A Most Articulate Article- Must Pass On!

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Ready to daring? Your powder room is the absolute best place in your home to take a chance with bold colors and oversized prints or accessories. Yes, it’s counter intuitive to use large scale items or crazy repeats in such a small place, but it can deceive the eye into thinking that the room is actually larger. And face it, on most occasions, visits to this mini-room are brief … making for an opportunity to amuse and entertain if only for a few minutes. Beats the heck out of magazine reading!

Splurge on sumptuous details like large-scale wallpaper:

Confusing, yet expressive art work. Proving that there is no right or wrong place at hang a masterpiece:

Or how about a salon style mirror, adding glitz and glamour:

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It’s Not Your Momma’s Wallpaper!

Juicy Jute Grasscloth 4819 Tantalizing Teal

Juicy Jute Grasscloth
4819 Tantalizing Teal

It’s hard to believe, but it’s back. After generations (a few) spent taking it down, it’s time to put it back up. That’s right, I’m talkin’ bout wallpaper. Not the chintz and flower power of an unmentioned previous era, not the duck and cow boarders of your grandma’s kitchen, but today the entire medium has been reinvented with durable, washable vinyl, sparkling metallic weaves, and elegant, textural grasscloths. My favorite company is PHILLIP JEFFRIES (www.phillipjeffries.com), a manufacturer and importer of unique and finely textured wallcoverings. This is a company which is to the trade only, so there is a very indulgent quality which cannot be replicated for masse production. Yes, a bit of a splurge, but well worth it for a truly luxe finish to your home.

If you are shy and frightened at the prospect, start off wallpapering a powder room with a solid Bermuda Hemp, or maybe a dining room detail with geometric printed Japanese Paper Weave. And remember, as wallpaper has changed, so have the adhesives. A Haz Mat crew won’t be necessary when its day is done. Properly applied, wallpaper comes down as easily as it goes up. Adding instant elegance, visual detail and textural definition to your space is well worth the time and expense.

Glam Grass 5224 Windsor Grey

Glam Grass
5224 Windsor Grey

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Art Advice: Shop from the Heart

Art can play a major role in our home décor. It is often the focal point of the room, serving as inspiration for color and style. Art says a lot about who we are: bold and colorful, abstract and elusive, mellow and serene… all various ways that art reveals us to the onlooker. Only problem is, art can be expensive, no doubt about it. So where does one start when you’re on a budget?

AFFORDABLE ART can come from many sources. REPRODUCTIONS are available from many on-line sites. Some of my favorites: www.artriver.com, a site which I just discovered and love! The focus is modern art produced by select well-known artists like Warhol and Motherwell at very reasonable prices. If international art intrigues you, www.saatchionline.com, features emerging artists from around the globe at a variety of price points. Always reliable, BLACK AND WHITE photography looks good at all price levels. CHILDREN’S ART is expressive and no truer statement of innocence and abstract expressionism can be found!

Gallery Wall 1 Galley Wall 2

FRAME YOUR ART in a way which is roughly equal to the value of the piece. In other words, don’t frame a $10 print with a $300 frame. If a picture is of greater value (financially or emotionally), then it may be worth a greater investment. WHEN IN DOUBT, a simple black or white frame never fails.

HANG YOUR ART with purpose. There should be some sort of commonality, like consistent color, palette or size. Cluster art with all black frames for example. Or group a similar look, but they needn’t match exactly. Maybe a couple of graphic prints with a few photographs, then throw in a post card for fun.

COLLECT YOUR ART with passion. Art should make you happy. Don’t try to impress. Shop from the heart, and that applies at any price!

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Great Bones, But She Needs Some Lipstick!

As the winter slowly rolled by, I got a bit restless and decided to start a project, something to pass the time looking out on to the cold, frozen tundra. Being a big believer in the power of paint to revive and restore, I found a very lovely chair that appeared to be in need of some TLC. Its manufacturer was well respected Hickory Chair Company, so it had a great pedigree but looked a bit sad and worn.

How about this transformation??… It’s now a funky, cheerful piece which would be perfect as an occasional chair in the bedroom, perhaps a desk chair, or maybe as a piano seat. Heck, this little gem would fit right in a variety of settings and really perk up the scenery.

Do try this at home! The painting is easy enough, but be sure to have a professional take on the upholstery work. With a little patience and persistence, the old is new again and winter becomes spring!

Cute, but badly in need of an update.

Cute, but badly in need of an update.What a fun piece, ready for its close up!

What a fun piece, ready for its close up!

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Kid Stuff

I must confess that I have yet to design a child’s room, but a good friend is expecting, so lately I have been perusing sources for newborn and children’s furniture. There are the usual suspects: Pottery Barn Kids and IKEA, Young America by Stanley and Land of Nod, and they all offer great products. But if you are into a bit mod, a bit more contemporary, selections in Des Moines are limited by the number of retailers represented, so on-line shopping or even a trip to Chicago or Minneapolis is necessary.

Check out Oeuf (www.oeufnyc.com), a design firm based in Brooklyn, NY and founded by Sophie Demange and Michael Ryan. Oeuf evokes the image of simple, clean and intuitive design. Their goods are eco-friendly modern furniture made mostly of birch. Designed out of necessity because the couple “couldn’t find anything they liked” for their own child who was born in 2002, the brand has expanded from furniture to layette to jewelry. Their collaboration has produced the Classic Crib which converts to a toddler bed. Another favorite for the older child is the Perch Bunk Bed, and both are available in natural birch or walnut finishes. Oeuf furniture is deliberately manufactured in Europe as opposed to China, it is multi-functional and very useful stuff.

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A highly recognizable icon of the 21st century, the Louis Ghost Chair designed by Phillippe Stark pops up everywhere in contemporary as well as traditional design. The chair is a classic shape based on the French Louis XV and reinvented by Stark using a single piece of translucent injection-molded polycarbonate. The Ghost Chair brings subtle elegance to any room and is frequently seen in both residential and commercial applications. Because it can be used in indoor as well as outdoor settings, you may see it at the next wedding reception you attend.

As to versatility, the Ghost Chair works well simply because you can see through it, so it makes spaces (especially small ones) seem bigger. The Louis is unobtrusive, thus it works well in a dining eating area where you may want the illusion of additional space, yet as an office chair it provides a functional, yet glamorous approach to simply sitting. Teamed in a rustic environment, the Louis is a counterpoint to the rough hewn. Paired with the industrial, it will highlight raw materials: stone, metal or wood.

There are many imitators which can be had for about 150 bucks on the internet, but if you’re into the original, check out http://www.AllModern.com for the genuine Kartell model. You will find the original to be more sturdy and quite formidable… a real piece of furniture, not a toy. If you can afford the splurge at about $400, a pop, you’ll have a real keeper.

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