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Back when I started my little K IS FOR BLACK shop on Society6, I didn’t know if I’d stick with it. I was feeling very unsure about designing stuff without a client (other than myself!) in mind, and it was really a personal challenge more than anything.

Happily, I did stick with it, and I’ve added lots of new designs to the shop since that initial launch. It’s been SO fun.

That said, I think it’s a little boring to have the same things in the shop forever, and it’s time for me to do a big overhaul. On the first day of fall, September 23rd, I’ll be discontinuing ALL of the current designs so I can start introducing new work. Between now and then, all of the prints in the shop are discounted 20% (the discount is reflected in the listed prices). Society6 doesn’t allow members to set pricing for anything other than prints, otherwise I’d make the discount shop-wide.

ALSO: Between now and September 14th, Society6 is offering FREE WORLDWIDE SHIPPING on most items (framed prints, stretched canvases and rugs are excluded), and all phone cases (including ones for the new iPhone 6 and 6 Plus) are $5 off.

That’s a lot of discounts, so if there is anything at all that you’ve had your eye on in the K IS FOR BLACK shop, now is the time to get it. After September 23rd, none of the current designs will be available. (You must use this link to get the free shipping and phone case discounts.)

OK! Onward.

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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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I wasn’t looking for a new duvet cover, but when I spotted the new-ish TOFSVIVA at IKEA a few weeks ago, I got heart-eyes and had to have it. The color palette is perfect, and I my affection for droplet patterns and clouds is unending. So nice! I love it against the dark wall in our bedroom.

TOFSVIVA was designed for IKEA by Linda Sjunnesson, who is also responsible for the Josef Frank-ish KNAPPSÄV cushion I’ve had my eye on.

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OK, I don’t iron my bed linens. I don’t really iron anything unless I absolutely have to, honestly. I started cloning out the wrinkles in this photo last night, but I quit after five minutes. Apparently I’m no less enthusiastic about digital ironing than I am in the physical world. So…wrinkles. Whatever.

The TOFSVIVA duvet comes in a set with two pillow shams for the alarmingly low price of $29.99. Like other IKEA bed linens it’s 100% cotton, but I must say it’s definitely on the rough side texture-wise. The thread count (144) is somewhere between burlap sack and dishtowel. That doesn’t bother me at all for the duvet cover, but the pillowcases are pretty scratchy on the face. Evan switched his to a plain white case last night. I think they’ll get softer with more washings, but I may just go ahead and turn the pillowcases into tote bags or throw pillows or something. But still, $29.99 for a really nice-looking duvet cover? I’ll take it.

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I still have not painted that radiator. I don’t like silver radiators, and this one is really peeling and icky—I have to address it. I know I won’t get to it before winter, though (what happened to summer?!), so I guess my new goal is to paint it by spring. And by that I mean spring 2016, which will likely come and go without the radiator being painted…

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That beautiful silkscreened “vu de l’extérieur” print is from Fieldguided. I love Anabela and Geoff’s work, and I think this piece is my favorite. So dreamy.

Happy Sunday…

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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.

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This is going to sound silly, but I’ve never hung anything on a wallpapered wall before. Considering the amount of wallpaper in my house, that eliminates a lot of possibilities when it comes to hanging art! I’m not usually so precious about stuff, but the thought of making a permanent hole in something that’s bonded to my walls fills me with panic. I got over myself this weekend, though, and I’m so glad. The dressing room looks so much more finished now!

The print that got me to finally pick up a hammer is Animal Sounds 002 by Matthew Korbel-Bowers. I recently did a styling project for Society6 (I think it’s going up on their site today–I’ll update this post when that happens), and this was one of the pieces I chose. I ordered it pre-framed (Vector White, 26×38″) since I didn’t have much time, and it looks great. I really love the design combined with the wallpaper pattern, and the way that bright green looks with my crazy orange bench.

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Long view! The dressing room is really narrow and difficult to photograph, but you get the idea. Oh, and the wallpaper (installed five years ago) is Berry Black from Ferm Living, the fluorescent orange Offcut bench is from Tom Dixon (discontinued, sadly, but you can still get the Offcut stool), and the rug is by Nate Berkus for Target (also discontinued, argh!).

I’m still feeling really hesitant to start hanging stuff all over my wallpapered walls, but this was a great baby step. Assuming I don’t hate it a year from now (I won’t), I’ll consider the hole worth it. Otherwise, I’ll take down the frame and point out the miniscule, barely-noticeable hole to every single guest who gets a house tour, because that’s just what I do.

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Back in 2008, I blogged about a house for sale in Newburgh that was in need of a lot of renovation work—plumbing, electric, heating…pretty much everything. It’s right around the corner from my house, so I see it all the time. About two months after I wrote that post, the house was purchased by sculptor, landscape artist, and stone-cutter Christopher Lewis, who then embarked on a total restoration of the entire house. Cher from the Newburgh Restoration blog did an interview with Lewis about the massive project last year, and you can see some process photos there.

I knew the house had great potential from the first moment I laid eyes on it, and it’s been a real treat to watch it gradually transform over the years. This lovely house is now back on the market, and it looks really, really amazing. It’s not quite finished, but as the listing says, the heavy lifting is done.

As I’ve mentioned before, I love my neighborhood in Newburgh. This house is only a few doors down from one I wrote about a couple of years ago, which was collectively purchased at auction by some of my awesome neighbors, renovated, and sold. That may sound like something that happens all the time, but in a city like Newburgh where so many houses sit vacant, abandoned, and condemned while falling into disrepair, it’s very exciting to see folks occupying and caring for our grand old homes.

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The floors, the floors! I keep going back and forth between these photos and the ones from 2008, and it’s all pretty remarkable. I’m so glad those beautiful original stained glass window panes have been preserved, and that the casings and moldings that had been hidden by sheetrock are now restored. I knew this house was special!

Want to be my neighbor? This house is yours for $179,000.

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Some recent notable articles about Newburgh:
Columbia University to Conduct 2014 Urban Design Studio in Newburgh (Newburgh Restoration)
Newburgh, N.Y., Seeks Renewal Without Gentrification (New York Times)
Renewing Newburgh (Preservation magazine)
After the Crash, Banks Paid Billions. Where’d it All Go? (WNYC)

And finally, an inspiring video from Atlas Industries, explaining why they recently relocated from Brooklyn to Newburgh—and showing off their incredible warehouse space.

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It’s been a looooong time since I did a manicure post, but I couldn’t resist sharing this latest one. I’m a little bit obsessed with it! I can’t stop looking at my fingers.

I’m still really into Calgel manicures, but custom designs can get pretty expensive. Lately I’ve been getting solid-color Calgel (expect to pay ~$40 and for it to last about four weeks) and painting my own designs on top with regular nail polish. Last month I added white dots to a black base, and yesterday I took a little more time to paint black triangles on top of the palest, prettiest pink.

I wish I had process photos to share, but I did this at 1AM and I honestly wasn’t expecting it to look so nice! It’s easy to explain how to do it, though. You really just need two things: a bottle of nail polish and regular old Scotch tape! Use the Scotch tape to mask off the area you want to paint, carefully brush on the polish, immediately remove the tape (remove the tape strips in the reverse order of which you applied them so you don’t make a mess), et voilà!

A few things:
1. Painter’s tape doesn’t work well for this. I don’t know why, but it doesn’t. Stick with regular Scotch tape.
2. You can definitely do this on top of a regular nail polish base, but it needs to be really dry first. I’d suggest waiting at least 4–6 hours.
3. If you have a little smudge to clean up, just carefully use a clean orange stick dipped in non-acetone nail polish remover. Yes, even if the smudge is on the actual nail.

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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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To the non-New Yorkers (non-Brooklynites, really) reading this, I apologize in advance. This is a location-specific lament and farewell that I don’t expect to resonate with you. I’m writing this for myself, and for my Brooklyn neighbors—past and present.

Yesterday, workers started dismantling the Kentile Floors sign that has risen eight stories above the Brooklyn neighborhood of Gowanus for the past 65 years. The demise of the Kentile company itself in the mid-’90s is its own story, and this isn’t about that. This is about that sign.

Seventeen years ago, I graduated from art school, got a job at a publishing company, and moved to Brooklyn. It was a love affair I tried to shake, but which was eventually rekindled. I love South Brooklyn, and for all the years I’ve lived here, the F has been my subway line—first in Cobble Hill, then in Carroll Gardens and Red Hook, then DUMBO…and then back to Cobble Hill. The F train, for all its problems, is great for me. It stops under my office building (literally—I don’t even have to go outside to get to my desk), and it’s a 7 minute walk from my apartment. It also makes stops in the West Village and on the Lower East Side! It’s my favorite train line.

Just past my stop in Brooklyn, the F train goes above ground as it approaches the Smith & 9th station, the highest point in the entire NYC transit system. It runs above the Gowanus Canal, and, if you stay on it long enough, you’ll eventually wind up in Coney Island. As someone with a tendency to fall asleep on any form of mass transit (except airplanes, annoyingly), being awakened by daylight suddenly flooding my subway car means one thing: I missed my stop. The upside of going a little too far is that I get to see the Kentile Floors sign, which is, if you pardon my many tangents, the subject of this post.

I’ve taken many, many photos of the Kentile sign (including the one at the top of this post) over the years, as has just about everyone else with a camera or phone who’s found themselves in its presence. As hyperbolic as this might sound, it’s a majestic sight. Brooklyn isn’t as tall as Manhattan (though it’s definitely getting taller), and when you look across the industrial landscape that is Gowanus, the Kentile sign lets you know you are in Brooklyn. You’re home! It’s a symbol of place. And yes, it’s beautiful—those huge slab serifs, that extended T, the steel support grid that looks like a line drawing against the sky…

The Kentile Floors sign is going away. The owner of the warehouse beneath the sign believes that doing the work necessary to ensure its stability isn’t worth the the cost, so he’s getting rid of it. The DOB issued a permit, and that was that. Fortunately, the owner has agreed to donate the sign to the Gowanus Alliance, who have pledged to find a new location for it. Fingers crossed that it’s visible from the F train.

There’s a been some talk out there over the past couple of weeks about how the upset over the demise of the Kentile sign is nothing more than some kind of forced, misguided nostalgia for a time when Brooklyn factories made asbestos tiles that killed people. You know what? That’s a bunch of nonsense. There is nostalgia involved, yes, but it’s not about the Kentile company or about a yearning for the past. It’s a very real sadness that an iconic part of the landscape of South Brooklyn is going away, and that our journeys home will never look the same. It’s an aesthetic sadness, too, as we say goodbye to more and more of these giant steel and neon beauties every year. It hurts… and the world becomes a little less beautiful. I love old signs, and I’ve been documenting them for a couple of decades now. They are everyday examples of how design relates to environment. Signage is an enormously important part of the industrial history of this country, yes, but also of the changing aesthetics of commercial design.

Later tonight, my friend Jill and I are heading over to the Smith & 9th station for one last Kentile hurrah. Creative agency Vanderbilt Republic is going to project video onto the sign (what remains of it, at least—could they really not have waited one more day?), making it appear to be illuminated one last time. They did the same thing in the spring, and Barry Yanowitz made this great video.

Goodbye, Kentile Floors sign. Thanks for welcoming me to Brooklyn so many times. I hope I get to see you again someday, even if I have to sleep through my stop to do it.