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Manolo for the Home: House, Home and Lifestyle Advice - Part 28

Lovely In Natural, Lovely In Color

Since 1958, Ercol has been bending thick wood laminations to create the beautiful curves of their famous butterfly chair. Some people consider this chair a cousin of the Eames LCW Wood chair, but many other see it as existing in a class of its own.

I like to think it has its own charm – the beech and elm Ercol Butterfly Chairs are particularly striking with their extreme wood grain detailing on the backs. The vintage set above was sold by Love Vintage Furniture, which has so many great photos of mid-century modern furniture on its web site.

Then again, here are some more modern Ercol Butterfly Chairs, in dazzling special edition colors made for Tent London 2010. I would just go crazy for one for my daughter’s room, but in this point in her life she’d probably just chew off the finish.

Which Ercol Butterfly Chair do you like best? Au naturale or colorful?

There are Don’ts and There are DON’TS

There are lots of things you can do with vinyl wall decals, but this shouldn’t be one of them.

However, I do have to say I love the marketing language used by the source of these thong lady wall decals, Offensive Decals.

Yes…Offensive Decals. No trees. No birds. No polka dots. No swirls. Our goal is to create different decals. Not necessarily offensive to everyone, but far enough out there that somebody will be distraught over it.

Because, yeah, there are only so many cutesy monograms and kitties one girl can take!

The Tools Every Homeowner Needs

Since my tools tend to end up all over the house, and half of my basement is currently stuffed to the brim with baby gear due to the renovations finally underway, it’s hard to take a true inventory of our household tools. We seldom encounter a simple project that requires us to go out and buy tools, but there’s this part of me that is always a little worried that we’re missing something vital. It may just be that my dad is basically a low-key version of that fellow on Home Improvement or that I’m always worried about something – either way, it’s nice to give the ol’ toolchest a once over every now and then.

Luckily, if you’re only tackling the basics, according to the NY Times, you don’t need much. Sure, we talked a lot about redoing the upstairs ourselves, but when we started reading about drywall lift rentals, our zest for DIYing the second floor went right out the window. So for now, we need to make holes, fill holes, change what’s in holes, and maybe loosen and tighten this or that. Nothing major. The NY Times list is right up our alley – here’s the gist:

To start off, you need a hammer.

Buy a multihead screwdriver…, said Mr. Stone of M.I.T. It should have at least two different size bits for slotted and Phillips screws, as well as Robertson (square) and Torx bits.

Mr. Ball, of Pulte Group, actually recommends a cordless hammer drill, which is twice as expensive as a standard drill. “That really opens up the ability of the tool,” he said. “And it’ll last you a lifetime.”

He also recommends a one-inch-wide, 25-foot-long tape measure with a lock.

Finally, crown your arsenal with Mole-Grip pliers, commonly known as Vise-Grips.

Next, wrenches. You’ll need one adjustable wrench and a set of standard and metric wrenches.

A set of socket wrenches — metric and standard — also helps in the age of unassembled furniture.

A level and an electronic stud finder.

A footlong wrecking bar is essential, especially one with a nicely tapered edge so you can slip it beneath existing wood.

A handsaw small enough to fit in your toolbox.

Toss in a small assortment of screws, drywall fasteners and eight-penny nails, a small notebook (for recording dimensions) and a carpenter’s pencil, and you’re set.

I see I’m missing a few things I really ought to have – not many, though. How about you? Where are the gaps in your tool collection?

Have to Have a High Chair? Make It a Good One

As someone with a toddler and a teeny tiny kitchen, I’m just a little obsessed with high chairs. We were originally using a bulky secondhand Graco (for which we were extremely grateful) and then a slightly smaller, but still overwhelming Fisher Price high chair (for which we were also very grateful), and someone in my family was kind enough to buy us an amazing red Stokke Tripp Trapp. Of course, we’re eternally grateful for that!

Naturally, because my Tripp Trapp is red, I love seeing other moms’ red high chairs, whether it’s a fancy pants Bloom or something homier, like the above high chair, painted by red by the gorgeous voice behind The New Domestic. I’m waiting to hear back re: what paint she used, because I’ve come into possession of a Jolly Kids high chair and want to paint it red to match the Tripp Trapp.

What should you walk away with after reading this post? Consider that whether it’s a high chair or a tallboy that you’re looking for, make it a good one. And if you can’t find exactly what you can see so clearly in your mind’s eye, there’s a good chance that you can take something similar and turn it into what you were looking for.

Image seen on Melissa’s Wild Parma Adventures

How to Be as Bright or as Bold as You Want to Be

The short answer: Just do it.

The Beard was initially skeptical when I suggested that we paint our kitchen purple, and a fairly intense purple, at that. But he’s gotten used to it, and when he happened to see some photos of how our kitchen used to look, he couldn’t believe how much the purple improved the space. Literally, I get nothing but compliments – though sometimes these are paired with comments like “I really didn’t think it would be as great as it is.” Uh, thanks?

And hey, if you told me you were thinking of painting your kitchen cabinets a pretty wild shade of pink, I might balk just a little bit. But if this kitchen from Sweden.se is any indication, painting a kitchen pink can be totally delicious. While there are some projects that don’t lend themselves to a quick do-over, why not go bright and bold when it comes to paint? You can always repaint the following weekend!

Crafty Manolo

Manolo says, allow the Manolo to present to you to the latest addition to the Manolosphere: Crafty Manolo!

The long time friends of the Manolo, will immediately recognize the editor of this new venture. It is our own beloved friend, the Twistie, whose enthusiasm for the matters crafting and do it yourself should be the inspiration to all.

So, please, go now and visit the Crafty Manolo.

Four to a Fork, But Why?

Bill Bryson’s At Home: A Short History Of Private Life just hit the shelves, so I’ve been reading and hearing interviews with him for days now. One of the questions that comes up most frequently is ‘why are there four tines on a fork?’ Or on most forks, anyway. Go ahead, have a look in your silverware drawer. You’re probably going to see four tines.

Early forks had two tines – the modernish European table fork came into being in the 10th Century, and was viewed as something of an unmanly Italian affectation for many, many years. But forks of many forms have been in use since the period of the Ancient Greeks, at least as serving implements. Early forks had two tines and were entirely straight (so no scooping), but forks with more tines quickly caught on because it’s easy to spear yourself instead of your food when you’re using a two-tined fork. Before four tines became the hottest tine number, there were three-tined forks and five-tined forks, and I even found one with six tines (for serving sardines)!

Pretty printed forks by Vintage Garden

NtB Needs Your Help

Ladies and gentlemen, I need your help today. I’m in one of those mental places where I find myself torn between two different opinions. So you tell me, because I just can’t decide… Is this chair from Meritalia ugly? Or really, really freaking ugly?