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Manolo for the Home: House, Home and Lifestyle Advice - Part 120

Figuring out your furniture footprint

A while back, I talked about using tools to help you plot out a room’s worth of furniture. Software is just one option. There’s always your handy dandy graph paper. I even knew one guy who’d cut out little pictures of couches and end tables and move them around the miniature room he’d sketched out.

But here’s an option I never realized existed…

Um, couldn’t you just find some cardboard on Craigslist?

Yep, that’s right. It’s pre-fab flat paper “furniture” that lets you guesstimate the footprint of your stuff and then move it around until you find a configuration you like. Move it without giving yourself a hernia, I mean. Back when I was in high school I would move my bedroom suite around every few months, never taking the drawers out of anything or the mattress off the bed. I’d shove, shove, shove until I’d gotten everything just right, probably ruining the carpeting in the process. Sorry, mom!

At about $30 a room, the sets are fairly cheap, which is good considering that they’re basically heavy duty paper. You could go to your local arts and crafts emporium, get a bunch of off-the-roll paper, and DIY, but art supplies tend to be pretty expensive and you may end up spending just as much. The upside of sourcing your own paper is that you can cut it to match your actual furniture instead of having to rely on someone else’s standards.

Here fishy fishy fishy fishy!

They have lots of room to roam

I’ve never really gotten the whole fish as pets thing. My experience with them begins and ends at the nomadic fairs that would roll through town in my youth. Remember the fish bowl game where you could toss a ping-pong ball and win a goldfish in a bag? I loved it, and I came home with a fish every time.

The problem? There weren’t enough fairs to support my fish habit, and those little fishies always died within weeks of my bringing them home. The lesson, I suppose, is that one should not adopt pets that have been traveling in the back of a carny’s trailor.

If I ever again feel the inclination to try my hand at aquatic pets — keep dreaming, kitties — I’ll snatch up one of these sweet aquariums from Octopus Studios. Who knows…maybe fishies that have plenty of room to move about and visit with their friends would live a whole lot longer?

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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An easy upgrade

The Beard and I were in the Home Depot the other day buying a standard-sized drop in cast iron sink to replace the horrid two-piece stainless steel monstrosity that was slowly sinking into the cabinet underneath. It so happens that we need a new kitchen lighting fixture, so as we were walking down the lighting aisle, The Beard casually asked me if I’d like a big, fancy chandelier.

And I thought, yes, of course I would, thank you very much. But I think I’d prefer something that didn’t look like it came straight out of someone else’s gram’s dining room. I do rather like these:

Black!Red!Uh, wood?Green!

On the subject of chandeliers, I came across a cool tip in some magazine or another. It suggested buying a second-hand brass chandelier from the local Goodwill and spray painting the whole thing white to make a cool shabby chic lighting fixture. There was a wonderful before-and-after that I naturally cannot find anywhere online, but I did find just such a chandelier painted blue on Curbly.


I think it’s lovely and one hell of an easy upgrade. Your thoughts?

No cows were harmed in the making of this rug

No cows were harmed in the making of this rug

I can admit, even as a dedicated veghead, that I love the shape of icky dead animal hides. I guess, having said that, I can also say that I think vintage moose heads, elephant leg chairs, and polished horn letter openers are pretty neat looking, too. I wouldn’t actually buy any of these things, but I do like looking at them in antique shops and in magazines.

Thankfully, Catherine David Designs of New Zealand lets me get my skin fix without giving any animals a one way pass to the netherworld. The ‘cow skin’ and ‘sheep skin’ rugs are actually made out of pieces of cool vintage carpet cut to resemble their “naturally grown” counterparts.

I wonder if I could make one using the inexpensive carpet leftovers one finds at flooring shops?

Exploring Eliphante

The NYT Home & Garden section (a bit of rad I recommend everyone read) had a wonderful piece on Eliphante, a Cornville, Arizona home built by an artist and his wife over the course of twenty-eight years. When the late Michael Kahn and Leda Livant began building on the property Eliphante inhabits, they didn’t even own it. Driftwood, stones, pottery, shards of glass, construction scraps, and even astroturf became building materials in Kahn’s somewhat capable hands.

The trunk that gave the compound its name

Was there a floor plan? Did they discuss the number of bedrooms, the layout of the kitchen?

“We didn’t think in those terms,” says Ms. Livant, who is 82. “We thought shelter from the elements and a beautiful place to live in: stained glass and pottery and wood, sleeping loft and a fireplace. Michael had no definite plan except to work and see what the natural shape would be. If you stay with a preconceived notion of what you want, it could be too restrictive.”

There are, of course, more photos under the cut!

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Well now that can't possibly be right

As raincoaster put it so darned well over at Teeny Manolo, we’ve got some technical difficulties going on. But disappearing posts and vanishing comments can be unearthed or reposted…it’s a lot harder to right a house that’s gone wrong!

Actually, the topsy-turvy abode you see before you is actually an art piece located in Szymbark, Poland. After its completion it became a much-visited tourist attraction, bringing throngs of people to the tiny town.

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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