This past summer, I was saddened to discover that my favorite NYC spot--Japanese department store Takashimaya--had closed its doors on Fifth Avenue. My primary reason for making it a must-see was its basement restaurant, The Tea Box, which served healthy and affordable lunches. While there, I would check in on the shop's lush garden section for inspiration and unusual ways to bring the outdoors in. Thankfully, a new shop in the fur district looks like it has plenty of great garden and design ideas to share. 

The new destination spot comes courtesy of Rebecca Cole, author of one of my favorite garden books--Paradise Found: Gardening in Unlikely Places. What is special about her work is that she outfits exterior spaces with as much thought as we usually give to indoor rooms and makes sure that indoor spaces are given healthy doses of plant life in unpredictable ways. Rebecca has a full-service design company with an emphasis on implementing green practices without sacrificing style. Her website, Rebecca Cole Design, is full of beautiful images of her shop, rooms and gardens she has designed, and events she has planned. I love seeing outdoor furniture given the Sunday best treatment (notice the tarnished metal bench topped with a row of feminine pillows for an event on the roof of Rockefeller Center).


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I hear people say all the time how they can't afford to buy artwork for their home 
or that they can't find anything they really like. 
Why not create your own?
It's one of my favorite things to do. 
So how do you do it? It's quite easy. Start by buying a blank canvas/'s. You can usually get blank canvas's in any size at craft stores. I usually get mine at Hobby Lobby, watch their sales ad's b/c they will go on sale for up to 50% off! 
Once you get your canvas's decide what it is you would like to do. Below are some examples of artwork I've made for my home. 
Sample 1: I simply painted the canvas yellow, and then I added vinyl art (Uppercase Living is a great company! They have lots of different sayings, shapes, etc. You can even have some custom made!)

Sample 2: Once again I painted the canvas the color I wanted and then added a metal letter to the canvas. It can be a little tricky. But I simply screwed it in from the back into the canvas. Make sure its not too heavy!

There are endless possibilities of things you can come up with! You can glue spoons and forks on them for cute artwork for a kitchen. Or glue fabric or scrape booking paper to them:)

Have fun!


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hila shilon: beyond function

'beyond function'
first stage
'beyond function' by israeli product designer hila shilon are a series of chair designs
that aim to put focus on the normally unnoticed parts of everyday objects. using
a screw thread as her main design instrument, the project consists of three chairs, each
in a different stage. it's purpose was to test the boundaries between order and chaos,
function and aesthetics, the predicted and the strange. in the third stage, the screw
thread becomes the chair and the wood is the one that connects them all together.

first stage

'I used the reinforcement and securing instruments as a metaphor of the working class
outskirts of society, those who do all the hard labor. I imagine them breaking out in a rage
of violence, demanding what they deserve. in accordance, the screw thread grows and takes
over the chair. the screw's shape is formed through its rebellion and its powerful demand
for existence and recognition in the world. as an act of outburst and rage it violently
overcomes the designed object. in its fight, the screw thread gets a life of its own.
'- HS

second stage

second stage
front view

second stage

third stage

third stage

third stage

 Breathing Chair, an Unique Sofa Design From Wu-Yu Ying

Unique furniture design
Wu Yu-Ying, The young and talented designer had won the red dot award for her furniture design called Breathing Chair. when first time I look at this chair, a giant cheese fly in my mind. The form of this unique furniture was very similar. But forget about the cheese….
The concept of this chair is very simple, Wu has thought how to make a comfort chair when someone sit on it. This chair will transform its shape according to the body of the person who sitting on it. The design focuses on the process of sitting on a chair, as well as the interaction between the user and the chair while using it.

Breathing chair is very elastic and provide full support for people to sit on. When the user sits on the chair, the edges of the chair automatically become the armrest; also, when the user stands up from the chair, the chair returns to the original shape of a cube. The changing of shape is resulted from the weight of the user and the texture of the material, instead of using any mechanism.

Diamond Teak by Kevin and Christine Yardley

wood garden bench Wood Outdoor Benches

Well here’s fine patio furniture offering from the masters of the wood work with a concept that is very unusual. Diamond Teak benches are made in a variety of curve, length and backrest design that is perfect for all weather environments. The zig zag of the individual blades to support the front seat and heavy load back make a very stable place to enjoy yourself. Like the chaise lounge, each piece of wood is tapered and spaced to give the appearance of a very finished, leaving some straight line. Bench, ranging from 69″ for $ 2990 – 100″ for $ 4,630, and a depth of 29″ – 36″ depending on the curvature, with a seat height of 18” standard. There is also a backless model series of the same size.
wood outdoor bench Wood Outdoor Benches
wood outdoor benches Wood Outdoor Benches
diamond teak Wood Outdoor Benches
diamond teak by kevin and christine yardley Wood Outdoor Benches

About the Founders

After volunteering to teach English in Costa Rica a few months ago, the founder of Diamond Teak Kevin and Christine Yardley find a way to protect the country’s environment while creating jobs for local residents. After all, “a country with no trees has no future,” said Kevin. The couple’s growing sustainable teak plantations in 1,000 hectares, which also provides a safe place for the diverse selection of flora and fauna.


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Rope Room Divider by Alwill in Australia

Here's a clever idea for a room divider from Sidney-based Alwill Studio: a simple rope screen made with two wooden dowels.


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Accessories: Vintage Mirrors Painted White

Dowdy or overly ornate mirror frames become summery and modern with a coat of white paint, as shown in these spaces.
Above: A living space via OWI.
Above: A bath in London, via 1st Options.
Above: A hall mirror painted white in a London townhouse, via Light Locations.
Above: The Brooklyn living room of designer Edward Wilkerson, via New York Magazine.
Above: A collection of mirrors painted white in designer Annie Coggan's bathroom.
Above: A hallway spotted on Yatzer.


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DIY: Slat Railing Projects via Kitka and the Brick House

Two of our favorite modern home improvement bloggers recently completed projects involving slatted wood outdoor screens—small (and relatively low cost) changes with a big impact.
Above: John and Juli, proprietors of Mjolk in Toronto and writers of the blog Kitka, were inspired by Morgan of the Brick House (see below) to replace an unappealing deck enclosure with a new slatted cedar enclosure.
Above: The couple replaced a diagonal lattice screen with a slatted wood screen; for a step-by-step account of the process, go to Kitka.
Above: Morgan Satterfield of the The Brick House created a slatted enclosure for her Southern California house, transforming the exterior and creating a privacy zone; read about the process at The Brick House.


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Small, mobile and wooden sibling to large steel cargo containers, pallets are the modular currency of export and import shipping companies around the world. The recycling of used ones is increasing, too, as manufacturers are shifting to sell more and more plastic ones (or high-end metal ones that are both rust-resistant and fireproof).

While a wooden pallet manufacturer might disagree, this is good news for DIY tinkerers can get treated wood ones for sale or even free at times and the one-size-fits all approach means that in many cases you can plan a design and reuse that schematic over multiple furniture pieces from different pallets. Since they are built for stacking, the ‘raw material’ of the pallet itself is easy to store.

And thus we come to the work of studiomama, one such designer looking to make the most of this ever-more-abundant source of construction parts – and explore the different ways the constituent boards can be broken apart and put back together. The end products are not the most minimalist or fashionable works, but they show the marks of their origins and are certainly eye-catching in that raw and honest way.

The best part, though, is that you cannot buy their designs – these are not for sale. What is for sale, instead, are a series of instruction manuals, photo books and other related merchandise. This is not only a clever way to tap into a market of do-it-yourself customers who would rather be giving plans than a finished product, but also more sustainable (and perhaps less ironic) than simply boxing and shipping reconstituted containers that you could just as easily get locally.

The tables, chairs and lamps themselves are both playful and pragmatic. They use existing colors as accents rather than relying on addition paint or stain. Some use blocks while other employ slats, depending on the need. Straight lines and right angles make them look minimalist at a glance, but really just functional and easy to build on closer inspection.

World’s Greenest? Cargo Container + Wood Pallet Homes
cargo container pallet home

So many architects have begun converting cargo shipping containers into houses, apartments, offices and more – so how could you pack any more sustainability into an entirely recycled building? By adding wooden pallet walls to the exterior, of course! cargo container prefab home
Container homes are more than just eco-friendly – they are cheap, quick and easy to build and transport. Likewise, recycled wood pallets are a ready source of reused material but they also provide essential shade while letting natural ventilation via the existing overlaps in their stepped wooden slats.
cargo container home interior
Since both shipping containers and their smaller recycled-pallet counterparts and standardized, they work well for modular construction – predictability in size, shape and structural capacity  makes these materials to built with.
cargo shipping container homes
With pallets on the outside to filter light and air and containers on the inside to provide a weather-tight space for permanent occupation, these designs by Infiniski may look somewhat strange but they are fully-functional, relatively inexpensive and extremely green accommodations.


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Accessories: Beach Stones as Decor

Every year, my friend Keith packs her suitcase with Rhode Island beach stones at the end of August to lug back to the West Coast; remembrances of East Coast summers. Here's a roundup of beach stones used as decor; plus an inspiring book by San Francisco artist and photographer Josie Iselin.
Beach Stones at Remodelista
Above: A mantel by stylist Tanya Goodwin of Home from the Sea.
Above: A stairway in a house in Sicily, photograph by Adriano Bacchella.
Above L: A collection of ringed beach stones. Above R: Beach stones suspended from a vintage wood hanger.
Above: Beach stones in an interior by Christine Lane.
Beach Stones by Josie Iselin & Margaret Carruthers at Remodelista

Above: Beach Stones, by Josie Iselin with text by Margaret W. Carruthers; $12.21 at Amazon.

DIY: Beach Stone Gate Clasp

A project for beachcombers: stones collected from the shore, strung together to form a simple gate clasp.
Above: A set of six hand-drilled stones collected on the beachs of County Cork, Ireland, is $10 from Celtic Sea Treasures at Etsy.
Above: A set of hand-drilled stones collected from the shores of Lake Michigan is $15 from Five Great Lakes at Etsy.


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