High & Low: Office in a Cabinet
Sep 21, 2009
If you don't have the luxury of a dedicated office space, a computer can generate a whole lot of ugly in a room. A tangle of cords, clunky peripherals, plastic armor—not exactly a recipe for style. So I thought I'd round up a few of the nicer computer armoires/home-office cabinets at a range of price points. Many of these are offered in multiple finishes, and all will hide the mess of a home office in a small footprint.
From high to low, pick your price point. —Diane
Pinch Design Alba Armoire, $6,712. Inspired by mid-century plasterwork. Functional art!
Mayfair Steamer Secretary Trunk in Vintage Cigar Leather from Restoration Hardware, $3,995. Perfect for luddites who'd rather hide their technology in something old-fashioned.
Classic Computer Armoire by Bradshaw Kirchofer, $3,670. Fine workmanship, architectural style.
American Drew Camden Dark Home Office Cabinet, $1,417. A surprising amount of function packed into a small space.
**Inspired Choice** Original Vintage Danish Teak Office Cabinet. The first home office cabinets came from Scandinavia in the '60s. Here's a fine example in teak, still well suited for a laptop workstation. From Ebay seller guidesskypilot, this store item (not an auction) is going for $733.10, offers accepted.
Home Styles Computer Armoire from KMart, $468. Sweet cottage style. Love the built-in corkboard and file holders.
Sauder Harvest Mill Computer Armoire, $200. Not a bad-looking cabinet at this price. Paint the insides of the doors with chalkboard paint for added function.
Cyril Computer Cabinet from Ikea, $199. Just the basics at a basic price. This would look more luxe with paint or even wallpaper-covered doors. I'd paint the whole thing a dark eggplant color and fill the circle with a rusty orange. Use your imagination!
Need help finding the perfect piece of furniture? I can do that! No design dilemma is too small, even if it just involves a little shopping. Email me.
TAGS: small space room home office cabinet computer armoire laptop station compact vintage danish modern
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Find: Make your own custom-designed fabric at Spoonflower.
Sep 18, 2009
I'm a fabric junky. I do love to sew, but my efforts never seem to keep up with my ideas. (Or my yardage!) Fabric is sheer potential— it can become anything. So when I discovered Spoonflower.com, a North Carolina–based business that prints custom fabric, I felt a little overwhelmed.
Spoonflower takes your TIF, JPG, PNG, or GIF file and prints it on your choice of five base fabrics: quilting-weight cotton, upholstery-weight cotton, organic cotton sateen, organic cotton interlock knit, or drapey bamboo-cotton-rayon. Prices range from $18-27 per yard.
So far, users can't sell their designs on Spoonflower. That feature is coming. But browse the designs anyway, if only to be inspired by how creative, talented, and funny people can be. Here are a few of my favorites. —Diane
What are your favorites? Link 'em up in the comments below (or just leave a comment) and you'll be entered to win a $50 IRD gift certificate!
Birch by Isabelle. This would read like a stripe from a distance, but up close you notice the little animals.
JC-M5-1L by Mark Lawrence, a fine artist who is adapting some of his designs for fabric. This reminds me of the work of Gustav Klimt.
Mod Leaf by MysticalPritchett. Simple, with a beautiful color scheme.
Sprout Border by Bronwyn Landvatter. Border designs are great for curtains.
Obscure Animal Alphabet by Maile. I love this quirky twist on a classic kids' theme!
The Benz3 by red_liquorice. Gorgeous for upholstery on a Deco chair.
Tree Circles by Katty Neill. A subtle rusticity.
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Ritual: Top Ten Ideas for Fall-ifying Your House
Sep 17, 2009
When the cold mornings hit and the leaves start dotting the driveway, I start thinking about cozying up the house. Here's my list of Ten Ways to Fall-ify Your House.
How do you get ready for fall in your home? Tell me in the comments and I'll enter you in the September gift certificate drawing! You could win $50 good toward any of my services, online or in-home.
Ten Ways to Fall-ify Your House
- Let the sun shine in. Remove screens and wash the windows. I love the clear view of the fall colors.
- Change accessories. Don't display everything at once. Keep them rotating. It makes you love your things more.
- Stockpile blankets and pillows. In the living room I like to have a serious stack of afghans and throws (including an ultrawarm Hudson Bay blanket!). The bed gets flannel sheets, a heavier blanket, and a darker duvet cover.
- Switch the curtains. Last spring I switched to simple white cotton duck tab-tops in my bedroom. For fall I'll get out the heavier chocolatey drapes. Woo-hoo, I even washed them last spring!
- Make it easy to go outside. I keep a basket near the back door that holds headlamps & flashlights, YakTrax, and handwarmer packets so I have no excuse for avoiding an after-dark walk. And of course, the hats and mittens move back into the closet. In Michigan we often start using them in October!
- Lay some rugs. Warm floors are a must.
- Start a collection of guest slippers. There's no carpeting in our house (makes it a breeze to keep clean) but guests arriving with inevitably sloppy shoes and boots shouldn't have to walk around with stocking feet. So I started buying slippers in different sizes at the springtime clearance sales. They live in a big basket by the front door and get used often.
- Light candles. I like the spicy candles from Pier One. They're long-lasting and not overwhelming.
- Bring the outside in. Last fall my mom made me a beautiful arrangement all from things she found walking around in the woods and fields: milkweed, dried grasses, red osier dogwood twigs, cattails, seedpods… lots of wonderful (free!) natural items to decorate with this time of year.
- Cook something cozy. My favorite fall-is-officially-here recipe is Butternut Squash Risotto. Here's the recipe, adapted from Martha Stewart Everyday Food, October 2004. —Diane
Butternut Squash Risotto
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 1/2 pounds butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1/2-inch chunks
- Coarse salt and ground pepper
- 1 cup Arborio rice
- 1/2 cup dry white wine (I like pinot gris for this.)
- 2 cans (14 1/2 ounces each) organic chicken broth, mixed with 1/2 cup water
- Dash cayenne pepper, optional but recommended!
- 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage, plus more for garnish
- In a saucepan, warm the broth over low heat.
- In a medium heavy pan, melt butter over medium heat. Add squash; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring often, until edges soften, 6 to 8 minutes.
- Add rice; stir to coat. Add wine; cook until almost all liquid has evaporated, 1 to 2 minutes.
- Reduce heat to medium-low; add 1/2 cup hot broth mixture. Cook, stirring, until almost all liquid is absorbed. Add remaining broth mixture, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring until liquid is absorbed before adding more, 35 to 40 minutes total.
- Stir in cayenne, Parmesan, sage, and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt. Serve immediately, garnished with more Parmesan and sage, if desired.
TAGS: fall autumn nesting cozy up your house decor seasonal recipe butternut squash risotto martha stewart win prize giveaway
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Green Idea: Cork Tiles from ModWalls
Sep 16, 2009
Ever since we installed cork flooring in our mudroom, I've been in love with the stuff! It's easy on the feet, stays warm, absorbs sound, and has natural anti-bacterial qualities. It's also a sustainable material because it comes from the bark of a tree and renews itself in 9-12 years. It's been used for flooring since Victorian times, especially in public buildings, due to its durability.
For all those reasons, it's becoming popular again. You can now find cork flooring in a wide range of colors. You can buy engineered planks or stick-down tiles. But there's a new wall and floor surface that really caught my eye: ModWalls Cork Deluxe Tile.
Round 1" slices of cork left over from the wine-stopper industry are evenly spaced on 12"x23" mosaic sheets for easy installation with normal tile grout on walls, floors, and even ceilings. The tile has soundproofing and insulating qualities and, if sealed, is waterproof and non-slippery, so it's perfect for a bathroom or sauna.
Shown above with a natural-colored grout, it contrasts beautifully with a stainless-steel sink. On a bathroom floor, it looks like a modern twist on old-fashioned hex tiles.
Install it in a wine bar for a cheeky statement:
Get the Look for Less
The tile is $14.95 a square foot. Not cheap. The thought did occur to me that a patient DIYer with OCD tendencies could get the same look by slicing their own corks. But please, no power tools after drinking all that wine! —Diane
Want to green up your own home? I have a broad understanding of sustainable materials and products. My own home is Green Certified, and making design choices that minimize environmental impact is important in all my work. Email me! I can give you a vision for your room that's eco-friendlier.
TAGS: modwalls cork deluxe mosaic tile green eco-friendly sustainable wall floor grout round tiles
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Behind an Inspired Room. Or, how I revamped a living room from 793 miles away!
Sep 15, 2009
Last winter, through the power of Facebook, I was reunited virtually with a dear friend from elementary school. I was thrilled to see Stephanie pop up in a friend request. We started catching up and she told me that she was about to purchase her first house near Washington, D.C. At the time, I was contemplating starting an interior design business and had just begun to entertain the idea of designing rooms online—without setting a foot in the door. When Steph closed on the house and posted some photos of it, I knew it was time to test my idea. The house had potential. It was completely unfamiliar to me. And hey, if reunions can happen online, so can room redos!
Steph readily agreed to be my first test subject and chose her living room for the job. She answered my questionnaire and made this sketch of the floorplan:
She also sent photos of the living room prior to move-in.
My online questionnaire helped her define her style as traditional, and she sent me photos of a favorite handbag and some earrings that cued me in to her slightly modern tendencies.
I started visualizing the room in my head, sketching on paper, figuring out how to express Steph's traditional style in a current way. I rendered the room in 3D, explored color schemes, and did some online shopping. Then I began to develop the magazine-style presentation that's now a favorite feature of my eDecor clients.
I had to address Steph's unique challenges and style preferences. She wanted to minimize the metal stair railing, find a good place for the TV, and keep her existing wing chairs. She also wanted to make sure her dogs would be just as comfy in the room as she and her roommates would be.
I knew what to do, and here's the result: Stephanie's Twist on Traditional. The signatures of her look include:
- combination of straight and curvy lines that hints at tradition but keeps it from looking too "old"
- an airy feel: sheer window treatment, subdued color palette, blue accents
- texture variations
- a few bold strokes: accent wall, artsy accessories, and functional wooden stool that's also a statement piece
- simple fabrics like canvas and leather that make a space pet-friendly
I minimized the railing with furniture placement. The TV really can work in front of the window with a very low media console. And the wing chairs? I found a pair of shockingly affordable fitted cotton-duck slipcovers that made their lipsticky color a non-issue.
The 3D rendering allows me to show the room from any angle. It simulates standing within the room (above) or a bird's-eye view for a more complete picture (below).
The space plan includes an easy-to-follow furniture arrangement and an explanation of how the plan solves design problems. It's more than just decorating!
I like using color in unexpected places and thought that Steph would, too. The 3D views gave her a picture of how an accent color would look behind her bookshelves. No more guesswork!
The Inspiration Board is where the real fun starts. I gave Steph options at different price points for her major pieces: sofa and console table. Seeing the pieces all together helped her visualize the look of the room with real photos. The 3D views help clients understand placement and flow, while the Inspiration Board gives a realistic picture of how color, form, and texture work together in the room. And when she's ready to shop, all she has to do is click the item description and she's there at the purchasing page. It's like a visual shopping list.
Steph assures me that "after" photos are on the way soon. She's taking her time outfitting the room. That's one of the great things about eDecor—you can work at your own pace. While it may take some time to complete the look, Steph is relieved to have a creative vision and a plan for making it happen. —Diane
Want a closer look at Steph's room? For a fully zoomable-clickable-page-turnable demo of Steph's eDecor Plan (and three others) click here. Want your own customized eDecor Plan? Order here and have a whole new vision for your room within 7 working days. Or just email me for more information, no obligation!
TAGS: room design virtual decorating interior decor traditional modern long distance e=decorating
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