I've always loved school. Back-to-school was my favorite time of year when I was a kid and I always approached the first day of school with excitement. As I prepare (physically, with school supplies, and emotionally, with tissues handy) to send my first-born to kindergarten in less than three weeks (omg), I've obviously got school on the brain.
For all the families getting ready to go back to school or go for the first time, or maybe if you're homeschooling and need gear: Overstock has partnered with the fabulous PBS KIDS (which is on quite a bit at my house) to create the Overstock Kid Zone.
There are several categories within the shop that include products for school (supplies, desks, and watches to keep older kids on schedule), artistic expression (easels, paint supplies, and craft kits), learning through play (tablets, science activities, play kitchens, dress up clothes), and kids' rooms (beds, storage, and decor).
The Kid Zone page also links directly to PBS KIDS videos and activities families can do together. Best of all, a portion of the proceeds from the sale of products purchased from the Kid Zone goes to support PBS KIDS and its mission of educating children. I know as long as my daughter has access to Peg+Cat and Plum Landing for a long time to come, she'll be happy. And since some students, like my godchildren, have already started back to school: I wish learners of all ages a happy and enriching year!
images via overstock
When most people move and don't need (or want) certain things anymore, they sell their furniture on Craigslist or occasionally leave it on the curb where it is then spirited away before you even get back up to your living room.
But if you have (or want) higher-end furniture, you need a better option. For you, check out Viyet, a site dealing in high-end furniture and home accessories consignment.
If you're looking to sell, there are a few requirements: the items must be a designer brand, meet the minimum retail price (there are different cutoffs for different categories), and they must be in excellent or good condition, or able to be restored to excellent or good condition with a little care. Once you've submitted your piece for consignment, an expert curator will come to measure, photograph and document the details of the items you're selling. Viyet will help you market and sell your pieces and profits are split 50/50 between Viyet and the consignor.
Buyers can find quality pre-owned items for 50% to 80% off the original price. The pieces are by well-known interior designers such as Alexa Hampton and Steven Gambrel or are from retailers like Century Furniture, Mecox, and Tai Ping. Modern and traditional pieces for nearly every room are available.
A site like this provides an opportunity to buy a well-made designer piece when you might not be able to otherwise, and even if you do have the cash, it's a great deal. The other thing I really like about Viyet's concept is that it keeps pieces in circulation and combats the disposable culture it's so easy to fall into.
No, the pieces aren't in perfect condition (though some are pretty close), but with a little TLC or perhaps some strategic furniture and accessory placement, they'll be well worth what you pay.
A few of the items currently for sale that caught my eye, including the Sé Damien Langlois Meurinne table above:
images via viyet
There is a way to decorate kids' spaces without being too juvenile or relying too heavily on characters that your children are likely to outgrow by the time you wash the sheets for the third time. Buying designs that can or will grow with your child is also economical because the pieces you select will have more longevity. (Though I do still have my twin-size Rainbow Brite fitted sheet, circa mid-80s. That's right, be jealous.)
And just because something is for a kid's room doesn't mean it has to be bought at a kids' store. I also believe the reverse is true. There are several products from Land of Nod that I would buy for myself, especially from their insanely good lighting department.
In my opinion, the best way to design kids' spaces is to include bright colors, graphic shapes and patterns, soft things to snuggle, and a sense of whimsy.
The Oh Joy! for Nod collection has all those elements: Bright sherbet-y colors, oversized designs like a sweet cherry pillow and pinwheels on a rug, and adorable sprinkles-patterned sheets (like Joy Cho's daughter, the too-cute Ruby, my older daughter is huge on ice cream and sprinkles). The line launched yesterday and is inspired by both Ruby's interests and Joy's aesthetic with an emphasis on playfulness. While the majority of the products are geared toward young children, there are many pieces that will grow with them, and some, like the lamp below, that will appeal to adults regardless of parental status. The partnership between Joy and Land of Nod has produced two bedding collections, four lamps, pillows and soft toys, a rug, and a selection of curated art prints.
Here are my 5 favorite pieces from the collection:
images via land of nod
When you're adding global or ethnic touches to your decor, as many are wont to do, it's always nice if the pieces have an air of authenticity. Antique pieces often have a lot of personality, but new pieces can also bring great style to a space. Noted interior designer Sara Bengur recently debuted her newest products, which are inspired by her Turkish background and upbringing, as well as her extensive travels.
Sara has been in business nearly 20 years; her eponymous firm is located in New York. After hearing her name and seeing some of her work in publications for years, I finally had a chance to meet her at the gift show last month and she couldn't have been lovelier.
A lot of times when you ask designers what prompted them to create their own product line, the answer is that they couldn't find something they were looking for to use in their projects. "I often design custom pieces for my clients that have been inspired by either my Turkish roots or the location of the house I am working on at the time," she says. After increasing demand that she create her own line of products, she finally has.
Sara has spent a great deal of time studying and immersing herself in Ottoman designs. "The patterns have an organic quality and I love the idea of giving a new life to them in a different scale, form, and texture." Most of the products are made in Turkey, though the stoneware comes from nearby Malta. The collection features plenty of color because Sara believes rooms don't have to be neutral to be serene and cozy and she tries to encourage clients to follow suit.
Check out more of the new products:
Sara's favorite products are the peshtamals, more commonly known as hammam towels. "I call it my favorite travel accessory. You can use it as a shawl, scarf, towel, pareo, or blanket on the beach!" The peshtamals are woven by an all-women's cooperative in Southern Turkey.
My personal favorites are the covered bonbon dishes—love the scalloped edges—and the kilim runners shown at the top. A larger area rug incorporating the runners' designs is coming soon. Sara and I both share the opinion that the details and the layering of accessories are crucial to making a home more personal.
"My passion has always been to create the unexpected in interiors, something nobody has seen before. My hope is that through this line, people feel they own something unique and made just for them," Sara says.
images via sara bengur
I have this attraction to knit items, things with cable knit patterns, anything chunky and wooly looking. I don't remember if I've mentioned this before, but I'm basically allergic to wool. I can't wear sweaters with wool, even 10% wool content, for more than a miserable hour or two and cashmere is like sandpaper (truly) to my skin. I'm always drawn to clothing and home goods that incorporate chunky, woolen textures—I'm sure there's a psychological term for this. So of course when I saw these big, bright throws, I had to stop.
Loopy Mango, which also has a brick-and-mortar shop in Soho, was founded by two women who met at FIT. All the yarn is produced at the company's mill in Massachusetts and all the finished knitted products are handmade in NYC.
I love the Aspen Crochet Round rug, which unfortunately for me, only seems to come as a DIY kit currently. The kit is available in 20 individual colors but they also sell yarn on their website so you can choose additional hues if you wanted to recreate something something more mult-colored like this rug I saw at the gift show. The solid colored rugs are really chic and gorgeous, though.
The super-chunky finished throws come in eight colors, but again, you can buy your own yarn. They also offer custom sizes and designs upon request, so you can likely ask for a throw in any of the colors they offer.
In addition to various DIY kits, Loopy Mango also offers several free patterns on their website, in addition to links to their YouTube tutorials.
images are my own
Hope everyone is staying warm and lifting with their knees when they shovel, it's crazy out there lately. I drove down to New York last Friday to attend NYNOW, formerly NYIGF, the gift show at the Javits Center. In two and a half days—and 2700+ pictures later—I walked every single aisle of the show and saw some great products.
Mostly, I was really excited to be back in New York and to see a lot of the vendors I haven't seen in a while, since I missed the last three shows (not sure how that time flew so quickly). It was great to catch up with people and this was my first time experiencing the show since they changed the format and rebranded. I think it worked out well to have all the home companies under one roof, though as I walked the show, I realized there were several brands that I didn't see. I'm hoping they'll be there in August.
At any rate, I'm looking forward to sharing the things that I saw over the next weeks and months. In addition to new and interesting products, the booths themselves are often styled creatively. Here are just a few fun things I noticed:
I am supremely honored to share that I am featured as a trendsetter on Zinc Door's feature Wishlists From The Pros. Zinc Door is a great decor resource and I've worked with them for years and it's been a pleasure. It was so much fun picking out these products, especially the tete-a-tete, which I desperately want, and the glass pendant (swoon).
Thank you Zinc Door for the opportunity! What a great way to start the new year!
One of the things I miss most about working in New York is getting to meet and spend time with interior designers and visit their decorated spaces in person. Viewing an image of a beautiful room is wonderful, and still inspiring of course, but when you're actually in the space, talking with the designer about their choices, seeing the way objects work together, and noticing details that otherwise might be missed—well, it makes a difference.
The products they create are also a window into their aesthetic perspective and a chance to own a piece of their style in lieu of hiring them, though working with any of these designers would be amazing: Interiors experts Amanda Nisbet, Katie Ridder, Carrier and Company, and Tilton Fenwick all partnered with Studio Four to design and produce a line of rugs which has just launched.
Each designer/design team contributed two designs and with the variety of beautiful colorways, the collection offers a total of 24 luxe options made of New Zealand wool. Some of the offerings are ready to ship and others require a lead time (production times vary). A highlight of the exciting patterns available:
images via studio four
I've always thought FLOR was a genius product, particularly for klutzy, spill-prone people and those with kids or pets. I may fit into one or more of those categories. Something spilled? Just pick up the square, clean it, and put it back, or worst-case scenario—replace a square, but at least you're not replacing the whole thing or having to cut a random piece out and replace it as with a wall-to-wall situation.
And, I'm sure it goes without saying, but the extremely customizable nature is a huge draw. Rugs can be any size you wish, all the way up to wall-to-wall and design-wise, there are dozens of colors and an array of patterns that appeal whether you lean toward solids, graphic patterns, or traditional motifs.
My style has changed a lot since I first realized I was passionate about decor and it has been a long time since something like a patchwork of big, bright colored squares appealed to me. So I will admit, I hadn't checked out FLOR thoroughly in a while.
I am really excited about their fall collection. The patterns are sophisticated but approachable and very much fit in with my current aesthetic. And when you figure that it's going to cost somewhere between $450-$870 (give or take) for a rug slightly larger than 8'x10', it's also extremely affordable.
Italian designer Paola Navone's highly-anticipated collection for Crate and Barrel debuted in select stores and online today; the line will roll out to all stores by the end of the week. It is the first of three planned collections and includes nearly 150 pieces of tabletop, furniture, textiles, lighting, and decorative accents. Paola Navone is a renowned talent with her hand in architecture, interior design, product design, and set design.
Organic shapes and a mix of materials all evoke the Mediterranean inspiration that threads itself through much of the well-traveled designer's work.
#checkout this blog with shop-themed puns
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