The Price is Right!

The Bennet Bookcase from Williams Sonoma Home is a stunning, handcrafted, solid tulip wood with burlwood veneers. It's made in Italy with a beautiful, two-tone patina finish. Usually, bookcases just serve as the background. Background fodder no more! At $1895, it's actually a pretty good deal.....
....unless you consider that at High Fashion Home, the exact same item is for $1099. How did we do it? I have no idea. We probably just messed up on the price. Either way, it's about $800 cheaper.
We created a fancy name for it: Wooden Burrow Trim Bookcase.

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HF Weekly Obsession: Sienna-sational!

Looking for something to put a little pop in your life? Bored with a home chock full of neturals? Want something to bring a smile to your face every time you walk in the door? Look no further. The Sienna Chair will fulfill all of those requests and more. It may look unassuming at first, but its sharp angles, technicolor leather, and biker tough nailheads will knock you off your feet. Let it serve as the focal point in your living room and surround it with deep browns and shimmering bronzes. Looks aside, the leather is soft and smooth and it's comfy for curling up with a good book (or, more likely, a fashion mag). Find a way to fit this guy into your decor. It won't disappoint!

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Wallpaper 3.0: The Rugrat Edition

If there is anyplace in your home that you can let loose and create the bright, cheery, neon oasis that you've always wanted, it's your kids room. When they're babies, they really have no opinions, so it's all up to you. No sharp edges and keeping the toys at ground level are really the only requirements!

Nothing against pastel pink paint and My Little Pony borders (okay, so maybe those aren't cool anymore, but I'm not exactly in touch with the toddlers of today), but they've been done. Walls don't have to be just decoration. Make them functional by turning them into another toy for your toddler! Try these three ideas on for size and your kiddo may be too busy playing on the walls to terrorize the cat anymore!

I remember those days when I was a wee lass in Sunday School. My favorite lessons were the ones where the teacher demonstrated the story on feltboard. Now, run with that idea, but make it wall sized. Adhere felt to the bottom half of your wall. Next cut out felt pieces for your kids to bring to life: shapes, numbers, letters, characters... you name it. They can put on productions of Romeo & Juliet on their walls (or more likely- Hanna Montana). They can be creative and learn the basics like their ABC's and 123's in the process!

Another Martha Stewart recommendation. That woman is on top of things! Cover one wall in the child's room with chalkboard paint. Then let their imaginations run wild! When (if) they grow out of it, it's easy to paint over. Martha also has instructions for customizing your chalkboard paint if basic black isn't your thing. Hey, Picasso had to start somewhere right?

Kids like to see that their work in appreciated. But you only have so much room on your fridge and your living room is starting to look like a gallery. Let them display their favorite works of art in their room. Cover a wall with corkboard and they can hang their favorite drawings, good grades, and other treasures. That'll make room for the expensive painting you've had waiting in storage.

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Divide and Conquer

posted by D*sign addict at 3 Comments
I've recently downsized to a smaller albeit chic-er apartment. My new, cute, one-room living loft seemed novel and open when I first looked at it, but living in it and carving out a little private "me space" has proven quite tricky. One of the greatest things about loft living is proving to be the most frustrating to me. How can I keep it feeling open and also divide up my place a bit? Large open spaces with high ceilings are trendy and great for entertaining, ( I love me a good dinner party) but can pose a problem when you want to feel a bit nesty.

Atelier Oi Paraventplus Screen and Wardrobe

So, whats a cool urbanite with a new loft to do? How to differentiate between private and public areas? Putting up permanent walls defeats the purpose of open one room living, you can't change up your layout and your landlord may have some serious problems.

Some of the best options I've found for dividing up space and preserving privacy are screens or bookcases. My favorites can do triple duty as a room divider, storage and decorative accent. Perfect for multi functioning spaces!

I used to have a small studio when I lived in NYC, and found thestolmencloset system from Ikea most helpful. Not only did it look expensive and cool, it fit most of my winter clothes (you NYers out there know what I'm talking about) in the drawers, books and vases on the shelves and divided my "bedroom" from my sitting room. The fact that the rods were tension mounted allowed me to retrieve my security deposit upon moving out as well. But one of the greatest things was that the light from my windows could pass through and the apt was always sunny and surprisingly organized! 

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Brilliant Book of the Week:

posted by *The Eclectorator* at 0 Comments
It is official. I have decided to add books worthy for your coffee table. I'm sure everyone has gone through Barnes and Noble's bargain books to find the perfect book and have fallen short of finding it. Eclectorator to the rescue!!

Check it out!

"le Questionnaire de Proust," or (in English) "The Proust Questionnaire," by William C. Carver and Henry-Jean Servat.

This is definitely a book you'll want to invest in. Throw it on your coffee table and let the games begin! The Proust Questionnaire lists a variety of questions, such as "Your idea of happiness," "Your favorite heroine in fiction," "For what fault, have you the most toleration?" "If not yourself who would you be?" Wouldn't you like to know how your friends and family would answer those questions? This book would also be perfect for a new, more hip way to have a guest book at a wedding, or pass it around at a milestone birthday bash. Now go out and buy it--you'll love me for it!

Happy Reading!

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It's About That Time...

Get ready. It's about that time. Put on your work gloves, tie your hair back (if need be), put on your old, holey jeans. It's time to Spring Clean! I dread this time every year. I know it needs to be done and yet it's always such a daunting task no matter how clean I keep things during the rest of the year. There comes a time every year when papers are overflowing, small objects are roaming freely, and closets are a disaster area! Don't take everything on at once. You'll just get burned out. Pick one area from each room in your house and tackle it. These goodies from The Container Store will help you on your way to a cleaner home. Let's start in the kitchen:

My number one problem in the Kitchen is overflowing cabinets and I bet most of you would agree. How do you find one tiny ingredient in a cabinet full of cans, bags, and boxes? The best investments (and small ones at that) I've made for my pantry are turntables. Pick double stacked or single turntables and nothing will be out of view again! So goodbye to buying those expensive little spices over and over again because they get lost in the cabinet chaos!

I don't have a whole lot of storage in my one bedroom apartment. What I do have is four teetering stacks of DVD's. Every time I try to pull one out of the stack, the rest come tumbling down. I'm heading to The Container Store to pick up an Overdoor Media Rack. My extensive film collection (does Office Space count?) will stay out of sight until I choose to pop some popcorn and lounge on the sofa for movie night.

Closets can be scary. Old clothes, stinky shoes, that renegade sock that lost its mate. When I buy my first house there is one investment that I can't wait to make. A custom Elfa closet system. You know they're serious when it's called a closet SYSTEM. I half expect it to be motorized! Bring in your measurements and create a whole labyrinth of storage to suit you. You'll never be stuck holding one lone shoe sans partner again.

If there's one thing I can't get enough of it's yummy smelling soaps and shampoos. For some reason Head & Shoulders just doesn't wake me up like Citrus Pomegranate Ylang-ylang Body Wash does. So, to stow all of these bathtime goodies, I use a Tension Pole Shower Caddy. It has tons of space for couples or, ahem, single people with an extreme bath product addiction.

Ah, kids. Wonderful, loving... messy, loud, home destroying. Put your kids in their places (or their stuff at least) with some bright and cheery drawers. If you have a place for everything, everything might make it to its place.*

* Will probably only last for a day or the amount of time your children are at summer camp.

Why is it that when you want to hang something you can never find a nail, but when you don't need one they are all over the place? You can ponder that if you want, but I'm just going to fix the problem with See & Store Containers. Fill the containers with little nuts and bolts (literally) and stick them to the magnetic strip. No more frustrating searches through every small container in your house!

You may not have a lot of papers, but it seems like a lot more when they're everywhere. No matter how much paperwork you have, you need a place for it. Come tax time next year you'll thank me! Get a file- small and portable, or a large cabinet. Add some whimsical folders (or very serious ones if you choose), label, and sort. Then, the next time Great Aunt Suzie sends you one of her lovely (what is this junk?) care packages, you can find her address quickly and send her a lovely thank you note!

You are so careful when you break out the good stuff that nobody clinks glasses during the toasts and you haven't invited Bob over since the Great Plate Crash of 1986. Take as much care when your china, glasses, and flatware are in storage as you do when they're in use. Get some storage cases to keep them safe until the next holiday. Just remember to give your clumsy sister a paper plate.

At one point in everyone's life, they will mess up the laundry. Whether it be opening the washer to find a sea of pink where there used to be white or pulling your favorite dry-clean only cashmere sweater in a dryer full of cottons (how did that get in there?!?!), we've all had our moments. Prevent those moments! Invest in three sophisticated baskets lined in cotton for your colors, whites, and dry cleaning. I've been using this system for years and I haven't had one mishap/meltdown since!
Happy Spring Cleaning!

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How Funky Is Your Chicken?

Easter always brings to mind one of my favorite, versatile foods: the incredible, edible egg. Talk about a tasty and easy ingredient! But eggs aren't just for eating. You can spiff up your home with them as well! In the spirit of Easter, here are my top five favorite eggs-cellent ideas:

4. Perk up a nook in your abode with "Over Easy". These funky eggs come in four colors: pink, yellow, blue, and green. They would be perfectly placed in your kitchen (with all of your new gadgets)!

3. We have these guys walking all over our store and I can't pass one without giggling. Like an ostrich half-hatched and started exploring the world. One thing's for sure: they will start some interesting conversations!

2. Martha Stewart has an idea for every occasion. Easter is no exception. Tap into your eco-friendly side by trying her tips for dyeing eggs naturally using veggies from your own fridge. You don't need chemicals to get bright Easter eggs!

1. Ain't nothing like the real thing baby! I logged onto the Food Network to get some exotic and gourmet scrambled egg recipes and Rachael Ray's Scrambled Eggs with Smoked Salmon caught my eye. But make your own recipes as well. Experiment with spices, pile it with cheeses, and mix in some meat. Eggs are something you really can't ruin. They really are incredible!
Happy Easter!


American Institute of Architects 2007 Housing Awards

The American Institute of Architects recently announced 19 recipients of the 2007 Housing Committee Awards. The awards are based on great design that highlight the "importance of good housing as a necessity of life, a sanctuary for the human spirit, and a valuable national resource." Prepare to be very envious when you check out the winning homes below courtesy of the L.A. Times.

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Gadgets for Girls

Since getting engaged, two things have been on my mind constantly: what will I wear and what will I ask for? It's the only time in my life I can give people a list of things I want and actually expect to get them all. I've been perusing my favorite kitchen shops in the quest for the perfect registry- Crate & Barrel, Sur la Table, Williams Sonoma- and here are my favorite "gadgets" for the kitchen. And these aren't just eye candy. These are things you will actually use again and again.
Let's start off simply. Nobody likes the cleanup involved after cooking. So take some of it out of the equation. Do your chopping right over the sink and forget about juices running all over your counters. Throw the whole she-bang in the dishwasher and your cleanup is finito! This Red Gripboard is from Sur la Table.

I just happened upon this little baby today and I can't wait to get my hands on one. Prepping your food is almost always the most time consuming part of cooking (unless you have a sous chef at your side), so anything you can use to get through the chopping, slicing, and julienne-ing quickly is fantastic. This de Buyer Mandoline from Williams Sonoma will slice and dice to your hearts content. It's like a tiny version of the huge slicers that butchers use to slice your meat at the grocery store. Make sure yours is dishwasher safe like this one because you'll use it all the time!
Ahh, the microplane. There is no better gadget for grating than this! Forget big bulky graters when you are zesting your favorite citrus fruit. The greatest thing about them is that they are inexpensive and a staple at kitchen shops. These red Microplane Graters are from Sur la Table.

While making dips for a party this week I borrowed my big sister's Mini Prep and what a difference this thing makes! What would normally take an hour to make took 5 minutes (no kidding!). Just throw your food in, give it a few pulses, and you will have prefectly chopped food ready for cooking. As one who hates chopping, I anticipate using this one all the time. My fiance/onion chopper will be so happy. Get your Cuisinart Mini Prep from Crate & Barrel

Here it is. The grand daddy of all kitchen appliances. The one tool every woman lusts after. The KitchenAid Artisan Stand Mixer. Literally, art for your kitchen. This vintage looking mixer will free up your hands every time you bake. Just throw in your ingredients and watch it mix! It's a must have for anyone who fantasizes themselves a Martha Stewart in the making. But that's not my favorite part. It comes in a plethora of colors (I picked Persimmon)! Go bright, go neutral, go goth, whatever! I'm registering for mine at Dillard's.

I'm on a smoothie kick lately. Good for me, bad for my overexerted blender. Washing a bulky blender every morning is no fun. So I'm getting this SmartStick Hand Blender from Crate & Barrel
. Now, instead of filling my dishwasher again and again, I can just toss the ingredients in a cup, blend, blend, blend, rinse, and drink! It also attaches to a mini food processor if you have some hardcore ingredients to blend.

Last weekend, I made a trip to Home Depot to pick up some flowers and herbs to perk up my porch. I love using fresh herbs because they taste so much better in food! The only part I hate is mincing them. Herbs are almost impossible as they are tiny and a bit slippery. Well, that's history now. Enter the Herb Mill from Williams Sonoma. Just stuff your herbs in the top, turn the crank a few times, and out come freshly minced fresh herbs to freshen your food (did I say "fresh" enough there?). 
I don't know about you, but I think from now on I'll be cranking out five course dinners in 30 minutes or less every night now. You can bet every one of these puppies will be on my registry. Now, I wonder how my parents would feel about moving the wedding up to April so I can get all the goodies on my registry now!

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The HF List: Top 10 Crate and Barrel Furniture Items

I know it's a little late, but I finally made it over to Crate and Barrel yesterday to see their new spring 2008 furniture collection. Here is my top 10 list of my favorite Crate and Barrel furniture pieces.

10. Seguro 68" Media Console - This eco-friendly media stand uses reclaimed Peroba wood from Brazil. Peroba was used a lot in the late 1800's and early 1900's to build houses, doors, bridges, etc. Each piece that a customer buys will be a little bit different in terms of the grain and paint residue in the wood. When you place your sleek plasma stand on this piece, you'll get this cool juxtaposition of modern technology and 100 year old woods that'll have all your guests talking.

9. Kyoto 42" Round Dining Table - This bamboo piece made by Maria Yee makes for a great breakfast table. Bamboo is a highly renewable resource. It'll only takes 8 years to reach full maturation. Bamboo is used a lot in Asian countries as scaffolding for their many skyscrapers, instead of the typical steel we use in the States. The curved base detail is a great touch.

8. Elan Bed - This is one of those beds where you have to buy the coordinating nightstands. I love the slats and the metal pull handle on the nightstand piece. The bed itself has such a clean, simple, elegant design. When you pair it up with the nightstand and all of it's architectural elements, it just makes for a very subtle, classic statement.

7. Elise Bed - The photo below does not do this bed justice. You need to see it in person to appreciate the distressed grey, hand finished wood . The light grey upholstered headboard in linen is beautiful. Made in Italy.

6. Collina Dining Table - This piece has been in Crate and Barrel's collection for several seasons now, but it's always been a favorite of mine. There is just something about that copper top, which makes it so distinct.

5. Colette Bed - This bed made by Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams is beautiful. The nailhead trim, luxurious beige linen fabric, and a slight arch at the top of the headboard makes for a very glamorous design.

4. Azure Sofa - The blue linen is outstanding. Tufts are really hot right now. The scale of this piece is perfect with the clean one seat cushion. It's a very contemporary interpretation of an old world design. Check out the arm detailing.

3. Valise Sectional - The leather on this is phenomenal. It's a deep seat piece with just the right proportions. The recessed, solid wood base adds makes the sectional feel like it's floating.

2. Ross Sofa - This is a brand new introduction. The linen has a terrific hand to it. I love the clean one seat cushion. Something about the scale and proportions makes this piece just feel right. Add in the fact that this piece has an extensive eco-friendly story behind it, it makes for a winner!

1. Lounge 93" Sofa - Crate and Barrel's sales people say that this is their number 1 sofa frame. I can see why. Deep seat sofas have really caught on fire. It's all about relaxing and putting your feet up after a hard day. It's a family oriented sofa with a clean modern design.

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