Friday, June 27, 2008

Creative Kids

We grown-ups shop ETSY; devour design blogs; and swoon over inspiration boards but let's not forget kids love to be inspired too! A stimulating home environment is key to fostering creativity and a love of the arts. Whether you choose to display your child's work or that of another artist, take some cues from these artsy homes.

A paper airplane highlights a shadowbox featuring a colorful print.

A bright orange wall makes this casual art arrangement pop.

A line with pegs creates a charming display. New work can be easily swapped.

A painting placed at a child's eye-level allows them to enjoy this piece up close.

Framed stencils make a sweet headboard. Try this too with your child's art.

Hope this has inspired you to pull some gems from your kids' end-of-term folders and put them on display!

Have a great weekend!


[Photo credit (top to bottom): Images 1 and 2, Cookie Magazine; Syko, pOlkdOt, gdkarma via Flickr.]

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

You Say Goodbye, I Say Hello

[Photo credit: Milk magazine via Oh Happy Day]

Printed coir doormats are the perfect mix of form and function. Apart from keeping floors clean, they are an inviting entryway gesture both you and your guests will enjoy.

These beauties from Anthropologie and Chiasso below have just the charm I'm looking for, but at $38-48, not the price .

[Clockwise from top left: Grass, Chiasso; Moka Leaf, Anthropologie ; Aqua Dots, Chiasso; Sahara, Anthropolgie.]

So imagine how pleased I was to nab this pretty striped number at Target for $9:99! Although not as intricately designed as its fancier predecessors it certainly says 'WELCOME' to me. I suspect this is a seasonal item available only in-store so grab them while they're hot!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Comfort Room

Happy Monday everyone!

I never thought I'd be so thrilled to say that! Last week was crazy mix of birthday parties; Pre-K graduation (yay!); and two sick babes at one point or another :-( But thank God, my precious pumpkins are on the mend!

In what little down-time I had, my focus turned to less weighty matters like Room and Board's newest mag-a-log. Entitled "Welcome Home - 48 pages of inspiration and ideas for your home," Room and Board's soft-sell technique suckered me in from the first page.

My pulse rate took a dip as I flipped through page after to page of beautifully styled interiors. The attention to pattern and texture was amazing and proved that if done right, neutrals aren't boring, they're down-right brilliant!

The mag-a-log also included profiles of real customers who have decorated primarily with Room and Board merchandise as well as mini-features on industry experts like Apartment Therapy's own Maxwell Gillingham-Ryan. Congrats Maxwell!

All in all a good 15 minutes was spent hanging out in Room and Board's grown-up yet relaxed world. Do subtle marketing tactics like this work for you? Or do you feel like, "save me the wooing just products and prices please!"

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Around The Blogosphere: Ferm Living

[Photo credit: Ferm Living]

As much as I enjoy writing my own blog, I love to read others as well. I am truly amazed by the abundant creativity that is showcased daily from the most far-flung places. Case in point, Design*Sponge's recent 'sneak peek' of the home of Denmark-based Trine Andersen, owner of Ferm Living.

Trine's home is so delightful it warranted several second peeks on my part. From the bold wallpaper choices to the many pops of color (love the bedding and the coat rack) it was absolute perfection! And who wouldn't want to be invited for lunch on that lovely deck? I am packing my bags for Denmark as we speak!

[Photo credit: Ferm Living]

Trine's home is a wonderful example of using color and pattern to create an inviting atmosphere. Note how she applies wallpaper to one focal wall for big impact. And, by keeping her base colors neutral (warm woods mixed with black/white/gray), Trine is able to layer saturated colors for a look that is vibrant not busy.

This 'sneak peek' is definitely a keeper and you can click here for more pics. Thanks Design*Sponge and bravo Trine!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

IKEA's In The House!

Yay!!! I can hardly wait! The excitement is mounting for the opening of IKEA Brooklyn in Red Hook tomorrow June 18 at 9:00 a.m. sharp.

Previously, IKEA was accessible only via a 45-minute car ride to Long Island (most New Yorkers use public transportation). Or via weekend shuttle from the Port Authority in Manhattan to IKEA in Elizabeth, New Jersey. For enterprising (crazy) folks like myself it was often a three-hour round trip excluding shopping time!

New York City isn't known for its big box retail scene due in part to space constraints. WalMart has been spurned several times and only in Summer 2004 did Target make its 'first metropolitan' debut - also in Brooklyn. So this is really big for us!

IKEA Brooklyn can be accessed via car, shuttle, and ferry. The store also boasts an extended shuttle service from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week. So unbelievable! Awesome opening day door prizes include FREE sofas for the first 35 customers as well as a host of other goodies.

Just for fun, I thought I'd share my IKEA wishlist should I win the $1000 giveaway I just signed up for. Chances are I will avoid the mad rush tomorrow. But for those of you who will braving the crowds tomorrow, good luck!

Clockwise from top: PS Jonsberg vase; Leran pendant lamp; Ikea Stockholm throw; Alseda stool; Expedit bookcase; Alkov chest; red PS cabinet; Ljusas Ysby lamp.

Friday, June 13, 2008

What I'm Loving Now: Storage In White

[Photo credit: Chez Larsson]

Some of you may recall my post on Benita Larsson and her practice of buying everyday supplies in white. Today, I thought we'd explore this idea with storage.

Below, I've culled some white storage pieces that would work in almost any room of your home. My faves are CB2's lacquered Osaka boxes - great for stashing jewelry or even the remotes! I also love IKEA's Asker containers which can be wall-mounted to save kitchen-counter or even craft-table space.

Top (l. to r.): Drawer chest, Container Store; Osaka boxes, CB2; Wire storage cubes, WalMart.
Middle (l. to r.): Drawer organizer, Bed Bath and Beyond; Asker container, IKEA; Flyt magazine file, IKEA.
Bottom: (l. to r.): Clearview bins, Bed Bath and Beyond; Kassett boxes, IKEA; Elfa In/Out basket, Container Store.

Using a monochromatic scheme instantly streamlines your storage and creates a cohesive look. It also makes purchasing additional containers or swapping storage between rooms a snap. Of course, you can use any other color, the important thing is to be consistent and it will look great!

Have a wonderful weekend!


Thursday, June 12, 2008

Precocious Pad?

[Photo credit: Paul Costello]

My kids are too young (2 and almost 5) for all the Hannah Montana hysteria. But that doesn't stop me from wanting to take a peek are actress Miley Cyrus' digs featured in the June issue of InStyle. Yes, I know she's a worldly gazillionairess, still I was surprised that her style seemed well beyond her 15 years.

[Photo credit: Paul Costello]

Growing up, sheer lack of square footage made rearranging my bedroom pointless. But I did my best with special touches like Kirk Cameron posters and pretty arrangements of perfume bottles. My favorite? Exclamation cologne!

[Photo credit: Teen Idols 4 You]

So what do you think of Miley's place? Is it too over the top/ just right for these times /or does an improvised mix of posters and perfume still smell like teen spirit?

Monday, June 9, 2008

96 Degrees In The Shade!

[Photo credit: Amazon]

It's been a scorcher in New York today and hardly conducive to coherent decor blogging! To keep cool I love to make popsicles. I swear my family eats them all summer long.

Unusual 100% juice mixes like orange-peach-mango or cranberry-grape are best for big fruity flavor. And, each individual popsicle is often less than three ounces of juice (great if you want to limit sugar). These are so yummy, my grown friends are hooked on them too!

You can find basic popsicle molds just about anywhere including your local supermarket or cuties like these Tovolo molds in the 'Star' pattern available at

So go ahead and relive your childhood with this fun, cool treat!

Friday, June 6, 2008

Seven, Eight Lay Them Straight

[Photo credit: Martha Stewart Living]

Friday is laundry day at our house. To make the task lighter, my husband oversees the washing while I handle folding. For years though, one domestic skill eluded me - how to properly fold fitted sheets.

I finally learned the secret from my Mom two years ago after the birth of my son. As she offered invaluable assistance during those first busy weeks, we bonded as only mothers and daughters do - over folded laundry. Anyway, my Mom's advice essentially follows the 4-step technique illustrated below by the kind folks at Better Homes and Gardens.

1. Folding fitted sheets works best on a flat surface, such as a table or bed. Lay the sheet right side down, elasticized corners facing up. Neatly turn in corners and edges so they're straight. Grab the right top corner, flip it inside out, pull it toward you, and tuck it inside the bottom right corner. Now tuck the top left corner into the bottom left corner. At this point, the sheet is folded crosswise, with the top half of the sheet folded into the bottom half.

2. At each layered corner, place a hand beneath the diagonal fold to flatten and smooth.

3. Fold the sheet in half lengthwise so the layered corners are on top of each other. Tuck so that three of the corners fit into one. Smooth edges.

4. Fold the sheet in half lengthwise again, then fold crosswise. (Instead of folding crosswise, you could fold into thirds.)

For more BHG linen tips click here.

Now you've completed your folding and are about to chuck the lot in the closet. Think again! Domestic doyenne, Martha Stewart, suggests you consider this instead: "Slip each set into one of its pillowcases, and store the sets by size -- twin, full, and so on -- with colors, trim, or other defining details clearly visible." (See top right photo.) Martha also advises adding a bundle of chalk to your linen closet to keep folded laundry fresh and dry. You can learn more here. Thanks Martha!

Do you have any great ideas for keeping your linen closet organized? I'm sure Pretty*Practical readers would love to hear them so bring them on!

And of course, have a fab weekend!


Tutorial photos courtesy of Better Homes and Gardens.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Feast Your Eyes

[Photo credit: clockwise from top left: ModernArtEveryday; Yvestown; Making It Lovely; source unknown. ]

Color experts believe that red stimulates the appetite. But don't you think food-related text or art can also set the mood for munching?

Visual cues like super-sized cutlery or a giant red apple instantly signal the kitchen as the heart of your home. And words like 'yummy' or 'eat & drink' dispel fussiness and invite everyone to dig in.

What a great way to add a dash of personality to everyday dining. Bon apetit!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Flower Fetish

[Photo credit: Design*Sponge]

Happy Tuesday everyone, sorry for the late post! Today, is dedicated to Austrian designer Josef Frank, one of the founders of 'Swedish Modernism' and one of my all-time favorites!

I first learned of Frank's bold aesthetic last year when Design*Sponge featured the home of Brooklyn design team, Deadly Squire. In lieu of a headboard, Frank's fabric was stretched on canvas to create the illusion of one. The large-scale florals and bold color gave this room punch and I was immediately smitten.

A botany enthusiast, Frank rejected the austere modernism of his time and instead drew from nature for inspiration. Last Spring, I fell in love with Anthropologie's Jayne sofa upholstered in Frank's vibrant 'Hawaii' print in brown. But at $3,498 a pop can we say 'investment piece'?

[Photo credit: Anthropologie]

This week, I was thrilled to see Frank's exuberant style featured in two very different homes in the June/July issue of Domino. What a happy accident! In the home of stylist Tina Chai, she injects color and pattern into her neutral but eclectic living room with curtains in Frank's 'Hawaii' print - this time seen in white.

[Photo credit: Domino]

In the warm modernist home of Carina Schott a.k.a Nonchalant Mom (a great blog by the way), Frank's "Windows" print aptly functions as a screen connecting the passageway to her children's room.

[Photo credit: Domino]

Previously hard to find, Josef Frank fabric and accessories can now be purchased online at Just Scandinavian (check them out for more fun prints!). However, with a price point of about $240/yard with a three yard minimum, Frank's fabrics may be a stretch for most budgets. If like me you're still wishing and dreaming, IKEA's Stockholm Blad easy chair ($349) and curtains ($59.99) are an understated alternative that could make the cut.

[Photo credit: IKEA]