Monday, May 18, 2009


So many of the trends in interior decorating this year seem to be searching for our roots. Certainly nothing makes a house a home more than a firm grounding in tradition. In particular children's rooms and nurseries can benefit from the vibrancy and interest of ethnic inspired decor. And what better way to teach your children where they came from? Many parents of adopted children find great satisfaction in a room created around the child's culture. Hark back to their origins for inspiration.

The first in our series of genealogically correct interiors:

African Children's Rooms and nurseries

African inspired rooms offer a myriad of options. At Hygge we prefer a traditional approach rather than a cartoon safari room. The soothing muted green and gold palettes of the grasslands create a beautiful and calming nursery. Use bamboo accents and rich creams and browns too, as well as wheat, gray, green, and tawny golds. Add a splash of drama with a hand painted acacia tree behind the crib. Stand a tall stuffed giraffe in the corner for appeal and add a sisal rug and you have a nursery straight out of Africa. Toddlers, kids and teens love the vibrant colors that are common to the African continent. think of bustling markets full of jewel toned fruits and the handwoven fabrics of traditional clothing. Red, pumpkin, and saffron paint all work well with accents of blue, or black, or wood. A pillow or blanket made from Kente cloth or other woven materials adds drama. Accent with a fabric wall hangings, carved wooden animals, or a beaded curtain. Africa is a continent full of diverse and magical places. Research a bit to find an area you are drawn to and then explore the possibilities.

Handmade in Johannesburg, South Africa, as part of a job creation program that offers opportunities to local
craftswomen these felted wool stones with hand washable covers offer atmospheric seating and are great conversation pieces.

Petit Collage bamboo hand carved animal mobiles.

Colorful bags offer a clever way to put away toys and other kid paraphernalia. Handmade in Zambia and available from The Africa House.

Handwoven traditional Masai blanket from Aina Moja.

The beautiful traditional cloth of East Africa. Kente cloth pillows from Indigo Arts.

Children's story teller Eric Carle (of The Very Hungry Catapillar fame) has created this incredible kid's bedding. Available from many sources.

Stretched Fabric art from Avalisa evokes the African plains with her beautiful colorful animal prints.

We love these colorful prints by African artists with their scenes of daily life. From

Chairs Baby

Spring prelude has almost passed and summer is coming around the bend. It won't be long until we pack our picnic baskets and head for the pools and lakes. So naturally we need a good chair to take with us. These are, without a doubt, some of the most supercalifragilistic summer chairs around.

Stay cool, don't pee in the pool.

The wave chair, the new resort classic. Close your eyes and you could be in Ibiza.

Lipstick Pool Chair at Lounge poolside Hollywood style.

Beach chair with a modern aesthetic by Trip Trap.

The Amphibious Lounger from Slack. Oh Yeah.

This teak sling rocker takes the classic to new modern heights. Beautiful proportions and graceful curves give this chair a lighter than air feel.

Tropicalia chair by Patricia Urquioloa for Moroso. All the fun of those 1970's pool chairs but no avocado green in sight.

The classic sailcloth beach chair can't be beat. By Cape Cod Beach Chairs.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009


The combination of blue and white has endured the millenia to surface again and gain as a trend in interior decorating. Perhaps it is the siren song of the sea calling us...a place of pure light, fresh air and clean lines of sand and sky.

To use blue effectively you have to create the right mixture of light and dark, texture and shine...too much blue and a room becomes gloomy, too little and it becomes stark.
This season look for blues the remind you of nature: the cerulean of the European coast, the tender china blue of a hot summer sky, the rich purpley hue of a Nordic iris.
If you don't want to make a big commitment to blue try an accent rug , a toss pillow, or a loosely woven throw. Add a line of fused glass tiles to your bathroom or across the threshold of a patio door. Or paint one wall, perfect for setting off white furniture, a plain wooden chest, or a splash of color such as tiger lily in a side chair.
Simple blue and white rooms can also offer the perfect resting place for eastern influenced furniture, complimenting the graceful tracery and unusual lines and showing them off without distraction.

Often when I hear blue and white I think of the Blue Willow plates of my childhood. Blue and white has a tendency to feel country cottage or English countryside. To modernize this trend and give it zing we recommend looking to the Mediterranean for influence. Greek homes abound with blue and white in glossy paint and nubby weavings, glazed ceramics, or smooth embroidery...the simplicity of ocean and sky are represented in a palette of textures. Red blooms in a vase or wooden bowl full of tangerines are all you need to add zest and unexpected color.

The key to a clean, modern, blue and white room is simplicity, good lines, and a hint of saturated color for life.

Monday, May 11, 2009

How the other half lives

A showcase for innovative environmentally sustainable options in the design and decorating world. Cool pads and stuff to fill them made out of unexpected materials. These are the kind of places we dreamed up as children... made real. Enjoy.

This week:

Free Spirit Spheres

Touted as a tree house for adults these Free Spirit Spheres still make me think of Ewoks. We think they would make a fabulous guest house...or romantic get away.These spheres are available completed, or in a kit to build your own. You can also rent one if you happen to be in Vancouver. The creator envisioned "whole " spaces...floating suspended like a dream of a tree house.

Friday, May 8, 2009

This Land


Continuing our search for the best of America's handmade goodies, we may have found the coolest thing ever in Olympia, Washington. Artist Tor Clausen builds these beautiful custom tables and chests in his Olympia studio. These durable, portable, rearrangeable symphonies are handcrafted to your specifications or can be bought pre-made. Watch the videos below. We think you'll be as impressed as we were. Tor is really getting hygge with it.

Check it out on the web at Musical Furnishings

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Teen Finds

Customizable i pod docks/alarm clocks for guys and gals.

Chinese lanterns and the flip lounger from Pottery Barn Teen. Hip stuff.

Storage that's too cool for school. This locker is the perfect place to shove stuff. From

The Moon in My Room. Teens and little kids all just love this. You can change the phases or just leave it full. Get it from Think Geek.

The loft bed from Ikea. This dorm room staple is high on the wish list for teen rooms.

The Japanese come up with the coolest stuff. first the marshmallow car and now the Fuwapica chair. It's soft and squishy and it changes color bases on your weight and position.

Chalkboard paint is just so cool.

This stick on wall decor gets raves from the young people. Easy to remove for apartment dwellers and fickle changes of mood. From 2Modern.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Teen Beat

Kids these days.

I look around and see a little Punky Brewster, a little Rainbow Brite, a little Anime, and a dash of Marilyn Manson. I must be getting older because I don't get it.
I remember when we tried to make ourselves pretty.
And yet, there is a bravery in this generation, a real desire to set themselves apart from all that has come before, to forge their own path and emerge with an identity that isn't recycled from their parents generations. Even the preppy kids that usually follow a predictable model are trying streaks of color in their hair, or piercing their nose, or wearing psychedelic tights. It's like London in the eighties, with less angst.
I was wondering what kinds of rooms these bright, music infested, pink haired, netted tight wearing, lollipop sucking teens want.

So I asked professional teenagers.

  • Paint...big splashes of color, reflecting their fashion choices. Accent walls of purple and red are the faves, followed by orange, pink, and yellow.
  • Gadgets...hd tvs, computers, hamburger phones, i pod docks, good sound systems. led lights in bathrooms and bedrooms. Anything kitchy and blinking. Lava lamps and beaded curtains still rate for some.
  • Glow in the dark stick ons.
  • Don't get rid of all their stuffed animals. They may seem to be growing up, but they stillw ant to hang on to the memories and comfort of a less confusing time.
  • Lots of pillows. teens and tweens spend a lot of time on the floor and they like to make little nests and perches.
  • I can see all you moms rolling your eyes...but this one topped the list. Black out curtains. Sleeping is a teens favorite past time. Be gone pesky sun!
  • Mini fridges. Ideally stocked with energy drinks.
  • Chinese Lanterns
  • Poster on the wall never go out of style...and no frames please...that's just lame.
  • Good mirrors for the girls(and some of the guys too)
  • I heard this again and again too. Don't try to get teens to organize like everyone else. They "hate" categories and labels. Give them storage with bins and baskets so they can group their stuff however they want or just toss it in. Be glad it's off the floor.
Respect your teens. They are people too. Strange people...but people with their own dislikes and likes. They need their rooms to be havens from the outside world. Places to figure things out, express themselves freely and rest up for another round of homework and gossip.

How it looks should be up to them as much as possible. Their rooms are the only places in the world they have any control....and if they don't make the bed...just chill.
They'll grow up eventually, and you might miss the crazy colorful people they were when they do

About Me

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Mother of four, purveyor of cookie dough, interior decorator, activist, expert bed jumper.