Monday, March 29, 2010

Decal-ious/Dress-up Your Walls with Decals

Wall decals seem to be the next hot trend to inject life into a boring, drab wall-- and not to mention, a decoration that should be less expensive than finding a piece of art or a mirror. On a shopping trip to Jayson Home & Garden a week or so ago, I stumbled upon the wall (pictured above). The store created a montage out of small wooden-carved birds (below), which they are selling for $15 each, and the result is an interesting --but not overpowering -- diversion for the eye.

Other places to search wall decals are Etsy, like this simple "birds on a branch" decal (below) that makes the blase background wall, come to life. (Get this instead of wallpaper for $27).

Or maybe you've been wanting a chandelier? Well, this one's only $30.

Don't have the money to replace the tile in your kitchen? Why not go with some Moroccan bubbles? You get 30 graphics for $52.

However, a word of caution: Some of the decals in a rainbow of shades could overwhelm your space and make it look like a kid's room. So to not overshadow the rest of the room and keep it sophisticated, try sticking to a two-color scheme (white/black, grey/white, green/white, etc.)

That's decal-ious.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Manhandling/Chicago's (Hot) Handyman Service Launches

Bury your fears of a greasy guy with plumber's derriere showing up to fix your water pressure. Or wondering if the guy you contacted on Craigslist is going to turn out to be some serial killer.

Thanks to DailyCandy for the top that Chicago has a new Mr.Fix-It service in town that sends over handsome, capable men in a jiffy to tackle any of your domestic needs.

Founded by Clayton Jarvinen, the service "Call Clayton" starts at $65 for first-time clients. On top of fixing leaky facets, this team of buff (I don't know that for sure, but I'm imagining it to be true) handyman can help you set up your T.V., hang art and mirrors, put up holiday decorations, install a closet organizing system, hand blinds and shelves, or put together assembly-required furniture.

The services are endless...literally.

Finally, you won't have to cringe when your plumber bends over. But the house rules, according to the Web site--no touching allowed.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Eat Your Walls/New Food Paint Smells Yummy

There's few smells worse than paint: gasoline, rubber cement, a skunk, a crushed bird egg.... okay, we all know where that list is going.

So while a few years ago, eco-friendly, "green" paints were all the rage, now manfacturers have come out with something to top it.

It's a paint that smells yummy and is good for you, too. Anna Sova's "healthy paint" has introduced a zero-V.O.C. paint (meaning it emits less pollutants than the old-fashioned kind) made mostly of ingredients found in food, which allow you to find scents like a vanilla milkshake, powdered donuts and chocolate. She offers around a thousand different hues.

Click here if you're interested in how this works. (Unfortunately, the smell does fade in about three days).

According to Consumer Reports, low-V.O.C. paints have drastically improved in the past few years in terms of quality and coverage.

It's healthy, but as a precaution, don't go lickin' your walls.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

I'm a Homebody/ Chicago Home Shopping for March 26-28

Urban Source is throwing a sample sale just for fabric: one to five yard pieces of upholstery, drapery fabrics and wallpaper rolls. It's probably a good idea to bring your measurements or any swabs of fabric from pieces you are trying to match because all sales are final. Friday, March 26, 11–7 and Saturday 10–5. (1429 W. Chicago Avenue; 312-455-0505,

Want a set of hotel silver on the cheap? Then, run over to P.O.S.H's annual The Dish Ran Away with the Spoon Sale, which is offering up to 75 percent off all merchandise until Friday, April 2nd. Monday thru Saturday 10-7, Sunday 11-5. (613 N. State St.; 312-280-1602, (But don't get too excited and run off with their spoons!)

Susanin's Auctions is a go this weekend. The live auction for Auction 82 is on Saturday at 10:00 a.m., but you can check out the collectibles going on the auction block all week and until 7 p.m. on Thursday evening. (900 S. Clinton at Taylor Street; 312-832-9311,

Nadeau Imports has just gotten some additional shipments from India, which means there are over 500 new pieces, including dining tables to bookcases and coffee tables, for you to peruse over the weekend. Click here to see some of the new pieces (although please note that not everything available in the warehouse is pictured). Monday thru Saturday 10-6; Sundays 11-5. (4433 N. Ravenswood; 773-728-3497).

Last call! It's the final weekend for Jayson Home & Garden's spring upholstery sale, offering 20 percent off all fabric-covered furniture. Mondays and Thursdays 9-8; Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays, 9-6; Saturdays 10-5; Sundays 11-5. (1885 N. Clybourn Ave.; 800-472-1885).

If you haven't O.D. 'ed on , "Dollparts: A Fabric and Vintage Sale," is combining vendors Heliopsis, Tessaboo Vintage, Yellowbirdd Vintage for a street fair of vintage clothing and yes, again, fabric. Saturday, 11-7. (2016 W. Concord Pl., at Damen Ave.)

Happy hunting!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Chip and Chic

Via Real Simple, you no longer have to strip the paint off your chipping furniture to refurbish it. Confused?

Essentially, it's the recipe to keep the original color of paint on a stool, chair or accent piece you adore with a little sandpaper and primer.

  • One gallon Ace Royal Touch Interior Alkyd Enamel Undercoater (about $40, for store locations)
  • One gallon Behr High-Gloss latex (shown in Citrus Blast; $24, for store locations)
  • Regular or foam paintbrush (prices vary, at hardware stores)
  • One pack 100-grit or 220-grit sandpaper (about $4 each at hardware stores)

How To:

  1. If the paint is peeling or uneven as a result of multiple coats, give the entire surface a light once-over with 100-grit sandpaper to smooth rough edges and create a uniform surface. If the old paint is in good condition, with no flaking or bumps, use 220-grit sandpaper to rough up the smooth finish a bit so the new paint will stick. Vacuum up all the residual grit, or wipe it off with a clean cloth.
  2. Apply a single, uniform coat of primer with either a regular or foam paintbrush and let dry. Many brands recommend waiting up to 24 hours before painting.
  3. When the primer is dry, use a clean brush to apply the first coat of paint. Let it dry for at least two hours, then apply a second coat and let it dry (two coats are generally the minimum needed for a nice, even finish)
  4. For furniture with intricate carving or thin spindles, consider using a spray primer and a high-gloss spray paint after sanding.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Photofabulous with Clifton Henri

He's 30. His clients include Disney, Dow Chemical and McDonalds. And he's also working on his first book. Raised on the South Side of Chicago, Clifton Henri is a self-proclaimed storyteller, who finds inspiration from "emotion and nostalgia." And the only thing more impressive than his award-winning bio is his body of photographic work, which will make you stop and ponder.

Prices range from $40 and up for a 5x5 print; $95 for a 12x12. Click here to see Henri's complete portfolio.

I Spot Ikat

Ikat prints, a trend revival over the last couple of years, don't appear to be a one-hit wonder. Delivering to you, some of the best ikat-inspired prints, fabrics and accessories ready to be snapped up from across the Web.

Clayton Gray Home's blue ikat pillow (below) goes from the ordinary to the extrordinare with a fancy fringed "jute" edge for $130. (Or visit Etsy for a wide selection of ikat prints as low as $20).

Recovered in Lee Jofa fabric, this antique mahogany corner chair (below) dazzles with its updated ikat print cushion.

Pottery Barn's fabric-by-the-yard includes this graphic ikat print (below). One yard is priced at $50.

For only $325, get this Indie-chic indigo ikat print chair (below) from Urban Outfitters.

Even ikat chair prints are available, like the one (below) by Anne Harwell. This one is $25.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010


Once you put a high-gloss coat of veneer over burl wood, there's nothing burly about it. It's silky smooth and it creates that addictive sensation where you just want to keep running your hand over it. But underneath, it's a complex, interesting design of wood swirls.

Mid-century legendary furniture designer, Milo Baughman, produced many of today's vintage pieces from the 50s through the 70s, which other designers of the time emulated and today modern furniture designers are still reiventing his ideas.

Here's some wood burl pieces, which are timeless due to how they can fit with both forward-thinking spaces and more classic settings-- and then of course, where to find them for less:

Instead of chrome legs in typical Baughman style, Jonathan Adler's "bond desk" (above) is mixing in the material of the moment -- lucite. To get it for less, check out this Ebay posting for a burl wood glass writing table. It's going for $650, but start at a lower offer.

The burl coffee table (above) -- a Baughman original-- is listed at $2400. If that's a budget buster even for a collectible piece (for many of us, "yes"), then check out this 70s vintage burl coffee table (below) with chrome inset designs listed on Ebay for $499. There's no guarantee, but the chrome base may have been designed by Baughman or another reputable mid-century designer, Paul Evans.

The dining room tables, like the Baughman 114-inch long one (below) is so versatile. Pair it with elegant high back nailhead trimmed chairs? Or match with the mod lines of an Eames-style chair? (Many of the dining tables are also sensible for small spaces because they come with two leaves allowing it to expand to an 8-person table.)But don't give up on finding an original if that's what you want. It just takes more patience and a little more digging. An estate service is auctioning this Baughman designed olivewood burled Parsons dining table (below) for $495.

Nobody will be laughing -- just envying-- your apartment's burl-esque addition.