Thursday, December 31, 2009

Start the New Year with a new look on your walls

Do your walls remain so plain however much you paint them with bright colours? Have you tried everything from paintings to wall hangings but still feel something’s missing? Don’t beat yourself up, maybe something is missing after all. And could that something be wall shelves?

This style has mostly been left to hotels and is usually associated with high class restaurants and some offices around town but you could take it to your living room and see how it works for you. Wall shelves can never go wrong! They double as places of storage and decoration at the same time. If you have seen them before, you will agree with me that they make for a nice show of art and design even when empty.

Wall shelves are fixtures attached to the wall in different shapes and sizes. They come in different materials – you can choose to have yours made from wood, iron, bamboo, name it. All these materials are in plenty in this gifted Pearl of Africa.

According to Mr Charles Kayondo, a carpenter at Chop It Fix It Carpentry in Mulago, he has had a fair number of customers ask him to make them the decorative shelves although the trend has not yet caught on that much. He says a piece of ordinary wood costs not more than Shs25,000 and one can have a number of shelves cut from this.

Mahogany is more expensive, but basic wood would do though it will depend on the varnish and paint used. Five shelves in small, medium and big sizes when painted and/or vanished cost Shs65,000 at Kayondo’s workshop. Wrought iron shelves are slightly more expensive and one can either come up with their own design or have one designed by the crew at Kayondo’s workshop.

Since the shelves are empty and you can do whatever you want with them as often as you please, they provide a variety of options and are a safe bet when it comes to filling and decorating that empty space on your wall. Make sure they are not so big as to overshadow the rest of the room; you don’t want your, say, living room or bedroom to be confused for a retail shop! Try to add style in the whole setup by using small and medium sized shelves spaced evenly. To get a better finish, have the shelves in different sizes and have them fixed at different levels. Have a V design or you could have them ascending or descending to one direction. To avoid monotony, try to mix and match by having the shelves made in different material hung on the same wall for a better and unique finish.

You can choose to have them done in different shapes, say triangular, square or even hexagon. You could have a square shape but tilt it to come out with a star shape. Play around with the positions till you have a setup that will suite you. Don’t overdo it though; you don’t want your wall coming off as a display shelf.

If you choose to leave some or all of the shelves empty, experiment by painting them in different colours so as to make them stand out. Choose colours that match with the rest of the room and furniture. Alternatively, you can have them varnished in different shades to come off with a whole unique look.

Having fixed the shelves on the walls, choose whether to place something on them or not. I would go with placing something there as this adds more beauty. However, be careful not to over crowd the shelf as this will kill the whole meaning. Place items such as books, medals, awards, photo frames, ornaments, flower vases, and any other decoration you can think of. You will have to mind the bulk of the items depending on how firm the shelf is. Try placing a magazine or two neatly in the shelf and see how it goes. Place a few books in one or two of the shelves but try to resist the temptation to turn all of them into bookshelves as they will end up being cluttered.

You could also hang a key ring or two on a nail or hook fixed on the lower or bottom part of the shelf. It’s even better if the key holder is artistic, say, done in beautifully coloured stone, beads or anything worth hanging. Classic African Art Gallery and Gift Shop at Oasis Mall has a variety of things to choose from that would look nice in the shelves. They have photo frames, key holders, art pieces, embroidered cloth, book and album covers.
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Thursday, December 17, 2009

Candles are an easy way to glow

With the holidays upon us, a struggling economy and budgets extra tight, costly home decorating projects may be out of the question.

So it’s time to see the light, think outside that usual paint can and add some inexpensive sparkle to your home by redecorating for the season with a blaze of candles.

Experts tell us candles are no longer relegated to mere sentinel-like adornment on dining tables or mantels. Instead, the trend is grouping all shapes, colors and sizes in containers, large and small, throughout your home to create a distinctive, personalized look.

Richard Scuderi, president of Mavin Hill Designs in Tewksbury Township, says decorating with candles has many benefits. "Candles change the look of interior or exterior space and create the mood of your choice with very little time and expense."

Imagination is key and the results are illuminating. Whether you choose pillar, taper, votives; round or square, scented or unscented, simple candles can magically transform and brighten even the most tired room in a budget-friendly instant.

Scuderi advises rummaging through closets and cabinets for assorted, unexpected containers. "Don’t worry about matching candlesticks. Clusters of candles in odd-sized holders look great whether grouped in the center of a table or placed upon a silver, wood or mirrored tray on a sideboard, desk, bookcase or counter."

He says oversized hurricane-style glass containers or clear vases also make interesting candle displays when their bases are filled with organic materials like dried cranberries, acorns, coffee beans or river rocks.

Low floral arrangements placed amid groupings of candles are in vogue and, if fresh flowers are not in the budget, a row of small white votives or pillars with some evergreen branches or pinecones from your yard will yield big impact.

Dollar stores, garage sales and flea markets are good sources for interesting holders, plates, vases, candelabras and sconces. Eclectic is the name of the game these days. So be on the lookout for unusual wood, iron, silver, brass, pewter and glass items and remember, with just a little ingenuity, one man’s trash turns into another man’s candlelit treasure.

Montclair homeowner Joan Mueller says, "A friend recently found a vintage rectangular glass battery jar at a small antique shop and it now houses a colorful pillar candle on her kitchen island. Another collected old lanterns, placed candles in them and decorated her entrance foyer."

These days candles are available just about everywhere in all shapes, colors, scents, sizes and prices. And they can be easily ordered online or picked up on a trip to the local supermarket, big box, department or drug store.

NJ Candle in West New York has 20 years candle-making experience and manufactures unscented, hand-poured candles with lead-free wicks in 49 different colors. They’re only offered for sale online and company operations manager, Elizabeth Salim, says, "We’ve seen our market consistently grow as customers realize the candle’s versatility. Round pillar candles are still the most popular but our new line of square styles are the current choice for candlescape decorating."

Candles immediately imbue a room with texture and ambiance and Salim advises, "Use unscented candles in dining areas because they create a beautiful environment without overwhelming guests with fragrance. For people with allergies, unscented candles are definitely the best choice."


Elaine Anderocci, of Anderocci Interiors in the Hunterdon County town of Oldwick is another designer applauding home decorating with candles. "A crucial element of good design is lighting, and candles eliminate hiring an electrician to do costly rewiring. Candles can be brought into a room in different quantities and colors then placed in different locations to emphasize important elements of the space. For example, sconces hung on either side of paintings will highlight the art."

A coffee table placed in front of a sofa seems more welcoming if there’s a soft glow emanating from it and Anderocci says small tea lights placed in antique dishes create cozy ambiance and are reflective of a homeowner’s special interests and personality.

Don’t limit decorating with candles to kitchens, living and dining rooms, she advises. "Candlelight in a bedroom adds a soft glow to skin tones and sets a romantic tone. And placing scented candles in assorted candlesticks in front of mirrors and on bedside tables fosters a sense of calm.

You can also design a bathroom with fragrant, scented candles and Anderocci says, "One of my clients wanted a chandelier over her bathtub but the town building code wouldn’t allow it. My solution was to find an antique chandelier, unwire it and hang it over the tub with candles. The finished effect was beautiful." So get started and make your own home beautiful by imaginative decorating with candles. Then light them, sit back, relax and bask in their glow.
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Tuesday, December 15, 2009

A Complete Guide About Home Decor

The decor of a person’s home is something that is useful in determining what kind of human being they are, which is why we shamelessly notice the decorating style of most people when we visit their home.

Overall character that we possess, and our likes and dislikes can be shown through a careful examination of the decoration that we use in the rooms of our home.

A more practical person would put sufficient effort into their kitchen storage space. Similarly.

A lounge that gives off the atmosphere of neutral colors will give insight into a person who just wants to have a calm evening to follow up a hard day.

A person’s bedroom, if painted in red and decorated with satin sheets indicates a very different type of personality that most people will never see.

As any good decor expert can tell you, it’s essential to keep a fine line between public and private parts of the home.

Parties are a great way to socialize, of course, but you’ll want to decide which part of your home will be open to everyone and which part shall not.

In general, bedrooms and en suites won’t be seen by anyone other than their owner and close family and friends, so you can save a touch of luxury for these areas. A very popular part of any decor is flooring, and the type of floor that you choose will depend on how highly traveled your floor is. As with other types of home decoration, the colors, types, and quality put into the home’s floor can give important clues to the characterization of the individual. Hallways, kitchens, and bathrooms - frequently traveled areas - require a nice, hard wearing laminate, but a warm and cozy wool carpet is better for the bedroom.

Your personality will also be evident in the accessories you select to complement your decor. The right - or wrong- lighting in a home can make a huge difference in how the home is viewed by other people. Be it for aesthetic or practical purposes, spotlights give a home the additional lighting that they need to truly shine. These tips are easy to apply to the majority of your home.

To draw your guests’ attention to certain areas of the room, you can use spotlights and single light fittings. On the other hand, a more minimalist look would go for simplistic mood lighting. In other words, the manner in which you use decor in the decorating and highlighting of your home shows a lot about your character - perhaps more than you realize.
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Monday, December 14, 2009

Christmas Decorating Ideas

They started small. A string of lights here, a figurine there.But soon the Christmas decorations on Deer Road turned into a holiday extravaganza of glowing, blinking, whirring and twinkling.

The four houses are clustered on the dead-end street that stops at a tall barrier that separates them from the traffic traveling Interstate 295.

But drivers on nearby Chapel Avenue have no problem seeing the lights after dark. The scene attracts dozens of cars every night.

"It's worth it, the traffic and all," said Charles Danks, 72, who lives at 512 Deer Road. Danks said his grandson Gary DelRocini Jr. sets up lights both at his own house down the street as well as his grandpa's house.

DelRocini, 21, said it is not a competition between his family's homes and the other two neighbors, J.R. Cappella and Chris Berry, who also go all out every year. It's so friendly that the neighbors are pooling together to hand out candy canes and hot chocolate this Saturday and host Santa Claus from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., said DelRocini.

The Deer Road neighbors will also collect canned goods for a food bank. The only competition is with Mercer Street, across from the Cherry Hill police station, which has made the local news and won decoration contests before, said DelRocini.

But "people say we're the best in the area," DelRocini said. Anna Marie DelRocini, Gary Jr.'s mother, said the tradition started with Cappella, who always had a large holiday display. Danks said the availability of bigger and better Christmas decorations, like inflatable snow globes and light-up figurines, helped add to the lawnfest.

Every year, the neighbors on Deer Road add a new decoration to the line-up, keeping it a surprise for their fellow decorators until the plugs hit the outlet. The electricity bill was up about $100 last year, thanks to replacing traditional lights with LED and energy-efficient bulbs, DelRocini said.

In previous years, November and December could bring a $400 jump in electrical bills. However, DelRocini said he probably spent about $500 this year buying new items for his lawn. He said there is no exact method to how he decorates the lawn, but he does try to not make it look like a lot of gadgets set up at random.

"I just start pulling stuff out from the shed, place it, stand back and look," he said. "If I don't like that there, I will move it. There is no specific way we decorate, we just try to see if it looks good." His favorite decoration is a ski ramp with two mechanical polar bears, which he inherited from his doctor, who used to set up a huge, handmade display before giving away the elements of his display to people who wrote him letters.
Does it get to be a burden? "Every year, especially when one of the lights blow out or something breaks," said Anna Marie DelRocini. "But we enjoy it, the kids enjoy it and the people who come around, they love it."
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Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Christmas Decorating Ideas

Christmas is one of the biggest festivals which are celebrated in almost all parts of the world.

Christmas day calls for celebrations, theme parties, decorations and loads of gifts.

Almost everyone decorate his house on the eve of Christmas.

Everyone wish to decorate his home in a beautiful way for Christmas day.

There is countless number of Christmas decorating ideas. All the people decorate their houses by applying their creativity at the time of Christmas. Following are some of the ideas for decoration on the Christmas Eve.

Christmas tree is the most important thing you need for Christmas decoration. You should choose a fresh and green tree. Lights, garlands and ornaments are necessary for decorating the Christmas tree. Before putting ornaments and garlands on the Christmas tree, put the lights on it. Tie the lights along the branches of the tree for making it more beautiful.

Instead of putting all the ornaments on the tips of branches, place them inside the tree. It will make it look more attractive. Solid color balls and ribbons are the most important ornaments which are required for decorating the Christmas tree. Choose such colors which look very decent and attractive.

Christmas Holiday flowers and tasty decorations - Candies are required for distributing to the people on Christmas Eve. You can make a nice cake out of candies. There are a lot of websites on the internet from where one can get to know the recipes of various candies for the Christmas day.

Christmas decoration cannot be complete without applying proper Christmas candle ideas. One can buy simple candles from the market and decorate them according to his own preference. You can also buy pre decorated candles made especially for Christmas from the market .Stay tuned on the next days i will post more articles about Christmas decoration.

Christmas Holiday flowers and tasty decorations - Candies are required for distributing to the people on Christmas Eve. You can make a nice cake out of candies. There are a lot of websites on the internet from where one can get to know the recipes of various candies for the Christmas day. Christmas decoration cannot be complete without applying proper Christmas candle ideas. One can buy simple candles from the market and decorate them according to his own preference. You can also buy pre decorated candles made especially for Christmas from the market .Stay tuned on the next days i will post more articles about Christmas decoration.
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Monday, December 7, 2009

Window Dressing

To create this delicate garland, drill a small hole into the top and bottom of each pinecone. Thread silver beads onto eye pins and stick them into the holes.

A dab of glue will keep the beads in place. Use fine wire ribbon to hang cones from a string of beads.
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Saturday, December 5, 2009

Designs for a new decade

During unsettling economic times, people tend to get "back to basics" by cocooning more with their families, avoiding high-ticket expenditures and looking for ways to repurpose and re-use existing items.

Next year's home decorating trends clearly reflect this comfort-focused and cost-conscious mentality by emphasizing soothing color palettes, natural materials, environmentally friendly products, and "old made new again" furnishings, wall murals and textiles.

Leading trend experts and interior designers across the country offer these top home decor trends for 2010: Color our world Ask almost any designer, and you'll hear that gray is the "new brown." According to Kenneth Ludwig of Kenneth Ludwig Home Furnishings, Ltd., gray mixes well with brown, taupe, light lilac, light green and yellow, and many wood furnishes now have a gray wash or gray undertone added to them. He also predicts the resilience of such strong hues as bright orange, bright green and magenta.

Designer Andrea Vollf sees color being used to bring comfort, harmony and serenity home. She envisions silver gray, lilac, purples and off-white being especially popular in 2010. Inspired by the fashion industry, Jessica Henn of Crusiet Corporation also notes endless possibilities of metallic bronze, gold and silver accented with berry rich colors like plum and red-based purples for interior designs.

Let there be light
For the past few years, consumers have opted for ultra energy-efficient LED lighting as a way to save money on energy-related costs and make their homes more environmentally friendly. LED lighting will continue to build in momentum, according to Jeff Dross, senior product manager of Kichler Lighting, whose LED under-cabinet fixtures and LED rail lights will take "being green" to a higher, more stylish level.

Dross also sees homeowners making big statements with simple changes, by investing in eye-catching lighting fixtures such as elongated linear chandeliers that complement rectangle-shaped dining room tables, kitchen islands and the long farmhouse kitchen tables currently in vogue.

Add "wow" to walls
Due to their versatility and affordability, wall murals will continue to be a popular way to transform the look and feel of any room in the house. Todd Imholte, president of, has seen a surge in orders over the past year, fueled by economic conditions that have inspired consumers to use decorative wall murals as a cost-effective way to give their living areas a fresh look. These relatively small changes can make huge, personal statements in living rooms, dining rooms, bedrooms and home offices. Imholte envisions bold geometric patterns, edgy, urban graphics and Asian-inspired prints being especially hot in 2010, with nature and travel scenes remaining perennial favorites.

The fabric of our lives
Textiles will take their cues from natural materials such as felt, cork and even tree bark, predicts Henn. Pattern on pattern will be increasingly popular, with homeowners intentionally mismatching products to allow endless possibilities of blends and textures. Mary Lou Kalmus of Designing Edge, also sees more fabrics combining durability with style - once relegated to crushable chenille and fragile silks - as they become more available in manmade and natural fabrics for use in upholstery and drapery-weight materials.

Fabrics will host a "big party" of large graphic prints and floral patterns this year, adds design expert, TV host/spokesperson and best-selling author Kathy Peterson. She sees dark navy backgrounds mixed with bold patterns in lavender, mint green and sea foam, as well as plum backgrounds mixed with strong floral patterns in red and pink. Turquoise mixed with tangerine will also be trendy.

Fun, functional furniture
Linda Navara of LMR Designs sees furniture being comfortable and functional, yet elegant - reflecting consumers' continued need for a refuge in which to relax and escape their busy lives. Furnishings will be a more eclectic mix of neo-classic, Asian and art deco styles, by incorporating mirrored furniture, chinoiserie, bamboo, and vintage furniture. Ludwig also sees a juxtaposition of old-world formal and casual lifestyle with refurbished European overstuffed club chairs, arm chairs, two-seater settees and ottomans showing up everywhere from cottages and country homes to urban lofts.

Transitional to contemporary collections will still dominate in 2010, according to Adele Lampert of Page One Interiors. Maple and alder will remain popular cost-efficient wood choices, with bamboo appealing to environmentally-conscious consumers. Clean lines and classic style will be in; excessive ornamentation will be out.

Go for the green
Unlike Kermit the Frog's song, it is easy being green as more and more Americans are turning to eco-friendly design options. Everything has been going "eco" as more attention is drawn to "green" products, adds Kalmus. She envisions design leaning toward nature in the use of sustainable products such as bamboo, as well as fresh products introduced using recycled glass, reclaimed wood and manufacturing byproducts. Henn also sees a trend toward "eco luxury," blending sophisticated products with environmental benefits to create an air of elegant sustainability.

Au naturel
Ludwig predicts increased interest in repurposing items found in nature, such as using bleached-out branches as art sculptures, an old worn tree stump as a coffee table base or a console table and teak branches assembled as a screen or room divider. He also foresees baskets, bowls and planters made from blocks or chunks of unusual woods.

Radical rugs
Echoing the trend in fabrics, Peterson envisions rugs inspired with outrageously large graphics and bold combinations of colors such as aqua, lime, medium greens and white. Due to the ongoing popularity of hardwood floors, Dross also sees a comeback in area rugs, with heavily patterned rugs with bold prints and geometric patterns becoming the focus point of many living rooms.
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Friday, December 4, 2009

Collection of modern living room interior from Tumideistored

Picture of beautiful living room interior design and modern living room furniture. The room designed in modern layout, simple form, minimalist furniture style with low arrangements, modular sofas, unique lighting sources and more.

Seating is a vital part of living room furniture so make sure it’s snug yet stylish. Living room furniture creates a statement that reflects not only your home’s decor but is a personal expression, too.

These living room layouts are designed with Laltrogiorno furniture system from Tumidei.
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Thursday, December 3, 2009

Guide for Interior Decorating Accessories

When decorating the interiors of your home, the main objective must be to make your home as comfortable and attractive as possible. First of all, you need to decide on a theme for each room in your home. Try visualizing the look after the decoration is complete and if you like the look, then start the interior decoration project at once. Decide what kind of mood you want to set in each room - do you want it to be romantic, casual, friendly, or soothing and relaxing. You must also consider your lifestyle and plan your interior decoration project accordingly.

Your home is a reflection of your personality so you must take care to choose the interior decorating accessories according to your taste. But before rushing to buy the decorating accessories, decide on the overall theme of your home.

This is the key to making your accessories work for you. Finalize a decorating style for your interior decoration -- modern, contemporary, traditional, country, eclectic or rustic. Knowing your decorating style will help you in selecting suitable accessories that match with that particular decorating style.

Do not run to shop for expensive home decor items and accessories just to fill empty spaces and corners of your home. Consider buying unique and beautiful second hand accessories and antique pieces which are surprisingly very inexpensive. Always remember the theme you have chosen for your home and make your selection considering the theme or look you want to project.

You can use accessories such as glass jars, bottles, flower vases, pillows, baskets, candle stands, pots, decorative mirrors, artwork, plants, clocks, picture frames, old tin or wooden toys or collectables, waxed fruits, paper weights, stuffed animals, dolls, wall hangings, lamps and lamp shades and lighting to improve the looks of your home. You can find these items from garage sales, flea markets, charity auctions and yard sales where these items are available at heavily discounted rates.
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Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Sweet indulgence for Christmas

Indulge your loved ones this Christmas, with Australia’s own Pink Lady Chocolates. Celebrate a traditional Christmas, without.

The extravagant expense, by treating your tastebuds to rich and indulgent Pink Lady chocolate Christmas puddings, milk chocolate baubles, delicious chocolate merry bells and even a scrumptious chocolate Santa.

Perfect as sweet additions to the Christmas stocking, festive holiday hamper or even as edible decoration to your Christmas table, Pink Lady’s chocolate Christmas delights are a tradition that should not be broken.

Why not try one or all of these precious, but not too pricey, chocolate indulgences this year: Pink Lady Chocolates Baubles and Puddings – this Christmas gift-boxed treat combines rich, smooth solid chocolate baubles with chocolate dipped mini puddings wrapped in festive foil. 375g – RRP $16.95.
Pink Lady Chocolates Turkish Delight and Bells – exotic pieces of red foiled soft Turkish Delights are coated in premium milk chocolate and surrounded by gold solid milk chocolate Christmas bells. 375g – RRP $16.95.

Pink Lady Chocolates Baubles and Bells – a truly traditional Christmas wouldn’t have festive flair without indulgent, solid milk chocolate baubles and bells in the shades of Christmas. 225g – RRP $11.95. Pink Lady Chocolates Baubles and Santas – adorn your Christmas tree with these sweet foiled Santas and colourful bauble treats made of premium European style milk chocolate.

235g – RRP $11.95 Pink Lady Chocolates hand decorated Christmas Pudding Gift Box - filled with rich little morsels of plum pudding, dipped in dark chocolate and lovingly hand decorated with brandy cream and mistletoe icing, and presented in a Pink Lady gift box with a little window allowing just a peek at what’s inside.
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Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Home Style - My favorite holiday gift picks

If you're like me, you absolutely love to shop. But even we shopaholics feel a bit of angst when we stare down our long holiday gift lists. There is so much pressure to pick a perfect, thoughtful gift that you're tempted to start your shopping marathon at the confections store, where you can draw on the power of chocolate for inspiration and reinforcement.

While I'm a huge fan of chocolate and its amazing powers, you might have an easier time with your holiday gift shopping if you instead arm yourself with a list of some of today's hottest gift items before you tackle the stores. Need some suggestions? Here are my favorite gift picks for this year.

DESSERT SERVERS: Speaking of chocolate, everyone needs a beautiful serving piece they can use when they entertain to display things like desserts and appetizers. But few people actually have this essential tool. I adore everything from three-tiered servers that hold removable salad plates to epergnes that feature multiple arms or levels. But right now my favorite dessert server is a reproduction of the French-cafe pastry stand I keep on my kitchen island. The frame is made of antiqued metal, and the rectangular shelves are clear glass. This simple but stylish tool also looks wonderful dressed up with seasonal decor, like a crystal compote holding ornaments or a cream pitcher filled with candy canes.

WOODEN DOUGH BOWLS: Whether it's an antique or a reproduction, wooden dough bowls make fabulous gifts because they are versatile and unique. You can place these long, narrow wooden troughs at the center of a table and fill with seasonal fruits, use them atop armoires holding seasonal foliage or tuck them into bookcases for rustic texture. My customers are so wild about them that the bowls are flying out the door.

MATELASSE COVERLETS: Why not give your loved ones the gift of warmth this season? Matelasse coverlets are my favorite throw blankets because they are lightweight yet warm, add a touch of classic style with their beautiful top stitching, come in wonderful colors and patterns, and are easy to care for. The more you launder them, the softer they become.

APRONS: I am so crazy about cute aprons that I almost want to learn to cook just so I can wear one. If you have a chef on your gift list, spoil her with an apron. Get her a cute new one made of bright fabrics, or hunt for a vintage apron at a flea market. You can make the apron even more special by having it monogrammed with her initials.

When I saw how a friend of mine used a gorgeous crystal decanter to hold kitchen soap by her sink, I was so smitten by this fun and frivolous idea that I went home and copied it. Whether it's made of cut crystal or simple glass, your friends can use decanters to hold mundane stuff like liquid laundry detergent, cooking oils or mouthwash, in style.

CAST-IRON PLANTERS: Instead of stuffing inexpensive gift baskets with goodies for your friends, use cast-iron planters. I've fallen for beautiful cast-iron planters that are reproductions of antiques because they are super-inexpensive, display gifts wonderfully and can be reused in your decorating. Think of the planters as gift boxes, and fill them with things like note pads and pens, spa products, a rosemary tree, or even fresh fruit or baked goods.

NELL HILL'S "O CHRISTMAS TREE": A must-have for those who love to decorate, my newest book is so much more than a holiday decorating how-to. It's filled with lots of ideas that will help you dress your home with winter charm. You'll enjoy the sumptuous photos and simple how-tos, like making beautiful wreaths or decorating your Christmas tree like a pro.
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Monday, November 23, 2009

New trends for home interiors this winter season

Cosy up. Get the snug ambience indoors. Doesn’t matter if it is dark and gloomy outside. Your den can reflect exactly the opposite — liveliness warmth. Choose the appropriate colours, design basics and lighting schemes and you will get just the result that you desire. Interior solution companies such as Evok, Ebony Gautier and Silk Road and Beyond have collections designed specifically for the winter season.

Amitabh Bendre, design head of Evok — Home Interior Fashion store highlights some of the new trends this winter. “One can use traditional fireplaces at home. These days many contemporary oil heaters are in vogue. Besides, one can choose a central light source in the living room or bed room to create a nice atmosphere.

Apart from this, side lamp and table lamps with dark floral prints can be used to make one’s kitchen and lounge area cosy.” Sofa sets and couches at Evok are specially prepared for winter with their dark and rich colour cotton rather than leather and velvet. Priced between Rs 35,000 and going up to Rs 1,20,000, this collection makes for pleasing winter decor.

If dark and rich is what you prefer for winters, Ebony Gautier’s new Quartz bedroom collection can be ideal for you. The colours reflect the dark hues of winter in a manner that will add to the beauty of your home.

K A Parameswaran, CEO of Ebony Gautier says, “Dark warm colours add on a certain character to the home décor for winter months. This season we have introduced special colours like black in our new bedroom range furniture which conveys elegance, style, attitude and a certain mysterious charm.” The price range of the bedroom concepts starts from upwards of Rs 2 lakh.

If furnishing products and upholstery fabrics are on your mind, you could check out the offerings at Silk Road and Beyond, a Delhi-based soft furnishings and designer interior store, that gives you customisation in colours and designs to match the season’s preferences. The fabrics are priced between Rs 500 and Rs 20,000.

Ruchi Malhotra, creative director, Silk Road and Beyond, says besides choosing warm colours such as red, orange and yellow, one must also pay special attention to the sources of light in the house. “When it’s just getting darker outside, it’s better to use fluorescent lamps.

In the evening, however, small desk or floor lamps, which give soft and mild light, are the best. Another good way to create a cosy and comfortable atmosphere is to light candles. Use candles in beautiful candle-holders, or glasses,” she says.

Clearly, choosing the right colours, lighting and designs can play a key role in making winter a more comfortable season. So, go for it and experience the change inside. warmth.
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Saturday, November 21, 2009

What's your personal decorating style?

Everyone has the essentials: a sofa, a table, a lamp, but it's the stylish extras that really bring a room to life! But adding those extras can be more complicated than it sounds. If you don't want to hire an interior designer, you can get some online help.

HomeGoods has partnered with Deborah Needleman, founding editor of Domino magazine, to create the HomeGoods StyleScope quiz. When taking the quiz, you answer a series of questions about your likes and dislikes, and items that may already be in your home; your answers determine your individual style profile and the interactive tool provides tips to put your style to use.

"Great style doesn't require great sums of money. It comes from self-knowledge and surrounding yourself with things you love that suit your lifestyle," says Robyn Arvedon of HomeGoods. "This quiz will help you define the style that is already yours, allowing you to better navigate the vast world of décor options and giving you the confidence to experiment and create a happier home." Take the StyleScope quiz to find if your style is Bohemian Classic, Earthy Modern Dramatic Eclectic or one of the other 13 types.

ABC7 Chicago's Linda Yu, Sylvia Perez and Tracy Butler all took the quiz. Can you guess which profile matches each of our anchors? Robyn Arvedon's style is Elegant Classic.

You're interested in creating a welcoming home where people feel comfortable and happiness flourishes. You appreciate the warmth and individuality of natural materials and handcrafted things and are inspired by colors and forms from nature. You love mixing up different textures and are sensitive to the tactile qualities of objects. Your style is grounded and solid, not flighty or frilly. And you are never taken in by the trend of the moment.
Sq. Dinner plate: 3.99 (8.00)
Salad plate: 3.99 (8.00)
Mug 3.99 (6.00)
Woven placemat (set of 4) 9.99 (20.00) Napkin (set of 4) 4.99 (8.00)
Napkin rings (set of 4) 6.99 (12.00) Flatware (20 pieces) 39.99
(60.00) Small glass vase 7.99 (16.00) Large glass vase 14.99 (30.00)
Candle holders 14.99 each (25.00) Leaf motif pillow 69.99 (175.00) Green pillow 12.99 (24.00) Cable knit throw 49.99 (100)

Your home expresses your open, easygoing approach to life. You love unique finds, and can turn a few mismatched garden chairs or floral teacups into a charming arrangement. You appreciate a pretty mix of relaxed pieces, like painted wood or weathered furniture, lovely florals and other patterns, lots of throws and pillows, mementos and bunches of fresh flowers that give your home a unique sense of breeziness and charm.

Your home is warm and inviting, and expresses your curiosity and zest for life. You have wide-ranging interests, and an appreciation for many different cultures and ways of life. You bring a sense of the far-flung world into your home through its décor through unique or artisan-made treasures. Objects in your home tend to reflect your personality, your passions, your values, and your eclectic interests. This gives your home a sense of intrigue and comfort.
Square plate 3.99 (6.99)
Coasters (set of 4) 5.99 (11.00)
Glass 3.99 (8.00)
Napkins (set of 4) 4.99 (8.00)
Red vase 29.99 (56.00)
Placemats (set of 4) 12.99 (20.00)
Red embroidered pillow 49.99 (99.99)
Gold beaded pillow 24.99 (50.00)
Mosaic 19.99 (35.00)
Flatware (20 piece set) 39.99 (60.00)

You are interested in creating a place where people feel relaxed. You have a variety of interests and influences and so appreciate different styles, cultures, and objects. Your home is cozy, with comfy chairs, throw pillows and places to set a drink or a book. But it also feels creative and visually intriguing, because you have an artist's eye that allows you to find objects that appeal to you in a unique and personal way -- whether from your travels or from a local shop. This gives your home a feeling of being laid-back, and maybe even a bit quirky with its mix of pieces -- some of which are classic, some handmade, some ethnic, and some just rich in meaning to you.

You have a refined sensibility with an appreciation for history and tradition in your furniture and your rooms. You value beauty and craftsmanship. You are visually sensitive and understand how symmetry and a balanced layout give order to a room. But you definitely like to shake things up with some unabashed luxury and glamour to keep things from getting boring. You go for rich materials like velvets, one-of-a-kind objects, lady-like touches, glimmering accessories, and a sense of old-Hollywood romance that makes your home dramatic and elegant.

You have a refined sensibility and bring a sense of history and tradition into your decor. You appreciate how symmetrical arrangements and beautiful, well-crafted pieces create a solid foundation to a room. But you like to shake up this restraint with objects and accessories that express your personality and your love of other cultures. When traveling, you seek out unique objects that reflect what you love, and you use them in a sophisticated way. You want people to feel comfortable in your home, and cozy chairs, ethnic fabrics, unique pieces, and even a little touch of quirk or humor give your house a laid-back, Bohemian flair.
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Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Fall back--with a kitchen range hood

During this time of year, I'm never quite sure if I believe the various clocks scattered around my house. The alarm clock says one thing, the computer says another, the cell phone another, and the television can't agree with anything.

It is of course, all part of this 'spring forward, fall back' messing with the clocks tradition we have, but at times, I just want one timepiece to stand up and assert itself. And then I saw this range hood.

The Ora from Barriviera is a kitchen range hood that Flavor Flav would be proud to call his own. Making up the bulk of the hood is an oversized clock face.

The concept is so well executed that it may take a second glance to discern that it is a usable wall decoration. But usable it is; the range hood features a multispeed extraction fan, halogen lighting and push button control. Two washable metal grease filters round out the utility of the machine.

Kitchen range hoods may be easy to overlook, but with a strong design, there is no reason one cannot become an important part of your kitchen décor. While the Ora may feature a timely design, the Barriviera collection is stunning in its depth and diversity. Be sure to check out its Web site for additional range hoods to complement any aesthetic.
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Sunday, November 15, 2009

Decorative arts gallery opens in style

After 100 years of being passed down from generation to generation, Nedra Atwell of Bowling Green knew what to do with the family dining buffet. She donated it to the Kentucky Library and Museum at Western Kentucky University.

“Our family has been in Kentucky since (it) was Kentucky,” she said, adding that one of her ancestors traveled with Daniel Boone. “I think it’s very appropriate for our family to have something exhibited in the Kentucky museum.”

Atwell’s buffet was one of about 500 items on display Friday as the museum unveiled its new Snell-Franklin Decorative Arts Gallery. “We’ve had a decoration arts collection since 1929. Some of it has never been on exhibit before,” said Timothy Mullin, museum director. “It was really very important that we find the space.”

The pieces were donated to the museum over the decades - many are from WKU alumni and have been in storage. The museum recently landed enough university funding to open a new gallery on the third floor, moving the decorations out of storage and displaying them.

“A museum is known for what it puts on display,” Mullin said. “We are an entertainment business. The more entertainment we can provide to people, the more important it becomes.”

Now, the third floor is lined with antique furniture, portraits, vases, photos, statues, sculptures, dishes and other items. An old organ sits in a corner, while a record player and a 1915 telephone sit in the same display - the phone worked until 1983, the description read.

The most expensive piece, a 1765 tea table, is worth $2 million, Mullin said.

The tea table, and several other items, were donated by WKU alum C. Ray Franklin. His great-nephew’s wife, Ruth Franklin, was on hand for the exhibit opening.

“This would absolutely thrill him to death,” she said. “He was kind of an eccentric person, and this would absolutely thrill him.” It has been several years since Ruth Franklin has seen his collection - she used to see it when she visited him in Asheville, N.C., before he died, she said.

“So it’s been several years since we’ve seen it,” she said. The exhibit opening was celebrated with a party, which also honored the local literary program, The Big Read. The party’s theme was “The Great Gatsby,” a tribute to this year’s featured book.

About 200 people attended the opening. Officials had to limit the number of party attendees to keep from getting overcrowded. Gary Bewley of Glasgow toured the exhibit Friday; his favorite pieces were the old paintings, he said. “I’m very impressed,” he said. “I had no idea what I was coming to see, and it’s beautiful.”

The new gallery is permanent, but workers will change pieces if new items are donated. The museum now has nine galleries - over the past five years, it has opened five new galleries, three of which were permanent, Mullin said. “It’s to enhance what we have for people,” he said. “It’s so people of Western, of Bowling Green, of southcentral Kentucky know what we have.”

Jon Ricker, a senior computer information systems major at WKU, helped build the exhibit. Ricker and a few other students emptied the space, arranged the pieces, painted the walls and installed the lighting, among other tasks. “It’s pretty awesome, just (the collection) itself,” he said. “But to know I helped put everything where it is, it’s just a little something extra.”
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Friday, November 6, 2009

Taking DIY decoration to the next level

WHILE some people might be content to personalise their walls by framing found and collected objects, Eltham’s Lindsay Maindonald has chosen to take DIY decoration a step further.

After 15 or so years away from the palette, Lindsay finally made the decision to start painting again partly through inspiration, and partly through necessity.

"As part of the Fringe Garden Festival, I had been displaying the works of Merv Turner in my garden studio," said Lindsay,

"This year, he wasn’t able to display so I thought I might get back into it again."

Having previously put on three exhibitions around Taranaki in the late 1980s, Lindsay was no stranger to painting, but had let his interest in it wane a little, becoming more interested in other consuming endeavours, like mountaineering and gardening.

"I’d wanted to go back to it but, you know, you really have to be in the mood to paint and things just came up."

However, drawing strength from his Christian faith, and facing an empty studio during festival time, Lindsay asked for divine help and two months ago, picked up his brushes again.

"I found I still had it and it all came flooding back. I’ve done about 10 works since then, and I’ve got plenty on the go."

And as lovely as it was to find he could paint anything again, Lindsay found to his further pleasure that his style hadn’t changed in the years between his forays into the field.

"My wife, Anita, has been gob-smacked; she had no idea I had it in me. I’m a little surprised that its come back so easily."

Typically, Lindsay uses oil paints and draws much inspiration from Mt Egmont / Taranaki, his favourite subject.

"Painting the mountain ties in really well with my interest in mountaineering. When I’m working on a painting of it, I have a great understanding of what I’m painting because I’ve walked and climbed there."

The idea of using painting as a reminder of past experiences is a feature of Lindsay’s work, and amongst his growing collection are pictures of mountains in Nepal and alpine lodges he has visited in his travels.

"These places mean something to me and I think that is really important. I use photos of places I’ve been to as subjects too. This way, I can relive being at the place I was visiting."

While oil paints and traditional paintbrushes are Lindsay’s favourite media, he has dabbled with other materials in the past, including watercolours, photography and works using a palette knife.

He also has the first painting he ever did – a farm vista, complete with animals.

"I’ve always loved painting; when I was supposed to be studying for School ‘C,’ I was usually painting. I felt drawn to it."

"I believe anyone can paint or draw. Some people will be better than others, but I just like to paint the colours I see."

Lindsay’s credits much of his present prolificacy with his faith.

"I asked God, ‘Help me paint again’ and it seems he has."

Lindsay will be showcasing a collection of his works at his studio at the Redwood Oaks English Manor Garden he owns in Eltham during the Fringe Garden Festival.
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Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Making Shabby Chic

IT was a look — and a phrase — that defined a generation of living rooms, and spawned an industry of knock-offs. And it enjoyed a long and fruitful run. So when Shabby Chic filed for bankruptcy last January after nearly 20 years in business, its creator, Rachel Ashwell, felt both anguish and humiliation, not to mention flat-out exhaustion.

Ms. Ashwell, who had just turned 50 and had already been blown sideways by the recent death of her mother, was soon presiding over the liquidation of 15 stores and the dismissal of her hand-picked teams of upholsterers and sewers, designers and salespeople. Afterward, she imagined she would be taking a well-deserved, if not exactly planned-for, rest. But it was not to be.

The woman who had made unlikely stars out of a giant squashy sofa and a baggy white slipcover — the decorating equivalent of a peasant blouse and worn jeans, a sartorial style that the very English Ms. Ashwell almost exclusively favors — was courted by a new partnership. And so it was that last month she found herself hurtling between New York, her home in Santa Monica and London, stocking three new stores with the chipped white furniture and blowsy upholstered pieces that had long been her trademark. So little time had elapsed between the liquidation and this ramping up that Ms. Ashwell’s Santa Monica storefront was still available, so technically only two of the three “new” stores would be housed in new real estate.

All of which prompts the question: what are the chances that a new business whose product and gestalt are based on a rather old — that is to say, two decades old — idea might find success in a still-punishing retail environment? To put it another way, does the big white couch still have legs?

In fact, late 2009 may be the prime moment for products that derive their energy from comfort, sensuality and the idea of hunkering down. For in many ways, 2009 is shaping up to look a lot like 1989.

Back then, when Ms. Ashwell, a newly divorced film stylist with two young children, opened her first store in Santa Monica, she filled it with flea-market furniture and reacquainted Americans with a particularly English idea, the slipcover. She certainly didn’t invent the look, but by exaggerating it — making the sofas bigger and the covers baggier — and branding it with the phrase “Shabby Chic,” Ms. Ashwell intuitively positioned herself in opposition to the buttoned-up decorating styles associated with the financial excesses of the 1980s and the subsequent recession, which was soon to be in full bloom.

With a style she likes to describe as “my mush” or “the beauty of imperfection,” she was marketing the sort of at-home comfort that would form the backdrop to what the futurist Faith Popcorn had called “cocooning” years earlier, the widespread response to those excesses.

Not that a Shabby Chic sofa came cheap, by any means, but it was an anti-decorating statement; it showed that you were culturally in touch enough to assume a laid-back style.

“She taught people that it was O.K. to be slightly messy,” said Marian McEvoy, a former editor in chief of Elle Décor and House Beautiful. “That you can have wrinkles and puckers and your cabbage roses can be tea-stained, and it’s O.K. because it’s your house, your family, your kids.”

In Ms. Ashwell’s own child-centric home, where she road-tested her products, sofas were used mostly as forts, while sheets were tents, she said, adding: “It was all about, ‘Is it washable?’ ”

From that laboratory came Shabby Chic’s best-selling sofa, covered in highly washable white denim.

Scale was also key. Shabby Chic sold enormous couches — at least 6 to 8 inches deeper, Ms. Ashwell said, than the norm back in those days — sensual, enveloping maws in which you could do just about anything. And for lanky celebrity clients like Jeff Goldblum and Warren Beatty, she said, she made them even bigger and longer.

Judith Regan, the publisher-turned-radio host who published five books of Ms. Ashwell’s after seeing her Santa Monica store, still has three Shabby Chic chairs and three sofas, one of which she uses as an office. “I just crawl into it with my laptop and papers,” she said recently.
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Monday, November 2, 2009

How to accent your home Victorian style

Designing a home and decorating it the way you want is a lot more than merely putting a few objects together that serve the purpose. It is often a wise thing to have a running theme across your home as it will give the right idea on how to accessorize and make shopping a lot easier.

If themes are what you are going how about the instant classic – the Victorian style of decorating interiors. It brings a touch of royalty, a sense of class and adds timeless charm. Going Victorian though is a lot harder than picking contemporary styles and design as you are trying to recreate the past. But here are a few simple tips that will you with that task.

A Victorian theme is brought in largely by using stuff that is reminiscent to the Renaissance period. You can do that by using plenty of metal wherever possible. It could be in the furnishings, photo frames or even in the accessories spread across the room. Also, the use of gleaming metal with intricate and artistic design helps a great deal.

2 Decorative moldings, ornaments, plasterwork and arches The essence of Victorian style is in its sweeping and larger than life design. This can be achieved using arches wherever possible to create a grand look. Use of plasterwork and moldings could be expensive, but they bring in the feel of authenticity of the design. Remember that this will always cost you a lot more than the other modern themes, but it will also attract people in a unique way of its own.

3 Use stain glass and stone fireplaces One of the most important Victorian accent to a home is the use of stain glass as this is an integral part of the era. It adds in a small yet authoritative way to the furnishings around and it really brings out the bright mood in the room. The fireplace is also an essential aspect of a Victorian styled living room and one made with stone or even polished marble accentuates the already classic feel.

4 Design with dark colors and rich shades wherever possible Most often modern designs demand neutral tones and dull shades, but you can throw that out of the window if you are going the Victorian way. Dark and bright shades along with very rich colors are the very essence of the style. Even your woodwork should be grained in dark tones so as to compliment what is around it. Feel free to tone up the reds and the violets, the yellows and the blues as you please!

5 Lavish designs drenched in fabric Use plenty of fabric whenever and wherever possible in the shape of curtains, separators and even as wallpaper to bring out the Victorian flavor. You can throw away the idea of repainting your walls or even bringing in new wallpaper by just using printed, light fabric instead. This will only make the interiors far more majestic.

6 Bring in the fruits, flowers, candles and candy This might appear simple, but nothing says classic like a bowl full of fruits, a wonderful arrangement of roses in a pot, some beautiful candles and maybe even candy in a basket. These are simple to do, easy to get and will increase the charm of your Victorian interiors manifold. Even wilted flowers bring about a new and wild spirit to the room!

Going Victorian takes a lot more care and effort than most other themes. It will also need you to pick out special furniture and accessories and change most things that would be found lying around otherwise in a normal home. The transformation might be tough, but the result will leave you more than satisfied!
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Sunday, November 1, 2009

Interiors - the Paris flat of the celebrated perfumer Jacques Polge

When Jacques Polge was a boy his mother would take him every year to spend the long summer holidays with a friend in Grasse, the centre of the French perfume industry. Polge, who is the master perfumer, the 'nose’, of Chanel perfumes, can still remember how wonderful it was. 'From Cannes to Grasse to Nice was all fields of flowers: roses, violets, orange-blossom and especially jasmine – you could smell the jasmine the moment you reached Grasse,’ he says. 'You were surrounded by flowers.’

Polge is standing in his maisonette on the Left Bank in Paris reminiscing, though these days he is surrounded by beautiful things of a different kind: paintings and drawings from Vuillard to Cecil Beaton, plasterwork lamps and marble busts, shells and sculptures and books, books, books.

The flat seems quirky, scholarly and cosy, but Polge denies any striving for effect in his decoration. 'I like inventive, odd and interesting things, and if they’re all beautiful they’ll go together, no matter what era they come from,’ he says. It’s usually a recipe for decorating disaster, but he has pulled it off triumphantly.

Under the curving staircase that leads up to his bedroom and study is an extraordinary juxtaposition to prove his point: a wildly theatrical sofa and chair designed by Vietti in the 1950s, with deeply buttoned seats and scrolling serpentine arms covered in coral fabric, stands next to a 19th-century Italian marble funerary bust, a mirror from the set of the 1997 film Quadrille, an oriental rug and a witty screen designed for Polge by the illustrator Pierre Le-Tan, depicting perfume and perfumery, with noses floating among clouds of scent.

Polge arrived in the world of scent by chance. At the end of his degree in English and literature at the university of Aix-en-Provence, and unsure what he wanted to do next, he answered an advertisement by an American perfumery firm and got the job because he could speak English. There followed an apprenticeship in the laboratory of a perfumer in Grasse, then some years in New York and Paris creating scents, among them the classic Rive Gauche in 1969. Then came the call to the house of Chanel in 1978. Polge believes that almost anyone can be trained to be a 'nose’ if they start early enough, but few could invent a perfume. 'That is a question of creativity,’ he says. 'Many people can play the piano, but there is only one Alfred Brendel.’

Polge has been the maestro at Chanel for more than 30 years, inventing such glorious scents as Coco Mademoiselle, and he feels the hand of history on his shoulder. 'With No 5, which Mlle Chanel [he always refers to her in this way] created in 1921, a style of perfume was established for the house of Chanel.

It is my mission to reflect the style she created, to enhance it, to make it live today.’ And no expense or trouble is spared. 'In 1921 Mlle Chanel had to use jasmine from Grasse for No 5, the only place they grew it in industrial quantities and where they had the expertise: every petal must be picked by hand. Jasmine grown elsewhere – nowadays it’s grown in Calabria, Egypt and India – has its own characteristics, but they are slightly different from the jasmine in Grasse and, to keep the perfume authentic, as she first made it, we continue to have ours grown there.’

Polge’s latest creation, Beige, is based on the honey-tinged scent of hawthorn blossom, an old-fashioned flower whose time he thinks has come. He got further inspiration from Proust’s work A l’ombre des jeunes filles en fleurs, where glistening hedges of hawthorn play a central role, and, in the packed bookcases of his flat, there is a first edition of the book. Many of his books are about the artists whose works he collects, mainly those from the 1930s and 1940s. 'It’s an era I love, though some of its artists have been a bit neglected, unjustly I feel – people such as Bébé Bérard, Michaud, Giacometti, Jean Hugo – but it means I can still afford to buy their work. Not like the furniture of that era – Jean-Michel Frank is now so expensive.’ That is less true of the work of the little-known firm of Audoux-Minet, whose trademark rope-bound table and chairs furnish Polge’s dining-room.

They were made in the Côte d’Azur in the 1930s. 'Picasso had lots of their rope chairs,’ he says. 'And I love them for being so simple and unpretentious.’

In his work, as in his decoration, Polge takes a simple ingredient that is perfect in its own way (hawthorn blossom, a seaside chair) and transforms it into something elegant and memorable by choosing other objects or scents that will bring out its essence. And his favourite among the scents he has created? 'It is always the one I am working on at the moment. The best perfume is always the next one.’
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Friday, October 30, 2009

An Ode to 70s-Style Living

“In a factory space or an industrial space, there’s a certain level of finish that’s not there,” he said. “You make do with chewing gum and tape.” Last December, Mr. Miller, who had spent more than a decade in Brooklyn lofts, rented a different kind of apartment — a conventional 600-square-foot one-bedroom in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, with distinct separations between the living room, bedroom and bathroom.

His intention was to turn it into a “completely designed space,” he said one that was finished right down to the refrigerator door — but there was a catch: he had only $5,000 to spend. Also, because the apartment was a rental, the renovation couldn’t be structural and it had to be portable.

For inspiration, Mr. Miller looked to the design of the 1970s, he said, which had “a populist luxury: polyester, Pop Art, plastic.”

He was also fond of the era’s wall-to-wall carpeting, which migrated from houses in suburban America to sunken living rooms in SoHo. “This was glamorous at the time,” he said. “Taking references from the common home and making them luxurious, in a silly kind of way.”

And so Mr. Miller’s apartment became an ode to the carpeted sunken living room: the 250-square-foot living area is organized around a platform raised on the perimeter and sunken in the middle; on the side near the kitchen counter, it rises high enough to function as a bench.

Mr. Miller describes it as “a landscape architecture of carpeted boxes.”

The platform was constructed out of plywood — $700 worth, assembled in Mr. Miller’s studio in Brooklyn — and covered in a chocolate-brown polyester carpet that cost $1.68 a square foot.

Most “cheap colors are really awful,” Mr. Miller said, explaining why he chose this particular rich brown. “I remember the colors being dead, without any intensity.”

To disguise the nonworking chimney and create a sense of height in the room, he designed a headboard-like panel (made of plywood strips, padded with three-quarter-inch-thick polyester batting and covered with brown cotton) that extends up to the eight-and-a-half-foot-high ceiling.

The carpeted area is furnished with a few items of his own design including what Mr. Miller calls “giant coasters” — four 16-inch-diameter disks of medium density fiberboard stained black and sprayed with clear polyurethane — that rest on the floor and serve as informal tables.

Several other black elements were added to the space to complement the coasters: an Ikea bureau opposite the foot of the platform, laminate on the kitchen counter, a bar stool, Ikea hanging lamps over the bar and tiles on the kitchen backsplash.

But the appliances in the kitchen, which were old and unsightly, still presented a problem. The refrigerator, for example, had a slightly uneven texture.

“I wasn’t going to buy new appliances, so I had to find a way of masking them and making them look less cheap,” Mr. Miller said. “So I reversed the grid of the tile, and used black eighth-of-an-inch masking tape, and taped it horizontally across the refrigerator, dishwasher and oven door.”

In the bedroom, the queen-size mattress is set within another platform to make it seem as if “the room was designed for the bed, instead of the bed just being stuck into it,” he said. What gives the room drama, though, is Mr. Miller’s antler chandelier over the bed.

The bathroom was the one room he left untouched, except for replacing a regular overhead light bulb with a red one, so the room glows a soft, skin-flattering pink.

At night, Mr. Miller said, his favorite place to be is on the top level of the platform, near the headboard, where he can look out the window, “like a bird on the highest branch.” His girlfriend, Julia Chaplin, a journalist who lives in Manhattan, offered a less romantic view of the virtues of Mr. Miller’s new space: “I never knew how cumbersome chairs and tables are,” she said.
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Hearths desire

When artist Cathy Azria first began to twist steel loops and rods together, her intended home for these sculptures surprised many: she put them in the fire. This was not to temper the metal further but to turn what has been the focal point of the home for centuries, the fireplace, into something whose mesmeric powers would be intensified even further. Designed for the flames to lick and creep through their nooks and crannies, her “fire sculptures” even begin to glow as they conduct the heat.

“Even just a decade ago fireplaces were removed or bricked up and heating generally was hidden away,” says Azria, whose number of commissions has doubled over the past year. “Or a fireplace was a space that we didn’t quite know what to do with – so we put pots of dried flowers in them. Now we’re seeing them as statements again.”

What Azria’s hectic workload reflects is not only how instinctively drawn we are to the movement and heat of flames – their comfort and their danger – but how that instinct has been somewhat repressed by style over recent decades. For architects of the 1970s and 1980s the fireplace came to be totemic of traditionalism, suggestive of dusty, fusty, cluttered Victoriana, and at odds with the sparse decor of minimalism, in which household heating was far too functional not to be tidied away.

“Fireplaces were like lipstick on a gorilla – unnecessary, a conventional appliance that didn’t suit the modern, urban home,” says Henry Harrison, a former architect and founder of The Platonic Fireplace Company. “But that’s changing.” Asked to commit the heresy of installing a fireplace in a client’s home, he saw the firelight and realised not only that nothing had effectively replaced the fire as the most humanistic, most satisfying centrepiece for the domestic setting but that, with the right contemporary design, it actually made a statement other decorative flourishes rarely could. Others agree: an estimated 50 per cent of all fireplace sales are now contemporary. “And, more than that,” he adds, “they are now perceived less as a luxury and more as a necessity by homeowners – and increasingly in the commercial world too, in bars, restaurants and hotel lobbies.”

Sales of fireplaces inevitably peak in the run-up to winter but interest in them has also been boosted by the recession, both because property prices are encouraging more homeowners to upgrade rather than move and because they are going out less and cosying up more. Some are willing to invest in a fixture that will increase their home’s value by an estimated 5 per cent and, as a byproduct, keep them toasty.

But, more than this, what is driving demand is the sheer range of impressive fireplaces available: “goal post” gas-fired styles, the sleek “hole in the wall”, the “extraction system as industrial modern art” look, and the popular, super-simple “line of flame”. Then there are curvy, wood-burning models that hang from the ceiling like landing UFOs or grow out of the floor like titanium toadstools. Styles linear or organic are hot now, such that the function of the fireplace has for some come to be secondary to its looks. Small wonder, then, that it was a sculptor, Dominique Imbert, who launched fireplacemaker Focus Creation. His first hearth and surround was designed to heat his studio but his company has since completed projects such as outfitting the headquarters of architect Norman Foster, a man not known for his love of the olde worlde. Indeed, this year Focus’s Gyrofocus model – just over 40 years old now – was nominated for the German Design Council award and won first place in Italy’s Pulchra competition. The Gyrofocus was selected from 721 items as, with Italian hyperbole, “the most beautiful object in the world”.

“Fireplaces used to be made as though they came from the Middle Ages – they were faux in that way, even while interior decoration around them was becoming more contemporary,” says Imbert. “People laughed at my designs when they were first launched. They were simply too different from the received concept of what a fireplace should be. Now that is more the norm and the difference is what is driving interest and encouraging people to buy.”

While building homes without chimneys might at first seem to prohibit a fireplace, Harrison reports that the desire for the homeliness that a fire brings is such that among his clients he is seeing an increased readiness to take on the technically complex and expensive process of having a chimney built, “even though doing so can cost the same as putting in a heating system for an entire house”.

Technology, however, has helped put fireplaces where they would not otherwise be easily situated, too – in effect, wherever a gas supply can be connected. Flueless systems have broadened the possibilities for homeowners, not least because of their efficiency. Generally, flueless fires offer 90 per cent or higher thermal efficiency – 5kwt of every 7kwt of heat from a conventional fire goes straight up a chimney – and are cheaper to run, at about 7p per hour compared with 25p for a conventional fire.
Indeed, efficiency is increasingly a draw for those with green leanings. While gel fires have been largely discredited as little more than expensive ornamentation, ethanol fires are on the rise, since a chemical property of the fuel sees most of the energy transformed into heat with zero carbon emissions. “On top of that the flame itself is very attractive,” suggests Jean-Charles Cheung, managing director of EcoSmart, manufacturer of fires that run on ethanol produced from domestically grown sugar beet. To offset the impact of packaging and transport, the company plants two trees per customer. The next step, Cheung predicts, will be fuel derived from seaweed – it takes up no land, which might be better used by agriculture, nor does it put any pressure on water supplies.

But he is honest in his assessment, suggesting that an environmental concern in fireplace selection is a new criteria, if one of growing importance, and secondary to matters of style and convenience. As Munro notes: “The guy who has a certain upscale lifestyle and might want to make a fire part of his decor isn’t the type who wants to come in on a Saturday and spend an hour trying to get a fire going.” Yet, for all that levels of CO2 emissions might prey on some conscientious minds, fears of escalating gas prices or restricted supply are now even provoking renewed interest in solid fuel fires or, alternatively, stoves, according to Max Davies, director of London Fire Designs.

Since a considerable part of his business is the supply of bespoke fireplaces – created from scratch or commissioned to replace period fittings that have been damaged – Davies is not unused to dealing with wealthy clients. “Many British cities comprise mostly old housing stock and so have chimneys, and often it’s a priority for a new homeowner to fill an empty fireplace with a fire or to put in one they like,” he says. “A fire is transformative to a home. We’re even finding that some customers want them purely for decorative purposes, so they’re even more concerned that a fire looks good even when it’s off. In fact, the pieces they buy often don’t even work – but they still make a difference to a room.”
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2,000 year-old Roman vase identified

The vase is one of only 16 known in the world and was brought to the attention of the world by experts from Bonhams Auction house. Possibly the most important of its kind on the planet, the 33.5 inch high vase would have been made for only the well-heeled Romans in about the first century.

It is similar to the incomplete and damaged Portland Vase held in the British museum, but is bigger and far more decorative. A battle scene showing 30 white figures adorns the spectacular vessel that is likely to re-write the history of these pieces.

It is owned by a collector "from the continent" who took it to Bonhams in London to be identified. Though the owner was said to be aware that it was of high quality, he had no idea just how significant it was. At present, there are no plans for it to be auctioned and scholars could be studying it for decades to come.

Made by the Roman Empire's finest craftsmen, the vase was formed by two pieces of glass, one cobalt blue and the other white. After cooling it was cut down to create the cameo-style decoration.

All known examples were made within the space of about two generations, experts believe. Chantelle Rountree, head of antiquities at Bonhams, said: "It is of major international importance. Academically and artistically it is priceless.

"Scholars will be evaluating this find for decades." Richard Falkiner, one of the experts who has examined it, said: "As far as I can see, the repairs make it look as though it has been out of the ground since at least the 18th century, possibly 16th."

Experts from the auction house are continuing to study it. They have not put a monetary value of the vase, but said ultimately it might go on display. The Portland Vase in the British Museum served as an inspiration to many glass and porcelain makers from about the beginning of the 18th century onwards.

Wedgwood's work was clearly influenced by the vase that has now been usurped as the finest example of its kind. The Portland vase stands just nine inches high, is missing its base and has been restored three times It is supposed to have been discovered by Fabrizio Lazzaro in the sepulchre of the Emperor Alexander Severus, at Monte del Grano near Rome, and excavated in about 1582.
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A Christmas gift from Antler Homes

On the first day of Christmas, you could be decorating your tree in a brand new home, thanks to Antler Homes.

This prestigious housebuilder is offering you the opportunity to be in your new home with plenty of time to finish your Christmas shopping, if you reserve at The Crescent in Kings Hill now.

Featuring a selection of four bedroom townhouses and semi detached homes, alongside luxury one and two bedroom apartments.

The Crescent has something to suit all needs. Regardless of size, all homes at this magnificent development are finished to the highest specification and benefit from custom built kitchens complete with fitted appliances.

Layouts have been carefully considered, with houses comprising open plan kitchen and family rooms and generous living rooms, with selected rooms benefiting from French doors leading outside to the turfed rear garden. The apartments are equally as impressive, featuring unusually spacious living accommodation and en-suite facilities and built in Hammonds wardrobes to the master suite.

If you reserve one of these stunning homes at The Crescent now, Antler Homes will guarantee that you will be waking up on Christmas morning in your brand new home. So visit this inspiring development now to find out how Antler can help you celebrate the festive season in style this December!

Offering every modern amenity, Kings Hill benefits from extensive sports and leisure facilities including an 18-hole PGA golf course and a David Lloyd leisure centre. There is also a vast choice of shops and a comprehensive range of education facilities. Transport links to and from Kings Hill are excellent, with immediate access to the M20/M26 leading towards the M25 and Greater London, as well as a railway station at nearby West and East Malling.
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Interior decoration style Bazaar

As soon as you do with the tour coming to the family, you can actively interior decoration for your home beautiful on. To loved ones as you, your children and dear friends to visit, with the pants back and enjoy a fresh space and the children visit.

Tends that women love is decorated with pretty xắn, fun, gentle, flowers that curve bending eel, display the collection, information architecture ... They love the colors rạng ro, gentle undertone, tea color, white. In addition, they also enjoy fine style, elegance, tradition, nature, and decorated by France, England and Italy are ... Tips? Please decorate your house how you like it previously son or elaborate example of the new clothes .... we would introduce how interior decoration style Bazaar, a proof for an interior beauty .
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Its a wrap

First you hear that leather supremo Bill Amberg is wrapping recycled chair frames with dyed rawhide in an experimental project with designer Martino Gamper.

Then you spot designer Lee Broom’s carpetry collection – a sideboard, lamp and coffee table wrapped in Persian rugs.

Suddenly it seems that covering familiar objects in unconventional materials is fast becoming the latest way to dress our homes.

The concept of “wrapping” isn’t new (decoupage, the art of covering objects with paper cut-outs, was very popular in the 18th century) but the trend is gaining fresh momentum as homeowners request wraps for items such as bathtub exteriors, lavatory seats, laptops, telephones and grand pianos.

Wrapping materials, too, are developing in interesting ways. Broom’s specially woven rugs, for example, fuse 15th-century Persian patterns with English elements such as Tudor roses and the crown jewels. “I’m using them more as a textile than a carpet,” he says.

Nor is the trend confined to furniture. The inside of a London penthouse front door was recently cushioned in high-gloss red leather by London-based interior design company Living in Space. “The owners were unable to alter its exterior as all the doors in the communal hall had to be uniform,” says director Anita Kohn. “We came up with an idea that would complement the apartment’s vibrant artworks yet still include a security peep-hole and the required locks.”

An exterior door, meanwhile, was recently wrapped in weather-resistant leather at the Crazy Bear hotel in Beaconsfield, south-east England. The all-weather hide was developed by long-established specialist Alma at its factory in Whitechapel, east London, and buttoned, Chesterfield-style, with Swarovski crystals.
Amberg believes the concept is all about adding glamour. “If you wrap technology – laptops and televisions – in gorgeous leather they become much more beautiful objects,” he says. This also applies to functional items, such as the lavatory seat he wrapped in pearlised silvery-grey leather for one client. The project with Gamper, meanwhile, will steer vellum into new territory. “Rawhide stretches when wet and dries rigid so you can achieve a fit and feel similar to a drum top,” says Amberg. “Previously we’ve covered desks, cabinets, shelves and wall-panelling in vellum because it is very smooth and silky with wonderful colour variation and subtlety but eventually we’ll wrap anything people want.”

Martin Waller, of New York- and London-based interior design company Andrew Martin International, cites further reasons for the trend. “Wrapping is a way of introducing colour,” he says. “People want to add layers and textures to create a warmer, more complete feel. If you wrap a steel table with shagreen or cowhide or an antique textile you add much greater depth.”

Waller previously covered his luggage-like lamp-tables with leather but has now upped the ante with zebra skin. Kilims are used to wrap chests of drawers and he recently started covering chairs and sofa-backs with old, faded cotton flags – generally a Union flag or the Stars & Stripes. “Shagreen and parchment [goatskin], popular materials in the 1930s, are also making a comeback because they create a glamorous, glossy look that people love,” he says.

Giorgio Armani has clearly noted the trend, judging by two limited edition designs launched by Armani Casa at Milan’s Salone Internazionale del Mobile this year. The Adelchi writing table is wrapped with brushed steel panels, finished with 24-carat goldplating, while the Camus desk is clad with tobacco-brown lizard skin.

Look closely at a bronze snake-skin-covered cabinet from Based Upon, a London studio specialising in unusual surface applications, and you realise that the textured surface isn’t skin – it is metal. This type of “wrap” works equally well for vintage or modern furniture. “We were recently asked to change the look of an old oak table, a family favourite for 50 years, so we sandblasted the surface, then brushed on layers of silvery, white metal so you could still see the grain coming through,” says Richard Abell, who runs the company with his twin brother, Ian.

Just as glossy are the designs created by Gunjan Gupta, whose New Delhi-based consultancy, Wrap, works with local artisans. Gupta marries an ancient throne decoration technique with a contemporary aesthetic by wrapping seats and stools in silver and gold leaf. The 24-carat gold-leaf seat of De Throne, shown at Maison et Objet last year, reflects and magnifies its silver-wrapped back, transforming an everyday shape into a design worthy of its name. Similarly Dumroo, a geometrically shaped low seat-cum-table, is wrapped with gleaming, reflective panels. “It reverses the notion of the ‘precious’ being wrapped [for protection or as a gift],” says Gupta.

An equally contemporary take on this ancient technique is found at the Conran Shop, where the Indian mango-wood frames of the 10-seater Kaveri dining table and matching four-drawer chest are wrapped in white metal leaf. “The table has been surprisingly successful because it has a quirky, updated vintage look that fits into any environment,” says Polly Dickens, the Conran Shop’s creative director. “It’s a big, glamorous statement that you can jazz up or tone down.”

That’s exactly why New York-based interior designer Sandra Nunnerley used a silver-coated table made of reclaimed logs in one client’s home. She’s also taken the notion of wrapping quite literally for another client by decorating a contemporary loft space with lookalike parcels – blocks of foam seating wrapped in white felt.

Employing linens, silks, velvets and leather as wrapping materials might sound conventional but the sheer quality of finish achieved by Italian manufacturer Promemoria turns its designs into high art. Take its wall-sized mirrors with purple velvet-wrapped frames or Bilou Bilou, a frisky-looking chair with a frame and legs completely wrapped in bubble-gum pink leather. Both pieces add drama to a room. Meanwhile the Scrigno cabinet, launched at this year’s Salone Internazionale del Mobile, is wrapped in velvet and the bronze-handled Venice chest is sumptuously covered in linen.

Designer Tara Bernerd similarly wraps mirror frames in velvet or pony skin and has covered a desk in velvet at the London club Aspinalls. “Wrapping is the ultimate indulgence,” she says. “It takes materials out of their comfort zone and adds another dimension to an interior.”

Antique textiles are used by former sculptor and artist Lisa Whatmough for wrapping mirrors, lighting, furniture and chandeliers. “Some vintage fabrics are too thin or delicate for upholstery and I found that wrapping them over period furniture created unexpected results,” she says. “I use a lot of antique kimono silks, vintage velvets and ticking but also contemporary textiles from Gainsborough Silk and Designers Guild.” This patchwork look is popular with clients looking for a single, bold piece. “It’s not only headboards they want wrapped but entire bed frames,” says Whatmough. “Chandeliers take longest as I pull them apart and wrap each piece separately.”

Whatmough’s company, Squint, also accepts bespoke commissions to wrap entire walls or columns with silk patchwork. “We apply the silks so the weave runs in different directions and when the light catches the cloth it looks very shimmery, very glamorous,” Whatmough says. And very well-dressed too.
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Debbie Travis - Color, Texture Create A Flow Between Bedroom, Bath

Q: We are remodeling our guest suite and would like some tips on how to tie in the bathroom and bedroom. The bedroom walls will be painted, but not sure what color; the white carpet is staying, and we're thinking white marble for the bathroom.

A: There should be some unifying factors that tie a bedroom and en suite bath together and make a purposeful flow.

Bathrooms have hard surfaces, which contrast with the soft textures and fabrics that dominate the bedroom. Bathroom surfaces can be given a gentler character with your choice of color, style and pattern.

Seen here, the pale marble markings in the porcelain floor tiles connect beautifully with the bedroom's soft white carpet.

Be aware of the view standing in the bathroom looking toward the bedroom. The bedroom walls are painted in a deep shade of mauve with a hint of gray in it, a wonderfully warm color that will cast a rosy hue on your guests.

The bathroom's wallpaper has pastel pink and gray flowers that float against the bedroom's saturated hues, creating a welcome balance. Design details in the bathroom have a traditional edge; a beveled countertop and deep-brown undercounter cabinetry with molded door panels connect with the nostalgic design of the daybed. Carry color from one room to the next with towels and bed linens. You can pick your towel colors from those seen in the bedspread, including the popular white.

Q: I was hoping to get decorating advice on how to create a pretty girls' bedroom for my daughters, ages 13 weeks and 4 years. We have a Cape Cod-style home, and their bedroom is built on the gable end of the house, and the sloped ceilings don't leave much room for positioning furniture.

A: These rooms with low ceilings are wonderful for young children. I am assuming that there is an area in the middle of the room where the roof peaks. This is the best position for the crib, as you will be reaching into the crib to care for your baby and will require the head room.

Then I suggest you choose low, long dressers or consoles and open shelves for storage, and a play table. Tuck them along the walls under the gables. Depending on the size of the room, the bed for your 4-year-old can run along the wall, too.

With two children sharing a room, it's important to plan easy traffic flow from the door to the crib and bed. The age difference calls for a variety of play stations. Q: We have 1980s melamine kitchen cabinets with the oak pull strip along the bottom of the doors. Is there any way to update the look without replacing them? We are putting in a new granite countertop. Have you ever done a show on this?

A: This was a makeover I did on "The Painted House," and it's included in my "Kitchen and Bath" book. The original melamine cabinets were white with the oak strip running along the bottom of the doors as you described.

We painted the cabinets a medium sky blue, and the pulls were transformed with silver metallic paint. This contemporary combination worked well with the new stainless-steel appliances.Your color combination depends on the shades in the granite. Black or dark green with gold pulls would be very dramatic, or gray, weathered wood doors with dark-gray or red pulls is an option with country appeal.
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English Decoration Style

If you are planning on redecorating or remodeling your home, then why not adopt the formal and elegant atmosphere of English country decorating?

Perhaps one of the most captivating aspects of this decorating style is the formal but neutral colors which fit with toile fabrics, formal furniture and antique accessories for an appealing effect.

With this style, you can have the feeling of the English countryside no matter where you live!When decorating of home in this style, you want to get great lighting. Consider picking out lighting that is formal but elegant which will go well with this decor.

Perhaps some brass lamps with a formal style shade - not too fancy but not plain and boring either.

You can also bring your fabrics into the lighting by using floral or toile shades on the lamps. If you are going for a more elegant style, you could even consider crystal lamps.

Your floor is an important part of your design so you want to be sure your carpets match the decor. Hardwood floors with area rugs go nice, but if you can't afford hardwood a wall to wall carpet will do as long as you keep it in line with the overall style of the rooms. In reference to colors, use creams and beiges and for style look at putting in formal style rugs or even oriental rugs if you have hardwood.

Accessories are a critical element in any interior design and adding paintings and knick knacks to your room could help augment the decorating theme. When it comes to accessories, a regal and elegant theme is terrific. Decorative accessories give a sense of personality to the room so be certain to select ones that exude your own style.

Picking out furniture which rounds out your design style will give your home a thought out charm. Generally, cherry wood pieces look great with this design theme. Typically, English country decorating works most ideal with formal style and you want your furniture to suit. You can use fabrics that are elegant like silks and even throw in some florals, toiles or even some antique needlepoint chairs for elegant accent pieces.

Your choice of window treatments can really pull your decor together. This method of decor goes nicely with curtains, drapes or shutters that have a formal look. You may think about purchasing striped or flowered curtains to complete your window design, or use formal silk style drapes.

Making the most of the English country decorating style is a great way to introduce drama into your home. By selecting the most fitting furniture and accessories, you can help make your home design look like it was decorated by a professional without having the high cost!
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