Built It And You’ll Never Want To Leave

Posted: May 22nd, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: design | Tags: , ,

I now officially have the home renovation bug – bad.  I know I promised the other day that I would share images of the built-ins we just installed in my sons’ room and didn’t deliver.  I will, eventually, I swear.  But I am in love with my built-ins.  In fact, I am in love with built-ins in general.  As a kid there were a built-in closet and dresser in my bedroom and we cursed them nearly every day.  The placed serious constraints on how I could arrange my room, and seemed a highly inefficient and unattractive use of space.  And as an adult homeowner I have noticed that built-ins seem to have generally fallen out of favor for some time now.  But I think that’s a big mistake.  When done well, the storage — and therefore space, organization and dimension – and character that they can add to a room is truly phenomenal.

I received perhaps my favorite complement of all time the other day when my son and his friends did some baking for a school fundraiser in my renovated kitchen and one of the boys commented that it was the best kitchen he had ever seen (or something to that effect, but we’ll just assume that was the gist).  I loved not only the complement itself certainly, but the fact that it was made after and in response to spending the day working in my kitchen.  Because certainly whether it is the nicest looking kitchen around is highly debatable.  The really beauty of the kitchen is in how efficiently and effectively the space is used, so that it honestly makes me happy every single time I cook or bake in it.  All of which feels fairly arrogant to say, since I designed the kitchen, but I think the actual point is that built-ins work best when they are designed by (or in conjunction with) the owner and take into account the user’s specific needs.  While pruning the photographs in the iPhoto library which threatens to take over — and then take down — my computer I came across pictures of the kitchen pre-renovation.  Organizing the room around efficient storage was nothing short of transformative. Read the rest of this entry »

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Sometimes Life Really Shouldn’t Imitate Art

Posted: May 18th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: design, fashion | Tags: , , , , ,

Clearly I am all for life imitating art, art imitating life, art in life, and style driven in equal parts by beauty, enthusiasm and a good sense of humor.  Still, the two are not entirely interchangeable and it seems lately like some people could use a little reminding about where the line is, however faint it may be.

On Tuesday, for the London premiere of Snow White and the Huntsmen, the stars showed up decked out in full Gothic glory.  I have been waiting not so patiently for the movie to come out.  I love that kind of dark Gothic drama.  On film.  And I admire actors like Christian Bale, or even Sascha Baron Cohen, who stay in character when appearing in public while promoting a film.  But Kristen Stewart and Charlize Theron’s dresses weren’t in character, they were simply misguided.  Somehow when Rooney Mara tries this type of thing, the whole look is so completely of a piece, and so genuine to her style, that for me it works.  But Stewart and Theron have their own looks which work for them, and this is not it.

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Let’s Face It, There’s Always Something Else To Shop For, And It’s Target Time

Posted: May 14th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: design, stuff to buy | Tags: , , , , , ,

I don’t know about you, but I have a had to institute a moratorium on spending on spring clothing and accessories.  I have no reasonable excuse for buying anything else.  So, trying to steer clear of my favorite websites, I thought it was time to check out the Shops at Target.  Without question, my favorite is the Privet House shop (I’m not a dog owner, and after my dear friend was awoken on Mother’s Day by a poop covered dog who had been sick in his crate the night before and let out by a mischievous five year old, I have no interest in becoming one — so I have an aversion to the Polka Dog Bakery shop without even checking it out so it could be just lovely but I wouldn’t know).  The Webster shop is a little preppy for my taste, but there is some nice merchandise if you go for that kind of thing.

Not surprisingly, many of the Privet House items have sold out, but there are still some cute pieces left.  The dishes, napkins and glasses are very pretty.  Admittedly, at this point nice melamine dishes are a dime a dozen, except that they aren’t remotely a dime a dozen so the Target prices for these dishes makes them pretty hard to resist.  $15.99 for a set of four dinner plates isn’t half bad given that comparable French Bull melamine dishes, while beautiful, retail for  $11.00 each.  The bad news is out of four styles of printed melamine dinner plates, only one is still available online.  Truth be told, it’s my favorite of the four.

Privet House at Target Brown Toile Dinner Plates

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How’s This For Funny – Make Your Guests Sit Under A Pooping Bird While Eating Dinner

Posted: May 1st, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: design | Tags: , , , ,

Priceless … design with a sense of humor.  It’s not everyone who is able to design products or spaces which are both beautiful and playful, make you smile but can also be taken seriously for their aesthetic.  When done well, I’m in love.  So check these out.

1.  The Bird Poop Chandelier by Wyatt Little.  As the mother of a five year old boy, if I never heard anyone say the word poop again it would be too soon.  But I love this light fixture.  I am also partial to all fixtures and accessories that feature birds (yup, that would make thedesign fetishes deer, owls, birds and mushrooms and I’m sure I’m forgetting something – I am generous when it comes to my obsessions).  This particular fixture rocks.

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Is It The New Shape Of The Magazine Industry … Domino Is Back

Posted: April 28th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: design, other stuff | Tags: , , , , , ,

As a dedicated lover of shopping for things to make life more beautiful, I was extremely sad to say goodbye to Domino magazine (especially when they fulfilled the rest of my pre-paid subscription with something I had absolutely no interest in, but that’s another story).  But the mourning is over and Domino is back.  I think more than being a commentary on the home design business, the relaunch is an interesting commentary on the state of publishing and more specifically of magazine publishing.  Everyone knows that with consumers turning toward online media, they are leaving paper behind and leaving newspapers and magazines struggling.  That results in a game on the part of publishers that’s fairly interesting to watch, the game of trying to figure out how to stay alive, stay relevant, carve a niche that can’t be filled online.

In one such effort, Conde Nast shuttered Gourmet  magazine, only to relaunch it as a mobile app with only a limited number of special issues available at newsstands.  Their strategy with Domino  is somewhat similar.  Sadly, that means that it is not the return of the Domino that many of us knew and loved.  The new Domino will consist only of a limited number of special issues available exclusively through newsstands.  The first issue, entitled Domino Quick Fixes, on newsstands through mid-July, is a thick book and sells for $10.99, and like most special issues has fewer ad pages than the typical monthly magazine.  The next issue is due this fall.

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