Reader poll: To ply, or not to ply?

More and more in design magazines I’ve been seeing designs that incorporate the look of unpainted plywood.  I think this started mostly as a low-budget wall covering, but now it’s become a trend.  I’ve seen it in kitchens, like these:


Scandinavian cottage like kitchen with plywood

Like how this one makes it look more upscale with the metal strips between the planks.

Have also seen it in living areas:




And in an office or home office setting….



And of course there are some great-looking plywood shelves:



So…. what do you think?  Do you like this look?  Vote now!

[BTW if you are looking at this on your mobile device and can’t see the poll, it’s because you need to download the PollDaddy app which you can do for free in your app store!]

Reader poll: Exposed beams… what do you prefer?

I am just obsessed with exposed beams!  So beautiful.  There is something about seeing the structure of a building that is so appealing to me, whether it be beams, columns, trusses… even pipes and ductwork can look great if handled correctly. It’s like the watches with clear glass faces that expose the mechanisms inside… all those cogs and working parts are almost an art form.

Other advantages of exposed beam ceilings are:
1) height!  depending on how low the ceiling is dropped, exposing the beams could provide you with an additional foot or more.
2) regular geometry.  Our brains are wired to love repetition and rhythm.  Ceiling beams are a regular line that recedes into the distance and enhances a viewer’s sense of perspective.  Can be a great juxtaposition to a more motley assortment of furnishings below.
3) beauty of material.  Ceiling beams of reclaimed wood come to mind here…

but other materials, such as metals, can look great as well.
steel beam

While on the subject, I should note that there are some great new products on the market!  If you don’t have beams exposed, and don’t want to pay to demo your ceiling, you can fake it with faux beams.  These are essentially hollow structures, so they are lightweight and easy to attach, and much, much more cost-effective than the real thing.  They come in all sorts of finishes, like this:

See FauxWoodBeams for this and more options.

If you google “faux wood beams,” a ton of options come up in terms of colors, finishes, and materials. (Of course I recommend never using PVC in your home, this is an extremely toxic product!)

NOW, the part where I need your input…. I’m having a little debate with myself and am hoping my readers can help me settle it.  I always thought that an entirely white ceiling was best… a white ceiling with beams painted white.  I think it is just a fantastic look, light and airy but visually interesting.  It is the most subtle option because the wood beams don’t have as much contrast, but there are still interesting angles and shadows.

A friend of mine prefers to keep the wood beams in their natural state or just a coat of polyurethane.  Here, the beams become much more accentuated and might even be the first thing you notice in the room, especially if they are contrasted against a white ceiling.  If you want to really call attention to your beams, or just love the look of natural wood, this option might appeal more to you.

Then we have the gorgeous metal options shown above.

Tell me, which look do you prefer?  I’ve put a bunch of images for you to review before making your final choice!

From Atlanta Home.

From Elle Decor


Awesome backgammon table! My family are backgammon lovers, this would definitely have a place in our house. From oomph.

Gorgeous throw blankets from Lands Down Under.

Pillows made from rugs at Dash & Albert.

Love this bedding from Masouk.

A tweed/leather sofa! Love the menswear inspiration.

It was PACKED today– the economy is on the up and up if the gift fair is any indication! I’m absolutely tuckered out– more tomorrow.


NYIGF Afternoon Day 1

Awesome stereo console from Philadelphia-based Lostine.

Brightly colored lacquered boxes and trays from Pacific Connections.

For some reason I am fascinated by these molecular-looking metal pieces at Gold Leaf Designs.

Beautiful and eco-friendly: organic cotton throws from inGreen.

Chain link light from DK Designs… One of the best lights I saw all day.

Love this set of modern prints from Wendover Arts.

More tomorrow!

NYIGF Morning Day 1!

Gorgeous silver-leafed cowhide from Saddlemans.

For some reason I became completed obsessed with this needlepoint stool from French Market.

Cute stool is actually made from recycled plastic and is UV and mold resistant– perfect for an outdoor deck! From Fab Habitat.

Yes I am still obsessed with malachite. Gorgeous pillows from Callisto Home.

New York International Gift Fair!!!

Ok, I know it’s been awhile, and I have a LOT to update you on! 2013 is gonna be a big year! But first big design event of the year is upon us, so I’m going to get started with that. I’m rolling up to Pier 94 right now, can’t wait to see all the new products and trends coming up the pipeline. The last NYIGF was AMAZING, let’s see if this year’s can top it!

High Point Day 4

Last but not least!

Fun drawer interiors at Mr. Brown by Julian Chicester.

An extremely comfy chair at Regina Andrews– and very well-proportioned for the city.

Also from Regina Andrews, this gorgeous reclaimed desk.

For my sister, the doctor… A truly creative chair back at Go Home.

VW pillows!

Love these contemporary prints from New Century Art.

Tray tables were a huge trend this market! They were everywhere. They make serving easy, are very mobile, can be stowed away when not needed, and are very well-priced. I like this wood and white contrast at Interlude.

Phew! That’s all I got. Was a great show! The bottom line… I need a store so I can bring all this fun stuff to NYC!

High Point Day 3

Ok, I know I’m behind, so these are gonna come rapid fire now.

Can’t tell you how happy I was with the clean, unfussy forms at Bernhardt.

Love this for a kids room! From American models.

From the Conde Nast collection of photos.

Gorgeous lighting at Ralph Lauren Home.

Can’t tell which I like best!

High Point Day 2

Some amazing pieces we saw on Day 2 of the High Point Market in North Carolina.

A beautiful display at the gorgeous Bernhardt showroom, voted best of the show.
Susan checking out the bright, fun poufs at Surya.
An umbrella holder shaped like an umbrella. How cute.
loved the customizable, shabby chic pieces at Steven Shell (a London importer).
I love malachite! Reminds me I meant to write an entire post about that.
why shouldn’t a lamp base have a fun geometric pattern?
I’m literally obsessed with these. Simple forms at their best… And extremely reasonably priced! Contact me if interested.

Celebrity sighting at High Point!

We ran into Thom Filicia last night!