Archive for July, 2011
I was stumped this weekend, trying to figure out what to get a fabulous and fashionable friend for her birthday. I mean, what do you get for someone who has such chic taste? After much discussion with my co-gift giver, we settled on making, rather than buying our gift. I’ve always felt that handmade gifts are so much more meaningful that store bought ones because they take so much more time and thought.
So what did we decide to make? An uber fashionable throw pillow with our favorite inside joke printed on top of it. If you’ve been reading Pretty Little Green Things for any length of time, my love of decorative throw pillows most likely comes as no surprise as shown here, here and here.
To my fabric sample bin I went, looking for the most fabulous remnants I could find for the soon to be fabulous pillow. I had saved a waterfall (all the colorways) of a metallic glazed linen from Edmond Petit which I thought would make perfect letters for our saying. The background came from a large memo sample of black embroidered flowers from Osborne & Little. Thanks to both manufacturers for being as fabulous as your fabrics!
These are the metallic glazed linen swatches before cutting. I lined up all the colors in order to make sure they looked good together. The metallic kind of reminded me of neon letters, which I thought would be a fun take for this fashion forward pillow.
This is the background of the pillow with my paper templates on top, just to make sure everything would fit. Yup, our saying is”I like your stuff.” I’m not even going to begin to explain here, but suffice it to say, when you’re as fashionable as my friend is, what’s not to love about all her “stuff”
The metallic letters laid out and ready to be glued. I would have rather sewn them on, but I just didn’t have the time. Plus the embroidered background was really thick and I was concerned I would create more problems for myself trying to add extra bulk.
Here’s the pillow before adding the letters. Gorgeous fabric, no? The fabric isn’t totally flat because of the puckering of the embroidery, which makes for a slightly lumpy pillow. It just adds more depth I say!
I couldn’t resist putting the pillow on my new chair to see how it would look. Pretty nice, huh?
The birthday girl with her brand new pillow.
My friends posing with the pillow (and husband on the far left). Maybe I should have jumped in the picture, rather than be the photographer so I could take a picture with my creation. Oh well, next time.
The people that most impress me in this world are those who can take a seemingly simple object and transform them into something so unique and fabulous, you’d never guess their product had such humble beginnings. Case in point: Suzanne Tick. Her woven art pieces made from dry cleaning hangers and bags are recycled art at its finest. As the former Creative Director of Knoll Textiles, (a fabric company for commercial interiors), Suzanne is intimately familiar with looms and weaving. For her, creating recycled art was as easy as changing the medium, not the process. The Salvage collection is her exploration of the beauty of materials when separated & reenergized and the possibilities of the discarded & reclaimed. Suzanne’s work debuted at Design Miami Basel in Basel, Switzerland in June with the Cristina Grajales Gallery.
Photos from Cristina Grajales Gallery
I’m a big fan of designers using their talent to promote good causes, especially when said talent produces something so cool. Last year Suite New York teamed up with 20 designers who each put together their vision of what a pink Hans Wegner Wishbone chair should be, in order to auction off those chairs for charity. This year, they’ve again teamed up with an amazing cast of designers who each put their own unique spin on the Arne Jacobsen Swan chair. This Pink Swan project, so entitled because the Swan chairs are all pink, benefits the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. They’ll be auctioned off on Charity Buzz in October, just in time for Breast Cancer Awareness month. I think these chairs are absolutely inspirational, not only because they promote a good cause, but because so much talent and design is packaged into one little chair. I’ve shown a few of my favorites below. Which one is yours?
Photos from Suite New York
What could be better than tacos & margaritas? Eating them in a LEED Platinum restaurant! Yup, Seattle based Little Water Cantina is expecting to achieve this lofty green goal all while serving up delicious Mexican food in their 3,000 square foot restaurant. Designed by Shed Architecture & Design, the restaurant has a hip and sustainable vibe. Green facts: Little Water Cantina is lit almost entirely with LED lights and they cut their water use (a huge deal in the restaurant biz) by about 70%. Plus energy use is down and reuse is up. Case in point, the cool light feature made of 800 reclaimed tequila bottles (and by reclaimed I mean individually dug out of the dumpster by the dedicated owners) and the awesome pendant lights hung over the bar made from vintage gramophones.
To go along with their LEED certification, Little Water Cantina serves local & organic food when feasible, uses only eco-friendly cleaning products and composts all of their food waste. If only I lived nearby, I’d be enjoying a margarita made from local & organic ingredients right now! (That means its good for you, right?) Plus the interiors are as hip as they are green. Enjoy!
The bar with the cool gramophone pendants. I also love the mix of textured wood with the tons of tequila bottles all lined up.
You can sort of see a detail of the pressed tin behind the bar where the beer taps are hung.
A close up of those cool gramophone pendants.
Bar top made from a plank of live edge wood. Gorgeous!
How cool is this mural? I wonder who all the people are in it…
Here’s a peek of the dining room and that 800-bottle tequila wall. Collecting those bottles and envisioning what it all will look like really takes foresight!
Photos from Little Water Cantina
After my successful weekend painting furniture and accepting delivery of my brand new chair (okay, I didn’t actually do any work on that one, but the result was fabulous), I’m that much more impressed with people who refurbish vintage pieces. They always make the “afters” look so easy, which, I can attest to, are not. Maybe that’s why I’m addicted to before & after pics like those on Design Sponge’s - it’s the raw possibility that exists in each and every piece that makes their transformations that much more interesting.
So with all that said, I bring you Mod Pieces, a restyled vintage lighting boutique, created by Lia Fagan. She salvages cool antique lamps and brings out their true awesomeness. They’re fitted with new (and modern) wiring, super fun shades and nicely lacquered bodies. Even the lamp shades are salvaged where possible, making these lights as green as could be.
Photos from Mod Pieces
I’m not talking about dogs or cats, but furniture! Yup, my new lounge chair arrived from ABC Home and I finally tackled painting our nightstands this weekend. So even though our apartment looks like a tornado ripped through the middle of it right now (hey, painting is messy work!), I’m pretty happy with this latest transformation. Take a peek for yourself & tell me what you think!
First off, the nightstands. I bought one at Brimfield last year and the other at Housing Works here in Manhattan for a combined total of $40. Pretty sweet, huh? The Brimfield one needed a lot of love in the form of wood filler but the small size & cool handles are what sold me on the piece. And both nightstands are narrow, a necessity in our bedroom because with the addition of a new and wider bed frame, we’re taking up every inch available door to door. Here are the before pics.
Brimfield nightstand. I love the shape, but the cracking wood and retro look had to go.
Housing Works nightstand. Even though drawers are so practical, I love the look of the delicate open shelves which help make the narrow area look not so heavy.
So, how to make two totally different nightstand shapes & styles look like they match? I painted both of them the same blue and topped them with the same wallpaper for a little added durability. The wallpaper was actually a leftover strike-off from Studio E. This company makes beautiful products, one of which is palm leaves pressed into plaster which creates a luminous and textural wallpaper. And because the plaster is troweled over paper, it can be installed just about anywhere, even furniture. So are you ready for the after pics?
The Brimfield nightstand. I have to admit that taking pictures later in the day, doesn’t do the best for bringing out the beautiful colors of the paint or wallpaper, but you get the idea. I’ll post more pictures on Facebook when the light is right.
And the Housing Works nightstand
Another view of the Housing Works nightstand
What about the chair? As I said, this modern wing chair is from ABC Home from their Cobble Hill collection. It’s made with a goodwood frame and manufactured by an American employee-owned, family and community oriented company. What I love about it is not only is it super soft and comfy, it’s also extra wide, so when we have people over it can fit two people (okay, two very good friends) perched on the ends instead of just one. While my husband is still getting used it versus the old Ikea chair, I have a feeling I’ll be spending a lot of time curled up reading here.
As I rule, I don’t repost other people’s blog finds, but sometimes when I see something really interesting or unique, I feel like it’s worth a second look. I saw these white planters made from reclaimed wood from Haunt the other day on Design Sponge and was instantly intrigued. It seems like the faceted shape is everywhere nowadays, from chairs and light fixtures to vases and trays. We’re even looking to install a faceted bar in a project I’m working on. But there’s something about the combination of the sleek facets and glossy white paint together with the rough wood texture that makes this planter extra special. What do you think?
According to Haunt, these planters are best suited for small succulents that don’t need much depth and water. There is also no drainage in the planter, so you will need to cover the bottom of the openings with rocks so the plants do not sit in water.
Photos from Haunt
I have just about a zillion eco-friendly bookmarks on my computer for everything from sustainable furniture and lighting sources to green paint, wallpaper and art installations. So it always comes as a bit of a surprise when I find a furniture manufacturer that is both green and chic that I haven’t already heard of. This happened to me the other day and I was kicking myself for not knowing about G. Romano sooner. The company has been around since the 1960s making elegant modern pieces in Montreal, Canada. As a member of the Sustainable Furnishings Council, they use green practices and materials whenever possible. To name a few, G. Romano uses responsibly sourced wood for frames, soy based foams, solvent free glues and stains and metal springs made out of recycled steel. Plus even more importantly from my humble opinion, their furniture is well made and built to last.
Now that I’ve discovered this new green furniture retailer, I had to shade a few installation shots of their modern and sleek furniture. Enjoy!
Photos from G. Romano
I’m the type of person who works best in a team setting. The days when I’m collaborating, bouncing ideas off others and talking through problems are the times when I’m my most creative and inspired. So when I was introduced to Red Clay and their democratic style of design, I knew they were on to something special. Here’s the deal: Red Clay sponsors design competitions which are centered around a particular theme. Designers submit products to the community (us!) who in turn vote on their favorites. After all the votes are in, the top rated products are manufactured and sold on Red Clay’s website and Etsy store. This process gives designers who might not otherwise have the means, the chance to sell to a larger audience. And it gives us, the voters, a chance to decide exactly what we’d like in our home. Power to the people!
So what types of products are typically submitted? Red Clay’s first collection included a colorful variety of pillows and table linens that you can still get your hands on. Their next collection will be ceramic objects, including decorative vases, bowls and platters. If you’re an artist, get your wheels turning and submit your design! You have from July 11 to July 22 to submit your entry. And if you’re a member of the community, you’ll get your day in the sun to vote on your favorites after all the submissions are in.
In addition to this democratic method of design, Red Clay aims to be as green as possible with a commitment to honest materials and honest manufacturing. They’ve even gone so far as to transform the way they ship their products with an innovative mailer. Made from waterproof nylon on the outside and fabric scraps that had been bound for the trash bin on the inside, Red Clay has tackled that one thing that makes me guilty beyond belief about ordering online – the packaging! These mailers can then be returned for free to be reused for the next customer or you can keep them for a small fee. FedEx – you’d better start taking notes!
Photos from Red Clay
I’m not really a fan of the “turn recycled cardboard into furniture, lamps and other home furnishings and call it all eco-friendly” movement. Don’t get me wrong, I think that recycled paper and cardboard are great and can be used in quite a modern way, but I’ve never really thought of them as a beautiful & chic expression of sustainability. Well, I suppose I have to amend my statement a bit because of Struktur, a graceful room divider designed by Lena Peter. It’s an assemble-it-yourself screen made out of 100% Kraftplex, a biodegradable cellulose fiber alternative to plastic and metal sheeting. I really love its graceful curves and total creative flexibility. With four different attachment slots on each piece, you can design this screen to look however you want. It’s currently sold through Suite New York in packages of 2, 8 or 16 square meters. What do you think about it?
Photos from Suite NY