Archive for April, 2010
Alright, my brother from another mother- this post is for you. I’m lucky enough to have discovered domestic, cohabitating bliss and am settled down with a man (one who is interior design savvy, no less), but I know a handful of sweet treats out there on the market, and they could be looking for you. The only trouble is that they can’t get past your bachelor pad. Let’s address your….shortcomings, shall we? A few tips have been bulleted, for your pleasure.
A decent catch will prefer smart guys.
Get some books. For the love of cheap beer, don’t admit that you hate to read…just buy some books, even if they are mostly pictures. Comics don’t count, and neither does Maxim, so if that’s all you have, grab a few handsomely covered conversation starters for your coffee table. If you are too “in the zone” to turn off ESPN and go to a bookstore, I recommend Taschen and their online site for general browsing. They have lots of genres available and their covers are very graphically eye-catching, so I’m sure you’ll be able to find SOMETHING that speaks to you. If you really want to slay her, try this one:
Seriously. A Jerry McGuire moment is likely to ensue. She’ll probably perk up if she feels you have a soul sensitive to the creative spirit, so any of these others are also winners in my book:
The ladies like soft things, too.
It’s true. A hard-edged space might look awesome in Dwell magazine, but it usually doesn’t make a girl go all weak in the knees unless she’s a Bauhaus enthusiast. Quick quiz:
Pillows, rugs, and blankets are a nice way to say:
B. “Stay awhile- you’ll be comfortable here.”
C. “No, I do not intend to wear your skin as a coat.”
If you answered “all of the above,” you are a gentleman AND a scholar. A decorative pillow or throw blanket does not make you a full-scale ninny, but if you insist, try a manly option.
Well aren’t you a rugged cowboy? This one is made out of wildebeest hide and might make her want to cozy up next to your campfire.
This cable knit throw is also testosteroney yet snuggle-inducing. It’s super soft and there’s no froufrou fringe at the bottom that might give away your predilection to dress up in your sister’s shoes when you were younger.
Spend your spare clams on good-quality bedding.
You need sheets with a high thread count. How high? Think about a really, really, really amazing, pretty much unobtainably killer batting average. You want at least that.
HOLY *%#$. STOP THE PRESSES.
I THINK I JUST MADE A SUCCESSFUL SPORTS REFERENCE.
You are so proud of me right now. Anyway, there are hundreds of brands on the market, but honestly, for most purposes, I like the stuff from the Hotel Collection at Macy’s. It’s simple, reasonably priced for the luxury that it is, and easy to get a hold of.
These are 100% Egyptian cotton 800-thread count sheets. Let’s take a brief moment to absorb some of the nerdy deets: Egyptian-grown cotton is the strongest cotton fiber, so it lasts. However, with every laundering, it becomes more and more soft to the touch, so age actually improves the textile, resulting in your lady friend loving your Egyptian cotton sheets more and more as they become cuddle-tastic over time. Now THAT’S worth a little extra bank.
Good lighting is EVERYTHING.
I cannot stress this enough. Mood lighting is key, and done correctly, it always results in a correlative, undeniable truth: the prettier she feels, the better you look. As a general rule, downlighting alone is BAD. Why? The light only shines in a downward direction, which highlights the unpleasant realities of human nature, like under-eye bags and wrinkles. You need multi-directional glow, which means you want to incorporate lamps into your scheme.
This one from West Elm is a great and affordable option. That giant shade helps throw soft light all over the room, which is your goal. And when you go to buy light bulbs, remember this: a CFL (compact fluorescent) is hailed to be good for the environment and great for your power bill, but isn’t as flattering as an incandescent. The latter gives off warm, amber-toned light which, in my opinion, connects us as humans to our inner cavemen and our primitive need and love for fire. Ooooh, that sounds sexy. Anyway, my point is this: if you want to use CFLs, go for it, but leave a few incandescents in your feature pieces of mood lighting.
Don’t forget to use a little color.
She may think you are a sensitive ponytail man if your entire bedroom is bathed in pink, but other than that, women aren’t afraid of color. YOU are. So get over it. Try a path less traveled and deviate from your endless progression of black pleather sofas. Shades like cognac and camel are always a nice choice for a man’s space because they are very masculine but give off some warmth and approachability. Check out this pic:
Are you picking up what I’m throwing down? The color is fantastic, and except for that boudoir shot of Thom (you met him that one night on the dare that turned into you visiting a gay bar), everything in the space is exuding dudeliness.
Here’s the bottom line: if you are looking to snag a sweet-looking dove, put a little effort into your birdhouse. She’ll coo, you’ll thank me, and I’ll rest easy knowing one of my sisters out there escaped the hate crime that was your former roost.
There are times when a subsequent installment doesn’t doesn’t deliver. I have, on many occasions, been left wanting more, which resulted in a downward spiral of equal parts ennui and frustration. Most notably are the following occurrences:
1. Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo. It was, unarguably, a sad and hollow follow-up to its namesake forerunner.
2. Project Runway, Season 7. Tim Gunn is somehow less Timmy, and Heidi’s smugness has reached epic proportions. I’d like to blame the Lifetime channel, as made-for-TV movies starring Valerie Bertinelli and Meredith Baxter-Birney make them loathsome as a network in general, but I think there is something far more sinister to blame. Perhaps the heinous custom prints the designers made for themselves on episode 10?
3. H1N2. Let’s all agree that avian flu has less zing than swine flu. Jokes aren’t as funny, Halloween costumes aren’t as irreverent…on the playing field of tragedy-inspired humor, the two will never be equals.
However, I am pleased to report that the most recent Unhappy Hipsters readership caption spree has met even my highest expectations. If you are unfamiliar with the contest, read my previous blog about it here. This time they kicked off with another great photo- a ripe and promising start, for sure. And the plumpest nuggs? Check them out:
The shiver up his spine meant she was watching again. He knew even the smallest sound could put him back in the “Barky Box.”
He could feel her perched above—leering, judging. But what truly disquieted him was the betrayal of his most trusted confidant and chew-thing: Morris.
But I think my favorite was from Sarah:
Margaret smiled down from balcony at the last schnauzer to infiltrate the compound. Soon, all of the shadows would be rectangular.
Here’s my caption:
He felt inundated by the rigid horizontality of the wood slats, the post-war rubble of a pebble yard, and the sensory overload of the busy masonry running bond. He saw through her ruse, and despite her many high-pitched, saccharine attempts to call him inside with jejune nicknames, Friedrich simply would not enter her prison of texture.
The contest is over, but if you still feel inspired to come up with a caption of your own, leave a comment. You know your inner snark wants you to…
For my last post, it appears that I had to go all Sophie’s Choice and make some people cry. I’M SORRY. It won’t happen again. Snark resuming momentarily. But the post did get me thinking: why DO we love our pets so religiously with the fervor of a Jim Jones follower? Probably because they love us back for absolutely no apparent reason. Seriously- what are they thinking? Have they SEEN us first thing in the morning? And also, for us anyway, they are pretty hard to screw up. Let’s put it this way: spoil a kid too much and by the age of eighteen she will have mastered Lindsay Lohan-inspired benders and giving you the middle finger; spoil a dog too much and she constantly wants to be on the sofa. See what I’m saying?
Anyway, I think pets deserve to live in style too, so in honor of the recent fallen doggies, to whom we promised only the best for all our current and future pets, this Bud’s for you. Check out these juicy plums:
The dog that wears any one of these tags rides a fixed-gear bike, has tatted sleeves, and doesn’t care what you think about him. You, unaffected by his audacious nonchalance, think that HE IS AWESOME.
For the tater tot with a Napoleon complex, this Jetsons-inspired dog bed doubles as a booster seat. Just look at him: his self-confidence is growing by the minute, and he can finally see what ridiculous excuse of a novel you’ve been reading instead of petting him. And for the most discriminatingly dapper haberdashery hound, it also comes in black and white herringbone. I know- you just died a little too. Extreme close-up ensuing:
Did someone say reversible, removable, washable insert? SOLD. That’s some cozy-on-cozy crime right there. Love it.
And now for the zesty Etsy finds. Yes, we put our pets in attire. We are those people. But I don’t dress my dog in anything that I wouldn’t wear myself. Go ahead- make one of these for me and I will don it, photograph it, and post it. This thing is amazing. Plus, it’s handmade by someone with love, just for your pooch, so you can customize the yarn colors, including the festive pom at the top and the trim.
It was like Christmas morning when I found these S.B.S.L.E.W.P.s (Stunningly Beautiful, Stylish Limited-Edition Watercolour Prints). No, that’s not a typo; when you are saucy and across the pond it is spelled “watercolour.” To my total lack of surprise, these tasties are the work of a Londoner. If you are a regular reader, you might have noticed that I once lived abroad and am a little bit of an Anglophile. Unless it’s a new innovation in periodontics, the Brits are likely to be involved when you start digging up the history on something super cool. I am feeling the vibe of this lady’s Etsy shop because:
1. I myself have an Italian Greyhound, and we clearly share a penchant for all things snouty;
2. The stylized attenuation will transform you from one of those weird people who has portraits done of their pets to somebody who showcases a hip appreciation for modern illustrations;
3. Her profile picture is a photograph of CRIMSON MARY JANES. I love this girl.
I am thinking, and you totally concur, that a set of these with some super tradish frames in a contemporary high-gloss white might just be the next addition to our home’s art collection. Oh, Etsy. You complete me.
This week was rough on a few of our four-legged friends from Atlanta. We can’t be there to hug the necks of the people who owned them, so I’m hoping a little blog dedicated to their memories will at least help ME quit sniffling. It’s no secret that we are dog people- our own furry children are emblazoned all over everything that has to do with our company. We know what it’s like to have love for animals that borders on the ridiculous, so our hearts are heavy with the thoughts of such loss.
Our friends Elizabeth and Matt finally had to let go of Pineapple, their retired racer and one of the prettiest greyhounds you could ever meet. Elizabeth said they fell in love with her when she spotted a low-flying bumblebee and stared at it buzzing in front of her face until she became cross-eyed. She washed out early, winning only one race in her career, but Liz and Matt say it was cleverly on purpose resulting in an early retirement to the sweet life. They knew they were going to have to put her down, so they had photographer, friend, and Pineapple lover Andy Lee come over and capture her last day with some beautiful pictures.
Our friend Caren also lost her Chihuahua Charlie, one of the sweetest pups I have ever had the distinct pleasure of knowing. Charlie, also known as Charles, Chuck, Chuckles, Charles Barkley, Chuck E. Cheese, Charles in Charge, and Frito Feet, was a magnificent creature. She had tiny paws that actually smelled like corn chips, a most curious oddity and, believe it or not, a strangely lovable idiosyncrasy. She is sitting on my lap in this picture sandwiched in between her sister Morgan and our dog Coda in what was essentially a canine love Oreo with Charlie starring as the delicious center of yummy goodness.
I don’t have any pun-tastic design insight or snarky commentary for readers today. I can only write what I feel, and what I feel is the need to remind everyone to go home and love their babies because they love you back, unconditionally and without reservation. They adore you shamelessly, eagerly, relentlessly, and foolishly. Even the most magnanimous human can’t always offer that.
So, in closing…Pineapple, I think heaven has a million bumblebees who will be your playmates for all eternity, and Charlie, I know heaven for you will be filled with thousands of burrito-scented puppy kisses. You will both be dearly missed, and in your honor, we promise to give all our other pets and mascots, now and in the future, only the best.
***By the way, if you’d like to acquire a tiny Mexican snuggle bunny of your own, Adopt A Pet has Chihuahuas that are in need of a loving family. If you’d like the opportunity to give a retired racer a good home, check out Southeastern Greyhound Adoption and Second Chance Greyhounds.***
It is my firm belief that other than white (pardon my interior designer’s prerequisite), robin’s egg blue is the supreme color on this planet. Robin’s egg blue versus Darth Vader? No contest. Robin’s egg blue versus Godzilla? I can’t believe you’d even wonder who the victor would be. Robin’s egg blue versus Nutella? I actually need a moment… okay, robin’s egg blue, but Nutella gave a handful of solid punches to the kisser that were quite respectable.
Imagine my delight when I stumbled across a blog that is devoted entirely to robin’s egg and all the glory of its sister shades. Holy Cheese Nips. Oh yes, my friends, nothing will lull you into a trance quite like pages upon pages of aqua-colored bliss. House of Turquoise is one of my favorite go-to spots on the borg we call the internet these days, and if you have even an inkling of affinity for the aforementioned hues, you should check it out. The blog is by a gal named Erin, and her taste is pretty flawless. She is constantly accumulating great pictures in what has ultimately become a massively killer compilation and an ever changing ode to all things that live in the sweet spot between green and blue. Here are some of my favorite recent shots:
How about this beauty she selected from Decor Pad? Okay, YES, I’ll live in this room. Quit begging- it’s beneath you. And I’m not sure, but I may be deemed remiss if, as a former Georgia peach, I didn’t mention Thomas Swanston. I think he is responsible for the fab art (or has, at the very least, inspired a striking lookalike). Check out his stuff at Atlanta’s Lowe Gallery website. I adore him.
Erin got this tender nugget from photographer Ashlee Raubach’s site. Hmmm…can you say ETHEREAL? Waking up to this kitchen would be like having a Prozac mochaccino every morning. Plus, it’s got all the charm of a farmhouse without the responsibility of milking Bessie out back. Everybody wins.
I will slap your mother for those Roman shades. Erin borrowed this gorgeous shot from Chatrines Living, and I’m about to borrow the simple yet stunning window treatments for myself. Permanently.
So, Erin, my ode to your ode on Turquoise may not have as many fabulous pictures, but I feel compelled, in kind, to share a few things I am also loving right now:
The chairs AND the table might be a little much as a set, but just imagine the table on its own with some super minimalist modern loungers. I love the reference to 50s style, the graceful, curvy silhouette, and of course, the cabana boy off camera who is bringing me a stack of freshly laundered beach towels and a margarita. Lots of salt, Phillip, LOTS OF SALT.
Etsy is one of my favorite sites to spot one-of-a-kind goodness, and if you are anything like me, knowing your purchase is coming from an individual rather than a big corporation makes you feel all warm and fuzzy on the inside. This triptych is uber cute and crazy affordable. Get some.
J. Prichard Design can be credited for this winning porcelain installation. I could get lost in it for days, and what’s probably more interesting to you is that all the pieces are handmade and put into place one at a time, if you can believe it. This style is called “bijou” and it looks like a Mormon barnacle and a Catholic butterfly settled down together and made a very sizable family. Nice job, Mister Barnacle. You married up.
I know I make a lot of jokes at the expense of children…what can I say? I am a jerk. I am coming around a little though, and bit by bit, I am acknowledging that stuff for kids doesn’t always have to be tacky and so saccharinely sweet that I go into a diabetic coma. There is a lot of cool stuff out there that abandons the kitsch factor and will, no doubt, turn your child into the hipster you wish you were.
This crib is fly. Maybe that’s because it looks like it’s about to fly. The juxtaposition of the sleigh bed-esque lines with the super modern feet and slick finish could entice me enough to actually walk into your nursery. On my own accord.
For the little lady on Park Avenue, this crib-with-optional-canopy just says “money” doesn’t it? With the pebble grey and petal pink palette, the tiny chandy, and the portraits by the photographer only a Fifth Avenue housewife can afford, I’d say that the baby that grows up in this room will have a taste for all the finery life has to offer. And she’s already been accepted to Harvard.
If we had kids, our house would brandish a well publicized “NO STUFFED ANIMALS ON THE BED” policy that rivaled Joan Crawford’s distaste for wire hangers, but these would be the one exception. These little orts of delight are called Woollyhoodwinks and I will allow them in your home for several reasons:
1. Each one is handmade out of wool. No recall due to lead and crappy Chinese manufacturing possible.
2. They have the awesomeness of Asian style without the nauseating overlay of Hello Kitty.
3. Any stuffed animal that has no arms cannot possibly come to life and kill you in the middle of the night.
I’m not into bunk beds. College pretty much put a nail in that coffin. So if your kid is going to have overnight guests, why not go for a contemporary trundle instead? It’s a tidier look that doesn’t eat up unnecessary volume. And if Timmy’s little sleepover buddy is getting peanut butter and jelly all over your house, just tuck him in tightly and roll him away until his mom can relieve you of your crisis.
My west coast sista Amy Seeger recently launched The Fabric Bar, which is a great blog and online store, especially if you have any do-it-yourself gumption. So I was recently looking at some of her stuff and thought to myself, “Self, if you had kids, this linen tape would be smashing on a custom pillow.” Not sure what I mean?
Take a look at this picture. Tapes can be sewn onto pillows as embellishments, turning your stuffed goodness up to eleven. I think the tape with the lambs would be amazing with a black and white houndstooth. YOU AGREE.
For their sake and for mine, go ahead and spend a little extra on aesthetically pleasing accoutrements for your kiddies. You can guilt them into all sorts of things when they are adults by telling them you loved them that many dollars worth.
We can’t all afford sofas by Barbara Barry and textiles from Scalamandre. So what’s a modern, fresh-faced, hungry homeowner to do? Ikea Hacker proves that necessity is the mother of invention, and even those with a modest pocketbook can have smart style on a budget. Some people disassemble Ikea goods and make something completely new, and others simply use things from the store in an unexpected fashion, but either way, one thing is for sure: creativity can take you from tool to cool.
Not enough room for a nightstand? Whatevs. This clever minx put an elevated magazine rack at her bedside for her reading materials and mounted a toothbrush holder on the wall for a middle-of-the-night solution to cottonmouth. And I’m guessing from the look of her outlet strip on the side of the bed that she’s a Brit…those sensible limeys are at it again.
I lovelovelove a touch of tradish, and this lassie must, too. Our Savvy Sally here revamped a frame to be a pin-up board in her art studio. The feathers, vintage pics, and sparkly letters make for an interesting and charming collage. Let’s call it Bohemian-chic, shall we?
This one is my favorite. Our happy young couple needed more storage, and nothing puts romance into a relationship like a room full of flowing, floor-to-ceiling fabric, so I’d call this a win-win scenario. I like the photo progression from start to finish, too- it makes the idea seem so accessible. And the last touch at the end that I love the most? I’ll tell you. It would be the horizontal fascia underneath the crown that got painted to match the seafoam walls, creating a hotel-inspired drapery pocket. Nice putt, peeps.
Okay, so maybe I wouldn’t put this in my own kitchen. But come on- who had a stroke of such hilarious brilliance? I instantly like these people. They are clearly individuals who don’t take themselves too seriously, have a penchant for all things tongue-in-cheek, and are wildly divergent thinkers. Onward ho, my foosball friends, onward ho.
Oh, birds are chirping, flowers are blooming, and deer are prancing. Spring is here, and it always reminds me of the fairy tale beginning of a new relationship- you know, the time when you don’t mind someone else’s idiosyncrasies yet. The time when you tell someone you like his mother just fine. The time when you think “Pookie” is the cutest nickname you’ve ever heard. Spring is the honeymoon phase before the reality of a 100-degree summer sets in, and my favorite thing about it is that it makes me love color again. I’m a designer, so it’s not exactly nutty that white is sort of my thing, but spring…oh spring. Your lilacs are hypnotic. Your citrons are flirtatious and your blushes are seductive. You temporarily make me think that “Color Splash” show on HGTV isn’t total crap.
I don’t think I’d typically go for this combination of colors unless a client asked me to. But if it’s April, that’s another story. Maybe the pollen has infected my brain because this living room looks alive enough to slap me out of my stupor.
Isn’t this fantastic? The punches of sunny-side-up and magenta put me in a good mood right away. Until I have to go to the post office later today, anyway. Talk about drab- those poor souls won’t ever move faster if they have to stay chained to the cellmate grey and despondent blue inside that hole. I wonder what some subtle touches of robin’s egg and peach might do for them…
If you are unfamiliar with Designer’s Guild, check them out. They make great stuff that always combines modern, playful colors with classically sophisticated style. These pictures say “I’m young, but not naive enough to think that a stranger is just a friend you haven’t met yet, and I’m also mature, but not old enough to need a girdle.”
Enough about interiors…let’s get to the good stuff. Typically, I’m not one for girly drinks. Hand me a well-crafted beer or a vodka on the rocks with more olives than seem appropriate and I’m good. But the shades of lemon and lavender are making me a little delirious… I bet this thing tastes like happiness coated with delight. Did I mention that I absolutely LOVE that the coupe is making a comeback and shaming champagne flutes like they are red-headed stepchildren? I’ll take my cocktails in one of these low-slung vehicles over those tall, snotty, I-model-for-Vera-Wang counterparts any day.
Now that I have been fully wooed into a trance by spring colors, I’m off to make an impractical decision or two that may involve some ridiculously expensive footwear…