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Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Etsy Pick of the Week: Nature's Rigid Beauty

I have to admit that when I started this "Etsy Pick of the Week" feature I thought it was going to be a breeze. There are so many cool things on Etsy, right? Well that's true, but there are SO many things that sometimes it's overwhelming to weed through it all to find something that really strikes me as incredible. Just as I thought to myself, "Man, what did I get myself into here?" I literally had my breath taken away as I laid my eyes on the tiles by Element Clay Studio. The detail in each wall tile is incredible and the artist's ability to create the illusion of nature in motion out of a rigid form is truly beautiful. These are wall tiles that come in two sizes and are meant to be hung as art. They come in patterns such as Reef (above), Magnolia (below), Hydrangea, Fungi, Barnacle and other beautiful textures of nature. I think it would be absolutely amazing to hang an entire wall of them (or at least a good 3' x 5' space) really tightly in an entryway.

And the talent here doesn't just lie in tiles, but also in bowls (like the Tiny Scallop ones below) and other serving pieces.
Even if you aren't in the market for this sort of thing, I encourage you to check out this Etsy shop just to experience and appreciate the talent of the artist.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Dreams of a Bigger Kitchen

Two and a half years ago when we were house hunting we were thrilled after looking at 50 houses (literally!) to finally find one in our budget with a great big living room, formal dining room, and a newer kitchen with a good size island. I thought it was going to be just perfect (with a few cosmetic changes). But the thing is, that no matter how big your house is, everyone hangs out in the kitchen and I feel like an awful host since that means only two people get to sit. So I'm now thinking that all houses should be 75% kitchen and 25% living space, and the thought keeps being reinforced over and over again every time we have people over whether it's just another couple for dinner or the whole gang. It's not in the cards right now, but I can't wait to be able to blow out our kitchen and I always love looking for inspiration. Here are some great kitchens, and hopefully some day mine will fall into this category too.
I love the double island in this kitchen. A great way to have space to layout your food on one of them for people to gather around and still have a workspace on the other.
This double wide island also helps keep guests out of your workspace while still be able to socialize with them, and I love having an actual kitchen table in addition to seating at the island.

I love this rustic dining table placed as though it were an island. It adds a sense of intimacy for your guests, but still provides a prep space for you. We'll be seeing this look in the final decor of the 18th Century Colonial renovation we've been following.
All I see when I look at this kitchen is space....there is ample space for people to sit or to stand and I imagine that the table could be pushed off to the side pretty easily to really create an open area when entertaining.
The L shaped seating on this island makes it much easier for conversations and again, I love the eat in table in the same space. And as an added bonus this island is nice and long.
The curvature of this kitchen really makes it appear much larger and all the windows make it brilliantly bright. Some day I'll be able to incorporate these features, but in the meantime I think I'll just move all the alcohol to the living room. That always gets my guests moving!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Party Pom Poms

I'm always looking for easy and inexpensive party decorations that still make a statement so when I came across these tissue paper party pom poms I had to share them with you. At $5 a pop and a choice of 9 colors, you really can't go wrong whether you're planning a 1st birthday party (like myself), a garden party, or an elaborate wedding. They'd also be great as room decor for a little girl, and what little girl wouldn't love a 3D garden in her room!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Etsy Pick of the Week: Surf's Up

These customized surfboard art pieces by Sunday Treasures in two lengths, 27" or 4', are a great way to stake your place. They come in several different patterns and colors, and you can even have them customized to your own color specs to match bedding or wall colors. I think it would be a fabulous baby gift (and the price is right at $49 for the smaller one) for the beach lover in your life or even a great housewarming gift. Put a family's last name or address on it instead of a first name. Surf's up!

Monday, February 8, 2010


I've always been a big fan of FLOR tiles for their design qualities because they make it so easy to customize a rug and they are ridiculously simple to install. On top of that, they are super eco-friendly being made of renewable and recyclable resources, having low VOC's, and you can return them to the company when you are done so that they can recycle them into new product. The company's founder, Ray Anderson, is one of the leader's in innovative environmental design. But in addition to all these wonderful things, I have (fortunately or unfortunately) been reminded just how practical these carpet tiles are. We installed them in our basement playroom and office and twice in the past week and a half we've had part of our basement flood due to a problem sump pump. Normally, this would mean destroyed carpet, but with FLOR tiles, we literally just popped them up and put them in the sink to drain the water off. Once they're dry you can reinstall them in virtually no time at all. If you need to clean some or all of them, you can run them under a hose, and if you totally destroy a tile or two, just order one or two more without having to replace the entire carpet. They offer styles refined enough for your dining room and durable enough for your garage so if you have any need for carpet of any sort, I highly recommend you check them out.