Thursday, November 30, 2006

recycled design, just for fun: redoing the oriental carpet

Without wit, "recycled design" can feel sentimental, too earnest, too hippy. This "hide" rug from En Fer atelier goes the other way-- irreverent and funny and absurd.

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Wednesday, November 29, 2006

recycled design, etsy-style: envelopes that play with scale

An Etsy shop, Bellis Celebrations, gives PR mailings a second life:

"I'm a graphic designer and some of the paper promotions and stock photography brochures I get are just beautiful. Too beautiful, I just can't bring myself to throw them away."

I love the hugeness of the Q-Tips and the precariousness of the window-washer...

Each set of envelopes around $2 here. Or, make your own. Just recently, I made some envelope liners using images from an old New Yorker; it was fun to give a small, unexpected jolt to the inside of a plain envelope, like La Perla under jeans!

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Tuesday, November 28, 2006

recycled design DIY: affordable salvaged wood slabs in the rough

Continuing our look at recycled design, I couldn't pass this up. Urban Tree Salvage is a Canadian company that salvages trees from cities that would otherwise be put in the chipper or burnt. The good news: they sell their beautiful eco-furniture on Vivavi.....
And the better news?
you can buy their product unfinished for very affordable prices-- starting from around $200. And look of the size of them: do you see the cute little hands holding up this wooden slab? Most slabs are available with a "live" edge (with bark) and the smaller the slab, the better the chances that both sides can come with live sides. (I only wish there were more of these companies-- particularly ones in the Northeast!)

First image courtesy of BDDW.

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Monday, November 27, 2006

recycled design: letterpress table and weathered mirror

Welcome back everyone! hope you had a great Thanksgiving! We had some friends up from Philly and Northern California, and it was so much fun.

Gorgeous use of recycled materials from The Inspired Maker.

This whole week I'll be focusing on recycled materials! I'd love to hear what your favorite recycled designs are, so comment away, or send me an email!

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Monday, November 20, 2006

intricate and playful ceramic tiles for home: welbeck tiles

Welbeck Tiles's kitchen and bathroom ceramic tiles are beautiful and charming without being cutesy. I LOVE them. I love them in the way that I love The Collection's wallpaper, and that, my friends, is a deep and passionate love!

("Eat" Series "Spoon," by Tracy Kendall.)

Friday, November 17, 2006

our kitchen renovation: pendant lighting options

My main man and I are redoing the teensy galley kitchen in our new home... We were able to really think big (well.. relatively big!) because my dad is an architect, and so has generously done countless studies and drawings for us. One of the exciting changes we decided upon will be the one to re-locate the sink from one side of the kitchen (far left in the dark-ish "before" pic), to the end of the kitchen underneath the window (thereby getting the fridge away from its currently obstructive position!). And now we come to the raison d'etre of today's post: the lighting. I'd love to have a beautiful old pendant light over the sink; and yet my man is concerned that it will block the view of window. Thoughts? Would love some views on this.

Some of the industrial-style pendants that I covet...

(First two antique beauties are from Re-found Objects, in England; the final (gorgeous!) light is the "Harmon pendant" from Restoration Hardware).

These are sweet as well, made from vintage jelly molds:

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Thursday, November 16, 2006

Gift idea: bamboo or walnut inlay watch

Around this time of year, I start keeping my eye out for presents that might integrate natural materials in fun and unexpected ways. Nixon's bamboo-inlay watch, called "The Chalet", was such a thrill to come across.

The dark walnut is sleek too....
(Or, try this one for $60; very Judy Jetson, and sometimes a little pop is just the thing!)


Wednesday, November 15, 2006

the surreal proportions of Volckamer's 18th c. botanical prints

Thanks to Giornale Nuovo for this incredible feast of startling but yet endearing images from Johan Volckamer's Nuremberg Hesperides. G.N.'s source suggests that these prints, generated from a wintry German countryside, show a longing for the warmth of the Mediterranean that only the wealthy could afford by means of hot-houses and orangeries. ("Hesperides," I've just learned, is a synonym for "the blossom garden culture of the 1650s to 1800s"). The citrus fruits here do seem to have become substitutes for large, looming suns...

I would so much love to have one of these prints to brighten the winter, together with, I think, a Meyer lemon tree.

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Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Hi all! Catching up on work: will be back tomorrow!

Silk scarf designed and printed by my grandmother, Mary Putnam.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

dazzling sculptural paper jewelry by dutch artist nel linssen

I think Nel Linssen's work speaks for itself. If you haven't heard of her and would like to know more (she's completely new to me but at least I've found her now!), her beautiful website is one place to see more of her jewelry, and this appetite-whetting series of books, Textile Arts of the World, features her in their book on the Netherlands.

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Thursday, November 09, 2006

Touching on...: a new bi-monthly column!

Industrial metals like steel and iron go luminous, airy, and golden:

From a Moroccan lamp, to an early 19th c. belt from Berlin (decorative and appealing when iron was expensive and rare due to war) to the wonderful "sea urchin" salt and pepper vessels (or vessels for earrings!) at Mothology (featured in the NYTimes "Personal Shopper"), the endeavor to change the crudeness and density of these metals through punching, or through mesh and bronze accents, or by way of using gold leaf inside a very rough, almost violent surface-- this is not so much a trend (yet) as much as an inspirational post right now. But with additional examples, we may find the use of crude metals in elegant permutations becoming more than inspiration...

This is the first of a bi-monthly Friday column, "Touching on..." solely about textural inspiration & up and coming textural trends. Hope you dig it! Let me know what you think!

Have a great weekend!

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william morris wallpaper: "sunflower"

This is one of my favorite William Morris wallpapers. I love how dense the pattern is-- it's like the 19th c. equivalent of Tord Boontje! Last December I actually ordered a sample from Charles Rupert of this print, and I'm still quite taken with it. Too bad my main man isn't a fan of wallpaper, full stop! Hopefully he'll turn around...

Note that Charles Rupert is a Canadian company that makes reproduction William Morris patterns and has not, to my mind, realized its true potential yet (in terms of modern tastes, one has to be a bit patient to find great prints); that said, I've noticed that Domino and Blueprint have both found CR, so likely we'll see some reformulations of their colors, and so on, in the near future as they adjust to a new audience.

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Wednesday, November 08, 2006

canopy for a daybed

Just the very word "daybed" sends tingles up my spine. A bed? for use in the daytime? Heaven! This canopy (on sale for nearly 70% off from Pottery Barn) would make any lounge area in one's living room have that dreamy, daybed feel. Or, sequester two armchairs underneath it, and watch how couples canoodle under it at a party...!

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Tuesday, November 07, 2006

korean pattern design: traditional wrapping cloths

These are all examples of "chogakpo," or patchwork Korean wrapping cloths, also known as patchwork "pojagi." I have a great book of these (Traditional Korean Wrapping Cloths, published in 1990 by The Museum of Korean Embroidery), and I wanted to share some of them with you because I love the insanely brilliant patterning of rectangular shapes... and the simple, often monochrome palate. The designs are made of hemp and silk.

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Monday, November 06, 2006

Ibride: not your everyday avian occasional table

I love the proportions of this cheeky "ostrich" table, by the French design firm, Ibride (= "hybrid"). Mocoloco mentioned some of Ibride's "Mobilier de compagnie" tables a while back, but I didn't find any especially appealing as tables. But this one is kind of great-- I think it's the contrast of the long gangly legs with the feathery, plump curves.

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Thursday, November 02, 2006

Agile Rabbit Editions: utter delight!

I have just discovered the Agile Rabbit editions of the Pepin Press, a Dutch company to whom I owe my eternal gratitude! The genius of these books is that not only do they collect gorgeous, eclectic images all in one place, but also, and most crucially-- each book comes with a CD of high-res versions of each image from the text. A couple of days ago I bought the Agile Rabbit Book of Historical and Curious Maps, and plan to make a series of 4 or 5 giclee canvases of some of the really lovely ones (for the living room? bedroom? entry? we'll see).

(I wish I could share with you some of the fantastic images but for copyright reasons this isn't possible. Suffice it to say, these books are highly recommended-- I'm finding that I crave each and every one...)

Happy Friday!

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loving autumnal tortoise shell

(A nice, simple shape from Bellacor.)

I've always loved round tortoise-shell spectacles from the 'fifties... Here are some retro items that would make terrific hostess gifts-- or maybe a little present for yourself one of these cold November days!

(Mexican recycled glass tumblers, from 2kh). I'm tempted to give a couple sets of these as a wedding gift to a good friend of mine. They would be great multitaskers- bud vases, toothbrush holders, etc.)

(The real deal: vintage Italian glass tumblers from the 'seventies, with a dimple impress on each. Yay for ebay!)

And my personal favorite...
Found here.

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Wednesday, November 01, 2006

'bird-cage pendant light' by Mathieu Challières, and the sweet wire lights of Marie Christophe

Such a sweet, playful lamp would be perfect for a nursery, or maybe even a home office... (More of Mathieu Challières's work can be found here.)

And speaking of les beaux luminaires francais, check out the light-hearted, sixties-inflected wire-work of Marie Christophe, made known to me by dear ada last month, and for that I am so glad! (when I have a little extra dough.....oh, the trouble I will cause!)

*March 1 2007 UPDATE! Anthropologie is selling the Mathieu Challières light... right here!

*March 28 2007 UPDATE! a silk felt soil reader made a very respectable DIY version:
image found in her flickr pool, here.

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