Get Creative This Valentine's Day!

Chocolates and flowers are nice, yes. Engagament rings are always a nice V-Day surprise. But, if you're not quite headed down that road and/or you need a creative way to get your loving point across (without spending $300 on lingerie- for you or your honey), read on.



Got a flame that happens to be a big gamer like my man? Don't get him a Wii... get him a chocolate Mii! So yes, it is technically chocolate- but it's so cute and the ways to a man's heart is still, last time I checked, through his stomach. Of course, the Wii's are awesome too. Nothing like Wii Bowling to bring a pair together. It's the only sport at which I can beat my Valentine!

Now this is a gift I can personally vouch for. I bought these for my fiance last year and we're still trading them a year later. The massage token are like gold to us. If you're looking for something sweet and inexpensive- these love tokens are a great option. Sure to be the start of some memorable moments.



Silhouettes are hot right now. I've seen them all over decorating magazines, wedding magazines, and fashion magazines. They also make a really personal gift. Enter Karl Johnson- silhouette artist extraordinaire. Just send him a profile picture of your sweetie and you will get a perfect, handcut silhouette to frame and hang. You just brought brownie points to a whole new level.

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Modern Coffee Tables: How to Select Them Well

If you're in the process of redecorating your living room or family room area, you're surely in need of at least one coffee table. One home décor trend that you may want to consider taking advantage of is the modern style. Contemporary furniture such as
modern coffee tables  is sleek and simple, so it's sure to stay in-style for many years; however, it can help to liven up any room. Read on for some tips about how best to select your modern coffee table.



First, ask yourself: Is this modern coffee table going to be placed in the living room, or will it go in the family room? It's important to know this, because furniture will be treated differently in these two rooms, and you want to buy a modern coffee table that will fit the bit. If you're looking for living room furniture, you can get away with a modern coffee table that's more fragile, such as one made out of glass. However, if you're looking for a modern coffee table for your family room, choose one that's sturdy and can take a beating.



Next, you must consider if you want your modern coffee table to be the centerpiece of your room. If so, you'll want to take a significant amount of time to consider what kind of atmosphere you want to create with your modern coffee table. Take style, size, and color into consideration at this time. If you're not planning on using your modern coffee table as the room's centerpiece, just make sure that it matches the rest of the room's décor—or that it's simple enough to match nearly any décor.



Those are just a couple of things to consider when purchasing a modern coffee table for your family or living room. You want to ensure that your furniture lasts as long as possible and stays to your liking, so be sure to take your time about your decision!

Tips for Buying and Hanging Modern Chandeliers

If you're in the market for a modern chandelier or more for your home, there are some things that you should keep in mind. Your hope is for your modern chandelier to have a long life, and that means that it should ideally fit the room that you choose to put it in. Check out the following advice that we've put together for you to help you buy—and then hang—the perfect modern chandelier.



First, you want to ensure that you pick out the right sized modern chandelier. It's recommended that in order to find the "ideal" size of a lighting fixture like a modern chandelier, you add together the dimensions of the room (in feet), and the sum is the ideal diameter of your modern chandelier (in inches). For example, if you are looking at installing a modern chandelier in a room that's fifteen feet by fifteen feet, you would want your modern chandelier to have a diameter of thirty inches.



However, keep in mind that this rule doesn't necessarily apply to dining rooms. When you're looking for a modern chandelier for the dining room, you want to take the size of the table into account. Make sure that the chandelier's diameter is about one-half to two-thirds the width of the table for the most ideal size.



Now, assuming that you've found a great modern chandelier using the above tips, it's time to talk about where to hang it. Be sure to hang your modern chandelier low enough from the ceiling so that it lights up the room—but don't hang it so low that someone would hit his or her head on it. If you're hanging your modern chandelier above a dining room table, a good rule of thumb is to hang it between thirty and thirty-six inches above the tabletop.



Now you know the basics about the ideal size of modern chandeliers as well as how best to hang them in your home. Modern chandeliers are great for spicing up any room—go out and find one that will work with your décor today!

Drapery Panels Are a Great Way to Spice Up Your Windows

Many times, we forget that our windows give us a great opportunity to express our personal styles. By decorating your windows with drapery panels, you can help to dress up a room and add even more pizzazz to your home décor.

Drapery panels come in a wide array of colors, styles, and materials. When you're looking for the ideal drapery panels for one of your home's rooms, you want to think carefully about each of these factors. Do you want a bright color for your drapery panels, or would bold colors conflict with other bright hues in the room? Do you want a subtler, neutral color such as tan or cream in order to ensure that your drapery panels will go with any home décor?


Next, think about the material that you want for your drapery panels. There are sheer fabrics as well as thick, solid fabrics, and each type can lend a different feel to your room. If you decide to go with sheer drapery panels, you may want to consider installing blinds for privacy's sake.

Not only do drapery panels add aesthetic value to a room, but they also provide privacy. In this day and age, having a certain amount of privacy at home is invaluable, and with decorative drapery panels, you can do just that. Furthermore, drapery panels help to keep a room warm or cool. In these eco-conscious times, we're all looking for ways to be greener and save on home energy costs. We bet that you never figured you could do it with gorgeous drapery panels—but you can!

While there are many options for drapery panels, there are even more options and combinations that can be made with the drapery hardware. The best way to approach purchasing a complete drapery set is to focus on your drapery panels first, and then move on to the accessories like the hardware.

By taking all of this into consideration, you can ensure that the drapery panels you're purchasing are ideal for your room's décor and overall feel.

Tips for Best Hanging Decorative Wall Art

One way that you can really express your style is with decorative wall art. There are so many different kinds of decorative wall art available that you're sure to be able to find an abundance that will complement your décor. However, one of the biggest issues that homeowners face is: What's the best way to hang decorative wall art? Following are some tips that will help you to hang your decorative wall art in a way that's flattering and stylish.


•           In general, you want to hang decorative wall art so that the center point of the artwork or group is at eye level. This is a good guideline to keep in mind, and it can help you to best plan which decorative wall art will look best where.
•           Many people find it helpful to lay out the decorative wall art on the floor before actually hanging it up. When you're working with a group of photos or pieces, this can be very beneficial, as it will help you to realize what combination works best.
•           Stick to smaller pieces of decorative wall art for narrow hallways, and reserve the larger works for larger walls. This will help to keep your rooms feeling open and airy instead of cramped.
•           If you're hanging your decorative wall art above a piece of furniture, make sure that the art isn't longer than the furniture's width. Otherwise, the decorative wall art will overpower the room and dwarf the furniture it's above.
•           If you're hanging decorative wall art in a dark hallway, be sure that there is ample lighting so that guests can enjoy the art.

Or you can skip hanging up your decorative wall art all together and display it on art shelves. The possibilities really are limitless; however, the above tips should be able to give you some solid guidelines to adhere to when hanging your decorative wall art.

How to Choose the Best Contemporary End Tables for Your Room

Contemporary end tables are great ways to decorate and accessorize in any room. They add storage space as well as a flat surface that can be used to show off collectible items, pieces of art, or framed photographs. In particular, modern and contemporary end tables seem to be trending in the interior decorating industry. They're simple and go with nearly any home décor, so it makes sense that they're so popular. But how can you ensure that you're selecting the right contemporary end table for one particular room? Take the following advice into consideration.

First, you want to figure out where you'd like to place your  contemporary end tables. If you're looking for tables for your bedroom, you may want to place them on either side of the bed. On the other hand, you may be looking for a contemporary end table specifically for a bare corner in one room or another. By figuring out the placement of your contemporary end table, you can figure out the shape that you need in order for your table to best fit in the room.

Figuring out the contemporary end table placement also helps you figure out how large the furniture needs to be. If you want to place a couple of contemporary end tables on either end of a sofa, for example, you'll want to choose tables that have heights and depths as close as possible to the sofa's height and depth. This will help whoever is sitting on the sofa to better be able to reach the items on the contemporary end table. If you can't find the exact right size, go for something that's a tad smaller instead of something that's larger.

Those are just a couple of things to keep in mind while shopping for your ideal contemporary end table. You want to be sure that you get a good, long life out of your furniture, so it's important to spend a good deal of time researching in order to make sue that you get the most ideal contemporary end table possible.

Wallpaper 2.0

We live in an age of choices. When you stroll down an aisle at Kroger, you don't find a couple brands of toothpaste. You find about a thousand. Okay, so maybe I'm exaggerating a tad, but it's no secret that we Americans like choices. Looking for a shade of yellow paint? Try 50 of 'em! It's no doubt that with wallpaper making such a strong comeback that our choices would exponentially explode. And, oh! have they. Traditional papers are great, but why not try something you may not have thought of before. Try these options on for size:

Grasscloth: The texture and color variation make solid grasscloths bold, but easy to work with at the same time. It can take on the aesthetic of any room you put it in from the most formal to the easiest casual. One word of warning: keep it minimal. One room is plenty. Any more than that and you run the risk of looking like you live in a tiki hut. Try Philip Jeffries for a beautiful range of colors.

Metallic Wallpaper: There's nothing like a reflective surface to bring out the vanity in you. Metallic paper is all about high drama. I don't think I need to tell you to use this sparingly. It makes a great accent wall. If you decide to paper an entire room make sure you break up the business with furniture, drapes, and some strategically placed art. Try Brocade Home for good options.

Chinese Tea Paper: Another dramatic option. It's more forgiving than most wallpapers as it looks great when the papers overlap each other and make an uneven squares pattern. Place a mirror over it to make it super reflective and add some really colorful art all around it. Interested? Check out this article from Apartment Therapy for assistance.

Collage Walls: This option is one part wallpaper, one part just plain art. Grab some cool vintage posters, tear sheets you've collected, random drawings, and photos. Put it all together in a haphazard manner- the more imperfect, the better. Place your sofa beneath it and you have an instant conversation piece for every party. Not to mention you've already art-ified a wall and saved money on frames! Cest fantastique!

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The HF List: How To Fix The Top 10 Decorating Mistakes

It's true that when it comes to decorating your home you should feel free to break the rules. As long as you're happy living in the home you've created, what does it matter if it doesn't suit your mother's taste? Although this holds true for most things, there are a few rules that should be obeyed. Domino magazine has compiled a list of the Top Ten Decorating Mistakes along with what you can do to fix them. Read on, and see if you're guilty of any of them (even I have fallen victim to one or two!).

Martin Stripe Silk Drape by Pottery Barn 

1. Curtains hung too low: It's a matter of tricking the eye- like how wearing vertical stripes makes you look taller. Hanging your curtains too far below the ceiling makes your walls look shorter. Hang 'em high- right at the ceiling- and your room will look larger than it really is.


2. Curtains too short: You shouldn't wear highwaters and neither should your walls! Curtains should hit the floor or break one inch beyond it.
 

Silhouette Chinois Green Duvet Set by Dwell Studio 

3. Too many throw pillows on the bed: Not only will any man in your life hate this, but it makes your bed look cluttered and small. Opt for two standrd pillow, a couple 18" pillows and one 14 x 20" in front of it. Clean and tailored.

4. Beds or sofas on the diagonal: Leave this one to the pros. It will leave you with an odd floor plan that is hard to place other pieces around. Try placing nightstands next to a bed sticking out of a corner (impossible!). Instead, keep things simple and place large pieces flush against the wall. It will give you more room to move around and open the room up more.




Organic Cotton Safari Duvet from West Elm  

5. Theme rooms: You'll see these a lot in model homes, but just say no to copying the look in your home! Whatever your theme is- animal prints, your favorite baseball team, etc.- stick to one of two things and leave it at that.


PB Basic Sofa from Pottery Barn 

6. Art hung too high: Art is meant to be looked at! That's why it's meant to be hung at eye level. Any higher and your guests will be craning their necks to check out your collection.


7. Stylish yet uncomfortable sofa: While antique sofas are beautiful, they aren't exactly practical. For your main living room, go for comfort. You're family will thank you. However, feel free to use the antiques in formal living rooms or bedrooms where it won't get as much use.



Rashida Jones' Manhatten studio apartment from Domino's February '08 issue
 
8. Rug too small for the room: A small rug just looks skimpy and out of place, rather than making a room look warm and inviting which is it's purpose. There are two ways to do rugs. Buy one large enough so that all of the furniture can sit on it, or smaller, so that all of the furniture sits just off of it. Large rugs can be expensive, so getting the smaller one and surrounding it with your sofa and chairs is a rule-abiding way to cut costs.


9. Pairs of everything: There's nothing wrong with having a matching pair of chairs or end tables. But when everything matches, it's too much of a good thing. Shake things up by getting two end tables in the same finish, but different styles. Instead of two matching candlesticks, try three or four completely different ones to make a pseudo-collection. Having a home that looks slightly imperfect is better than looking predictable!


10. Too bright overhead lighting: Think back to the last time you were in a dressing room. Pretty bad, huh? Take a lesson from that and go for a lower wattage in your home. Soft pink bulbs make skin look luminous in the bedroom. Bulbs in living rooms shouldn't exceed 65 watts. You'll notice a difference every time you look in the mirror. And if you don't spend your entire day at work, nothing beats daylight during the day!

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HF Weekly Obsession: Now This Is Recycling

My mom has always said I was persnickity and fickle. That's very true for most things. The sectional I despised for months may become my latest obsession once something in my brain clicks. There's really no rhyme or reason to it. But every once in a while, on very rare occassions, for only a handful of things, my obsession lingers. For instance, I will never stop loving Banana Republic's Premium Denim. Nor will I ever hate Ben & Jerry's Cherries Garcia. And I will never grow tired of the Santomer Dining Table by Environment. When I am in the market for an amazing dining table, this is the one I will buy. Each one is handmade of peroba wood reclaimed from Brazil, meaning each is unique. It straddles the line between traditional and modern perfectly. Surround it with individual chairs or a couple of benches. Just make it your own (easily done)!

A closeup of the amazing finish and texture that is Environment's Peroba wood.

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Texas Is Biggest Carbon Polluter

Texans' True Love....The Truck!


Living in Texas almost my entire life, I didn't need a news report to confirm that Texas is probably the biggest polluter around. I was driving home from dinner tonight, and I witnessed an entire parking lot filled with SUV's and trucks. Only in Texas....


Texas spewed "670 million metric tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere in 2003, enough that Texas would rank seventh in the world if it were its own country, according to the most recent figures from the U.S. Energy Information Administration. The amount is more than that of California and Pennsylvania -- the second- and third-ranking states -- combined."


Al Gore's Biggest Fan....Rick Perry


It is really troubling when the Governor of your state has "expressed doubt as to whether global warming is even a manmade problem." Of course, our leadership only reflects the attitude of most Texans. Fewer than 4 percent of Texans polled last spring viewed the environment as a top concern. Contrast that with a national poll of Americans where almost 50% viewed global warming as a very serious issue.





Well, if Texans can't shake their love of trucks, can we at least make the switch to compact fluorescent light bulbs? The environment's most unlikely champion, Wal-Mart, is even hip with it. Click on this New York Times article to see how we can all play the biggest part in the simplest of ways.


Penguins need our help!


A CFL bulb can look good in a chandelier.



High Fashion Home has switched out 90% of the display lamps and chandeliers to CFL's.

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So Hot Right Now: Line Drawings

Chinoiserie Duvet Set by Dwell Studio

Remember those line drawings you did when you were a kid? Think back to the smelly markers and recess years of your life. Bring that inner kid back with the bevy of line drawing products that are coming out lately. Start with the Chinoiserie bedding by Dwell Studio (above). Basic black on white with punches of color make it less girly, more modern and eclectic. It's a bird print even a man could tolerate.

For the funkier child in you, try the revamped sinks from Esther Derkx. It kind of resembles graffiti, but prettier. Of course, most of us aren't in the market for a new sink. I wish I was, but unfortunately, I'm stuck with the chunk of ugly given to me by my apartment complex. So, for people like me, there is also a lovely line drawing vase which won't require construction to display.




Last, but not least, there's the Photoart Frame (not to be confused with the Photo Art clock that I previously raved about)by Umbra. Paint what you want and leave the rest as a line drawing. You'll feel like quite the artist.

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Use Every Nook

A firewood nook at Sally Hershberger's Home; House & Garden, August 2007

Even though I live in Houston, and our winter is a tad, um, short (or nonexistent, depending on who you ask), I have fallen in love with the nooks filled with firewood I've seen everywhere. It's kind of like turning chopped wood into a work of art. Even though I can only use my fireplace for a couple months out of the year, I would still love to showcase the collection of firewood that's sitting in my living room. Think about it: you can get the wood out of the way, the mess is contained, but it's still on hand anytime you feel like lighting up! My favorite way to create a fireplace nook? Storing it in a cubby underneath a window seat. It's an easy way to create a nook without knocking out a wall. Functional and fabulous!


A multitasking windowseat: firewood nook and lounge area for puppy; Animal House Style by Julia Szabo

Another nook made the cover of Domino's November 2007 issue

West Elm slipped a nook into a few of their catalogs, too... Now it's your turn!

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HF Weekly Obsession: Lounging Around


Style vs. Comfort. Can you have both? Absolutely. My latest obsession is the Gabriel Sofa by Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams. Down cushions and deep seating make it comfy. Subtle tufting and sexy fabrics make it stylish. If you pop on up to the 4th floor here at High Fashion Home, you'll see that we've placed it front and center. Actually, we've put two of them front and center. We love this style, and, apparently, lots of other people do, too. Sit on it for 5 minutes and you'll be a convert as well!

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Brilliant Book of the Week:

posted by *The Eclectorator* at 0 Comments
Let's admit it. Animals have become an important part of our society. Not only are they considered a great accessory but they've always been man's (and woman's!) best friend. This book is for anyone who has a pet and would like to make their home a little more comfortable for their furry companions yet offer a space that is inviting and not so pet store-ish.

Check it out!

"Animal House Style" by Julia Szabo.

This is an excellent resource for anyone with any pet. It's annoying having to use those tacky scratching posts for your cat, instead go out and purchase a raffia or jute rug with a lot of texture, that way your cat will be happy and your room will have a natural design element. Get an old foot stool or low table at a yard sale, cut large enough holes to hold two bowls with a lip, paint or stain it to match your decor and you've got yourself a stylish new accessory and a happy pet! I'm telling you, this book is definitely worth the purchase. Take my word for it.

Happy reading!!

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Paper Snowflakes on Steroids

Dans la Lune by Kirsten Hassenfeld at the Rice Gallery 

Cynthia, our visual merchandising guru, took me to an exhibit at Rice a while back, and talk about awe inspiring! The exhibit featured the work of Kirsten Hassenfeld, a young artist who works with one medium: paper. But these aren't little paper snowflakes- these are eight foot gargantuan paper worlds with new twists and turns on every side. One could literally look at the same piece for ten minutes finding all of the hidden intricacies that piece offers. There were detailed designs formed from folded paper, minuscule paper chains draped everywhere, and even a tiny paper princess in a poofy ballgown walking her paper puppy. When we took in the entire display through glass windows it was ethereal and beautiful. The artist named the show Dans la Lune, which is a French idiom for daydreaming or having your head in the clouds. Keep an eye on this one. Even if you can't fit an eight foot paper ornament in your living room, it's still fun to look!


An intricate design makes up a small part of one of her pieces

A paper princess and her puppy
 
Smaller ornaments hang from a tiny paper chain

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Tea for Two!

Embroidered Porcelain Cup and Saucer by Claire Coles

For someone that never drinks tea, I own way too many teacups. I don't use them. They just sit on my bookshelves looking beautiful and holding little treasures like spare buttons or especially lovely pieces of ribbon. So, for someone that never uses teacups, these stitched porcelain pieces (my latest obsession) are great. Completely non-functional, of course, but they make delicious pieces of art. My favorite part is the imprefection of the stitching- homemade and kitchy. My goal for 2008? Figure out how to make my own!


Embroidered Bowl by Hella Jongerius at Moss

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Man Lives In IKEA


Does it seem like everything in your apartment is from Ikea? I know my apartment in college definitely had a Swedish bent. Well, now someone is taking it to the next level. Mark Malkoff will be living in Ikea for a week while his New York apartment is being fumigated. The folks at Ikea have agreed to allow him to live in their Paramus, New Jersey store 24 hours a day for 7 straight days. He'll eat those surprisingly great Swedish meatballs in the cafe for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. There are showers in the back office for him to use. Customers can actually visit his makeshift apartment in Ikea (only if they take their shoes off first). And best of all, he'll be filming himself for the duration of his stay.


Of course, media outlets have already started picking up on this story. Here are his first three entries:






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HF Weekly Obsession: Tres Parisien!

Take one Grace Sofa, add two Grace Chairs, mix with a feminine rug and coffee table, sprinkle on accesories, and voila! you have a very Parisian sitting room.


It seems to me that everything in America is getting bigger. Big cars, big meals, and big homes full of big furniture. But what if you long for something a little, dare I say, scaled down? What if, instead of a five bedroom mansion within a rolling countryside, you dwell in a one bedroom apartment in downtown Houston? Extra deep sofas just won't do. Go for something petite and clean. The Grace sofa by Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams is the perfect starting point. It's small scale is made for those of you without 13 foot ceilings. It won't take up your entire living room, but leave you with space to move freely. The whole look reminds me of Paris, Grace Kelley (for whom is was named, perhaps?), or Audrey Hepburn sipping tea and polishing a glittering Tiffany diamond. Over three hundred fabrics are available for you to customize the Grace to your heart's content. Diamond not included.



The Grace Sofa available at High Fashion Home

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Name You Should Know: Cath Kidston


My sisters and I love design. Most times we have very different taste. One is shabby chic, one California casual, one vintage modern, eclectic. But sometimes, on rare occasions, we all fall in love with the same thing. For instance, Cath Kidston. I learned about her through my oldest sister- the shabby chic one. Similar to Rachael Ashwell, the high priestess of Shabby Chic, Cath Kidston employs whimsical retro prints in creating accessories for a modern domestic goddess. She offers ladylike aprons and oven gloves (mitts to those of us on this side of the pond) for Baking Queens, wellies and gardening gloves for Gardening Goddesses, and teddy bears and bibs for Ladies-in-Training. For anyone that likes Shabby Chic or wishes they were living in the forties- this is the website for you!

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Top Interior Design Trends in 2008

Here are the top 8 interior design trends according to the Los Angeles Times.


1. French neoclassic
"The look is unabashedly old money, and unlike its Los Angeles-bred counterpart, Hollywood Regency, French neoclassic style relies on restraint -- muted finishes and a strong sense of architectural delineation. "








2. Shanghai modern

"Chinese Contemporary. This is chinoiserie stripped down to its most potent elements: fretwork patterns and classic curves in furniture, koi and foo dogs rendered as decorative motifs with the paintbrush of Pop art."
















3. Enchanted forest



"Think of it as a tongue-in-cheek riff on the wood-grain prints, antler accessories and trophy heads that popped up in shelter magazines so often last year."
The looks of 2008
4. Americana


"It's a broad category that covers American fine furniture and decorative objects from pre-Revolutionary times and the Federal period (1770s to 1830s) as well as folk-art pieces from the 19th and 20th centuries."


5. The Missoni look


"With its first signature boutique hotels set to open this year and bedding and bath textiles selling briskly in L.A. stores, the Italian fashion house famed for rainbow stripes and zigzag knits is seeing its design influence spread."


6. Matte white lights

"Now that the Regency renaissance has brought crystal chandeliers into so many homes, the pendulum is swinging back to simple fixtures."



7. Sheet metal chic

"The publication of "Maria Pergay: Between Ideas and Design" in 2006 sparked a revival of the French designer's 1970s streamlined stainless steel furniture."
"A bent metal vase from Z Gallerie, www.zgallerie.com reflects a revival of 1970s French designer Maria Pergay's streamlined stainless-steel furniture."

8. Fringe elements

"Nail-head trim and button tufting made upholstered classics chic once again."

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