Good Design

January 11, 2010

My sister Sarah has always told me that my bookshelves are full of “coffee table books”.  While I do own books that are chock full of words (believe it or not), I seem to be drawn to those that are colorful, full of graphics, and endless hours of inspiration.  I am a different sort of bibliophile.  I would much rather prefer to look at a Mies van der Rohe chair, than I would to read Jane Austen.  I always judge books by their covers and I just can’t seem to move past my fascination for what you might call beautiful picture books.  The following books are three of my all time favorite design books.

1.  The Nest Home Design Handbook by Carley Roney – This book is fantastic!  When I first bought it, I sat down and read it straight from cover to cover!  My favorite things about this book?  In the back of the book there is a DIY mini floor plan you can play around with to get some ideas.  You can cut out the shapes of furniture and move them around until you find a configuration that suits you, without the hassle of actually having to push around bulky furniture.  Not feeling creative?  There are also several examples of both living room and kitchen layouts, as well as extensive examples of all different kinds of chairs, tables, sofas, et cetera.

2.  Domino : The Book of Decorating by Caponigro, Costello, Needleman – I recently purchased this book from Barnes & Nobles and I am so happy I did!  This is one of those books where you just want to sit down and read it for hours.  The photographs are beautiful and some of the ideas are purely ingenious!  I showed this book to my sister-in-law Leslie and my brother Aaron because they are in the works of creating a home and I immediately saw the gears begin to turn.  There is something that can be taken away from every photograph in here.  Truly good design.

3.  Apartment Therapy by Maxwell Gillingham Ryan – This was the first interior design book I had ever purchased.  Although I am not currently and have never lived in an apartment, this book is invaluable.  When all else fails, this book is a place to come back to for sheer inspiration.  The examples are all real homes and the creativity in design and manipulation of space makes this definitely worth purchasing.  You won’t regret it!

Although I am not an avid reader, there is something to be said for this class of books.  To me, anything that inspires creativity is a worthy investment.  I hope you find inspiration in these as well.

Tip : Recycled Gift Wrap

November 24, 2009

About a week ago, we were unpacking new merchandise for the holidays.  By the time we were done we had two large garbage bags filled with brown packing paper.  Unfortunately, at work we are unable to have a recycling bin because of the limited amount of space.  My co-worker suggested that I take the paper home and use it.  I was planning on buying brown paper from Paper Source to wrap my gifts for the holidays anyway, so I thought why not use this instead?  Here are some photographs from my experimentation :

I’m pretty excited about how they look so far!  It’s great to be able to do something that is “green” in terms of gift wrap this Christmas because so much waste usually comes from Christmas wrapping.  It was also fun to be creative in coming up with the different techniques and making each one unique.  I’m looking forward to doing more Christmas shopping, so that I can keep on wrapping!

Tip : Paper Chain

November 22, 2009

I have been making paper chains for as long as I can remember.  They have always been and remain my most favorite holiday decoration.  I have done many different variations of paper chains, but I think this is my best yet, so I decided to share it with you.  Do you have any old magazines?

I took two or three of my old Anthropologie catalogs from last year that I have not looked at in awhile.

I ripped out all the pages that spoke to me.  I looked for variety in color and pattern.

Then I cut all the pages into one inch thick strips.  See?

Now, all that was needed was a good stapler!

It was a lot of fun hanging them around my room.  I even made a paper chain chandelier!

This was just the thing to get me in the mood for the holidays!  I hope you enjoyed these photographs taken by my dear James and that you are inspired to make your own paper chains!  Happy crafting.

Back in June, I was re-decorating our outdoor studio into a craft-friendly environment and I needed two chairs to go with the table that was in there.  Well, let me tell you . . . I have found the greatest chair ever! It is produced by Ikea, which means it is very cute and very affordable.  Granted, I know that their furniture is not meant for “long-term” usage, but I have never found a chair that is so ergonomic and classy at such a great price.  It’s form fits your lower back and bottom with slight curves and provides great lumbar support. It also has a bit of bend to it, rather than a totally stiff chair, because of the opening in the back.  I bought the two chairs for the studio in lime-green, but the other one I bought for my room was in white.  Here’s what it looks like :

It is called the Snille Chair and is available here.  They do not have it available in lime-green any longer, but it is available in white, blue, red, pink & yellow.  It is also available with swivel feet, but I prefer the chair frame pictured.  It is really easy to assemble too.

The cost?  A whopping $6.00 for the seat shell and $13.99 for the chair frame.  That is a total of $19.99 for one good looking & very comfortable chair.  What do you think?

Having a tendency to lean towards minimalism, I have always disliked the way cluttered bookshelves look.  However, I have found a simple solution.

Take your longest book (the book that goes out the farthest from the back of the shelf) and pull all your other books out to be level with that book.  This will create a more streamline appearance and automatically make things look neater in the surrounding area.

Before :

After :

It’s amazing how much this little change can improve the way your room looks! Ta-da!