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Inspiration

Yes, it’s a shirt. And yes, this is a subject I’ve delved into a few times on the blog in the past in the context of my approach to home renovation and my own self-image (side note: I need to re-read that post today), but James Victore—designer, artist, teacher, truth-speaker, all-around hero—nails it on a regular basis:

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Feck Perfuction

“Designers are too concerned with the idea of ‘perfection.’

“Perfection is the death of creativity. Perfection lacks spontaneity and surprise, instead it assumes ‘knowing’ and certainty. Creativity is about being OPEN and curious but perfection is closed tight in its search for an answer. ONE ‘right’ answer—but creativity is not math. Perfection also assumes that you are smarter than your audience because you know the ‘right way’ and the ‘rules.’ But this attitude leaves no room for your audience to be involved in your process. Creativity, like a good joke, slowly pieces together in your audience’s brain until it explodes with ‘A-HA!.’

“Perfection stops you from starting projects or even relationships because you are not ready or perfect. And it stops you from finishing or shipping projects because they are not ready or perfect. The weather, the economy, the atmosphere will never be perfect, your timing will never be right, you will never be perfect. But you know what’s better than perfect? Done. Done is better than prefect.”

#DesignLikeYouGiveADamn

Boom.

I’m currently taking James Victore’s Bold & Fearless Poster Design course at CreativeLive, and it’s FANTASTIC. I don’t care what you do for a living, what you wish you did for a living, or how much experience you have in whatever it is that you do: This course is for everyone. Highly, highly recommended!

UPDATE: I just got an email alert letting me know that Bold & Fearless Poster Design is now 25% off! Use the code Victore2015 before 2/1/16 to get the discount. Nice!!

I took his Radical Typography course on Skillshare last year, too—also incredible. Sometimes you just need that push toward fearless imperfuction!

Image via James Victore’s Instagram

Yesterday I took a peek at all of the new things coming to IKEA next month (some of these things have been available in Europe for a while, but we’re slow to get new stuff here in the US sometimes), and I am so blown away that I almost don’t even know where to start. I’m sure lots of other blogs will, of course, be showcasing the new lines in their entirety, so I’m just pulling a bunch of my favorites. There’s so much good stuff. Sometimes IKEA just really nails it, you know?

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✚ DALSHULT/SLÄHULT table, $189 Solid birch with white laminate top
✚ KRUSNING lamp shade, $9.99 Paper / design by Sigga Heimis

I adore this dining table. The trestle base is so quintessentially Scandinavian, and immediately brings to mind Hans Wegner’s classic X-leg design. The shape of the top makes me think of Piet Hein’s Superelipse tables. It’s a gorgeous combination. I really wish I had somewhere to put this table to use.

The lamp is the work of Malmö-based designer Sigga Heimis, and it’s made of paper. It can be shaped however you like!

Because I know it will come up, let’s talk about the much-beloved FROSTA stools pictured here. They’re clearly heavily inspired by Alvar Aalto’s Stool 60 (years ago, I modified a pair to make them even more Aalto-esque), but they’ve also managed to become an IKEA classic over the years. Sadly (some might say traumatically), IKEA discontinued FROSTA in the North American market a couple of years ago. They made a comeback of sorts in 2014, but only with tops painted yellow and red. It’s really a shame, because the banded-ply edge of the unpainted version is really what made it so nice! It’s still available in the European market, though, so if you had to cram a couple in a suitcase…

IKEA, if you’re listening, bring the original FROSTA stools back to North America!

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✚ REBBESTAD/RYGGESTAD table, $179 Black-stained solid pine
✚ RISATORP kitchen cart, $59.99 Steel & solid birch handle / design by Wiebke Braasch
✚ RISATORP basket, $12.99 Steel & bent birch veneer / design by Wiebke Braasch

Another great dining table with nice legs! I’m really happy to see IKEA incorporating more true black-stained pieces like this and the OLOFSTORP cabinet I hung in my dining room. It’s a very nice change from that weird brown-black color that’s been prevalent on their darker furniture for so long.

I’m really digging the whole RISATORP line. That combination of birch and powder-coated white steel gets an A+ from me. I can see using that cart in any number of rooms, from kitchens to bathrooms to art studios to entryways.

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Another look at the RISATORP kitchen cart. Those wheels are beautiful!

Side note: Mmmmm, Brussels sprouts. I’m going to have to make my mapled Brussels sprouts recipe this weekend!

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✚ NORNÄS queen bed frame, $299 Lacquered solid pine
✚ NORNÄS nightstand, $89 Untreated solid pine

First of all, hats off to the stylists who put this room together. The combination of bare plywood walls and a painted floor (that blue!) is perfection.

The solid pine pieces in the NORNÄS collection (seen here and and the next two photos) are the work of brother and sister design team Marianne Hagberg and Knut Hagberg. All of the wood used to manufacture this line is sourced in the far north of Sweden, cut in a waste-minimizing manner from well-managed forests. IKEA has received a lot of criticism in the past for deforestation practices, and I am glad to see them taking some steps in the right direction. It may not be everything, but it’s something. (I’m also pleased to see even more solid wood in IKEA’s collection, since those are the pieces that can absolutely last for generations!)

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✚ TNORNÄS table, $199 Untreated solid pine
✚ NORNÄS bench, $89 Untreated solid pine

Like many of the pieces in the NORNÄS line, both the bench and table seen here arrive unpainted, made of untreated wood—the legs of the bench have been painted black for this shoot. Yes, that means you’d have to treat the top of the table with something (wax, poly, whatever works best for your purposes), but it’s so nice to have the option to easily paint or stain this type of furniture. I personally love the look of pine, but imagine that table with the legs painted white, or the bench painted entirely yellow. They’d take on a whole new feel.

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✚ NORNÄS wall cabinet, $79 Untreated solid pine & tempered glass

Man, how I love a good wall cabinet. There are several good glass-front pieces in the NORNÄS line, three of them wall-mounted and one with legs. All have really nice beveled, mitered corners, and again, the untreated wood allows you to paint them however you wish.

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✚ SPRUTT cabinet, $89.99 Powder-coated steel / Design by Marcus Arvonen
✚ SPRUTT knob rack, $24.99 Powder-coated steel
✚ SPRUTT cart, $39.99 Powder-coated steel & plastic

The SPRUTT collection is so much fun, and fits right in with other great powder-coated steel IKEA stuff like their ubiquitous PS locker and the cork-topped KVISSLE office storage series, a personal favorite of mine.

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The SPRUTT cabinet is particularly cool. What is it about things that resemble card files?? I guess it’s the promise of being SO organized that you require not just one or two separate drawers, but nine. And labels. To be honest, labels kind of stress me out, so I like that they’ve just used colors and shapes in this styling shot. I can get behind that. Where do you think you could use a cabinet like this? It’s pretty substantial at 12″ deep, so it could even work in the kitchen for storing extra flatware, napkins, jars of spices…it’s a great piece. So many possibilities!

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And finally, the SPRUTT knob rack. How can you not love this?! Ahhhh, that bright yellow. So good!! Keys, necklaces, dog leashes, scarves…this thing would be great in an entryway where you don’t have much clearance since it’s less than 3″ deep—but at 63″ wide, it’ll still add visual interest. I could even see just mounting it on the wall as a decorative object, honestly.

Also, I now need white Swedish headphones.

All images courtesy of IKEA

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Interior by Antonio Martins / Via Remodelista

HELLO! It’s 2015. How about some nice kitchens with vintage rugs in them to start off the new year? I’ve been on a quest to find the perfect rug for the kitchen at the house for quite a while now, and I keep coming back to these photos—this is exactly what I want. I love the way that worn-in, vintage rugs take the edge off of black and white.

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From Hither & Thither

Yeah, technically this rug is in a sitting area next to the kitchen, but the effect is the same. So soft and warm. (That row of Tom Dixon-esque pendants the homeowners bought in Bali ain’t too shabby, either. And yeah, I still need a light fixture for the kitchen.)

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Home of Edin & Lena from Dusty Deco / Photos by Martin Löf for Elle Decoration.

Mmmmhmmm. The glossy white floor, the Smeg fridge, the whitewashed GROLAND island…pretty perfect. That rug makes the room, though.

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Photos by Karin Foberg for Hus & Hem

I don’t know if it’s because of the black floor, but I feel like this rug right here would be perfect in my kitchen. The problem is that finding a rug like the ones in this post seems like an exercise in futility, unless you have bucks to spend on a kitchen rug…which is not in the budget right now. Doesn’t it seem like you should be able to walk into any junk shop and find an old, beautiful rug that nobody wants just lying around? I keep thinking that’s going to happen, but it’s not happening.

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Yeah, I could live there is an occasional D16 feature wherein I post pictures of homes I want to break into, kick out the inhabitants and move in. Today, let’s play uninvited guests at the Copenhagen apartment of set designer Nadia Nabil Korsbæk, shall we?

What a sweet little eating area! I wish we could see more of the kitchen that’s off to the right, but the lumber-sided cabinets that are visible look very cool…and you know how I feel about square white tiles with dark grout. The cream-colored cabinet is so lovely with its bare wood interior, and I love a good set of mismatched chairs! So cozy.

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OH. Oh, oh, oh. I don’t know the story behind that table, but the shape is reminiscent of Prouvé’s EM table. The scrapwood technique reminds me of Piet Hein Eek. Wherever it’s from, it’s gorgeous. And more mismatched chairs! Four Eames DSWs and two Charlotte Perriand Les Arcs chairs (someday…). Perfect combination!

What about the pendant lamps? They must be vintage, yes? The scale is just right, and I’m amazed by how nice they look swagged across the ceiling like that with a hardwired chandelier only a few feet away. Somehow Scandinavians seem to be able to pull off stuff like that more easily than the rest of us. I’m trying to learn.

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Looking at more of the dining room, I kinda feel like that oversize antique mirror really makes the space. Right? And more scrapwood. And speaking of more scrapwood, see the bathtub? MORE SCRAPWOOD. More square white tiles with dark grout, too. I love when bathrooms and kitchens match.

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I noticed this in the dining room photo too, but see that rounded trim about a foot above the floor? I wonder if that’s actually just a strip of molding that’s been mounted higher than the baseboard to make it look more substantial. Do you know what I mean? So what’s between the two pieces of wood is actually wall, but since it’s all painted the same color (you can tell from the dining room photo that it’s slightly darker than the wall), it reads as one piece of molding. Am I making sense? Anyway, I really like that idea, even if it’s not what they did.

You know what? I don’t care how “overdone” it is at this point (as if!), sometimes all you need is a colorful Eames chair in a white room. And a plant. And some antlers. You know the formula. Hey…it works! I want to be in this room right now. Hopefully the homeowners won’t mind.

✚ All photos by Mette Wotkjær
✚ See the full article (and more photos!) at Femina

I love, love, love this ad for the German home improvement store Hornbach. Thanks to everyone who sent this to me!

Ad by Heimat Berlin; produced by Trigger Happy and directed by Pep Bosch.

✚ Related post (2009): Black houses.
(I think it might be time for an updated post about black houses!!)

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Last week I mentioned that I had styled a couple of rooms for the new Society6 lookbooks. They’re up now! I’ve never done anything like this before, and it was a real challenge. They asked me to pick out a couple dozen items (I was given free rein, so rest assured 100% of what’s in the lookbooks is there by my choice alone), and then I spent a weekend setting up a staged bedroom and workspace in my house. FUN!

Society6 “In Flux” bedroom lookbook
Society6 “In Flux” workspace lookbook

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Society6 has a special sale going right now to promote the In Flux collection: $10 off $75/$15 off $100/$30 off $150. The sale ends tonight (Sunday) at midnight PST, so if you’ve been wanting a bunch of stuff, now’s the time to get in there quickly.

As always, if you have any questions about the products themselves (whether they’re from my own K IS FOR BLACK shop or any of the others), please feel free to ask—I’ll give you my honest opinion about everything. Also, just for the sake of full disclosure, I was not paid to write this post (they didn’t even ask me to write a post) or to style the lookbooks, but I did get to keep the stuff I picked out and photographed.

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Society6 “In Flux” bedroom lookbook
Featuring designs by: K IS FOR BLACK; RK // Design; Nicklas Gustafsson; Kurt Rahn; Party in the Mountains; Terry Fan; Garima Dhawan; Fieldguided; Budi Satria Kahn; Beth Hoeckel; Man & Camera; Matthew Korbel-Bowers; Georgiana Paraschiv.

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Society6 “In Flux” workspace lookbook
Featuring designs by: Priscila Peress; K IS FOR BLACK; Nicklas Gustafsson; Matthew Korbel-Bowers; Bree Madden; Justin Cooper; Beth Hoeckel; Georgiana Paraschiv; Laura Moreau; Thoughtcloud; Wasted Rita; Dawn Gardner; David Olenick; Jesse Draxler; Fieldguided; Tordis Kayma; Julia Kostreva.

Today I’m small on words, but big on pictures! After putting together my previous post about that amazing Swedish apartment, I got to thinking about how nice square tiles are—whether aligned in a grid or in a running bond pattern, and especially when paired with a dark grout. It’s a much more contemporary look than subway tile, isn’t it? So fresh.

Here’s a little collection of favorites…

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Skåne home styled by Lotta Agaton and photographed by Pia Ulin for Residence Magazine (see more)

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Photo from a real estate listing at Stadshem (now sold)

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Photo by Lönngren/Widell for Lovelylife

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Photo by Michael Graydon for House & Home

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London townhouse interior by Charles Mellersh Design Studio

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From the Country Road 40th anniversary lookbook

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Interior designer Nanna Lagerman’s home, photographed by Marcus Lawett for TrendHome

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Skåne home styled by Lotta Agaton and photographed by Pia Ulin for Residence Magazine (see more)

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Yeah, I could live there is an occasional D16 feature wherein I post pictures of homes I want to break into, kick out the inhabitants and move in. Today we’re spying on real estate firm Stadshem’s listing photos (oh, those Swedes and their awesomely stylish real estate listings…) of an already-sold apartment in Gothenburg. I spotted the apartment on Stadshem’s excellent Instagram last month and have probably looked at the photos at least once a day since thing. Pining. Longing.

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The bedroom is the least remarkable room in the apartment, I guess, but it’s perfect. That gray linen bed skirt! And the hanging bulb next to the bed, too. I like seeing how people deal with not always being able to hardwire sconces or ceiling lights. Bonus points for the above-bed skull, and extra bonus points for it being a black skull.

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OK. OK. OK. Scroll up, scroll down…KITCHEN. I could’ve just made this post about the kitchen, because I would be totally happy curling up next to those cabinets and just making a home right there. The best thing about these cabinets is that they appear to be homemade—or at least home-refaced. I’m pretty sure they’re just clad in pre-fab softwood panels, like the ones Daniel used in his office and kitchen. I think even the countertop is made out of the same material.

By the way, did you know you can stain wood with India ink? I guess that seems pretty obvious, but I never thought of it before until I saw someone stain their butcherblock countertops black. Amazing! The pulls look like they’re made out of simple strips of leather fastened with brass-head bolts. So smart.

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Forget the apartment, forget the kitchen, I just want to live in the sink so I can look at that FAUCET all day long. I have Googled and Googled, and I can’t find a raw brass faucet just like that. Plenty of things like this, but not that. I want that. If anyone has any leads, please share!

EDIT: Thanks to everyone who identified the faucet as being the EVO 184 by Tapwell! You guys are awesome.

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HEART-EYES. I’ve never really thought much of square white tiles before, but seeing them in a running-bond pattern with dark grout in this bathroom and kitchen puts them in a new light. Maybe it’s that large-scale hexagon floor, too. I dig the combo. I could most definitely live there.

All photographs via Stadshem, Gothenburg, Sweden. View more of this home (including the living and dining areas!) here.

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Home of Joanna Laajisto / Photo by Mikko Ryhänen for Residence Magazine (via Emmas Designblogg)

Once or twice a year, I get really serious about thinking about getting serious about painting all of the orange wood floors upstairs in our house white. I’ve been doing this at least since June 2008, which is…a while ago. Yes, the studio at the back of the house is long done, but what about the rest of the second floor? Guys, I feel like this spring is when it’s going to happen. We’ve been trying very hard this winter to give away a lot of extra furniture and rugs and stuff, and I really want to pull everything together and make the bedrooms (ours and the guest room—and yeah, I still want to put up that Half Moon wallpaper!) really nice and bright and fresh. All of our energy has been focused on the downstairs for so long!

Once you start thinking about white floors, of course, you can’t stop—so here’s a little round-up of some of my recent favorites. (If you can’t get enough of white floors, here are lots more.)

And yes, the floor in that top photo is actually a pale gray, but I make my own rules.

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Home of Dusty Deco owners Lena & Edin / Photo by Martin Löf for Elle Interior

I can’t enough of those Granit string lights! The Granit shop in Stockholm is on my list for next week, and I really hope I have time to visit.

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Home of Dusty Deco owners Lena & Edin / Photo by Martin Löf for Elle Interior

I’ve been going back and forth on whether I want a rug in the kitchen, but yeah, this confirms it—I want a rug in the kitchen. Commence years-long hunt for the perfect antique rug…

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House Doctor rug from Inreda Utreda, photo by Daniella Witte

Or wait, maybe I want THAT RUG. That’s a really nice rug.

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Photo from Varpunen

Ahhh, the definition of peaceful! I love the EYE EYE poster from Fine Little Day, and the light reminds me of the one I’ve been coveting from Schoolhouse Electric. Such a perfect spot.

So, shall we meet here again next year when I start talking about how I’m finally going to get serious about painting my floors, or should I wait until the 10th anniversary of owning the house? That’s not too far away!

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Photo by Sam Falk/The New York Times

And a hero has gone. May we all try to live with even a fraction of the dignity, compassion, spirit and mindfulness that he did, and may we all carry his music in our hearts along the way. Goodnight, Pete.

Pete Seeger, Songwriter and Champion of Folk Music, Dies at 94

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My father gave me this record when I was about 3 or 4 years old, and some of my earliest memories are of listening to it on the stereo in his studio—and, of course, singing along. When I was a little older, maybe 6, we listened more to Pete’s political songs like “Little Boxes” and “What Did You Learn in School Today,” and Dad explained to me what the words were all about. I learned what activism is. Big lessons for a little kid, but Pete (and Dad) made a huge impact on me and started to shape my social, political and ethical beliefs at a very early age. We’d go to see him play down by the Hudson River at the annual Clearwater Festivals, and later on, when Evan and I moved to Beacon, Pete became our neighbor. I’d see him at the train station all the time, and he kept on playing at local benefits in Beacon and Newburgh well into his 90s. The last time I saw him play was a few years ago in front of a small group of captivated children on the dock of the Hudson River, surrounded by the mountains and with his beloved Toshi nearby. I’ll miss you, Pete. Sorry to see you go.

If you have memories of Pete Seeger, whether from growing up in the Hudson Valley or from being a part of the political folk movement yourself or just from listening to his records, I’d love to hear them. Please feel free to share.

“I decline to discuss, under compulsion, where I have sung, and who has sung my songs, and who else has sung with me, and the people I have known. I love my country very dearly, and I greatly resent this implication that some of the places that I have sung and some of the people that I have known, and some of my opinions, whether they are religious or philosophical, or I might be a vegetarian, make me any less of an American.”
Pete Seeger, speaking before the House Un-American Activities Committee (1955)