Sunday, February 28, 2010

Clean/Clutter Free Kitchens

Much like their namesake culture, Spain Kitchens are exotic, vibrant and the ultimate in cool. These European kitchen cabinets by Spazzi – one of Spain’s largest kitchen manufacturers with distribution throughout Europe, Argentina, Morocco, Angola, Mozambique, Canada and now in the U.S. – boast a contemporary look featuring corrugated cabinet fronts available in hot hues to spice up your kitchen in more ways than one. Combined with contemporary stainless steel, the look is totally chic. Not only do these modern kitchen cabinets look cool, they also provide plenty of concealed storage space for a clean, clutter-free kitchen. These cabinets let your enjoy modern minimalism with maximum flair for fashion. There’s nothing like a Spain kitchen. Check out the full collection at Spazzi.



Friday, February 26, 2010

Kitchen Islands

Kitchen Islands Ideas: Adding Beauty, Function and Value to the Heart of Your Home

Since the 1980s when builders first began plopping blocks of wood in the middle of a floor the island has been one of the most popular models of kitchen design. Through the years the function and look continues to evolve from the early days of added storage space, to the next incarnation when appliances were added, to the addition of multiple levels to accommodate seating and visual interest. The latest trend is for the island to more closely resemble furniture so they look less like a part of the kitchen and more of a seamless blend with the adjoining room’s decor.

Despite their huge popularity, an island cannot and should not be a part of every kitchen, most designers agree. They work best in an L-shaped kitchen that is at least 12 to 14 feet wide. The barest minimum of walk space should be 36 inches, but the National Kitchen and Bath Association prefers at least 42 inches clearance for a one-cook kitchen and 48 for multiple cooks or high traffic kitchens. The most popular island width is roughly three feet.


Like all kitchen design it is best to determine the island’s function. They work well as secondary workspaces with prep sinks and can hold auxiliary appliances like wine coolers or warming trays. One pitfall in adding a prep sink is not allowing enough adjacent counter space to make it truly functional. Guidelines call for a minimum of 36 inches on at least one side of a secondary sink. If a cooktop is on an island allow for a minimum of 12 inches on side of a cooking surface and 15 inches on the other.

To add a punch of color or create a focal point, consider using a different wood for the base or a different countertop. Also think about varying the height of the island to break up the wide expanse and create interest. A typical countertop height is 36 inches high but you can add a lip to make a breakfast bar of 42 inches or lower a portion to table height of 30 inches.

Islands work well in today’s open concept living spaces to keep people connected but there can be drawbacks, too. Dirty dishes are often in full view and there can be safety issues if people are sitting too near a cooktop. A buffer of at least nine inches should separate a cooktop or sink. Consider also rounding the edges of an island as sharp corners can be a hazard.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Living Green Furniture

LivingGreenFurniture, a division of LivingGreen LLC, was established to bring affordable, high quality, eco-friendly furniture products to the online market at a truly exceptional value. Living Green offer slipcovered and upholstered sofas, sectionals, sleepers, loveseats, chairs and ottomans - all customizable by you from a wide array of fabric styles and colors, cushion fills, and wood finishes. They source their products from the highest-quality American manufacturers which they have carefully scrutinized to make sure their products comply with our eco-friendly mission.


What's most important, after the style of the furniture and the fabrics, is comfort and value. Exceptional value isn't just about price, it's about the relationship of price and quality - how the furniture is made, how it performs and how long it meets or exceeds your expectations. So read on to see how they "stack up"!


The heart of their custom upholstered, eco-friendly furniture is a solid frame made from American hardwoods that have been sustainably harvested. Kiln-dried hardwood as well as solid and laminate boards that are precision-milled into a frame that will never twist, warp or crack. In an effort to minimize any waste of resources, the kiln is fired from the sawdust and wood waste produced during the milling process. Joints are held strong with double-dowel or mortise and tenon and corner block construction. Because of the unbeatable craftsmanship on their line of furniture frames, they are able to guarantee them for as long as you own their furniture.

Suspension systems are an important part of our comfort story. LivingGreenFurniture uses either a traditional coil or sinuous spring system or a state-of-the-art elastomeric webbing system. Just like their frames, LivingGreenFurniture guarantees its suspension systems for as long as you own your furniture.

Cushions are specifically designed for each style of their upholstered and slipcovered furniture. Standard cushions include a core containing plant-based and recycled materials, and organic, halogen-free fire retardants. Each core is wrapped with a layer of soft polyester fiber. LivingGreenFurniture’s cushions are made without the use of CFCs. The high-resiliency foam delivers just the right amount of support, comfort and bounce-back to ensure ultra-comfortable seating, while the fiber wrap provides softness and shape to the surface of the cushion. Each furniture family’s style and design dictates whether the cushion looks and sits a little softer, or sits more firmly with a more tailored look.

As an option on many styles, the eco-down blend cushion is a modern combination of a channel-quilted down-proof jacket filled with multiple layers of high-resiliency recycled fiber foam surrounded by a blend of duck feather and down. This cushion delivers an exceptionally rich and plush down-like seating comfort for the ultimate in sit-down-and-sink-in splendor.

All cushions as a rule will soften with use. With proper care, all cushions will deliver years of dependable seating. Regular vacuuming, fluffing and rotation of cushions will help extend cushion life.

As a designer, I love upholstery as a beginning for a lovely color palette allowing you to totally customize your room theme. Along with the fun of creating your own personal style, realizing you have quality and beauty which will last a life time is priceless. My personal opinion is to use a solid allowing you to change the pillow colors and style as often as you like, this becomes very economical, changing your pillows and accessories becomes your least design expense. However, they also make lovely custom style slip covers which would allow you to use a pattern. This is furniture you will use everyday of your life, what a relief to know it will last as long as you own it. Once this decision is made then have fun playing with colors in your accessories.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Classy and Clean

Cool and contemporary meets naturally beautiful in this stunning kitchen by designer Carlo Colombo. The new Twelve kitchen, designed for Poliform Varenna kitchen company, experiments with “minimal horizontal thicknesses and maximum wideness,” as described by Poliform. The modern style comes sans handles, resulting in a very chic, sleek and streamlined look, which is a nice feature in what is usually a chaotic, cluttered space. A variety of finished lets you customize the look. Facade finishes include wood, laminate, glossy or embossed lacquered fronts, or simple steel. Tops come in a variety of laminates, steel, Corian, quartzite or painted fronted glass. The range of looks run the gamut from organic to ultra-modern, each with a distinctly contemporary edge. For more info and to check out the Twelve kitchen, visit Poliform Varenna.




Saturday, February 20, 2010

Hidden Beds

Small space furniture is one of my favorite categories of interior design, mostly due to the creativity it involves. Often the furniture items are dual purpose and have convertible options that make complete sense when you see them in action. Hidden Bed shows us the perfect computer desk and bookcase wall unit by day, with a flip down convertible bed by night. The cool thing I like is the ability to leave all of the desk components in place and simply pull down the bed with ease. The Hidden Bed product line includes ready to go models or you can custom design the perfect convertible bed of your dreams. See the entire convertible Hidden Bed product line here. Pricing upon request.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Asian Art

Ryo Matsuoka of Tokyo, Japan has been drawing and painting since before he can remember. Today he dabbles in other art forms such as embroidery, but his colorful paintings with a strong Asian influence are his main focus. According to Matsuoka "The act of drawing opened me up for life and unknown places, connected me with new people, and gave me different windows of time and place, further inspiring me to draw.


Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Great Things




While shopping in the wonderful maze of "The Arboretum", located in Charlotte NC, I found, "Great Things". To my surprise it was an upscale resale shop with an array of designer clothing and accessories as well as unique home and furniture items. I was greeted with a warm welcome and introduction to the owner, Jeanni Law and her daughter Kim.

Everywhere I looked there were lovely displays of accessories and unique furniture and home decor items. You owe it to yourself to visit her quaint shop and be prepared to spend a few hours browsing, so you don't miss a thing.

The resale industry is one of the few recession proof segments of retailing. Not only does it survive during economic slowdowns but it grows and thrives. The appeal is twofold… Consumers are attracted to buying quality merchandise at a fraction of the original cost and the financial incentive to sell, consign or donate their unused or unwanted items.


With gas prices at record highs, food costs increasing, and housing expenses rising, it is no wonder that consumers are feeling cash and credit constrained. As they run out of purchasing power, they cut back on discretionary spending and change they way they shop_ but don’t be mistaken, people will still shop! Some people shop because it makes them feel better, others shop out of need… professionals still have to look good,  newly weds and college students need to furnish their dorms and apartments. I love to recyle and refresh my decor, and prefer the intimate shopping of smaller establishments.  In this uncertain economy_ when people are shopping cautiously and focused on getting more for their money_ resale is the natural choice. The industry offers the best of both worlds… the chance to SHOP AND SAVE.

At Great Things Showplace you will find quality pre-owned furniture/home d├ęcor and beautiful designer clothing and accessories. Many items never or barely used. Best of all, nearly 98% of all items brought into the store sell, and quickly. Everyday new items arrive.” It always changes, which is why you need to shop regularly, so you don't miss a "Great Thing".

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Valentine's Chair

Heart Cone Chair. Designed by Verner Panton.




Designed in 1959 by Denmark’s Verner Panton, the Heart Cone Chair began as a variant of the slightly more demure Cone Chair of 1958. The metamorphosis went from the fantastical to the fanciful: Cone Chair looks like an ice cream delicacy and Heart Cone Chair like a box of chocolates. Whoever would have thought I’d grow so fond of sweets and hearts?



Panton once worked as an assistant for Arne Jacobsen—note Heart Cone’s nod to the sensuous Egg Chair. Although it has lovely contours, don’t oversimplify Panton’s Heart Cone Chair. It’s meant to play with lots of iconic shapes, not just the bloody organ: “Heart Cone Chair has large, projecting wings reminiscent of Mickey Mouse ears that could also, however, be interpreted as a contemporary take on the classic wing chair.” Constructed of durable materials—laminated body, stainless base, polyurethane foam upholstery—Heart Cone Chair doesn’t compromise durability for style. And given the delicious color choices, this Panton gem is easy to swallow. Of course, there’s the red, but also golden yellow, rust, and chocolate in warm tones; and blue, green, and steel in the cool range.




Saturday, February 13, 2010

Floral Compliments


Michele Eddins, of Floral Compliments, has sent me these stunning photographs of her latest creations to share with everyone. I introduced you to Michele's creativity in 2008. I asked her to share a little information about the styles and she quoted,  "The flowers are custom made following the look of fashion of the Victorian era. Using a single large flower or arranging a carefully picked grouping to compliment your dress and hair style for that special day, these flowers will accomplish the look of femininity and elegance that is also everlasting. These creations are a must-have for the bride who wishes to pass on her memories to the next generation either to be worn again or to showcase".

If you get that special wedding proposal during Valentine's Day,or any time of the year, you need to go immediately to Michele's site and view all of the possibilites for your wedding floral designs...they are simply stunning keepsakes!!!!!!!! Don't forget Michele will totally design your custom colors and style and make special items upon requests. A sneak peak below, gives you a variety of Michele's work, check out the custom made flip flop wedding shoes one customer requested, this was a smart lady!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Sleigh Bed or Tub


Somewhere between a throne and a bathtub is Carlo Colombo’s Cuna, designed for Italian bathroom manufacturer Antonio Lupi. “Created to stand in the middle of the bathroom as its absolute protagonist,” Cuna is simple, modern, and stately - a freestanding form that brings together form and function, dignity and relaxation. Toss the awkward bath-pillow and opt for Cuna’s functional backrest instead. It is the defining feature of Colombo’s creation, providing distinction, comfort and enclosure.




While lying down may feel luxurious at first, for me - and for many, baths include a glass of wine and a good book. And so, this new bathtub is bound to be appreciated by avid readers and drinkers alike. The height and incline of Cuna’s backrest are designed with comfort and total relaxation in mind, helping to eliminate the fidgeting, twisting and turning we endure in an attempt to achieve a comfortable semi-seated position in standard bathtubs. Furthermore, “the base shape is rectangular, but sides are rounded, another singularity making the tub really comfortable,” explains the company.

Despite the lack of information, I’d assume that the material is cristalplant - a fairly new composite that is super-hard, ultra-durable and smooth as silk - commonly used by Antonio Lupi and a modern-day favorite for high-end bathtubs. The material is fully capable of creating Cuna’s thin-sided, sleigh-like form - and the boldly colored exterior.