Apr 24

Handmade. Unique. Priceless.

Posted In Clothing, Decorating, Green Design, Old to New, Recycle/Reuse, Shopping, Uncategorized

There is something extra special about stuff that is hand made by artists, especially those that use and reuse old fabrics, textiles and furniture.  If it is stitched, embroidered, patched, quilted, or hand painted, so much the better! The final effect is new, unique and inspiringly fresh, oozing personality and soul.

I recently discovered (and fell in love with) these puffy blue pillows at  JUXTAPOSITION in Newport Coast. I first thought they were made of old blue jeans, but upon touch, could tell the fabric was much much softer and very fine. When I saw the price, I knew they must be something special indeed. (around $480 each)

They are made of “Boro”… vintage hemp and cotton fabric woven by Japanese farmers to make their everyday clothing in the early 1900′s.  Washed, worn and eventually torn, bits and pieces of  this fabric are now very rare… and valuable.  You can see more examples, read about it and even buy from this ebay dealer here…

Anthropologie does a great job of ferreting out the unique, especially considering they are a large corporation. MOST of their furniture is so distinct, especially that with hand stitched, quilted and patched together fabrics. These gorgeous pieces might not be one of a kind, but they are distinct and not something normally seen in other furniture shops.

I first saw this chair made of vintage denim bits and pieces right after seeing the Boro pillows at Juxtaposition, so they immediately caught my eye.  Such a casual, cool, and rough look for this a formal chair.  LOVE.

Beautiful fabric collages were everywhere… Anthropologie IS known for this sort of look.  How about this ottoman?

AND… sofa:

Mathilde Sofa, Dots

Anthropologie is currently showcasing the upholstery work of Serbian artist Draga Obradovic… unique, one-of-a-kind pieces created when she reupholsters vintage frames in coated-cotton canvas fabric that has been layered with rich pigment ,then screenprinted and hand-distressed.  The final product has a durable, leather-like finish. This is my favorite… I’ve always been a big fan of polka dots.

Prestino Sofa

Another example of Obradovic’s one of a kind, repurposed vintage pieces.

Partial Eclipse Armchair

I’m drooling now… time for some more upholstery classes!  What has caught your eye recently… anything unique or handmade?  Please share!!







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Apr 17

Pillow Fight!!

Posted In Decorating, Move-in's, Old to New, Redesign, Shopping, Styling, Uncategorized

Are you a pillow lover, or a pillow fighter?  It seems like every household has someone who makes a stand against throw pillows on the furniture… someone who proclaims to not like them, not want them, and will not even consider the potential beauty they provide.  Reasons abound, but pillow fighters mostly think these soft poofs serve no purpose whatsoever and are always in the way, making it impossible to sit or lie down easily.

Really?! I guess it can be time-consuming to swipe pillows onto the floor before retiring to bed at night (approx 15 seconds) and especially to place them back on said bed the next morning. (close to 30 seconds) Worse yet, is the necessary adjusting, fluffing, moving or tossing of pillows when lounging on the sofa, (takes 10-20 seconds) and then putting them back when the movie is over. (40 seconds, start to finish)

Hmmm… too much work??  Absolutely not!  Worth it?  YES!  Adding pillows is, by far, the easiest and cheapest way to brighten up and accessorize a space.  Just imagine what all of these rooms would look like without their pillows.






Yes…  BLAAAAH would be the word to describe these spaces if pillow-less.

Always opt to finish off your rooms with a few throw pillows.  It’s easy.  BOOM… toss them in and you’ve got instant personality, color and fun!

















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Jan 13

Displaying your Collectibles

Posted In Art, Clothing, Decorating, flea market, Old to New, Shopping, Styling, Uncategorized

People always ask me where I shop for art and accessories. This really depends, on who I’m shopping for, their budget, time frame, taste, etc. Most days you can find me searching through stacks and shelves at the various HomeGoods, Pier One, World Market/Cost Plus, Target, Ikea, Z Gallerie and Crate and Barrel stores in Orange County. I can almost always find great looking pieces at these locales.

But my favorite way to accessorize a room is with unique collectibles… one of a kind items that my clients already own… pieces that really mean something to them. Often they’ve been carried home from travels, inherited, handmade, or searched for at antique shops, flea markets or on Ebay. Whether it’s to my taste or not, I always have fun playing around and decorating with these one-of-a-kind pieces that tell a story about that person or family. The weirder, wilder and wackier… the better! That is what makes a home personal, unique and beautiful.

So, how to show off unique collections?  This can be tricky… bring to mind Aunt Mildred’s house and her 100′s of Lladros perched on every surface, upstairs and down.  Spreading collections around an entire room or house can look busy, cluttered and overwhelming. I often start by paring down… every single piece does not have to be out at the same time.  Then, I group items together and decide how to display them… sitting on shelves or tables, hanging on walls or collected in bowls or baskets. Bringing “like” items together makes a bigger impact…  they’ll be more noticeable and look valuable. People will walk into your room and say “Wow,” instead of silently wondering how you live with all of that clutter!

Ways to display?  Shelves always make wonderful display bases.  With small items, like these vintage “snuff bottles,” I like to use risers like books, boxes and small chests to show them off at different levels.

The space above kitchen cabinets and high shelves is perfect for lining up collections like these gourds:

and these Vintage French wine bottles and pitchers:


Some collectibles look best when hung on a wall, like these old farm tools:

and musical instruments:


old records:


and gameboards:


Animal heads might not be everyone’s decor of choice, but this homeowner was proud of his hunting trophies and wanted to show them off in his home, so up they went!


Gathering items into a basket is a great option for displaying certain collectibles. These vintage tennis racquets are fun to look at and say something about the career and passion of the owner:



“Found’ items, like feathers, hand painted rocks and shells are earthy, textural and a beautiful addition when grouped in pots and bowls.




Certain collections look best displayed on a rack, like this grouping of handwoven fabrics, and hat/bag collection:


Ladders, especially old ones, offer a fun way to show off textiles like these handmade quilts.


Don’t be shy about bringing out the things you love to collect and using them to decorate your house.  If you edit carefully, group “like” items and display them well, you will end up with an home that has YOU written all over it.


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