arbor day

April 30, 2010

A celebration of trees…

Julius Sterling Morton a Nebraska journalist and eventual Secretary of Agriculture to the President of the United States, felt that the landscape and economy of Nebraska could benefit from a widespread planting of trees.  Taking it upon himself to plant orchards and trees of different sorts, Morton encouraged his community to join him and more than a million trees were planted in April of 1872.

Arbor Day now happens all over the world at different times of  year from Japan to India depending on climate, but in the United States, Arbor Day generally falls on or around the last Friday in April.

The benefit of trees…

Aside from the beauty that a tree can provide to the landscape or your front yard, the environmental benefit of trees is enormous.  Trees help to control climate by moderating the effects of the sun, wind and rain.  Trees prevent a cool shady place when it’s hot as well as absorbing radiant heat from the sun during winter.  In cities, trees play a HUGE role in mitigating the ‘heat-island’ effect that is caused by pavement and buildings.

Trees with dense foliage act as a windbreak and help to lessen the impact and effects of rain, sleet and hail on people and buildings.  They also help to absorb rainfall which in turn reduces the possibility of flooding in certain areas.

Trees are essential to the natural balance and harmony of our air quality.  Their leaves filter the air that we breathe, by absorbing carbon dioxide, dust, particles and other pollutants from the air such as ozone, sulfur dioxide and carbon monoxide and then release oxygen back into the atmosphere.

Get involved…

A great way to get involved is to volunteer or donate to an organization like TREE PEOPLE. Check out their website www.treepeople.org and see all the many ways that you can make a difference…

Tree People conference center in Los Angeles

T R E E S  in  D E S I G N

Amazing Branch Room Divider

Rustic Adirondack Bronze Twig Flatware by Vance Kitira

Manzanita Candelabra by West Elm

Woods Wallpaper by Cole and Son

Kim Lantern by Bill Sofield for Baker

Twig Occasional Table by Baker

Tree Stump Side Table by West Elm

Interlaced Twigs Handle by Anthropologie

Weathered Wood Table Lamp by West Elm

Forest Canopy Bed by Anthropologie

Algues by Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec for Vitra

George Nakashima Bench

Twig and Branch Colored Pencils

Twig Lamps from Zgallerie

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so lovely

April 29, 2010

Since I last posted about things I want for my house, I thought I’d share an image I can’t stop looking at.  It was featured in the April issue of Elle Decor and shot by Simon Upton.

things I want…

April 26, 2010

Maybe it’s the spring, maybe it’s the fact that my sofa is coming apart at the seams…literally.  Whatever it is, I’ve got the shopping bug and am ready for a little decorating facelift.  Here are a few things that I am coveting right now for my own home…

L I V I N G  R O O M

This yummy throw from Anthropologie would look fantasic on my natural linen sofa.

Moroccan Pouf, every home should have at least one.

Love the pen and ink flowers.

This modern block print pillow will look amazing with all my floral prints in the living room

I must have this Suzani serving tray from decorativethings.com

I have a wall of shelves where I put everything and these orange boxes make me think of Hermes, perfect for storing odds and ends.

My front hallway is in desperate need of a mirror, this one from OLY Studio will look amazing in my deep teal hall.

B E D R O O M

This Brunschwig & Fils Dzhambul fabric is going to be on my bed, one way or another.

The stripe in this rug is a perfect complement to the floral dzhambul fabric.

I have custom upholstered night-tables next to my bed and this R&Y Augousti shagreen tray will keep everything organized perfectly.

Sometimes I need an extra surface next to the bed and this little garden stool from Horchow would look so cute, the sculptural aspect keeps it from looking like a table in front of a table.

I don’t have a place for these industrial style work lamps, but I want them anyway…

earth day

April 22, 2010

I went to a lecture at the Pacific Design Center yesterday about green options for the home.  I didn’t really learn anything new, which made me feel really great given how informative it was, but was reminded again of just how important it is to be aware of the products and materials that we use in our homes.

Creating a safe and healthy home is something that has become more and more critical to me since becoming a mother.  As a parent, I do everything I can to protect my child from harm and it is so easy to overlook how the simplest things in our home can be quite dangerous.  In fact, the air quality inside our homes has actually become dirtier than the air quality outside.

As a designer, I feel it is my duty to inform and educate my clients about safe alternatives for their homes.

Carpeting and flooring are two of the nastiest things that we put in our homes.  From the manufacturing process to the amount of fuel used to transport, to the toxic carcinogenic chemicals (VOC’s, or Volatile Organic Compounds) that they off-gas during and once installed, it seems you just can’t go right.  The next culprit is paint, slowly but steadily releasing toxicity (VOC’s) into your home over months and years.  It’s so bad that painters have a 40% increased risk of developing cancer just from doing their jobs.

Here are 5 of my top pics for eco-friendly, healthy and stylish options for your home…

Interface FLOR carpet tiles are versatile and recycle-able, made in the USA with renewable and recycled content.

Reclaimed wood is a beautiful and eco-friendly alternative to engineered and harvested wood floors.  There are many websites that can help you to find locally reclaimed wood for a number of different uses.  Remember to ask for water based adhesives when installing.

Natural wall coverings are a wonderful alternative to the more toxic traditional papers used in homes.  Grass cloths are extremely renewable and also help to combat mold and moisture unlike traditional papers which actually trap moisture and create mold.  An SRID favorite is Phillip Jeffries.

Farrow & Ball ZERO VOC Paints

Benjamin Moore’s Natura Paint line offers ZERO VOC Paints.

Giramundo Swivel chair by Environment Furniture upholstered in recycled wool.

There are a number of furniture companies producing sustainable, recycled and environmentally friendly products.  Check out Environment Furniture, Cisco Home and Lee Industries for a wide range of styles and products.

Life can get overwhelming.  There are so many things to manage in a day that I sometimes feel like the chaos is taking over my life.  Being a mom, a business owner, running a household, being an active participant in my relationship, maintaining a social life…sometimes I just want to crawl into a cave and run away from it all.

There are days where I just don’t want to be responsible for anything or anyone.

And then there’s my house.  The place where I go to unwind, relax and recharge.  Sharing it with two other people can actually be more stressful than nurturing.  I’m constantly picking up toys, clothes, dirty dishes all in an attempt to gain some sanity amidst all the chaos.

I ask myself, when will it ever end?

So today I find a little solace in some zen inspired images that help to ease the chaos in my mind.  Perhaps one day I too will be able to achieve a little zen in my life…

Tadao Ando designed Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth

Banryutei Garden Japan

The famous rock garden at Ryoan-Ji in Japan

graffiti

April 16, 2010

I was born in Santa Monica, CA and spent most of my teenage years on and around the beach in Venice.  Back then the now ultra trendy Abbott Kinney Blvd was where you went to get shot, well I may exaggerate slightly, but it was definitely seedy.  My best friend lived in Venice and we hung out with all the locals, much to my mother’s dismay. Gangsters, graffiti artists and hoodlum surfers, those were my people.

I’m nostalgic and tend to hold on to memories of years past as though they were dear friends, they stay fresh in my mind and completely relevant, perhaps even when they shouldn’t.  I am so glad that the beautiful street art of graffiti has become so relevant in our culture that it has gone mainstream.  I guess that is what happens as the generations evolve…

Graffiti Paint Drip inspired rug by Kelly Wearstler for The RUG Company

Franz Kline painting circa 1950, not really graffiti, but feels like it.

Vuitton does graffiti in a tribute to Stephen Sprouse

Stephen Sprouse designed Graffiti Camo fabric for Knoll Textiles

Graffiti pendant lamp by re-surface

Graffiti inspired walls in the KWID Hillcrest Estate

Painting by artist Gino Perez

Street art by renegade graffiti artist BANKSY

Paris Graffiti

portes francaises

April 14, 2010

I love Paris.

It seems every turn you take there is something beautiful to behold.  Some of my favorite beautiful things in Paris are the doorways.  I seem to collect images of them more than anything else.  At the end of the day after strolling through Paris, the majority of the photos on my camera are photos of doorways.

Doorways in Paris are like the calling card for people’s homes.  You don’t see much from the street aside from some old limestone and a doorway, usually there is some enchantingly gorgeous old courtyard or garden looming behind, but we never really know.  So the doorways wet our imaginations as to what lies beyond…

This might just be my most favorite doorway of all time, it’s a hair salon that we happened upon and the moment I saw it I had to stop.  I think I stood there for a good 20 minutes just taking in the yumminess of that bright red against the old limestone.

A little bit sad, but I love it

I’m dying to see what the inside of this one looks like.

There’s that delicious red again

A color I call Parisian Blue, it just wouldn’t be the same anywhere else…

What was once the doorway to an old mill in the south of France