Tag Archives: home accessories

The New Bohemian

I enjoy the minimalist aesthetic that has been hyped by style magazines and interior designers for the last few years. The combination of clean white walls, streamlined furniture, and strict editing of stuff in favour of uncluttered spaces seems to promise a calm and organized life, which is not exactly how I would describe my own existence.

Bohemian-inspired room

Image: homedit

My only problem with this type of décor, especially at this time of year, is that it can seem rather cold. For me, the idea of “cozy” is wrapped up in jewel tones, luxurious textiles, and plush furnishings. In the design world, this makes me a Bohemian.

Image: Elle Decor via Casa Sugar

The style was first adopted by Pre-Raphaelite artists in the mid-19th century and eventually spread into the mainstream. The term “Bohemian” was borrowed from the moniker for European gypsies, who were known for their eclectic tastes in both clothing and caravan decoration.

Image: Favim

The basis of the Bohemian style is a riot of colour and pattern (something that is also making a comeback in fashion). It borrows heavily from the Middle East, which is probably another reason why I love it; the dozens of rugs and tchotchkes that I brought back from my work in Tunisia blend beautifully in with the Bohemian sensibility.

Image: Rug Store on Pinterest

But for most people, the Bohemian style is just a little too much and, if not done right, one’s space can end up looking like something from an episode of Hoarders.

Image: Create H: Interior Design

Thankfully, it is possible to add Bohemian touches to your otherwise modern home. Roche Bobois in Paris has partnered to design the Mah Jong modular sofa which evokes the low cushioned seating of the East in a range of eye-catching prints.

Image: Design Scene

If being that close to the ground is a little too extreme, their Rythme option still lets you mix and match in a slightly more traditional furniture form.

Image: From the Right Bank

Image: Obaz

For smaller spaces, try one patterned piece of furniture like a chair or a sofa. If you change your mind later you can always have it reupholstered, so pick one that has a great shape and is really comfortable.

Image: Bohemian Vintage

If you are a commitment-phobe or money is tight, pick up a bunch of throw pillows to scatter around. A grouping like this works best if you pick either a colour-scheme or one type of pattern (like the mix of florals above).

Image: Marakesh by Design by Maryam Montague via Houzz

Or add some vibrantly coloured area rugs, embroidered tablecloths, or silk wall hangings. You can layer several on top of each other for an effect similar to that created by the throw pillows.

Image: Trendey

Go bold! Pick a deep, bold wall colour like aubergine, crimson, or Pantone’s pick for 2012: Tangerine Tango. You can do the whole room or just an accent wall.

Image: Room to Grow via Project Nursery

Perhaps the easiest way to get this look is to add a few accessories. Hanging lamps, some exotic prints on the walls, or a small grouping of artifacts will give your space a Bohemian boost.

Image: Inspire Bohemia

If you are ready to go a little new Bohemian, pick one or two of these ideas to warm up your home without getting too overwhelmed by this over-the-top style.

Fall Back In Style

I must be the only archaeologist on the planet who isn’t a morning person. While others are wide awake, trowels in hand at well before dawn, I am likely to sleep ‘til noon without some assistance.

Bedroom furniture by Greentea DesignImage: Greentea Design

An alarm is a necessity for me. Since my clock radio died a while back, I have been relying on my iPhone but this is a less than optimal solution, since I have a tendency to either knock it off my nightstand in the morning or leave it tucked under a pillow when I go to school.

Bird alarm clockbird alarm clock reverse sideImages: YLiving

Since I hate the jarring sound of an alarm, I would love the Bird Alarm Clock from Japanese-based IDEA International, which wakes one up with birdsong. The settings buttons and digital display are hidden on the back, so it looks more like a sculpture next to the bed.

rolling alarm clockImage: Nanda Home

I often turn off my alarm and go right back to sleep; apparently designer Gauri Nanda had the same problem when she was a graduate student at MIT.  Her award-winning solution was to design Clocky, the über-cute little alarm that jumps off the table and rolls away to ensure that sleepy-heads are up and at ‘em when they should be.

Tocky the rolling alarm clock by Nanda HomeImage: Nanda Home

Not content to rest on her laurels, Nanda introduced Tocky in 2010. This version waddles away and has the added ability to record personalized wake-up messages or up to two hours of MP3s.  Both models come in super-cute colours; I just hope they don’t make me go this far in the morning to turn off my alarm:

Soil Clock Alarm ClockImage: Marieke Staps

I am always on the lookout for green products, so I love this Soil Clock by Dutch designer Marieke Staps. In a display of science that goes beyond my comprehension, a chemical reaction creates enough electricity to run the clock. You don’t even need the plants, though they certainly add to the aesthetic appeal and, as the designer points out, they remind you that the soil must be wet for the clock to work. Sadly, I’m not sure my thumb is green enough to keep this one running.

Wake'n Bacon alarm clock via Design PublicImage: Design Public

Many of the alarm clocks that I found online are actually still in the design stage. My favourite of these is the Wake n’ Bacon, which cooks up pieces of everyone’s favourite pork product when it is time to wake up. Seriously, who doesn’t love the smell of bacon in the morning? I’m shocked that the business-savvy entrepreneurs on Shark Tank didn’t back this obvious winner.

Don’t forget to set your clocks back one hour before going to bed this Saturday for Daylight Savings Time and enjoy that extra hour of sleep!

Posted in Design | Tagged , , ,

Layers upon Layers

Layering up in the homeimage via Justina Blakeney

It’s no secret that interior design and fashion are often engaged in a game of mimicry with each other, and when the seasons shift you can really see the interplay between the two design worlds. Just like in fashion, where layering textiles becomes synonymous with fall and winter, the same approach can be applied indoors to add warmth and style. Today’s post features some fabulous textile goods, many of which are created by hand, that will keep you and your home toasty and warm.

Starling CushionStarling cushion by Imogen Heath

Throw cushions in a mix of prints are an easy way to add comfort and interest to a sofa or chair. Love this one from Imogen Heath. Their fabric designs are always amazing, and you can purchase fabric as well as pre-constructed home goods from their site.

Souled ObjectsSouled Objects via pretty little green

Souled Objects by Dana Barnes Studios are not so much rugs as they are textile sculptures for your floors. Their process involves each rug being hand woven out of thick roving. The results mimic natural landscapes and they invite you to interact with them through touch.

Knitted Stool

Knitted Stool view 2knitted stool by Claire Anne OBrien

Claire Anne O’Brien’s chunky knit furniture pieces have made it onto our blog before; she really is an expert at creating soft, welcoming shapes in beautiful knit. This foot stool has an interesting basketweave design, and I love the warm yellow colour.

Mohair Blanked by ToastMohair blanket from Toast

Beds, sofas and chairs will instantly be cold weather ready with a luxurious mohair blanket draped upon them. This ombre dyed blanket from Toast is the perfect remedy to cold days and nights, and the neutral colours make it extremely versatile.

Linen and Felt Textile ArtLinen and Felt Textile Art by Castle

Castle’s embroidery art is so fun and crafty that I can’t help but smile whenever I see them.  These works featuring common sayings and pop song lyrics made from colourful childlike felt letters are in high demand, so it may be tough to get your hands on one, but they also sell prints if you don’t get a chance to buy an original.

Scarf by Pidge PidgeHandwoven Scarf by pidge pidge

There are some remarkable textile artists on etsy; I’m particularly smitten with the handwoven scarves by pidge pidge. They are all made by hand in Pennsylvania and each one takes about eight hours to complete and is a one of a kind. Definitely a great fall layering piece.

A-Frame DIY Tent via A Beautiful Messa-frame tent DIY from A Beautiful Mess

Lastly, if you want to create your own fabric nest for book reading and lounging A Beautiful Mess has a helpful tutorial for creating an a-frame fabric tent using vintage fabrics and inexpensive wood. Making one of these tents is high on my to-do list for my little guy, and I’m tempted to make an oversized one for myself too.

Hope you all have a cozy weekend!

Happy Friday Everyone!

How to Frame Art and Photographs

It’s How-To Wednesday!

Collection of Framed Artimage via skonahem

Today we’ll be learning some basics about framing art and photographs. Getting artwork professionally framed can be expensive and learning how to do it yourself is a handy skill for anyone interested in interior design and decorating. Of course, if it’s an original painting that needs to be framed or if you’re dealing with a large or awkward project it’s best to leave it to the pros, but for smaller everyday jobs you only need a few tools and materials to get your art and photos on your walls in no time. Let’s get started.

Via Art.com framed Woman Playing a PoppinWoman Playing a Poppin by Michael Kriggan via art.com

Choosing a Frame

Which frame you choose will largely depend on the image you are framing. The frame should complement the artwork, not compete with it. That doesn’t necessarily mean you need to stick with a simple frame; an ornate frame can show off the right piece of art beautifully. Probably the best tip is not to pick a frame that is too small for the image. The image should have some breathing room.

via etsy.com antique framesimage via etsy

A Word on Vintage or Antique Frames

I love the look of antique frames, but here are a few tips to keep in mind when choosing an older frame. Pay attention to how the frame is assembled, some frames are easier to get apart than others. If there is already a picture inside you don’t want to ruin the frame trying to remove it.  Look carefully to make sure the glass doesn’t have scratches. Bring the frame into a bright light so you can see small imperfections that you may have otherwise overlooked.

Map Picture Frame via Martha Stewart WeddingsMap Picture Frame via Martha Stewart Weddings


A mat is a piece of board that surrounds the image. It can give your framed artwork or photo a more professional appearance. Although matboard comes in a range of colours, white and cream are most often used because they allow the images to stand out best. If you decide you like another colour or pattern better feel free to use it. Matbard comes in a range of thicknesses, 2-ply, 4-ply and 8-ply, and you can choose to double mat or even triple mat.

Even if you’re not purchasing a frame most framers will cut a custom mat for you, and sometimes they will even have scrap pieces of matboard that you can get for free if you ask. Generally the rule of thumb for mats is that it should create a border that is equal on all sides, or weighted slightly heavier on the on the bottom side. How much space there is between the image and the frame is largely a matter of preference, but again, I would warn against going too small.

Cutting a Mat via Oh Happy DayCutting a Mat image via Oh Happy Day

Basic Framing 101


linen tape (you don’t want to damage the original so you need something that can easily be removed and won’t stain. Your local art supply store should have tape that is suitable.)

framing wire (you can get this at most hardware stores)

glass, if you’re frame doesn’t come with any (you can get glass custom cut at most hardware and framing stores)

eye screws for attaching hanging wire if you’re frame doesn’t have them

Soft cloth and glass cleaning solution

Small finishing nails and hammer if your frame doesn’t have fasteners to keep it together

optional: mat cutter (mat cutters are expensive and require some practice and finesse but if you plan on doing a lot of framing it may be a worthwhile investment.)

via Seesaw Designs United Measures FrameUnited Measures Frame via Seesaw Design

Putting it all together

1. Disassemble the frame. You should have a frame, backing board, mat board and glass. it’s best to do this on a towel or another piece of soft fabric so nothing gets scratched.

2. Clean glass and make sure everything is free of dust and debris. Put glass inside frame.

3. using linen tape attach the image to the back of the matboard.  This may take a few tries but you want to make sure the image is even within the mat and not crooked.

4. Carefully place the mat, image and backing board into the frame. Before completing the assembly turn the frame over and have a look to make sure the image is where you want it to be and there is nothing trapped between the glass and mat.

5. Secure the glass, mat, image and board with the frame’s built-in fasteners, or with small finishing nails.

6. Attach hanging wire using eye screws.

7. Hang!

Framed Collection on display via Isabel Pires De Lima

Posted in Design | Tagged , , , ,

Tinalak: Woven Dreams

Fabric woven by the T'boli of South Cotabato

Image from T'nalak Home

Tinalak or t’nalak is a patterned cloth that is woven using abaca fibers that are either left uncolored or dyed red or black. I have always found the patterns beautiful and intricate, but I must admit I have taken it for granted over the years. It is not an uncommon sight around where I live. I see it pretty often as an element in home decor or as material for coin purses and bags, or even as accents that give an outfit a touch of the exotic. Tinalak items are sold in probably every souvenir shop in the Philippines.


Image by Jogie Alcantara

I knew that tinalak is woven by the T’boli people, an indigenous culture that flourishes in the southern Philippines, amazingly despite all the pressure to adopt a more modern mentality and embrace the world of smartphones and Starbucks. I knew that this fabric can be made only by T’boli women. What I didn’t know was how tightly and how intimately this tapestry is woven into them, and how essential bits of themselves are woven into it.

Red tinalak cloth. Via T'nalak Home.

Patterns in Tinalak, much like those in Scottish tartans, identify a tribe and are handed down from generation to generation. Tinalak is ever present in all the tribal rituals that mark important life milestones — birth, marriage, death.  But more than this, there is a mystical dimension to the weaving of tinalak, which is considered a sacred act. It is said that a pattern has to be conceived in the weaver’s dreams before it woven, thus these women are sometimes called “dream weavers” and their creations referred to as “woven dreams”.

T'boli woman, dream weaver. Via T'nalak Home.

Master craftswomen eventually become custodians and interpreters of other people’s dreams as well, not just their own. In a people that has no form of writing, tinalak represents their literature and mythology, their history and their art, all of which are drawn and culled, and by some alchemy integrates with the weavers’ souls and find their way into their hands and their loom.

This is what genuine tinalak is, a kind of incarnation of a tribe’s spirit.

And thus with so much history, drama, and mysticism behind this cloth, artists and designers can’t help but be inspired by the tinalak and want incorporate some of that soul in their work. Though I now doubt that the place mats and cushions I see in the shops are tinalak in the truest sense (it seems quite sacrilegious if they were, wouldn’t it?), I see them as somehow touched by the special-ness of tinalak by their resemblance to it.

Pillowcase made of strips of tinalak. Via T'nalak Home.

Decorative bowl made with T'nalak strips. Via T'nalak Home.

Tinalak inspired chair. Via T'nalak Home.

Tinalak clutch. Via Anthropologie.

Clutch by Aranaz

Image via Royal Ozca

Image via Royal Ozca