Wednesday, April 30, 2008

please take a seat

long post ahead. you'll probably want to grab a chair and enjoy these hacks.

fine tune your klippan
jenny from stockholm found a way to add style to her klippan without having to change the whole works. she gave it a skirt. am loving the kjol disco!

she says, "i made some skirts for the classical ikea sofa klippan. with it's square design it's perfect for tuning, like a Volvo 244! tuning your sofa encourages you to keep your old sofa for a few more years." see more on her blog.

kjol bal

kjol disco

kjol klass

joakim returns
faintly macabre from portland, oregon, saves her joakim swivel chair from the dump. "here are some images of a joakim ikea chair that i reupholstered. it was 3 years old and headed for the dump, but with the addition of a little batting (to fill in where the foam had worn away) and some noguchi-print heavy cotton fabric, and a klappar bäver looking on - it looks like a million!"

stefan scream
jennifer, an interior design student, was given a stefan chair and asked to use it in some way that would express her approach to design. she says, "well, it was the end of a long and very demanding semester and the last thing i felt like doing was this #$#! chair project. so, this was my solution - a scream chair.

first, i switched the parts around so. then, i rented Airport '75, starring karen black as the stewardess who has to land the plane when the pilot dies. i paused the dvd on the shot of karen black screaming when she gets sucked out, and dies. what a great scream shot! i took a photo of the tv screen. and printed out numerous copies. then i decoupaged it all over the chair, tearing it into strips here and there. finally, it was sprayed with a clear coat.

it took forever, but once i start something it must be done to perfection. after all, i had a point to make, which was - don't give exhausted students who've been awake for more than 72 hours another project like this! i think it was a success. and it was worth the effort because it now resides in our upstairs hall."

harry punk
karen, another uni student personalised the harry chair (i think!) for an assignment. she adds, "the chair came as a plain white chair with a benchwood legs and i then hand painted the design and added a tie, a face mask, badges and scarves. i also added leopard skin print onto the legs and a sort of door handle on the top for the accessories to be put around, to make it look like a 'punk's chair'."

pello chair upholstery
amy takes on the pello chair and sews up a cover for it. she says, "i made these pello chair cushions for a friend in TX. the cushions are not too hard as long as you already have the existing cushions to double-check your size as you go. the fabric used is Amy Butler's Nigella 'Imperial Fans'. see more on her blog.

the kip chair
eliza does a kip on a svenning chair. she writes, "if you’d like to try it, just cut an oversized t-shirt in half and staple or baste the fabric to the underside of the seat cushion, and use a butter knife to push the second piece between the top cushion and its plastic backing. it takes four minutes." see more on her blog.

more svenning

june saw the post on holly's re-covered svenning chair and did the same to hers. she says, "i don't have a staple gun, so i left the old fabric on, and sewed the new fabric to the old with a curved upholstery needle. i'm really pleased with the result - my 4 year old chair looks better than new! see more on her blog.

stefano gets pretty
angorian, also inspired by holly's svenning reupholstery and this one on designsponge, decides to recover her boring grey stefano chair. see her mini-tutorial on flickr.

klappsta cover
mandi sews her own slipcover for the klappsta. she says, "i bought two klappsta chairs from as-is. the covers were really dirty, and since i didn’t care for any of the covers that ikea sells for this chair, and the ones at were so pricey, i decided to sew my own!"

here's how to do the slipcover: "i bought an old, dirty cover from as-is, and just cut it up for a pattern. for fabric, i used these great damask curtain panels from target. ($35 each) i just cut it out, sewed it up, and they turned out fantastic! the real trick is having a pattern - buying an old cover that you can cut up is your best bet. if that’s not an option, you can take large sheets of newspaper and lay them up against the chair, attempting to trace the size and shape of each fabric piece. then you simply use these paper templates as your pattern, tracing them onto fabric and cutting them out. if you use this method, i’d recommend using a fabric with a little bit of stretch to it, so that the cover will be sure to fit. and using a patterned fabric, rather than a solid color, will help hide any mistakes you may have made!"

curtain slipcover
mary does an about turn with the curtains she bought and sews slipcovers for her loveseat instead. she writes, "i bought the ikea stockholm blad curtains but when i got them home i decided to make a slipcover for my new loveseat instead. i kept the seat pillow plain on purpose to keep it from looking over-patterned."

another curtain slipcover
sallie says, "here's an old family chair that i had professionally upholstered in a fantastic set of hedda curtain panels! she used the pieces taken off to create the new pattern. it took two sets of curtain panels to get the stripes to match up just right."

sea themed stool

guisy does a decoupage on an old ikea stool. she says, "i've decorated it with pictorial decoupage method, acrylic colours, a sea landscape paper napkin, some jamaican sand (original) and finished with water shine and matte varnish (for the legs)."

lucia adds some colour to the jokkmokk. more pictures here.

and lastly, the most important seat in the house
donné noom gives us a hack for the seat we often take for granted. "you take a racken toilet seat. take the lid and the seat apart (some screws for the lid and you split the seat by using a screwdriver). you drill two holes, one at the back of the lid and one at the back of the seat. you take a string of garden lights (skina, 40 bulbs waterproof 6 volts, any colour you want). glue 24 of them inside the base of the seat and lead the rest of the lights through the hole in the lid.

press the seat back together. glue the remaining lights in the lid. screw the cover of the lid back on. attach the lid back to the seat. the skina has an extra six meter of wire, so enough to get to a socket. in my case, i connected it to a motion switch. when anyone enters my bathroom the main and toilet seat lights are switched on. i've installed several now, for some of my friends (in different colours). i'm working on a version where the switch is triggered when you lift the lid."

[added 27 May 2008]

harry cleaned up
"i found a cool printed fabric that i thought would look great to reupholster the chair with. the first thing i did was spray paint the legs black to match the fabric. then, i ripped open the old cover and used that to make a template for the new cover.

the only alteration i had to make was including a seam at the top since the fabric had only one direction and i didn't want the pattern to be upside down either in the front or back. i think it turned out really hip for a free chair!"

frosta gets pimped
eve bought a frosta stool and did some decopatch (similar to decoupage). she says, "it was very easy, i used a red acrylic paint, then, i bought a special sheet for decopatch. scissors, glue and a lot of glossy varnish. that's all!"

My Life in a Nutshell!

I told you I had some exciting news to share with you and up first on the list is my Blogoshere profile on 1stdibs! I must say it's weird to be on the other end of an interview but writer Marcia Sherrill was very sweet to work with. We started talking months ago so it's fun to see it finally in print. It was needless to say, the talk of the office today. Hope you enjoy it too!

Also, I owe a big thanks to Porter Hovey for my great headshot. She was a pro to work with and if you ever need a photographer, definitely give her a call!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

When it rains, it pours...

It has been raining a lot in New York the last few days but it has also been raining good things in my life. I have so many fabulous things to share with all of you but I need a few more says until I can reveal them all. I've also been working myself to death but it's all going to be worth it soon! I also want to thank everyone who takes the times to read my blog everyday and to leave comments and send emails. If it takes me longer to reply right now, I hope you'll forgive me. I'm doing my best to juggle everything but sometimes there just aren't enough hours in the day. But you know what they say, when it rains, it pours. Now all I need is for it to start raining men!

Monday, April 28, 2008

hackeas: ideas that make you go 'why didn't i think of that!'

this hackea post is about quick and snappy repurposing. no big hack but neat ideas nonetheless.

slim solutions for narrow hallways
paula has a long narrow hallway that needed some lighting and storage. here's what she did.

she says, "i had a long narrow hallway with 2 wall sconces. i was looking for a low profile lighting sconce and found these lock ceiling lamps. i painted the white bases with gold spray paint and wall mounted them. for the opposite wall i bought 2 three packs of trones shoe storage and mounted them side by side. the books are held by invisible bookshelves from the whitney museum.

simple clothes hanger
paul repurposes a shelf bracket for his shirts. he says, "the short story behind this is that a while ago i had a rather large ikea wardrobe that took up quite a bit of visual as well and physical space. because it was a bit aesthetically jarring i was looking for other smaller and simpler options. i looked at a lot of the clothes storage systems at ikea but couldn't find anything minimalistic enough. when i was walking through the store one day (perversely not buying just looking!) .... i saw the slinga shelf bracket and thought it would make a good hanging rail for the clothes. a few screws and wall plugs later and voila. it's been completely stable and frees up a lot more visual space while hanging the same amount of clothes as previously."

summer lovin' place mats
andrea uses place mats instead of table cloths for camping. she says, "this past summer my vinyl camping table cloth wore out and i couldn't find a replacement that i liked. while in the as-is area at ikea, i found a bin loaded with place mats (possibly from the amulett or hurra range), shrink-wrapped in sets of four for like 95 cents. they are made of a stiff plastic-like material.

i bought a package to use on the picnic table when camping until i found a table cloth. as it turns out, i like them better for camping than table cloths or those floppy vinyl place mats you can get at other stores.

they clip into place with a table cloth clip (the silver piece each one has on it in the photos). as you see in the photos, i can re-position them on the table as i need them, so it isn't a big deal that they don't cover the whole table. it's much easier to clean the back side than a table cloth. they are much more durable and they look sooo much nicer than a red-checked table cloth (which i'm not crazy about)."

Giuseppe Panza: Memories of a Collector

I had been meaning to write a post about Italian art collector Giuseppe Panza and his book Memories of a Collector for a few months but kept putting it off. Then I saw the book on a desk in the BKH designed room at the Kips Bay Show House and decided that it was now or never.

Count Giuseppe Panza di Biumo has been a world class art collector for more than fifty years and spent much of his young years visiting artist's studios in downtown Manhattan before it was considered fashionable. His collection consists of the who's who of the modern art world including Mark Rothko, Robert Rauschenberg, and Franz Kline. He was undaunted in his hunt for great art and found Mark Rothko who he found "hard at work amid stacks of vibrant, unsold canvases." Can you imagine?! In his memoir, Panza also shares philosophical insights and personal reflections of a life spent discovering new artists and movements that any collector, no matter how big or small, would appreciate.

Panza more recently donated works by Winston Roeth to the Palazzo Ducale di Sassuolo in Modena, Italy and they look quite beautiful in the opulant space. A testament that you shouldn't be afraid to mix modern or contemporary art into very classically designed spaces.

Winston Roeth at the Palazzo Ducale di Sassuolo
Winston Roeth at the Palazzo Ducale di Sassuolo

Panza acts as his own curator at the magnificent Villa Menafoglio Litta Panza.

A room in the Villa Menefoglio Litta Panza with Paintings by Phil Sims.

Another work by Phil Sims.

A piece by Lawrence Weiner offers a "meditation on morality above a plush red Italian Renaissance banquette."

I love how the two chairs remind me of Giuseppe Panza and his wife of fifty years, Rosa, below.

"Art, in it's essence, is always about the search for beauty. They looked for beauty in the medieval period, and in the Renaissance, and the best artists still search for it today." -Giuseppe Panza

And you can find beauty in Giuseppe Panza's wonderful book Memories of a Collector. Ciao!

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Kips Bay Decorator Show House 2008

I had the pleasure of visiting the 2008 Kips Bay Boys & Girls Club Decorator Show House today and was blown away. This year's Show House was only the third time in 36 years that the "house" was shown in an apartment building and not a townhouse but I have to say I loved it. Most New Yorkers live in apartments and not townhouses so the designs are easily translated to city living but are also easily translatable to real homes. I attended with my colleague Kristen and we were inspired by many of the designers and took notes on ideas we want to incorporate into the homes of our clients. If you live in New York, you should definitely check it out for yourself but if you can't make it, you can see some of the great designs here. Enjoy!

The Show House encompasses six apartments on two different floors and the roof. First up are the rooms from Charlotte Moss entitled "Room Service" which include a casual wicker seating arrangement in the blue living room and also a little dressing room/office. The living room even includes the famous red leather bound issues of Vogue that belong to Ms. Moss.

In the entry hallway, were beautiful framed art and photography.

The Charlotte Moss designed dressing room/office included shoe boxes with Polaroids of their contents, vintage Louis Vuitton luggage and room to write.

The living room of apartment one is by Steven Miller Siegel Architects and was stunning. Much of the furniture was custom designed by the firm including the sofa, club chairs, dining table, easel, and floor lamp. Other pieces were by Leleu and Ruhlmann so you know this was an amazing space!

I couldn't find a source listed for the outdoor dining table and chairs but it perfectly fits the small terrace off the dining area.

Sara Bengur Interiors designed "The Orange Room" which includes a kitchen, dining area, and terrace that looks perfect for a young family.

One of my favorite designers included in the Show House is Sara Story who designed the foyer above entitled "A Graceful Approach" that includes a beautiful console and mirror by John Himmel at John Rosselli & Associates. The patterned wall covering is from Dedar.

Sara Story also designed one of my favorite rooms, the "Harem Den." Sara said she intended it as a "home sanctuary for a strong, independent and successful woman." As someone who doesn't like overly frilly or girly rooms, this space resonated with me. The lion belonged to her grandmother, who was a big-game hunter, and added a "don't mess with me" vibe that I loved.

Sara also says that “women are so much more than a closet full of shoes" and this is evident by the stocked bar in the Gio Ponti credenza, obviously intended to serve the woman and her friends who she saw hanging out in this room.

The walls in the room are grey Venetian plaster and the floors are stenciled in a Swedish style. I usually don't love Venetian plaster because it's very hard to get right but many of the rooms in the Show House incorporate it and are all done beautifully!

Jeff Lincoln Interiors designed the "Den/Study" with walls that lined with corrugated cardboard that has been painted a shiny brown, an interesting and original idea.

One of my least favorite rooms was designed by Ellen Ward Scarborough and Pariscope Design and is entitled "Jewel Box." I feel bad saying it but next to all the luxuriously and professionally designed rooms, it just looked a little cheap, especially since it wasn't designed as a child's room.

"Scarlett's Dress" was designed by Cetra Ruddy, a firm I have never heard of but whose design I really enjoyed. The room looked like a luxurious sitting room for a glamorous woman. The marble built-in desk/vanity and wallcoverings from Roger Arlington were stunning in person.

The bar accessories are Baccarat and the furniture is from and Maison Gerard.

Another design firm I have never heard of is BKH (Burley, Katon, Halliday), a Sydney design firm with over 30 years of experience that is opening an office in New York this year. The walls and floors are all high gloss lavender but there is nothing girly about this room. The black accents give it a very sophisticated edge and the mirrored screens near the windows reflect the light wonderfully! I will definitely be looking out for more from this firm. I just wish their website wasn't so hard to navigate!

Interior designer Geoffrey Bradfield is a legend in New York and his "Art Dealer's Bachelor Pad" was of course, beautifully designed. I loved the burnt orange Venetian plastered walls that were so slick they looked like lacquer.

I also loved the wall of shelves that held magazine holders. When I design my own home someday, I'm going to have to remember this wall that would be perfect to hold many collected design magazines. The only thing I would have changed in this room was the art. Personally, I would have preferred paintings that were a little more abstract and perhaps not so jarring. Other than that, I love the space.

Another fun men's room was the "Tailored Urban Study" by William McIntosh Design.

I really love S. Russell Groves design style and his room entitled "Dream State" doesn't disappoint. I don't think my photo does justice to the therapist's office that "belonged to the patient and not the therapist who actually made housecalls" to the homeowner. The framed Rorschach test inkblots on the wall are a cheeky touch and actually look like chic art!
There were only a few bathrooms open at the Show House and the one designed by Webb White as part of their spa like bedroom suite was especially zen and gorgeous!

Webb White designed a beautiful bedroom that I wish I had a better photo of because the bed looked so inviting on a grey day in New York. The wall behind the bed from far away looked like patterned wallcovering but up close you can see that it's made from metal tops from cans. The installation was created by artist Clare Graham who the designers commissioned furniture from in the past. This room alone is worth visiting the Show House to see!

The terrace outside the White Webb room features the same floor covering from Patterson, Flynn, Martin as the bedroom and a beautiful fabric screen on the railing. The outdoor chairs and ottoman are from McGuire.

The hallway leading to the little boy's "Wing Room" by Truck Product for Nurseryworks is lined with wooden airplanes suspended from the ceiling and wrap all the way into the room below.

I love the modern and un-childlike furniture in the bedroom.

Larry Laslo Designs not only designed a huge living room but this pretty ikat lined bedroom and a bathroom.

I love the little vanity and stool but I can't find a source for it.

The shell mirror in the bathroom that Larry designed for Walker Zanger was very pretty, as was the mosaic wall in calacata marble.

One of my all time favorite interior designers is Philip Gorrivan and his "Quiet Time" bedroom and sitting area was beyond chic! My favorite feature is the stretch vinyl ceiling called Extenzo that looks like lacquer but costs far less. The ceilings in the apartments are 8 1/2 feet tall and obviously Gorrivan is a pro and knows that a reflective ceiling makes the space seem taller. It is a great trick that great designer in New York have to incorporate and it looks perfect here. The seams are barely visible as well.

I don't think this photo does the sitting are justice. It was perfect for the space and actually looked like you might sit there and read a book.

The view from the roof to a terrace below.

The area on the roof is known as the Manhattan Club and can be used for parties by the residents of the building. During the Show House, Vladimir Kagan has a huge installation of furniture and original drawings. Also, on Tuesday, May 13th from 6-8 p.m. Vladmir Kagan will be signing copies of his autobiography, The Complete Kagan: A Lifetime of Avante-Garde Design.
The view from the roof garden of the Kips Bay Decorator Show House is just as spectacular as the designs below and I hope that you make a special trip to visit it. All the proceeds benefit the 14,000 young members of the Kips Bay Boys & Girls Club, a very worthwhile cause in New York. I would also like to thank all the wonderful designers and volunteers who made it all possible and who were kind enough to let me photograph it for you!