Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Baskets to Inspire Spring

With Easter almost upon us, here are a few baskets to enjoy. Cheery daffodils and moss are joined by little chicks for a sunny tabletop landscape above, while the monochromatic greens of the basket below offer a more sophisticated take. At the bottom, the paper basket crafted from a lunch bag offers the simple elegance of nature and resourcefulness.

All images are from Martha. See more beautiful ideas here or click on the images.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Egg-Citing for Easter

Here are 3 easy ideas to add to your repertoire of spring holiday decorations and centerpieces. They are all from Martha, of course.

I am definitely going to do this one. I'm quite certain all the materials needed are on hand.

The delicately dyed lavender egg shells with tiny blossoms are so sweet. They would look lovely in a cluster or at each place setting.

For more info, click on the images.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Dreaming of an Escape

Here's a little inspiration for your dream garden (and climate) -

Clever homeowners made up for a small master bath in their house with a garden bathing pavilion created from a funky old garden shed in their backyard. They cleaned it up, added a new tile floor, installed awning windows and trained ivy around the exterior for their very own spa.

Click here for more photos.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Still Life Distilled

In her recent work, photographer Sharon Core has beautifully rendered still life paintings in the style of Raphaelle Peale (1774-1825), one of America's early masters in this genre.

His still life paintings featured perfectly articulated everyday objects: ceramic tableware, glassware, fruit and flowers.

Core has recreated Peale's tableaus with collected antique serving pieces, vegetables and ripened fruits. Her brilliant attention to composition, scale, color and lighting produce a visual feast for modern and traditional tastes alike.

More images from Sharon Core's "Early American" series may be found here and here.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

My Whistling Kettle

There are few possessions I treasure as much as my whistling kettle. I bought it when we were living in Italy and splurged to have an Alessi kettle to call my own. We had a very efficient and modern European kitchen with a tiny 4 burner hob. The kettle was the perfect size.

Back stateside, the kettle remains a fixture in my daily life, and a cheerful reminder of life abroad. I adore its fabulous design and the two note harmonious whistle reminding me the tea water is ready. The only problem, and it is a small, but telling detail, is the seemingly perfectly sized kettle in Italy is precariously small on my American cooking range. If it is not placed exactly on the iron ring, the handle starts to melt. One is alerted to this off-centeredness by the pungent smell of burning plastic.

But this is the price (and pride) one must pay for a piece of classic Italian design in an American kitchen. I recently learned this is a problem other Alessi 9091 fans may have also encountered. They do sell replacement handles, along with pipes and springs for Richard Sapper's 1982 design, now called, the first designer kettle.

Richard Sapper is a name that may be less familiar to design addicts that do not have a 9091 kettle for their tea. However, the German born industrial designer was also the elegant engineering genius that brought us the Tizio lamp in 1972 by Artemide and the IBM ThinkPad. His career has taken him from Mercedes Benz to cutting edge Italian consumer products through his independent studio based in Milan.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Subway Car Transformed

Imagine stepping onto a New York city subway car and entering the visual delights of a Dutch collector's salon. Take the S shuttle from Grand Central to Times Square before March 4 and you can experience the fabulousness for yourself. Mahogany wainscoting, damask wall covering, paintings by Dutch masters, even ceiling medallions and tufted seats have all been thoughtfully faux furnished to invite you away.

The wrapped subway shuttle has reawoken in color and style thanks with the The Netherlands Board of Tourism marketing campaign, "Just Be. In Holland." The three different themed cars (decorated inside and out) represent the city's cultural, classic and contemporary attractions and include translations of fun Dutch phrases and words. Catch it, if you can!

Image courtesy of PointClickHome