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MIT OCW (OpenCourseWare)

I’ve wanted to write about this for awhile, but couldn’t figure out how to merge the topic with decorating and design… So I’ve decided to just post about it anyway because I think it’s a great resource to tap into. Especially with so many of you either working in the business world or owning your own business, I’m sure you can find topics that interest you. Anyway, Boston’s own MIT set up MIT OCW, a free and open educational resource for people all over the world who want to pull up a seat and learn. After extensive research on it (including conversations with those who have taken a few OCW courses), I can’t say enough to promote this avenue of learning. It’s great.

Sure, you won’t earn a degree from your studies via OCW, but you will learn about fascinating subjects from some of the best educators on this planet, which is never a bad thing. Whether it’s Anthropology you fancy, Linguistics and Philosophy, or Writing and Humanistic Studies, there is something that appeals to the curiousity of everyone. Some of their writing courses interest me, and Composing Your Life: Exploration of Self through Visual Arts and Writing looks interesting, too.

There are lots of great business courses, and courses on Architecture (including urban planning), and even special programs that may prove helpful to those of you interested in product development, like Prototypes to Products, a course that covers topics from prototyping techniques to materials selection, design-for-manufacturing, field-testing, and project management. There’s even a course on Pricing, a subject on the minds of so many business owners these days.

Visit MIT OCW for more information. But beware: There are lots of details to digest, so give yourself time to browse the site.

(image from mit ocw)

Posted in shopping, travel on January 30, 2007

de Maria’s Lighting (Netherlands)

de Maria’s sent over their lighting today (thanks, Roos!) and I couldn’t stop looking through their website long enough to write a proper post about them. Wow. I’m smitten.

Based in Den Haag, Netherlands, de Maria’s creates lighting like I’ve never seen – and I love it. I’m tempted to say it merges fashion with interiors in a way like no other, it’s like seeing your favorite fashion image illuminated – over your dining room table! Check out their work for yourself right here, and make sure you email them if you are a buyer interested in carrying the line or a shopper looking to purchase one. You can reach either Roos Jooren or Diana Maria at info{at}deMarias{dot}nl. Their site is in Dutch, but like most Dutch, they speak English.


(images from de maria’s)

Posted in lighting on January 30, 2007

*New* Chocolat Magazine from Canada!

I have to thank decor8 reader Margot J. who sent me a copy of Canada’s newest gem, Chocolat, a shelter magazine that is, overall, really fantastic.


It’s a shopping magazine, much like Domino, but it has somewhat of a UK feel to it – it’s a little like Ideal Home meets Living Etc. maybe? Hmmm. Hard to describe. I love the title typefont and all the resources it lists inside, and the website is equally good with a few great DIY articles that are practical and do not involve power tools or a degree in fine arts.

I really enjoyed the online feature, Sticky Situations, all about using decals in creative ways, particularly since I’ve done this before and found it to be a terrific (and cheap!) shortcut to add personality to the home.

Content rich, packed with finds, and not a lot of advertisements only adds to the appeal. The layout and design isn’t as drool inducing as some of my favorite glossies, I think the product shots could be more enticing and the photos of space could look better (Domino and Living Etc are tough to live up to!), but being that this is only issue #2 and it appears to only be published quarterly, I think they’re off to a great start and hopefully will grow from here to become the Domino of Canada. I love all the links and design tips, and the 24 hour shopping guide to Calgary was an exceptional feature. I will definitely look for the Spring issue when I’m up in Montreal in a few months.

Thanks again Margot for the preview, It’s a lot of fun to look at and I really appreciate that you took the time to mail it to me! More on Chocolat here.

(images from chocolat)

Posted in inspiration on January 29, 2007

Sofa Shopping Online – Laura Needs Your Help!

decor8 reader, Laura W., is looking for a sofa and needs your help. She says, “I found one online that I love from Club Furniture, but I am not sure about their quality. Have you heard anything about them? I’m feeling a little iffy about buying a sofa without trying it out first.”

I’ve not shopped them before, but it appears as though they offer a great warranty, which includes a 20 day no frills money back guarantee, even stating they’ll pay the return freight on the item (not the original shipping fees, but everything else would be refunded). Not bad!

In addition to the warranty, I’d call them directly and see what kind of customer service they provide. Ask lots of questions and get a feel for them over the phone. I’d also check out the Better Business Bureau online. I go there whenever I question a company that I’m about to deal with. It seems that Club Furniture is owned by One Source Plus, Inc., so do a search under that name and see where it gets you. If they’ve had an unusual amount of complaints, you’ll learn about those there.

decor8 readers, have any of you ever purchased a sofa online without experiencing it first hand? What are your thoughts on this? Has anyone shopped with Club Furniture before?

Thanks Laura for writing in!

Posted in furniture, reader questions on January 29, 2007

Books:

Some of my books...

Further editions available: Decorate published by Murdoch Books for AU/NZ, Decorar BR, Alt om indretning DK, Inspirace pro váš byt CZ, Dekorácie SK, La décoration FR, Lust auf Wohnen DE, Sisusta tyylillä FI and Sztuka aranżacji wnętrz PL.

eCourses:

Next dates

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