Tuesday, November 28, 2006

The Tasteful Alternative to Inflatable Snowpeople

I will never ever forget the ruffians who didn't let the fact that they lived on the third floor of a charming Federal townhouse stop them from partaking in holiday outdoor decor. They exposed the world to their holiday spirit by strapping a 6-foot-tall inflatable snowman to the exterior of their dingy little walk-up apartment, and then left it there to go flaccid well in to February.

But you wouldn't do that, now would you?

While everyone else is concerning themselves with displaying atrocities, you can reflect your whimsical good taste while still participating in the holiday tradition of putting things on to the lawn. And how do you do that? With a bunch of pink flamingos (from one of my all-time favorite internet retailers, FredFlare.com). I think pink flamingos are holiday appropriate, as they honor the thousands of lovable, spirited senior citizens who make the pilgramage to Florida for the winter months. Buy oodles.
Photo from fredflare.com

Monday, November 27, 2006

Divide and Conquer

As in life, we all might live better with a few boundaries.

Many new construction homes/apartments are of the “loft-inspired” or open floor plan. It’s a no-brainer as to why people like these plans—you get lots of spaciousness, control over where you can arrange your furniture and you don’t have to navigate around doorways when moving in. The issue usually comes up with how to properly define a space when there aren’t any rooms.

I’ve found a solution with the Textile Softwall, available through Design Within Reach (1710 Walnut St.). The Softwall is exactly what it sounds like: a soft wall. It’s made out of environmentally sound materials, portable and soundproof. When standing, the wall’s curvy shape is a more visually interesting alternative to traditional dividers. The Softwall also allows natural light to filter through, no small feat for a partition.

Though it’s a bit pricey for some budgets, I’d say that this was a smart investment for some individuals. You can use it as a general room divider, as a way to section off your home office space, or as an outdoor privacy screen.

Photo from dwr.com

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Party Before the Family Arrives

Fortify yourself with champagne cocktails, goodies and much-needed shopping before having to face endless family gatherings. Scarlett Alley (241 Race St.) is having a Holiday Party tomorrow night from 4-8:30 pm. You can view the invitation here. They'll be having a special on ornaments.
I know, I can't bear to think of tree-decorating either, but when I'm a sucker for animal-shaped ornaments, like the penguin at left by MoMa. Also look at the turkey serveware.
Photo from ScarlettAlley.com
Note: Apparently, I have the IQ of a cupcake at times. This event is this Wednesday, the 29th, not last week. Silly, silly. I'll chalk it up to both holiday and penguin-shaped ornament excitement.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

A Place to Hang Your Stockings and Other Holiday Objects

Mantels are fantastic for creating a tasteful focal point for apartments and small spaces. The Home Depot has a few on sale, just in time for holiday entertaining. See the New Jersey blog for more details.

Fun on the Table

Place cards have a very poor reputation-they're the sort of things you see at stuffy little tea parties or dreary dinner parties. I haven't looked back on any of my experiences and said, "You know what would've made Eunice's party so much better? Place cards! That, and not getting my hair caught on fire in the centerpiece."

But if you are a fun individual (and you are if you're reading this), you can make place cards work to your advantage. Start with these fantastic Animal Placecard Holders from west elm (1330 Chestnut St). You probably should buy about four sets at LEAST, since little silver giraffes have a way of going missing. Besides, having lots of placecard holders can be good karma--the more you have, the more fun little gatherings you'll want to have. If everyone had animal-shaped placecard holders, perhaps there would be no such thing as hermits.

Anyway, what can you do after you buy the holders? You can either dutifuly fill cards out with everyone's name, then waste three whole evenings trying to find the right place for your guests. OR you can fill out the cards with the names of splashy/tawdry historical figures, literary characters ("No, I get to be Moll Flanders!") or fun made-up names.

Photo from westelm.com

Monday, November 13, 2006

Much Ado About Antiques

I was positively suckered in to reading an article in the New York Times H&G section last week, merely because the accompanying photographed included Joan Rivers and folk art. Not that I have a particular interest in Joan Rivers and folk art, mind you, I just enjoyed the juxtaposition.

(Here is the article, in case you didn't see)

Well, not only was there scant information about Ms. Rivers and her folk art, the article turned out to be a very serious investigation on what well-heeled people worry most about: What their designers think of their family hand-me-downs and antique purchases.

To wit, "You know these pieces: The baroque, over-size bedroom set, fit for the home of a mountain king; the circular mahogany table that seats 14. Angèle Parlange, who grew up in an 18th-century Louisiana plantation house and is the author of “Creole Thrift,” just published by ReganBooks, calls it “big brown furniture.” And unlike the mistakes you make at a flea market and can unload on eBay, when you take this stuff home, you’re stuck for life."

What a limited and dreary world view to have. I was highly appalled by the glaring lack of imagination that I felt a need to give some soothing tips on what to do with your antiques:

-Paint it gold. Unless Aunt Mimi wrote a brilliant manifesto on her writing desk, feel free to paint it gold, replace the hardware and use it as a mini-bar. Aunt Mimi probably used it in that respect, albeit informally. If you're short on space, take the doors off a closet and place in there. You can always stuff your ill-fitting sweaters and stretched-out bathing suits somewhere else.

-Make a dining room. Even if you have the most microscopic apartment, it will behoove you to make your own dining room. If given the choice between some clunky entertainment center and uncomfortable futons, and a circular mahogany table for 14...you are better off with the table, a deck of cards, and the phone number of the nearest hotel for your dear friends. Throw caution to the wind, when it comes to scale.

-Burn bridges. Some people WILL be cross with you if you start painting "antiques." The resulting grudge will only be short-term, and really, you probably needed a break from their presence/phone conversations anyway.

In Praise of the Kids' Table

Oh I can get so deliriously envious at the decorating options available to babies. You know, for little spit-up machines with varying stages of consciousness, they sure have much cheerier options of tableware than we grown-ups do.

Wouldn't you prefer to see this mug (BabyCie, available through Open House, 107 S. 13th St.) in the morning rather than a depressing, chipped, sensible earth-tone stoneware vessel? After all, who doesn't like giraffes? Especially french giraffes, which are actually spelled girafe and are therefore 1000 times fancier than normal giraffes.


Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Jewels Are Life Enhancing

Personally, I have never gravitated towards using candles as home decor. Nothing against candles and the people who use them, really. It's just that I would feel a need to buy whimsically shaped candles, and then I would feel terrible lighting them. And if I just didn't light them, the candles would accumulate dust, and then I would feel bad about neglecting them. It's really a vicious cycle that I wasn't willing to participate in, if you can somehow follow that.

But I must say that I'm thinking of revising my opinion re: candles, all because of these vaguely medieval Jewel Stem Candle Holders, available at P.H.A.G.-Philadelphia Home Art Garden (252 S. 12th). They'd make a very nice impact on your Thanksgiving/Holiday tables, breaking up the formal nonsense of plain white china.

Knowledge Is Power

There will be an update later this evening, on account of me simply not being able to get my fill of both election news coverage--thus proving that that those who like owl-shaped teapots can't be occasionally civic-minded.


Monday, November 06, 2006

The Case of the Missing Pants and Found Owls

I went to Anthropologie (1801 Walnut) this Sunday, fully intending on buying a pair of pants.

I left with the owl sake set, pictured at left, instead. I snagged the last owl-shaped cup, but there were still many owl-shaped teapots left. You can buy sets of two cups at the online storefront.

Who knows how this amusing substitution happened--perhaps I'm just very susceptible to owl-shaped stoneware--but I originally thought I was getting a tea set. Maybe this should be Anthropologie's new motto: You go in for pants, leave with a tea set, and eventually find out that you have a sake set.

Photo from anthropologie.com

Thursday, November 02, 2006

An Important Public Service Announcement

UPDATE, 11.06.06: The below situation has been delightfully taken care of. Thanks to Annalise!

I am going to take a moment to bring up an uncharacteristically serious issue. This has nothing to do with decanters, furniture or even the Schnapps bear (unfortunately).

Some readers have inquired about the web domain www.domesticallyinclined.com. I would like to officially inform you that is not me.

This is an incredibly serious issue. Not only does this site appear to use the distinct moniker of Domestically Inclined, but it seems to intend to act in a similar capacity.

As we know, I take my role as editor of Domestically Inclined-Philadelphia Nests and Domestically Inclined-New Jersey Style very seriously. As a freelance home decor writer, the Domestically Inclined title is frequently referred to in my published works and throughout the public domain through interviews with the media, reviews and even on forums. My site has kindly been mentioned on Domino magazine's website, adding to the curious coincidence that someone would use this title.

I am hoping that the issue will be resolved shortly. Until then, do not be confused by this unfortunate incident.

Would you like to see Trixie, my disproportionate cat, while finding out where you can find an inky black crystal chandelier? Take a look here.

No, It's Not an Upholstered Coffin

This is actually an upholstered leather bench, available through Scarlett Alley (241 Race St.). The top opens up, allowing you to store all sorts of goodies and messes. When closed, it can provide extra seating while looking unassuming. I certainly wouldn't think this stylish little number was actually full of incidentals.

I also like the tailored, confirmed-bachelor-esque qualities inherent in this piece. It's the same feeling you get from a Chesterfield sofa--you're ten times more interesting when you sit on one, and also ten times more likely to drink out of a conspicuous silver flask.

Photo from ScarlettAlley.com

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Rolling Out The Welcome Mat

You know what people tend to forget about when they decorate? Their doormats. The traditional "nubby" textured rubber doormats (the one that usually spell out "Welcome") weather quickly, while fiber doormats (the ones seemingly made from rejected toothbrush bristles) attract all sorts of disgusting sediments. The best doormats I've seen are those fantastic antique wrought iron specimens, which happen to be lawsuits waiting to happen once the icy weather begins.

However. I have found this doormat, through Williams-Sonoma, which mimicks the look of wrought iron through a clever rubber material. It's only available through their print and online catalogues, which might be for the best, since once you enter a Williams-Sonoma, you might just walk out with a $300 copper pot and a free inferiority complex.

Photo from Williams-Sonoma.com