This image from Elle Decoration reminded us of the wonderful design of the ubiquitous tin can once it’s label is torn off. They really do make great vessels.
We’re smitten with the Quad Trivet a cool Indegogo project. It consists of 16 wooden cubes — oiled walnut or maple — connected by a flexible, durable, heat-resistant silicone strip inserted in the underside of the cubes. This structure allows various configurations and different applications ranging from a compact squares and rectangles to a widespread circular shape.
It’s a trivet you can configure to any size pot, a design game you can play with and leave sitting on a coffee table….We’re thinking we’d wear it as a necklace. read more…
We thought we were so smart when we thought to blog about the hacks we’d imagined for Ikea’s Löbbo shade, which is basically a sheet of polypropylene that you form into a drum and secure with metal struts; it can be placed on a lamp base or hung from a pendant. It comes in various sizes, but we bought several of the biggest with the idea of using the sheets of polypropylene — which is pretty heat-proof —as a RAW MATERIAL with which to fashion all sorts of shades, using our trusty exacto knife. (We’ve been searching for readily-available shade materials for years.)
First thing we planne was to tailor the Löbbo shade we’ve got on a standing lamp: slice off a 2 or 3 inches from the drum-like shade to give it a more sleek, retro look. Then we’d go to town playing with the remaining sheets of Löbbo polypropylene we have, to fashion some sort of scultpural pendant light, like this one we found at Ouno: read more…
(Video link here.) We’re sometimes leary of the trend of making useful things our of ANYTHING because the object made are often so homely. We find ourselves inspired by French Designer Pierre Lota’s video introduing his video series 1 Object in 1 Minute. His assemblages of coat hangers, paper, and spoons have a strong design sense, and his videos show them to be do-able. What the video’s really do is encourage us to see visually-appealing, useful possibilities for ordinary materials and realize we could, with patience and perhaps some experimenting, do them ourselves.
One of our favorites: a spoon bent into a hook you can rest on a table to keep your handbag off the dirty floor of a restaurant, read more…
At Unconsumption, we came across this picture with commentary from a couple of different sites:
the first via A Harsh Light:
craigslist houseshare ad: “i have a garden growing in my shower so you have to use eco-friendly hair products. you will see worms and other insects, and you will occasionally see a spider too but they all help out the ecosystem.”
then Gardens In Unexpected Places commented on it:
I’m all for using graywater to water plants. (Green) thumbs up for this!
The other day, I accidentally knocked a treasured cup off a table and watched, in the slow motion of a car accident, as it crashed onto the stone floor. It was gone in a moment, an object whose beauty I’d enjoyed daily since my friend Suzanne Shaker had given it to me over a decade ago: Ted Muehling’s nymphenburg porcelain ‘convex’ cup, a wonder.
As it flew through the air, I found myself thinking “It’s only an object…Nothing terrible has happened…no lives lost, no illness. An object only.” In the face of all the losses we’ve read about recently, that we’ve all seen in our own and other’s lives, it paled.I thought of the guy who remarked so matter-of-factly in the face of the huge beautiful trees blown over in the hurricane: “It’s Nature.”
I’m contemplating glueing the cup together, not to make perfect mends, read more…
As the holiday party season ramps up, we’ve been mulling ways to decorate the table in simple, charming ways (We’ll be talking about this very subject on The Splendid Table on December 21st). A favorite strategy is to make herb bouquets, a play on our penchant for arranging the table with an array of tiny flower bouquets in odd miniature “vases”, like apothecary and canning jars, juice and shot glasses. We’ve amassed quite a collection over years of combing flea markets and second-hand stores. We’ve also found that CB2 and Amazon have lovely inexpensive bud vases in interesting shapes (check out this Chive vase and this set of 4 little vases that will hold a place card or a perhap an INSPIRATIONAL SIGN. (Now there’s an idea…)
Making herb bouquets couldn’t be easier: read more…
Years ago, we used to scour flea markets for oversize damask napkins that were once a mainstay of early 20th century tables. They’d range anywhere from 20-to-36-inches square. Putting one across your lap at table felt incredibly luxurious: like being tucked into bed while sitting at a wonderful feast.
Over the years, the look of table linens has become seriously deconstructed: we’ve woken up to the beauty of unironed linen, and linens with unfinished hems, because few fabrics look better in their natural state than linen. Now we like to make our own oversized napkins by ripping or cutting big swaths of heavy linen (often bought on sale). The method is simple: read more…
About a year ago, our friend Ellen Silverman came back from France with a beautiful linen flat sheet that she’d seen displayed in a Paris shop. The salesperson encouraged her to buy a king size sheet and use it as a coverlet that would drape on the floor and become it’s own “dust-ruffle”, hiding whatever lay hidden under the bed. It looked so pretty, and seemed like such a practical idea, that we hatched a plot to photograph it; both being so crazy-busy we still haven’t gotten around to it.
So I was pleased to stumble on a similar image buried in a recent Remodelista house tour. This huge flat-sheet coverlet is made of gauze but linen is lovely, washable, comes in a variety of colors, and doesn’t need to be ironed. Wrinkled is fine, as are ripped edges. We’re wondering what would happen if read more…
The key is to not turn to
magazines for design
advice. buy buy
It’s all about
the placement of
(just a few) objects.
cheap, found, basic
Cerre gives a little how-to and her favorite sources for creating a setting like this. read more…
Harriet Bell alerted us to a great find: cotton Turkish towels (we love testamonials from people we trust). She wrote:
I bought two of these about six weeks ago and I’m going to buy more. They are great bath towels, lightweight and wash/dry beautifully. No more terrycloth for me.
No wrinkles. They are incredibly absorbent. Take up little space. I bought red and white ones and the colors have stayed, too! So far we’ve just used them as bath towels, but they’d be great to take a nap on in Central Park or take to the beach. Even use as a wrap/shawl! Our terrycloth towels are lonely in the linen closet.
We imagine they’d make a great sarong, table cloth, curtain… read more…
Lush, fragrant summer strawberries are in their last week or two at farm stands. We bought some home and were inspired to serve them in the giant horn spoon Maria Robledo had given us, for an unexpected presentation. We ate them right off the stems, no powdered sugar necessary. It reminded us that there are all kinds of charming and unexpected vessels you could use for serving summer berries. We imagined an our collection of big odd serving spoons filled with berries and arrayed on the table.
If you decide to remove the hulls before serving the berries or cooking with them, don’t throw them away: they can make a great instant flavoring for balsamic vinegar. read more…
The soap dish is one of those inventions that seem destined to NOT fulfill all the requirements we need them too. Designed to keep bar soap from sitting in water, the wet residue from the soap has to end up somewhere, either on the sink/tub surface or in the bottom of the soap dish, requiring cleaning later.
When we moved into our new space recently, finding a well-designed soap dish was not high on our list of endless more-essential things to accomplish. Without thinking, we improvised one: a simple dry sponge we’d had on hand. It absorbed the watery residue from the bar of soap with no mess, and because it barely got wet, there was no issue of mildewing. To clean it, we just wet the sponge and rinse it out. It seems we’d inadvertently found the perfect soap dish.
In summer, we sometimes find ourselves spending time in the badly-equipped kitchens of rented or borrowed summer houses that can be a great challenge to cook in. So we apply the concept of makeshift: When you find you don’t have a particular piece of equipment you need, improvise a substitute or “shift” the dish you are making to accommodate it.
When it comes to equipment, makeshift is an antidote to the inhibiting, very modern reliance on matching sets of pots and stylishly outfitted kitchens. It cuts to the heart of the matter: rather than letting a piece of equipment stand in the way, you come up with a makeshift solution, as resourceful people have for eons, so you can still make the delicious dish you were planning. Use a label-less wine bottle to roll out pastry dough, a coffee cup for a ladle and get by just fine with one good sharp knife (we often travel with a folding Opinel picnic knife). We heard of a woman who pulled out her ironing board when she needed more counter space.
We’ve come up with an array of makeshift solutions over the years. The example below (with a couple of recipe) will give you a sense of possibility for devising your own makeshift equipment when you need it. There’s only one rule: whatever works. read more…
When designer Laura Handler sent us word of her new blog, Interesting Found Objects, we instantly started poking around. We love Unmentionables, her latest post, with a divine, mind-boggling Japanese condom package-design. Then we flew to her website to find out about her. We looked at her designs and was smitten with her stacking, interlocking votive candle holders that could be configured in endless ways.
Such a simple and smart idea. We tried stacking our own votives to realize that executing this clever idea really takes a great deal of thought and consideration: so that the flames don’t touch the neighboring votives and possibly crack them; that they interlock so as not to come crashing down…We were reminded that good design only looks simple, and works really well.
We also really love the work she’s done with acrylic, like these vividly-colored woven placemats and drinkware she designed for Metrokane… read more…