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coffee + cre8tive {sept 10 ’06}

Happy Friday everyone! I hope you’re gearing up for the weekend and have a few fun things planned. ‘Tis the season for weddings, at least for us, so I have another event to attend this weekend – this time, a bridal shower. I’m really looking forward to it, along with a few other fun things I have planned, which I’ll talk about on Monday.

Next week, September 12th, decor8 will have it’s FIRST EVER CONTEST – my way of thanking all of you for your support. I’ve teamed up with a decor8 sponsor for a fun + easy contest in which 3 readers will be awarded gift certificates. Make sure you visit on Tuesday for full details. HINT: Clean up your workspace. :)

Back soon with some more fresh finds – so stick around!

(adorable image of thank you card from Specialty Cards 4U, a small handmade greeting card and custom stationery business in Ohio)

Posted in uncategorized on September 08, 2006

Generate (gnr8) – Fresh Finds!

Step into the alluring world of beautiful things at Generate (aka: gnr8) in Montreal. I scoured their site for a few unique favorites, all special and exciting, fresh, and most importantly, items that you’re sure to enjoy because they are interesting and well-designed. I know that’s what you crave. :) Here are a few of my fresh finds. Let me know if you spot anything else on their site that you find exciting (or as Vincent on Project Runway puts it, if it ‘gets you off’. [cringe] I’m thinking “gets you auf’d” is more like it. I digress….)

When I stumbled upon this stunning pebble-like cacading light fixture, I had to see what other beautiful and unique items Generate had on their website. For $1,699, I won’t be purchasing the ova luminaire light anytime soon, but just look at it for a moment… Emma Welsh did such a brilliant job designing it, the contemporary glow of the white and blue LED lights coupled with the organic unglazed white bone china pebbles – ah, just dazzling!

Sure, this table may cost just under $1,500 but it’s far too pretty to not post it, especially since good design is good design and who can resist? Brandon Lynne and Dario Antonioni created this lovely botanist table, it speaks to me on so many levels that I’m almost tempted to buy it. Simple, chic, clean, modern – yet feminine and curvy. I love the cutout floral details, especially since the flowers on top are smallish so nothing falls through, and the bloom on the side is larger and more outstanding. Very nice touch. Sah-weet!

The dual table is another hot find, I really like circular sofa tables, but with larger sofas, most circular tables seem a bit out of scale. Are you with me here? The dual table designed by Eero Koivisto seems to combine the smooth curves that I love about circular tables with a large surface that I love about larger square and rectangular tables. You can have the best of both worlds. Of course, the hole in the center and the lower table top make it even more appealing, I can arrange books and magazines on the lower shelf and put a large vase with flowers in the center – without stressing over knocking it over with my laptop as I always seem to do now when I place flowers on my table. The dual is also just under $1500.

Another great table I found is the crochet table from designer Marcel Wanders. It’s $1,100 and, although expensive and small, you can’t help but love the design of it. A traditional crochet pattern constructed from epoxy resin is beyond beautiful in my opinion. I’d like to see two of these nestled beneath a console against a wall. You can pull them out when guests arrive and scatter them around your space for resting trays for cocktails and snacks. Of course, Generate has lots of affordable well-designed furniture and accessories that you may envision in your home. The kick stool from Sam + Jude is quite cool – it has a black leather top, a spot for magazine storage on the side, a stainless steel base, and suspension sprung castor wheels, all for $399.

Looking for something unique and decorative for your space? Try the ShadyLace Parasol for your ceiling or over the bed. The little bird perched on top certainly completes the look.

How about something functional and bright, like the Dish Doctor for your kitchen? Adds somewhat of a perk to washing those dirty dishes!

Looking for splendid pendants that won’t break the bank? Opt for the Novalite or the Geigerlite, both are $169 and designed by Paul Gurry.

Generate has many items priced under $200, some under $50. View their more affordable finds here.
Have fun!

(images from gnr8)

Posted in uncategorized on September 07, 2006

decor8 Reader Questions: Advice for Heather’s Countertop?

decor8 reader Heather is a graphic designer from Ocean Springs, Mississippi. She worked alongside her husband, an architect, to build their dream home six years ago. When it came down to completing it, they ran out of time, energy, and of course, cash. As a result, many things were finished quickly and cheaply, their countertops being one of those things, which is where Heather is stuck and could use our help. Heathers writes:

We stained and polyurethaned some birch plywood and that’s been it for years. Now, we are ready for real countertops and we know we want quartz composite (engineered stone) like Silestone, Caesarstone, Cambria and others. After that choice, we are stuck, we can’t decide Light vs. Dark, Color vs. Neutral, Big Chunks vs. Small Grains or Solid.

We like a Cobalt selection a few companies carry that has little sparkly bits of mirror and plan to use that in our breakfast area on a new oval pedestal table. My picture shows a table with a blue top that’s a trial run to see if we like a bright blue surface (we do!). We think the blue is great, but don’t want to overdo it on all the other counters.

The butcher block top island will stay. The cabinets are a natural cherry, nickel pulls, stainless range, white fridge and dishwasher, will soon install a new stainless single bowl sink (the way cool Kohler Poise or BlancoPrecision) and a new faucet.

The walls are a yellow orange I had planned to rub with a pumpkin glaze and the ceiling is a steely blue metallic from Ralph Lauren Duchesse Satin. The pantry doors are cypress architectural salvage from New Orleans with clear glass panels, the floors are pecan and white oak wide plank with a medium stain, lots of wood everywhere, maybe too much.

The next project after the counters will probably be to finally install the shaker style crown mold over the cabinets and mosaic tile the backsplash, possibly a cream glass tile palette with some shimmer.

I would love some opinions on the countertop issue. I like a balanced look and I’m leaning slightly towards the lighter neutrals, to offset all the color. My husband and I are used to making design and color choices quickly and confidently, but we are stumped on this one! Advice, opinions, suggestions, fresh ideas, all are welcome and appreciated! The photo of samples were some we have considered, we liked how some picked up on the cabinet color.

Holly, I’m thrilled you and your readers will take a stab at solving my problem. If it is any incentive, I am tired of putting off the counters and am ready to do them NOW, I promise to update you with what we decide and will send photos of installed counters. Will you have any other “before + after” type posts? I’m curious to see what Courtney did about her kitchen curtains.

Advice anyone?

After reading that you want to do a mosiac tile backsplash (lovely!), I must stress the importance of choosing your focal point because you don’t want the countertop and the backsplash both competing for attention because they each have outstanding features (flecks, shine, etc.). Select which one you’d like in the spotlight. Given the details you’ve provided above about the space, I’d say go with a colorful mosiac tile background and the darker gray-blue countertop (I’m not a fan of the cobalt because I think it will look dated over time and if you ever want to sell the house, it’s something to consider). The tile shown in the top row, second position, in your photo looks great. I scoured the web to try to locate something visual so you could get a sense of the outcome, and came across this photo. I wouldn’t go with such large tiles for the backsplash, but I love the mix of colors. See what you think.

(photos from heather for use on decor8)

Posted in uncategorized on September 07, 2006

coffee + cre8tive {sept 7 ’06}

In my opinion, wallpaper is only as amazing as the person installing it. If good taste isn’t exercised, it can induce vomiting and scare the children. If you want to wallpaper but don’t know where to begin, refer to a trusty friend with great design sense, or hire someone with exceptional style for a quick and painless consultation.
Many decorators and designers are happy to spend a day helping you locate the best supplier, pattern, and installation crew for the job. Most importantly, they can also help you with placement and color. The thought of sugar coating an entire wall with something beautiful, like these beech leaves from House Couturier, totally thrills me. Most other Americans aren’t sold on the trend yet, many complain that we spent the entire 1990’s to get rid of it, and to see it return somewhat defeats the purpose. Given the popular selections of times past, I can see why they’re moaning. Some of it was insane.

The most common complaint from readers and clients pertains to the actual removal of it more than the installation process or costs involved. Others struggle to see past images of oversized cabbage roses or folksy prints with roosters or jumping dolphins on bathroom borders. Flashbacks of tacky 1970’s paper in their childhood home is incentive enough to step away from the wallpaper trend.

We had wallpaper in our home but my mother was smart enough to hire an interior designer when she got stuck on paper selection. The designer, an Italian with exquisite taste, transformed several rooms in our home into a papered paradise. The rooms could have graced the pages of any design magazine back in the day, at least a 1970’s magazine with all it’s gold, orange, green, yellow, blue and white splendor. My great-grandparents on the other hand, that’s another story. They had wallpaper that would induce nightmares. Flowers so bold and out of scale that you envisioned they’d jump out and eat you in the night. Their gigantic floral wallpaper combined with floral linoleum floors (that ultra thick kind), huge oriental carpets and mahogany antiques embellished with lion’s heads and paw feet supporting hand-carved credenzas, was way over the top for a Rhode Island farmhouse. Gladly, I didn’t inherit any of their design genes and I have not once ever slept over at their home. I preferred my grandmothers flower-free abode across the street. She had subtle wallpaper, the kind that won’t eat you in your sleep.

Next enter the renters, those who would consider wallpaper but are prohibited by the landlord to install it. That is where I see myself.

Renters and haters and traumatized children aside, there exist others that can and do wallpaper their homes, taking delight in using decorative papers to breathe fresh life into their space.

Where do you stand? To paper or not to paper, that is the question.

note: fabulous wallpaper link via print + pattern

(images from house couturier)

Posted in Rooms on September 07, 2006


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