Thursday, July 8th, 2010
So this weekend I was re-reading a favorite book for bookgroup, “Cooking for Mr. Latte” by Amanda Hesser. Amanda was a food writer for the NY Times for years, and the book chronicles her adventures in cooking, eating and relationships. Thank goodness she includes many of the recipes she describes at the end of each chapter or I would be a very hungry and frustrated reader!
What I love about this book is that all the recipes have a story behind them, which I think is true of some of the best recipes. Like the lemon bars my family makes that come from a cookbook my brother’s middle school put together of each kid’s favorite recipe. Fred Natkins will forever live on in our lives for his contribution of his mom’s lemon bar recipe. We never refer to them as simply Lemon Bars. Oh no, they are Fred Natkin’s Lemon Bars. I’m sure you all have similar stories about favorite dishes. And you remember who you served them to and how they fed the soul and stomach (if done right).
So what does that have to do with design? Well, it got me thinking about shared experiences, travel, and the objects we pick up along the way. When I travel I prefer to buy an interesting object for my home that I can look at and remember the trip. I’m not talking about “insert destination here” sweatshirts, spoons, shot glasses or fridge magnets. Though if that’s your thing, enjoy!
No I’m talking about that wall hanging I found in the little shop in the Gion district of Kyoto that has a giesha and a temple on it. And after I bought it we passed two maiko, apprentice gieshas, on the street.
Seeing the object pulls you right back into a moment, a story, a feeling. Or the 1890s German scientific print of different types of mushrooms I found in a vintage shop in Austin, Texas, that fits in perfectly on the wall of mushroom photos in my living room.
The mushroom photos always elicit lots of questions from visitors. It gives us the chance to tell them about our love of hiking and mushroom hunting, where I was inspired by the variety of mushrooms and colors and textures in the woods. Then we can show them our bags of dehydrated mushrooms as proof that I’m not just making this up.
The layout with different size and shape frames in an asymmetrical arrangement is more dynamic and allows us to add to the collection easily over the years. In fact, we’ll probably change out the mushroom photos for pictures from our trip to Japan next. That will provide new stories to tell, and different memories to enjoy. And when we tire of those photos, we will have other photos from other adventures with which we can replace them.
I think using objects and photos from your travels and adventures (even if they are local) is one of the best ways to ensure that your home is a reflection of you and your life. Grandma’s hope chest or the lamp from your childhood bedroom can also serve as mementos (not to be confused with Mentos, the freshmaker).
What objects do you have that have special meaning and history behind them? Where did you find them or who passed them down to you? Do they have pride of place in your home or are they mixed in and require exploration to notice?
Wednesday, February 3rd, 2010
So your child loves to travel the world, or at least loves daydreaming about it. And of course the newest generation of tweens is more tapped into the eco-consciousness than any generation has been before. So how do you update their bedroom to reflect their appreciation for world cultures and a sustainable ethos?
This bedroom is inspired by just such a situation. A warm palette with lots of natural materials and textures creates an inviting retreat. World maps and travel photos on the walls provide both reference (geography class, anyone?) and inspiration.
Walls in a deep olive green are accented with 2 stripes in chocolate brown and deep orange, and balanced with creamy white trim. This color palette pulls from the colors in the maps and travel photos – the deep greens of the forest, the chocolate brown trim on a Japanese castle’s roof line, and the orange gates in a Japanese shrine. Even the soft grey of an elephant is captured in the grey metal side table by the bed.
Soft chocolate brown roman shades are detailed with a coordinating stripe in orange to reference the stripe on the wall. A new seagrass headboard is both textural and made from a sustainable resource. New nightstands include a grey metal table and a stump table, which can easily be moved around the room as needed. The client’s existing desk is updated with a rusted metal faux finish, thereby reducing extending the lifespan of the piece.
Accent pieces provide texture and interest – large woven baskets provide easily accessible storage, a twig lamp can serve both the bed and the adjacent window seat, and a chunky woven throw blanket adds the necessary cuddle factor important in every bedroom. A funky perforated paper lamp shade hangs in the middle of the room, creating subtle patterns on the walls at night. And shelves made from reclaimed wood and aged metal brackets add history and storage. A chunky woven cable rug would add additional texture and balance the existing light wood floors. Fabrics in tans, chocolate brown, olive green and deep orange are used throughout the room.
This room is sure to inspire kids and adults alike. The entire concept could easily be translated to an adult’s bedroom or even a family room.
Paint color inspirations: BM 2142-30 Mountain Moss, BM HC-70 Van Buren Brown, BM 2170-10 Fireball Orange, and BM HC-27 Monterey White.