited by the imagination. Floorcloths are usually made from a heavyweight cotton duck canvas. Despite the fact their beauty comes from water-based paints, floorcloths are durable. The paint is sealed with several layers of water-based varnish so the floorcloth can just be wiped clean.

How’s it done? First, you need to acquire a piece of canvas — it is possible to buy pre-cut rug sizes that are already primed. If it’s unprimed, you’ll have to hit it with a layer of gesso and then a layer of latex paint, allowing for a 2-inch hem all around. Note that you’ll still need to apply the latex layer even if you buy pre-primed canvas. The next step is painting your canvas floorcloth with whatever design you like. You can rock ‘n’ roll freehand, use a stencil, or have someone who’s a better artist than yourself sketch out a design before you paint. Then you’ll need to seal your canvas floorcloth with a few layers of acrylic (non-yellowing) matte varnish. Finally, apply paste wax for a nice soft sheen.

Descriptions of canvas floorcloths don’t do justice to them. Check out this gallery of stenciled floorcloths for ideas and inspiration!

(Again, via Sterlingspider, who is awesome.)

If We Could Hug Like the Animals

It’s hard to resist hugging Ross Menuez’s Fauna Animal Pico Pillow, which are made from organic cotton. I mean especially now with the baby in the house, as these have no ribbons or button eyes or any of the other embellishments that wee ones are apt to swallow when you’ve got your back turned.

Fauna Animal Pico Pillow

Aren’t they just the sweetest? What else can I say — they’re printed by hand and stuffed with hypoallergenic fill that won’t irritate noses or skin. Plus, they’re made in Brooklyn, NY, my very own post-university hometown.

Fauna Animal Pico Pillow

I like the rabbit, the terrier, the gorilla… and the rest of them. So what if I’m a sucker for animals and pillows and plushies? Call me a girl, if you must. Or maybe a mom. On that note, you should check out the Fauna onesies and baby tees!

We Dream In Color

For serious in-your-face color, you simply cannot beat Missoni Home. As much as I rave about blacks and whites and all of the combinations thereof, lately I have been dreaming about color. I’m talking about intense saturated vertigo-inducing color that knocks you on your behind before kicking you in the eye just in case you missed it.

missoni spring 2009

Missoni Home does just that, with jazzy and jagged designs featuring way more color than could possibly be healthy. While I might prefer their pillows, plates, and other sundries in smaller doses, I am not averse to the idea of decking out an entire home in patterns like these:

Missoni table linens

For those far bolder than I, Missoni for the table makes a statement. A statement, perhaps, like LOOK AT ME LOOK AT ME LOOK AT ME!

Very, Very Cherry

It’s summertime. Unfortunately, here in MA’s north shore, it doesn’t feel anything like summer, and it hasn’t for ages. I have about had it up to here with gray days and rain, and apparently we were even hit with some hail the other day. That’s right, early morning hail in July! On one hand, all the plants in my garden, from the cukes to the tomatoes seem pretty happy and I don’t have to worry about remembering to turn on the sprinkler. On the other hand, weather like this makes me want to do something drastic.

Like shop. And if I’m shopping to drive away a case of the blahs, you know that I am buying something pretty and cheerful and possibly pink and, damn it all, it had better be floral. Cherry blossoms fit the bill beautiful. My bank account may be shrinking rapidly, but at least my sanity is intact!

cherry blossom lampcherry blossom platescherry blossom lamp shade
cherry blossom chopstickscherry blossom printcherry blossom tray

I’m digging on cherry blossom lamps and cherry blossom sushi sets and cherry blossom art prints, for starters. I’m not sure what I’ll end up with, though the cherry blossom rice paper lamps are pretty tempting. Cherry blossoms just feel like such a breath of fresh air in this horrid weather.

(click on anything above to make your house very cherry)

Another Ersatz Headboard Idea

Those of us who inherit bed frames don’t get a lot of choice, obviously. But that doesn’t mean we have to wait until the perfect headboard shows up on Craigslist or in the classifieds in the newspaper. I’ve touched on DIY headboards before, but it struck me that I’ve never written about the ersatz headboard idea I used for quite some time.

floral headboard

The most basic version of the faux headboard is nothing more than a screen, fabric covered or otherwise, tacked up to the wall behind your bed. For years the Beard and I used a Shoji folding screen as a headboard. We didn’t even have to attach it to the wall — it stayed put just wedged between the wall and the bed. If you don’t want to DIY, you can always go with a floral screen and a folding screen with built-in storage, which are great for those who don’t have room for proper sidetables.

If you do want to DIY, however, there is no shortage of headboard how-tos out there. The easiest will have you stapling fabric to a simple wooden frame, while the more difficult ones involve a bit of sewing or actual construction work. Still, even for the novice, this is a fairly easy DIY project and nothing to be afraid of!

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