Monday, October 30, 2006

The Solution For Ugly Ceilings

If you have ugly ceilings, the quick solution is this pre-pasted faux ceiling tile "wallpaper," available at Lowe's (2106 S. Christopher Columbus Blvd.) . The paper is pre-glued, meaning easy installation (tips on that later this week) and ready-to-paint. I recommend an unusual shade- try hot pink or canary yellow if you're particularly adventurous, but Ralph Lauren's gold or silver will also work wonderfully. You can peel this away easily, so why not make a statement?

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Finding an Alternative to Traditional Crystal Chandeliers

So I got an e-mail today, asking if there were an equally glitzy alternative to a crystal chandelier. The reader had nothing against crystal chandeliers (don't worry, I won't take it personally, just because I would install chandeliers in my refrigerator if I could), but well...we all have our different tastes. That is perfectly understandable. Free to be you and me, that sort of thing.

I was about to recommend entwining christmas lights around a disco ball (kidding), when I thought about the new pendant globe-shaped lighting I've been seeing around town. Round pendant lighting has always either been: a. dust magnets, b. too fussy/small to make a big splash or c. made of flimsy paper.

But now I'm seeing products to the contrary, such as the Schonbek Da Vinci crystal pendant available at Arch Street Lighting (120 Arch St.) and Tom Dixon's Mirrorball pendant at minima (118 N. 3rd). Da Vinci has been making the rounds in the press, mostly because it's the first lamp you can throw in to the dishwasher; but both are equally glitzy alternatives to the stereotypical chandelier. They command a certain strength with mass, which is different to the feeling you get with chandelier tiers or arms.

Tom Dixon Mirrorball, left; Schonbek Da Vinci, right.
Photos from,

Monday, October 23, 2006

Are you in the market for a sock depository (no, not suppository, silly)? Or perhaps a curio for your votive candle collection? Then mosey on over to New Jersey.

Coral or Tree, You Decide

I haven't decided if these charming coat hangers from Usona (113 S. 16th) resemble a coral branch or a merely a denuded tree. The website says coral, but I see one of the many bare trees outside of my window right now. Perhaps certain people--and I'm using "people" the way one uses the royal "we"--can't accept the seasonably cold weather and can't escape the reminders that soon, one will need a parka and goggles to face the day.

But coral or tree, these Corallo coat hangers are a fantastic alternative to having to throw said parka on a lonely chair. I dare say that having a proper coat hanger will encourage civility in your home. I lean towards the coral-stained color, but I do think that the natural toned one would look well amongst swedish modern neutrals. The angles would break up the rectilinear forms nicely.

Photo from

Thursday, October 19, 2006

In The Papers

Here is what's going on all over the country in Thursday Home newspaper sections...

One man's foot is another's many-thousand-dollar chair. [New York Times]

The latest trend in entertaining: making your friends do tough, manual labor. [New York Times]

Why not have the architect behind some of today's most recognizable buildings update the staid Philadelphia Museum of Art with an...underground art gallery? Wouldn't want to challenge people's perspectives while they are doing their Rocky Balboa run up the stairs, now would we?[Philadelphia Inquirer]

When lady guests show up to your Halloween party dressed like hookers, you can count on gourds to class the place up. [Washington Post]

A few weeks ago, I was looking at properties and found a home that had 5 half bathrooms, 2 full bathrooms and only 2 bedrooms. Not related to this article on bathroom design, but I just needed to share. [San Francisco Examiner]

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Easy Upgrade: Get a New Number

One of the easiest ways to upgrade the exterior look of your home--even if it is a dreary basement apartment--is to replace your address numbers. It's a modest investment that pays off. I mean, did you know that the picture at left was actually taken in front of a bus shelter?

Actually, that's a lie. The photo is from DWR's website, but you get the idea (and we don't really know that it WASN'T taken before a bus station, right?). Numbers, stylish mailboxes and perhaps some creative topiary, are tiny things you can easily change for a splashier impact.

Friday, October 13, 2006


In the world of home decorating coverage, there is no such thing as having "brass balls." Merely felt ones. (USA Today)

Really? People get cold in the winter and should put more blankets in their home? I guess I should cancel the New Year's Speedo party. (Philadelphia Inquirer)

Attention Power Couples: You too can have a $15,000 pillowcase to cry in to when your significant other leaves you for the ayurvedic massage therapist. (Hartford Courant)

The government can "protect" us from online gambling addictions, but who will save us from Kathy Ireland's home collection for Hallmark? I'm upset even typing that. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)

The real problem in the wrestling world is not steroids, but shutters. (Orlando Sentinel)

There goes Ikea, always instigating. (LA Times)

Thursday, October 12, 2006

In The Papers

Career Trajectory of a New York Times Reporter: Go to Prestigious College, Suffer Through Journalism School, Work Your Way Through the Metro Section, Then Write About Air Fresheners. At least we know their homes are stinky, just like us common folk.

I knew it would happen eventually...we're gentrifying ourselves to the point where bathing in a steel tub will be the next big thing. Even Chloe Sevigny did it.

Hey, the LA Times thinks your family is ugly. (Under "Photos") [link repaired]

When the media finally shows up to photograph your newly renovated Munsters-style home, could you at least change out of your overalls? Or draw on a new pair of eyebrows?

Next time you're feeling lonely, just know that somebody, somewhere is making scented pinecones. Maybe you should call your Mother more often.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Every once in a while, there is something worth buying at Starbucks. I'm not saying this in a snobby way. It's just that usually, the items (cups, plates, etc) available would only be bought by someone seriously brainwashed by Starbucks. For example, take this "To-Go" style oversized mug at left, still available at your local Starbucks. Why would any free-thinking individual want this? Does it magically transform your Taster's Choice in to a super strong brew? I especially like the way there are those "customization" boxes on the side.

Anyway. So this Halloween, Starbucks is promoting whimsical items that may or may not be based on the Ugly Dolls. They even have mugs based on these designs, and this is what I approve of. I figure, if you can't have a fine china mug in the morning, at least have something exquisitely cheerful.

You can't get the mugs online--except for on eBay, where the photos came from--but you can usually get them at your local Starbucks outpost.

BYOB- Bring Your Own Bark

Can't enjoy the outdoors in the city? Why not try bringing it indoors. Sort of.

Friday, October 06, 2006


After yesterday's New York Times article about people who live in oil tanks but are neither homeless nor oil spill victims, I have decided to make a house out of empty coffee canisters.

The Philadelphia Inquirer leads its Home and Design coverage with a photo essay/meditation on the beauty of fall plants and seed pods. Do you think there was a special meeting called to weed out (no pun intended) the more suggestive compositions? The ghost of Georgia O'Keefe silently weeps.

Affordable art? In a town with a ton of art schools and arts non profits? Who would've thought?!!

But after all, it is not art that makes a house a home, it is the cherubs holding up carved archways. I genuinely love auction listings.

People in Connecticut like to make their beds. But the rest of us will politely ignore their advice on using two dust ruffles at once. Perverts.

Before you hire someone to renovate your row home, check their qualifications.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

In the Papers

Stories to read from select Home & Design/Lifestyle coverage...

The New York Times tells us how to clean antique mirrors, live in an oil tank, and make secret compartments in our homes. (Registration required)

The Philadelphia Daily News is obsessed with dogs and wants us to dine at a place that charges $1/small chocolate candy.

The Associated Press is doing its best to stop the public from being interested in Rachel Ray (and why are they?). After seeing Nigella Lawson's new show, you will not feel appropriate watching a loud lady with awful mannerisms who refers to Extra Virgin Olive Oil as E.V.O.O.

Renters, consider yourself warned. And why pillow-shop when you can pay for the experience of making one? What is happening to our area? (Philadelphia Inquirer)

The Washington-Post teaches us how to keep your bedroom from becoming your personal decorating hell. Meanwhile, I quietly celebrate the return of pseudo-Victorian style decor.

I wish we could get a Marimekko store. (Boston Globe) (Registration Required)

The Times (London) has great ideas regarding screens and lighting.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Just How Old Is It?

I was attracted to this sunburst mirror, available through Mixed Company (60 N. 3rd St.), because it can fit in to nearly any sort of style, from fusty-and-formal to retro hangover. It could be from the early 1800's (reminiscent of those Federal mirrors of that time period, with wonderfully garish patriotic eagles situated around a fisheye-style mirror), or the 1970's.

Due to the fisheye-type of mirror it's rather useless as a way to check your reflection, so I'd use it as an accent. Put it over your fireplace with a bunch of other objects, in a forlorn hallway, or hang within an arrangement of art (it will certainly tone down the seriousness of art hangings).