where green living, parenthood, and interiors intersect

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Shop Japan: Yaginoyama

The pervasive news coverage of the catastrophe in Japan may have subsided a bit, but it's up to everyone to continue the prayers, the support and the generosity we've shown to date. So much more is needed. I heard on the radio yesterday that Gwen Stefani donated one million dollars to Japanese relief efforts. Amazing.

As mentioned in previous posts, I'm using my retail powers and blog roll to aid the cause (in addition to giving what I could monetarily through Global Giving). One quaint little online Japanese store called Yaginoyama has gained worldwide recent exposure, including a post about their wares by Anne Sage, editor of Rue Magazine and The City Sage. Click here for her piece on the unique retailer, who is currently giving 10% of every purchase to the Japanese Red Cross. Be sure to check out their website; it's adorable and minimalist in a way that only the Japanese have perfected. Here are a few of my Yaginoyama favorites:

Sora Tea Pot

Handmade pottery Jug

Soy Sauce Pot

SyruRo Tea Canister

Painted Wooden Childrens Plates

Monday, March 28, 2011

Monday Color: Honeysuckle

As some of you may know, Pantone, the world's leading authority on color, announces a "color of the year" every December. After consulting trendsetters in the home, fashion, and consumer goods markets, they boldly marked 2011 the year of Honeysuckle.

Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute® explains "While the 2010 color of the year, PANTONE 15-5519 Turquoise, served as an escape for many, Honeysuckle emboldens us to face everyday troubles with verve and vigor. A dynamic reddish pink, Honeysuckle is encouraging and uplifting. It elevates our psyche beyond escape, instilling the confidence, courage and spirit to meet the exhaustive challenges that have become part of everyday life.

“In times of stress, we need something to lift our spirits. Honeysuckle is a captivating, stimulating color that gets the adrenaline going – perfect to ward off the blues,” explains Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute®. “Honeysuckle derives its positive qualities from a powerful bond to its mother color red, the most physical, viscerally alive hue in the spectrum.”

Eiseman continues, “The intensity of this festive reddish pink allures and engages. In fact, this color, not the sweet fragrance of the flower blossoms for which it was named, is what attracts hummingbirds to nectar. Honeysuckle may also bring a wave of nostalgia for its associated delicious scent reminiscent of the carefree days of spring and summer.”

I had to dig deep, but do indeed recall fond memories of the sweetly aromatic bushes that lined the driveway of one of my childhood homes. Most of the blossoms were white, so that is my most prominent association with the flower, but there were brightly hued fuchsia bushes as well. Last year's color Turquoise was more befitting of my personal decorating tastes, but a few months into the year and with the color heavy on my design radar in magazines and the vast blogosphere, I am starting to appreciate Honeysuckle's vibrancy and uplifting powers, although I haven't been bold enough to try it on anything more than my toe nails just yet!!

Images above:

1. I love the simple pop of this pink chair, found on Style Estate.

2. Insight on this daring designer's living room, as quoted from www.bhoome.com: "In her own 1940s bungalow, interior designer Natalie Umbert opted for an eye-popping fuchsia—Benjamin Moore Royal Fuchsia 2078-30—after trying several neutral wall colors that she deemed 'forlorn'.”

3. Honeysuckle stands up surprisingly well in ethnic room schemes, especially when paired with an equally spicy orange as seen in this image from www.idesignarch.com.

4. A teen's room I designed using bold pink, punches of orange and crisp white in 2010.....before the trend hit!!

5. A pink-themed feast from Traditional Home.

6. A hot pink lacquered bureau from Chelsea Textiles featured in a recent Elle Decor piece, both in the magazine and online.

7. A hand-painted Balinese basket from The Loaded Trunk.

8. Hi-Light Task Lamp from PB Teen.

9. Hot Pink Brooke Rug from Madeline Weinrib.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Etsy Love: My Bearded Pigeon

With recent natural devastation turning a sympathetic focus overseas, the feeling of a global community is profoundly more present and real than usual. Before we all go back to our default single-mindedness within our constructed geographical borders, I wish to take a moment to appreciate this feeling and imagine how it would be if it were always like this. (Especially for us Americans, many of whom, I hate to say, behave as if there are no other lands beyond our shores much of the time.)

For today's Etsy shop pick, I found a seller who crafts organic cotton pillows emblazoned with maps of the world, various countries, states and even cities, bringing a quirky global accent to any room. My Bearded Pigeon is an Australia-based shop, specializing in these fun pillows. Featured below is a map of Japan and states from both coasts as well as a few picks from their non-map designs including an inspiring quotation on lined notebook paper and blank notebook paper. I love the simplicity and old school design feel of all of My Bearded Pigeon pillows.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Hide & Sleep

Remodelista's recent post on alcove beds was inspiring; depicting innovative space usage, emphasizing the modern trend toward comfort, and making me feel an afternoon nap coming on. Here are some of my favorites from the post, with a few of my own window seat and sleeping nook finds added in:

A modern bed at the Hotel Aire de Bardenas in Spain (from Remodelista).

A built-in reading niche by Piet Boon (from Remodelista).

A built-in bed in Minneapolis, via Dwell (from Remodelista).

A window seat hideaway found in Ideal Home UK, via Dwellers without Decorators.

The perfect place to hide from the world.

As seen on The Green Door.

Guest room alcove beds from Posh Posh.

The two photos above feature a living room I designed in Atlantic Beach, NY and a close-up of the window seat lounge.

A cozy spot for reading and afternoon tea that I designed for a Manhattan client.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

America's Least Wasteful Cities

Naglene, manufacturer of a variety of BPA-free reusable containers, has created an intriguing website rating major American cities on their wastefulness. Check it out: www.leastwastefulcities.com. Not surprisingly, San Francisco takes home the prize, however I was interested to learn that New York City came in 3rd. This would be even more encouraging, had they not ranked 2nd in 2009 which either indicates an uptrend in wastefulness of New York City residents or simply that Seattle stepped it up big time. See the stats on NYC here. Either way, it sounds like my hometown of 14 years is leading the way in sustainable practices, being a part of the solution, as effectively as an uber-metropolis with millions of people in a few square miles can.

Here's the real kicker, you can take a personal wastefulness test by answering a few simple questions and see how you rank among others in the nation. I surprisingly ranked LOWER than the national average in my reuse and recycling practices. What?!? My guess is that the country's most active and eco-conscious are those that are going to the website and taking the test, therefore the millions of average households aren't even accounted for. Phew - I feel better. Sort of.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Pot Lid Fix

Another brilliant storage trick from Martha Stewart, solving the problem of where to store pot lids when space is limited. I nest several pots in my pantry cabinet and the lids just sorta hang out around them. But I love this ingenious solution and think I will bump this up on my growing list of DIY home projects. Click here for the full post.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Monday Color: Robin's Egg Blue

I'm not sure if I'm inspired by the official commencement of Spring today or if I have one of my clients (loving wife of Tiffany & Co's CEO) to blame, but I'm currently falling back in love with the sweetly vintage and always cheery hue of Robin's Egg Blue right now. It imparts a simple happiness in each of the rooms and products below. It can do its thing in a kids room in a more sophisticated way than pastel blues but is vastly popular with adults as well, working seamlessly into a number of different decor styles. A robin itself boasts subdued brown or rust feathers, but lays brilliant blue-green eggs, the color of which has carried the branding for an enduring luxury goods brand and graced brilliant interiors for decades. That's a powerful egg.

Images above:

1. Accents of Robin's Egg Blue are fun, yet soothing in this eclectic bedroom posted on Apartment Therapy, San Francisco.

2. A daring kitchen from Coastal Living, via Make Room for Living.

3. A group of mismatched dining chairs become a happy set in vibrant Robin's Egg Blue, via Tater Tots and Jello.

4. A tree silhouette on Robin's Egg Blue walls is both sophisticated and fun in this little girl's room, found on the Style Decor blog.

5. Brigitte Desk from Bungalow 5 in light blue.

6. Lacquer Napkin Holder in Robin's Egg Blue and Gold, by Entertaining with Caspari

7. Haviland "Laque de Chine" in Gold and Light Blue

8. Available in storage pieces, beds, bunks and more, the Robin's Egg Blue in Alexander Julian's Cottage Colours Collection is totally charming.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Etsy Love: Peg and Awl

Happy Saturday!!

One of my favorite pieces of furniture in my home is a simple bench made from support beams rescued from a turn-of-the-century lower Manhattan commercial building and I recently dragged a sea-sculputed plank of driftwood off the beach to turn into a shelf or maybe a table. You see, I have long believed that wood never belongs in a dumpster; the history and character that reclaimed wood possesses is more beautiful to me than any newly planed board could ever be. This said, I was delighted to discover a pair of talented Etsy artisans diverting this precious resource away from landfills after it has served its structural purpose in our nation's oldest buildings. Peg and Awl is a Philadelphia-based, husband and wife duo who dream up new uses for time-worn wood, as evidenced by the alluring - and sometimes quirky - pieces below. Whether crafting purely functional housewares out of salvaged wood or adding their own decoupaged twist to reclaimed chunks, the results are all equally lovable. Please take the time to read the stories in each link, as the origins of the wood materials are often just as interesting as the resulting piece.

Reclaimed Wood Candle Blocks (Metamorphosis, in the single photo above, is my favorite.)

Reclaimed Oak Tub Caddy

Medium Reclaimed Pine Desk Caddy

Reclaimed Hardwood Apothecary Spice/Tea Rack

Reclaimed Wood Shelf and Coat Hanger

Set of 3 Nesting Reclaimed Oak Fruit Baskets