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December 30, 2005

Modern Mower

Lawn_mower_3It may still be December - cold, snowy and slightly unpleasant for many of us. But take a stroll through any department store or mall -- bathing suits, patio furniture, and fresh floral decor!

It’s coming! Spring is right around the corner, and as retailers shove it down our throats, we’d like to offer you some solace. The RoboMower – an automatic mower designed to trim your blades while you lounge in the shade.

And the environment will thank you too --- the RoboMower does not require gas or oil, produces no emissions, and can handle the curves, swerves and slopes of any lawn and garden.

Shop for the RoboMower .

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December 29, 2005

Magic Carpet

As the New Year rapidly approaches, and you reevaluate your living space and the objects that inhabit it, look down.

Flying_carpet_1Often used to warm and pull spaces together, your rug can effect how you, and others, feel in the room. Check out Nanimarquina's unique line of fun, fresh and colorful floor coverings.

Pictured above -- the handmade, hand loomed, 100% wool Flying Carpet.

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Sitcom Style

9781400051786Pure Contemporary has gone behind the scenes at "Nip/Tuck" to show you what set décor choices reveal about a character's traits and personality. We've told you about the stylish modern pieces flaunted on "Sex and the City" and how "Friends" made Pottery Barn's Apothecary Table as popular as it made Jennifer Aniston's layered locks. But we have not come close to the in-depth and interesting look at sitcom set design Diana Friedman achieves in her just released book “Sitcom Style.”

“Sitcom Style’s” nostalgic look into TV powerhouses like “The Cosby Show” and “All in Family” shows readers that sitcom sets are thought out detail by detail to convey specific things about characters. Jerry Seinfeld’s obsessive-compulsive personality is revealed in his alphabetized cereal boxes. Frasier’s dad Martin Crane is relaxed and laid back, like his taped together easy chair. The tactlessness of Roseanne’s family showed in the tackiness of their velvet paintings and kitschy décor.

Sitcom interiors affect mood and can reflect and enhance personality. The same is true in anyone’s home and the designers profiled in “Sitcom Style” explain how non-designers can make deliberate choices that will reveal who they are, or who they want to be.

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December 27, 2005

Decor trends lean toward luxury

By Betsy Lehndorff, Rocky Mountain News Manrico_cashmere

Real luxury will continue to dangle out of reach for most shoppers in 2006. Cashmere sheets worth thousands of dollars cover a bed at the Hotel Principe di Savoia in Milan, Italy.

At $5,800 a set, you probably won't be able to afford the ultimate luxury of the year - cashmere sheets. Donald Trump will have them. You won't. But that won't stop you from wanting them.

Your hunger for luxury will continue to shape the way you shop and decorate in 2006.

"It's become embedded in the culture that everyone is entitled to a little bit of luxury," says Candace Corlett, principal consultant at WSL Strategic Retail in New York. As a result, you can expect to see more and more luxurious-looking or designer-like items available for sale, especially at big-box stores.

But oh, the guilt. In 2005, the world has been scoured by killer waves, hurricanes, earthquakes and war. Reach for the beaded throw pillows on aisle 3 and you could feel a twinge of guilt.

So marketing experts, like Corlett, are encouraging their retail clients to spin promotions that make shoppers feel as if they are contributing to the betterment of society. One example could be a line of children's bedroom furnishings inspired by youngsters' drawings. A portion of the sales will go to Save the Children.

Here are more trends you can expect to see around your home:


• Colors will continue to be muted in 2006, although there will be plenty to choose from, says Leatrice Eiseman, Pantone color trends forecaster. During a recent talk at the Merchandise Mart, she tells designers: "Life is tougher now. Shoppers want less excitement in their lives, and colors that are less vivid."

The living room

• Free, stick-on wallpaper samples from York Wallcoverings will let you test patterns, textures and colors before you buy. Available at home improvement centers and paint stores.

• A plasma TV screen above the fireplace will replace the French Impressionist painting you used to hang there. Architects are advising their clients to be sure to stake out wall space for these screens.

• Colores Origenes is the first line of 70 Behr paint colors inspired by the growing Spanish-speaking population in the United States. Colors include Mango Jugoso (Juicy Mango); Azul Cielito Lindo (Lovely Blue Sky), and Chayote (Chayote Squash).

The kitchen

• Multipurpose kitchens will proliferate. These are efficient spaces where you can cook, entertain, watch TV, do laundry and go online. According to Kitchen Solvers, the secret is to hide your washer and dryer in cabinets that match your kitchen.

• Soapstone countertops showed up in a kitchen at this year's Parade of Homes, and is a hot new trend, designers such as Laurel Quint and Kristi Dinner say. The material scratches easily, but looks natural and blends with any decor.

The bedroom

• Manrico Cashmere in Aspen sells a set of king-size sheets for $5,800 and is touting Donald Trump as one of their customers. His association with the product will inspire average folks to upgrade as best as they can.

• Eating in bed is back. Owners of super-sized homes are installing fully equipped snack bars in their giant bedrooms. Saves a hike to the kitchen, according to Margie Rowe, senior marketer for ShowHouse by Moen.

• High-tech bed frames are available to support thicker and heavier mattresses that consumers covet. Eventide, created by Knickerbocker Bed Company, supports more than 1,000 pounds and comes with globe-shaped casters that glide over thick carpeting.

The bathroom

• Super-clean bathrooms are a must as germ phobias break out everywhere. Swan Corp. makes a 36-inch-by-96-inch decorative waterproof panel that do-it-yourselfers can install in bathrooms, eliminating grout between tiles.

• American Standard bathroom sinks come with Scotchgard Protector by 3M, making it easier to clean up after morning tooth brushing and shaving.


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December 24, 2005

Philip Johnson and Alan Ritchie Architects design Oasis

Oasis_4The celebrated firm, who has completed several projects employing geometric form, is taking their love of warping, sculpting and twisting to a new level with the Oasis House – a village in the Israel desert.

As with Johnson’s Glass House, the rooms are broken down into individual pavilions, with varying sizes creating the overall ensemble. Unifying the separate pavilions is a central reflecting pool, completing the idea of an Oasis.

In addition to the bedrooms and gathering areas are a synagogue, tennis courts and pool.

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December 22, 2005

Modern + Vintage

Take two women on two separate paths, add a little soul, some vintage décor and a dash of Eames and what do you get? A mid-century modern melting pot. Penelope Green for The New York Times explains how two different philosophies on art and style came together to form the pitch-perfect dwelling.


Decorating With an Ear for Eames and R&B
By Penelope Green

THE first meeting between Laura Gottwald, an effervescent interior designer and jazz lover, and Margery Budoff, a personal injury lawyer and deeply committed audiophile, was so momentous that Ms. Budoff later had to rethink her undergarments.

It was 1995 and she had just moved into a one-bedroom apartment at Stewart House, the white brick, block-square monolith on East 10th Street in Manhattan, with Moby, an African Grey parrot; a pair of three-foot- tall, fidgety but lovely Quad 63 speakers; an assortment of amplifiers and pre-amps (heavy with tubes); and a handful of Chippendale chairs and tables (heavy with clawed feet). She also had a serious collection of vinyl - jazz, rhythm and blues, Latin and gospel recordings from the 1950's and 60's - and a huge black record washer. Curious and scholarly, Ms. Budoff was attempting at the time, she said the other day, "to just amass things."

"I was learning about antiques," she added, "and I didn't have any particular affinity for them. I just liked them because they were old."

A former child prodigy who played a piano concert series for children at the Brooklyn Museum when she was 8, Ms. Budoff has the sort of hungry intelligence that worries a fact like a terrier with a rubber ball. (In her teens, she would listen to the same John Coltrane record over and over until she grasped, "in a rudimentary way," as she described it, "the nature of improvisation over the heads of the tunes.")

When Ms. Gottwald came into Ms. Budoff's life, to untangle the antiques and stereo components and records, and to help her steer an aesthetic course, she offered mid-century modernism as a model. Ms. Budoff took to the style so enthusiastically that she began dressing to match her furniture, in 1950's foundation garments, pointy shoes and little suits.

Continue reading Decorating With an Ear for Eames and R&B

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Philippe Starck to Design Virgin Spaceport

Famed designer Philippe Starck has drawn up plans for the world's first spaceport - a $200m Virgin Galactic facility set to begin construction in 2007 on a patch of state land in New Mexico.

Virgin_spaceprt_2The art department at Vulture Central created a mock up impression of how they think the spaceport will look.

Richard Branson, majority owner of Virgin, signed a deal with NM authorities to house the spaceport that will send wannabe astronauts 70 miles above the Earth. At a cost of $200,000 for the first 100 tickets, Virgin’s founders will spend six minutes of weightlessness during the three-and-a-half hour flight. 38,000 people from 126 countries have already expressed interest in future flights.

Virgin_galactic_logo_1Starck has also inspired a new identity for Virgin Galactic - using the image of an iris. Starck explains: "The curiosity and adventure of the human spirit exists in the vision of a human eye, from today, through millions of years of evolution, right back to the beginning of mankind."

Browse contemporary furniture by Philippe Starck.

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"Small Space, BIG STYLE" is looking for homes!


No matter how small it is, redesigning and redecorating a home is a huge job. And when it's done, you just want to show it off. Sometimes, though, friends and family who've already heard about each decision you've agonized over, don't give the "Oohs and Ahhs" your hard work deserves.

Show your genius to a wider audience.

The new HGTV series "Small Space, BIG STYLE" showcases some of the smallest and most stylish homes across the US and Canada. And they are looking fabulous pads with lots of ingenuity, multi-functional ideas, or just great color and design to feature.

SIZE: The homes can be ANY type of living space- homes, apartments, condos, lofts, bungalows, yurts, yachts, dorm rooms, houseboats- but they must be under 1,000 square feet!

STYLE: The homes must have a unique, interesting design style, and should creatively make the most of the limited space.

LOCATION: The space must be within a one hour drive of a major metropolitan area.

**Remember all you dont-want-to-do-it-yourselfers: "Small Space, BIG STYLE" is not a make-over show. All spaces must be small, stylish, and completed**

To learn more about Small Space, Big Style and how you and your home could be featured in an episode, please visit to sign up, or contact Lauren at BrainBox Productions: [email protected]

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December 20, 2005

Glass Tree

Canlis_holiday_tree_229f26_2 Seattle-based glass artist Jean-Pierre Canlis created this hand-blown sculpture, which was the focal point for the collector's Christmas party. The striking one-piece tree is accentuated by three levels of dishes. Removable glass flowers can be set on the tree -- or sit separately. Canlis_holiday_tree_229f24_6

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Holiday Treasure Hunt Clue

Here's one to help you find our treasure:

Holds your goodies, this we can tell, to present your finest, and serve you well...

Join the Hunt.


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