The Art of the Popsicle Stick

About a gazillion years ago, the lovely Gina sent me a link to a photo spread in the L.A. Times about David Hrobowski and his RiffStick Furniture. But while Hrobowski’s solo MorYork Gallery exhibit has come and gone, I think the idea is evergreen. Or as evergreen as popsicle sticks can be. Because, you see, that is Hrobowski’s chosen medium: the humble popsicle stick.

My guess is that very few among us can’t look back to childhood and to the creation of a popsicle stick picture frame or dream catcher. Maybe even a little house or a trivet. But my guess is that nothing we made came even close to the somethings that Hrobowski makes.

I don’t know about you, but my afternoons at summer camp were not spent making Shoji screens… coffee tables… chairs that can support the weight of a man. Amazingly, though, Hrobowski made his first popsicle stick lamp when he was only 9, even if he abandoned the medium for a few decades thereafter before returning to it.

Doesn’t seeing this sort of thing make you ask yourself what you could do with a little hot glue and some time?

Inspiration: Sweet Greens

Flowers are an easy go-to décor item can instantly brighten a room. No one’s disputing that! But what about something alive and uplifting for those days you’re feeling a little bit less colorful? Consider greens – a bunch of fresh hosta leaves or banana leaves (if you’re looking for something on a larger scale), a single fern frond, or anything that’s handy and on a branch in your very own backyard. The nice thing about greens is that they’re anything but fussy. Grab a vase or even a pint glass, and plop them in. No arranging necessary!


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(via Elle Decor)

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A Tub I Could Happily Drown In

Wouldn’t it be lovely to slip into this round Jacuzzi tub designed by Michael Richman that was featured in the most recent issue of House Beautiful?

Plenty of space to stretch out, almost like taking a little swim. I have to say that one thing I absolutely detest about my current bath – other than the fact that I can’t get in it without having to share with a tiny person who has no qualms about pooping in it – is that there is no way for me to immerse myself up to my neck without creating an overflow situation.

So, having this bath or one just like it at my disposal would be lovely. Even if it would feel, just a little bit, like the ceiling was peeing on me.

Two Beautiful Beds That Maximize the Space They’re In

A bed can dominate a room or get lost in it, depending on the bed and on the room. Big, bold beds can be absolutely fabulous, until you put them into a tiny room and there’s no visual room for anything else but posters and headboards and footboards and pillows. And small, unassuming beds can stand out in that same tiny room with the right linens or fade into the background if your bedroom happens to be larger than most. Today I ran across two beds that used clever solutions to overcome problems.


(via Domnio)

The first is perfect for anyone who, like me, has a bedroom with crazy sloped walls. If the joint between the vertical wall and the slanted wall is placed low, the easiest solution is to choose a very short headboard. But in many cases, a very short headboard will be boring and potentially so unnoticeable as to be no better than no headboard at all. This bed gets some oomph with a little extra headboard action – by wrapping it around the wall, it seems bigger than it is.


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If, on the other hand, your problem is a long but very narrow room, you may think that you’re doomed to having no bedside storage or living in a space so cramped that you might as well be in one of those economy hotels in Japan. But what if you used fantastic built-ins to not only give you a beautiful bed, but also plenty shelving for books and anything else you might want in a pinch while in bed? This example has a twin mattress in a day bed frame, but imagine the same bed with a full or queen mattress facing outward. Perfect for the narrow room, no?

Unusual Mugs, Two Ways

Mugs… if you like hot beverages, you probably have at least one, if not more. Mugs can be a lot of things, from functional and green to cutesiepoo to a little bit silly. I’d say there’s no wrong way to mug it, as long as your chosen mug holds enough coffee, tea, or chocolate for your tastes and isn’t cracked. You might think that mugs are pretty perfect – i.e., there’s not a lot of places a designer could take them – but you’d be wrong. Here are two mugs, one that’s trying to solve what may be a common problem and one that may be solving a problem of which I am unaware.

Unusual mugs, the first: Designed by Jonathan Aspinal for Thelermont Hupton, Link Mugs help solve the carrying of numerous mugs without the need of a tray. Each mug can be plugged into each other so they can be lined up, connected together and transported with two hands. They’re sold in sets of three, but I wonder if you could carry more.

Unusual mugs, the second: German Designer Lisa Grahner created modular mugs (along with other dishware) that have interchangeable magnetic handles. Clic ceramics were shown at Strijp-S Exhibition during Dutch Design Week. If they ever go into production, let’s all hope those magnets are strong.

What’s your favorite mug?

NtB’s New Dream Bathroom

Sure, there’s not a huge amount of head space above the tub, but who needs head space when you’re soaking. And soaking and soaking and soaking. Sitting in a gorgeous tub, relaxing my cares away is most definitely not how I’ll be spending my weekend, but I can dream, can’t I? Have a beautiful weekend, everyone!

Image via micasa

Stairs of a Different Stripe

When I was searching for pictures of rooms painted with a single horizontal stripe for yesterday’s post, I came across this picture of a really standout staircase. Most of the time, when I think of standout staircases, my mind imagines strange staircases or staircases with storage built in. What I usually don’t think of is decorated staircases.

I love how the orange stripe really emphasizes the beautiful curve in the staircase and draws your eyes up and around, making you wonder just what’s going on upstairs. You’ll notice that the wall itself still has a standard angle in it – the stairs are curved, not the wall around it – but the stripe hides the discrepancy between the stairs and the wall. The stripe makes it look like one beautiful curve and I love how that works.

Does the Single Stripe Really Work?

There are lots of things a person can do with paint. There are so many illusions, for example, that can be created on walls and floors and ceilings with a few coats of paint. Paint can give the appearance of depth and texture where there is none. Paint can make a wall feel more complex than it is. And paint can hide features you don’t like, from wood paneling to old floors to ugly brick.

I love paint! Almost all of my room designs have started with an inspirational paint chip because I love to play around with colors. And play around I do! The best part about using paint (as opposed to wallpaper or wainscoting) is that it’s easy to slap on a few coats of paint when you need a change. There are so many different colors and ways to use it. Spray it on, stencil it on, sponge it on… stripe it on? One thing I am not sold on is the whole one horizontal stripe of color in the middle of a wall.

To me, it feels artificial and heavy, like it’s in danger of sliding off the wall. Or I expect there to be an arrow on the end of the stripe if I follow it long enough. I like a lot of things, but I don’ think I’m a fan of the thick single wall stripe. How about you? Love it or hate it?

Happy Hanukkah from Manolo for the Home!

Chag Urim Sameach!

Wordless Inspiration: Little White Stools

little white stoolmodern white stoolround stool
(via Amazon, so click!)


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