Sunday, June 29, 2008

An Ode To Jonathan Adler

It started with this table lamp and has blossomed into something akin to hero worship. I picked up his book a year or so ago and it inspired me to do the crazy things that brighten up our apartment.

For example:

Inspired this:

And then I took black porcelain planters and lined them in the hallway. A bit of padding and they grew cats:

If you're unfamiliar, you really should go to his site for inspiration.

Point Click Home recently published his 15 Fabulous Design Tips. These are my favorites:

3. Don’t fit in. Scale is the most under-considered piece of the decorating puzzle. Put a Gothic throne in a studio apartment.

** I don't have a Gothic Throne, nor is my apartment studio sized, but I like the whimsy this suggests. Decor is not to be taken seriously -- even that centuries-old setee that you grudgingly inherited can be brought back to life with new springs, stuffing, and fabric. Just don't refinish it -- you want to revive it, not turn it into something you could have picked up at Brocade Home last week. (This is without insult to Brocade Home, which I adore.)

4. Paint your floors white. You’ll feel carefree.

** This week my entry and hallway carpeting is being ripped up. I'm waffling between glossy white and glossy black. Both have a decadent feel and I admit that my decision will probably be based purely on maintainance. With black kitty hair I'd be broom-vac-ing that floor multiple times a day. I do think if you've got a great Southern Porch, that white-washing the boards will keep it cool in the summer. This would probably work on a poured-concrete deck, as well.

8. Chocolate brown and baby blue are perfect together. They’re uptown, they’re downtown, they’re classic and fashion forward.

** These are my favorite colors. They are in my closet, they are in my basic designs, they were my wedding colors. Chocolate Brown is a highly underrated neutral.

10. Put regal furniture in your bathroom.

** Again with the whimsy and I can't resist. I don't have room in the bathroom for anything that might be considered regal (while not a studio, it is still a loft) but I do have a stool that I'm going to refinish ebony and recover with some extra black shantung silk I've had laying around for months. Not regal, but a step up, I think. My bathroom is also pink and black and white. I try to channel Coco Chanel when I'm in there. Some mornings it works and I emerge ready for the day all kinds of prettified. Sometimes it makes me tired. I'm hoping the new stool will tilt the scale toward prettification.

15. Make your own – Personal style means having a space that’s comfy but filled with stuff that has meaning to you. It should hold things created and inspired by passionate people. Personal style should make you happy and happiness is chic.

** It's a cliche's true. Your mother-in-law thinks that only bordellos have pink bathrooms? (Mine doesn't, or hasn't vocalized it if she does.) So what. She doesn't live there. You've always wanted a Warhol-esque shrine to yourself hanging in the entryway to remind you how fabulous you are every time you enter your home? Do it! You live here. It should be your sanctuary, your shelter from the rest of the world. Do whatever you want to make it sing to you every day. Because when your house sing.

And I'll leave you with that note of cheesiness. I do agree with his other Fabulous tips (except maybe hanging art off the bookcases, mine are used to often to have that kind of barrier). Follow the link above to be inspired!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Things No One "Needs"

For starters:

A cupcake stand. Not inexpensive, given what it is -- Fred Flare provides them -- but imagine a birthday party with one of these at each place setting.

An alternative is a small cake plate, like these at Crate and Barrel. Even more personal but still smaller (perhaps for petite fours?) are individual butter dishes (also Crate and Barrel.) A quick romp through ebay or your favorite vintage site will unearth decorate butter servers in an array of colors and designs. Use them for actual butter during a dinner party or put small desserts - cupcakes, tarts, petite fours, etc - at each setting for a pretty and yummy surprise.

The other thing no one needs?

A good old fashioned bar. Due to copyright restrictions I can't post an image of the one I lust after, but I can post a link. In lieu of the space/finance restricted Ostrich Bar, I'll be picking up and hacking this:

Yes. It's a changing table. It's the Hemnes Changing Table from Ikea, actually. A light sand on the finish, some putty in the screw holes, a coat of paint or stain and a funky application to the interior of the tray and visible back wall of the top shelf, and it will be a nicely weighted bar to replace the $25 not-very-sturdy bookshelf that is currently the home to our liquor. Why not get something fancy with cubbies for wine bottles, you ask? Because ideally, white wine is kept in a chiller and red wine is kept in a closet/chiller at a slightly warmer temperature. Over the fridge, in a bookshelf that is exposed to temperature variations, or anywhere else that might expose the wine to the elements is a Bad Idea unless said wine is going to be served a few days after being placed in one of those places. Also, they're not cute, they restrict organization to less-than-efficient configurations, and they're generally over-priced.

I'm going to steer clear of any kind of tile-mosaic for the tray, too. Nothing shows spills like lines of grout. The bottom will be lined with a nice brushed stainless. Perhaps these, available at interior51:

Alright... time to get my bar in order so I can throw a dinner party and serve mini-cupcakes in vintage butter dishes!

PS - has been reserved and is coming soon.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

100 Thing Challenge, or: how to pare it all down

If anyone has been around me enough, they'll know that I'm constantly in a state of "decluttering" my life. Example: when it was time to put away the fall decorations and pull out the Christmas decorations last year, I took the opportunity to purge our tiny hall closet of the crap we were just hanging on to. It resulted in our being able to donate one full plastic bin and one full paper box. (It also inspired me to purge my closet, so there was another two full plastic bins with that. All pre-holidays.) How did I do this? I used the same rule I apply everywhere else: has this been used in the last year when there is opportunity to use it? There are three answers to this: 1) Yes. 2) No. 3) There has been no opportunity. The third usually applies to formal wear or extreme weather wear. In Dallas you rarely have the opportunity to pull out the vintage fur. This meant that half of the tchochkie decorations haven't been used in years - they went. I also opted for a tree that was minimally decorated rather than hang generic multi-colored balls up to fill space. This is ok with a lot of people, but it's not the tree I want in my living room.

You get the point.

Anyway, I'm reading this week's Time Magazine and they talk about a gentleman named David Bruno who's set the challenge for himself to pare his personal belongings down to the 100 things by November of this year. I'm not fan of setting goals like that - I like my method better, but his blog is interesting and the very idea of de-cluttering and re-organizing speaks to the root of my design philosophy.

If you need help in that category, I'm your girl. Your closet, your pantry, laundry room, kitchen, office. You name it and I'll help you clean it out and make it a healthier space. (I'm all about removing toxins from every day life.) I can be pretty harsh, too. Just because that over-sized moth-eaten flannel shirt was good to you when Ten was getting heavy rotation, doesn't mean that you need to have it in your every-day wardrobe arsenal now.

Anyway, I just thought I'd share. I promise I'll post pretty pictures soon.

Monday, June 9, 2008

A Little Work Around the House

I saw a video this hack here and was inspired to do this myself. Between us, the husband and I have 3 phones, a DS, and a digital camera...all of which were constantly falling off the filing cabinet we use for charging.

She uses a ribbon box, but I just used a sturdy Christmas gift box that I had shoved into my wrapping station:

I used my trusty craft blade to slice the "exit channel" for all of the wires. Then I covered the box in some lovely paper that came wrapped around sweaters I ordered from Ralph Lauren a few weeks ago (they're on sale and they'll never go out of style). While I cut a 2cm-wide length down the box, I only slit the paper. I think it gives it a cleaner view should anyone catch site of the rear of the box:

I cut holes in the upturned lid for the business end of the plugs and then layered white craft paper over the floor so that you wouldn't see the gold all the time. I used fun packing tape for the hinges:

And Voila! Charging station:

I was also inspired by this blog to do a bit of re-arranging in our pathetic loft-sized refrigerator. Luckily, husband went to the farmers market on Saturday afternoon so the fruit and veg drawers aren't empty.

I promise this isn't product placement. I actually try to keep all the labels facing forward so that things are easier for me to find. Particularly since I like pickles in their whole and chip form and husband likes spears...

Note the bottles on the left - these are actually this vase from ikea that I've just filled with water and capped with wine stoppers. On any given day I will drink through all three and the two voss bottles that share the shelf.

Fruit drawer. From left: lemon/lime, peaches, plums (local and little but so full of flavor), cherries (to be pitted and put in turnovers), and blackberries.

Fruit/Veg drawer from left: corn, cucumbers, funky shaped zucchini, and tomatoes.

I'm making some cards tonight, so I'll post pictures of those. Contemplating making them - on a small scale - and selling them to interested parties. I'm also in the midst of redecorating our master. There's a trip to an India import store for some sari fabric and some paint cans in the future, but when it's finished I'll post images of that.