Thursday, July 31, 2008

Shamir Shah Design

Sometimes you just never know where the day will take you in New York. I had plans to meet someone for drinks but then someone else invited us to a penthouse roof party with some pretty intimidating creative people but of course we couldn't say no and boy were we glad we didn't. One of the people at the party was Shamir Shah, an architect and interior designer with his own firm, who has also designed some pretty impressive residential buildings and commercial spaces. I like that his style is consistent but tailors the design to the space and probably the client. Some are more spare and modern while others are more detailed and colorful. I think we're going to be hearing more about him for a long time to come.

Hackeas: No sweat hacks

I've not posted hackeas (quick and easy Ikea hacks) for a while. Here are a few quickies that do not require too much hacking, drilling or sawing. Enjoy!

Add a little some thing extra
To get away from your Liatorp bookcases looking soooo Ikea, add some knobs from Anthropologie, like how curlywurlygurly did.

See more on her blog.

Shoe rack monitor stand
Fr33z turns a shoe rack into a monitor stand. "I needed a stand for my TFT screen so that I could put my keyboard underneath it when i needed my desk space to work/solder/etc. So I bought myself a Babord shoe rack and chopped half of it off. The result is a nice clean, transparent monitor stand with space underneath for my keyboard and mouse."

Book stand as laptop stand
Dario repurposes the Bokis book end into a laptop stand. Just flip it over and prop your laptop on it.


See more on Dario's blog here.

Easy cover up
Jessica B covered a plain white computer table with a piece of picnic table vinyl. She cut it to size and simply taped it underneath the tabletop to a snug fit. It cost her the price of the Ikea table and the vinyl ($2) found at a fabric store.

CD tower book shelf
Caro bought a scruffy Benno CD tower from a thrift store and converted it into a narow bookshelf perfect for her tiny cloakroom toilet. A fresh coat of paint, some 'L' brackets and impact adhesive, she added the spare shelves as useful extra space for plants etc.

See other hackeas:
- Cheap and easy to the rescue
- Ideas that make you go 'Why didn't I think of that?'
- The tiniest hack ever and more
- An instant attic, legs and kitchen utensil holders
- Ikea hacks you can do in 30 minutes or less

Simone and Bubo says "hi!"

Simone won our last contest with her heartfelt story of Bubo, the abandoned kitten and the need for a new slipcover. I contacted her recently for an update and to see how her sofa (and Bubo) is doing.

With her prize, $500 to spend at, she's changed her old sofa from this ...

to this ...

Camera shy Bubo
Simone tells me, "I've finally gotten a chance to take pictures of my beauuutiful new slipcover! I tried to get Bubo in the pics with the couch -- but I'd just used the vacuum cleaner and he was hiding on top of my Expedit bookcase!

Thanks again for this wonderful contest, and for helping my new apartment look so good!"

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Who Are You Sleeping On?

Who knew a simple question about ironing sheets could lead to so many comments! Thanks to everyone shared their ironing or non-ironing habits! The consensus seems to be that most people change their sheets once a week and there are a lot of other particular people out there who love ironed sheets as much as I do! Now I don't feel so bad!

That leads to my next question, what is your favorite brand for linens? I have a two wonderful sets from Yves Delorme that are my favorites. They are a bit of a sateen which is why I think they don't look too badly wrinkled out of the dryer and are wonderfully soft. I also own Matouk but they never look as nice. I bought the Bachelor two sets from Restoration Hardware but they didn't look too good out of the dryer, hence the ironing. But David Jimenez has the same linens on his beds and they look pristine. I think he has a little help though.

So who do you prefer to sleep on? Frette, Matouk, Leontine, D. Porthault, Calvin Klein, Sweitzer, Pratesi, Restoration Hardware, Martha Stewart, Pottery Barn, Ikea? Please tell us who and why!

Ivar cages for your degus

When I first saw this, I thought they were hamsters but I learnt some thing new today. It's a degu, a small caviomorph rodent that is native to Chile. And they are getting very popular as pets. So if you have degu and are looking for a cage, this may fit the bill.

Antonia found a way to convert her Ivar racks into a home for four degus.

She says, "On the top there is enough space to decorate it with some flowers etc. Under the cage you find a drawer where you can store everything you need for your pets. Also, the Forvar jar from Ikea is a wonderful sand bath and helps to keep the environment clean.

Thanks to my boyfriend Sven, these racks are a wonderful adventure playground for the four clowns."

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Visiting The Asher's Summer Cottage

Once in while you enter someone's home and you feel like you have been there before. So warm and inviting, you immediately feel relaxed and comfortable and think "Yes, I am finally home!" Many summers ago I was fortunate enough to meet some new friends from Canada who summer with us. They invited my family to a party at their home to celebrate Canada Day. That's when I first came upon The Asher's Summer Cottage. So sweet and perfectly nestled into its setting it took my breath my away. Sadly, the party was outdoors (as I was secretly dying to get in) but my new friend and I shared a love of decor and she graciously left her guests to give me a tour. She has again graciously let me inside her home so that I might share it with you.

You arrive via a wonderful antique brick pathway. Today I will share with you the family room and the kitchen. Please bear with my novice efforts at photography. The house is far more beautiful than my amateur photos can capture.

The kitchen is a lovely room flooded with sunshine. Casement windows and wide oak floors add to the cottage charm. Notice the marble topped antique bakers table, the custom built in banquette and floral embroidered pillows.

Opposite the dining table used to be a wall which closed in the spaces. They opened up the wall an repaired the two sided fireplace using antique bricks, which they washed in white. I love the slipcovered chairs and teal antique pantry cupboard.

The kitchen has such lovely aged surfaces. Custom cabinets are glazed and finished to resemble aged driftwood or wood bleached by the sun. All counters are covered with antique carrara marble. Edges are chipped and worn and the marble has a lovely patina. The center island cupboards are painted and distressed black and topped with a huge marble slab. Because antique carrara marble of this size is nearly impossible to come by, they were able to find a piece that was tea stained and aged to match the perimeter antique counters.

Here are close ups of the cabinet glaze and the antiqued aged marble.

The kitchen from the opposite side. Beautiful French Doors lead out to an antique brick patio.

Notice the lower baking counter to the right of the stove. A perfect baking area for our children, who were making cookies to sell at the Village Fair Bake Sale. Isn't this what kitchens are for?

Spectacular casement windows open to lovely gardens beyond.

The family room is filled with slipcovered sofas , painted tables and antique pine. An accent wall in painted a pale, robin's egg blue. This adds to the tranquil feeling in this space. A wall of french doors opens to a screened porch. Handmade pillows are fish prints done each year at the Fair by her son. Framed antique boat blueprints, linen roman shades and sisal rug complete the look.

A warm and wonderful space for a warm and wonderful family. Thank you for letting us take a peek inside!

Do You Iron Your Sheets?

We've been having many discussions about bed linens at work this week since we are sourcing them for clients. This lead to more discussions about who irons them and who doesn't and how often they change them. I have also been dealing with linens at the Bachelor Pad since he is out of town and I thought it would be nice if he returned to find the bed dressed with the new linens. I spent more time than I would have liked trying to iron the sheets and shams with a sad old Black & Decker iron that will be replaced on my next trip to Gracious Home. And then I wondered what will happen when I'm not there to deal with them. The cleaning lady changes them but I can't imagine her ever ironing them!

Anyway, I only iron the tops of my flat sheets since that is all you see and all the shams. Some people iron the flat sheets while they are on the bed. Others have their "housekeeper" iron the tops in between washings while on the bed. (That's a bit strange since technically she's ironing "dirty" sheets.) I also hear Oprah likes to have hers changed every other day but when you're a billionaire I guess you're entitled to clean sheets whenever you want them. So I'm curious, do you iron your sheets? Do you think people who do are crazy or just very particular? And how often do you change them?

All linens and photos from Leontine Linens