23 June 2009

Father's Day Gifts Dad Should Have Gotten!

So your dad got another tie this year. Whoopee. Here are some of the Father's Day gifts dads around the country might have enjoyed - might be enjoying as you read this, in fact - had their kids been as cool as my readers. You know what they like, right? However, if you were too preoccupied with other things and missed the mark this year, consider something from this list for 2010...


My favorite local outdoor resource is Just Grillin' -- a Tampa firm that sells and installs all things wonderful for outdoor cooking and entertaining. Owner Heather Driscoll's 'guy gets' this season include:

Just Grillin' also sells outdoor entertainment systems, and likes SunBrite All-Weather Outdoor LCD Televisions. Wouldn't your dad love a 46" big screen while he barbecues!

Architect Dean Larkin, AIA, of Dean Larkin Design has a Southern California clientele that spends more time outdoors than in. Dean likes these:

The Patio-Daddy-o in our household loves to relax after a long workweek. His lounger of choice is a comfy hammock.


Some guys love their cars, their tool chests, their final frontier - the garage! Gladiator GarageWorks has a complete line of great gear for the car palace. Their newest components to a full line of storage goodies features a Golf Caddy and GearChest.

I'm also awfully fond of the garage-rated fridge from the Gladiator series... After all, dads get thirsty working out there for hours.

If you want to spiff up your dad's garage, one of GarageFloor.com's spiffy floor solutions might be a welcome gift.


Here's my husband's favorite reading chair. We've got his covered in super-comfy, easy-clean Everyday Suede.

Here's another great man chair your dad might enjoy.

While your dad's relaxing, he might also enjoy listening to his favorite music. Here's a sleek, stylish system to set near his favorite chair.

Another place your Dad enjoys being comfortable is in the bathroom. (Who doesn't, really?) One small luxury for cold climates is a towel warmer. Carisa offers a wide selection of stylish models that will look (and work) great in most baths.

For yummy towels, I really like Macy's Hotel Collection. They're plush, soft and now available in organic cotton. Dads love over-sized bath sheets!

While your Dad is shaving, he might enjoy catching his favorite news, sports or financial coverage on a built-in TV. (I want one in my next house!)


Dads love memorabilia of their favorite moments in sports, history or entertainment. Enhance his man cave with something personalized to his passions. Here are a few ideas.

Poster from his favorite film

Collectible from his favorite historic event or era


Whatever your Dad's hobbies or interests, show him how special he is next Father's Day with one of these great gifts! And, whatever you do, please bypass the tie section!


In Praise of Man Caves
Style List #3 - The $150 Max Home Office Edition

16 June 2009

New York Design Trip Report

Visiting New York City as a designer is a lot like visiting Disney World as a child...Exhilarating, energizing, overwhelming and not a little exhausting. Oh, but so worth it!!! Here were some of the Gotham goodies I encountered on my trip there last week -- including some exciting new releases from your favorite brands.


I was not familiar with Boffi, an Italian line, before visiting their showroom in the Architects & Designers Building on this trip. I'm glad I stopped in, though. The stand-outs for me were its sliding doors in the Zone series and its handle-free Xila tall units that just melt into the wall.

If, on the other hand, you're looking for cabinets to rev up your kitchen, you can't do better than Snaidero's Pininfarina-designed series in Racing Red. It's like having one of his Ferraris in the heart of your home.

Porsche, too, has parked itself in the kitchen, bringing racing style to Poggenpohl's line. You've probably read about this series in the last year, but maybe didn't realize how extensive the line actually is. Designed to be a turnkey solution for the ultimate pachelor pad, the P'7340 comes complete with appliances, faucets, sinks, dining furniture and entertainment system. Not having my own Y chromosome, none of this really revved my engines.

The Poggenpohl offering I really, really liked was its Teak Dekor Lava laminate finish. Yes, you read correctly - laminate!!! In a stylish European response to our global recession, Poggenpohl and Siematic have both introduced strikingly handsome laminate door options with textured finishes that allow their fans to save a few dollars while enjoying their style points.


Bosch was holding its 2009 product release party while I was in New York, so I got a chance to peruse the firm's new offerings. Among them was the programmable AutoChef Induction Cooktop I'd written about in my KBIS Kitchen Spotlight posting, as well as a freestanding countertop-depth fridge, stackable washer and dryer set and a coffee machine.

Besides the cooktop, the Integra 800 Plus dishwasher was my favorite product release of the group. I've always been impressed by Bosch's energy- and water-saving commitment, as well as its leak protection system. Though their marketing and engineering team's focus was its quiet operation, the feature I like best is the built-in water softener. My region has such hard water that glasses inevitably come out with spots on them. This is a dishwasher I'd consider for my own home, as well as my clients' projects.


The trend I've been observing this past year or two is the flattening of the vessel sink from its earlier bowl-like existence to a more contemporary, close-to-countertop style. This trip largely took things in the completely opposite direction. The first showroom I visited in New York was Hastings Tile & Bath, also in the A&D Building. Right in its entry was a gorgeous lav called the Grande Ceradur Basin. I could definitely see incorporating this into a spa bath project.

Another tall vessel I spotted is Duravit's Bacino, not a new release, but notable for its shape and size, nonetheless.

What is notable, however, is that Duravit just introduced its first-ever kitchen sink, now available in the U.S. market. I love the shape, the optional cutting board and drain board sections and the Anthracite, Chestnut and Pergamon color additions to white that you can choose from.

Its Starck 1 barrel lav is now also available in high glass black and white finishes, in addition to the woodgrain look.

The company's popular 2nd Floor series also grew with a white lacquer finish option, an ultra-cool revolving mirror and a mobile storage base. The ebony finish is pretty cool, too. I especially love it on the tall storage cabinet with sliding mirrored door.

I also really liked Duravit's upcoming PuraVida lavs with their "pillow-style" concealed drains. (PuraVida also includes the option to add the coordinating faucet by Hansgrohe.) The series is scheduled to launch in the U.S. in October.


I've always loved tile, even when I was an NYU student studying Greek and Roman antiquities. Here are some of my fave tile finds in New York.

Artistic Tile's Effervescence adds fun and flair to your roomscape.

Always an old world enthusiast, I enjoyed Country Floors' collection of Pedralbes terra cotta tiles from Spain.

Hastings Tile & Bath featured a large selection of Casamood tiles in traditional and contemporary styles. Lovely collection, including this Iki thin tile.

Seeing Bisazza samples on a display board is one thing. Visiting its glittering, mosaic-encrusted Soho showroom was another experience altogether - sheer bliss! This is just the restroom.

Sicis, another art tile company, has a spectacular four-story showroom in Soho. The Italian firm not only offers floor and wall tile, but also mosaic tubs and its brand-new pendant lights.


There were other great stops on my NY design odyssey. Worth checking out when you're in the Apple are Jonathan Adler's eponymous decor boutique in Soho, (check out the awesome wallpaper and bath accessories); Manhattan Center for Kitchen & Bath -- a wonderful showroom suggested by my fellow designer and design blogger Paul Anater; Artemide lighting, also in Soho; or just walk through the city's incredible neighborhoods for sidewalk finds.

My next trip report will be shorter: Miami's Design District in August. Stay tuned!

01 June 2009

Style List #4 - The $150 Max Laundry Room Edition

The laundry room is often your home's least-loved space. No one I know enjoys wash day, so the place where it's handled often gets overlooked and bum-rushed. Maybe, just maybe, if it were a more welcoming space -- like this laundry room that I designed for a wonderful family -- wash day would be looked forward to a little more. OK, maybe not, but that's no reason to ignore a perfectly delightful design opportunity!

This Style List will make your laundry room a lovelier space. It will be better-lit, better organized and nicely adorned. Perhaps best of all, every single one of these design updates costs less than $150!

A great laundry room incorporates all five of these Style List components:

1. Brilliant Lighting
2. Smarter Storage
3. Fab Fixtures
4. Fun Fabrics
5. Delightful Decor

Your laundry room doesn't have to be custom like the one shown above, but it should be a cheerful place to work, if not an invitation to mentally, at least, escape the drudgery that is piles of laundry! (Warning: lots of goodies in this posting from Ballard Designs, one of my fave sources. Please share your favorites, too, in the comment section below!)

Brilliant Lighting

Go old-world sweet with Ballard Design's Contessa Chandelier

Go exotic with this Paradise East
Burnished Rattan Ceiling Light on Bellacor.com

Go retro with Restoration Hardware's
Schoolhouse Semi-Flushmount

Go girly-girl with Pink Mini Chandelier from Target

Smarter Storage

Pre-sort lights-darks-delicates for shorter laundry days
using this Whitney Design Woven-Seagrass Triple Laundry Sorter
from Amazon.com

Get hooked on these old world beauties:
Decorative Wall Hooks at Cost Plus World Market

Get rid of your hang ups on the Bergen Rail Shelf
with West Elm Style

Or multitask -- hang and sort! -- using
Bed, Bath & Beyond's Chrome Laundry Center

Separate out the dry cleaning in this snazzy
faux leather tote, also at Bed Bath & Beyond

Getting hand washables hung out to dry never looked so good --
Ballard Design's Blue Beadboard Drying Rack

A tisket, a tasket... Some lovely
Willow-lined Laundry Baskets from Cost Plus World Market

Ikea's Kassett Clothes Box with Lid provides stylish
out-of-season clothing storage

Tide to Go indeed! Stash your laundry supplies cache
on the Whitmor Supreme Laundry 3-Tier Cart at
Home Depot

Fab Fixtures - A Pitifully-Anemic Category

The only non-hideous, affordable laundry sink I've ever seen
is this ASB Solid Surface Freestanding Utility Tub at Lowes

The only nice-looking laundry faucet I've seen anywhere!
Belle Foret's French Country Faucet at eFaucets.com

Fun Fabrics

Pressing issues no more with Hestia Housework's Ironing Board Cover
in Bahama Breeze Barkcloth at Amazon.com

Iron away your troubles with this Hestia Houseworks
Damask in Black & White Ironing Board Cover, also on Amazon

A colorful wrinkle in ironing board covers --
Hestia Housework's in Peony Pink at Amazon
(I want to meet this Hestia homegirl!)

Soften your floor with Ballard's mod
Celia Indoor-Outdoor Rug

Is any room complete without an animal print?
French Leopard Indoor/Outdoor Rug, also from Ballard

Dress up an ugly laundry tub with a sink skirt in
washable mod Arden Black Fabric from Ballard

Or skirt it in retro style with
Ballard's Green Plaid Fabric by the yard

Cover an unsightly laundry room view with
All Seasons Blanket Roman Shade from Country Curtains

Let in some light with these
Waffle Sold Tie-Top Tiers at JC Penney

Or dress your laundry window in West Elm's Jute-Poly Roman Shade
(Yes, I love the timeless style of Roman shades!)

Delightful Decor

This Vacation Days in the Adirondacks poster
adorns my laundry room walls, and recalls childhood summers
from Posters.com

Have fun with retro Detergent Box from Ballard

This retro Laundry Tin Sign wins style points, also at Posters.com

Vive la wash with this arresting
vintage reproduction poster, again, sur Posters.com

L-A-U-N-D-R-Y - the last word in this Style List
at Ballard.com

Enjoy the entire Style List - $150 Max Edition Series

Home Office

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