Archive for February, 2010

Homes and Gardens, February 2010

If you’ve been reading this blog you know that I am fond of traditional Japanese rooms.  Those rooms usually take cues for color from the exterior surroundings as well as the interior.  If there is a view of the garden the greenery and blooms will be reflected in the color choices for furnishings.  Living in a Baltimore row house,  I see neutrals outside of my windows.  Asphalt, concrete, and varying shades of brick from brown to yellow; steel, wire and mostly gray skies.  These neutral rooms represent that urban landscape palette.

Loft Life, March 2009

Loft Life, March 2009

Loft Life, March 2009

Living Etc. June 2008

Canadian House & Home TV

Living Etc. April 2009


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Sharing walls means sharing a lot of things you probably would rather not share.  Smells, sounds, vermin of all sorts (including your neighbor’s loud or otherwise unruly house guests).  A row house offers less of a buffer from neighbors than condo, lofts, and most apartment buildings.  Remember those college dormitory rules enforced by your quad’s resident assistants?  Those rules–no loud music after 10PM, for example–were put in place so that you could enjoy a certain quality of life.  During your college years this meant study and sleep.  As a home owners we expect a great deal more by way of comforts as well as consideration from our neighbors.  And, we should.  So, here is a refresher in living together in harmony.

Row House Rules:

1. Keep it quiet after 10PM.  Vacuuming, loud music, drunken twister, teaching your dog to bark, and movies in full cinematic surround sound  can all wait until tomorrow.

2. Try to follow your city’s trash schedule.  If you leave your trash out for a full week you’ll do nothing but invite rats.  Not everyone wants to feed the rats.

3. I like your dog, really I do, just not enough to clean his poo from the “patch of grass-where a tree used to be-before the city removed all the trees on our block” in front of my stoop.

4. Cut your grass for crying out loud.

5. Ask your guests to ring your bell or maybe even give you a quick phone call instead of honking the car horn to signal that they’ve arrived.

6. The back yard is for barbeques, picnics and parties–not the front stoop.

7. Thanks for your consideration but if I want to listen to music I’ll do so on my own.  Please, don’t play DJ and put your speakers in the window.

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The living room is coming along now that our chair is back home from the upholstery shop.  I found the linen canvas at a retailer in Williamsburg, VA that specializes in 17th to early 19th century fabrics and notions.  They cater to types who sew historic fashions.  Maybe for RenFest or Civil War re-enactments ?  Upholstery-weight linen prices can get silly, but we were able to swing $16/yd.– a very reasonable price.  I thought that William would be bummed about the switch from orange to natural.  We both like it much better with the new linen.   Before the redo we thought the old fabric was salvageable.  But, after a professional cleaning it showed plenty signs of wear and tear.

I like the idea of doing a mid-century chair, a Milo Baughman we found on ebay,  in a traditional fabric.  The linen has a lot of texture and heft but it’s nice a soft to the touch.  You can see that we’ve unpacked our Noguchi lamp.  It’s  enjoying the sunlight, just hanging out in the corner by the window.

Maurice at the House of Art in Federal Hill did a terrific job for under half the price of other quotes I received.   The entire project cost less than a new chair at would at say CB2 or Room and Board, and it’s exactly what I wanted!

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Congratulations!   Arnetta of Atlanta, Georgia is our K. Hall Candle giveaway winner.  Thanks for reading, Arnetta.  Everyone stay tuned through the month of March for more chances to win small tokens of my appreciation.

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Click the pic for a closer look.  The Ikea Jonsbo Gryby lamps we recently purchased ended up being a great choice for the bedroom.  Nice.   The on-switch dimmer, handmade look, clean matte finish…almost perfect.  The paper shades looked kinda cheap, plus they let so much heat from the bulb escape.  I felt like I was sunbathing.  We swapped out our paper shades for pretty linen ones we found at a second-hand store.  I cleaned them during the evening and the next morning, in the sunlight, they looked dusty.  While you can dust off paper easily, fabric traps the dust and dirt in the fibers.  Being a new Mommy has brought me much closer to my lint brush (baby blankets and such)  so instinctively I grabbed for it to solve my problem.  It works wonders!  But, by trail and error I found that an old-school velour lint brush is the one that really does the trick.  A “roller” or “sticky” lint brush leaves both dust and adhesive behind.  Clean the shade in even strokes, top to bottom, working all the way around making sure to overlap your strokes.

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Head out to Baltimore’s convention center this weekend, February 25-28 for the 34th annual American Craft Council Show. The juried show displays the handy work of the finest crafters in ceramics, fiber art, furniture, lighting, glass and more.   This year’s show will include selections from the new category Green Craft from artists who use recycled and/or found materials and sustainable techniques.

The catalogue of contributors offers up some promising sights.  Illinois woodworker David Stine’s ” Strawn Table” (above).

Berkley, California fine art furniture maker Jim Rosenau’s wall shelf made of books (above)  and New York textile artist Erin Wilson’s colorful quilts (below).   The convention center is located at One West Pratt Street, Downtown Baltimore, MD 21201. The show begins at 10AM each morning at tickets for non-council members are $15 each.

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I love artists’ homes.  Brooklynite Zach Motl’s tiny place is featured in the February 10, Home and Garden Section of the NYT.  Zach is a designer  but he clearly doesn’t give a hoot about any of the design rules.  Maybe it’s because he studied sculpture?  The small one room apartment is filled with stuff, and color.  That sofa!   The studio looks comfortable and fun and surprisingly uncluttered.  You can check out the article and more pics here.  Photos by Robert Wright for the New York Times.  More fabulous photos can be found at Zach’s webite.

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