Wednesday, October 27, 2010

wall flower

I am loving this idea!  Urban Outfitters sells these wall tapestries that can be used on a bed, on a couch, or--how the store has it displayed--on a wall.  What a great way to create an interesting optical illusion and cover a bare wall.  They offer a few varieties; this is the birch tree option.  I love Urban Outfitters, especially for their home collection.

How do I decorate a room?

These are my home design rules

1. NO CLUTTER:  I always consider the size of a room, and I am always looking for new ways to store things that I do not use.  Having just the essentials is really important, because things collect dust.  I prefer a minimal clean appearance.

2COLOR STORY:  I prefer a home to have monochromatic painted walls; I like to use color and texture with accessories.  No matter what color your walls are painted, just remember that the more color you introduce to a specific room or area, the more you run the risk of overwhelming the space. Cohesion in every room will tie your entire home together.  By complimenting the other rooms, you have the freedom to move things around and still manage to have continuity throughout your home. 

Ink-Dot Pillow Cover3. ACCESSORIZE:  Be smart about what what you choose to accessorize your home.  Each item should have somewhat of a function, while reflecting your own personality.  I am a fan of repetitious displays or graduated items.  For example, a set of graduated pitchers above a kitchen sink, or a collection of vases that are all the same color but vary in shape, can add so much to your home.  Proudly display anything you collect, but remember to keep the clutter under control.  You want to always keep enough available space so you never have to rearrange items for work space or living space.

4. LIVING THINGS:  One of the most creative and inexpensive ways to add interest to a room is with plants and flowers.  I have a rule in my home:  FRESH FLOWERS ALWAYS!  I like to keep it seasonal and use what is flourishing, which also keeps things current.  Another great thing to decorate with is cactus plants.  I have amassed quite a collection of cactus, and I have them scattered throughout my home in Richard Taylor faux bois planters.  Plants add color and texture, and are always excellent conversation pieces.  I have even used fresh bunches of basil, mint, and parsley in small arrangements, so do not let overpriced flowers get in your way.  Experiment!  Use unconventional things in arrangements.

5. WALL SPACE:  Walls, walls, walls... they are always such a challenge, especially when you have either too much wall space or not enough wall space.  I think artwork is the BEST way to break up the appearance of bare walls.  Artwork can be found anywhere and I mean ANYWHERE!  You can buy so many different types of art, from flea markets, antique shops, tag sales, and even online.  Now of course, you do not have to spring for a van Gogh.  Have you ever considered taking vintage advertisements and framing them in clean, streamlined frames?  Ebay is a great place to look for vintage advertisements; I bought a 1963 men's Chanel advertisement on Ebay for only $10 and framed it myself; and once I hung it in my bathroom, it made a complete difference, and I have had so many great comments about it.  Another great wall accent is mirrors.  I think mirrors are probably one of the best ways to resolve a decorating dilemma.  They make any room appear to be huge, and considering their size, are very customizable and inexpensive.

6. CARPET:  Okay, I am a huge fan of hardwood floors and the open, airy feeling they provide, but living in a loft apartment, I have gained a new love for accent rugs.  They really give a room its own identity, and can warm up a room, as well as break things up between rooms.  I especially like to have them in living rooms and bedrooms. This is also where I would introduce a contrasting color or print.

7. BATHROOM:  Let's talk about one of the most under-appreciated spaces in most homes: the bathroom! Sometimes decorating is not about what you should HAVE  but more about what NOT to have. First thing, I think bathrooms can do without an actual magazine wrack. Okay, I know I might be offending some people with this one, but come on!  I don't mind if you prefer to flip through Martha Stewart Living while you're on the can; I mean, that's your business.  But do your guests really need to see a news stand on the side of the toilet?  Another thing I am declaring a big no-no is any form of decorative toilet paper holder, and your trusty plunger, both very important things to have, but not the most attractive to look at. Next, those damn decorative towels: if you MUST have them just remember, if you do not have a clean hand towel by the sink, don't expect your guests to realize your pansy-printed towels are just for show.

8. MOVE MOVE MOVE:  I am always rearranging things in my home--and you should too, on those days where you just have nothing else to do (or for me, at 1:00 am).  Move furniture, switch out vases, rearrange carpets, add things, take things away; it's all about experimenting!  Sometimes it works wonders, and sometimes you end up with everything back to the way it was.  I have made some excellent discoveries in my own home just by moving things slightly.  I also like to do this when I have a second set of eyes (preferably someone who does not live there).  I always turn to my mother.  It's great to have someone with a fresh point of view to add their opinion, especially in regards to furniture placement.  I have been in my apartment for almost a year, and I am still moving things on a daily basis.

9. WIRED:  So this might be one of my biggest, most obsessive, crazy ridiculous (I am talking can't-sleep-at-night-if-I-know-it-exists-in-my-home) pet peeves.  I am talking about exposed wires from home electronics, like televisions and computers.  I need to have all wires hidden.  When exposed, they look ghastly and make even the cleanest room look messy.  I often use power strips to help gather all plugs and cords, and will use zip ties to keep them all neat and organized.  It will really make a difference, not only visually speaking, but it will also make things a lot easier to clean, and move.

10. STYLISH STORAGE:  I am a lover of exposed shelving.  I think it is incredibly modern and very chic, but one drawback to exposed shelving is your belongings can look scattered everywhere.  This is where canvas bins come into play.  They are the ultimate way to instantly organize, and they look fabulous.  I buy them at Ikea--very affordable.

No matter what your style, budget, or how big or small your home is, these are simple design rules that I swear by.  They have served as the foundation for my ongoing adventures in decorating.  The most important thing to keep in mind, I think, is to express yourself through home decorating.  After all, your home is YOUR home and nothing makes it more your own than infusing your own style and your own aesthetics... Happy decorating!

Monday, October 18, 2010

fab finish

The Martha Stewart Living paint finish tool kit contains eight tools for creating twelve decorative paint effects.  It also includes a full color technique brochure and how-to guide.  A fresh coat of paint does wonders to a room, but to really breathe new life into plain walls and tired furniture, try giving that fresh coat a little something extra.  Eye-catching patterns and surface textures are surprisingly easy to create yourself, and you can see the beautiful results of your project in a single weekend.  This booklet gives you step-by-step instructions for producing a dozen professional-looking effects, including graphic stripes, rich textured linen, and my favorite, “faux bois” wood grain.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

put a cork in it

Product Image Naturals Adhesive Cork Shelf Liner - 18x4" 
When we first moved into our loft apartment, one thing I focused my attention on was the proper drawer liner for the kitchen.  With a cork self-adhesive drawer and shelf liner, you can gently cushion and protect fine glassware and dinnerware.  The roll of soft, pliable natural cork features a peel-off backing to adhere to a drawer or shelf.  The cork naturally resists mold and mildew and easily cut with scissors.  You can find this at Target, and other stores.

prized pottery

Since 1971, Guy Wolff has been spinning some of the most exquisite clay creations around.  Located in Washington, Connecticut, Guy Wolff makes his gorgeous pots at his studio.  I love his work, and I hope to collect many of his pieces.  The clean lines and timeless designs make for ideal choices for indoor and outdoor plant vessels.  I love his white pots--they have a green patina that makes them look mossy and aged.

Please explore his website, and keep him in mind this Holiday season.  Anyone could appreciate a well made work of art like this, that functions as beautifully as it looks.

Friday, October 15, 2010

fashion friday: Hermes

With that classic orange "H", the absolutely amazing quality of leather goods, and impeccable style, Hermes has been consistent for decades.  I am an Hermes fan all the way! Each and every piece that comes bearing the Hermes name is 100% handmade.  These are classic pieces that will last more then a lifetime.  One of the most iconic pieces is the famous Birkin (shown here), so coveted that most Hermes stores have a waiting list to get one.  They range in price from $5,000-$25,000. Hermes is famous for their clever use of exotic skins, such as lizard and alligator.  If you ever have the chance to browse through an Hermes boutique, I highly recommend doing so; it is a heavenly experience.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

oh martha

Everyday Foods, Martha Stewart's latest publication, is a digest-sized meal planner for every day of the week, all year long.  Often categorized and featured with seasonal fresh ingredients, this is a great way to come up with a real good meal.  There is also an app available for iPhone/iPod touch that is my favorite!  I have used it at the market as my shopping list--perfect!


Succulents are plants that store water in their leaves, stems, and roots.  This gives succulents a more swollen or fleshy appearance than other plants (this is called succulence). 
Succulent plants have become my absolute favorite plant to have around the house.  They are very low-maintenance and require little watering.  Although they thrive in warm and sunny climates, setting them in a window or under a growing light for up to seven hours a day will allow them to flourish.  Their unique architecture and odd appearance add so much character and life to your home.  I have several succulent and cactus plants throughout my home, and they have become such a passion for me.
Succulents don't always have to be potted plants.  They are also great to use in arrangements, like this one above.

Sunday, October 10, 2010


Texture is one of the most important design elements.  Adding texture adds interest and character to any space.  A furry sheepskin throw, like the one shown above, lightly thrown over a chair adds warmth and variety to a basic room.
Even adding a carpet with a print, like this faux bois by Martha Stewart, still adds the element of texture.  This also allows a break in the color palette and creates dimension.
Tired of your plain couch?  Add ruffled pillows, and you can basically reinvent your existing sitting space.

Friday, October 8, 2010

fashion Friday: logo refresh

So this week, Gap (one of our favorite stores) unveiled its new logo.  A new logo that replaces the iconic blue box design that Gap has had for more than 20 years.  The old logo:

...and the new one:
This font is the same font that Gap has been using in its marketing campaigns for a few months now.  They decided to update the logo to bring it into a new direction, in order to appeal to a younger, more modern customer base.  Personally, I think it would have been even just a little better without that silly blue box in the corner, which pays homage to the old logo.  Overall, online reactions have been pretty negative, mainly because of the simplicity of the design.  Maybe this could change though.  Remember "new" Coke from the '80s?  Nobody liked it, so Coca-Cola went back to the classic.  Maybe Gap will do the same?

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

book club

She is back!  Ina Garten's latest cookbook "How Easy Is That?" is available for pre-order on  Full of simple, elegant recipes and entertaining ideas, this is a must-have for the modern home cook.  I love how easy-going Ina's style is.  She is all about simple, good quality ingredients, and making it fabulous!

Saturday, October 2, 2010


Roy Lichtenstein was a prominent twentieth-century American pop artist.  His work was heavily influenced by both popular advertising and the comic book style.  Lichtenstein described pop art as not "American" painting, but actually industrial painting.

faux bois

The French term for false wood, faux bois is a technique found often in planters and garden accessories that replicates the look of wood grain, often made of cement.  There are very few known faux bois artists in the United States; but one Texas artist, Carlos Cortes, still produces custom faux bois pieces, which are considered to be highly collectible.  This fake-me-out woodland motif is timeless and adds interest to any room.  This is a picture of my faux bois planters.  I have gorgeous succulents and moss planted in mine.


Floral frogs are small devices used to arrange flowers.  They come in multiple designs and sizes.  Some, like the one above, are metal circles with many spikes sticking up.  Flowers stay quite easily in them and appear more full and symmetrical.  They can be found at most potting sheds and florists.