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Zebra Patterns – Do You Approve?

Nothing inspires us like nature, which is why we so often gravitate towards patterns that resemble those found outdoors. If you’re thinking of adding maximum impact to a space, look no further than the stylish Zebra (please, go faux). And along with the Chinese ceramic stool craze we’re seeing, Zebra rugs are a big hit too, making a continued appearance in some of today’s hottest interiors. Need a bit of inspiration before you decide to add a bit of safari chic to your space?

If this image from Domino doesn’t make you see Zebra prints in a new and exciting way… I’m afraid there’s no hope. :)

Nothing inspires me like a deal and of course, going faux. You can find a Zebra pattern stenciled onto a hairhide rug for $515 from Horchow. Of course, it’s still from an animal and some of us aren’t into animal hides at all (like me). If that’s you, opt for something in wool, like this one from Home Decorators ($129-299). If you need something smaller for an entry or beneath a sofa table, this 5×7 rug from Urban Outfitters is perfect, and a budget find at $69. It’s cotton, so we know animals weren’t hurt for this little guy, and your wallet won’t feel a thing.

When I think of Zebra rugs, Jonathan Adler ($875) always springs to mind. With his dare devil bolder-than-thou designs, I admire how perfectly he works such a bold pattern into his interiors. Having all that color courage, coupled with extreme self-confidence from his ‘been there done that’ experience in the design world, Adler is super contagious. He has a happy virus that more of us need to catch. Explore! Dare! Yes, go there!

Designer Jan Showers gives us more eye candy, helping us see the pattern in a variety of settings… A more ‘medicated’ approach to Adler I must add, but beautiful and certainly more friendly to the neutral fans out there.

And did you catch the lovely Zebrine wallpaper in Domino magazine from Rose Cumming? It’s making another appearance in interiors with it’s bold, whimsical charm. It makes a definite statement in crisp blue and white, doesn’t it? This image is of Ashley Whittaker’s home, courtesy of Domino, 4/07 and The Peak of Chic.

The Peak of Chic loves Zebrine wallpaper and tells us, “Glamorous pedigree aside, this print is certainly a stylish but bold statement. I love animal prints, but one has to use them with restraint. All other design elements of a room- furniture, artwork, and accessories- have to be toned down when paired with such a gutsy pattern.” Photo from Robin Bell’s living room, courtesy of House Beautiful, 1/05 via The Peak of Chic.

Inspiration from Domino and Living Etc. There’s even a Zebra ottoman in the mix, and a chair, below. For me, if I’m going Zebra, there’s nothing I like better than combining the color turquoise with a crisp black and white faux Zebra print rug.

So tell me… What’s your take on it as either a rug, wallpaper, textiles, etc.? Do you approve? Have a little love/hate? Run screaming?

Posted in trends on March 26, 2007
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Chinese Ceramic Garden Stools – Yes or No?

Domino (April) arrived over the weekend and I couldn’t help but feel left out of the hip ‘n trendy Chinese Garden Stool Club. Michael Bargo had one in a lovely green, the amazing Lulu de Kwiatkowski sported one in her home (in what appeared to be orange), Tom Scheerer incorporated a perky lime stool into the drinks table arrangement that he pulled together (in classic Scheerer style), and Jennifer Marsico had two white ones in her living room alone. But no worries my fellow design addicts. For as little as $69 USD, you can join the Garden Stool Club, too.
Here’s a floral ceramic stool used by Burnham Design in one of their rooms, it looks inspired by the Chinese garden seats, just a bit more dainty and detailed. I wasn’t able to find an exact copy of it, but if you spend some time on Google, I’m sure you’ll find something like it. Check with your local antiques dealer, too.

Why so appealing? They can do it all – the true multitaskers. They fuction as a foot rest, small table, plant stand, place for kitty to sit, or just for a little eye candy – a bright burst of color. They are also small enough to not give commitment phobes a showroom freak out, it’s just one itty bitty stool. Slightly larger than throw pillows. About the same price. We love a good ole barely-break-a-sweat purchase.

Also know as ‘tea stools’, ‘chinese stools’, and ‘porcelain garden seats’, the big sellers seem to be those in solid colors, circular, with intricate, but spare, cutouts (vs. the ornate hand-painted or square varieties). Although, I have to say that I love the hand-painted stools in blue and white, like the one shown a few images down from Wisteria for $179.

My #1 stop, Oriental DestinAsian on eBay. Prices range from $69-119 for solid colors in blues, greens, yellows, and of course, white. With a flat rate shipping anywhere in the U.S. for only $35, you can’t go wrong for a repro. Keep in mind that just like anything else, you can pay more and find something really unique and one-of-a-kind straight from artisians in China, or you can opt for reproduction pieces inspired by traditional Chinese garden seats if you’re on a limited budget.

Although the stools I’m seeing in magazines and designer’s portfolios aren’t nearly as ornate, if you love to mix things up, opt for handpainted or these cutout floral patterns from The Company Store ($108), or Mecox Gardens. For a one-of-a-kind seat, Red River Trading Co. in Boston’s South End has imported stools straight from Hunan, China. The two shown above in teal were handmade and fired in a kiln which means that are totally worth $350- each.

Try these gorgeous stools from Wisteria in your space. I can’t help but think they’d add that perfect touch. Or for ones with a bit more detail, go with these from Gumps of San Francisco.

Additional Ceramic Garden Stool resources: Tonic Home, Clipper Trading, even Pottery Barn is in on the trend with a Jade green stool for only $99. You can google for “Ceramic Garden Stools”, “tea stools”, “chinese stools”, and “porcelain garden seats”, and find hundreds of other sources. Use those as search words on eBay, too.

Can you spot them in these rooms? Some are much less obvious than others…

From: Domino, KWID, Kelly Proxmire, Todd Romano, Timothy Whealon, Kemble Interiors, Burham Design, and Kenneth Brown Design.

So what do you think – Are you into these, or do you run screaming in the opposite direction?

Posted in trends on March 26, 2007

Home Republic

I found a neat little eBay store over the weekend while searching for an alabaster deer head. Strange item to desire, but you must relate… I think we’ve all obsessed over something that others found a bit odd (your boyfriend, those jelly shoes, that eggplant hair color). I first came a white deer head in Real Simple magazine, then I spotted another on flickr from Shimrit + Yaar. Seeing that I couldn’t find any in local stores, or online (when I did they were always out of stock), I turned to my friendly eBay and searched for ‘deer heads’. Simple enough. Or so I thought.

I kid you not, I had to endure endless images of creepy stuffed heads until I found my diamond in the rough, a seller that not only had several in stock, but the price was right. He also has an online store in addition to his website, and his home won the 2005 “Home of the Year” award from Metropolitan Home magazine. A Thai-American living in Washington, D.C., Supon Phornirunlit, has a great eye for design and stocks some great products, so I’m sure you’ll want to shop his finds in both his eBay store and website, Home Republic. See Supon’s home here (don’t miss his retro cookie jar collection!).

Check out all these heads over the bed!

I know some say antlers are out, but I think good design is good design and if it makes you happy and looks great in your space, then that is all that really matters. I plan to have a dog someday and think this would make a fun hook for a dog leash in a mud room, so once I tire of it on display in my living room, I’ll move it over to another area of my home for a more functional purpose, like the entryway.

So, what do you think of these heads? Be honest.

Posted in trends, vintage on March 19, 2007

Bathing Beauties via Boston magazine

I try not to talk about myself on this blog because design is the focus, but after looking at the March issue of Living Etc with freestanding bathtubs in nearly every home featured, I had to point you to an article that appears in Boston magazine’s Home & Garden edition, written by yours truly. If you’re a local and looking for a tub, this article may help you out. It’s on newsstands until June 12, 2007. The article is called “Bathing Beauties”, pages 51-53. If you do not have access to the issue, I’ve uploaded it to my flickr account, so you can read it there (view in full size). A huge thanks to Julieann (a decor8 reader) from Jace Interiors in Cambridge for the quotes!


(images from boston magazine)

Posted in bathroom, trends on March 08, 2007

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