Monday, April 30, 2007

Mark Your Calendar: Heath Ceramics Open Studio

Though it's been in operation since 1948, Heath Ceramics has enjoyed major buzz lately as new owners Robin Petravic and Catherine Bailey work to bring founder Edith Heath's elegantly earthy midcentury tableware and tile designs to a whole new audience.

Handcraftsmanship is a hallmark of the Heath aesthetic, and this weekend you can see it up close when the historic Heath factory in Sausalito opens its doors for tours, tile glazing, and BBQing. During the open studio, everything in the factory store is 15% off. The hours are Saturday, May 5, from 10-6 or Sunday, May 6, from 10-5. The factory is located at 400 Gate Five Rd. in Sausalito.

Cool Stuff: Espresso Tower

With their funky retro design and space-maximi-zing stack-ability, these porcelain demitasse cups could be the perfect Mother's Day gift for your java-lovin' mama. Dishwasher- and microwave-safe, they're just $32 at Violet.

eBay Find of the Day: Forties Phone

With cell phones growing ever smaller and thinner and home phones becoming more and more high-tech, it's easy to forget how charming a good, old-fashioned dial phone can be. (And how handy in an emergency, when your fancy wireless will be useless without electricity and cell-phone towers may well be lying in rubble -- hello earthquake country!)

Check out this baby: A deco-style 1940s Western Electric that will add a note of retro flair to your desk or entry table. (Can't you just see Humphrey Bogart using something like this in The Maltese Falcon?)

Current bid: $27. Go get it.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

House in Progress: Our Wallcovering Conundrum

One of the things I've been obsessing over lately -- and, trust me, there are many -- is wall-paper. I'm loving all the cool, super-graphic new designs out there, and really want to experiment with using wallpaper (in limited doses) in our home -- as well as just being a bit bolder on the decorating front.

So, though I've been eying all the great new offerings from wallpaper designers like Timorous Beasties, Ferm Living, Cavern, and Neisha Crosland, the paper that really jumped out at me is the vintage Mylar print, above, that I found on eBay. I snapped up a few rolls with the idea that we'd paper the wall behind our bed with it. (We're painting the other walls a deep, rich chocolate and then offsetting the dark walls with white curtains, bedding, furniture, etc. -- there's also lots of natural light in the room as well as plenty of white-painted trim, so I'm not worried about the overall effect being too dark.)

Anyway, my husband, Nick, is on board for everything but the wallpaper, which he's not so sure about. Normally, I sort of steamroll over the poor guy when it comes to decorating decisions. But in this case I can't really throw out the "Let's just try it -- if you don't like it, we'll do something else!" line, since I suspect this stuff will be a bugger to take off.

So my questions to you are, Am I crazy for liking this wallpaper? Is it super-cool, or super-tacky? A bold and yummy choice, or a Seventies nightmare come back to life? I honestly can't decide ...

What say you: Take my poll!

Wallpaper: Yea or Nay?
   [View Results]
Get a Poll like this @

Cool Stuff: Marimekko Fabrics

Have you seen Marimekko's new Spring fabric collection? To die, darlings. I'm in love with the Onnen Apila fabric, left. It comes in lime/aqua, red/yellow, pink/aqua, white/green, and white/blue colorways, and is available from Textile Arts.

Another new offering I'm loving is the Hollywood Regency-esque Marhaba lattice print, which comes in spring green, orange, and white. Unlike most Marimekko patterns, this one is relatively small, so it's great for throw pillows, placemats, chair-seat covers, and other accents.

And don't miss the delightfully simple and graphic Paarya. (Note: Each pear is HUGE: 4 feet tall by 2.5 feet wide, so use this somewhere you want to make a really dramatic statment.)

While you're browsing, check out Textile Arts' classic Marimekko patterns, as well. A few on my wish list:

Kossiopeia (in sea green, yellow, red, and brown).

Latvassa Korkealla (in pink/brown, green/white, green/blue, pink/white, gold/brown, blue/black, and orange/pink).

Appelsiini (in lime, yellow, brown, and blue).

Lumimarja (in blue, natural, red, yellow, green, pink, aqua, and silver).

Kaivo (in cranberry, green, camel, brown, burgundy, white, red, and blue).

And finally, the iconic Unikko (in too many colors to list).

Most of these patterns are quite large, so the fabrics are best for slipcovers, curtains, duvet covers, and other large-scale projects (if only I could sew!).

They also make wonderfully colorful and dramatic wall hangings. Just staple-gun a piece of fabric around one of Textile Arts' handy, made-to-measure frame kits. Voila -- instant wall art.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Cool Tool: ListPic

How many precious hours have you spent mining craigslist in the hope of scoring someone else's amazing castoff at a fraction of regular retail? If you're like me, it's more hours than you care to admit -- many of them spent in frustration, as clicking on promising post after promising post turns up photos of stuff you wouldn't stop the car for during a garage sale drive-by.

To the rescue: ListPic. ListPic is a visual interface tool that pulls all the photos from a given cragislist search onto one convenient page. Simply click on the category you want to search, enter your search terms into the box, and peruse the pictures on your results page. Click on the pix that pique your interest to see a larger photo, read the item description, link to the original craigslist ad, email a link to yourself, or contact the seller.

For a visual illustration of the concept, compare the ListPic search results for "Eames" furniture for sale, above, with the same search results on craigslist, right. There's no contest, is there?

All I have to say is, Genius!

Update: Sadly, craigslist has blocked ListPic's access to its photos, and thus all but shut ListPic down. So ciao, ListPic -- it was fun while it lasted!

Shameless Plug: New(ish) Article in Real Simple

I also have an article on protecting yourself from indoor and outdoor air pollution in last month's Real Simple magazine. Read it here.

eBay Find of the Day: Barnacles!

You've seen these craggy, other-worldly clusters in high-end home stores for mucho dinero -- I'm talking $100 or more. But you can find them on eBay for $10 or less (hint: search under "Rocks, Fossils, and Minerals" or "Aquarium"). This hefty specimen, for instance, has a starting bid of just 99 cents. Can't beat that!

(That's why I love eBay. I find inspiration in design magazines, stores, antique fairs, people's homes -- and then find deals on eBay. Not only are the prices incredible, but the selection is absolutely vast.)

Set these purply husks on a shelf or atop a stack of coffee-table books for an unusual accent, or group them in a weathered garden urn along with pieces of coral, sea fans, and other dried sea life for an oceanic bouquet.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Retail Therapy: Klassik by Lynne

If you've spent any time lately trolling our local craigslist outpost for Danish Modern furniture, you can't have missed Lynne's listings. She always has the mintiest pieces, which she culls on regular trips home to Denmark.

Now Lynne's opened a warehouse and showroom in Emeryville that's stocked with to-die-for teak credenzas, swanky armchairs, and sharp-looking midcentury dressers and tables by the likes of Hans Wegner, Clausen & Son, N.O. Moller, and other Danish design luminaries -- plus a drool-worthy selection of vintage modern objets, funky lighting, and contemporary art.

I stopped in on opening day today to check it out, and while I regrettably had to leave the $1,500 wall-length credenza behind, I did snag this totally cute trio of chartreuse apple bowls for just $5 a pop! Lynne couldn't have been nicer, and I know I'll be back again soon.

Visit the showroom Wednesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. at 1313 67th Street in Emeryville, right around the corner from Berkeley's famed Urban Ore salvage yard and just a quick jaunt up San Pablo from the equally fab Retro @ Home. You can also check out the Klassik by Lynne website here.

eBay Find of the Day: Marbro Lamp

Somebody buy this lamp before I do. (Current bid: $49.57.)

I've never cared for blues: French, powder, Navy, robin's egg, whatever -- they all leave me cold. But this particular shade of turquoise is making me salivate lately, and that glass has a luminescent quality that's killing me.

Please, go bid on this now -- because god knows, I don't need any more lamps.

Cool Stuff: Porcelain Blooms

I spotted these gorgeous porcelain flowers at Alabaster in Hayes Valley a few months ago. In a fit of frugality, I passed them by -- and have obsessed about them ever since. They have a delicate, ethereal quality, but also a surprising weight and roughness to them. Happily, I just found them at Vivre. At $10 to $25 each, they are *so* mine.

Shameless Plug: New Article on

My piece on "Family-Friendly Design" -- with DOs and DON'Ts for creating a space that will stand up to family life and still look fabulous -- just went up on the HGTV website. Check it out here.


In my neverending quest to procrastinate on doing the work I'm actually *paid* to do, I've decided to (finally!) join the blogosphere. This is the spot where I'll share my design finds and objects of decorating lust, chronicle the process of making my family's house a home, and probably post a few other random things.

Please drop a line to share your thoughts, to alert me to your own finds and objects of lust, or just to say hello. Thanks for stopping by!


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