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Tagged, I’m It!

I was tagged by SFGirlByBay (Victoria) and now by Scrappy Girl (Cathy) to join in on a blogger game which states that I need to share with you six weird things about myself. When Victoria emailed me, my immediate reply was “Only six?”. I have way more.


1. I met my husband on the internet. I wrote an article that published online in ’98 and he read it and wrote to me to comment on it. We quickly became penpals for a year, then met up while I was vacationing in Europe, and married in 2001. I now believe in soulmates and the power of meeting men online. I like to tease him by calling him my Internet Bride. :)

2. I am obsessed with Morrissey and The Smiths. Before getting married, I’d hop flights just to see him in concert. The best was a back to back concert in London, 1999.

3. I have 3 blog stalkers. One of them recently sent me a creepy e-Hallmark card. I get these mean emails and ‘anon’ comments trying to pick fights with me almost daily. I never saw myself as stalker-worthy, so on a very strange level, I’m somewhat flattered by it. I thrive under pressure, so they keep me on my toes and give me a lot to laugh about with my friends and husband.

4. When I was a teenager, I had over 200 penpals from all over the world. I’d get upwards of 25 letters per day. I spent hours writing letters and sending off the little illustrations I penciled, along with puffy stickers, of course.

5. I love roller skating and cheesy old skating rinks. Careless Whisper from Wham! always takes me back to my first ever “couple skate”, a night I’ll never forget because a couple skate meant everything back then.

6. As a child, I loved to rearrange the furniture in my parents’ home on a regular basis. They’d walk in after work and find everything in different rooms, furniture moved, bookcases, everything. When I say regular, I’m not kidding either. Weekly. I would buy those books with the floor plans for homes inside and, using them as inspiration, I’d draw my version of the perfect house using graph paper, pencils, and my trusty wooden ruler. I was forever rearranging our home and drafting up these crazy home plans. This started at around age 7.

okay and finally… I’ll a 7th to this list. I am a Flickr addict. To me, it’s the best website out there. I could spend HOURS on it. Here is a link to my Flickr favorites, some shown above.

Okay… That’s it! I’ll tag the Hostess Blog (Jen), the Style Files (Danielle), and Bloesem (Irene) now. Maybe they’d like to play along?

Posted in uncategorized on January 26, 2007

Zia-Priven + The Domino Design Project

I really enjoyed Domino magazine this month, particularly for their feature on their design project where they teamed up with eight top interior designers to redesign and furnish apartments for those living with HIV/AIDS at Woodycrest House, a 40-unit apartment building in South Bronx.

I want to be assigned to a project like that… I’ve volunteered on construction projects for non-profits (like Habitat for Humanity) since I was 18 (I think I can count 30 volunteer redesigns, gut rehabs, landscape projects, or complete builds), but I’ve not yet been involved in something as exciting (and challenging) as the Domino project where I could redesign space for a family in need. What a thrilling (and fulfilling) opportunity for those designers.

As I examined each room, I noticed lots of Zia-Priven lighting, the crowning touch to any space. The frosting on the cake. See for yourself in the images below.

Sara Bengur’s room, notice the Zia-Priven red pendant. Image from Domino.

Katie Lydon’s room, complete with Zia-Priven “Fioretti Wallpaper” hanging lamp. Image via Domino.

David Netto’s room, with Zia-Priven “Coco” hanging lamp.
Image via Domino.

Zia-Priven sent over some designs that they’ll be showing at the upcoming NYIGF (below). Stunning!

Madeline Pendant, product details here.
*New* Fairmont Pendant
*New* Ingrid Pendant

If you’re at the NYIGF (1/28-2/1), you can find Zia-Priven at Pier 94/AT HOME, Booth #45041. Would you like to learn more about Zia-Priven – how they got their start, inspirations, materials, and more? Click here.

Psst: Here is complete Slideshow of the The Domino Design Project. Fun!

(images from zia-priven unless indicated otherwise)

Posted in designers, lighting on January 26, 2007

Trends 2007: The Nurturing Naturalist

{This is a huge post, so I’ll give you time to read through it and return tomorrow with more goodies before I head out for the weekend. See you Friday!}

Another trend that rolled over into ’07 is botany obsession and a love of insects, birds, and beach finds – like shells and bird feathers or a vintage birdcage (with a plant inside if you are a pet-free home). This trend seems to appeal to those who have the eye of a natural history museum curator and a real attachment to the natural world around them. Think antiqued prints of flora and fauna, once living things lovingly preserved (starfish, cotton complete with stem), items precious and kept beneath glass domes, or framed, or resting peacefully on a table – a large clamshell to catch your keys, for instance.

To ensure the look is fresh and doesn’t appear too dusty (or dated), you’ll need to set the background with light, modern, hues and be mindful that less is more. Dark green or jewel tones will depress, as will too much black. Opt for lots of faded colors – soft blues, creamy butter yellow, soft gray, and lots of white (in its many shades). Dot some red (maybe a coral paperweight or pillow) around a faded blue room to add a modern touch and a bit of punch if you like, but don’t OD on saturated hues. Even a splash of teal will work, but use with caution… Go easy! Remember, this trend isn’t about sparkle or saturated colors, it’s faded, somewhat neutral, very focused on collections well placed, and lots of natural textures and patterns. You can go casual with it, or more traditional. Just have fun and remember, don’t take design too seriously. Decorating your home shouldn’t be stressful. If it is, you need to take some time out and refocus. Pull in a few friends with homes you love and have a “Help Me” party. Friends love to give decorating advice!

Furniture tips: For furniture, look for slipcovered sofas and chairs for a relaxed feel, or go for rolled arms, a high angled back, or tufted sofas for a more traditional look. For a look that is more casual, try using wooden trunks, worn walnut end tables, glass top tables with rusty legs (flea market finds), vintage suitcases stacked and topped with a lamp, tufted velvet headboards in faded prints or solids (complete with burnished-brass nail head trim). Wood with white-washed or chalk finishes, metal or rusty metals, glass, distressed leathers, anything worn or fades… Key is to mix new purchases with flea market finds. There’s nothing to it! The Grant chair and the Jasper from Room and Board work well too. The Jasper (try ordering it in Danish Linen for a more natural look) is modern and casual and the Grant is more vintage style. I tend to look for furniture with soft edges, but the Jasper still works somehow.

I love these pieces from Oly Studio. Yum. Isn’t that coral chair a great find? I first spotted it in Canadian House + Home and immediately added it to my look book.

Thomaspaul linen pillows are fabulous, don’t you think? The Emmet Trunk from Pottery Barn is nice (not shown), and I like their Spencer Sofa too (especially in linen, velvet, or ticking stripe – above).

Accessories to consider (also shown in first image above): The ceramic Sea urchin votive from Good, vintage photography by Karl Blossfeldt (shown aspidium filix mas and cirsium canum cirse). Tip: DIY your own photos by spending a day outdoors snapping photos of pinecones and ferns on a flat smooth surface. Photoshop them into Sephia or Black and White and frame. I also love this white coral lamp or this shell-filled cameo box from Anthropologie. I’m also thinking a meditation hourglass on a stack of books would blend nicely. The eve glass tea light holder looks like a sea urchin, so I just love it, from Lille in Chicago. And just try to say no to this twig easel from Anthropologie.

Some beautiful d?coupage finds from the amazing John Derian fit this look perfectly. Visit his NYC store for the ultimate experience – it’s gorgeous!

You can mix in a little toile as long as it doesn’t depict the typical country scene (Victorian ladies lounging by a pond). The Bird Toile Quilt and Sham from Pottery Barn is perfect from color to it’s floral and fauna pattern. Their framed bird prints are pretty and fit this look very well, too. Don’t forget glass domes! Jars with screw tops (think old mason jars) are great filled with vintage photos, buttons, thread, even fabric scraps that are rolled like mini scrolls and tied with vintage satin or velvet ribbon. You can also incorporate this vintage-style photo carousel as both a functional, and artistic, centerpiece in your room. Other trend-worthy accessories (not shown) include the Marine candle holder and the coral coasters, all from ZGallerie.

Porcelain vases from Sprout Home in Chicago are perfect for your blooms. This Hammerpress print from Rose + Radish lends vintage charm. You can even mix in a softie or two if you so desire. These owls from Tara Morgendorff have a very loved, slightly worn look to them that I picture on a bed or displayed on a window seat.

These Agnes + Hoss Jellyfish pillows work if you’re leaning towards a modern natural vibe. I tend to shy away from using shiny satins or silks for this trend, but these pillows are too lovely to pass up. Hint: If you go with silk elsewhere in the home, try a nubby raw silk. But again, easy on the silk.

The love birds (not shown) from Blue Bell Bazaar are so sweet. I like the Inleaf Geranium Cocktail Napkins, this great Birds of a Feather Mobile from Ige, and did you see this K Studio Branch pillow – Oh so pretty!

Anything from Papa Stour seems to fit the Nurturing Naturalist.

A beautiful set of bird plates for hanging or dining.

Window Tips: For window treatments, think linens, cottons, natural fibers… Solids or patterns work. Think gorgeous prints like these allspice curtains (above) from Anthropologie. If you can find cut natural bamboo reeds that are long enough (I found some at Pier 1), you can use these as curtain rods. Blinds are nice too… Try bamboo or Cypress shades from Target or these natural woven shades from Smith + Noble.

Flooring: Hardwood is great if you have it. If not, try rugs with nature-inspired patterns or made from natural materials – Sisal, for instance. Chenille is another beautiful option. Felt is my favorite, but of course, a much more expensive option. Check Peace Industry for the best selection. The Tulips in gray is somewhat contemporary, but could be used because of it’s faded color scheme.

Hardware: Hardware from Anthropologie. Add to kitchen cabinets or your dresser for a fresh new look.

Paint suggestions/Faux Molding Tip: Keep the walls light and faded if you decide to paint. You can trim out the room in pure white if you want the look to lean more on the modern, fresh side. If you want to keep the look more natural, trim the room a few shades darker than the color on the walls. Add height to your ceilings by painted a ‘faux’ crown molding around the entire room near the ceiling – use a shade that is 2-3x darker than your wall color. My picks: If you love green, go with Green Wave 681, if you like the blue tones, try either Seacliff Heights 688 or Bali 702 (for a grayish blue). Silvery Blue 1647 is amazing. For grays, I love First Snowfall 1618 (a barely there gray) and pale smoke 1584. Both of these grays are the ones that seem to reflect light and give the space a fresh feeling (vs. drab and depressing). All colors mentioned above are from the Benjamin Moore Classics collection.

Paint tip: If you are afraid to commit to a color try this. Purchase the Ben Moore minis and 3-4 poster boards. Paint each poster board 2-3 times in one color. Tape a painted poster board to your room, rotating it around the space for one week. (It’s important to rotate walls due to lighting.) Sample only one color at a time (vs. placing all 4 on the wall). Try another color a week later. Continue swapping these around for a month. In the end, you’ll have narrowed it down to 2 or even your favorite. If not, put your 2 remaining choices on the wall and ponder over them. Bring in the fabrics you’d like to use in the room and hold them against the giant swatch. Invite over a few friends with a good eye for color and ask for their opinion.

Suggested Books: Found Style by Amy Butler, $23. Great tour of her home. Love this book. Junk Style $17, Flea Market Decorating: Creating Style with Vintage Finds $4!!! (amazing price, awesome book), Creating Vintage Style (I reviewed this title here), Shabby Chic: Sumptuous Settings and Other Lovely Things (I appreciate this book for her fabulous faded hues and how she displays her collections, and though I’m not big on her floral patterns, I really like how casual and simple her style is. Just make sure to mix in more natural elements (feathers, botancial prints, etc.) to capture the look of the Nuturing Naturalist. And finally Flea Market Style $18. It’s like walking into one giant issue of Living Etc.

Spaces inspired by this trend…

Image from Found Style

Image via BBDW in New York (they have amazing furniture).

Image from Elle Decor. This is Thomas O’Brien’s personal workspace.

This is more eclectic, but it still works because of the soft lines of the Pantone chair. Image via Domino mag.

Image via Domino magazine. This is a stunning bedroom and another example of mixing trends.

Image via via: Aero Studios.

Locals: If you live in Boston, Good on Charles Street in Beacon Hill encapsulates the look and feel of this trend. In New Hampshire, Red Chair Antiques is amazing and well worth the drive to Peterborough. In Providence, definitely hit Figments or Butterfield on Westminster.

Psst: Looking for another great source for items that fit this trend? Visit Ballard Designs

Next trend coming soon… Beachy Keen!

Posted in trends on January 25, 2007

Thomaspaul Designs for Graham & Brown

I was happy when Kate sent over these images the other day, and even happier when I learned that the hand-painted canvases shown will soon be sold on the Graham & Brown website for $90. They are divided into four main groups; Silhouettes, Aviary, Damask and Parasols. In addition to Graham & Brown, Velocity will soon carry them stateside as well. Exciting!





(images from thomaspaul)

Posted in Arts + Crafts, walls on January 25, 2007

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