Monthly Archives: June 2008

The Dotted Line

Everything’s covered in holes. Not the rat-chewed-through-the-sheets kinda holes. Intentional, strategically placed holes. Like eyelet, but not as sugary. If you’re considering a change this summer, get perforated.

Dunham china by Ralph Lauren (from Vogue Living)

Meri Side Table at High Fashion Home

Sheets from Garnet Hill

Faux Bois for Mois!

As our world heads away from the space age to the more earthy eco-chic, the entire aesthetic of design has shifted. Not only do accessories have to be environmentally healthy, but it helps if they look the part as well. I know I’ve already write a couple of blogs on hot faux bois accessories on the market, but with so many great new options coming out, yet again, I can’t limit myself! I have to do justice to the faix bois.


Michael Aram for Waterford: Crystal Pitcher $325 and Medium Lidded Box $95

Bronze Sapling Serving Utensils $70 (at High Fashion Home)

Nobilis: Papier Bois

Chilewich: Woodgrain Floormats

Twig Table $329 (at High Fashion Home)

Fashion vs. Furniture

Once again, you can look to your wardrobe to inspire your home decor and vice versa. Although, this time around, your dressers and bookcases are doing to work. Take your cues from the pieces we love and the pieces you have to make your look totally cohesive. You’ll be that completely “together” friend that all your friends look up to (aka “are jealous of”).


Look #1:


You’ve led a privileged life and that’s nothing to be ashamed of. An elegant Southern mansion filled with priceless antiques and pristine first editions deserves the best. The Directoire Modular Bookcase from Grange complements that life of literary leisure that you are so accustomed to. And for those evenings when you thrown sophisticated soirees in said library, the gown, below, from Carolina Herrera will be true to your polished roots.










Look #2:


You’re the contemporary, worldly type. While other kids were heading to Cancun for Spring Break, you were exploring Thailand. While other new parents want their kids to learn one foreign language, you take it for granted that your kids will be fluent in at least four. Your style is a mixture of all of your travels. The cultures you’ve seen, the people you’ve met, and the cities you’ve lived in. The Menlo Dresser, by Maria Yee, possesses that well-traveled, modern style without overpowering the rest of your belongings. Paired with a chic minidress from Vivienne Tam, you’re ready for your next big outing- a night on the town.








Look #3:


Yes, you would consider yourself a fashionista, but never avant garde. You love glamour and getting dressed up is your favorite pasttime. When you get home from work, you get out of that boring corporate straight jacket and slip into satin and lace. You watch the Oscars every year. Your curves are absolutely your best asset. The Elisabeth Buffet from Oly mimics that Old Hollywood style that you so love. A floaty, feminine frock from Alberta Ferretti brings your red carpet fantasies to life.








Look #4:


Your home is important to you. You know? Earth. High design isn’t enough for you. It better be eco-friendly as well. You like an organic look, but that doesn’t mean you’re going to run around in Birkenstocks. You don’t have to sacrifice your style for your principles anymore. First of all, there’s the Beam Bed by Environment. Made from Peroba wood which is recycled from old barns and buildings in Brazil, and accented with metal beams, it’s the common link between fashion and environment. Then there are the amazing designs from 3.1 Phillip Lim. They are made from organic materials so that you can feel good about your debt-incurring shopping habit.








Look #5:


You’re an intelligent lady. Emphasis on the L-A-D-Y. You love nothing more than curling up in a chair with a good book. But what about penning your own bestseller? There’s only one way to accomplish that feat- a stylish, vintage-inspired writing desk. Don’t worry about the fact that rather than quill and ink, you’re tapping away at a laptop. The Shelby Desk by Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams will adapt to whatever your medium- with style. To make your writing experience more ladylike, the dress below, from Behnaz Sarafpour, will be just lovely.




Sprig: Good Wood for a Green and Gorgeous Home

Legian Bed: Harvested mahogany combined with a stunning design.

Sprig.com was kind enough to highlight our Legian Bed. If you haven’t checked out their site, it’s pretty cool. Sprig.com’s mission is to find eco-friendly alternative products without compromising great style and design. If you like shopping green, think of Sprig.com as your very own personal eco-shopper.

Brilliant Book of the Week:

Hey guys! Sorry it’s been so long since I’ve posted—again! I have found an awesome sustainable living book for you though so I hope that makes up for my tardiness. I’m sure almost everyone is green-ed out by now but it’s not a fad that will go away anytime soon. So basically we all have to suck it up and take it. 🙂 Now, this book that I chose happens to have fantastic additions to help any home become more earth friendly. The second I read the first few pages I knew this was a book I had to buy and pass onto my fellow blog readers.


Check it out!


New Sustainable Homes: Designs for Healthy Living,” by James Grayson Trulove.


Take into consideration that this is not a how-to book; it mainly summarizes a few locations that are fully eco hugging homes. Geothermal heating and cooling systems (using heat from underground), clerestory windows (allowing daylighting to occur which cuts down on your electricity bill), triple-glazed windows (meaning three panes of glass seperated by heat absorbing gas), or a storm water retention system (used for irrigation, water reuse for the toilets, and potentially preventing flooding) are only a few of the items this fabulous book mentions. If you like to keep books on hand for random reference or if you really need ideas for your own home, I vote this book in. Hardcore.


Happy Reading!!

How To: Be Prepared for Unexpected Guests

There you are, sitting on the sofa enjoying the company of a good book and a cold glass of lemonade when the phone rings. A friend wants to “drop by” and stay for a “couple of nights”. That’s okay, right? You wish you hadn’t answered the phone. Unexpected (read: uninvited) guests happen. And when they do, up goes the blood pressure. There are things you can do to be prepared.


For lots of ideas on entertaining houseguests, peruse marthastewart.com.



The four main things you need to concentrate on are: Having food for your guest, having a place for them to clean up, having a place for them to sleep, and tidying up the public areas of your home.


Feeding Your Guest: It is unlikely that your guest will not be sharing at least a couple of meals with you, so it helps to have ingredients on hand for some simple, but delicious, meals. Keep these ingredients in a special place in the pantry or fridge so that you and the rest of your family knows not to eat them.


For a snack, cookies and snack mix served in pretty dishes look smore impressive than it is. Keep an assorted box of teas on hand to please everyone.


For a delicious recipe, I always ask Martha.



For lunch or dinner, Homemade Macaroni & Cheese served in individual remekins and garnished with some fresh parsley is elegant and yummy after a long trip. Pair it with a simple salad and add a bottle of a light-bodied wine, like Reisling, to refresh a weary traveler.


For a hearty breakfast after your guest has had a relaxing night of sleep, serve pancakes with gourmet fruit syrups. The night before, mix the batter and pour it into a squeeze bottle. Making the pancakes will be faster and far less messy. Cut strawberries into small bowls and sprinkle with sugar to release the juices.


Absolutely the best towel to dry off with, and a multitude of
colors to choose from! From Pottery Barn.



Whether or not you have an official “Guest Bath”, you guests need to feel welcome to use their designated bathroom. Keep a small box handy with interesting scented shampoos and soaps, a pretty soapdish, and a candle. Keep a couple sets of towels (white Turkish cotton always looks crisp and feels great!) set aside for last minute visitors. Make sure there is plenty of space on the counter for their toiletries. And don’t forget to put an extra roll of toilet paper out where they can see it! My mom has a cute bucket next to the toilet where she stores a couple spare rolls so that no one will go digging in her cabinets!


Make your guest bed as good as a four star hotel’s bed. From Pottery Barn.



If you’ve ever had to search for matching bed linens in a rush, you know it can be immensely frustrating. Save yourself some stress by folding all the sheets neatly and tucking them inside their pillowcase for the next use. Up your domestic god(dess) cred by putting out a delicate bowl of chocolates and a single bloom in a bud vase on the nightstand. Reading material is always appreciated, so put down a few different magazines. Supply some substantial hangers (i.e. “No more wire hangers!!!”) for hanging clothing and your guests will feel like the walked into a spa!


Candles cover a multitude of sins. From Pottery Barn.



The thing that always takes the most time when preparing for visitors is cleaning, but if someone is on their way over you don’t have time to scour the baseboards. First things first: Get all of the clutter out of sight. Focus on the areas that you guest will be in- the living room, dining room, kitchen, and bathroom. I love open shelving, but it is not conducive to hiding messes, so having cabinets with doors is a must. Make sure all counters and mirrors are wiped down. Give the toilet and bathtub a quick scrub, too. Hit wood pieces with a shot of wood polish to make them shine. Finally run the vaccuum throughout the house. Light a few candles here and there and you’re ready to play Host(ess) of the Year! See, that wasn’t so bad!


A Note to the Last Minute Guest: Your host or hostess has been working hard, so don’t forget the say thank you!

My Green Hero: Ami McKay

If you’ve been a reader of our humble blog for a while, you might remember my previous post about Pure by Ami McKay. Well, Ms. McKay certainly isn’t one to rest on her laurels because, since that post, her line has exploded! After a few back and forth emails, I got the scoop on Ami’s furniture line, her passion for finding inspiration and a potential singing career?! Read on…

Many textures combine flawlessly in a cozy living room by Ami.
 
What sparked your interest in furniture design? Have you always been a creative thinker?
Ami: Yes, I was definitely born this way. I am sure if I wasn’t an interior and furniture designer that I would still be focused in the arts – possibly a visual artist. That was a childhood dream. I also wanted to sing, though I wasn’t blessed with a talented set of lungs. I am sure others are grateful I didn’t set out on that particular path either.



Where did you learn your craft?
Ami: Trial and error! I didn’t have a mentor in the creative arts field. I stepped out on my own and tried my hand at things that called me. If I don’t succeed at a particular thing I always try something new. Edison didn’t invent the lightbulb without years of perseverance and failures. Though I am giving it my all – and having fun doing it!



Cyrilla Daybed
Where do you like to shop for things for your own home?
Ami: I am always on the hunt for pieces that speak to me. I think it is important to purchase furniture or accessories that capture a bit of magic – the essence of who we are which reflects our whimsical side, or our romantic side, or our pure, practical side.



What are the challenges you face in making your line eco-friendly?
Ami: Finding materials and showing people the benefits of sustainable, healthy furniture. Education- if customers knew that purchasing furniture without chemicals and fire retardants was better for our health and impacted our air quality in a significant way, they may look deeper into the world of soft furnishings and how they were manufactured.



Makeover Wish: Season 2 on HGTV
 
Your line has expanded significantly since I last blogged about Pure. Where do you see your line going in the future?
Ami: The possibilities are endless; I want to continue developing this line by adding other layers… fabric, lighting, wallpaper, books, etc. Anything that is for the home and kind to the earth. And, of course, to continue to develop the Pure furniture line. My inspiration board is chock full!



What new things are you working on right now that you can share?
Ami: Well, I have a few pokers in the fire. I would rather share them when I have confirmation – though they are very exciting!!!! I know… what a tease!




Makeover Wish: Season 1
Where do you find inspiration for your pieces?
Ami: I am inspired by everything! Nature, travels, architecture, sunsets. Truly any beautiful colour, shape, form, or lines that catch my eye and make my heart skip a beat.



Are there any designers or artists in particular that you look up to or draw inspiration from?
Ami: There are so many incredible artists and designers that impress me on a daily basis, though I cannot say with great conviction that one person stands out in my mind. I am moved more by a particular experience when viewing art or a beautiful space – it becomes personal.




Kiero Coffee Table (this one’s my favorite!)
Are there any trends you’ve seen lately that drive you nuts?
Ami: When the term “trend” is used with “eco”. There is nothing trendy about the green movement. It has been happening for a long time and thankfully others will now see the validity now of making healthier choices for us, our families, and the planet. That being said – I love that trendsetters are making inroads in incredible design with materials that are kind to the earth, and are incredibly sexy and beautiful!



If you could go on vacation anywhere to get inspired, where would you go?

Ami: Good question! I have been to Asia and Europe last year and I must say that if my eyes are open – I will be inspired. The galleries, restaurants, and fashion in Paris makes me want to stay there; the architecture and interior design in Italy is like living a dream where I don’t want to wake up; and the colour, fabrics, and temples in Thailand are so tactile and rich – I love visiting a pure culture. I couldn’t pick a favourite without feeling like I am cheating on all the others.



This girl has a lot going on!

If you haven’t gotten enough (I haven’t), visit Ami’s websites: http://www.purebyamimckay.com/ and http://www.amimckaydesign.com/ to find out more about this amazing (and super nice!) designer. And stay tuned… Hopefully I’ll find myself posting a part three in the future!