Friday, February 29, 2008

a desk with lots of storage space

ellzrae shares a bedroom with her sis who has one too many things. when they decided to renovate their bedroom, top on their list were a desk and a lot more storage space. here's what they cooked up on a budget.

she writes, "we looked thru ikea, and we both liked the vika amon/vika annefors table. only problem was it was too expensive. so i went ikea shopping and found 2 faktum/akurum kitchen base cabinets at as-is. then i bought a vika table top and put 2 L-brackets to hold the table top to the cabinet tops.

deskwe looked through ikea for nice inexpensive shelves, but could only find lack shelves which did not seem strong enough to hold up stuff. so it was back to the drawing board for me. after looking through various measurements, i concluded that we could add some trones shoe cabinets (to use as storage) at the left side and 3 faktum fan cabinets at the top of the desk.

attached a noticeboard, a magnetic strip and non lights to the wall. the result may not be as elegant, but it shows what a little planning can achieve for a small budget. i love the desk and for once, all her clutter goes where it ought to be - hidden.

word of caution though: pay to have someone professional mount the wall cabinets. we had one of them fall down! too short screws, wrong plug, lazy drilling."

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Dream Design

Production Designer Sarah Greenwood of Atonement fame has done it again with the lust worthy sets for Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day! Penelope Green recently interviewed the Oscar Nominated designer for The New York Times and here's what she had to say.

Q. Most of the film takes place in the fantastical flat of Delysia Lafosse, an American nightclub singer on the make. What was your inspiration?
A. It's Hollywood Comes to London, and we set about referencing a lot of Hollywood style, like Dorothy Draper and William Haines.

Q. What is that wallpaper?
A. It's hand-painted and costs a fortune from de Gournay.

Q. What's your own house like?
A. It's an 1850s schoolhouse in Brixton. Doing "Miss Pettigrew" was a flight of fancy. It's all the things I don't have in my own life, though now I do have one of the throws from Delysia's bed, a fake polar bear skin that my dog loves.

Q. What is your favorite period?
A. Anything but the one I'm working on.

The movie opens March 7th and I know I can't wait to check it out. I also wonder it might also inspire people to move away from minimalism to more luxurious designs.

a little bit of green for your feet

a crop of moss growing on your footstool? definitely an unusual take on the solsta pallbo from ottoman (the hacker, not the stool).

"earlier this year, i thought it would be pretty rad to make an ottoman that looked like a rock with moss growing on it. after much hashing out in my head, i decided that the solsta pallbo footstool from ikea would do the trick! so, i made a slipcover for it that i needle felted with 'faux moss' to go over the existing slipcover.

faux moss ottomanfaux moss ottomanthe 'moss' is a three layer process, starting with a chocolate brown layer, then a dark green layer, and finally, the lime green 'moss' layer."

the one and only slipcover with moss is available on her etsy shop for $120.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Search for Light Fixture Leads to So Much More!

There was such a huge response to the custom light fixtures seen in the photos I had posted from Thom Filicia's portfolio that I had to track down who made them. It involves a husband, a wife, some interior design, a little welding, photography, a dragon, and a few topiaries, all of which I will explain in a minute. First, let's start with the light fixtures.

The light fixtures are made from cold rolled steel which is hand fabricated and fitted with restoration glass. I think you can see it best in the photo above in another Thom Filicia interior. Each one is custom designed for the space it is to occupy. The restoration glass throws a spider web pattern on the walls when lit.

The line started when the husband and wife due of Matthew Larkin and Elaine Grant of Grant Larkin, designed a house up in the country where they live and had the notion of doing the lighting in a Japanese/modern aesthetic. The architect Gray Davis of Meyer Davis Studios saw the finished product and commissioned them to design one for his office which he shared at the time with Thom Filicia. That's how they came to Thom's attention. Since then they have done a number lighting fixtures for him and many other designers. Grant Larkin does not currently have a website but they may be reached at 413-698-2599.

Matt and his wife Lainie started their design business 20 years ago, after Matt was let go from Decorative Arts Studio, a furniture restoration company that specialized in high end Deco (Tony DeLorenzo, Michael Chow etc.). The owner had a habit of "cleaning house" every five years or so. Matt graduated from Skidmore with a double major in Art History and American Studies with a minor in Studio. Their first commission was to redo the original "Alice's Restaurant" of Arlo Guthrie fame on Main Street in Stockbridge, MA. That was seen by an Ad Executive who commissioned them to do an office in the Pineapple building, corner of Broadway and Houston. A friend saw that and their first residential job was a 3500 SF penthouse in Sutton Place.

They admit that they were total rubes and didn't even know what a CFA was at the time but it seems like they used it to their advantage by having almost everything custom designed and fabricated which set them apart. They used blacksmiths, bronze foundries, textile artists etc. Matt admits that it has "gone uphill (and sometimes down!) from there and says that "a great part of the satisfaction of my job is dealing with all the trades. Lainie, who has a theatre background was as ignorant as to the "workings" of the business, but has an inherent style sense that is off the charts." So the two country rubes jumped in and learned as they went and their interior design business continues to grow to this day.

If that wasn't enough to keep them busy, Matt Larkin started designing topiaries! He admits, "that came about because I was looking for an excuse to be outdoors more." A friend of his became the director of Green Animals in Newport about 15 years ago and during a visit in the winter he saw the topiary in the snow and it was just one of those moments he said. He took an adult education class in welding and figured out how to make frames which led to House and Garden naming him one of the "New Tastemakers" in 2005 for his topiary work. Are you starting to get the feeling that Matt doesn't do anything halfway?!

After that he was commissioned to do the exterior decoration of The London Hotel NYC with David Collins Studio and will also create the planters for the new London Hotel West Hollywood. For more information and images, visit Matt's website Black Burn Farm.

You may also have seen that Matt's work featured in the Neiman Marcus Fantasy Gift section of their Christmas catalog last year. The Dragon Topiary was 100 feet long and had gold leafed horn, claws, teeth and fins and blown glass eyes. It was so spectacular that it made it onto the TODAY show and Good Morning America. Of course, it might have also been because it cost over $35,000!

Lest you think that was all, there's Matt's personal photography hobby that has led to a collaboration with the members of the group Rites of Passage and a recent book entitled, Suspended in Time. I will warn you that the photos while haunting and beautiful, are also deeply disturbing and may not be for everyone. But the book will be honored for photography at the Independent Publishers Book Awards ceremony in March so someone obviously liked it!

I'm so glad that my quest for a light fixture led me on this amazing discovery! I hope this post will serve as inspiration to anyone who is thinking about starting their own business or thinking about learning a new hobby. You just never know where it might take you! I also think that Matthew Larkin might just be giving Julian Schnabel a run for his money in the modern day Renaissance Man department. I have a feeling it's a only a matter of time before he directs a movie or picks up a paintbrush!

a tidy trash and recycling center

alison whips up a tidy trash and recycling center which allows for easy mail sorting and trashing.

she says, "the kitchen is on one side of the front door, and there was space just inside the kitchen doorway for this tidy trash and recycling center. the hacking part was more like sawing, as one of my ikea cutting boards was re-sized to become the shelf (aligned with the adjacent wire shelving) that supports the smaller wastebasket. now junk mail can immediately be recycled upon entry; and having the debris 'trashcan' available without opening a cupboard i find very handy.

trash and recycling binstrash and recycling bins
i used:
  • fibbe trash-bins
  • sigfrid shelf brackets (can't find the link on ikea's website)
  • magasin cutting board

the wall-mounted light was also from ikea, but old enough that i have no idea what its ikea name is."

link to trash and recycling hack entry on alison's blog

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

How to Incorporate the Swedish Style

Many of you have asked how to incorporate the Swedish Style into your own homes. You do not need to have rooms exclusively with one period or style. It is best to mix things up a bit to add interest into your room.
Notice the examples below.

This room has a traditional feel, but notice the Mora Clock and Swedish style bench. Adding a Swedish accent or two really adds to the interest of the room. Also notice the desk chair.

Here is the room from a different angle. Notice the side table - not Swedish -

but it adds interest, doesn't it?

Finally, a sweet, Swedish chair as an accent. Lovely.
I love the symmetry in this room. Notice the antique sofas, bench, and the painted table. Great introduction of the "signature Swedish blue" color.

Here is a room much less formal. The Bellman style chairs lend a "Swedish feel". This room would as appropriate in the mountains as in the city.

Another room with Bellman chairs - I love the checked skirts-
a very Swedish touch!
The Kitchen Designer
Finally notice the Swedish influence in this kitchen. There are so many white kitchens. In this kitchen they chose a monochromatic palette, Swedish slat back chairs and striped woven rugs. A great look for a beach house.
As you can see adding just a few Swedish elements can give you this wonderful feeling without breaking your budget!
(all pictures, excepted noted, are from Google images, but happy to give more specific credit if they are familiar to anyone)

Habitually Chic Designer: Thom Filicia

My post about Nate Berkus had me thinking about my other favorite TV makeover marvel Thom Filicia. With all that charitable work helping straight men clean up their acts, it's easy to forget that he is a real interior designer with a fabulous portfolio behind him. And speaking of behinds, he was also the miracle worker behind Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony's Long Island home, seen above and in the next four photos below from the premier issue of Vogue Living.

In the living room above, Marc Anthony's antiques hold court of the shelves in front of recamier sofas custom designed by Thom Filicia Inc., while the white lacquer bench, ebonized Lelau tables and mirror are from Holly Hunt.

Filicia said the home which was originally Anthony's retreat was a challenge because he wanted it to feel comfortable yet represent their personalities which are very different. She's obviously glamorous and he's a bit of a bohemian, as are a lot of musicians. But Lopez said she "can appreciate the bohemian side, and he also can appreciates glamorous things, so it was easy for us to meld.

In the glamorous yet comfortable silver papered dining room, the table is Fernworks Antiques, in Los Angeles and the wingback chairs are from C. J. Peters in New York. On the original mantle sit candlesticks from Aero Studios and mercury globes from Paula Rubenstein. The convex mirror is from Sentimento Antiques in New York. The silvered wall covering is from Roger Arlington.

All in all, I think it looks like a lovely home. I just wonder how they are going to baby proof it now! Below are more images from Tom Filicia's portfolio.

Upper East Side Residence

Upper East Side Residence

Thom's Soho Apartment

Thom's Soho Apartment

Hamptons Showhouse

Hamptons Showhouse

Quogue (Hamptons) Billiards Room

Greystone Estate Living Room

Greystone Estate Living Room

Greystone Estate Living Room

Gracie Square Home featured in H&G

Gracie Square Home featured in H&G

all to do with shoes, shoes, shoes

a siljan shoe rack for narrow places
almut has a very narrow hall and was looking for storage to fit shoes, scrafs, gloves, umbrellas, sunglasses etc.

slim shoe cabinetslim shoe cabinetwhat he she did was, "take three siljan bathroom mirror cabinets and hung them on the wall. they are only 16 cm deep (6 1/4")! i put shoes in the lowest one and the other items in the remaining siljans. i even exchanged the blue sliding doors with placemats, because i didn’t like the blue ones."

a floating shoe rack
wendy from vancouver, bc, fell in love with this slot-style shoe rack from design within reach and made her own version with a few ikea items.

"it was small enough to fit in behind my door without preventing it from swinging open, however at $110, it wasn’t so within reach. so, i took a trip to ikea to find the raw materials that could help me build something similar.

floating shoe shelffloating shoe shelfbasically i hung the klang wall shelf (with drywall anchors – i have heavy shoes), and then mounted both strecket cabinet handles about 6 cm (2 1/2") above it (using drywall anchors again).

Monday, February 25, 2008

The Beauty of the Mora Clock

Lovely Painted Mora Clocks

Set from the movie "Something's Gotta Give" - note Mora clock on side wall

Stripped and waxed Mora clock. Though not as valuable as an original painted clock surely as beautiful. Notice the lovely carving. So much personality!!!

The History:
The Mora clock is a staple in the Swedish design. Mora clocks are a type of long case clock which were made in, and derived their name from, the town of Mora in Dalarna province, Sweden. The Swedish Mora clock first appeared in Stockholm during the Rococo Period in the mid-eighteenth century. Bad weather and poor soil forced the farmers in the Mora area to look for ways to supplement their income. The villagers of Östnor, outside Mora, turned to a traditional home craft, the making of clocks. Each family specialized in a specific part: some made the brass clockworks, some painted the faces, while others built or painted the cases. At the height of production more than 90 families were engaged in the trade, and Mora functioned as one large clock factory. More than 1000 clocks, named for their place of origin, were produced each year and were sold throughout Scandinavia. Within 80 years, competition from Europe and America brought an end to this communal enterprise, but the curvilinear shape of the classic Mora clock is still sought after today. For more information go to

The Mora clock has been growing in popularity over the past several years in the US. You'll see the Mora clock in feature film sets, (Somethings Gotta Give) on the covers of popular home decorating magazines (Veranda March/April 08) and also being copied (albeit poorly) by reproduction furniture makers. Their growing popularity has driven the price up as supply for these original clocks diminishes. The gentle curves lend a warmth and beauty to the rooms they are in! Notice the carving on the bottom Mora clock - so amazing! Handmade, each have with their own unique, whimsical charm. You can't help but smile when you see one. Wouldn't you love one in every room?