Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Year-Round Valentine's Day

I've been struggling for the right words for Valentine's Day decorating, but am in a bit of a sugar cookie-induced haze. I had a speaking engagement today, and the lovely audience thanked me with a big tray of sugar cookies with inch-thick icing. I can barely move, much less form a coherant thought.

Instead of pontificating, here is a breakdown of some things that COULD be considered Valentine's Day specific, but are actually sold year-round. Therefore, you don't have to feel self-conscious displaying these wonderful things past Feb. 14th.

The Max Litterbox by Cats Rule, at Petco. I saw this over the weekend and really couldn't stop thinking about how this company managed to make a cat toilet so lovely and whimsical. See website for store locations.

The Fleur-de-lys drinking glass at Anthropologie (Rittenhouse Square) transforms simple tap water in to ambrosia. All for $8 a pop. I've been meaning to buy a set of these for a while, but have previously been put off by the somewhat hard edges and the teeming mass of humanity that descends on the store on Saturdays, my preferred shopping day. But someday, these will be mine.

But nothing says romance quite like this sexy tiger rug. All kidding aside, a tiger rug is great for breaking up the monotony of both your marriage and a monochromatic decorating scheme. Really. Everybody becomes much more interesting when a sassy rug is in a room. Head straight to Matthew Izzo to buy one.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Green with Envy: Go MIO

February is bringing about a ton of stories about eco-friendly home design. Natural Home magazine announced that they are building the first ever "green home" in NYC (converting a 90-year-old brownstone in Brooklyn--my late grandmother, who grew up in Brooklyn, would be amused), the Inquirer lead their Home & Design coverage with a story on putting sod on one's roof, while the New York Times is advocating dirt flooring. Did I mention that House and Garden magazine dedicated their February issue to eco-design?

The surge of coverage both highlights the obvious appeal of eco-friendly design (efficient energy bills, decent design quality and general good karma), but doesn't tend to be forthright about the downfalls (products can be prohibatively expensive, time consuming and, in the case of dirt flooring, requires a bit of education before a homeowner is okay with the idea).

Yes, we want to reduce the environmental impacts of our lifestyle without sacrificing style, but generally the costs scare us off. BusinessWeek summed this up nicely. If faced with deciding to purchase a snazzy new granite countertop versus a very efficient furnace, most of us will pick the countertop.

Eco-friendly MIO Culture, based here in Philadelphia, has a bunch of home decor stuff that is a more realistic alternative to sodding up the roofs and floors. As said before, I'm primarily a big fan of their 3-D wallpaper, specifically for long-ignored entry hallways. But the company earns points for their design consideration, but also for addressing affordability.