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February 28, 2007

Seven Tips for Creating Eco-Fabulous Interiors

Use these ideas from the National Resources Defense Council to help turn any space into a stylish, inviting and eco-friendly venue, whether you're remodeling a home or designing for a special event.

1. Decorate with Plants
Plants can act as natural air filters, removing harmful chemicals like benzene and carbon monoxide from the indoor air. And they look great too, giving your home a more natural and vibrant feel. The best plants for improving indoor air quality include the peace lily, bamboo palm and gerbera daisy.

2. Maximize Daylight
Maximizing daylight -- through skylights, open shades, and south-facing windows -- substitutes electrical lighting with the natural light of the sun, saving money and preventing the emission of air pollutants and greenhouse gases.


3. Use Energy Efficient Lighting
Compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulbs use a third of the energy of regular incandescent bulbs and last up to ten times longer. Replacing a traditional incandescent bulb with a CFL can save you more than $30 over the lifetime of the bulb and prevent the emission of air pollutants and greenhouse gases that contribute to global warming. Look for the Energy Star label.

4. Choose FSC Wood Products
Much of the wood that we buy comes from unsustainable operations in endangered forests, including the Canadian Boreal, Cumberland Plateau, and the rainforests of Borneo. The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) is the only credible international certification organization for sustainably harvested wood and wood products. Look for the FSC label.

5. Select Efficient Windows
Windows are a significant source of heat loss in the winter and unwanted heat in the summer. Energy-efficient windows are lined with special coatings that reflect heat and provide superior insulation, keeping your home warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer. Efficient windows save money on reduced heating and cooling bills and prevent the emission of greenhouse gases. Look for the Energy Star label.

6. Opt for Low VOC Products
Many common household products, including paints, carpets and furniture, emit volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that can be harmful to human health. When buying these products, look for those with a low VOC content.

7. Buy Locally
Locally produced products travel fewer miles to their end destination, resulting in less air and global warming pollution from transportation.

Find more green guides in our Green Living section and in the NRDC Action Center

Category: CAROLINE BARRY, GREEN DESIGN | Permalink | Add Your Comment (0) | TrackBack

Message in a Bottle


With his collection of Poet's Bottles, Jeff Crandall fuses his romantic poet side with his accomplished-glass artist ways for an upbeat collection of good advice and astute reminders.

This might look like an ironic toast to the stereotypical alcoholic-poet type, but Crandall offers a deeper meaning saying, "My 'Poet's Bottles' poke fun at marketing and warning labels, but their whimsy also resonates with core truths."

Crandall may have been inspired by the funny other-meaning he found on a label of Joy dish soap-- it reads "Keep Joy out of reach of children. If Joy gets in your eyes, rinse thoroughly with water"-- but he used his reaction to make serious statements in a joyful way.  Poet's Bottles are fun elixirs that add a bit of frivolity to everyday drudgery. 

A few of my favorites : 

YOUTH (Clear-aquamarine bottle)

SIN (Clear-white tall thin bottle)

DREAMS (Cobalt blue bottle)

These interesting art / conversation pieces are available for $64 each through Vetri Glass.

Category: ART & ACCESSORIES, CAROLINE BARRY | Permalink | Add Your Comment (0) | TrackBack


185x150_gogreen_1 After years of making snarky comments about the stupidity of America's gigantic obsession with celebrity life, I'm ready to sing a slightly different tune. Slightly.

Yes, you are still pathetic if you have ever read a "story" about what Sara Jessica Parker keeps in her Balenciaga and have run out  to purchase the exact same lip gloss.  Ditto for  knowing the middle names and birth-dates of celebrity children. (C'mon, we know you don't know the same about your own family.) And  while I'm  on a bit of a tirade here, there's a difference between "news" and News.  News  does relate to our daily lives, while "news" does not. I  need to know if daylight savings time is  changing, if taxes are going up,  if all my leftover 33-cent stamps are worthless  as postage.  These things affect my life. Brittany Spears' hairstyle? Not so much.

However sad it is that we devote endless hours and precious brainpower to understanding celebrities whom we do not know and who do not wish to know us, I have recently come to terms with the fact that maybe we could learn something from some celebrities, and maybe our obsession with them could actually have a positive effect.

My new outlook on this comes directly from the greening of the Academy Awards. Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) joined the Oscar team to put environmental consciousness center stage.  With the celebs pulling up to the carpet in Hybrids, eating organic food off biodegradable dishware, and reading winners' names from "ecologically superior paper", celeb-obsessed watchers took in one overriding fashion tip: Green is the new black. Take this tip to heart and in this one way, try to live the celebrity lifestyle.

Here's what they did:

  • Energy audit of Kodak Theatre; efficiency plan and recommendations.
  • Renewable energy credits were purchased from Bonneville Environmental Foundation to offset carbon emissions from pre-show, red-carpet event, Oscar telecast, and Governor's Ball.
  • Use of ecologically superior paper for telecast and non-telecast event materials such as nomination ballots, envelopes, press materials, programs, invitations, and certificates.
  • Hybrid vehicle transportation provided for presenters and staff.
  • Comprehensive recycling system instituted for event waste.
  • Crew meals and craft services included reusable service materials and accessories, post-consumer tissue products, and biodegradable dishware.
  • Governors' Ball menu featured organic and environmentally-friendly food, including seafood, dairy, produce, and even the large chocolate Oscar.
  • Left-over Governor's Ball food donated to Angel Harvest.

Category: CAROLINE BARRY, GREEN DESIGN | Permalink | Add Your Comment (0) | TrackBack

February 27, 2007

Standing Faucet Watermark

Watermark Designs presents a new floor-mounted version of the Titanium Series 22 Faucets. The faucet features high-tech, one-touch functionality instead of knobs so the look stays long and minimal.

The Watermark Model 22-1.504 Standing Lavatory Mixer stands 45 1/2” tall ranges in price from $2333 to $2916 depending on finish.


Category: BATH & SPA, CAROLINE BARRY | Permalink | Add Your Comment (0) | TrackBack

Warming style

CinierSome of us are still cranking up the heat, sitting close to the fireplace, and huddling around our radiators -- regardless of how unattractive they may be.

Thankfully UK-based Radiating Style has designed art-inspired radiators and covers. My fave -- the Cinier collection.

Browse full collection

Category: ALLISON JAWORSKI | Permalink | Add Your Comment (0) | TrackBack

February 26, 2007

Modern Cubist Furniture

Lift3_1When scouring the world for modern designs, we stumbled across Tom -- a 50-year old manufacturing company out of Slovenia.

Adding a new dimension to moveable furniture is the SlovenLift_montageian company's "Lift" chairs and sofas. Seats and backs raise and lower to create a variety of elevations -- perfect avant garde furniture for public spaces or the intrepid modernist's residence. Inconvenient arms and backrests just disappear to form solid cubes -- and reappear when desired.

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Category: DIANE BURLEY, MODERN FURNITURE | Permalink | Add Your Comment (0) | TrackBack

Kuppersbusch Honeycomb Cooktop


The new EKWE 320, a glass ceramic cooktop by Kuppersbusch is integrated, visually unobtrusive, and easy to clean. It has six cooking zones and up to three dual zones plus some mysterious technology tells the burners when a pot hits the stove. Only then does the heat come on, so even burn-prone chefs like me can feel a bit safer in the kitchen.

EKWE 320 is available in vertical or horizontal shapes. measures about 12 5/8" square and can be ordered with an optional seven cooking zones. Retail price, about $1750.

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Category: CAROLINE BARRY, MODERN KITCHEN | Permalink | Add Your Comment (0) | TrackBack

February 23, 2007

Klimt-inspired Area Rug?

Gk023 I've just finished reading "The Painted Kiss," Art Historian Elizabeth Hickey's fictionalized relationship between Gustav Klimt and the woman in his masterpiece. (The book is compelling with vivid imagery and peppered with enough historic facts to make her imagined account very believable.) The controversial Austrian painter's "The Kiss" is a favorite of mine -- and an inexpensive reproduction is in my foyer. The gold hues simply pop on my deep plum wall -- imagine how much popping the original version in gold leaf would do!

When I saw Momeni's rug, Capra, I couldn't help but notice Glimt-inspired gold-colored sinuous forms and telltale geometric shapes within a sea of midnight blues.

Capra_rug_momeni The all wool, contemporary area rug is available in 5'9 and 7'9 rounds, and is perfect for a neutral room that needs a dramatic spark! Just don't plan on hiding this rug under a wood table -- glass please is key.

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Category: DIANE BURLEY, FLOOR & WINDOW COVERING | Permalink | Add Your Comment (0) | TrackBack

February 22, 2007

Modern Doll Collection


With a modern take on doll collecting, Vitra is hand-painting remakes of Alexander Girard's original wooden friends.  He made them for his own home in Santa Fe, now, anyone can own one or all of the iconic dolls, well, anyone willing to part with $145 for each one.

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Category: ART & ACCESSORIES, CAROLINE BARRY, MODERN KIDS | Permalink | Add Your Comment (0) | TrackBack

Working Class Dinnerware


Rococo becomes working class in Working Class Studio's melamine plates. These come in a range of colors and designs, all over-the-top fun on the outdoor ready dinnerware. 

Sold through the San Fransisco Museum of Modern Art, the MoMA experts suggest mixing these melamine squares in with your formal china for an eclectic, ironically dressed-down look. In sizes 8", 10" and 12 " sizes, the plates cost $8, $10, and $15 respectively.

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Category: ART & ACCESSORIES, CAROLINE BARRY, PATIO & OUTDOOR | Permalink | Add Your Comment (0) | TrackBack

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