Category Archives: Accessories

Trends Spotted at the ICFF Part III: Friends of a Feather

Birds are supertrendy right now… and at ICFF, they were everywhere!

Let’s start with my favorite piece of the whole show, Tweet.  Designed by a recent graduate, Jiin Kim these clever outdoor stools come in a variety of colors.  Even comes with a nice metaphor: Kim explained that when the sun creates a shadow, it depicts a bird sitting in her cage… then when someone sits down,  the bird is then freed.  Perfect for any small outdoor space or even indoors as a cute side table.  Place a sconce above to create the shadow all day long.

If a diagram of an actual bird seems too literal, check out Seugull, a collection of LED light fixtures by QisDESIGN.   This thin base on a slight angle to reflect a bird taking off or in mid-flight.  I love the sleek lines, and the wings actually move to any angle you like.  It comes as a floor, table or suspended lamp.

Cuckoo clocks have been around for hundreds of years, but most traditional designs will not fit with today’s interiors.  Italian company Diamantini & Domeniconi brings the cuckoo clock to the 21st century  with fun and modern colors and patterns.

British company Surface View was showing gigantic wall murals, including this one of a flamingo.  Could be a unique background for a more formal dining space.  

Surface View was also showing this Yellow Bird sketch.

A black and white graphic pillow makes a great pop in a contemporary room or nursery.  The pillow below is from Charlene Mullen for De La Espada.

There you have it!  Look forward to seeing more creative aviary-inspired designs.

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Roomology Loves: Monochromatic Interiors (A How To!)

Although there were many things to fall in love with in Costa Rica, I could not get over the thousands of shades of green I came across while hiking in the rainforest.  I have included some pictures of my wandering eye and it is clear how this place makes you simply fall in love with green.  Can you imagine being totally engulfed in this beautiful color?

I began to think of how to incorporate that feeling into an interior.  The answer is: Monochromatic color scheme.  A monochromatic color scheme is not an easy project to take on but with some simple guidelines  you can be surrounded by your favorite color.  In order to mimic nature you really need to go beyond the paint color.  A space needs to replicate the layers as if you can peal them off one at a time to reveal another surprise underneath.

Here are some tips for how to succeed with a monochromatic room:

1.  Choose a color that will set the mood you would like your space to portray.  If you are designing a bedroom you may want to select a more relaxing color as opposed to an energizing or loud shade.  There are plenty of exceptions to this rule which we will go over next so make sure the color you select will be one you will smile at every time you enter the room.  There will be a lot of it so you need to at least like the color!

2.  Make sure to mix different tones of your color to create contrast.  This will help give the room depth and allow each piece to both stand out and fit in at the same time.  You will be surprised at how well pieces will compliment each other when they are varying in lighter or darker shades.  Look at how many tones of blue are used in the living room below.

3.  Texture, Texture, Texture.   A monochromatic color scheme needs to have as many textures as you can find.  The orange interior below is a great example.  Between the  Panatone dining chairs, pendant light above the table, textures of the throw pillows, paint on the wall  and fireplace this one room has at least 6 different textures.

4.  Do you have commitment issues?  Not so sure you can go for the red sofa or green console table?  I totally understand but that is no excuse for why you cannot still have a monochromatic room.  Mix neutral toned furniture pieces with plenty of colorful accents.  Bring your color into the space with throw pillows, blankets, curtains, area rugs, candles, art work and of course paint. The list can keep going; be creative and your commitment issues will soon be forgotten.

The neutral sofa and lamp shades create a great canvas for the blue palette.

5.  Be sure to add some pattern.  The wallpaper below breaks up the strong violet paint color while introducing a lighter shade.  It also helps to tie in the light colored sofa

There you have it.  Have fun exploring what you can do with only one color.  Send us your pictures to show us your finished Monochromatic Masterpiece.

Images sources: House Beautiful, Jeffers Design Group, Apartment Therapy, Hue Amour.

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On my recent trip to Costa Rica, I stopped at the Tabacon Hot Springs.  The grounds were breathtaking.  After walking around I stumbled upon the Shangri Li Gardens area where I lounged around on the outdoor furniture, and I was … Continue reading

In Costa Rica with Marcial Blanco

I am traveling around Costa Rica and am quickly falling in love with the open style architecture, beautiful wood furniture and decor in general. This culture really knows how to live with and embrace nature. While in Arenal a few days ago I drove by a small house with an attached workshop and knew instantly I needed to check it out. I discovered local artist Marcial Blanco. Although the language barrier was a small set back he still took the time to show me the 10 main types of wood grown and used in Costa Rica (which I will get to in a later post). He explained to me how he carves each piece by hand and is working on his drawing skills as well. Everything in his studio was beautiful and I had to share some photos with you before I head home at the end of the week. I cannot wait to hang up my new purchases when I get back to NY…. Enjoy!

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Bamboo for Everyone…

Bamboo has become more than a short-lived trend in interior design.  In recent years, the use of bamboo has expanded, and it is easier than ever to incorporate this renewable product into your own decor.  Here are some examples:

Kengo Kuma and Associates used bamboo throughout the design of this residence.  The linear bamboo wall is the main feature of the house, representing the cultural exchange and respect between Japan and China.

The Becca stool from Modern Bamboo has Eastern styling with multifunctionality.  Use this as a seat, side table or shelf to add a touch of eco-friendly modernism to your room.

Also from Modern Bamboo, this table is an ideal combination of nature and industrial design.  I love the elegance and simplicity of the lines, which allows the material to really stand out.  This can be customized and delivered in 4-6 weeks!

 I love the sexy lines of this side table by Sachiko Segawa.  A simple glass top lets the form of the bamboo show through.

Why not use bamboo in your lighting as well?  I found these great pendant lights on Eco-Logic Bamboo Boards.  A  beautiful and simple way to bring in some nature to your space.

I really think the bamboo mosaic tile is stunning.   You can get these from Glass Tile Trend for only $14.99 a square foot.  Create a focal point in a room or a unique backsplash in a kitchen.

Designed by Block Cocinas, this kitchen quickly made it my favorites.  The bamboo flows seamlessly into the other materials creating perfect harmony within the space.

Here is a great collection from West Elm.  The lighter color bamboo will match a variety of bathroom decors.  Each piece ranges from $16-$19, so you can infuse natural beauty without breaking your budget.

An area rug is a more traditional use of bamboo.  The one above is available on Asana Organic from ranging in price from $90 – $130.

Bamboo is a great material for window treatments as well.  These shades will filter light and add texture.  Order any standard or custom size from Blinds Chalet.

 

2012 Rug Trends (Ikat, Chevrons, and more!)

So, I just got back from covering the New York Home Fashions trade show for Rug News andDesign magazine, so I can now report back on all the latest in rug design! Here’s what I saw:

1) IKAT is absolutely #1. Literally EVERYONE is showing ikat. It’s taken a few years, but it has finally trickled from the fashion world through to fabrics and on down to rugs, and I have to say, I’m pretty thrilled about it. Ikat is so antique-y and boho, and it just looks very natural on the floor.
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Ikat options from Amazon, Rugs USA, and ABC Carpet.

2) HAND CARVING is getting bigger and bigger. In this technique, after the rug is made, carvers go in by hand and remove some of the pile in order to create outlines around the pattern to give it even more definition and a high-low texture, like on this rug:


You can see the slight shadows around the design where the carving was done to give it even more of a pop. This rug is by Amy Butler.

3) SPHAGHETTI/FETTUCINE SHAGS were everywhere, called thusly because of the resemblance of their yarns to flat or round noodles, which gives textural interest to neutral or monochromatic rugs. Another trend, seen below on the right, involves interspersing these thicker yarns with various thinner yarns… pretty cool.

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From Home Elementz and Levitz.

4) NON-UGLY GEL CHEFS’ MATS… finally. We all want the resilience and easy-on-the-knees comfort of gel mats, but without putting a giant plastic-looking square on our kitchen floors. Here you go.


$45 at Amazon.

5) CHEVRONS are up and coming pattern trend. I saw them in a variety of colors and patterns, like this one:


From Home Decorator’s Collection.

6) MEMORY FOAM BATH MATS… sure to be the hot 2013 Christmas present for those relatives you have no idea what to get. I had no idea how 20th century my bathmat was until I saw this. I’m showing solid colors here, but believe me they will be out in every pattern imaginable by the end of the year.


Via Kohl’s.

7) OVERTUFTING/RAISED DESIGNS create additional texture over a typical pile rug.


A David Easton Rug from Zinc Door.

So there you have it!  Please comment and let me know what you think!

Roomology loves: Gallery walls (a how-to!)

Gallery walls have always been popular, but now more than ever I see them popping up everywhere — from designer rooms to DIY blogs — so I decided that 2012 was the year of my gallery wall.  Before we get into my masterpiece, here are some of inspirational images of gallery walls.

Featured on HouseBeautiful.com.  Using different frames can sometimes lead to a disconnection between the pieces, but this works because they all have a unified subject: the owner’s collection of figure sketches.  I especially love the added bonus of the sculpture at the bottom of the stairs.

If you are going for a more sleek and modern look, follow what Samantha Pynn did for this bachelor pad.  Identical frames and mats were used with a combination of black and white photos in a contemporary geometric grid.

The classic staircase gallery maximizes an unusual wall shape.  Designer Eric Cohler got this right by keeping all the images in the same neutral color palette.

Kelly Werstler’s Viceroy Santa Monica uses all rectangular mirrors, taking the images out of the equation.

This designer proves the power of creativity and spray paint.  Here, the asymmetric placement makes each frame stands out on its own, yet still feel like part of the family.  And if you have a neutral area and need a pop of color, this idea allows you to be bold without overdoing it.

Regular geometry is relaxing to the eye.  I also love the use of a vintage map.  In this one (from House Beautiful), the simple sepia tones work well with all the different textiles and patterns.

Simply brilliant!  I would have never thought to bring the gallery wall into a powder room, but after looking at this image I cannot believe I didn’t think of this sooner.   Via Design Sponge.

Need some inspiration near your workspace?  A gallery wall can be the answer.  I love how this  looks as though it grew organically.  I love the dusty tones and how it complements the muted rug.

Use a gallery wall to show off your child’s art work!  You could have the coolest playroom on the block.

Now a few things to remember when creating your gallery wall

1.  Try to be as unique as you can.  See what you have around the house first, then decide what you want to display and what you can put back in the closet.

2.  A can of paint is your best friend.  If you absolutely love a frame but it does not work for whatever reason, you can give it new life for $6.

3.  Plan as much as you can.  Go back to good old paper and pen, sketch out your initial idea, then practice on the wall with large pieces of newspaper or scrap paper in the exact sizes of the frames.  Make sure you label each piece to match with the artwork to keep everything organized.

4.  Have fun with this.  Make your gallery wall your own!  Let it show your unique interests, and it will be something you smile at every time you pass by.

I spent 2 full weekends working on my own gallery wall.  Most of the time spent was figuring out the layout I wanted and the frames I needed.  Here is my lonely empty wall that was neglected for almost 3 years. 

As you can see the wall is empty and therefore very intimidating!

And here is my finished product.  I mixed in a large painting at the bottom and the rest are images I took myself from traveling abroad.  Because the rest of the room is more contemporary with clean lines and any asymmetrical layout I attempted just did not work, I decided on a semi-grid pattern.  All the frames are from Ikea and I ordered my prints from Smugmug.com.  In total I probably spent around $250 with frames and prints.. not too bad considering this wall is finally finished and my travel memories are now proudly on display.

Have you attempted your own gallery wall?  If so, send us your photos!

Show Your Stairs

A staircase is an integral part of how most homes function.  Many homes however were designed to push the stairs to either the side of the room, back of the house or keep them in the entrance hall as something you quickly pass by.  I think it is about time to push the stairs front and center.  Let them get the attention they deserve and you will see what a beautiful thing it can be.  Here are some of my favorite stair designs where homeowners were not shy to take a chance.  Their risks paid off one step at a time…

 This Gaudi like staircase is truly a piece of art.  The organic forms that begin on the walls and continue to become the treads make it seem as though they were there before the house was.   

Designed by Moon Design and Build based out of the UK, these stairs lead to a loft.  The placement near the windows allows the light to shine through making the stairs look like lattice work.

The profile of a staircase is turned into a beautiful graphic piece when placed against a white backdrop.  The designer took this one step further and played with materials to create a truly distinct contrast.

The Architect firm Jouin Manku designed this spinal cord like stairs for a Malaysian residence in 2008.  I love how they selected glass for the railings making them almost invisible and letting the stairs stand out on their own.  Click on the image to see more images of this amazing house and the firms other work.

There is something to calming and serene about a traditional center staircase.  I love the placement of columns and the simple railing design that seems to go on forever.

Floating stairs by the Italian designer Roberto Murgia.  May not exactly be kid friendly but you cannot deny the beauty of this functional sculpture.

What do you think?  What would you chose to do or what have you done already?  Show us your stairs.

Roomology DIY project: $50 end table

I am not against DIY projects by any means, I simply never had the time to tackle them. After watching countless HGTV shows and reading blogs on refinishing furniture I knew I could probably DI-myself, but did I really have the time to shop around and look for pieces that were both fixable and affordable? That’s what I thought, until this past summer. While stopping for some zeppoles at a local fair, I walked through the community yard sale they had set up as a fundraiser. Needless to say, I walked away with a dozen zeppoles and a pair of end tables for $30.

Here is what I started with. The hardware had to go and I was not very fond of all the detailing but those were minor things to change.

Step 1: Remove the doors and hardware, find a good spot outside and grab an electric hand sander. After sanding for what felt like the whole day (only about 1 and a half hours in real time) I was able to get the table down to the bare bones.

Step 2: Primer. A small can of basic primer did the job. I used a roller on the top and sides of the table and a small brush for front detailing work.

Step 3: Paint. I chose Pebble White by Glidden and applied 2 coats.

Step 4: To add a fun twist to the piece I bought 2 pieces of patterned scrap-book paper and an 8 oz. bottle of Gloss Mod Podge. Using it as a glue, I carefully placed the paper over the area I wanted to cover and then applied another 2 coats of Mod Podge on top to act as a sealer.

Step 5: Spray the entire piece with a sealer.

Step 6: Attach doors and new hardware and enjoy!

Including the original cost of the table ($15) plus all materials I spent approximately $50.

Although DIY projects may be time-consuming, they are definitely rewarding when you are done. Now I just need to figure out what to do with the second table. Any suggestions?

Roomology Favorite… Vintage Book Prints

My favorite Christmas gifts this year were three art pieces printed on vintage dictionaries and books.  What an incredible idea! I imagine displaying these pieces as a perfect grid in a library, office or  nursery.  Simple for anyone to do at home, but if you are not in the mood to design your own they are very affordable.  Most of the items I found on Etsy.com were around $5.00 – $12.00.

My favorite of the three is this Audrey Hepburn print from Ephemera And More. They currently have a “Buy 3 Get 4” sale and at an average cost of $10 a print that is a steal.

Another print I need to find a frame for is one designed after the Robert Indiana’s Love sculpture.  You can find this at the etsy shop Encore Prints which is also having a Buy 3 Get 1 Free special.

The last Christmas gift was this “Keep Calm and Carry On” print.  This print came with a matte and frame from the Canton Box Company.

I found a ton of shops on Etsy who specialized or sold these items.  If you have the time and equipment (any standard printer will do) you can easily recreate these for yourself.  Find an old book or dictionary, pull out a page and run it through your printer.  Print a silouette or any image on top, frame and matte the image and sit back and admire your own custom vintage art!