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Manolo for the Home: House, Home and Lifestyle Advice - Part 19

Happy Valentine’s Day from Manolo for the Home!

Whether you go all out with a Valentine’s Day mantle (like this one) or cherry red hearts make you want to hurl, I hope you’re having a beautiful day today!

Is It a Bookcase? A Desk? Or a Table for Two?

This is just fantastic – Sakura Adachi designed a unique piece of furniture for Campeggi that is all three. A bookcase when the chairs are pushed in, a desk for the singleton who wants her books close at hand, or a cozy table for a couple… a couple of readers, perhaps.

As someone who is currently using the kitchen table an ersatz home office, I could use it. As someone with a small house, I could use it. And as someone with toys everywhere at the moment, I could definitely use it!

Storage That Stacks, Lego Style

These storage containers don’t just look like LEGOs – they actually click together like LEGO blocks! They’re actually made especially for STORE under a license from LEGO, so it’s no wonder they’re just a giant version of the real thing. Of course, they’re marketed toward kids, but big kids – I mean really big kids, like you and me – can use them, too.

Cozy Versus Cluttered

Here’s an interesting question: Is cozy a polite way of saying cluttered? Does it have to be? Cozy does frequently stand in for cluttered – it’s an easy way to brush off clutter or to elevate it to a higher status. “These books piled everywhere in my apartment? That’s a sign of my eclectic genius and what makes my home cozy.” It’s like the term ‘lived in,’ which can mean so many things good and bad.

Which isn’t to say you can’t have a lot of stuff without clutter! I think the difference between cozy and cluttered is a feeling more than anything else. Cozy to me means that a space feels inviting – it has signs of life in it instead of being a sanitized space that looks like a catalog or a museum display. A big house with lots of space can still feel cozy, for example. And a big house can be cluttered, too, if all that space isn’t used effectively. A cluttered home will feel different than a cozy one. It won’t be inviting, and all the stuff strewn about willy-nilly can even be a little anxiety inducing. Visitors are afraid to touch anything, for fear of knocking something over or losing their keys.

That’s what cozy versus cluttered means to – what does it mean to you? Can you separate the two terms in your mind, or does cozy always feel a little cluttered to you?

TIP: If you would like to downsize some of your stuff, check out Unstuff Your Life!. It’s not about trading in chaos for minimalism, but rather figuring out the best way to use the spaces you have.

A Wise and Whimsical Way to Sweeten the Table

I love this pretty porcelain owl sugar shaker from West Elm. Owls are still a making an appearance on everything from pillows and tea towels to umbrella stands and mobiles, but I think this one is my favorite because it’s not super in-your-face.

While it’s listed as a sugar shaker, I don’t see why you couldn’t fill it with salt or cinnamon sugar or something else.

What do you think of owls – cute or super overrated?

Hauntingly Beautiful Images of a Downtrodden City

How amazing are these images of Detroit’s downtown captured by photographers Yves Marchand and Romain Meffre? It seems like a ghost town or the corpse of a city – and an eerie reminder of Detroit’s glory days, since so many of the structures they photographed are were obviously magnificent in their heyday.

Like so many of the visuals that comes out of this sad city, it’s depressing. But still kind of hauntingly beautiful.

You can see these and more in Marchand and Meffre’s book Ruins of Detroit – which is the result of a five-year collaboration started in 2005.

‘There’s an App for That!’

Seems like you can’t have a problem these days without someone telling you ‘There’s an app for that.” Because, you know, there probably is. And if the problem you have happens to be not being able to test drive furniture from Pier 1, CB2, Stacks & Stacks, CSN Stores, Crate & Barrel and other stores, there definitely is.

The free SnapShop Showroom app for the iPhone lets you virtually redecorate with stuff from tons of online stores. All you need is a snapshot of the space you’re looking to fill, and you can test drive the furniture and accessories that are gorgeous in theory, but not always as gorgeous in practice.

What are your favorite apps for decorating and design?

‘Beaugars’ by Meike Langer

How’s this for a small-space storage solution? German designer Meike Langer created a set of reconfigurable storage racks set into a small table for imm cologne 2011. Seems to me like it would be the perfect thing for coats and bags and other grab-and-go stuff in a studio apartment.

Areas of life blend, rooms loose their fixed assignments and functions. Due to the blurring of boundaries new requirements for the environment and their products arise. In this context the furniture Beaugars was developed. It offers space to lay, hang up and store objects of daily use. Its most distinctive feature, its mutability,results from the flexibility of the two arcs, which can be rotated in 360°. Therefore Beaugars adapts easily and can be, according to the available space, either compact or expansive.

Even better, Beaugars can adapt to your needs by taking on different configurations. Too bad it’s just a concept, right?