Monthly Archives: October 2013

A Touch of Red

Red. Don’t be afraid of it. While natural colored wood can be great, sometimes a home needs a little extra pop of color. I don’t mean that a room should be decorated in all red, it shouldn’t feel like your in a Chinese restaurant or Little Russia. But just by adding one or two pieces of red furniture a room can really come to life. Below, I will give you an expensive option along with two cheaper ones to choose from. Enjoy!

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This rustic red looking console from Pottery Barn is just the right amount of red. The Aiden Media Console is $1300 and the hand-finished look makes this piece seem like it’s been around for centuries. Use it to store media in your living room or even to store linens in a hallway. It’s low enough and wide enough to work in almost any room.

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This cabinet is a bit smaller than the first one, in both size and price. At only $388 from Wayfair, this 3 foot high cabinet is perfect for smaller spaces and smaller budgets. Yet it can pull the same duty as the $1200 option above. I could see this console being used in an entry way as a place to gather mail and keys as well as provide a surface for a small lamp. This piece is also available in a rustic black and a rustic green/blue color.

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Available from Home Decorators Collection, the Wuchow Three Drawer Console sells for a paltry  $270! While technically this is a file cabinet, there’s no rule that says you cannot use the drawers for other things. The shelf underneath provides a nice space to display books, glassware, or granny’s collection of spoon rests. But note, this is also the smallest of our options at about 2.5 feet tall and just under 5 feet wide. So be sure that you place this console in an appropriately scaled room!

Oh DEER!

So my wife and I were walking through the mall the other day and we parked near Sears. On our way out I spotted this beauty in the corner.

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I’m not sure if I am more offended by the design and style or by the $1200 price tag!?!?! Is there ever a need for camouflage furniture? Maybe it’s part of an outdoor patio set?

Book It For Less!

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This is a gorgeous bookcase. It should be for $2,099. If you can afford it then I say go for it, it’s on sale at Room & Board. For the rest of us that don’t have two grand to spend on a bookcase here’s the poor man’s option.

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This version is sold at Amazon for $198. If my math is correct, which it usually is (cough cough) that’s a savings of $54,367. No that can’t be right. That’s a saving of $1,901. Still a good bargain for an almost identical look. Similar lines, similar design, similar colors, and a fraction of the price. Do I expect this bookcase to last a lifetime, no. Do I expect to get my $198 worth, yes! You could buy 10 of these bookcases for the price of 1 high end model. What’s that? Not cheap enough. Okay, how about this one?

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Pretty much the same exact model as the one above but slightly cheaper at $175 from Wayfair.com. And you get free shipping!

Now before we all go out and buy these knock off’s you should know that there is a significant size difference (that’s what she said). The original $2k model is about 70″ wide and 72″ high. Our two knock-off models are only about 47″ wide and 62″ high. But hey, if you need more space just buy two knock-offs and you’ll still be way ahead of the game!

Grandfather Clock Made Simple

When we think of grandfather clocks this is what usually comes to mind:

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Big. Heavy. Oak. Expensive. These are the words I would use to describe virtually every grandfather clock I’ve ever seen, until now! FInally someone (Mark Daniel to be exact) has designed a grandfather clock that is neither big, heavy, oak, or expensive.

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Available at CB2 for $199 this Old Timer Clock is the perfect size for any home or apartment at only 5’5″ tall. And better yet is the simple design of the white face with red aluminum hands and pendulum. Straight lines and light colored wood will help this clock fit in to any decor. It’s a modern take on an old standard.

ACCESSORY IDEAS

I recently signed on to Zulily.com and took a look at their home décor section. They have some very affordable and stylish items if you pick through carefully. You do have to register an email address and user name to browse the site, but it’s very simple. Here are 9 great things I found:

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A. White Sitting Buddha $20.99

B. Potted Arrangement $11.50

C. Mustache Clock $6.99

D. Horse Head Bookends $18.99

E. Brown & Blue Global Pillow $37.49

F. Bamboo Can $23.49

G. Lime Green Zigzag & Dot Reversible Place Mat Set of Four $20.49

H. Blue Candleholder $11.99

I. White Portrait Mirror $17.99

Bar None!

How about a drink? Bar carts used to be quite fashionable back in the day, but fell out of favor  in the later part of the last century. Luckily they’re making a come back, and with good reason. Who doesn’t like a good drink once in a while? And you’re more likely to have that drink, and a little fun, if your spirits are in a more accessible place. Here are three choices from most to least expensive, each with it’s own little style and twist.

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Available from West Elm this mirrored Art Deco inspired cart has ample room to store the good stuff. The cart is now on sale for $339, but it’s worth it for the glamorous feeling you’ll get from mixing a martini over this classy piece of decor. Think Don Draper.

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Available from Target for the small some of $130 is this Threshold Wood and Brass Finish Bar Cart. This cart is a bit trendier with a gold looking brass finish. In fact Target has a whole line to go along with this style in their Entertaining Collection.

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Check out some of the other great bargains they have to go along with the cart like this Decanter (above) for only $15.

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Finally, the one of the most affordable options I found was this Chrome Bar Cart from Overstock.com for $110. While it’s not my favorite option, it is perfect for those on a budget or short on space. The cart might only fit a bottle or two and a couple of glasses, but hey, It’s perfect for those of us who like to drink alone!

Prints Charming!

Neutral prints and ‘art’ are boring. Why is it that everyone hangs up the same bland prints or photos on their walls? The neutral colored leaves in a frame. Or the tan/golden/taupe trees with the sun poking over a hill. The millions of poster prints of Van Gogh and Monet paintings. My favorite are the wall hangings that include EVERY neutral color and tone in the book.

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Now don’t get me wrong. Sometimes you want to have neutral colored prints and art, but your walls don’t always have to look so boring. Add a little playfulness and some color to what you hang. There’s millions of options out there so don’t be afraid to try something new and different. Add a bold color, an odd shape, a crazy photo. The good thing is that if you hang something up and you don’t like it, you can just take it right back down and replace it with something else.

Here’s an artist named Brandon Bird who creates some very unique and incredibly fun work. He takes a lot of ‘famous’ celebrities and other pop culture references and paints them in unique situations and different perspectives. His work is definitely for those with a sense of humor. In fact, I have two of his prints in my home now. The one below is called “No One Wants to Play Sega with Harrison Ford”:

 

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Check out his online store to see if anything speaks to you. His work is very affordable and quite funny. He typically uses a bright and colorful palette, which can make all the difference in your home. But most importantly, his work is not all beige and tan and neutral and full of leaves!

BIG-BOX STORES: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

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Shopping for furniture can be tough. The danger of ordering online is that you can’t physically feel and touch the items. Is it a soft leather? Does the fabric feel cheap? Is this color blue or aqua or slate? For reasons like this people often stick to the big-box stores, which is fine. The challenge is finding something stylish and contemporary at these giant chain stores.

Below is a small sample ‘test’ I did online for three big-box stores; Ashley Furniture, Raymour & Flanigan, and Macy’s. I simply went to their websites and searched for chairs. Here’s the good, the bad, and the ugly of what I found.

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The Good: This is a modern wing back chair in a textured gray fabric. The Cassa Chenille Accent Chair is $350, but like many of these large stores you can probably get a discount in person. This chair is great because while it has a modern look to it, it still has the right amount of comfort that many people like in their homes.

 

 

Screen Shot 2013-10-04 at 9.57.45 AMThe Bad: Tufted fabric is a classic element, that when used right, can add a little bit of sophistication to your room. This however, is not sophisticated, it’s over-stuffed and under-styled. And worst of all this Maxine Chair is $800. The one thing they got right is the frame. It has sleek modern lines and does not feel too bulky. In fact, the frame is the only thing about this chair that’s NOT bulky. Note the overstuffed cushion as well.

 

Screen Shot 2013-10-04 at 9.58.32 AMThe Ugly: At $370 this Caroline Swivel Rocker might be perfect for grandpa, but not for anyone else. In fact, you should not buy this chair or any like it if you are under the age of 75!

 

 

 

ASHLEY FURNITURE

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6220021_KOThe Good: I like orange, for now. I can see this color going out of style in a year or two, and perhaps coming back again. This color was popular in the 60’s, 70’s, and even the 80’s, but had gone out of fashion until recently. Called Verbena Chocolate (price unknown as Ashley does not list costs online) this is a somewhat soft looking formal chair in my opinion. I could see it flanked by a cocktail table or arranged in a pair for a small conversation corner.

2490131_KOThe Bad:  This chair looks like something an Eames chair threw up. It’s just wrong, all of it. Oddly enough this is a very popular design as I see it at many of the big-box stores. Here’s a tip: If you see something at every store, don’t buy it. That means that style has come and gone and is no longer ‘in’.

 

3920044_KOThe Ugly: I think I saw this pattern in a hospital waiting room back in 1991? Sometimes the pattern says it all, and in this case it says burn me.

 

 

 

MACY’S

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Screen Shot 2013-10-04 at 10.11.14 AMThe Good: Unlike the pattern we saw in The Ugly from Ashley, this Brie Fabric chair uses a much more pleasing design. The pattern has enough white space in it so as not to overwhelm your sight. The frame has a classic feel with solid arms that are delicate but still substantial. All this will cost you though at $850, but don’t forget your coupon and 10% off for using your Macy’s card!!!

 

 

Screen Shot 2013-10-04 at 10.08.54 AMThe Bad: While I like the general color and style of this Asher Leather Recliner, they just missed the mark. It looks like if you sat down on this seat you’d slide right down to the floor. It is hand-rubbed Italian leather, so the quality IS there. Not sure why the chair has to recline either, that really takes away from the aesthetics. Maybe having the chair recline is the only way to keep people from falling off it?

 

Screen Shot 2013-10-04 at 10.10.09 AMThe Ugly: Oh Fudge! The Jedd Fabric Power Recliner Chair (who the hell named this?) is a steal at $600. And if you’re lucky maybe someone will steal it from you! The fabric is actually called fudge. I think that’s because this chair looks like a big chunk of fudge! They should rename this chair The Big Chunk.