Guest Bloggers

Happy Mundane: Favorite Things

August 24, 2009

A few of my favorite things: Happy Mundane

Hello! I’m Jon from Happy Mundane. Holly kindly invited me to share a few of my favorite things from my home, so I walked around my place and here are a few things that always make me smile…

Happy Mundane: Favorite Things

Every morning when I wake up, one of the first things I see is this view of my bathroom. Originally I had painted the back wall a very light pale blue, and the decor was pretty fun and casual. But last year, after installing some new tile flooring, I decided to switch it to a dramatically darker shade. This changed the entire feel and consequently motivated me to “glam” things up a bit, (I guess it makes me feel a little bit more like a grown up, hehe- I think that’s a good thing?) However, I didn’t ditch all the fun. This little cup, which I found in a thrift shop, acts as my toothbrush holder. I have no idea what the writing says (I hope it’s nothing bad), but I just love the little drawing (I think it kind of looks like me when I have glasses on!) and the fact that it says “Los Angeles.”

Happy Mundane: Favorite Things

I have a lot of artwork in my place, but most of it is from thrift shops, estate sales, or gifts from friends. Just a few months ago, I made my very first artwork purchase from a gallery. I saw this piece from So Cal artist Andrew Holder at the Subtext gallery in San Diego and just had to have it. Kind of an impulse buy, but I love it. Currently it sits at the top of my staircase and greets me with it’s bright bold colors every time I walk in.

Happy Mundane: Favorite Things

I’m a big fan of adding in a touch of the unexpected when it comes to decor. This pillow by Dermond Peterson sits on my living room couch and is a great example of that. I love the raw linen with the subtle white silkscreen. At first glance it just looks like a nice flourish-y pattern- but when you actually look at it, you realize it’s a big kooky octopus! All of Dermond Peterson’s graphics are hand block printed, so each one is a little unique.

Happy Mundane: Favorite Things

Speaking of my living room… it actually blends right into my dining room area. I’m not a big flower guy, but I do think adding some sort of living plant always warms up a space. This summer I got some silver dollar eucalyptus for the dining table, that sits next to my next favorite piece- these incredible “tumi-ishi” wood pieces. I’ve been drooling over these ever since I saw a post of them a few years back. They’re from Japan and actually are a children’s game. Fast forward a little bit and the cool folks at Umbra picked it up for larger distribution, and a few months ago I saw they were finally available stateside, now called “Pile-on”. (you can get them here.) I confess I’m a big fan of the whole faceted trend, as well as natural wood, so this is the perfect marriage of the two.

Happy Mundane: Favorite Things

Summer is all about spending some quality time outdoors. I’m extremely fortunate that I have a small patio, and one of the first things I got when I moved in was a fountain. There’s nothing like the sound of dripping water to get you relaxed and cooled off. And since we’re on the subject of water, another thing I’ve been obsessed with this summer has been simple clear bottles. A few months ago I got to visit the newly opened Ace Hotel & Swim Club in Palm Springs. If you haven’t been yet, I highly recommend it- and you HAVE to have a meal at their restaurant, Kings Highway. It was there that got me started on this whole clear bottle thing. They serve their ice tea and water in plain wine bottles and I thought it was such a clever idea. Now all my drinks are served like that. You may also notice my cheap attempt to recreate those gorgeous Edda carafes that have been making the blog rounds. I love the idea of using a simple wood ball as a cover, so I purchased a blank wooden doll head/knob at the craft store and made my own version with a carafe I already had.

Happy Mundane: Favorite Things

My most favorite thing this summer has to be the arrival of my wonderful Egg chair! This was a major splurge, and those of you that follow my blog will know how much I had been longing for it. It’s made this summer sooo much better (and Pepé loves it too!)

Holly asked me to talk about where I find inspiration… Whenever I’m in a creative slump, I usually just jump in my car and get out somewhere. Normally I seem to end up at, well… the mall. Don’t laugh. It’s true. But there’s a good reason for this. Around here where I live in suburbia, it’s where I can find a huge amount of everything, from all over the place, all in one convenient location. There’s the book store, there’s home decor stores, fashion boutiques, sometimes grocery stores, and then just fun people watching. One thing that I’m always on the lookout for is juxtapositions. It could be one color next to another, or contrasting textures, etc…. By the time I’ve walked around for a bit, I’ve generally seen something that sparks some ideas.

Do any of you do the same?

Finally, I leave you with a quote that has been helpful for me when I’m working. It’s from filmmaker, Jim Jarmusch:

Nothing is original. Steal from anywhere that resonates with inspiration or fuels your imagination. Devour old films, new films, music, books, paintings, photographs, poems, dreams, random conversations, architecture, bridges, street signs, trees, clouds, bodies of water, light and shadows. Select only things to steal from that speak directly to your soul. If you do this, your work (and theft) will be authentic. Authenticity is invaluable; originality is non-existent. And don’t bother concealing your thievery – celebrate it if you feel like it. In any case, always remember what Jean-Luc Godard said: “It’s not where you take things from – it’s where you take them to.

Thanks to Holly for inviting me to be a part of this series, and thank you for indulging with me a few of my favorite things. Hope you all are enjoying your summer! – Jon

(images: happy mundane)


  • Reply Gintare August 24, 2009 at 12:02 pm

    Some wonderful pictures! I love the way your bathroom turned out, and serving drinks in bottels IS a lovely touch! I want your egg chair, I a little bit jealous of that one… :)
    A very nice post, enjoyed it a lot.
    Thank you
    .-= Gintare´s last blog ..Lazy Sunday… =-.

  • Reply Amie August 24, 2009 at 12:16 pm

    Just wanted to tell Jon what an fantastic idea to create your carafe. And I do love that artwork from the third photo! Thank you for sharing!
    .-= Amie´s last blog ..It’s Tea Time! =-.

  • Reply Becky August 24, 2009 at 12:36 pm

    John – Thanks for showing us around your home. I, too, love to get bits and pieces from thrift shops (or charity shops or flea markets as we call them over here in England.) Teaming the old with the new is a great way to create your own unique style.

    Thanks again!

  • Reply Rachel August 24, 2009 at 12:43 pm

    Love the outdoor images! Very inspiring. :) I use clear bottles for almost anything and they always add the perfect finishing touch on the most regular items.
    .-= Rachel´s last blog ..for the picking. =-.

  • Reply grace August 24, 2009 at 12:45 pm

    great job!
    what’s that fantastic table by the Andrew Holder ?

  • Reply Annie May August 24, 2009 at 1:10 pm

    Ohhh the glass bottles at King’s Highway, such a fun restaurant…minus the flies:-) Everytime I go to recycle my glass wine bottles this use crosses my mind! So glad to see you actually doing it! I absolutely love your “Pile-on” pieces, such a good find! I’m scared of shopping malls and I get claustrophobic when I do venture inside or into the crowd, but I do love window displays. One of my favorite places for inspiration is the funky window displays @ LASC in West Hollywood…ever been by?
    .-= Annie May´s last blog ..Another Awesome Giveaway! =-.

  • Reply priscilla August 24, 2009 at 1:21 pm

    I believe the toothbrush holder says “kanpachi” which means yellowtail fish (often used for sushi). Yummy!

  • Reply cheryl R (clee') August 24, 2009 at 2:56 pm

    Great pics, Jon. Yes – I do that too – wander around malls and get inspired. Lately I’ve taken some photos of old bulidings in downtown Minneapolis that would translate quite nicely into greeting card designs. Inspiration is everywhere!

  • Reply leslie August 24, 2009 at 3:12 pm

    hi john.

    fyi, your toothbrush holder says “kampai!!” in japanese. means “cheers!” and is traditionally stated in a loud, celebratory manner when drinking! what an incredibly fun and appropriate way to start your morning.

    cheers to your toothbrush.

  • Reply susie August 24, 2009 at 3:15 pm

    The picture with your Andrew Holder piece is just beautiful! I would park myself on the step right there!

  • Reply dee August 24, 2009 at 4:13 pm

    So enjoying this series of ‘Favourite Things’

  • Reply Jennifer August 24, 2009 at 5:28 pm

    Great photos! I love your blog as well!!!

    .-= Jennifer´s last blog ..Going to California =-.

  • Reply leslie August 24, 2009 at 6:17 pm

    damn. priscilla is right. it says kampa-chi and not kampa-i. damn.

  • Reply Puppy August 24, 2009 at 6:20 pm

    Lovely patio! The outdoor pictures are great!! Actually, the house is great…congrats!
    .-= Puppy´s last blog ..Chris’ adventures in the kitchen: broccolis and yellow squash pie! =-.

  • Reply Cookie Cutter August 24, 2009 at 8:34 pm

    I could laze in that egg chair all day! And thanks for the quote from Jim Jarmusch. The need to be original is something I think creative people struggle with since there’s already loads of great work out there. This quote really helps puts things in perspective.
    .-= Cookie Cutter´s last blog ..Japanese School Sports Day =-.

  • Reply kellyk August 24, 2009 at 9:41 pm

    love, love, love the egg chair! i also really like those cement pavers that make up the patio. where did you purchase them?

    thanks much!

  • Reply Stephanie August 24, 2009 at 9:54 pm

    I’m LOVIN the Egg Chair!!! It looks sooooo comfy!! Great photos!
    .-= Stephanie´s last blog ..Idle Hands…. =-.

  • Reply azu August 25, 2009 at 2:34 am

    the stuffed brown thing in the 3rd image must be Dohmo-kun!!
    How did you get it??
    It is a character of NHK(Japan national broadcasting)~

    Sorry, I hope you understand my English..


  • Reply Melissa de la Fuente August 25, 2009 at 10:04 am

    What a doll! I love your home Jon…the select and special items you have chosen to fill it with. I love the artwork, the happy little LA cup, the beautiful side table with the blue planter, the blue vase and pillow….your carafe you made yourself(what a great idea) and last but, not least….your egg chair and your adorable little Pepe! Thank you for sharing your home with us! Such a fabulous treat!
    .-= Melissa de la Fuente´s last blog ..Cheap & Chic: inspired by a photo on flickr =-.

  • Reply Pikaland August 25, 2009 at 12:16 pm

    Ooh, I love that Domo-kun up above your sofa! :) *RAWR*

  • Reply valerie.n August 25, 2009 at 12:18 pm

    wow, i love your favorite things! i’m going to graciously steel some ideas from you, but i have one question. where can i pick up some of those squirt bottles like the ones you have mouthwash in?

  • Reply FROM THE RIGHT BANK August 25, 2009 at 2:49 pm

    I just had to tell you that I love Jim Jarmusch and that’s one of my favorite quotes. And what a coincidence! A friend and I were just talking about him less than 10 minutes ago! Great post.
    .-= FROM THE RIGHT BANK´s last blog ..Today’s Crush: Blue & White Striped Linens =-.

  • Reply jon August 25, 2009 at 8:50 pm

    thank you everyone for the nice comments! and thank you to Priscilla and Leslie for translating my cup! Just to answer a few questions asked:

    grace: the “table” next to the Andrew Holder was something I found at an antique store in Long Beach, CA. I don’t officially know what it is, but I suspect it was some sort of light fixture as it has a flat top and open bottom for what looks like some sort of cord might have gone through. When I saw it, I just loved the shapes, and thought it could make a nice table.

    azu: I got my Domo-kun a long time ago via Giant Robot (
    but he’s become pretty popular lately so you can find them in a lot of stores here in the US now.

    valerie: I actually got my squirt bottle in a very random place- at a local flower show, from a vendor that was selling supplies for gardeners specializing in violets!

    thanks again to Holly for having me and Pepé says Hi!
    .-= jon´s last blog ..Tone Matrix by André Michelle =-.

  • Reply valerie.n August 30, 2009 at 8:50 pm

    thanks jon!

  • Reply valerie.n August 31, 2009 at 11:38 pm

    jon, i can’t find the squirt bottle anywhere on the web! when i googled it, happy mundane came up! but i cannot find anywhere that sells it. i’m so sad because the idea is genius.

  • Reply jon September 1, 2009 at 9:24 am

    i found one place that sells them for violets, but they look kind of big-
    You might also try looking under “laboratory wash bottles”- they apparently are a very common item in labs- you may have to look a bit to find a place that will sell just one- but they definitely are out there-
    .-= jon´s last blog ..Cheeming Boey =-.

  • Reply valerie.n September 26, 2009 at 2:30 am

    jon – thanks again for your help! i’ll keep looking. :)

  • Reply Shabby Chic Sarah March 29, 2010 at 11:07 am

    I’m actually really loving the wooden block stones you have on the occasion table.

  • Reply alli January 11, 2011 at 6:43 pm

    Jon, the bathroom color is perfect! Any chance you remember the brand and color? Its always hard to match from photos… never seems to come out quite the same.

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