Tag Archives: design

Before & After How to Recover a Chair in 5 minutes | The Art of Doing Stuff

30 Jul

Before & After How to Recover a Chair in 5 minutes | The Art of Doing Stuff.

I had to share this simple and gorgeous idea from Karen of The Art of Doing Stuff.

If you are one of those individuals who “shop” at the side of the road or haunt local thrift stores, this how-to plan is perfect for you!

Dear Corporations: Think Simple

29 Jun

I like small, clean stores with employees who don’t hate their jobs.  I like websites that answer my questions.  I like well constructed products that make sense and do what they are meant to do, all without straining my muscles, wasting my time, or using unnecessary space in my home.

Low on storage space in the bathroom? This product can help solve the problem.

Have you ever felt confused or frustrated by the counter-intuitive design or poor functioning of a product?  Of course you have.

Happy customers are the best advertisements…so why do businesses make us unhappy?

Why not inspire loyalty and referrals through simple design and clear communication?  Is that so hard to do?

Who wants a product that looks impressive but turns out to be heavy, slow, complicated, or just flat out annoying?  Customers want products that make life easier, not more difficult!

Dear corporations and engineers:  If you make it simple, customers will come.


This post was partially inspired by the fine blog posts shown below.

The Elegance of Simplicity | Laurie Foley

Fifty-eight (!) Buttons. Not remote(ly) Sane.  > Snoring Dog Studio

This Vacuum Cleaner Sucks. And Not in a Good Way > Snoring Dog Studio

Modern Space Saving Designs

19 Feb

Are you a minimalist?  Do you live in a small space?  Do you love seeing great design in action?

Check out these terrific designs from ResourceFurniture and Inhabitat.  Both of these companies surprised me with their brilliant and multifunctional space saving systems for the home.  The first is a video, but it is well worth the time to watch, trust me.

Space Saving Video | ResourceFurniture.

Staircase Drawers | Inhabitat .

Did your jaw drop when you saw these ingenious designs?  Mine sure did.

(Many thanks to a friendly reader, whose own blog post inspired this one.)

What Remains Shall Be Beautiful

20 Nov

The sculptor produces the beautiful statue by chipping away such parts of the marble block as are not needed – it is a process of elimination.

~Elbert Hubbard

Likewise, when our lives and homes are simplifiedwhen the unnecessary clutter and pointless tasks have all been chipped awaywe are left with the essential beauty of life and of ourselves.

Be the sculptor of your own life, chip away the parts not needed.

What remains shall be beautiful.

The above photograph, and those that follow, were taken during my trip to Prague, where I was fascinated by the unique surfaces on some of the buildings.

The designs on these walls were made using the technique of sgraffito, a method of etching away plaster to reveal another color under the surface.

Amazing isn’t it?


To learn more about sgraffito click here… and to see more sgraffito examples from the Czech Republic and other countries, click here.

The Meaning of Color

15 Nov

“The meaning of a word – to me – is not as exact as the meaning of a colour.  Colours and shapes make a more definite statement than words.”

~Georgia O’Keefe

Color is evocative.  It’s personal.  It brings memories.  It shapes our mood.

I started thinking about the significance of color this weekend, after I joined in helping my friends Zak and Lindsey** paint a room in their home.

Lindsey joked that the visit might inspire some blog posts for me, because with their house in the early stages of a radical fix-up, “There isn’t a clean surface anywhere in the house.” I didn’t think that was strictly true, but yes, in the end I was inspired to write .

For the record, with the new paint we applied to the walls and ceiling, there are now some lovely new clean surfaces in their house.

The paint color was carefully chosen by my friends to recreate the look of a specific place: the Ahwahnee Hotel in Yosemite Park.  I’ve forgotten the official name of the paint color now, but it doesn’t matter.  Like Georgia O’Keefe said, words are not exact.  If I tried to categorize the color, you would get the wrong idea.  Let’s just say it is a warm color, and it makes me think of Pottery Barn catalogs, and Italy — or at least my idea of Italy, I’ve never actually been there.  I haven’t been to the Ahwahnee either, but I guess I know what color the walls are.

As the paint slowly dried, in what will eventually be Zak and Lindsey’s master bedroom, something happened to the room.  We all noticed how the color affected the feel of the space.  It wasn’t just a fresh coat of paint, it was a transformation.  Never-mind the absence of a floor, the broken window, and the dangling wires — the room was suddenly established as inviting, cheerful, and warm… a place to be, instead of just a work in progress.

That kind of change is exciting.  If we had painted the room white, I can guarantee that the effect would not have been as dramatic; the room would only have looked cleaner…a clean surface, but not an inviting one.

Color is a gift.


~I have written before about color, and the powerful effect it can have on me (see Autumn Bliss, Rediscovered).

~The two poppy photographs above are among my favorite personal photos, and their color-match with this blog is just a happy coincidence.  They were taken on a walk during a vacation in Stinson Beach, California.

**  I normally don’t use friends’ names in my posts, out of respect for their privacy, but I recently (quite accidentally) discovered that Zak and Lindsey are already mentioned — and even shown in photographs — in a blog by one of their other friends.  So, that bridge has already been crossed.  See this friendly blog post from David Easson who knows Zak and Lindsey, and their dog Hoosier