Author Archives: Jill Steinberg

How to Live Big in a Small Space

Gary Chang in his tiny apartment

The wall of CD’s hides a wealth of other “room settings”

If you haven’t seen the video post on Treehugger about architect Gary Chang’s amazing 344 square foot (32 square metres) Hong Kong apartment, you really must. Gary grew up in the apartment he still inhabits, though then he shared it with his parents, sisters and a tenant. Space is tight in Hong Kong – it may just be life’s most precious commodity – and Gary has created what he calls his “Domestic Transformer”, an apartment with 24 different combinations. Just imagine a 344 square foot space with a guest room, media room, and soaker tub. In case your imagination isn’t reaching, check out the full Treehugger post here – it’s astonishing.

Gary Chang has renovated this space 5 times over the years and has published a book on this experience entitled My 32m2 Apartment, a 30 Year Transformation. Perhaps a good gift for the design crazy/eco nut/space challenged on your list?

See below for some amazing photos of this unique space.

kitchen, library, laundry room, dressing room…depending on which wall you slide.

The moving walls, combined with the abundant use of glass, mirror, metal, and 3 floor to ceiling tinted windows, give his apartment a bright and spacious feel. There’s even a hammock in his screening room.

Perhaps the hammock was added for relaxation after all the wall-moving exercise.

all photos: Marcel Lam for The New York Times

The Jist: Jill’s Top 5 Wallpaper Patterns

I’ve always loved wallpaper. It’s instant art on the wall that can transform a space that has no interest or character. There are so many styles, patterns and colorways available on the market today, that the possibilities are endless. Whether you choose to decorate only one wall or splurge for the entire room, here are some of my top picks.

1) Graham and Brown’s “Frame” Wallpaper – Who wouldn’t love this? It’s completely interactive for the kid at heart. You can draw, paint or even add your own pictures to complete this incredible user-friendly gallery. Great for kid’s rooms, playrooms, or even in the hallway to display sepia-tone or black and white family photographs.

2) Deborah Bowness’ “Books” or “Wallpaper Frocks”. It’s a toss up between the two. They are both hand printed by this designer and completely original. Perfect for a little nook or an awkward area that needs some personality.

Trom l'oeil bookshelf wallpapertromp l'oeil wallpaper - wardrobe tromp l'oeil wallpaper -- frocks on hangers

3) Cavern Home’s “Blackbird”- This is available in 5 different colorways, and would make a great whimsical addition to a residential or commercial space. I’m a sucker for prints featuring birds or trees, and I love the way this speaks to the Japanese sensibility of bringing the outdoors in.

4) de Gournay’s “Chinoiserie”. All hand painted masterpieces, these stunning prints could be put up in a windowless room, transforming the feeling to airy and bright. There are several patterns and colors to choose from, and could even buy a panel and frame it. Yes it’s birds and trees again. I told you I have a problem.

5) Sherwin Williams “Easy Change”. I love the lattice pattern (#SW8EG5315) from the Kathy Ireland Grand Estates easy change book in the Cream/Off White colorway. What’s great about this line is it is a temporary wall covering. For those of you that are renting or don’t want the commitment of wallpaper, it is easily removable. Now that’s brilliant.


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Jill’s Top 5 Takes on the Bicycle

Baby stroller and bike combination

1. Taga Bike - A combination luxury stroller and carrier bike, this takes walking your baby to another level. Available in red, orange, green and blue, you can also purchase additional attachments such as a carseat adaptor, shopping basket, second child seat and a wooden double seat – my personal favorite. Check out the very cool video to see just how quick and easy it is to covert.

Bicycle made of cardboard

2. Cardboard Bike by Phil Bridge, a 21 year old design student at Sheffield Hallam University. During his 3 year program at school, he built this bike for only £15! It’s made completely of cardboard save for the tires and chain. The cardboard used is obviously super strong and is usually used in partition walls. Another very good snippet here – this one from the BBC on the boy and his bike.

Electric folding bike

3. Yike Bike by Grant Ryan -This electric folding bike was designed by electrical engineer Grant Ryan in Christchurch New Zealand, after getting fed up by the traffic (Has he seen the traffic here?). It folds down small enough to fit under your desk at work, so no worries about parking or bike theft. I dare you to watch this video and not want a Yike Bike immediately

Vintage look bike

4. Republic Bikes - You can choose between the sexy and classic Plate Dutch Bike and the funky Aristotle Fixed Gear Bike. Best of all, the frame, tires and seat come in different colors. A vintage bike look-alike that you can personalize for only $399.

Bike made entirely out of wood

5. Wood Bike by 16 year old Marco Facciola – Another creative young man, this time using 100% wood – even the chain! The wooden wheels were inspired by his grandfather who was forced to make similar ones during the war because of the shortage of rubber.

Jill’s Top 5 Cool Chandeliers

As someone with a chandelier fetish, narrowing this list down to 5 wasn’t easy. I may have to do a top 5 chandeliers part 2 in the near future. These are aesthetically amazing and incredibly creative in the way re-used materials have been brought back to life.

Chandelier of layered hand-crafted porcelain tiles wrapped in muslin

Image Courtesy of Design Sponge

1. Atelier Abigail Ahern’s Porcelain Chandelier - When I first saw this chandelier I literally gasped. Each individual porcelain tile is hand crafted and rolled in muslin. This is so beautifully layered and at £ 14,000 it’s worth every penny. I actually thought this was made of paper at first, and am still considering making my own “green” version.

Chandelier made with scribbled notes and poems

2. Zettel’z 5 Chandelier by Ingo Maurer - This paper mobile is made up entirely of scribbled notes and poems. The light that shines through the paper is magical and this would always change as you add your own favorite poems, photographs or love notes.

Chandelier made of plastic trash

3. Stuart Haygarth’s Tide Chandelier - What can you say about this but wow!!! It’s comprised of plastic refuse such as water bottles and sunglasses found along the Kent coastline in Britain. It measures 5 feet in diameter and is the most beautiful use of garbage I’ve ever seen.

Victorian-inspired chandelier made of bicycle chains

4. Carolina Fontoura’s Bicycle Chain Chandelier – This Mexican/Brazilian artist came up with the brilliant idea of turning bicycle chains and bicycle parts into these beautiful Victorian inspired chandeliers.

Chandelier made with recycled Bic pens

5. Volivik Lamp by En Pieza – This one is made up of recycled bic pens. It’s available in clear and orange. These are in limited run as there were only 30 made. $1000