Archive
Inspiration

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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)

OK, so maybe this is a little obsessive. Remember that perfect room in my post about the Jacobsen Mayor sofa? Well, I felt compelled to try to track down where every last thing in it comes from, from lamps to textiles to art. And I almost managed to do it! See, this is exactly why I have a blog.

This post is sponsored by the 20oz cup of coffee I had at 10PM last night.

Furnishings and décor first…

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1. Hans Wegner Wishbone Chair
2. Ferm Living Copper Cup
3. Kay Bojesen Dog
4. Le Klint 101C pendant lamp
5. Ferm Living Copper Tray (no longer available, alas)
6. Bestlite BL2 Table Lamp
7. Ferm Living Black Stripe Cushion
8. FujiFilm X100S Camera
9. &tradition Arne Jacobsen Mayor Sofa
10. UO Danish Modern Coffee Table (not exactly the same, but close…)
11. IKEA Söften Rug
12. Kähler Love Song Vases

So, it’s driving me CRAZY that I can’t figure out where that pillow with the moon and trees comes from. Does anyone know? Here’s a larger version of the photo. Same for the navy pillow with the tiny dots. And the candle holder. And if you want to get really crazy (I do…) the books on the table. I don’t want to tell you how long I spent trying to decipher what it says on the spine of the bottom book in the stack.

UPDATE: The mystery pillow is by Nord from Kaiku! Thank you, thank you, Camilla!! Yay.

And now on to the artwork…

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1. “Small Talk,” One Must Dash (also from Artsy Modern in the US)
2. “Elements of Birds I,” Mintstudio
3. “Punk,” Kristina Dam
4. “Lola,” Samantha Totty
5. “Wild Stripes,” RK Design
6. Various exhibition posters from the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Denmark

Unfortunately, it looks like none of the Louisiana exhibition posters are available online, but it’s possible that they still have them for sale at the museum gift shop. I’d love to get my hands on that Walton Ford poster! His work is nuts. For the life of me, I cannot find that blue poster with the big black A on it. At first I thought it might’ve been cut off of the Artek logo, but the counter space is wrong. Any ideas?

UPDATE: The blue A poster is from Playtype. Thank you, Maaret!!

Even though I can’t have THE sofa, I am going to order a few of these prints! The Le Klint lamp is now also on my wishlist. (The only thing in the room I already own is that IKEA rug, which is sort of funny.)

The room of my desire was styled by Nicola Kragh Riis and photographed by Line Klein for ALT Interiør magazine. Nicola is obviously a genius! Here’s Line’s photo again in full, for reference:

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Photo by Line Klein (see more) for ALT Interiør // Styling by Nicola Kragh Riis

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Photo by Line Klein (see more) for ALT Interiør // Styling by Nicola Kragh Riis

OK, that’s just perfect. Yep, we’re all done here, no need to look at any more interiors, ever. Bye, everyone!!

(EDIT: The more I look at this room, the more I love it. I’m going to post a breakdown tomorrow of everything in it with links to the artists’ shops and the lamps and so on!)

You know when it’s 2AM and you can’t sleep so you’re watching videos of porcupines eating pumpkin and obsessively searching for vintage rugs on eBay and then you start looking at all of the nice Danish furniture you can’t afford and fantasizing about a wealthy benefactor giving you one just because…and also paying off your mortgage at the same time? Well, that’s how I cope with insomnia, and it was on a sleepless night a few weeks ago that I realized the Mayor sofa from &tradition is truly the stuff my dreams (well, the ones I’d have if I could fall asleep) are made of.

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In 1939, Danes Arne Jacobsen and Flemming Lassen designed Søllerød Town Hall (now Rudersdal Rådhus) and everything in it, including the Mayor sofa. As far as I can tell from pasting Danish text into Google translate, the sofa was never in full production as a consumer product. Danish furniture company &tradition changed that this year, and the Mayor sofa is now available in a bunch of colors, fabrics and wood options. In the US, it’s carried by A+R.

LOOK AT IT, LOOK AT IT. That’s the best sofa ever, right? The way the high back curves into the arms, the thin seat cushion, the subtle tufting, those sturdy wood legs and the exposed frame…yes, yes, yes. This is everything I’ve ever wanted from a sofa. Well, not everything, because it’s totally and completely forever out of my budget, but hey, this is a fantasy.

Arne Jacobsen did everything just right. Sigh.

More fantasizing: Maybe DWR will start carrying it and I’ll find one at the Annex for $500. And it’ll just have, like, a little coffee stain on it that I can cover with a pillow. I would accept the coffee stain, and maybe even love the sofa a little more because of its flaw. That’s how it would be. My sofa.

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Photo by Line Klein (see more) for ALT Interiør // Styling by Nicola Kragh Riis

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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 barging in on a “Swedish summer cabin” that’s not in Sweden at all — it’s in Sydney, Australia, and it’s a 2-bedroom apartment belonging to designer Fräg Woodall. Woodall designed and renovated the apartment himself over the course of 9 months.

Let’s take a look around…

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SOLD. I mean, not that it’s for sale, but I’m definitely ready to move in right now. That charred-looking black wood wall in the bathroom is so super gorgeous. I now need to find a wall — any wall — to cover with stained Baltic Russian pine paneling. Also, black bathroom fixtures! Why didn’t I do that??

And don’t even get me started on those glossy white-painted floors. Sigh.

Other than that they’re really nice, what do we know about the striped duvet cover and pillowcases?? Where are they from??

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I wish I had an excuse to buy Pia Wallén’s FÄRGLAV bed linens from IKEA. They look so nice on this little pine bed. I love that credenza in the living room, too, also the work of Fräg Woodall.

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Siiiiiiigh. So good. I especially like the shallow upper cabinets and shelves hanging from pegs in the kitchen. And those pendant lights?? Plus another black faucet. I love it all. I’m definitely moving in!

All photographs by Terence Chin, via Share Design
Interior design by Fräg Woodall
Thanks to D16 reader Holly for sharing this home with me!

When I was out in San Francisco over the summer, I went to visit Makeshift Society, the clubhouse/coworking space for creative people that Rena (who I totally want to be when I grow up), Victoria and Suzanne opened up last year. It’s a really, really cool space, and it immediately made me feel envious of the people who get to hang out (and, you know, work) there. A large part of the reason why I prefer working in an office environment over being at home on my sofa is that for all my anti-social tendencies, I really do thrive in the company of other likeminded people.

At Makeshift Society SF, a really nice little coworking community has come together. Aside from desk space, there’s a kitchen, a private conference room, a book lending library, bikes…even a loft space for napping if the need arises, something I often wish for at my own job. They offer classes of all kinds, too! (Seriously, look at that schedule — I want to take them ALL.)

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Photo by Makeshift Society member Sarah Deragon

See what a nice place this is to sit and work? So nice. But also really, really far from Brooklyn. But guess what? MAKESHIFT SOCIETY IS COMING TO BROOKLYN! The Makeshift team has joined up with Bryan Boyer (who wears really nice shirts), and they’ve rented an amazing (and HUGE!) space in Williamsburg to call home. In addition to all of the great stuff that’s going on in San Francisco, the Brooklyn location will be expanded to include a lending library of all kinds of tools, from cameras to sewing machines to editing software.

And yes, there will be CLASSES! And a maker-in-residence program! It’s going to be great. Even though I work in an office, I’m really looking forward to becoming a part of Makeshift’s classes and events, and maybe even sneaking some evening freelance hours in there as well.

In order to get the whole operation up and running by early 2014, Makeshift is running a Kickstarter campaign to get things off the ground successfully. These folks know what they’re doing and how to make shi(f)t happen, but they need a helping hand. The AMAZING news is that they just crossed their funding goal (!!!), but you can absolutely still donate some bucks for the next 24 hours…even if you don’t live in Brooklyn.

Check out the plans for the space below, take a look at the details on the Kickstarter page, and watch the video at the top of this post. Then maybe go fork over a few clams! We’re down to the very last day of funding, so get in there while you can.

p.s. There are great incentive rewards being offered when you donate, like punchcards for classes or a really nice tote bag designed by Lisa Congdon. (Yeah, that’s what I chose — you know I’m all about tote bags.)

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I’m sure this will sound more than a little ridiculous, but I got a bit teary-eyed when I saw the new Weather Diary collection from Marimekko for the first time on Saturday night. You know how sometimes you have a picture in your head of exactly what something (a sweater, a chair, a plate…whatever) should look like, but it’s a little bit like a dream because it never actually materializes in front of you? I suppose that’s the moment when artists decide to create; to make real the thing they want to see. The rest of us wait for someone else to do it. I feel like Marimekko just did it for me. This is exactly what I wanted. Did I know that before I saw it? I can’t remember anymore.

The collection, inspired by Finnish weather patterns and named for islands in the archipelago, was designed by Aino-Maija Metsola. Over a period of several months, Metsola documented changes in weather along the Finnish shoreline through photographs (a number of which can be seen accompanying this interview), which then became sketches and in turn watercolor and ink illustrations. The resulting designs were printed on textiles as well as on Sami Ruotsalainen’s Oiva tableware. Collaboration between Metsola and Ruotsalainen centered around a the idea of dishes to be used for “simple picnics and cottage meals: crepes, wild mushroom soup, freshly baked coffee bread.”

Video direction by Ezra Gould at Cocoa for Marimekko

I feel like crawling inside of that video. Yesterday marked the official start of fall, and I couldn’t be happier. This is the best time of year as far as I’m concerned. Everything seems cleaner, fresher and more vibrant. There’s a sense of urgency to try to get done all of the outdoor things you can before winter comes (or before it starts raining), and a relief over not having to sweat under a blazing sun while it happens. I always think of fall as the beginning of the year, probably because I still associate it with starting a new year at school. It’s also my birthday season. The timing could not be more perfect…

Some words from Aino-Maija Metsola about weather:
“I like many kinds of weather, including rain and wind. Finding yourself in thick fog or a thunderstorm can also be a surreal experience. Of course, I’m not a big fan of unrelenting rain. Changes in weather are also inspiring if, like me, you’ve learned to dress according to the weather by living on an island. I don’t particularly dislike any weather, except perhaps too warm and drizzly winter weather. Every shower, drizzle or cloudburst is unique and beautiful in its own way. When it’s raining, everything seems to stop for a moment, which I enjoy somehow.”

Weather Diary, my favorites…

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1. Rosala poster
2. Sääpäiväkirja teapot
3. Sääpäiväkirja bowl
4. Sääpäiväkirja dinner plate
5. Sääpäiväkirja salad platter
6. Hiittinen tea towel set
7. Sääpäiväkirja mug
8. Small Sääpäiväkirja bowl

The entire Weather Diary collection is now available. I’m going to have a very hard time figuring out which piece (pieces?) will be coming home to live with me! I don’t need a teapot, but I want THAT teapot. Same goes for the tea towels — aside from being good for drying dishes, they’d also be so nice made into pillows (!) or even in a frame. And all I can think about is wild mushroom soup and freshly baked coffee bread…

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Now that the floor demolition is complete, we’re in a bit of a race for time to get a new floor in place and have the radiators reconnected. Fall in upstate New York is an unpredictable thing; sometimes that first frost and freezing temperatures sneak up on you earlier than you’re expecting. It’s already down to 66°F today — I’m wearing a scarf and not sweating profusely! Between busy work schedules, the holidays this month and traveling plans next month (more on that later!), we don’t have a lot of weekends free to get the work done. I’m panicking a little, but we’ll make it happen.

First of all: We’re definitely going to put in new wood plank floors and paint them. That’s the vision I’ve had for the kitchen for a while, and even though salvaging the original subfloor didn’t work out, it’s what I still want. Aside from painted wood floors looking nice, it’s a very budget-friendly option. The pine T&G flooring we used in lieu of beadboard in the upstairs bathroom was about $1/SF — tough to beat. In an ideal world, we’d continue the same black pennyround floor from the downstairs bathroom into the kitchen (the rooms are side by side), but it’s just not in the budget. And that’s OK.

What I’m trying to figure out now is exactly how I want to paint the floor. For a long time I was thinking solid gloss black, but that might have just been because I’m so used to seeing the kitchen with a black floor already. Now that I’ve seen the floors with white paint (albeit primer over grossness), I can’t stop thinking about other possibilities. I definitely don’t want to do solid white, but…

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Photo by Frederick J. Karlsson for Alvhem / Styling by Sarah Widman (via sfgirlbybay)

Yeah. That looks really good. I’m picturing a pattern-filled rectangle around the big wood work island, sort of like a faux rug. I even love this exact pattern as-is (surprise, hah). I can see it also looking verrrrrry nice in reverse — white on black — or with colored crosses like the pattern in my sidebar. It would be so easy, too. If I ever wanted a change, I wouldn’t feel badly about painting over it and doing something new.

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L: Cecconi’s Mayfair London, interior by Ilse Crawford / R: Cecconi’s West Hollywood, interior by Martin Brudnizki

These floors are actually inlaid marble, not paint, which would also be really nice but would cost 400 billion dollars. I could do something like this with paint, though! I love that the thinner stripes run diagonal to the line of the wider “boards.” It would take forever to measure, mark and tape off the stripes, but it wouldn’t be particularly complicated. Just time-consuming. I could probably knock it out in an overnight, though, since it’s only two colors.

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Photo from Micasa / Interior design by Egue y Seta studio

Speaking of time-consuming, can you imagine if I tried to paint THIS pattern on the floor? I posted about this Barcelona kitchen back in January, and I still can’t stop thinking about it. We actually priced out how much it would be to use those cement tiles in our kitchen, and it came out to more than $3000…which is obviously just not happening.

Seriously though, could I do it with paint? I mean of course I’m technically capable of doing it, but the three questions that immediately come to mind are (a) Will I wind up spending $3000 on painter’s tape?, (b) Will my brain melt out of my head? and (c) Will I ever sleep/eat/talk/laugh again, or is the rest of my life going to be devoted to painting rhombuses parallelograms on my kitchen floor?

In other words, I kinda really want to attempt it.

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As I’ve mentioned (but haven’t really shown), the last set of stairs in our 4th-story walkup is entirely inside of our apartment. I’ve already done a lot of work on the entry area at the top of the stairs, but I’ve really been ignoring the stairs themselves completely. I had a burst of energy late Saturday night, though, so I decided to take a look and see what could be done.

The first thing I should note is that these stairs are not cute. There is no decorative molding, the wood is builder-grade, everything is totally crooked, and despite being structurally sound, the entire staircase is in generally terrible condition cosmetically.

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Oof. The first thing I did was pull those gross little carpet treads off. They were REALLY grimy and worn down to the point of actually making the stairs more slippery than bare wood. I held my breath and yanked. They came off more easily than I expected them to — each one was held in place with 4-6 nails and some carpet tape here and there. The wood underneath was filthy, but an hour spent with a bucket of hot water and Murphy’s Oil Soap cleaned them up reasonably well. They’re still spattered with paint and full of nail holes and deep gouges, of course, but at least I’m not afraid to walk on them with bare feet now.

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Next step, priming! On first glance you might think that the stair risers were painted in the same Deep Space color I’ve been using on the walls elsewhere in the apartment, but it was actually a kind of “dead” dark gray, a single coat of which appeared to have been applied with a scrap of burlap. Priming was a must. I went back and forth on whether to leave the stairs unpainted, and I’m still not totally sure where I stand on that. My hesitation isn’t because I think the wood is in any way worth preserving (it’s not, really), but because there’s so much unpainted wood elsewhere in the apartment that I think the stairs might look out of place if they’re painted!

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Photos by Thoroughly Modern Medusa (L); Jake Curtis for House and Home (R)

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The staircase at my house

By the time the primer was done, it was about 2:00 in the morning and I was fading fast. I got into bed and tried to plan out what I wanted to do with the stairs the next day. I looked at a post I wrote about staircases four years ago. My thought process went like this:

1. What about bright orange? What about a bright orange painted runner? I’ve been obsessing over Orla Kiely’s painted orange runner for years. Or maybe shades of gradated orange?
2. No, that’s silly. Maybe I should just go with white risers and dark treads like I have at the house. Just do what I know I like. But the more I think about it, the reason that combination looks good in the house is because the stairs and banister are so beautiful.
3. Maybe I should just leave the treads bare and paint everything else with Deep Space. The walls, too. Yeah, I’ll do that. When dealing with an ugly space, the best move is to go totally dark or totally light or totally crazy. No in-betweens.
4. ZZZZZzzzzzzzzz…

But then when I woke up couldn’t stop thinking about bright orange…

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I found a good match for my favorite lipstick, MAC Lady Danger (I’m still using the same tube three years later) — Benjamin Moore Salsa. It’s a really bright hot orange-red. I picked up a quart of that along with a quart of Deep Space in satin finish (I really love orange and gray together), and headed back to the apartment to get to work.

This is where things went horribly wrong.

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NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE. Yeah. This is some hideousness right here, I know. It’s even worse than when I thought it might be a good idea to paint my entire hallway PURPLE — this was pre-blog, thankfully. It’s the kind of thing you know is just going to look terrible the second you stick the brush in the paint, but you do it anyway because you really think the outcome might somehow manage to match that vision you had in your head at 2:00 in the morning when you were passing out from exhaustion and primer fumes. NEVER DO THAT.

This is where I’m at now: I don’t want to have a super-dark stairwell that gets zero natural light, because the artificial light reflects off of it in a really depressing way. It’s just sad-looking. I also don’t want to mess around with trying to combine orange-hued polyurethane-coated wood with bright orange paint (I do have to give Evan credit for pointing out that there might be some clashing issues, but I was too blinded by MY VISION at that point to do anything but dismiss him — sorry, Evan!).

I do kinda want to revisit the gradient stairs idea, though, and this is also what my interior decorating idols Linda and John Meyers suggested when I asked them, “WWWMD — What would Wary Meyers do?” (They also suggested that I could do something typographic on the stairs with the Frankfurter font, but I am just not on that level of cool. Alas.) Wary Meyers have been my gradient-painting heroes since I spotted this awesome radiator way back in 2007, so I trust their suggestions.

So…how about THIS?

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Photos by Stacey Bode

That’s really nice, right? The fact that Stacey’s stairs are a lot like mine (totally un-fancy, kinda beat-up wood treads, solid walls on both sides, no banister, etc.) gives me extra confidence that this could look good in my stairwell, too. I think with some careful planning and experimental paint-mixing (Deep Space + Simply White in varying ratios, satin finish), I can make this happen. First I have to re-prime everything I already painted (ARGH!), but I’m not in a huge rush. I should probably also suck it up and sand the treads down a little, because they really do look awful.

I’ll have to find some other place to use that Salsa paint, though. I do LOVE the color. Maybe the entry door to the apartment? I’ll figure something out!

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Photo by Chris Tubbs

Late last year, I read in a Times magazine article (subscription only, sorry) that Irish designer Orla Kiely and her family had moved to a new home in southwestern London. Having been an admirer of her patterns, textiles and housewares forever as well as being more than bit obsessive about the inside of her former house — particularly once I realized it had roughly the same floorplan as mine — I’ve been very eager to see more of this new home! I’m really, really excited to see it featured in the September issue of Dwell.

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Photo by Chris Tubbs

Unsurprisingly, it’s gorgeous. I love spotting things that I recognize from Orla’s old house, like the light fixture, the print above the fireplace and the TV cabinet. I’ve always been impressed by the fact that she surrounds herself with her own work, too — she comments on that in Dwell: “Sometimes you have people who say, ‘I don’t want to live in my work,’ but, in the end, I love what I do and how it looks — so I’m happy to have it.”

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Photo by Chris Tubbs

THIS KITCHEN!! So cute. So bright! That center unit (designed by Orla and architect Maxim Laroussi) is so beautiful, with the colorful doors and the banded-edge cabinets. It reminds me of this Eichler kitchen, only fresher and happier. The green Marmoleum floor is particularly great.

You can see the full slideshow and read more about the house in Dwell. There’s also a great article and slideshow (with different photos showing more of the house, also by Chris Tubbs) online at The London Magazine.

And now, one last farewell to Orla Kiely’s old house, which I will always adore…especially those multi-colored tiles in the hearth. I hope the new homeowners love them as well!

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Photos: (1, 2, 6) Chris Tubbs; (3, 4, 5) House and Home; (7) Roland Bello