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The Kitchen Clock

Kit-Cat WallClock in Black
Even though every appliance I own has a digital clock on it (everyone of which my husband insists on setting to the exact time, to the second) I still feel the need to have a analog wall clock in my kitchen. For many years, I had one of those typically retro, novelty cats with a wagging tail, the Kit-Cat Wall Clock, which you can see here to the right, here…

The problem is, during our last move, I broke the tail off when I dropped the clock into a box full of kitchen crap (the box was actually marked “Kitchen Crap”). I’d had that thing nearly 15 years, and it had become a sort of heirloom, although, my husband, who appreciates digital precision, didn’t seem to mind that it had disappeared from our life.

When we got into the new place and it came time to buy a new clock, I opted for a perfectly functional, perfectly blah, circular white wall clock purchased from Target for less than $20. For some reason, I just felt a Kit-Cat wall clock wouldn’t go with the decor in the new house, and perhaps that I was too mature for something that kitschy. (In hindsight, I’m probably not that mature, despite all the gray hair.)

Ice Wall Clock in Blue

In any event, it’s time for a new wall clock, and I think I’ve settled on something modern and mostly un-kitschy; the Ice Clock (available from The Best Gift Company).

Well, maybe no totally un-kitschy. It does look like a wrist watch, instead of a wall clock. But, that blue goes with my blue Stand Mixer, although, I think I’ll have to get a new set of curtains for the window over the sink.

Do Carpets and Food Mix in Your Home?

Here’s an interesting fact about my home: While I love little rugs and carpets, I have exactly zero in my own house. It’s wood flooring all the way, with wood-look laminate in the kitchen because that is what we could afford at the time. Carpets are cute but with smooth wood or woodesque floors, I can sweep and swiff without having to drag a bulky vacuum up from the basement. We did have a number of throw rugs once upon a time, but with five cats and a mobile toddler, I was vac’ing every day. Not cool.

And exactly how long will that stay looking nice?

You can imagine, then, how squicked out carpets in kitchens and carpets in dining rooms make me. Built-ins are one thing, because there’s not much you can do about that until you’re ready to refloor, but to take a kitchen or dining room with a perfectly good wood floor and then put a throw rug precisely where food is doomed to fall… that just makes me scratch my head. You tell me: Is there some benefit to carpets in dining rooms and carpets in kitchens that I am missing? Saving food for later perhaps? Because I simply cannot wrap my brain around the practical reason for putting a what is essentially a crumb catcher under food prep and food consumption zones.

Inspiration: Buffets and Sideboards of the Modern Variety

Ever wondered what the difference between a sideboard and a buffet is? Me, too. The thing is, we needn’t have bothered ourselves about it. A sideboard and a buffet are basically the same piece of furniture serving the same purpose. Some people consider the buffet to be simply a smaller version of the sideboard, but in terms of functionality? No difference.

Others assign a name to this particular piece of furniture based on the room in which it resides – in the dining room, it’s a buffet, while in the living room, it’s a sideboard.

Sideboards and buffets have both traditionally been used as a place to store dishware and silverware (and sometimes linens) while food was displayed and then served on top. But today, a sideboard or buffet might be used for almost anything. And even back in the day, my grandparents’ beautiful buffet held not only linens and napkin rings, but also records.

Whatever you call them, sideboards are buffets can be very useful pieces of furniture, especially if you are the sort of person who has a vast collection of cloth napkins and pretty tablecloths and themed table runners for every season and holiday. Why? I’ve found that unless you have a great big linen closet, those sorts of things end up sadly tossed in a basket in pantry or tucked into a kitchen drawer without much thought to how wrinkled they’ll become.

But whatever you keep in your sideboard or buffet, here are some pictures of modern furniture buffets and sideboards that would look great in just about any room of the house. Enjoy!

(more…)

Hold On… White Appliances Are Now the New Alternative?

I’m sitting here suddenly wondering what’s in everyone else’s kitchen and if I missed some kind of style memo, because according to Apartment Therapy, white’s the new stainless. Or the new black, or something. This is the sentence that struck me: “Like most people these days, we have stainless steel appliances in our kitchen.” Really? I’ve had white for as long as I can remember, and when shopping for a new range a while back, white appliances definitely dominated on the showroom floor. But the author of the post went to far as to say: “When I think of white appliances I picture my 20-something rental studios and various 80s kitchens from my childhood. Not a pretty picture.”

My guess is that stainless steel will go the way of avocado and almond

Again, really? I always thought that stainless steel appliances were the trendy alternative that will probably look dated in another ten years or so, with white appliances being classic and, furthermore, blending in so as not to make one’s kitchen look like an operating theater. Oh, and no gross fingerprints. Maybe not with dark wood cabinets, but I say bleah to dark wood cabinets, anyway. But maybe I’m totally in the wrong here – what’s your take on the kitchen appliance color debate? First, take the poll:

Then give us the lowdown… did you opt for stainless steel appliances or white or what, and why? Is white a trend, or is stainless the trend?

Quick Change In the Kitchen

Looking for a way to update your kitchen without spending a lot or having to get your demo on? One thing you might try – though I’m always hesitant to mention the W-word, i.e., wallpaper – is the wallpaper backsplash. A wallpapered backsplash can really make a splash, and when you brush a few coats of poly over it or have glass custom cut to fit, you can even splash all you please without worrying about stains. It’s an idea that I’ve considered for my own little kitchen’s decor, but thus far there have been so many other house to-dos that actually taking the time to apply a wallpaper backsplash has been at the bottom of the list. I do, however, really love the results some people achieved by including a wallpaper backsplash in their kitchen decor.

A beautiful example of a wallpapered backsplash from Apartment Therapy

So cute, I don't even mind the wonky edge

One technique, so many possibilities

Here’s a video from HGTV explaining how to DIY a wallpaper backsplash in less than half a day and on a budget:

What do you think? Would a wallpaper backsplash be an easy fix for your kitchen decor woes or just not classy enough for you to consider?

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!

Prying Eyes Stay Out, Light Comes In

Creepy neighbors looking into your windows from their windows? It’s a problem faced mainly by city dwellers, though anyone with a home that’s close to the next house over may find themselves facing privacy issues when it comes to bathroom and bedroom windows. The first solution that comes to mind is probably a curtain or blinds, but how about adhesive window film? Possibly associated with grandma’s house and restaurant bathrooms – at least in my mind – adhesive window film is nonetheless extremely useful when it comes to maintaining one’s privacy without also blocking out the sun.

And when it’s Emma Jeffs window film you’re using, you can choose between a whole bunch of really cool, pretty patterns that very specifically don’t look like the window film at grandma’s. I’m talking about everything from traditional geometric patterns to florals to unexpected stuff like rocket ships and fish.

This is just a sample - there are tons more patterns in the line

Perfect forthe potty, of course.

But also lovely in the kitchen and anywhere else privacy is required.

Each 37″ x 52″ roll of Emma Jeffs adhesive window film costs about $80 (a little steep, sure) and can be found at DesignPublic.com and 2Jane.com.

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!

Yet Another Thing to Mis-Match: Plates!

Once upon a time, I had a plan to build up a full service of awesome mismatched plates. As this was a world before Etsy, my plans were foiled by the local Goodwill not having a strong supply of very interesting plates. I could have had a set of mismatched plates that was meh, but isn’t the whole point of mismatched plates having them all be kind of fun, kind of cool?

Who needs a full matching service?

It’s still a look I love, even though my current dining set is a matching set of plates and things. It’s very nice – and of very good quality – so I can’t very well justify ditching it to go collecting. But as things break, and break they will for I have a child, perhaps I will replace my set with mismatched plates and bowls. Maybe even plates and bowls I’ve made myself!

What do you think about the mismatched plates look? Cool? Cute? Good for the young, but not past, say, 35? Too silly? Just plain dumb?

I'll take one of these...

and one of these...

and one of these!

A Mix of Modern and Traditional by Vicente Wolf

I am loving the big chunky farmer’s table smack dab in the middle of this otherwise very modern dining room by designer Vicente Wolf! Sometimes I look at my own house and realize that you couldn’t call it modern or traditional or cute or any other thing, really. My house is a mishmash of new and old things I’ve acquired and made over time, and things I’d love to replace but can’t afford to, and I do my best to make everything look nice together. I like how it’s turned out so far, though I’m always changing this or that. So if you’ve ever wondered why I love contrast so much, part of it is that I have to or I’d go crazy!

Contrast = Cool

What do you think about mixing old and new and modern and traditional and maybe something bright and shiny and expensive paired with something awesome you found on the side of the road? Because I love it. To me, a space full of awesome mixed treasures – arranged and chosen with some care, of course – is so much more fun and inviting than a perfectly coordinated and homogeneous space.

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