I am in love with this All Star wallpaper from Barneby Gates, and not just this wallpaper. Have you had a peak at Barneby Gates? They – where ‘they’ is Vanessa Barneby, Vogue Living Editor, and Alice Gates, fashion textile designer – create amazing wallpapers with a quintessentially English feel.
But if it was just Englishy wallpaper, I’d probably say ho hum. What makes Barneby Gates wallpaper so sweet are the little details like metallic finishes, humorous and unexpected patterns, and fantastic color pairings. As you might expect, this wallpaper doesn’t come cheap, but if you’re too in love not to have some, you can always request a sample!
Got photos in boxes (and boxes and boxes)? Because if you were born before a certain year and had any interest in playing with cameras at all, you may just have hundreds or even thousands of old photographs and negatives in your basement or garage or storage unit. And while, much like me, you probably can’t imagine yourself throwing them away, they are taking up valuable real estate.
So what’s a devoted clutter hater with lots of old photos to do? Here are four suggestions:
- Create an album that tells a story with Rachel of Small Notebook for a Simple Home
- Digitize them super fast with a one-touch photo scanner (then you can put them on a web site or in a digital frame
- Cull them! Keep the ones that really mean something to you and make a totally sweet scrapbook with them, then toss the rest – do you really need all those grainy, out-of-focus shots of your sixth grade birthday party?
- Give them away to your friends and family who either appear in the photos or would just really love to have them – but be sure that the recipient of your extras wants them before you make your photographic clutter someone else’s problem
While a dish called Mushrooms Three Ways would indeed be divine, I am of course talking about mushroom themed decor. Now, no one is suggesting that you fill your home to the brim with mushrooms like the mother of an ex of mine did with country-style ducks (again, not a dish, sadly) all year round and in the wintertime, snowmen. But a mushroom as a showpiece? It’s just unusual enough to work! Here are three examples that I found in my virtual travels and loved enough to bookmark:
In designer Masako Sato own words: “During the rainy season, it’s very humid in Japan. One day I found moldy wall in my room. I was worried if mushrooms were coming up. But at the same time, I imagined how funny mushrooms are growing on the wall. Some people drive nails into walls, but I don’t like it. It may damage my clothes and myself when get caught on and even looks painful. Mushroom Hook is made by silicone rubber. It is soft and welcome your return home.”
In addition to being an obsessive reader, I’m also an obsessive book hoarder. As in, I have hundreds of books I will probably never read again, but I can’t bring myself to give them away or sell them or recycle them. Maybe it’s because my maternal grandmother has an art book collection that takes up most of her downstairs wall space in the form of tomes squeezed into full-to-bursting bookshelves. Maybe it’s because I’m a writer, and I wouldn’t want to do with someone else’s book what I hope no one is doing with my book. So as you can probably imagine, our bookshelves look a little something like this (except less color coordinated):
While I implied above that book hoarding might be a family trait, it would only be on my mother’s side. My dad lets books slip into and out of his life – reading them and then passing them along – unless they are some of the few he’s happy to read again and again. The bookshelf area of his home is, as a consequence, tiny, but size doesn’t mater. And yet, I think that’s why I’m so hesitant to part with my books – even the ones that haven’t brought me much pleasure other than hastening the passage of time. I think I am afraid of someone coming into my home, seeing no bookshelves, and assuming that I don’t read much.
But even this strikes me as odd. Because the truth is that some people don’t read much for pleasure anyway, and there’s nothing wrong with that. They just enjoy other things. So why does the idea of someone pegging me for a non-reader make me feel so queasy, and furthermore prevent me from de-cluttering our right now extremely cluttered finished basement (which it should be noted is home to walls of bookshelves)? At this point in my life, I’m visiting the library for books more often than buying them, so it’s not like I’m adding to my collection. I’d wager that most of the books on those shelves have been with me since just after college. Some of them are even textbooks!
Do you, lovely readers, hold on to relatively unimportant books with a similar zeal? What’s keeping you from parting with them?
If I say ‘small house,’ what comes to mind? A super wee micro-house or something like this? Or do you think of a structure containing roughly 1700+ sq. ft. of floor space? Because, hey, it’s not a McMansion, so it must be small, right? I got to thinking about this subject after reading The Elusive Small-House Utopia, an article about Builder magazine’s latest concept home and what it means for building trends in general.
That concept house, the Home for a New Economy designed by Marianne Cusato, measured in at the size of the average American home built in 1980, or around 1700 sq. ft. Then the housing market went insane, and soon it became not unusual to see newly built houses hovering out the 6000 sq. ft. mark!
When Cusato sat down to devise the Home for the New Economy, she tried to consider how families actually use their living areas. She started with a simple, symmetrical three-bedroom plan, excising extraneous spaces — the seldom-used formal dining room, for instance — while enlarging windows wherever she could and adding a wraparound porch. A result was a house that was compact, comfortable, bright and energy-efficient.
Sounds tasty, right? But at 1700 sq. ft., does it really seem particularly small? Maybe I’m just coming at the article with a bias – my house tops out at 1100 sq. ft. and we think that might include the finished basement – but even when I hear that in 2007 the average American house surpassed 2500 sq. ft., 1700 still sounds like a lot of space for the average family. Not huge, but big enough for comfort.
“Everybody hates the Calvinist sacrifice; they just don’t want to hear of it,” says the architect Andrés Duany, a founding father of the New Urbanist movement and a mentor of Marianne Cusato’s. Duany argues that the sprawling homes of the last decade actually met a need, albeit imperfectly, by reproducing internally what suburban communities lacked: an exercise room substitutes for a park, a home theater for the Main Street cinema. Buyers will only accept smaller homes, he says, if their surroundings compensate them.
So let me ask you, my lovely readers, what you think small means when it comes to housing for, say, a family of three? How much space does a person really need, anyway?
I wouldn’t give up all of the trees in my back yard for anything, but they sure drive me crazy this time of year. What’s your least favorite thing about autumn? (Other than the fact that it heralds the coming of winter, of course.)
First came chalkboard paint, then came whiteboard (dry erase) paint. And I think both are super cool! We already put up an amazing magnetic chalkboard in my daughter’s room – and I’m almost all set to do the surface of our kitchen table in chalkboard. Next stop, whiteboard in the office!
But it never even occurred to me to use dry erase paint on surfaces! You can get a whiteboard table from Powells, for example. Or you do what someone did in the space pictured above and cover your boring kitchen counter tops with whiteboard paint. While I don’t know how the finish would, ahem, stick around, I can say for sure that it would be fun while it lasted!
Manolo says, please allow the Manolo to introduce to you the newest addition to the Manolosphere, Green Manolo.
Edited by our good friend Christa Terry (a.k.a Never teh Bride) of the Manolo for the Brides and the blog you are reading at this very moment, Manolo for the Home, the Green Manolo is the blog all about the super fantastic sustainable lifestyle!
And now, you must go visit the Green Manolo