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Beautiful In Burlap

Forget baskets or those ubiquitous plastic bins — I’m in love with these bucket bags crafted by the author of the beautiful blog maya*made.

Buckets by maya*made

They’re constructed of sturdy food-grade jute from a recycled (fair trade) coffee sack and lined with unbleached cotton for a subtle, rustic look. She currently has itty-bitty buckets in her Etsy shop (or she did when I wrote this) but I’m hoping the future will bring with it more and bigger buckets.

Storage Solutions That Evolve

What’s better than practical, stylish decor for kids’ rooms? How about practical, stylish decor that will grow with them? The Elfa wall mounted shelving system is infinitely replicable if you don’t feel like spending your money at the Container Store. In fact, I’m guessing you could replicate the whole set-up shown here for a lot less money by going to your local hardware store for the necessary supplies (hint, hint).

wall mounted shelves

Adjustable shelves means that tiny tots can use the lowest shelf as a desk, which can then be raised to become a workstation for teenagers and those unfortunate adult children still living at home. Elfa shelving is honestly not much to look at in its unaltered form, but there’s no reason you shouldn’t get your craft on and paint the whole works to match your existing decor.

A Bit of This and a Bit of That

colored glass

Why do all of the lifestyle and decor magazines I really like eventually fold? First there was Blueprint, then Cottage Living took a nosedive. Now Domino, one of the few decor magazines out there for those of us who don’t have money to spend on an interior designer, is going bye-bye. *sniff* Then again, you need only look at the Manolo for the Home blogroll to see that there are scads of amazing design and decor blogs out there that will fill the spaces left behind by magazines.

That said, I’ll get on with it. Today’s post is about the things we hoard. Human beings are very much like magpies in that we cannot help but latch on to certain categories of things that we then collect, even when they have no practical value. For example, my father collects coffee mugs from locales people in his social circle have visited. My grandmother collects souvenir spoons from cities and countries around the globe. My sister collects porcelain dolls, and an ex-roommate of mine collected anything made out of jade glass. There’s no limit — people collect everything from thimbles to air sickness bags to hunting decoys.

Once you have a sizable collection of whatever it is that tickles your fancy, however, you need to figure out some way to display it. Country Living has some wonderful (if commonplace) ideas for how you can display your collections.

pincushion jar

Colored glass containers like sundae dishes and bowls can be transformed into an indoor herb garden that brightens your home all winter long, and almost anything small and sturdy enough can be stored in a clear glass jar that also serves as a means of displaying the collection you have amassed. Collections that are display-worthy and flat can be hung on the wall, whether you’re partial to antique keys, vintage photographs, or tarot cards. Anything with a tendency to roll away (think buttons, seashells, or porcelain eggs) can be grouped in pretty bowls on coffee tables.

Finally, remember that there is no reason you can’t actually put your collection to use. Those tea towels you love so much may become even more meaningful when serving a purpose in your otherwise purposeful home.

How Do You Organize Your Bookshelves?

Full disclosure: My bookshelves are not organized in any particular way. In fact, they aren’t organized at all. Books are tossed onto my bookshelves willy-nilly, some upright, some sideways. When I’m done with a book, I often put it any old place instead of figuring out where it came from. Part of the problem is that the majority of our books live in the basement den where The Beard has his home office, and I tend to care less about that space than I do about the rest of the house.

Colorful bookshelves

So here’s me asking you:

Feel free to expound on your answer in the comments!

Blame It On the Rain

I think of umbrella stands as something that hides unobtrusively in a corner by the back door until the weather requires it to perform its duty, but as it happens, there are plenty of umbrella stands that stand out.

owl umbrella standSilver umbrella standasian umbrella stand

The owl umbrella stand is fairly high-end (for an umbrella stand) at $100, but it has plenty of space for your whole family’s wet weather gear, while the stainless steel Squaro umbrella stand by Blomus provides a a tidy and efficient storage area for bumbershoots. Finally, the white plum blossoms umbrella stand that function can be beautiful.

Too Calm? Just Right?

Small home office

On one hand, I’m loving the way space is utilized in this small home office from Apartment Therapy. On the other hand, the pastels and light-colored woods are so calming that I have to wonder whether I’d fall asleep while blogging. The bright and cheery orange accents (esp. the adorable retro wall clock) might keep me awake for a while, but I think I’m the kind of person who needs the intense stimulation my glaringly cherry red home office provides.

Do you agree? Disagree? Hate pastel peach with a burning irrational passion?

Divide (and Conquer)

When The Beard and I were sharing a home office way back in the day, we decided that we each needed a little privacy. The answer came in the form of a traditional folding screen. It was not a perfect solution, but it worked in the home office we had and gave us back a little of our personal space in a small apartment. Were I to design that space over again, I would replace the folding screen with an open bookcase. It would have afforded us less privacy, but it would have done something in addition to dividing up the space.

bookcases for home offices

By this I mean it would have held books, which would have been extra nice because we are people with a whole lot of books. Now with a whole house to ourselves, there’s nothing to divvy up in terms of space or rooms. Nonetheless, I wouldn’t mind finding a place for this bookcase or this bookcase or even this bookcase (stacked). Even if you’re not a book person, consider using a bookcase if you’re looking to section off a bit of space for yourself. Own your spaces! You can always fill the shelves with craft supplies or knick-knacks that make you happy.

As for the bookcase in the above photograph, I have no idea why it’s listing so dangerously to the left. Perhaps it is in one of those houses on islands being eaten away by the tides?

It’s Hip to Be Square

Blu Dot dresser

If you have $1,500 to spend on storage solutions, I recommend the fun and funky Blu Dot – Modulicious No.6 Storage Unit. The whole unit is customizable when it comes to the colors of the doors and drawers, and it can be combined with other Modulicious units to suit your needs.

A Kitchen In Pieces

Fantasizing about the perfect kitchen is a hobby of mine. Mine is small, so inevitably I picture something very open, very airy, and rustic without being too Little House On the Prairie. I do not live on a working farm or in a French chalet, and I don’t want to cop those looks in their entirety. In much the same way a fireplace would look out of place in my living room, a huge scarred table or a deep copper sink would look pretty ridiculous in my kitchen. C’est la vie!

So what do I do? I look for bits and pieces of homey goodness I can incorporate into my decor until that day comes I can afford to have contractors gut and rebuild my cozy little cottage.

Peroba Hanging Wall Shelves ($25 surcharge)

Small spaces with even smaller amounts of storage are not a problem when you use shelving creatively. These reclaimed peroba wall shelves don’t take up too much room, but they clear some countertop real estate.


When Flat-Pack Is Problematic

Does this look right to you? Did I assemble my new bookshelves correctly? I kid, I kid. These crazy creations are products of the twisted minds at Studio Proxy.

Crazy bookshelf

The Prince of Siam is crafted from plywood, oil, and semi-transparent white varnish. As much as it looks like one, it is not an Ikea hack.

This one, however, is.

Crazy bookshelf

Low Waist — the brainchild of Roman LindeBaum and Rüdiger Otte — speaks to “functional and aesthetic stereotypes of modern mass production.” Or so I’m told.

I do believe that as fun as these pieces would be to have around the house, they would begin to drive me seriously crazy once I got sick of the wasted bits of space.

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