Friday, August 28, 2009

Tea parties every day??? Yes Please!

A few months ago I spent about three hours trying to put together a seemingly simply desk organizer from Ikea. It caused a lot of tension in my apartment. I laughed. I cried. I bled. I got bitter and resentful when Hanna suggested that I might need some help.

When I finally finished my project I picked up the drawers and discovered, to my dismay, that our dining room table had a bunch of small nail indentations in it. Apparently in my zeal to put it together I neglected to put down paper or cardboard to work on. Now our table is pock-marked and it is all my fault.

At the moment, we have it covered up by some adorable vinyl place mats that look like neon doilies. (I found them at Flirt in Park Slope along with a bunch of throw pillows that will probably make an appearance in my living room very soon.) They don't cover the whole table though and I'm thinking that I might spice things up with a sassy table cloth every now and then. Over at Design*Sponge, Kate Pruitt is featuring an easy DIY tablecloth with iron-on transfers and the result is absolutely BANANAS.

Check it out!

Image: Design*Sponge

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Chocolate: Not just for eating

Even though I rarely cook, I'm a sucker for a cute well-organized kitchen. I love exposed shelves and pretty dishes on display. I adore all the canisters and vases and containers involved in storing utensils and dry goods and finding an appropriate space for cookbooks and take-out menus. I could go on and on...

What I REALLY like are spaces that look really clean and efficient without sacrificing style and beauty.

This kitchen, featured on Apartment Therapy's sister site The Kitchn, is exactly what I am looking for- simple lines, crisp colors and very organized yet still comfortable and homey. I always forget how warm a deep chocolate brown looks; it's lovely against the cool white subway tiles. I am also loving the artwork, it really elevates the space and I guessing it also helps tie in the rest of the room.

We really need to work on our kitchen. It will never be as chic as this one since we are still cursed with the painted tiles (peach colored trees?? really??) and lack of adequate storage space. However, we have a ton of wall space and room to be creative with furniture and shelves and seating. We recently hung up a spectacular chalk board for displaying menus and recipes and random crude quotes but I'm thinking of painting for wallpapering one of the longer walls to bring some spice to the room as well.

Image: The Kitchn

Monday, August 24, 2009

New Jocelyn Warner!

Ten years after her initial debut, wallpaper extraordinaire Jocelyn Warner is returning to London's 100% Design fair this September and I am delighted to see her three new designs! A delicate, modern take on traditional floral prints, Warner's botanical motifs are wildly elegant, charming and original. Her Leaf and Peony designs have quickly made their way onto my favorites list and will likely be joined by her new Fern design.
As usual, all designs will be available in a variety of colourways that will make any room feel enchanting and stylish. I'm thinking the Fern in 'Chalk' would be particularly wonderful in my living room or, better yet, used in our kitchen to create a swank transition between the two rooms.

If you live in London, be sure to check out their booth at 100% Design! If you don't, visit their website where you can also find her swoon-worthy lampshades (Treetops is gorgeous!) and the rug to end all rugs, Bloom!

Photos Courtesy of: Jocelyn Warner

Friday, August 21, 2009


Am I watching too much Six Feet Under and Dexter? Listening to too much punk? Perhaps it's my infatuation with crystal skulls*... I am getting pretty morbid in my decor tastes! Nevertheless, I love this living room. It's rock and roll with a mix of unisex-cool. It makes me want to wear plaid and CK1.

***Love the shelves
****Love the black fireplace
******Love the round couch
****Love the giant skull and corresponding book-jacket nearby
***Hate the antlers!

Ps. Even though I hate Damien Hirst, if anyone ever bought me a crystal skull, I would love them forever. Hint, hint...

Image: Living Etc

Vogue Living

Anna Spiro, the genius behind the fantastically feminine blog Absolutely Beautiful Things, was featured in Vogue Living recently and I am drooling- literally salivating all over my desk. The wallpaper! The chandelier! The crazy baroque mirror! The bright white light! She has a brilliant eye for bold colors ( I adore her use of pink and red, natch.) (wait, did I just say 'natch'? Yes. Yes, I did.)

Check out the September/October issue of Australian Vogue Living here.


Hanna and I have a problem. Well actually, I have a problem. Hanna doesn't care so much. She's not nearly as neurotic as I am.

Our dvds are taking over our living room.

Ok, that's an exaggeration.

Most of our dvds are currently stacked in a semi-neat pile that is almost as tall as I am. Then there is a smaller stack against the bookshelf. There are more in a garment box under the side chair. A bunch of others are on my desk. There might also a pile leaning against the closet on top of a shoebox full of feathers.

What's a girl to do?

I hate the way dvds look. They take up a lot of space. They aren't aesthetically pleasing to me. They are hard to organize by color. Nicole over at Making it Lovely chronicled their dvd plight and came up with a simple solution: they hid them.

I like this.

Too bad we don't have room to devote whole cabinets to our growing DVD collection. That would be heavenly. So far here are my ideas:

1) Buy colorful boxes and store the dvds on the bottom shelf of both bookshelves so they look need and symmetrical and best of all: they will be hidden.
2) Give up and make space on our bookshelves.
3) Buy a tv stand with room to store or shelve the dvds to keep all our viewing pleasure in one place.
4) Thow away all the boxes and keep just the discs themselves organized by genre in pretty binders.

Thoughts????? Suggestions????? Words of Wisdom?????

Image: I Suwannee

Monday, August 17, 2009

The early bird...

Well it's August and you know what that means: time to start planning my birthday party!!

I know. My birthday isn't until November. I have plenty of time. But that doesn't mean I can't fantasize about the perfect party to commemorate turning.... ummmm oh crap. I forgot about the depressing aspects of birthdays...


There is nothing I love more than gathering all my friends together to drink, eat and discuss important world events (Rob and Kristin: together or just co-stars? Will Robert Downey Jr. be a good Lestat? Can the adorable Kristin Bell save the mess that is When in Rome?). And what better excuse for fun centerpieces and decadent decorations than a birthday party!?!?! 

I'm not sure where I would ever be able to pull this look off, but I love this long and low table featured on AT: LA today. Sitting on the floor gets a bit uncomfortable after a while but you could get the same look by making inexpensive napkins out of mismatching fabric scraps. 

My only question is how to fit a pinata into the mix...

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Guest Post: Book Obsession

So it's been a busy summer at the library and I haven't had much time to develop new obsessions, let alone post about them, but now things are calming down, which makes A Year of Mornings:3,191 Miles Apart the ideal obsession of the moment. Based on the visual blog of 2 women living on opposite coasts of America, this book shows a year of documented, beautifully composed, startlingly serendipitous moments of peace and serenity. I pour over this book and feel instantly calmer. Imagine how excited I was to visit the original blog and discover that soon they will be releasing a follow-up volume, Evenings.

Check out their gorgeous work!

-Mia C

Images: Maria Alexandra Vettese & Stephanie Congdon Barnes


Image: LivingEtc


Shannon Fricke is an Austrialian designer extraordinaire and I love her. I was first introduced to her work through her wonderful Sense of Style books. Her website and blog are simply stunning- just like her work. It's basically eye-candy with some words thrown in. Over at AT: LA, you can find photos from a recent spread in Inside Out. The whole house is beautiful but it's the crisp feminine bedroom that is catching my attention here. The wallpaper is delicious! I love the idea of building a free-standing wall to separate rooms or create a sleeping nook in a studio.

I am also loving the grey, white, yellow and peacock blue color palette. How can I incorporate these colors into our drab apartment???

Image: Shannon Fricke via AT: LA

Excuses, Excuses

Here is something embarrassing: I am working on a project with a good friend and instead of focusing on our writing, I have been spending most of my time designing an imaginary production office in my head. Apparently, while others procrastinate with actual chores or tv, I decorate rooms I don't own for businesses I haven't yet created. Wonderful.

It's not my fault though- last week I went to IKEA and spent way too much time sitting in one of their faux offices contemplating their enthusiasm for shelving and wondering if the tulip chairs they displayed would actually be comfortable as a desk chair. This led to a full-on obsession. Suddenly I was thinking about desk set ups, reception areas, filing cabinets, etc...

One of the challenges of setting up an office space for the two of us would be finding a way to balance our two styles. She adds a very laid-back, bohemian sophisticate feel to basically everything she touches. She's glamorous in a very natural 'I can wear sea glass and not seem like a hippie' kind of way. Where I gravitate toward jewel tones, she would choose dusky roses and sage greens. When I would automatically choose lacquer and lucite, she would want teak and oak. The new offices of gift designer PaPaYa! are extremely colorful and exude a childlike whimsy-see their painted chandeliers and electric floral paper products here- yet parts of the large space are incredibly elegant and basically I am incorporating them into my fantasy office.

I love the ikat ottomans and deep sofa, which would encompass both our styles. The large wooden sunburst mirror would lend a rustic feel to the place that she would appreciate while the gold-rimmed end tables fit perfectly into my aesthetic. I also love love love the mirrored credenza, it would add some nice old Hollywood glamor.

Ok back to writing...

Images: PaPaYa! via Decor8

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

If it ain't baroque...

Everyone knows my taste tends to be a bit dramatic. Even as a child, my taste varied depending on the day (my mother once grounded me after I petitioned for a violet room only to dismiss it in favor of an all white palette while the paint was practically still wet). Lately, I find myself wavering between two different aesthetics. On the one hand, I lean toward bright white rooms with smaller touches of vibrant colors and patterns but on the other, I am inextricably drawn to dark, slightly Gothic rooms with radiant jewel tones and an abundance of hot pink and yellow. I saw this incredibly chic living room over at CasaSugar yesterday and have been thinking about it ever since. Designer Abigail Ahern first caught my attention when the photos of the apartment she helped design for her sister hit the New York Times. Something tells me I might be adding another girl to my design crush list!

Check out Ahern's fun website here. (I especially love the lamps and chandeliers throughout each room)

Image: Abigail Ahern via CasaSugar

Monday, August 10, 2009

Hot Headed

I know it's morbid and slightly grotesque but I love this. I can see the black one on a white mantle in front of a huge mirror. Who needs tv?

Image: Urban Materials and Accessories via AT: LA

Friday, August 7, 2009

Won't you be my neighbor???

Do I love this or hate this? I am not so sure...

Colorful 'statement' rugs are so difficult to incorporate into a room. They either overwhelm and distract or provide the perfect punch of vibrancy and interest to pull the room together. Some rooms need a rug to add warmth while others need them to brighten a dull room. I like them because they make a room look more 'finished' though in our case, we need one just to break up the dark brown wood floors and help cover the splatters of three different paint colors.

Even though Hanna hates rugs, I'm still secretly looking for the perfect one. I'd say it's in case she changes her mind but it's actually just because I like those kinds of projects and enjoy the challenge of finding something that complements the strange shade of burnt orange on our couch.

This rug intrigues me. It's interesting. It's colorful. It's modern.

It's also sort of weird.

And feels like it should be in a bachelor pad.

Or sold at CB2.

Ok, nevermind.

Images: Flor, Be My Neighbor Rug Kit via Poppytalk

Thursday, August 6, 2009

In a perfect world...

...this would be me.

Image: Refinery29 via {this is glamorous}

Liner Notes

I have a book addiction. Not only do buy too many, too often, but I am also incapable of weeding out my inventory. There are no less than three crates of books stored at my parents' house in Connecticut. We currently have two full bookshelves in our living room and there are two more crates of books stored under my desk in my bedroom taking up all my legroom. I have been scouring Craigslist hoping to find an identical set of bookshelves for our living room so we can frame the fireplace with floor-to-ceiling bookshelves and keep all our books contained in one room but so far, no such luck.

You might think I should stop at two large bookshelves. You might advise me to consider donating some of the more embarrassing titles in my collection (Ahem, Mr. Rogers' Life Lessons) or sell some to The Strand and use the credit to buy some gifts . You might tell me to stop obsessing over mundane household object like bookshelves.

But you would be wrong.

I have also been nagging Hanna to consider placing yet another set of shelves in our kitchen since we have a lot of space and not as many cabinets and storage. I envision a section for cookbooks, some pretty bowls and bar ware displayed, several colorful boxes for storing utensils and gadgets we rarely use. In general, it would look hyper-organized and colorful and it would make our kitchen look much less cluttered.

I noticed these shelves over on AT: San Francisco and thought they might be an easy solution. I am always looking to incorporate interesting patterns and the idea of lining the underside of the shelves would be a subtle way to add a hint of color in our white-walled kitchen. Plus, I always love a good project and an excuse to visit Kate's Paperie.

Stay tuned for some thoughts on the shelves in our tiny bathroom!

Image: I Suwannee via AT: San Francisco

Smells Like Teen Spirit

Is it wrong to covet a teenager's bedroom???

Ab Chao, aka the coolest mom ever, surprised her teenage daughter with a surprise bedroom makeover and the result is both fun and sophisticated. I love how the layered rugs add a touch of warmth to the otherwise white room and are those metallic gun-metal floor cushions I spy in the corner?


Image: Ab Chao's blog Hashai via Ohdeedoh

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Crush Worthy.

Confession: I have several girls on my girl crush list*. They vary from girls I want to befriend (Drew Barrymore) to girls whose closets I would gladly steal (Kate Moss) to girls who I not only want to befriend and steal clothes from but whom I would also die to work with (Mindy Kaling). Somewhere in between these groups is another subset of girls who have impeccable taste in home decor. Mainly, Rita Konig.

Konig first caught my eye as the intrepid reporter who gamely traveled around the world recommending stylish boutiques and adorable eateries in major cities for Domino. My real crush set in when the magazine featured her charming apartment with tons of pink and small-scale florals reflecting her whimsical English sensibility. My crush was further cemented when the magazine featured her entryway a few months later and then included it in their design book.

A few weeks ago I was checking out the New York Times blog The Moment and to my surprise and delight, there she was again showing off her new upholstered couch! I am dying over the modern Alan Campbell pattern paired with the shape of the traditional French settee. I always gravitate toward solid couches paired with patterned throw pillows for practical purposes but I would love a piece like this because it would add some depth and interest to a living room. There is something terribly decadent and glamourous about having a patterned couch. I will have to settle for a patterned arm chair...

Image: Rita Konig of The New York Times

*This is not to be confused with my boy crush list, which is so long (36 and counting as of today) that it had to be divided up into 3 tiers and includes two alternates.