spark fire flame

the big chill has come to san francisco this week, and it has me wishing i could sit by a fire all day & fall asleep near one at night. so it got me to thinking: what options are there for fixing-up or making old fireplaces functional again without calling in a mason? or what if you don't have a chimney & your landlord or city building dept won't let you install one, but you really want a fireplace inside your house? some idea sparks below......

(spark-fires has invented several fire containers to warm your hands or toes by. the ones above are vent free "fire ribbon" design. this modern fireplace offers the clean, simple look of a straight ribbon of fire. this unit offers tremendous installation flexibility as well since no chimney or flue is needed.
how they work: vent free fireplaces are designed to produce a very hot flame that results in nearly complete fuel combustion, almost eliminating any carbon monoxide or soot. these fireplaces are equipped with an oxygen depletion sensor, which is a safety device that monitors air quality in the room.
vent free fireplaces have been approved for use in the u.s. since the 1960’s. heating at 34,000 btu's while reaching efficiencies over 90%, this fireplace is a great balance of form and function.)

(tired of the hassle and mess associated with wood burning fireplaces? looking for a modern alternative to the traditional brick fireplace? spark-fires' fire bowl is designed to convert an existing wood-burning masonry fireplace into your dream come true. in the past, the only option for converting wood burning fireplaces to gas was "fake logs". at best they look like a half burnt fire. definitely not attractive in the off-season, with charred fake logs being the constant image. according to spark-fires, the fire bowl is very easy to install ~ and it would instantly revitalize the look of an existing masonry fireplace.)

(looking for something stylish to warm yourself with this winter? the riviera fireplace by dutch designer jort mercuur is definitely worth checking out. this innovative piece takes fire right "out of the box" to create a warm and highly contemporary addition to your living space. designed for use inside the home and out. sold by safretti in the netherlands.)

(and, lastly, if the real flame is too big of a commitment and you just wanna let your imagination do all the work: sofia antonovich in paris -of les invasions ephemeres mentioned in the wall decor post yesterday- has designed an adorable fireplace wall decal!)



some brilliant ideas to personalize your walls & inspire those blank palletes to come alive
{the french really have the lead on the wall decals craze. les louisettes, domestic, colette, and les invasions ephemeres are some of the headliners. and then there's blik, a surface graphics company in venice, ca . there are as many styles & types of self-adhesive wall stickers as you can imagine, so you can customize a scene/pattern on your wall without ever pulling out the paints & drop cloths}

{another wall decal honorable mention: a company called vynil from sweden offers a line of "non repetitive wall papers" you can put up however you desire. this one, called bubble designed by matali crasset, is a series of circles you can pull apart and overlap at will or cut apart to create random lines & patterns}

{phillip jefferies now offers metalic wall coverings in their japanese line. to produce these japanese wallpapers, metal leaf is hand-placed on dimensionally stable backing paper, laminated, and hung to cure. gold-on-gray shanghai, silver-on-gray vegas, gold-on-red hong kong, gold rio de janeiro, copper cairo, and silver-pewter lisbon are all 37 inches wide, sold in 8-yard bolts}

{graham & brown's new line called frames ~ if the kids (in you) are itching to scribble on the walls, why not impose a little structure on their art? created by british artists craig wood and chris taylor, the paper-and-vinyl-blend "frames" brings interactive fun to children's interiors ~ and, who knows?, maybe a bit of whimsy to grownup ones, too}

{osborne & little is filled with gorgeous wall coverings & fabrics. their creative patterns department is awesome. this line called "vintage" is particularly fabulous - the headiness of the sixties returns with vintage allure today}

{you've heard of magentic paint, but what about magentic wall panels with hugely creative magnets? can be placed on accent walls or even in the bath. found at magscapes}


retreat of the week ~ pirate's bay house

having been on vacation for the last week, i'm easing into real life by showcasing my favorite vacation home. stuart tanner architects' pirates bay house is a small coastal retreat near eaglehawk neck on tasmania's tasman peninsula. this incredible piece of architecture deserves showcasing because it combines so many things i appreciate & aspire to in residential living: contemporary design, steel framed construction, maximizing natural light, incorporating the natural environment while maintaining comfort & style, minimalist approach to architecture & interior design, and the coastal location {i'm always dreaming of building a house near the ocean}. although this is a small home intended for vacationing, i think with a few additions or modifications the plan could be adjusted to accommodate full time living.

here's what the architects had to say about the house:
The Pirates Bay House investigates our coastal margin and how our buildings might inform us about the true experience of our island’s landscape edge. Considerable time and thought was devoted to refining the structure and simplifying plan. Similar to suspension bridge technology, the concept affords a ten meter suspended cantilever that invites a projected experience through the trees toward the ocean. Conceived as a platform from which to observe the breath-taking grandeur if Pirates Bat, it additionally pays homage to the eucalypt forest that fringes the site. Approach to the building is largely dominated by structure but once inside perception shifts to that of the landscape as a predominantly transparent main space reveals both intimate and distant views. Moonlight floods interior spaces at night. Native birds and wildlife in the surrounding trees interact with occupants and living is constantly orchestrated in sight and sound by the ever changing ocean.


soft under foot

if you rent & wonder what can be done to hide or enhance your floor; if you want something new & hip on your floor; if you wish your floors were more subtle & urban-contempo......this post is for you.
{the effervescent rug from top-floor in london ~ evoking stepping stones, the sculpted-pile rounds rise more than 1/2 inch above the dark background. trompe l'oeil color gradations in the wool further enhance the three-dimensional effect. the rugs, made in nepal, can be ordered in many lovely colors}

{apply "tractionback" to any milliken modular carpet, tamp it down, and ~ voilà ~ the carpet is installed. what's more, it can be easily pulled up again. the absence of messy adhesives eliminates one of the most serious environmental issues related to floor coverings: indoor air quality. the all-renewable, recyclable backing contributes to peace of mind for the eco-minded}

{bev hisey designs gorgeous stuff - this is one of my favorite patterns found there, "folk". the genius in it is this: the rug has matching floor pillows all intended to coordinate & create a cozy comfy space in any area of your home}

{these are but 3 examples of the incredible inventory created by chilewich - a new york based flooring company. they created the product "plynyl"..... plynyl = innovative vinyl floor coverings invented as alternatives to traditional flooring. available in w2w, tile and shag in a variety of patterns & shades}

{3 fun & cheery rugs - audrey rug by modern rugs, bubbly swirls rug by liora manne, and kiwi rug by geba rugs}


time for reflection

after a weekend with shambhala president, richard reoch, i am feeling contemplative and energized at the same time. this is a pefect time to share some of my favorite mirrors......

{outdoor wallpaper? it's a flat decorative element that you can use as a garden trellis or screen on a wall or flat surface with a wallpaper-like repeating design. outdoors and indoors plants can grow up it, or it can be used simply as a decorative feature. it's available in different sizes, designs, materials and finishes - including stainless steel, aluminium, powder- coated steel, acrylic and wood. by susan bradley designs in the uk}

{innovative & talented glass artist, rebecca newnham, designs with a refreshingly different approach to outdoor furniture}

{marvin alexander's bagues sconce ~ for the inner marie antionette in you, add some french etoile to enhance any room! made of rock crystal & fluted mirror, it measures 38" hi by 19" wide}

{lyle & umbach's mirrored armoire is made from solid ebonized mahogany - stunning}


i'm bringing quilting back

ok, so * i * am not bringing quilting back, per se, but i love the art form & want to give it some serious attention today. my mom is a quilter ~ she always has at least 2 going at any given time. {note to self - must get photos of mom's quilts.} over the last few years, i've been picking up on the quilting craft too. it takes time & skill, but is worth the effort when you're finished. i'll post my latest project when it's complete ~ hopefully before 2007. i really like the community it can create if done in a group & in contrast to our hi-techie, fast-pace world i appreciate the simplicity of this craft. i also am very attracted to the new wave of modern quilts: integrating untraditional fabrics & shapes with the old school craftsmanship. so, i listen to my ipod while i sew away on my little 3x3 velvet & satin squares. i'm all about making quilting hip! and in the posts below you'll see how it's done.
{for the new generation of quilters}

{hip to piece squares - a nice little site by a modern quilter}

denyse schmidt quilts

denyse schmidt studios are in bridgeport, conneticut. she's been in official business for 10 years, and makes more than just quilts, but the quilts are just so eclectic & delightful i'm giving them an entire post all on their own.
(tangerine & poppy, uses vintage fabrics)

(what a dish)


(pretty square, a baby bed set)

(drunk love log cabin)

not all quilts are fabric!

i realize the technical definition of quilting is stitching together pieces of fabric, but i think the term can be stretched to appply to other materials. here are some of my favorite examples of utilizing the visual concept of quilting in other mediums.

(benjamin moore has a great line of metallic "wash" paints - they go on light so you can layer them. this photo shows the quilting effect that can be created if you've got time but not so much money. as a side note: i used bm's metallic bronze paint in my bedroom ~ i found it easy to work with and i'm very happy with the results)

(wall coverings by muerbluem - a photo i've saved for a while now. i love the idea of layering different wallpapers to create a quilt on your walls with paper)

(ann sacks quilt tiles - for a retro-modern look. i'm thinking these would be gorgeous accent tiles in a kitchen or pool house)