where green living, parenthood, and interiors intersect

Monday, February 28, 2011

Monday Color: Slate Blue

Influenced by the misty gray-blue skies that are framed by each window in my home this morning, I have chosen Slate Blue as today's Monday Color. I frequently use blues in my design projects and am always struck by the vast range of hues that exist, a palette as seemingly infinite as the very sky it colors. I love all blues from bright to light, from green-tinted to inky, and the sleepy, soft drama of Slate Blue is no exception.

1. Pops of goldenrod, stark white, and wood tones balance the somber blue walls beautifully in this room.

2. I love the mix of raw natural textures with cream and slate blue. (room by architect Tom Scheerer, photo by David O. Marlow)

3. White ceramic pops against this soothing slate blue kitchen backdrop. (photo from Gast Architects, via My Sweet Savannah)

4. Slate blue feels warm and cozy on the walls and textural pillows of this room by Kenneth Brown, found on Decor Pad.

5. This is work-in-progress photo of the media room of one of my former celebrity clients, for which the color palette was based on the smoky colors of the Hudson River and New Jersey skyline that span every view.

6. A denim-esque gray duvet cover rom Coyuchi's Deep Woods Collection.

7. Alexandra Side Chair in Slate Blue silk by Hickory Chair.

8. Blue Scrap Leather Rug from Viva Terra.

9. Tiago Slate Blue Porcelain Dinnerware Set by Thomas Obrien.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Etsy Love: Whitney Smith Pottery

I've always had a thing for birds and lately quite a thing for ceramics, so of course I'm smitten with Whitney Smith's collection of handmade pottery. Inspired by natural plant forms and our little feathered friends, her whole line has a laid-back yet vintagey-sweet feel.

Images above:

1. Bid Cupcake and Ceramic Stand in Robin's Egg Blue

2. Three Nesting Lotus Bowls in Milk White

3. Poppy Ceramic Serving Plate in Yellow

4. Bird Ceramic Bowl in Milk White

5. Set of Eight Nesting Lichen Ceramic Bowls

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Brushing Up

I am well aware that there is an aisle in every drug store across America overflowing with dental care products, including dozens of candy-colored plastic toothbrushes with hi-tech bristle patterns, emblazoned with large company logos and packaged up with promotional endorsements from 9 out of 10 dentists. I just don't buy it.

For many years, I have figured that all you need is a regular toothbrush and the discipline to brush twice daily. And a good flossing habit too. And with my attraction to clean, simple design, it's no surprise that the bulging orange handle with comfort grips attached to a blue and white head that fades over time and makes false promises does not have a place in my toothbrush holder.

Plus, I'm also an avid environmentalist, looking for every small opportunity to make a difference. So therefore I've been a Preserve Toothbrush fan for many years. I switch back and forth between solid white and blue, but they have a few other colors in their assortment, all appealingly clean and modern. They are made from 100% recycled plastic and are completely recyclable (you can even buy brushes with a mail-back program to ensure the next stage in the recycling loop), as well as free of BPA and all gimmicks. All these feel-good attributes contribute to total brand loyalty. I don't even accept free toothbrushes at the dentist's office.

While I don't plan to alter my teeth cleaning tool choices any time soon, I must admit that I am tempted to fill the overnight guest supply basket with these lovely bamboo toothbrushes from Izola, which are just as appealing in eco-friendliness and design. My guests will be enjoying the philosophical messages like "Ruminate" and "Contemplate" however 4-packs featuring months of the years or numbers 1-4 imprinted on the bamboo handles are also available (sets of 4 start at $11, from Velocity).

Monday, February 21, 2011

Monday Color: Kelly Green

Ok, so it's no longer Monday. But this celebration of Kelly Green had to be postponed one day so that it could see the light on my friend Cat's birthday. She is the world's biggest champion of Kelly Green, from her sassy green Chanel bag, to her trusty emerald colored wallet, to the vibrant accents of the hue throughout her Manhattan studio apartment. If Kelly Green were a man, she would marry him.

Speaking of marriage, the color also happens to be prominent in the Spring-inspired palette of another friend's upcoming wedding so I've been deeply ensconced in a Kelly Green bridesmaid dress search. And then there's St. Patty's Day just around the corner, and in the West End of Long Beach, NY that's bigger than Christmas.

Images above:

1. A close-up of a master bedroom I designed with my former re:place staff in Watermill, NY featuring Schumacher's House of KWID Imperial Trellis in Trelliage/Ivory.

2. The signature color of one of my favorite hotels, The Viceroy Santa Monica, Kelly Green is used in small pops and large doses throughout the property, including the lobby bathrooms that make a strong green, black and white statement.

3. The color feels fun yet sophisticated in a baby's room, as seen in this nursery on decorpad.com.

4. What a surprising pop of color on this porch featured in Coastal Living (photo by Jean Allsop).

5. Kelly Green brings a retro feel to this kitchen (found on Apartment Therapy Chicago) sans the avacado or orange.

6. Last year, Electrolux teamed up with Kelly Rippa for an Earth Day promotion, featuring a giveaway of this cheery Kelly Green front-loading washer and dryer pair. The color is sadly no longer available, but Red Hot Red, Mediterranean Blue and Turquoise Sky are close runner-ups.

7. The stunning Hollywood Bed in green from Room Service in Los Angeles.

8. Kelly Green Waverly Cross Section Decorative Throw Pillow from Asmus Home Interiors, on Etsy.

9. Not ready for Kelly Green kitchen cabinets? This dish rack brings fun to a commonly futile function, adding just a touch of green to any kitchen. Dish Doctor by Magis, available through the Conran Shop.

10. Maybe for Cat's birthday next year?? Personalizable iphone case by Pantone, available in an assortment of colors.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

From Ebay to Etsy

In my more materialistic yesteryears, I recall getting foolishly lost on ebay for hours. The genius who developed the "you might also like...." online shopping concept really knew what he/she was doing, as each click led me further into a virtual window shopping maze, gazing at item after item that, sure enough, I did indeed "also like." Sometimes I was on a genuine hunt for a new wardrobe necessity, other times I was just after another designer handbag at a fraction of the retail price (this always felt like such a victory). And often I just clicked around for entertainment, utterly fascinated by the strange goods that people actually sold - and bought, for that matter - in ebay land. Fortunately, while I had a long "watched items" list and occasionally caught the ebay auction fever resulting in some great bargains and invigorating victories, those years ended without too much regrettable investment. And I'm sure Salvation Army was thrilled to benefit from all my ebay follies that collected dust in my closet corners for years.

These days my virtual browsing habits are fed by Etsy, an online store, craft fair, art gallery and flea market rolled into one. Etsy was founded in 2005, the same year my son was born, and coincidentally the same year I kicked my ebay habit. I guess motherhood brings perspective and a Marc Jacobs handbag, even at $200, just starts to lose its luster. Etsy is guilt-free because my browsing and eventual purchases are supporting one of 1000's of crafters and artists, not some fashionista clearing out her closet for the next Spring Collection. And there are no auctions. I think a big part of my ebay habit was rooted in the thrill of the chase, strategizing, watching, waiting, attacking at just the right moment, with just the right bid. Etsy is just one big happy pool of awesomely creative people looking to sell the results of their talents for what always seems like such a reasonable price.

What's the point of my little confession here? Well....today, and every Saturday from now on, I will be posting treasures from my favorite Etsy shops, things I wish I had the talent to make myself or items I have proudly purchased (or wish I could). My first Etsy tribute goes out to Prince Design UK, a collection of beautiful handmade ceramics by Elizabeth Prince.

Images above:

1. Flock Ceramic Wall Art Set - 3 Flying Ducks (shown in teal, but available in several other colors)

2. Lacy Bird Bowls

3. Grace - Wall Sculpture in Porcelain

4. Caribbean Leaf Ceramic Dish (with recycled glass inlay)

Friday, February 18, 2011

What Ryder would do if he ran the world....

Last night at dinner, my little boy asked me what I would do to end pollution if I was in charge of the world. What a great question! I started in on my long list of missions including alternative energy, corporate responsibility, recycling laws, etc, but then my internal mothering voice prodded me to turn the question back on him. I guess my bagless quest has rubbed off, because his first answer was that he would ban plastic bags. Glowing, I asked him why he thought that was important. He said he doesn't want to see them in our ocean or stuck in tree branches anymore. Great question, great answer.

So we decided, in our sticky booth at the West End Pizzeria, to make a single-use plastic bag ban our mother-son mission, starting in our small oceanside city of Long Beach. Just because the most environmentally progressive state of California failed to legislate such a ban last year (for more details on this setback and why plastic bags are so awful, click here), we're not deterred from taking our best shot at a local effort. There's a pop song on the radio right now by Katy Perry in which the opening line refers to feeling like a plastic bag drifting in the breeze. Sadly, this is a common image and pretty much any listener can relate to the symbolism. In Dylan's era, it was the answers that were blowing in the wind, not toxic waste. So if I really were in charge of the world, plastic bags would be gone and Dylan would be back on the radio. We walked out of the pizzeria with a new mission and without a plastic bag for our leftovers.

Stay tuned for updates as we take our bagless mission to community level.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Classic Kids Games

With Winter Break just around the corner and not a snowball left in sight to throw, I thought I'd round up a few playtime suggestions, bringing back some classics to a generation who has never known a day with the world wide web or microwaved food. This list features both my son's most beloved games and a nostalgic look back at my own childhood favorites.

Lincoln Logs were always one of my favorite (guess I've been into home design for a loooong time!)

Tinker Toy Sets stretch the imagination of any child.

The engaging African counting game Mancala in an eco-friendly Bamboo version!!

Old or young, who doesn't love Twister?!?

Classic Monopoly is a favorite in our household, not only increasing the entrepreneurial skills ever 5 year old needs, but improving basics like addition and counting too.

Jenga engages hand-eye coordination, strategy skills and patience like no other.

Masters of old school kids games and toys that will be tomorrow's classics, Melissa and Doug's version of Pick up Sticks is beautiful.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Hope for the Flowers

Hope for the Flowers - affectionately referred to as simply The Caterpillar Book in my household - has been the most read story on our shelves since Ryder's birth. I just learned that it is about to celebrate its 40th anniversary next year which comes as no surprise to me: its liberal, anti-system sentiment still resonates just as profoundly today as it did four decades ago. An adult story masked as a children's book, with innocently simple black and white (and yellow) illustrations, Hope for the Flowers should have a spot on every bookshelf, and in every heart.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Under Foot

The new rug collection that I spotted on Remodelista today is a true expression of "less is more." Gypsy/Maturin is a collection of rugs loomed from all natural materials like hemp, mohair and vintage Turkish Kilim with thoughtful, minimalist details in a pure, earthy palette. Somehow they are as modern as they are old-worldly, as delicate as they are raw. And just all-around beautiful.