10/23/2017

Chunky Knit Throw: Three Price Points

The mental prep work has begun for winter’s arrival. A process where I outline how each frosty month will be spent and the gear needed, which includes wares for the home. Make hibernation more comforting, and stylish, with a chunky wool blanket that recalls the days when mom dressed you in the Irish knit sweater she wore as a lass. We found three chic blankets at your price.

3 Chunky Wool Blankets – 3 Different Prices

  1. Etsy, $45

The homemade feel of this blanket shows the construction of a fishing net that is both affordable and stylish.

2. Berkshire Blanket, $110

A true relation to the classic Irish knit.

 

3. Artizen, $275

A current, modern take on the chunky knit composition.

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10/18/2017

Color Crush: Navy + Pink

Certain combinations, while unexpected, do not fail to entice. My current chocolate and peanut butter obsession is navy + pink. Sophisticated navy lightens up with pink, creating an almost unisex dynamic. In design, the colors are stylishly executed in an assortment of current pieces–I even created art based on the scheme. Add some accents in the color pairing and you have a designed space.

A corner takes a bold, colorful direction with navy + pink guiding the scheme, as seen in the art and pillows.

Pink is becoming today’s neutral, which is so accepted in a color palette even men are embracing the feminine hue. When balanced with navy it’s perfectly at home in a room of men yelling at football plays.

Accent pillow by Therese Marie Designs is a simple, subtle and transitional way to bring in navy + pink.

You don’t have to paint your walls or add furniture in the colors to create the look, accessorize with pillows, textiles and art.

Color block pillow with a softer shade of pink by Jillian Rene Decor connects the colors.

Resources:

Navy + Pink color block art: ducks goose

Color block pillow cover: Jillian Rene Decor

Navy pillow with pink accents: Therese Marie Designs

Covetable Navy + Pink Accessories

  1. Sneakers 2. Sailor shirt 3. Hat 4. Pom poms, lanterns 5. Quilt 6. Ties 7. Throw 8. Tote 9. Socks 10. Valet tray

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10/13/2017

Top 3 Fragrances with a Loyal Following

Women are as devoted to their fragrance as they are to a doctor or stylist. It’s a personal choice with enough psycho analaytic insight to jolt a therapist. Until the Internet has scratch and sniff capabilities (hello Silicon Valley?) take our account on three fragrances that have earned our loyalty.

kai began as a one pound customized fragrance for Gaye Straza until whiffers were so besotted she started a company.

It begins with a shared attachment to a few standout floral scents, notably gardenia, lily and rose. To emphasize gardenia’s impact, a bit of personal history. When I first moved to California the air held such a sweet fragrance it seemed like plane’s airdropped liquid incense. The source came from flower beds loaded with deep ivy green bushes with waxy leaves, which popped up colonels of white, hearty flowers. It was my first one on one introduction to gardenia and the aroma cast from these flowers bewitched. Gardenias are in my top five reasons to move back to California, just after weather and before year round farm fresh produce. It’s no surprise that two of the fragrances that have such a devoted following is gardenia based.

1. kai fragrance

Gaye Straza, creator of kai fragrance, was literally stopped on the street by a beauty editor with questions as to the origin of her scent, a fragrance she made independently and then developed into her company kai. “After all these years, I still get the most beautiful emails from our delightful devotees just to convey their love and loyalty for the brand,” says Straza.

When I take a whiff of kai I get the same feeling I do when I take a bite of pumpkin cheesecake, my entire body shuts down and goes into ecstasy. Straza notes that Kai is unlike the heavy, suffocating scent of fragrances past when one squirt from mom’s perfume was enough to fumigate the house. “Men tell me kai conjures memories of being in a tropical paradise. This comment initially made me laugh, but after hearing the same words over and over, I realized that’s exactly what I had in mind when I developed the line,” says Straza.

Men’s interest in how we smell is happily noted but most women will say they are a bit selfish in this area. We wear the scent for us more than to seduce. Sharing is why candles are created in the same scent.

Tocca Firenze has that arresting fragrance that you’d wish scented your everyday all day.

2. Tocca Firenze

Tocca is another company noted for their modern fragrances based on identifiably alluring essences. Tocca’s Firenze, with notes of gardenia along with bergamot and jasmine, has the power to overtake all other senses. Whether worn or to scent the home, Firenze’s smell guarantees a giddy moment.

Nest’s White Camellia gives your skin and home a light floral boost.

3. Nest White Camellia

You’ve been to that home or elegant little shop that has that I-will-not-leave scent. The origin usually is emitted from a Nest candle. Their White Camellia scent is a natural choice for a women’s fragrance with its light, floral appeal. It is no surprise that notes include jasmine, which is similar to gardenia.

 

 

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10/10/2017

The Charms of an Older Home

While the Jetsons may be amusingly space aged I am comfortable living in this year, even a few centuries back. It’s the customs that engage. You can’t have an elegant pheasant meal served by footmen when a robot beeps by.

Our parlor room brought into the modern day.

An attention to craftsmanship and history is seen in every detail, like how our 1915 farmhouse was built around the fireplace as it was the main source of warmth. We have not fallen into your typical suburban model, which shares the same style imprint as every other home in this community. The marble baths, rugs that capture the same motif as the valences, lucite coffee table bought from cb2 and stacked with coffee table books in ruler edged precision–it’s the same concept as the Benetton sweater every girl wore back in high school. While it’s a very nice sweater it made overplayed appearances in the classroom. I am more inspired by the student who broke from the norm and wore something a bit alternative, found from a vintage shop, or styled the basic uniform in a personalized way.

Detailing of our original bannister.

My favorite homes are from my childhood, notably in the Hamptons. We lived In a house unique to the other’s with a pink tiled bathroom and floorboards with holes that led to enchanting places. This was all that we knew. Finding beauty from imperfection was revered, the decor composed with pieces that had stories behind them, or a kitchen designed with materials sourced from salvage yards.

An antique cupboard displaying motley pieces linked through color, scale or style.

Another trend that baffles me is new constructions. Everyone appears to want the same home. When I grew up the older homes were considered more authentic. You can’t replicate their clusters of rooms with thick walls and artisanal bannisters. Now it’s common to extract these architectural gems from the space.

The girls’ bedroom has a mix of old and new.

Our home is like fashion, I am constantly tweaking by bringing in my latest paintings and editing vignettes. While sometimes it looks like a child with a box of crayons who had a color meltdown, I try to maintain a merchandiser’s eye. The decor has a mix of pieces from all time periods but they typically share a theme through color, pattern or scale. It’s a constant process but the result reflects a singular style.

Resources:

Belle Bloom Robert Allen fabric for customized pillows, seat cushions and valances: Robert Allen

Lemon painting: Ducks Goose

A True Love Story Never Ends picture: Tuvalu Home

Dipper ceramic blue bowls: Wagoo

Pink pedestal plates, striped dishes: Rosanna Inc.

Mosser Jadeite Cake Stand: Sur la Table

Kate Spade bow tiled pink comforter: Bed Bath & Beyond

Standard pillow cases: Stamattina

Bicycle throw pile: Art Goodies

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10/06/2017

The Jetsons – Ultimate Design Guide to the Future

I am starting to think about the future and not in the investment and derivatives sort of way. With the release of Blade Runner 2049 and watching “The Jetsons” with my son after a thirty years hiatus, we discovered what imagined trends have become reality.

The Jetsons is you typical 2062 family as imagined in the Hana-Barbera cartoon.

 

“The Jetsons” is a futuristic family but the sitcom American profile abound. There’s George, the bumbling patriarch who is always trying to work his way out of some snafu with the boss, supported by a sensible wife, attractive teenage daughter, and young son who never ages since this is a cartoon.

While everything seemed unimaginable in the Jetson’s account of 2062, in some ways we have surpassed the Jetsons aside from sky high traffic jams. (Though read below, as that may happen by decade’s end).

High Fashion Home

The Bea Sofa by High Fashion Home is a modern classic that endures.

 

Everything is technicolor in the Jetson’s world, which hits today’s designs as bright colored sofas add futuristic drama to a room.

Etsy

Abstract art gives a boots to your desk vignette no matter what year it is.

Delpozo Fashions

Delpozo’s winter “Serenity” collection has theatrical composition. Perhaps for The Jetsons the movie?

 

Ditch the ripped jeans and wool sweaters, fashionable cuts and innovative materials from Delpozo is where Jane and Judy Jetson would shop.

Galaxy S8 Phone

The Galaxy S8 helps make us smarter.

 

Expansive display screen, iris scanning for security, and multiple image camera processing are some of the Galaxy S8‘s features that have catapulted us into a futuristic world.

Waveforms Lighting

The Sonneman Waveform pendant would be a natural addition to the Jetson’s home.

 

Sonneman’s dome shaped pieces are more than contemporary gems, its LED lighting uses 90% less energy and lasts longer than regular bulbs.

Aeromobil Flying Car

The Aeromobil flying car gives the driver a choice of road or air, how’s that for tackling road rage?

 

You can literally take off with the Aeromobil flying car, which is looking to launch in 2020–regulations permitting.

Robot NAO V5 Standard Edition

A robot programmed with software, sensors and customizable operating system.

 

Friend or foe? The Robot NAO V5 is capable of experiencing seven senses, it’s up to the owner to customize his/hers/its functions.

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10/04/2017

Creating a Crafted Home

Keep reading, crafts are not exclusive to macrame pot holders and cutesy wares sold at a church bizarre. There are handmade items with a finished look to add design and function, setting apart a space as personalized over a home decorated with brand identifiable fixtures. We have welcomed an age where we customize everything from dogs to thousand dollar jeans. The trend is catching on, with two books that celebrate the crafted home.

The handmade fabric dyed ottoman blends with the other pieces in the room and offers a signature touch.

 

A Well-Crafted Home by Janet Crowther is a departure from craft books that feature home’s jammed with Sunday art crafts. The projects are specifically created to add function and style.

Find the handmade crafts by Janet Crowther. Answer: wooden herb planter, quilted cushions, cutting board, tea towels.

 

When Crowther moved to New York City with her husband on a limited design budget, they discovered that handmade pieces was an affordable way to decorate their home without denting the budget. From a dyed fabric ottoman to a knotted rope ladder, the book offers a variety of projects that look like home store highlights you’d pay a premium for.

An acrylic side table adds a modern, styled touch to an entry. Yes, you can make this.

 

Artist Tamara Maynes spills her crafty secrets in the gorgeously produced book The Maker. Maynes is an established artist who is known for her modern graphic interiors but in her book she features a variety of projects, categorized by such mediums as wall art, ceramics and furniture.

 

Maynes takes a historic and psychological approach to the art of making things, and how the basis of a simple craft can evolve into a modern form. Her projects are expressive and original, like the beaded light fixture that recalls her days as making jewelry as a little girl. The countless projects, not to mention the artistically presented book with covers that mimic slabs of wood, will add intrigue to your home.

 

Resources:

Reprinted from A Well-Crafted Home. Copyright © 2017 by Janet Crowther. Photography by Julia Wade. Published by Clarkson Potter/Publishers, an imprint of Penguin Random House, LLC.

The Maker: Crafting a Unique Space by Tamara Maynes with Tracy Lines. Published by Abrams. Photography by Eve Wilson.

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09/28/2017

Simple Apple Spice Gluten Free Muffins Recipe

There is a return to Eden experience when you visit an apple orchard. On a recent Indian summer weekend we did just that, driving north to a farm, paying $20 for two empty bags, and Luc got in his trick or treating practice by stuffing the bags until the handles began to tear. You are in organic bliss with so many apples to munch on, and they definitely taste better when eaten directly from the tree. We sampled the varieties like some kind of fruit experts, pegged the apples at one another, got lost in the maze of orchards. At home we discovered that we had too many apples with not enough neighbors to gift them too. A good reason to test out recipes.

From tree to table.

We decided on healthy apple spice muffins, a simple recipe that inserts avocado oil over butter, honey and rice syrup versus excessive sugar, and whole wheat gluten free flour instead of white.

Apple Spice Gluten Free Muffins

Yield:

6 jumbo muffins

Time:

Prep: 15 minutes

Bake: 20 -25 minutes

Ingredients:

2 eggs

1 cup brown sugar in the raw

1/2 cup Lindberg rice syrup

1/4 cup honey

2 tablespoons almond milk

1/2 cup avocado oil

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 cups diced apples

2 cups all-purpose King Arthur gluten free whole wheat flour

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon,

1/2 teaspoon allspice

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 6 muffin pan.

Beat eggs, sugar, oil and vanilla extract in a mixing bowl; add apples.

Combine flour, salt, baking powder, and cinnamon in a separate bowl; add to mixture. Stir batter until completely mixed. Pour batter into muffin tin.

Drizzle each muffin with honey, sprinkle with cinnamon.

Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes. If toothpick is wet, cover tin and watch for another 5 to 10 minutes as stove temperatures vary. Let cool.

Snacking delight.

Resources:

Table cloth: Linen Me

Bowls: Tuvalu Home

Tea towel: Pomegranate Home

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09/25/2017

Travel – Experience the Transition of Greenport

I often thought of Greenport, Long Island, as the Hamptons’ challenged stepsister. During the drive for a quick getaway to investigate the area I adjusted my stance. The North Fork is the one who gets it but has no interest in letting too many in on the secret for fear of spoiling its inherent nature.

Greenport’s pier is the site of the North Ferry to Shelter Island.

The North Fork has been lauded for its agricultural bounties, dense with farms, vineyards, lavender and seafood operators, though characteristics of its tony neighbor across the bay have steadily been encroaching.

There are Hampton styled cottages that are softly updated aside homes that could benefit from a visit to the Home Depot just three town aways. I saw such a ramshackle home on the drive to the hotel. Aside a cheerful sunflower patch was an antique farmhouse with no trespassing signs nailed to its side. A crusty character sat on the porch who would not appear out of place holding a shot gun and wearing long johns held up with suspenders, perhaps guarding his moonshine.

In the hub of Greenport’s town consignment shops may outnumber organic lifestyle retailers, which works with me as I returned home with a set of china not made in China, fuchsia slip dress and gilded picture frames. The stores were decorated with vintage flair, a gratuitous use of patriotic emblems, which reminded me of Southampton in the bicentennial year. In fact Greenport may be Southampton in the 70s but it’s in a conflicted pace to catch up.

The 67 Steps that give the beach its namesake.

The region offers a mix of activities. You can tour wineries, stock up on just picked produce from the farm stands or swim along hidden beaches that offer stunning views of the bay and coast.

A private watering spot to help you forget.

We stayed at American Beech, a hip boutique hotel that could be the country version of a SoHo counterpart. Proprietor Brent Pelton is suitably qualified in acknowledging Greenport’s innate charm while giving the town a nudge into its deserved haute destination category, using his background in hospitality and law to create a lifestyle resort plotted within town. The compound includes a check in bungalow with a well edited shop, restaurants, bar and five tasteful suites with those details travelers adore like crispy white linens and bottles of Fred water for a charge.

In walking distance is shopping, restaurants, IGA market (another relic from a past decade) and pier with a quaint carousel. The Monday evening we visited the town hosted a band with dancing where you will fraternize with New Yorkers capitalizing on a three day weekend along with locals who have the we’ve-been-here-first elitism. I’ve always found that a devoted supporter to a town’s native essence allows a gem’s preservation to be thoughtfully handled.

Local band with dancing along the pier.

The pull between local and upscale is evident in everything from the boutiques to service the urban crowd like Calypso, or restaurants such as The Frisky Oyster if you have a hankering for duck confit spring rolls.

Wandering the town and you will find personalized authenticity in the seaside storefronts.

Autumn is another known commodity known to true North Forkers, its golden season is when you sieve out the ladies-drink-free and families with Thules clasped on to their SUVs crowd. The agricultural bounties kick in, with farm stands bursting with harvested crops and corresponding activities like hay rides and fundraisers. There are events aplenty, which include an Oyster Festival and East End Maritime Festival to showcase the area’s rich nautical history.

Even the locals have more of an edge to them versus the typical coastal native profile who speak with heavy accents that can be sourced to the colonial days and eat lobster for breakfast. This is Long Island.

Hotels:

http://www.greenportvillage.com/category/lodging/hotels-and-motels/

Restaurants:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurants-g47827-Greenport_North_Fork_Long_Island_New_York.html

 

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09/18/2017

Living in a Modern Day Teepee

The teepee will always fascinate from its lore, tribal romance, and having the habitable efficiency of a portable umbrella. It has grown in popularity, designed in trendy fabrics as a decorative novelty for children to retreat and reboot. On a grander scale tepees are associated with Ralph Lauren’s Telluride and shelter on glamping trips.

Teepees are more than just novelties but unique, eco-efficient homes.

While commonly associated with American Indians, teepees have also populated parts of Europe and Asia. The structure not only has benefits for a nomadic existence but in the current day they are eco-friendly.

The “pointy-hat” cantilevers are erected slightly above ground, which prevents insects, humidity and fallen snow from entering the house.

In this home in Nasu, Tochigi, a resort area in Japan, the homeowners are a young couple who enjoy an environmentally-aware existence with organic gardening and limiting their carbon footprint in this natural environs. They enlisted architect Hiroshi Nakamura &NAP with the task of preserving the surrounding woods where they plotted the home. “We avoided large-scale construction to build the rooms on the few remaining flat surfaces of the sloping ground, as if sewing them together,” says Nakamura.

The high ceiling allows the structure to receive direct sunlight, which is especially needed in the dense woods. To offset the expense of air-conditioning they eliminated unnecessary space.

The teepee’s form matches the neighboring tree branches.

Nakamura’s design process:

+ They began by cutting down the upper space diagonally to make the ceiling lower based on the way people move.

+ The new form matches the tree branches that spread out radially. This resulted in a tent-shaped house with only one-third of the volumes. Although the highest ceiling is 26 feet, the average ceiling height is 16 feet. Dwellers cannot stand upright close to the walls, so Nakamura simply turned the spaces into sleeping and sitting areas. The ceiling descends like a tent and enables the creation of a warm living space that mingles with the trees. “You will feel the warmhearted embrace of the house around you,” he says.

+ Other eco-conscious design tricks include the “pointy-hat” building cantilevers, which are slightly above ground in order to prevent insects, humidity and fallen snow from entering the house.

+ The windows are all double glazed in order to ensure that the tall spaces are airtight and well insulated. The fireplace and the air-conditioning underfloor capitalize on the floor heating and pit.

+ During summer, warm air gathers at the top and escapes through the upper window. In winter, warm air at the upper part will be drawn in and blown out at floor level, creating a comfortable air flow.

A constant surprise with light and, in this instance, sheds an intriguing profile.

The design fosters family gatherings and connecting naturally. “It is similar to primitive spaces seen in the houses of the Jomon People (Ancient Japanese) and Native Americans. The structure of the house initiated a lifestyle with close interaction, because the family sat along the low wall facing each other. A fire, a light or a table was set in the middle to initiate conversation as the family gathered around the center. The architecture has had an influence on people’s habits and it strengthened the connection and bond of the family,” Nakamura says.

Built in tables detailed with wooden poles capture the outdoors into indoors theme.

“Design touches include light wood, natural tones and artisanal additions like the pressed flower glass door. “Akebi, viola, anemone, geranium, larkspur – the wild flowers found in the pressed flower glass all came from the surrounding woods,” says Nakamura. “Our idea was to find a new way to reflect the blessings of nature, not just in the context of samples or picture books. We manufactured the glass by sandwiching the pressed flowers in resin films between two thick glasses and firing them in vacuum.”

Flower cuttings from the surrounding area are immortalized within indoor glass windows.

Pressed flowers sealed between two panes of glass protect the flowers from decolorization.

An almost space age feel happens at night.

The home takes on a new direction once night falls. Moonlight naturally illuminates the exterior, wild animals circulate freely around the home, which has a presence that is as natural as its neighboring trees. “In the darkness of the night, you will find a house filled with warm and gentle looks,” Nakamura says. It’s like living on a camp ground with all the efficiencies.

There is an alluring quality from the lit teepee, like a jack-o-lantern at night.

For more information please visit http://www.nakam.info/en/

Photography by Koji Fujii / Nacasa and Partners Inc.

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