Is There Such a Thing As Too Orange?

Let’s count it off: Orange walls, orange curtains, and an orange light fixture. And orange art on top of that. Am I missing anything? Not that there’s anything wrong with orange – I had orange walls in the foyer of my Boston apartment, so I can see the allure. But personally, I prefer my fully saturated orange softened with a little something, like gray or soft teals and browns or maybe even just a whole lot of creamy white.

But for those who want MAXIMUM ORANGE in the kitchen and dining areas, here’s a jumping off point:

orange trayorange clockorange container
orange matorange spoonorange carafe
orange kitchenwareorange potorange cube

When You’re Thinking Seating, Don’t Forget the Kids

I love this low-slung, big-enough-for-projects coffee table with its great print and all the super short seating for the kids in the household! You can just tell that this is an area of the house that sees plenty of use.

What are the high-use areas of your household? And what areas of your home could you make more welcoming and useful?

Image: MayDae

Inspiration: Sunburst!

(FYI: If you have any interest in winning a $155 gift certificate to any CSN stores, head over to my personal blog and enter my latest giveaway!)

…or should I call them starburst mirrors? I’ve seen the two terms used, pretty much interchangeably and with equal frequency. So I hope we can agree that both labels are correct. Sometimes what’s labeled a starburst mirror looks more like a sun, and what’s labeled a sunburst mirror looks more like a star, but I think that’s okay. I think they’re keen no matter what you call them!

Blue Room

Tobi Fairley

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There’s Nothing Quite Like a Freshly-Made Bed

I will happily admit to being a totally lazy bum when it comes to making the bed, and yet I’m also a total sucker for a freshly made bed.

Hop in!

Doesn’t that look inviting? Restful? It’s like a sign that tomorrow will be better than the day before. But since like I said, I am none too good about actually doing what it takes to slip into a freshly made bed on a daily basis, I would really like it if my unmade bed looked like this:

Effortless...

Which do you prefer in your own boudoir? The crisp freshly made bed or the comfortable rumpled one?

Creating Gender Neutral Spaces

A little something for everyone

It’s more common to read about gender neutral decor in the context of nurseries and kids’ rooms, but what about for grownups? It’s probably a question that cohabitating heterosexual adults should ask themselves at least once: How can one create a space that’s appealing to both women and men? (Which, for the gay couple or roommate pair, can become: How can one create a space that’s appealing to both people living in it.) In the spirit of that question, here are five tips for creating gender neutral spaces in various areas of your home:

1. Go for balance. Mix furniture and accessories that have clean, strong lines with more delicate stuff. Think antique silver filigree on a parsons table, traditional feminine touches paired with modern art, and mix vivid colors with softer neutrals.

Branch out to include her or him

2. Ditch the florals, and replace them with botanicals, because there’s nothing quite like bringing the outdoors in. Branch patterns are beautiful, as are stylized leaf patterns. Just show some restraint, and don’t turn your bedroom or living room or bathroom into a forest.

3. Don’t make gender neutrality the focus of the room. Let’s say a hetero couple is decorating a bedroom – his nightstand might have a different lamp than hers, or they may simply have different nightstands. In the living room, the chair she uses most might be somewhat girlier than the other furniture in the room, which he has a favorite footstool that’s decidedly more manly.

It's the little touches we all add

4. Go for greens. It’s the color that so many parents gravitate toward (along with yellow) when creating gender neutral nurseries, but green is great for grownups, too. There are so many different shades of green and greens coordinate with so many other colors, that you’re sure to find a color palette you both like.

5. Keep it classic, because classic decor is less likely to start to get on one of your nerves. The more trendy your decorating choices, the more quickly it’s going to happen that someone in a couple will start to hate the colors or the accessories or the pictures hanging on the walls.

The Black Pearl

Took me a moment to figure out what I was looking at here.

Windows upon windows

It’s easier to see up close, though it doesn’t look nearly as pretty without the illumination from within.

Just a little off in the best possible way

As described by Trendland:

The construction of this awesome Rotterdam house a.k.a Black Pearl has degenerated in an architectonic spectacle, in which is experimented with time and space. The 100 years old facade has been entirely reworked by Zecc Architects & Studio Rolf.fr. Painted in a shiny black oil, the brickwork, the window frames and the glass of the existing facade is painted black. Because of this black layer you can say a shade aroused on the old façade. This shade has been taken as a basis layer in which is modern steel frames have been placed to form new windows.

The interior is pretty cool, too, and can be seen at the Trendland post.

Just fantastic, no? I really get a kick out of this sort of thing.

No Mattress? No Problem.

Here’s how it works:

Step: Acquire a pile of thick comforters

Step 2: Pile up prettily

Step 3: Cuddle up and sleep

It’s a design by Linda Topic and certainly an interesting bed concept, but the impression I get is that it would only be comfortable until all that bedding compressed into a dense pancake of feathers and fill.

Inspiration: Twin Beds

Every now and then, when The Beard is snoring or stirring or it’s hot or I’m just feeling kind of pro personal space, I wish we had two small beds instead of one big one. Heck, I’ve heard it said that the secret to a happy marriage is separate beds – no surprise considering that sharing a bed can lead to less restful sleep (particularly in women). There’s nothing like cuddling up with my man at the end of the day in our own little private shared space, but I can fantasize, no? And here’s what I’m fantasizing about:

Love the scaled fabric/wallpaper pattern

Another set of fabric headboards, yum

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How Attached Are You to the Homes of Your Past?

Is it unusual not to feel any particular attachment to, say, the house you grew up in? Maybe it’s because we moved so frequently and the houses we were in seldom belonged to the family, but I can’t say I feel any particular attachment to the houses, apartments, and neighborhoods of my past. I can look back fondly on some of the places I’ve lived as an adult, but it’s not like I ever stayed long enough to put down roots. Now that I own a house – or slightly over 20% of a house, I guess – my plan is to stay put barring any amazing job offers across the country or natural disasters. Which means my children will spend their entire childhoods in this one wee house, in this one suburban coastal neighborhood.

Will my daughter and my future children feel a strong attachment to our house and our town, our beach and our neighbors, looking back fondly once they’ve moved away?

Out with the old?

I don’t even know if their memories will be accurate. As with all things, I can imagine that there’s a tendency to view the past through rose colored glasses, so a house that was falling apart becomes charming and an apartment that was cold and drafty becomes full of character and quirks. I can already feel myself doing just that with the apartment in Brooklyn that was in a hub of gang activity and surrounded by who knows what else. The finish on the floor was flaking off and would give me splinters. There were critters. But the view from my windows and the fire escape was amazing and there was a shop nearby that made the most amazing fresh doughnuts and another shop that sold fried chicken sandwiches on sweet buns for a buck. It was hell and it was heavenly, both, and I’d never want to go back to it.

Tell me about some of the homes of your past… do any of them still tug at your heartstrings and make you feel wistful?

Nightmare Fuel?

Maybe I’m alone in this, but I’m not big on having a lot of faces around my house. I make a few exceptions – like for me Jizo statue (with his closed eyes) and the bust of some unknown philosopher (who I prefer to imagine is blind since he has no pupils). And with a daughter, I’ve had to reconcile myself to the fact that I now share my house with about eight hundred big-eyed plushies. But no joke, I will clean up simply to avoid having inanimate objects staring at me.

So is it any wonder that I find these pillows from Vintage Jane kind of terrifying?

Come play with ussss...

Cute, but still creepy

Sure, they’re kind of charming and even a little bit adorable in that way only vintage cartoons are, but that’s only during the day. What about at night, in the dark, when they start blinking and following you with their cold, dead eyes? What, I ask you, will you do then?

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