Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The Industrial Revolution

Stainless steel vintage butcher blocks, work desks and storage cabinets are amassing in antique shops, flea markets, vintage retailers and upscale retailers, alike. Utilitarian is in with with clean, straight lines and flat surfaces that serve a purpose for storing goods and working.

To get the look, you certainly don't have to pay too much. Check out these options to emulate stark, clean style of pricier pieces:

A rolling side-table with a weathered wood top from Urban Outfitters. The damage is $158. Use to stack books or place a lamp on top. Having guests over next weekend? The table can double as a bar cart when you are in a pinch for counter top space.

Another idea for counter space: import your own butcher block. Ikea's stainless steel and pine wood kitchen island (below) services a dual purpose. Fold down the sides and aha, you have dining for two for just $2.99.
Just looking for an industrial-style end table? Wisteria carries the one above for $279.

From Anthropologie to Crate and Barrel to Pottery Barn, retailers across the board are stocking industrial book cases. You don't have to tell your friends that this one (below) is from Staples for $119.

See, sometimes going back in time is revolutionary.

Coast into the New Year

Tomorrow night millions will be clinking glasses and locking lips to bring home the New Year. But before the libations and champagne bottles pop, let's refresh the glass-- I mean, class-- on coasters.

If you are throwing a New Years bash at home, remember -- the more visible and available you make coasters, the more likely your guests will use them, and the result will be an easy-going, prepared and envied hostess. Yes, we are talking about you!

But, if instead, you are jaunting down the street to a neighbor's intimate gathering or pre-party drinks, start on early on New Year's resolution #54: I will try to be more considerate of my friends this year. Do this good deed by bringing coasters as your hostess gift.

For party-throwers and-goers alike, pick your attitude:

1. Look at me (because New Year's is one night out of 365 a year).2. It's getting personal (Send your host or hostess a message with these personalized coasters).

3. I'm a lush. Period.
4. I'm a silver fox. Some things get better with age.

5. It's certainly a night to bring out the gemstones...

6. Frankly, I'm a stud.

7. Who told you that? I'm not a lemon.
8. Yes, I'm a natural.
9. This is getting boring. Let's add a twist of lime.
10. I can't think of a single thing to say to you. Thank God, these party coasters have suggested topics!

By the way, if by the end of the night, you are on your friend's couch seeing the ceiling spin
and wanting to take-back post-champagne shots, forget New Year's resolution #54. Because, cheers, it's the new year and for one night, rules are meant to be broken!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Paint Me

Our cars sometimes scream "wash me" and you pull through the car wash. But what to do when your dingy, wobbly dresser that you inherited from Grandma is screaming "paint me?"

Well, thanks to interior designer, all-around domestic Chicago entrepreneur, Crystal Blackshaw, someone will now pick up your chipping side table and deliver it back with a brand new coat of paint. She does it all: locates, picks-up, repairs, finishes and delivers.

A new lacquer for a dresser starts at $200; side tables begin at $75. And you can expect your piece back as soon as 24-hours later (maybe longer depending on size).

Or you can shop Blackshaw's ready-to-go collection or customize your piece from her selection of unfinished pieces. Click here to browse. Or to contact directly about giving Grandma's dresser a modern update --

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Object(ive) Obsessions

Dogs have gone from "fru, fru" to "foo, foo." The ancient sacred dogs of Asia are everywhere.

These handmade pair of blue foo foo dogs (pictured above) retail at $170 at Pieces.

Even Sam's Club is jumping on the train, this pair of gold and glass foo dogs (above) are $40. (The exact same one is on sale at Target, but for twice the price).

Neiman Marcus has a foo dog salt and pepper set (above) on sale for $28.

Similarly, in red, CB2 has a pair of foo dog bookends (above) selling for $49.

For $295, this 21-inch high wood and plaster golden foo dog makes a statement. You can use as a garden statue or to decorate one on each side of your door. Just as foo dogs guard Buddhist temples, this fierce-faced canine will protect your home, too.

A Trunk Full of Inspiration

Flipping through a stack of magazine, the compulsion is addictive: ripping out little tear sheets of what you like; what you want to do to your apartment or what you will do; what you would do if you had more money, or time, or if your name was Jo Lo.

Maybe it's just about where to go, so let us help you.

Old-fashioned trunks as coffee tables, side tables, nightstands, decorative objects, etc. are the inspiration.

But it doesn't have to be Louis Vuitton to be chic.Target sells a set of wood trunks (below) for $99.

Or Z Gallerie boasts a expedition coffee table made of faux croc (below).

Pottery Barn offers the trunk-style side table (below) that has "timeworn appeal" with top-grain leather and topstitching.

Or forget the to-go cup, make your trunk into a bar (below). Click here to see the genius.Do-it-yourself one, two, threes are below.
    1. Draw a line around the face of the trunk 2½ inches from each outside edge with a pencil. Cut this piece out with a jigsaw.

    2. Drill holes for casters in the four corners of the trunk to serve as the bottom of your new bookcase. Attach casters.

    3. Cut a -inch piece of birch plywood 1 inch wider and 1 inch longer than the opening you’ve cut into the face of the trunk.

    4. Cut two pieces of ½-inch birch plywood the depth of the inside of the trunk and the length of your -inch birch panel, and two pieces the depth of the inside of the trunk and 1 inch shorter than the width of the birch panel. Assemble these pieces into a box with the -inch panel as the back, using the 1½-inch brad nails.

    5. Drill -inch holes for shelf pins where you’d like shelves.

    6. Remove any lining from the trunk. Glue the back of your newly assembled box to the inside back of the trunk so that when you close it, the edge of the box lines up under the opening you’ve cut.

    7. Trim the edge of the opening with aluminum corner channel cut at 45-degree angles.

    8. Insert the shelf pins.

    9. Cut the ½-inch birch plywood into shelves the width and depth of the inside opening of your bookcase. Finish the edges with birch finish strips, cutting with the X-Acto knife.

    10. Sand the wood using fine sandpaper, and wipe clean with a piece of cloth.

    11. Finish all wood with polyurethane. In between coats, lightly sand the wood again and wipe down with the cloth before applying another coat of polyurethane. Insert the shelves into the trunk.

Welcoming the holidays

From paper to feathers, to ornaments and glitz, creativity is everywhere when it comes to door duds this holiday season. It's okay to stray from the traditional holly wreath and you will still
be showing others how you are embracing the most festive part of the year.

All these wreaths are available for $100 or less.

If your home boasts lots of exposed brick and lodge-y sentiments, this pine cone wreath(above) would be perfect way to christen your door this December. It's available for $100 through Saks Fifth Avenue.Take a twist on the traditional holly with this all-berry wreath (above) available for under $20.

Or go more secular with this peacock feather wreath (above) to bring out your retro, punk side for $30. Just can't get enough of those sparkling bulbs on your tree? Double up with this silver ornament wreath (above) for $60.
Hmmm, this might be the most secular wreath of all, but you can personalize with a message, word or quote, such as "Merry Christmas" in the picture above, by contacting seller. This paper wreath retails for $85.

Ice, ice baby. If you like bling, sparkles, and crystals, this ice crystal wreath (above) has your name on it, if you can part with $21.

Conflicted over the holidays because you live in a warm climate and it never snows? Then, decorate in a style more fitting with this shell wreath (above) on sale for $74.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Shop-n-Lift the Look

Replicate the look (above) in your own apartment, condo or pied-a-terre for next to nothing. To get a jump start on the decorating, the following maps out where you can find identical pieces online for less:

Monday, December 7, 2009

Mirror the look: Hollywood glam

Trying to get the allure of old Hollywood glamour at home? A frameless or Italian-style mirror is one effortless way to do it. See the picks below all for under $300.

1. This frameless vanity mirror (below) is on sale for $129.98. Click here to buy.
2. Go ornate with the polka-dot trimmed Luera mirror (below) for $259.91. Click here to buy. 3. Venetian-style frameless "Elise" mirror (below) is inset with beveled panels for $198. Click here to buy. 4. Try the royal, aristocratic route with a coat of arms mirror (below) for $198. The trim is etched glass of floral motifs. Click here to buy.5. This "Felecie" Oval mirror (below) is also etched on the border and has a antiqued golden finish for $175. Click here to buy.
6. Try eight-sides with this octagon mirror (below) made of antiqued glass. Click here to buy.