Thursday, January 31, 2008

Dressing the Home

New York is a buzz right now in preparation for Fashion Week which begins tomorrow so what better way to start things off than by letting you know about a new book that peaks into the homes of some of the most talented fashion designers. Dressing the Home: The Private Spaces of Top Fashion Designers by Marie Bariller and photographs by Guillaume de Laubier has already been out in France but will be available here in either March or June depending on which online book retailer you check, and is perfect for fashion lovers and design enthusiasts alike.

I am excited for this book because I love see how fashion designers interprete their fashion aesthetic and style into the interiors of their homes. Some of the designers include Christian Louboutin, Catherine Malandrino, Patrick Cox, Betsey Johnson, and Diane von Furstenberg, as well as Dolce & Gabbana, who wrote the foreword.

Now, I just wish I could just get over this stupid cold so I can enjoy all the fashion week parties!

here's an idea! a bonde bookcase dollhouse

carrie over at apartment therapy's ohdeedoh tipped me on a fabulous flickr find. it ain't a hack but i couldn't say no it.

sarah turned a bonde bookcase into a dollhouse, with working lights! it brought out all that girl-envy in me. as carrie noted, the best thing is when your child outgrows the dollhouse, you've got a bookcase ready for service.

bonde bookcase dollhouse
thanks carrie! link.
see sarah's doll set on flickr.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008


Habitually Chic apologizes for the lack of posts recently but she has a cold. She will resume her normal posting schedule when she is no longer an "incubus of viral plague". Good news is that she's one stomach flu away from her goal weight! Just kidding!

Photograph Kleenex, 2006, by Abelardo Morell

how to make your cat lose weight

can't stay away from food? piling on the pounds? then you've got a fat cat problem. the solution is not gym sessions but a feeder cage.

in cassandra's multi-cat household, she usually leaves dry food for her cats to eat anytime they want to. but vernon, a previous stray, doesn't know when to stop and has become overweight. cassandra built a feeder cage from an ikea kitchen cart (which she have long forgotten the name of) which only allows slim kitties to get in and nibble.

she tells me, "we did it with an old kitchen cart. the little doorway was made from two ikea picture frames. (ed: the cats crawl through the picture frame doorway to get into the cage. the doorway is made smaller than big vernon) the longer sides are hinged and latched with velcro so that we can get in and out for cleaning and stocking."

slim cat gets to eat

click the link to see instructions and more pictures of cassandra's cat feeder cage.

a tasteful dog crate you don't have to hide

by night, it's for her dog to sleep in. by day, it looks just like any other storage box. sheena turns the hol storage bench into a dog crate.

she writes, "my dog tweed is a butthead after dark, so he can’t sleep in my apartment with the other dogs. however, my studio apartment is really small, and i don’t like having a big ugly dog crate sitting around. so i made a dog crate out of an ikea hol storage bench. it was beyond easy – i simply put the bench together but left one 'end' off, and attached that end with a pair of small, simple hinges to create a door. the door is secured with an inexpensive hook-and-eye mechanism. when the 'door' is closed, it just looks like a coffee table bench.

dog cratedog cratethe only cautions are:
a) it would not suit a dog much larger than about 40lbs / 20” at the shoulder
b) if your dog is an escape artist from his crate, this isn’t sturdy enough to keep him confined – it’s for well crate trained dogs only and
c) you need to reinforce the ‘floor’ and the top sidewalls of the unit with a 1x1 cut to fit across and nailed or screwed (or glued!) into place. otherwise the sides of the unit bend around and the floor might sink.

it was incredibly inexpensive, the bench can be stained to match your décor (i haven’t done that yet) and it doesn’t look like a dog crate!"

welcome to the guinea pig palace

saskia transformed an aneboda wardrobe into a guinea pig palace!

she writes, "what can we do with an aneboda wardrobe? we can turn it over into a beautiful guinea pig palace! i used three aneboda wardrobes for my guinea pigs home. for the left most wardrobe i cut the doors in half, so i have some space to hide my guinea pig stuff."

guinea pig enclosure

i heart dogs and cats and guinea pigs too

i've been receiving quite a few pet hacks lately and thought i'll dedicate today to all things cute and furry. to start off, here are some new inspired versions of older hacks. i've posted them after the original hacks. just click through to read the full post.

cat litter box with paw prints
robert also send me his version of a cat litter box, inspired by sara's snack box hack. the full entry is here after sara's.

windowsill and dog bowl stand in one
chloe has a suped-up version of a canine bowl stand. see hers after mark's dog bowl stand hack.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

your work lamp can do double duty

christina turns a work table lamp into ambient lighting for the room as well.

she writes, "i always liked the mobility of a work table light, especially for reading in an armchair. but in a living room, the opaque shade dulled out the light for the rest of the room. so i took an ikea tertial work lamp, removed the original shade, and installed a skimra shade.

table lampwork table lamptable work lamp with shadeto do this, i had to only make a small cut in the skimra frame, using wire cutters. the skimra shade is designed to be attached to the light bulb. so that took care of it being also attached to the work lamp as well.

the shade gives a nice glow to the room, and makes a great reading or general use lamp for the living room."

spongefish's genius hack contest is on!

think your hack is hip enough to win a nintendo wii?

spongefish, a newly launched social site where people share what they know, is running a genius hack contest with fabulous prizes up for grabs.

a little bit on the contest ...

"We're looking for genius hacks. By hack, we mean an act of creativity that solves a problem, alters or adds functionality, or a clever prank. Your hack should demonstrate intelligence, organization, skill and humor, and not hurt anyone or destroy anything valuable. To enter, you should describe the hack and provide some information about how you did it. Visuals help, so please show the hack in pictures or video."

the genius hacks contest runs through february 16th and all you need to do is join spongefish and upload your hack.

first prize: Nintendo Wii
second prize: iPod Touch
third prize: $100 Gift Certificate to ThinkGeek
fourth prize: $25 Gift Certificate to ThinkGeek

check out some of the contest entries:
> how to make and hold fire balls
> homemade metal detector
> how to hack open a lock

by the way, i am one of the judges, so i may be biased to ikea hacks. :P

see contest details and entries.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Chic City Kitchen

I was going to call this post, Chic Country Kitchen but then I remembered that the husband and wife owner's Robin Standefer and Stephen Alesch don't care for the connotation that the phrase "country kitchen" infers, especially since theirs is in a loft in downtown New York. Regardless of what they call it, it's one of my favorite kitchen designs. The forced cherry blossoms add to the beautiful ambiance and have me drooling as well. I also thought that Decorno might need a little inspiration after her "home of never ending projects" post today. You can read the entire article about this chic kitchen here.

1) The island: The marble top comes from a lithographer’s studio in Indiana and had to be craned in through the window. Standefer found the tree stump in a forest, and uses it as a cheese platter or fruit stand.

2) The Garland stove: A well-used workhorse that was inherited from the loft’s previous owner, an urban pioneer who’d been there since 1968 and also kept a giant loom on the premises. She’d cloistered her kitchen in a dark corner of the loft. They moved the stove—and everything else—out into the open.

I'm going to have to do another post about the owners and their design firm Roman & Williams because they have a really interesting back story. They started out as set designers for movies and then started to get interior design jobs after a few celebs who admired their work started to hire them. There also came a point where they couldn't stand to watch all their hard work destroyed at the end of a shoot. They recently finished the lobby renovation of the Royalton Hotel in New York and word is that they have quite a few more celebrity clients. Now, I just wish they would post some photos online so we can see what else they have been up to!

a tree in the living room for your cat to climb

barna repurposed the stolmen system into a cat tree. here's what he did.

cat tree"my girlfriend and i live with our three cats in a smallish apartment in san francisco. we wanted to give the cats plenty of vertical space, but we loathe both the fuzzy-cutesy look and the bulkiness/'unmodularity' of regular cat furniture. i was inspired by an earlier post on your site that used stolmen components and came up with our own solution. this one has more shelf space, and the levels are not very far apart (one of our cats is limping a little). it is made of only stolmen components, except the rugs, though i imagine ikea would have suitable ones too. we currently have two of these trees set up, one in the living room and one in the bedroom."

see similar hacks:
> stolmen cat gym
> cat stairs
> cat ladder

Chic Shoes by Carmen Ho

My post about Lyell got me thinking about other designers that I love and my new obsession with Carmen Ho shoes. According to her website, Carmen Ho was born in Hawaii, raised in Hong Kong and educated at MIT where she earned a degree in business and architecture. It was a love of structure that finally led her to designing shoes.

"Wanting to fuel her imagination to create unique shoes and to run her own company, Carmen, armed with business skills acquired from her investment banking days, enrolled in the prestigious Ars Sutoria footwear school in Milan. She then went on to work in a leading Italian shoe factory, where shoes for Christian Dior, Prada, Andrea Pfister, Rudolph Menudier, among others were produced, to gain hands-on experience in design and production."

"Her design philosophy is to celebrate thoughtful details, discreet sophistication, and comfortable fit. She combines her multi-cultural background with traditional Italian shoe-making techniques to create shoes that are laboriously and lovingly made." And I agree. Her shoes are interesting and unique, as well as comfortable. The company also incorporates "social consciousness" into it's business practices which is an added bonus. You can check them out in New York at Bergdorf Goodman and other stockists online. Your feet will thank you for it!

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Habitually Chic Shop: Lyell

One of the best things about living in New York, is the access we have to so many talented young designers. One of my favorites is Lyell by Emma Fletcher. The clothes have a vintage feel and remind me of a little bit like Mayle. They both have cute little shops on Elizabeth Street. But unlike Mayle, which I can barely get my arm into, Lyell actually fits. The line is romantic but also modern and wearable. They are also having a sale so if there was ever a time to check them out, it's now! Oh, and I hear a line of shoes is in the works!

Friday, January 25, 2008

The Geography of Bliss

I have a list of things I have been meaning to write about but for some reason, I feel very uninspired today. Perhaps it's because it's the most depressing time of the year. If you don't know what I'm talking about, read yesterday's post. I will admit that I am already sick of winter. Right now, I am dreaming of moving to a warmer climate because I think that sunny weather would make me happy. Well, in the new book The Geography of Bliss, author Eric Weiner, travels the world in search of the happiest place on earth.

I haven't read the book yet because if I bought it, that would be breaking one of my New Year's resolutions (you know, the one about finishing one book before I start another) so I'm curious if anyone else has read it and what they thought. It seems to be getting great reviews. I am very interested in reading more about the Danes who are the happiest due partly to their lack of materialism. Might be a book that should be required reading for all status conscious Americans. Myself included!

table l'amour - a valentine's project?

michelle gives an old ikea table (now discontinued) a little bit of love.

she writes, "it's an old ikea café table that has been painted and weather-proofed based on a design found on the cover of the art book Les Cent Noms de l'Amour (right). i've always been a fan of highly stylized arabic calligraphy (in this case of one of the arab words for love), so this project was a great opportunity to explore its sinuous forms on a functional canvas.

i used several layers of liquitex acrylic heavy body paint and a helmsman semi-gloss urethane finish. the 'strokes' in the calligraphy are actually composed of many small paintbrush strokes."

a little bit of blue for the aneboda

unless you are ultra organized, the transparent panels in the aneboda chest of drawers will always squeal on your less that neat habits. claudia covers them up with some lovely paper from oliver bonas.

3 drawer chestoliver bonas paperto do this hack, you'll need to measure the area to cover with a tape measure. with a pencil, mark the area on your selected paper. place the paper on top of the panel to see if fits correctly and make adjustments, if required.

apply glue on the panels and stick on the paper from one side to the other, pressing with your fingers as you go along to prevent the formation of bubbles. repeat until all panels are covered.

3 drawer chestno more "un-neatness".
see more on claudia's superziper blog (in portuguese) or the google translated english version.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Worst Day of the Year?

According to a story on MSNBC, a UK psychologist has calculated that today, January 24th, is the most depressing day of the year. Apparently, it has to do with the cold and dreary weather and holiday debt. I guess the good news is that it can only get better from here!

So, if you are in need of something to cheer you up tonight, you can always head on over to the Elliott Puckette opening at The Paul Kasmin Gallery. Her new work looks to be mostly black and white and she is also experimenting with collage. If that doesn't work, you could always book a trip to the Caribbean. If anyone has any other ideas to beat the winter blues, let me know!

try out the ikeahacker app for facebook

a new thingamajig to play with. glen of lifedev (and who runs liferemix, the blog network i am part of) has developed a facebook app for bloggers.

what it does is allow you to receive and share blog content on facebook itself. pretty neat huh?

so if you add the ikeahacker facebook application on your profile, you'll get a feed that looks like this:

go on, add my app or get your own. it's pretty simple, no programming necessary. let me know how it goes.

a breakfast bar saves the day

alexandra turns an ugly half wall into a breakfast bar. while there is no straight-up hacking on the ikea countertop, it is a neat idea if you're looking for ways to maximize space or hide mistakes.

she writes, "previous owners took down the wall that separated kitchen from the dining room, all that was left was this column. it was 'begging' to be a breakfast bar. we went to home depot to do the estimate on the counter - over $500 for the 2x5 piece of what's-it-called fake marble plus the installation.

breakfast barwe looked at the table-tops at the ikea, as an alternative. we got vika byske in oak. (it's very well made, but it needs to be oiled or polished)

it was installed right on top of the old column, screwed in from the bottom up. it looks great!

breakfast barbreakfast bar
cost? $89 for the table top + labor (easy to do if you have the tools)."

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

simple hacks from japan

the first hacks, albeit minor ones, from japan! these are from yoshi, who clearly loves his dog very much.

yoshi printed the photo onto the iron on sheet and transferred it to the solsta pallbo cushion cover.

also check out his stencils and furniture designs.

how to make an inspiration board

i've been meaning to make an inspiration board but, as usual, got derailed. lisa z's hack re-inspired me again. love the aging of the ung drill picture frame.

lisa writes, "i hacked an ung drill black picture frame by taking out glass. i tried to save it but it broke. i then painted it with white craft paint (from michael's craft store) and an old brush not covering thoroughly as i wanted it to look old.

ung drill picture frameinspiration boardadded 2 layers of cardboard (i couldn't find cork so used what i had). painted the cardboard white then took at walnut stain and sprayed it on and then smudged it with an old paintbrush to make it look aged.

inspiration boardadded my foo-foo stuff with upholstery tacks and it looks great hanging in my art studio now."

see more on lisa's blog.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

The House that Perfume Built

Not only were we rewarded this month by the beautiful profile of Francois Halard's home in Vogue, but of Frederic Malle's home in Men's Vogue photographed by Francois Halard, mais bien sur! The surprising part is that the Malle family lives on the Upper East of New York and not Paris! They decided to move here in 2005 and into a 3,000 square-foot triplex. Obviously, Frederic's perfume business is doing very well!

I love the mix of bright colors on the walls that set off the fabulous art and photography collection. I also don't think most people would pair bright blue walls with a red sofa but it all works. The photograph of the woman above is by Suzanne Lafont and the hand below is by John Coplan.

I always love peeking into home owned by Europeans. It always looks as if much of their furniture may have been inherited and the objects collected over a lifetime of travels around the world yet et it is also a place where modern objects feel at home. For example, a Jeff Wall lightbox and Arne Jacobsen Egg chair share space with a Veronese painting and a honeycomb bookcase by Sean Yoo.

The bedroom below incorporates an African wool bedspread and an eighteenth-century leather chair with a fabulously worn seat and more amazing art.

I'm going to have to keep my eyes open for Frederic Malle in the neighborhood or perhaps I should keep my nose open. I can imagine that he's probably the best smelling man in New York.

let's make a memory

jess chamberlain, a writer for home by sunset made this lovely memory box table top. wonderful way to keep your trinkets with style, without the dust.

table top memory boxyou'll need a lack side table, a ribba 19" square frame and of course, the mementos you want to seal in the frame.

table top memory boxtable top memory boxsee jess' instructions on home by sunset.
see other home by sunset hacks - monica's sunburst mirror and clocks.