Wednesday, February 24, 2010

It's a Small World

It's your lucky day. You can forget calling back that outrageously expensive interior designer that your over-the-top friend recommended. This month top designers open up to Elle Decor on their tricks and secrets on how to decorate small spaces. See the sages' advice below on how to turn your overmatured dorm room into a mature, sophisticated apartment.
  • "A generously scaled sofa, mirror, chair, rug or piece of furniture will trick the eye," says designer Mariette Himes Gomez. In the picture above is her Manhattan apartment, where the oversized bookcase is making you forget about the room's low ceilings and narrow design.
  • "Always make sure that every piece is multiuse," says designer Alessandra Branca. So, for example, use your table as a desk and an eating table.
  • "Use larger patterns on floors. Stencils the floors and upholster the walls. With a small room, think grand," says interior decorator Alex Papachristidis. The idea is creating an illusion to distact the eye, so that it's hard decipher the exact size.
  • Designer Suzanne Kasler says "add a wall of make the room look exponentially bigger." Yet again, it seems like another device to trick the eye into seeing more where there is less.
  • Against the grain of most design advice, which advises painting rooms lighter shades to make it look brighter, designer Amanda Nisbet thinks you should embrace the "inherently cozy" nature of a small apartment. Her instructions: paint the room a dark glossy color or cover the walls with wool or velvet. Add a large, fluffy sofa, a small chair and try to incorporate different sources of light. The last touch? But of course--a cashmere throw.
In line with the motto of these designers, it may be a small world, but you should always think big.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Welcome to the Fold

In Manhattan, (I think) the most elite invitation of all is the invitation into someone's home.

With through-the-roof rents, small and cramped apartments, and kitchenettes deemed a way of life, soirees among the 20s subset usually migrate elsewhere.

But if you do want to do something special and welcome friends over for a cocktail or dessert, one easy trick is to stow a set of six folding chairs under your bed or in closets.

Bygone is the era of folding chairs with white and metal frames. From bamboo to orange to mod, you won't begrudge pulling out seating next time the gals mosey over for a glass of Chablis.

Tap your French-Indian style with these bamboo folding chairs (below). Each chair is $17.

So clever. These turquoise "ghost" folding chairs (below), which are available in every color of the rainbow and beyond, fold into themselves and therefore, minimize their storage size. Fold-away chairs (below) in one of the hottest materials of the year-- lucite. They're available from Gracious Home for $129 each. Target's "Cannes" folding chairs (below) in every color of the rainbow, retailing at $189.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Orange Crush

Who doesn't salivate over the blue-blood color of Hermes orange? It's regal and refined, but not showy or over-the-top. It's the perfect dose of color. And the best news: it's all about equal opportunity.

Here's the inspiration of adding a dash of orange, from the bowl of oranges or nectarines, to the orange shades and accent colors in the pillows:

And here's six, semi-affordable ways to bring it home:

1. CB2's orange formosa tray table (below) is not any, old TV tray, but it is only $49.2. Anthropologie's Ikat bowl (below) will have your friends complimenting your grandmother's china pattern. If only they knew, they could get it for $14.
3. It may not be gilt, but who ever said that orange can't be glamorous? This orange scroll mirror and its curves run around $1,000.

4. Red lacquer is so-- 2009. Why not buck the trend with a paint color is a subtly different shade and has the same effect? Try this orange side table for $199.

5. For $34, water coral and orange pillow (below) adds a hint of orange, just enough to tie together the color scheme.

6. Or go for orange lighting with Jonathan Adler's capri bottle lamp, retailing for $275.

7. For $410, Design Within Reach's side chair (below) is light and stackable making it a prudent addition and accent chair for a small space.

Now, orange you glad?

Shelf Life

Are your shelves gathering dust? Well, you might want to check the expiration date on your style and grab more than your feather duster to combat it.

Here's the best of Real Simple Magazine's tips on how to keep your shelves fresh:

1. This is genius. Paint the inside of your bookshelves a shade or two darker than your walls to give definition and make objects standout. (Below)

2. Use a myriad of empty, colorful frames to create a geometric pattern. Layer, mix-and-match, rotate and voila! (Below)

3. Find an interesting motif, as the clock or letter represents in pictures below, and repeat throughout with varying sizes, styles and colors.

5. Or if your shelves are inevitably going to be catchall for everything that doesn't have a place elsewhere, try panels--either plain or with a simple stencil design-- to disguise what's behind.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Interior Re-Arrangers

Are you interiorly deranged?

Then, you are in luck. Move over interior designers with your fancy upholstery and crown moldings, interior re-arrangers are here to remedy the ill feelings and that reoccuring dream about your blue shag carpeting and country pine dining set.

Akin to home staging services, this new crop of interior specialists are rearranging furniture, introducing color paletes, and completing the look with bargain accessories and finishes. It's a complete package starting at $250 and up (suggested purchases not included). Some designers will offer their services for an hour with some fees as low as $50.

Here's some design professionals, who will come over and play in your living room for a little while, and cost you lots less than a full-scale interior designer:

As spotted in this month's issue of Chicago Home and Garden, REarrange (2064 N. Damen Ave., 773-904-8604, will bring a goodie bag of suggested new pieces, move furniture around and tell you what color to paint those white, boring walls.

Courtney Davis and Lauren Paradise, co-owners of Kelly + Olive, ( sound like inviting your best friends over-- you know, the ones who wearing the cutest dress and have the apartment you'd like to copy. They'll take a consult and then go to it: researching online, making magazine tear sheets and window shopping.

A magazine photo stylist for over 30 years, Joetta Moulden is a pro at primping up your living room through her company, The basic make-over includes furniture placement, hanging pictures and styling tabletops. Entertaining soon? She does this for parties, too.

Washington D.C.
Bossy Color Design is going to tell you what colors to paint your walls. Designer Annie Elliott will also help you figure out space issues, consult on upholstery, window treatments, rugs and art.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

The Art of eBay

Since it's conception, most of us have heard our girlfriend's story (and dozens more) about the diamond in the rough on eBay. But finding it is much more trying. The online auction site is a labyrinth when trying to validate authenticity and evaluate quality. Undoubtedly, one of the most challenging categories to navigate is art.

To make it easy, self-taught Impressionist painter and art aficionado Sarah Kadlic, who has been selling her art on eBay for seven years, has given us a guide. She's identified star talent in her genre of oil paintings, whose work is highly-collectible and selling on eBay for reasonable prices.

They have celebrity clients, movie set commissions and individual pieces yielding thousand-dollar price tags, but it's conceivable to find their work priced in $100-range.

1) Osnat Tzadok's paintings (sample pictured below) are large, modern and crisp fetching into the thousands in a non-recessionary market. Featured in Fox's television series, "CSI," and the movie, "Cash," currently Tzadok has pieces going for $100 or less on eBay.
2) Chicago-area gallery owner Paula Nizamas (sample pictured below) bridges the gap between abstract art and traditional undertones. Given the state of the retail industry, you might be able to stumble upon one of her works and pay in the $100-150 range.
3) He may have Hollywood celebrities, former Senator John Edwards and trial lawyer Barry Cohen on his roster of clients, but that doesn't mean you can't have a William Hawkins original. (One is pictured below). Most are vibrant, inspirational depictions of nature and outdoor settings.

4) Sesillie Girelli, whose pen name and alter-ego is Michelle D'oyley, uses a colorful, strong palette of colors for her commonly-used subjects of sunflowers and poppies. (Sample pictured below). If you can't find one around $100, your next best bet is buying a giclee copy.
5) Sarah Kadlic, of the eponymous Sarah Kadlic Impressionist Art Gallery and our gracious art steward, paints Tuscan scenes and still life portraits. She's known for her textured impasto and the lighthearted, joyous feel of her canvas. (Sample pictured below).

The art of it? For about $100, you have something valuable. One day there's no telling what it will be worth.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Object(ive) Obsessions

From bubble lamps to crystal lamps to chrome lamps, it is time for something fresh and eye-catching in the lighting department. This dud-to-stud Grange table lamp (below) is it.For $350, it's yours.

It's unique, in vogue with the rustic wood and metal trend, but the boxy shape, too, makes it a one-of-a-kind buy. At 17.5" high and 16" wide, it's a great space filler.

Oh, so studly.

Time Out

With iPhones, Blackberries and Sidekicks, are clocks obsolete?

Well, for functionality, that could be the case. But let's be realistic, what is needed is never really cool. Perhaps that's why clocks, from retro to traditional to the avant-garde, are getting so much attention.

Set your timers. Ideas for the hippest home accessory (officially declared for the next 5 minutes) below:

This adorable timepiece, a vintage alarm clock, (below) can be yours for $39.
A keepsake from perusing the shops on London's most fashionable boulevard? Most certainly. This wall clock (below) with the Bond Street insignia retails for much less in dollars. It's $129.

Go fancy feast with this white porcelain clock (below) for $59. It's fit for a king, but will look better on your nightstand.

For something more masculine, a retro black clock for $20. Disclaimer: The clock and radio work, but the alarm is broken. Who ever wants to wake up anyway?
If green is your way of life, celebrate it with this hipster lime green clock (below). It's available for $18.
Yes, you've hit the big times. It will only cost you $79 with this "big time" wall clock(below).
If it's all for show, why not go way-back to the olden days? These 45-minute hour glass serves the "purpose," too, for $55.For $90, make this 3-clock timepiece (below) your conversation piece and explain (or invent) why you need to know the time across different time zones.

In with the new, never out with the old.