As seen on:

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Decorating My Apartment: A lesson in inspiration and courage

I was recently inspired by Decor8's Fabulous Stationary Contest and SFgirlbybay (whose beautiful and eclectic style is always an inspiration) to again take up the task of decorating my place.

I have always
had a minimalistic style. When I was younger my style was pretty much governed by what I could fit in a minivan in a spur of the moment relocation. Now, that I am thinking about staying in one place for more than a year, I can no longer put off the inevitable -- making my house a home.

The first piece of furniture I bought for my new place took 5 months to find. I was sort of a deer in the headlights in furniture store -- I just couldn't commit. A friend of mine once told me, "buy what you like and you'll find a way to make it work" and so that's what I have done. Over the past 2.5 years, I have steadily acquired some furniture, throw pillows and a few picture frames and to my surprise -- she was right.

A month ago I blogged about how I chose the pieces for my living room. I am using the same method for choosing a rug. Shopping for a rug can be a big pain -- nothing ever looks the same online as it does in person, there is a huge variability in price and returning a rug can be a nightmare. Thankfully, many stores allow you to 'borrow' their rugs so that you can try them out at home.

Last weekend I visited Peace Industries in Hayes valley, and while I liked the concept (felted organic rugs) I wasn't a ran of any of the rugs that came in the size I was looking to buy. I spent the rest of the night scouring the internet for pictures of brown rugs.I am fairly price-constrained and color-constrained (white cats). Here is what I have found so far, if anyone has any advice for a virgin rug-shopper, I would love to hear it!

{a} Circles rug

{b} Bubbles rug from Target

{c} Stones from Room and Board

{d} Leaf Rug from Pottery Barn

{e} Vinca

I also bought a few pieces of artwork from Etsy (I love Etsy!)

{a} Brown Boots
This is my favorite piece by Jen Oaks. She also has lots of other lovely artwork.

{b} So True
What I love about this the most is the typography (and the simplicity)

{c} Little Lost
I don't have a place for this one yet, but it is so cute, I couldn't resist
{d} Softly
I didn't buy this one -- it is a bit too expensive, but I love the colors and texture

{e} Honeycreeper

Friday, July 27, 2007

Designer Knockoffs: To buy or not to buy?

There are raging debates over what place repetition has in the design world. Many designers feel strongly that creating work that is reminiscent of another's and selling it at a lower price point is simply unethical, while other feel that good design should be accessible to everyone, not simply those people who can afford to drop $5k on wall decoration.

As someone who has far more expensive taste than I have little green bills in my pocket, I am not opposed to purchasing work that is reminiscent of more expensive design objects, although I acknowledge that the design is not as good. As a designer, I always feel flattered when someone rips off my work. I know this is strange, but to me it is evidence of the fact that I have created a successful piece.

{A} Left: Horseshoe Chair (Room and Board) $650 / Right: China Chair (Hans Wegner)$6,707

{B} Left: Sunburst Wall Art (West Elm) 49.00 / Right: Constellation Mirror (Thomas Pheasant for Kohler Interiors)$5,894

{C} Left: Spark Peekaboo Table (CB2) $199 / Right: Luisa Side Table (Stine Gam-Pedersen, Enrico Fratesi) $278

{D} Left: Ball Clock (You can make this yourself out of Lollypops. Admittedly this is a little ridiculous, but kind of fun!) / Right: Nelson Ball Clock (George Nelson) $300

Left: Bucket Rocker (White on White) $125/ Right: Eames Rocker (Charles and Ray Eames) $399

{F} Left: Chic Chalet Clock (Invotis) $59 / Right: silhouette cuckoo clock (Anthropologie) $278

Friday, July 13, 2007

A Love of Anthropologie: The perfect blend of simplicity and complexity

I love Anthropologie.
It amazes me how solid the brand is -- the housewares, the clothing, the jewelry, the catalogue and the logotype -- manages to blend the perfect amount of simplicity with an unexpected twist of complexity.

Here are a few things from the recent catalogue that I really love.

{a} Alphabet Glasses
{b} Koi Ahoy Glasses
{c} Fish Pond Glasses
{d} Fresh Berry Drops Earrings
{e} Little Chick Paperweight
{f} Recycled Glass Vases -- I love these shapes
{g} Wingspan Ring
{h} Silhouette Cuckoo Clock

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

New Etsy Treasures!

Etsy is so cool! I can't believe how many amazing finds there are. Here are a few I found this morning:

{a}Stackable silver rings -- beautiful sterling silver stackable rings ($139.00 for a set of 4) from Colleen Baran.

{b}Typewriter Letter Necklace -- I love type. Just ask my boyfriend who indulgently puts up with the fact that our closets are stuffed to the gills with metal and wood type. So, it goes without saying that I can't resist the look of this beautiful necklace (35$). I saw something similar at boutique shops around San Francisco for three times the price.

{c}Gossamer Wings -- Ornate Vintage Finery designed by Jody McGill. I especially love this dragon fly necklace ($49.01), but she has many other beautiful treasures for sale.

{d}Purple Grove Skirt -- I love the look of this wonderful and inventive skirt ($45.00) made of patches of fabric from Mademoiselle Modiste.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Bovine Abduction Lamp -- I need another toy on my desk like a I need a hole in the head

I need one of these lamps -- I mean, I absolutely must have one. I am almost positively sure I will not survive without one. I have a place for it on my desk right next to my growing collection of desk toys which include an iDog, a Wifi Bunny and a fully detailed remote control model of the Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Girls' Spa Day on Fillmore Street, San Francisco

There are few things better in life than hanging out with girlfriends -- add in a little wine, a lot of shopping and a facial and it is probably as close to heaven on earth as you can get. Today I spent the day wandering around on Fillmore street with friends and in the process found quite a few things to blog about.

I have a fetish for make-up -- the colors, the glitter, but most of all the packaging. I was particularly struck by the beautiful packaging of the Hourglass line of cosmetics. My favorite is the palette case. At $75 dollars for the case with no make-up, it is hardly a bargain, but it is beautiful to look at.

I just love this patterned stationary from Snow & Graham. Snow & Graham is a Chicago-based letterpress that prints the most beautiful floral cards and candles.

I also love these bug drinking glasses (also from Papersource). I already have a set of drinking glasses that I got from the AIGA silent auction years ago, but I am thinking of adding these to my collection.

We stopped into the Gallery of Jewels on Fillmore which caries beautiful and inventive jewelry. My favorites were the laser-cut earrings and pendants from the Australian-based Polli.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Poltrona Frau Hydra: Italian Designer Furniture in Pink or Yellow

Despite the fact that I can't imagine this chair playing nice with any of the other furniture in my house and that I have an avowed hatred of stick legs (straight metal legs that often accompany modern furniture) I can't help but love the Poltrona Frau Hydra armchair. Whether it is in yellow or cotton candy pink, its graceful arms and back contrast nicely with the modern legs and seat. *swoon*

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Design Angst: Interior Design Lessons for the Living Room

Despite the fact that I spend an inordinate (and probably unhealthy) amount of time coveting beautiful furniture, I have never really had a well decorated place. This is mostly due to the fact that I have moved across country 4 times which has made me very good at not getting attached to things (or accumulating things I might get attached to). Hence, I had a lovely collection of Sauder furniture and a mishmash of functional items (the most hideous of which was a bright (and I mean bright!) yellow pleather futon that doubled as a couch in the living room of my new york apartment.

I am not certain I am done moving, but I have decided that I am at a point in my life where I should probably think about nesting. The task seemed so daunting, however, that I have lived in a mostly unfurnished apartment for the greater part of two years.

I certainly spent plenty of time looking for furniture, but I found myself agonizing over the decisions. I asked a few interior designer friends and they told me to pick a piece and design around it, but no matter how hard I tried, I just seemed unable to decide on anything.

Finally five months ago, I decided to take the plunge. One day while flipping through a catalogue I saw the Henredon Cocktail Table {H} and fell in love. I really love its graceful legs -- it has an 18th century English aesthetic with a decidedly modern twist.

I already had one or two pieces in my living room including the porcelain Napali Vase {A} and the Miyoko {k} from Room and Board. I found it difficult to buy anything else, however, because I was unable to imagine how everything would look together once it was assembled in my living room.

To solve this problem, I found pictures of the things I liked (multiple side tables, chairs, pillows, rugs etc.) and I put all the pictures in Photoshop and created a mood board. I started with the things I knew would definitely be in my living room: the Henredon cocktail table and the Miyoko media center and I tried out several combinations until I came up with something I liked.

This approach enabled me to quickly tell what didn't work without having to go through the pain of ordering and returning it.

The mood board pictured above is the one I liked the most out of all the various combinations I created.

{A} Napali porcelain Vase
{B} Hubberton Forge floor lamp
{C} Magazine stand in oak
{D} Jasper Sofa in Desmond
{E} Pillows
{F} Room and Board picture frames
(I hung 8-9 different frames in various styles and sizes over my couch. The photos are all black and white and were mostly taken during my trip to India: Roll I , Roll II)
{G} Stones rug
{H} Henredon Aston Court cocktail table
{I} Bergman leather recliner in Sundance Vintage
{J} Moooi Cork Stool
{K} Miyoko Media stand
{L} Gigi chairs in Winslet Sunset

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Color Unlike Any Other -- Pantone Products

I have been on the hunt for Pantone products recently and happened across a few cool items. My favorite was a small, pink snap coin purse that apparently is being manufactured and sold in Japan, but that I can't seem to find anywhere.

In the meantime, here are a few other beauties from the folks at Pantone Universe and Fishs Eddy in NYC.

{a} Pantone Universe Wallet (in Purple)
{b} Fishs Eddy Pantone Dinnerware Collection
{c} Pantone Wire Ring Notebook

Also check out these Pantone mugs

Monday, June 11, 2007

Design Within Reach -- Modern Airstream. Travelin' in style.

Okay, in truth I am not sure what to think about this. On one hand, it's cool -- I mean how can anything this shiny not be cool? On the other hand, it's also sort of weird, but perhaps that is just because the Airstream has some how gotten associated in my memory with Tom Robbins' book "Skinny Legs and All".

Anyway, the new DWR airstream is all about traveling in style -- modern-like. The good news? The price tag is hovering just shy of the $50,000 dollar mark, which makes it the most affordable housing option in the Bay Area.

This shiny Design Within Reach innovation-on-wheels is outfitted with modern iconic decor such as the Nelson Ball Clock. It also includes Matteo Linens and a Maharam pillow.

Friday, June 8, 2007

Karim Rashid Lickable, Blue (!!!) Portable Hard drive

There is probably waaaaay too much Karim Rashid in the design world, so I have absolutely no excuse for posting this other than it is blue (and I love blue) and generally all-around lickable. It is available on the Karim Rashid shop site for the oh-so-low bargain price of $210. Yum.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

T-shirt illustration, stylish square typography, sexy phones and a bag to carry it in!

I started this blog with the idea that I would post one entry every day, but so far my track record is a little dismal. I was unusually busy last week at work but I have also been doing a fair amount of illustration for t-shirts.In between all that I managed to find a few things to blog about in the design world.

{a} Marimekko Handbag.
I really like the new spring line from Marimekko, particularly this one by designer Mika Piirainen.

{b} Typefaces by Mean Tangerine
These square typefaces are a gift to designers trying to put tiny type on small buttons. It's hip to be square, or so they tell me.

{c} Nokia 7380
This is by no means a new phone, but I have been drooling over it for so long I feel like it deserves a little page space. The interface of this phone is probably the pits, but I can't get over the way it looks.

Friday, June 1, 2007

Creative lighting for kids (and grown-up kids)

There are so many cute lighting options for kids these days (although I have to admit I can hardly resist the Carlos Night Light and the Thorsten Van Elten Pigeon Lamp)

{a.} OFFI MY Pet Siamese Lamp $59
{b.} Mibo Tall Table Lamp $160 (so beautiful)
{c.} Candeloo Portable Lights $47
{d.} Thorsten Van Elten Pigeon Lamp $105 (who doesn't want their very own pink pigeon??)
{e.} Carlos Night Light $180

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Tokoyo Flash Japan -- Clean, simple lines make a beautiful watch

I couldn't resist posting this beautiful watch by Tokyo Flash. Many of the other watches on this site are a little too busy for my taste, but this one (strangely called "Cranky") is just perfect.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Cute Overload -- Cute handmade, indie goods at Shana Logic

Once Pixelgirl, now Shana Logic -- this online shop has a ton of cute indie items. Here are a few that struck my fancy:

{a} Limited edition bunny print from Ashley White-Jacobsen. I just love this little guy!

{b} Sparrow messenger bag

{c} Emotibud Earbud set. These flexible charms snap right onto your ipod earbuds.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

An Unhealthy Obsession with Dinnerware I can't Afford: Bodo Sperlein

I have an unhealthy obsession with dinnerware I can't afford. London-based Bodo Sperlein makes such beautiful and romantic dishware (and lighting), who can't help but covet these beauties.

{a.} White textured 5-piece setting
{b.} red berry dinnerware
{c.} sculptural flowers
{d.} black forest dinnerware
{e.} capsule de fleur light sculpture (drool)
{f.} Cylinder beaker, boa vase & candle beaker

Wheel-thrown Ceramic Vases from Emigre

I have been taking a ceramic class at Mother Earth Clay Arts in Sunnyvale for the past couple of months. It has really given me an appreciation for wheel thrown ceramic pieces. There is something nice about having something that was made by hand by another person. Quite a while ago, I discovered these beautiful ceramic vases from Emigre founder Zuzana Licko.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Aqua Creations: Organic Furniture and Lighting

I first discovered the work of Ayala Serfaty while doing research for Milton Glaser's class on restaurant design. I really like how inventive her pieces are. Ayala is the founder of Aqua Creations, along with her husband Albi. Together they create beautiful furniture, lighting and sculpture made of hand-dyed silk and other materials on a metal frame. The pieces, which have an other-wordly quality, are based on sea creatures and plants.

A) Satala Chair
B) Merkid Table Lamp
C) Morning Glory Floor Lamp
Check out more from Aqua Creations

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Contemporary Furniture Obsession: GamplusFratesi

I have an obsession for sneakers and stools. The sneaker habit I have almost curtailed (although I did recently purchase a new pair of the cutest Pumas ever). My love for pint-sized seating however is still rampant.

I have been lusting after the Luisa stool/side table (a.) from GamplusFratesi since I first saw pictures of it from the International Contemporary Furniture Fair in New York City.

The inspiration for this beautiful piece apparently came from Enrico Fratesi's grandmother, Luisa, who wrapped all her furniture in plastic. The pieces are made from cut felt completely enclosed in clear acrylic.

As I was trolling through the GamplusFratesi website however, I also saw this incredible Lace Chair (b.) which recently went into production. The Luisa is available now at Design Within Reach.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Romp: Cool, Modern Baby Gifts

It might look like there is a theme going on here, but I swear there isn't -- I just keep finding all these really cool items for kids. Take, for example, the wallpaper menagerie from Romp -- each animal is hand cut from vintage wallpaper from the 60's and 70's. Also from Romp, this tiny and unique herb garden.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Brocade: The Return of Ornamental Furniture

Ornate Furniture

I love the idea of mixing modern furniture with more ornate pieces such as this tufted chaise from Brocade Home. Brocade, which is owned by Restoration Hardware, sports some beautifully romantic pieces ranging from chandeliers to furniture. This contemporary take on Rococo feels a little cold and unfriendly on its own, but when mixed with more modern pieces, it brings a much needed color to the antiseptic modern style.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Design for Babies

I spend an incredible amount of time researching baby gifts lately as it seems that all my friends are either pregnant or just had a baby. Here are a few designer baby gifts that are too good not to share.

Laurene Boym Night Light Baby Rugs
Designers Laurene and Constantine Boym known for their innovative product design created these colorful night light baby rugs. The rugs are made of 100% virgin wool and colored with vegetable dyes. Each rug has a built in floor lamp that lights up a baby's room with a soft glow. To order visit

Designer Baby Onesies
I stumbled upon a few cute designer baby onesies in Hayes Valley, San Francisco. Hayes Valley, which has seen a burgeoning growth in small designer boutiques is now home to four baby stores. The most notable are Lavish and sister store Fiddlesticks.

My favorites are the Red Cap Cards onesies which feature cute "Nightmare Before Christmas"- ish illustration and Jakc Designs (seen below).

Fluffy Designer Baby Booties
These baby booties have been a favorite gift of mine for two years running. They are soft, they come in a myriad of different colors and they are bigger than a newborn's head. Yo My Booties

Modern Seed Designer Baby Gear
Modern Seed has been a one-stop baby gift shop for me for a long time. I especially love these little chicken and egg mobiles.

Design Public Modern Baby Gear
For great designer baby gear also check out Design Public.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Green and Socially Responsible Design

It is a Brilliant Earth
I first heard about Brilliant Earth from a friend who went to business school with the founder. The company, located in San Francisco, exclusively sells Canadian Diamonds which are carefully tracked. Many diamond merchants, although they claim that their diamonds are conflict free, cannot actually be sure.

Conflict Diamonds, also known as Blood Diamonds are responsible for funding civil wars in Africa and for egregious human rights abuses that include inhumane working conditions, low pay, torture and even death. Brilliant Earth is a co-founder for the Diamonds for Africa Fund which was created to give back to communities harmed by the diamond industry. Brilliant Earth donates a portion of its proceeds directly to communities in Africa.

Brilliant Earth is also committed to sustainability practices by using only environmentally responsible gold and platinum. See Brilliant Earth website for more information.

Another option for conflict free and ecologically responsible diamonds is GreenKarat which sells recycled gold and synthetic diamonds. The synthetic diamonds not only look like mined diamonds but they are chemically the same as diamonds by nature.

Nau-- Socially and environmentally responsible outer wear
A percentage of every sale goes to support environmental or humanitarian efforts at home and
abroad. Nau strives to marry good, clean design with sustainability in every aspect of their business.

Tesla EV Roadster
Tesla Roadster is the first green car that is actually beautiful. The car runs on a 900lb lithium ion batter and gets about 200 miles per charge. The cost of the Tesla roadster is still prohibitive (around $100,000) but it gives us hope for the future. Perhaps we can finally see the day when evs are here to stay!

Organic invites
demonstrates that recycled, eco-friendly products can also be beautiful. All of Organic invites products are printed on 100% post-consumer recycled paper with 100% toxin-free soy and vegetable-based inks. Contact for samples

Fronch Fries, Fronch Dressing
French Rabbit Wines not only are they beautifully packaged, but they are also environmentally friendly. French rabbit wines are packaged in Tetra-Prisma containers. 100% recyclable, Tetra-Prismas reduce packaging by 90%.The French rabbit Tetra Pak container takes less energy to produce, transport and recycle. It takes 25 trucks to transport ordinary wine packaging, compared to just 1 truck for the same amount of tetra paks.

Organic Vodka?
Well, maybe Square One Vodka won't reduce a hang over, but it sure is pretty to look at. The label is printed on sustainably grown and renewable fiber sources and the bottle is produced in such a way to minimize the amount of chemicals required to produce traditional vodka packaging.The contents of the bottle are made from spring water and 100% certified organic rye.

Design Like You Give Damn!

I have been following the work of Cameron Sinclair since I worked as an organizer for the Art Center Design Conference when I was in grad school. Founded by Sinclair in 1999, Architecture for Humanity is a grassroots organization that seeks to use the power of design to improve lives. Sinclair and co-founder Kate Stohr chronicle their passion for benefiting humanity in the recent book "Design like you give a Damn".

Chez What?
A restaurant is probably not something you expect to see listed in a design blog, but Alice Waters' restaurant Chez Panisse deserves a mention. I ate there for the first time last Thursday (the restaurant is wildly popular -- it took us two months to get a 9 pm Thursday evening reservation) and it was truly an experience.

Waters, known for her activism for sustainable agriculture and support of locally-grown fresh ingredients has been credited with creating the genre of food known as California Cuisine. The restaurant serves a prix fixe menu that changes daily and each plate is a work of art beyond compare. The restaurant is pricey, but not pretentious in the least. The Art Nouveau-style decor makes it a beautiful and romantic spot for a special occasion.

Angela Adams Sustainable
I have always coveted Angela Adam's rugs -- their beautiful, yet simplistic forms serve to brighten any room. Angela recently added a new line to her collection aptly called "Sustainable" which features fabrics made of 100% post-industrial recycled polyester. The Sustainable collection features 11 different patterns.

Chair Couture -- Redressing the Fabulous

I love the idea of recycling old furniture and giving it a new look. Margret of Chair Couture does just that. She finds vintage French and Italian pieces and dresses them up to give them a whole new, bold look with stand out fabrics and paint. Vive la design!

Friday, May 11, 2007

Cake Girls

Chicago-based Cake Girls takes baking to a whole new level -- who can resist a purse you can eat? The Cake Girls stunning designs range from the cutest Eiffel Tower you have ever seen to a monkey guarding a pile of bananas.

Launching a Design Blog

I have wanted to start a design blog for about two years now and I figured it is probably about time to get off my duff and just do it. If you have read my other blog Side of Sauce you probably know that I am obsessive packrat when it comes to my bookmarks (a number soaring upwards from 600 strong). I am constantly trolling the internet for new and cool design objects to covet and lust after which seems to me to be perfect fodder for a blog about all things design.