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pink walls and "room for children"

7 May

Room for Children by Susanna Salk, Amazon.com
 I can’t remember having been this excited about getting a new book since the Wilco biography came out in the early 2000s.  True, Room for Children often feels like a compilation of now-well-known designs from now-well-known designers (Kelly Wearstler/Jenna Lyons/Amanda Nisbet), but I Don’t Care.  Although I love the interweb and all the versatility it offers, there’s something really satisfying about having photos at your fingertips, and being able to flip through pages and pages of inspirational images.  The accompanying text by Susanna Salk is equally inspirational and succinctly written – I think I agree with everything she’s said about kids’ design and why it’s so much fun.
So plan on seeing me return to this book, over and over in the next few weeks, to share my discoveries. 

For now, however, I’ve got a special task at hand.   My mom & dad have wonderful neighbors, who are in the midst of lots of change.  As they’re renovating their home from top to bottom, Mom is due (next month) to give birth to her second girl.  She mentioned that they’re starting to look for paint for the girls’ rooms; it can be any shade, as long as it’s pink. 

So, onto the book for inspiration (caveat: some of these images are internet-based (and higher-res) alternatives to the dark snapshots I took on my iPhone.)

Ruthie Sommer’s daughter’s bedroom, from her website

Right now, this shade of pink is my favorite – it’s got a blue tone to it, making it almost lilac but not as purple.   I find it soothing and sophisticated – and as you can see from the image, you can go mauvey with the accessories or move towards a fuschia, like on the canopy.

Girl’s room by Sixx Design

Now, this is some PINK.  Not exactly my style, but it seems to work here.  I guess if you’re going to do it, you might as well throw yourself in.   (BTW, I haven’t seen 9 By Design – perhaps I should? My understanding is that Sixx Design is the same couple from that show.  The Novogratzes also have their own book which also looks pretty cool.)  

Allison Tick Interiors

Another purpley-lavender-tinted pink, which I love.  As you can see, the accessories really make the space, from the candy-pink silk curtains to the white chair and table, to the West Elm Parsons desk at left.

Photographer Tim Street-Porter

This pink is a very light, delicate shade – I assume it becomes more pink as the room loses sunlight towards the evening.  The color picks up intensity through the accessories (like a clever canopy made from fabric suspended from the ceiling) and striped bedding.

Eve Robinson interior

Or, you can forgo color almost entirely on the walls, using your bedspread and headboard as the true focal points to your room.  You can see the contrast against the white window sills and door, but here you’re really staying as close to white as you can.

Incidentally, the Mythic paint company (home of zero-smell and low-VOC paints) has partnered with the Land of Nod on a paint collection of their own.  Of course, as with other paint companies, you can create virtually any color you fancy, but I find this a clever and well-thought-out shortcut.

Here are some examples of beautiful pinks (similar to those shown above) in the Mythic paint collection for Land of Nod:

 Petal-icious reminds me of the color used in the Allison Tick room (above).

  Tippy Toes is a beautiful girly pink – a little like the ‘ballet slippers’ color of countless manicures…

And here are some more delicate pinks from their regular collection.

Do you have a pink-walled room?  Send me a photo!

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truly unique deco butterfly decals

4 May

Window display, Carol’s Daughter shop in Fort Greene

My brother and his lovely wife are expecting a baby girl in mid-June.  And as so often happens, one momentous life change is accompanying another — they’re planning a move within the next few months as well.   So when my brother mentioned a potential design theme for the baby’s future room, I couldn’t help but get just a little bit excited… But considering the move, we’ve got some time til the new room is created.

Here are two of my favorite flying insect design ideas, for a starter:

(The only trouble with butterfly decor is that it’s so easy to fall into cliche with pastel colors, which can look really old-fashioned really quickly.  That’s why I love these designs (below).  They’re both totally unique and unlike any butterfly decals I’ve seen before).

Art Deco Butterfly Wall Decals by Modbox, Etsy, $40

These butterfly decals are BIG. But they’re gorgeous, come in lots of different colors, and like any decals, can be used in any configuration. I just love them.

Umbra Wallflutter wall decor, Amazon.com, $25

Yes, I know these are dragonflies, not butterflies.  But if you haven’t seen them before, Umbra wall decor (including the butterfly version, here) are incredibly clever.  They’re 3-d, (mountable via little magnets, which attach to thumbtacks placed on your wall) and unlike decals, removable and re-usable.  Perfect for a temporary nursery space or shared area.

I’ll be returning to the butterfly theme over the next few weeks.  So if you’ve got your own favorites, please send them my way. 

staple guns and custom wall coverings

3 May

 Caroline’s room, with oilcloth-covered wall

An amazing room tour on Ohdeedoh.com the other day (ignore my dumb comment, btw) reminded me of another favorite childhood decor memory, this time courtesy of my handy dad.

When I graduated from toddler bed to big girl room, (my parents and) I found a beautiful new bedding set – delicate floral bouquets tied together with royal blue ribbons, on a white background.   I would have loved to cover the entire room in these little bouquets tied together with royal blue ribbons, but unfortunately, and unlike my best friend’s Waverly pattern (which I coveted like mad), there was no complementary matching wallpaper available to match the sheets, comforter, dust ruffle and sham.

So my enterprising father bought a couple of extra king-sized flat sheets and proceeded to staple them to the bed-side wall.  Custom wallpaper.  I LOVED IT.

 Ikea Fabler fabric, 118″ x 47″, $8

Ikea Fabler/Groda children’s textiles and crib bedding, $20

Today, all the Scandinavian companies of note (Ikea, Marimekko) sell matching fabrics and textiles to coordinate with their bedding sets.  I fell in love with the Fabler designs during my last trip to Ikea.

Marimekko Metsanvaki fabric, 36″ x 56″ $43

I’d never seen this Marimekko pattern before – I’m used to the more traditional (and popular) Unikko poppies – but I think it’d be great in a child’s room.  If you’re interested, check out the Finn Style website for more inspiration.

Of course, Marimekko does manufacture its own wallpaper (Unikko red, above)… if that’s what you’re into.

Pine stretcher strips, Dick Blick, price varies by size

Lastly, if you’re not ready for the commitment a staple gun provides (especially if you live in a rental apartment), I’d recommend another approach.   Get yourself some Jackson Pollock-sized wood stretchers, create your own wall-sized frame, then stretch some of that great fabric you bought (See here for tutorial).  You’ll then have a lightweight piece of art that’s fully-coordinated and ready to move with you wherever you go.

navy and gold, cub scouts, and vintage-look dresses

27 Apr

Have you ever noticed something, then couldn’t *stop* noticing it for about a week afterwards?
Perhaps it started on the day trip we made to East Hampton, with its endless strip of Ralph Lauren retail opportunities.

Or maybe it was inspired by the tales regaled by my husband of his time as a Cub, which were, in turn, inspired by my longing for Girl Scout cookies.

Vintage Cub Scout ephemera, TIAS.com

Or perhaps the mere fact of being in Greenport, having eaten my weight in steamers by the seaside, then returning to Brooklyn to find custom-designed totes by Wm. J. Mills for our local (Brooklyn) designer shop, Epaulet:

 Steamer Canvas Bag, Epaulet, $175

Regardless, I’ve been noticing a trend, and I’m sure you’ve noticed it too…

Shopbop email ad, 4/26/10

Nautical-themed or not, navy, gold & white feel really fresh right now, both in fashion and interiors.   I’m so in love with the idea of painting stripes on a wall somewhere – whether single-color (alternating gloss and matte, ala HGTV makeover shows), lines of equal weights, or to just add some visual contrast to a room.

Below, some variations on this color combo that I’ve spotted lately.  Enjoy.

Eclipse skirt, Brooklyn Industries, $68 (I’ve already bought it)

Awesome vintage-style twinset from Little Malaika, approx $30 USD

Monogram Jack & Lulu wall art, $50 (includes frame)

Fantastic striped room (Traditional Home  via Nursery Notations)- thanks Andrika!

Another nautical-inspired room (source unknown)

BHG website with tutorial on stripe-painting here.

A vertical take on the navy/white combo via Flickr

I think these rooms could be both masculine or feminine; it’s really about the accent colors and the accessories that makes it gender-specific. 

And, lastly, proof of the zeitgeist-worthiness of navy and gold… Brian Williams.  This is my best website find in a while, better than Sexy Executives.

This past Friday, here’s what Brian wore:

Brian works the Navy-and-Gold Palette like nobody’s business. Tonight’s striped version of it is a bit more elegant, however, because the blue leans violet and the gold is a pale and subtle shade. This tie is a drinks-after-work date, the jacket unbuttoned as he leans across the table to share a smile and a joke. Her glass of oaked Chardonnay sparkles in the light, and with a subtle and quick gesture, she silences her cellphone and smiles back.

UPDATE: Here are some more vertical stripes and great inspiration from The Peak of Chic blog.  

daffodils, forsythia and all things yellow

24 Mar

After all the writing about black and white, I’ve been curiously drawn to all things yellow, both online and in the real world.

And after this dreary winter, daffodils and forsythia are definitely my unicorn chasers.

Front garden in Boerum Hill, on my way home the other day

David Hicks for Clarence House wallpaper

Sadly, I believe this wallpaper is discontinued, but I’ve just learned about David Hicks and will feature more designs in the future.

Daffodils always remind me of the Meadow line of bedding and decor from Amenity.

Amenity crib bedding, Design Public

I love all the Amenity designs, which range from woodlands to wetlands to meadows.  Amenity linens are all organic and even made with organic dyes.  Of course, they’re of the highest quality, which is why they’re available at Design Public.  

FREE SHIPPING
on orders $50+


As you can tell from the photo above, I’m a very amateur photographer.  But if you want some real photography, you really can’t miss with the prints I found on Etsy.

Top: Curiously yellow.  Bottom: A little dream.

The above two photos are the work of a woman named Gordana Adamovic-Mladenovic, of Windsor, Ontario (by way of Sarajevo).  Her shop is found under the name Ajawin.

There’s something simply beautiful about her work, which is available on 8×8 archival paper, ready for framing and – best of all – only $20 each. 

Gordana’s Flickr page features more photos, each one more beautiful than the last. 

 My favorite photo of the day.

salvage shop picture frames

18 Mar

Spring! Finally.
In honor of today’s perfect weather, we took a long walk, which gave me the opportunity to visit some of my old favorite haunts on the way to Prospect Park.

One of the best shops for homemade, authentic handicrafts is called Cog & Pearl. It’s on 5th Avenue in Park Slope – if you live nearby I highly recommend a visit.  It’s great for gifts (for oneself and others), the items never feel too cutesy or hipster-ish, and there’s always something affordable to take home with you.

Liam’s 4 lens camera photo 

Liam’s mum’s Venice watercolor

Today’s visit reminded me of the two picture frames we’d purchased there.  Made of tin ceiling tiles and old clapboard wood, they’re made by a group of folks who run/own an architectural salvage store in Oneonta, NY.   The company is called Architques – but the frames, mirrors, and shelves are creative by-products of their salvage business (New York Salvage). 

I love the idea of ‘upcycling’ when it comes to home decor, especially when used as a contrast or accent piece in a modern room.  Here’s a description from the Architiques website:

“Our decorative home accents are made from Authentic Architectural building materials. Antique ceiling tin, Old wood(molding, clapboard & beadboard) is used to make these one-of-a-kind pieces. We try to keep our products as authentic as possible to have a variaty of colors, so there are times when our salvaged materials are enhanced with color. Shades may vary, level of distress varies & due to our ever changing stock, our tin patterns vary.”

Tin and wood frames, up to 8×10, $38-$75

The salvage shop has some interesting finds as well. 

Carnival ride sign, 1950’s, $350

Their Ebay store seems a bit more affordable, but to be honest, I’d stick with the frames.

books you shouldn’t buy #2

17 Mar

This is the second installment of my ‘books you shouldn’t buy’ feature.

Baby Rooms by Creative Homeowner (available on Amazon)

Boy, I set a high bar with this book.  As mentioned in BYSB #1 (here), I received a bunch of kid design books through Paperback Swap, thinking they’d be great as design reference materials.  I didn’t anticipate that books copyrighted in 2004 would seem so outdated.

They do.

 Time warp!

Don’t get me wrong.  There are some very helpful tips to be found amidst the 200-something pages.  Crib tents help prevent cats from jumping on babies.  Vertical stripes help make short ceilings appear taller.  Mobiles keep babies entertained, and help develop eye-tracking skills.

Here are the two decorating ideas I found somewhat interesting:
   

“Weekend cabin theme” room

1. The tackle box/storage bin and custom height chart with adjustable measuring bit.  Never really considered a cabin theme in a kid’s room; now I’m thinking it could be really cute if not taken too far.

You put your eggs in there (reminds me of this)

2. Wall murals often provide an opportunity to build things out – 3D style – by attaching objects to the illustration.  The book uses a bird’s nest, but I’ve seen great things done with branch-like hooks and knobs for hanging clothes.  I especially love the use of birdhouses, something I’ve seen before on Ohdeedoh and below, on Country Living’s website. 

Wallpaper tree, Country Living

The tree is made of wallpaper scraps, fashioned into a trunk and leaves.  It’s sweet, unisex, and much fresher than anything featured in my book.