Tuesday, March 29, 2011 0 comments

Thinking outside the box and using the box...........

 I love architecture and get so much inspiration from people that have a vision and the skills to make it come to reality.  Take that same vision and add to that using a recyclable product to build functional and beautiful structures and I'm in awe. Who is this modern day master?  It is Tokyo born architect Shigeru Ban.  Inspired himself by "weak materials", he first began using paper tubes in the 80's  for exhibitions and was impressed by the load bearing capacity of the material.  His opportunity came in 1995 when Kobe, Japan was struck by an earthquake.  Using donated 34 ply cardboard tubes, he constructed a community hall and houses and never looked back.  His disaster relief projects have revolutionized the speed at which people can regain a sense of normalcy.  Through his works, tens of thousands of families have been given shelter, children have gone back to school and communities given a place to worship.  His efforts can be seen in his homeland now, with projects underway to build Paper Partition systems for the evacuees of the Japan Earthquake and Tsunami.  Shigeru Ban is a man with a vision that encompasses compassion, beauty and respect.  For more information on Shigeru Ban projects or if you are interested in helping with his Disaster Relief Project in Japan, click here.  Photos courtesy of the Shigeru Ban Architects.

Papillon Pavillion for Icones Exposition 2006

Hualin Temporary Elementary School 2008 

Haesley Nine Bridges Golf Club House (Not a paper structure)

Japan Earthquake and Tsunami Evacuees

Partitions currently being built for Japan Earthquake and Tsunami evacuees. (Paper tubes, cloth, pins)
Paper Church.  Constructed in Taiwan after earthquake in 2008.

Vasarely Pavillion 2006 (Homage to the artist Paul Cezzane)

Private Residence in Sri Lanka.  Designed by Shigeru Ban Architects.

Private Residence in Sri Lanka.  Designed by Shigeru Ban Architects.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011 1 comments

It's done.... Well, pretty done....

Well here it is.  The closet is finally done.  Well, pretty done.  I do need to add baseboards and crown molding BUT I thought I would share pics anyway. I really love the way the doors turned out but painting something black does present its challenges.  First of all, it is essential that you prime.  I had the paint store tint my primer as dark as possible which helped  A LOT.  Then, picking the correct sheen is important.  I chose the Benjamin Moore color Black Satin which is beautiful.  I used an eggshell finish which gives it just enough sheen without being to shiny.  Plus, I learned that you really don't want to use a flat finish with dark colors especially when you are using it on cabinets because it will show oil from fingerprints or grease (if you are using it in a kitchen) and you will not be able to clean it.  Good advice.  Anyway, here are a few shots of the completed closet.  The hardware on the doors is from Anthropologie and even though you may not be able to tell the color, it is an amethyst color handle with brass accents.  It really pops against the black.   The wood closet doors I found on Craigslist for $75 for all of them. Serious score.  The rest of the surround was built by my HH (Handy Husband)  who despite recovering from a serious spell of pneumonia did a wonderful as usual job with the construction.  The inside of the closet is magical however I am to much of a neat freak to show you the inside and I didn't think the pictures turned out as good as I wanted.  But take my word for it, it's dreamy.  It's so nice to be able to see all of your things and have them organized.   I have to say, I'm really loving the black.  It's masculine, feminine and really chic.  Although it's been tricky for me to photograph this well, here's what I got.  I have also included some additional pics of the rest of my Master Bedroom.  What are  your thoughts on black walls? 





The bed is new.  The long bench at the foot of the bed is vintage as well as the lamps and nightstand.

The chair, ottoman and bamboo table are from a local thrift store.  The pillows are from Anthropologie and World Market.  The throw was purchased from Tuesday Morning.

Scored these beauties (pair) as found at a local thrift store.

Luminous turquoise lamp from ebay.  Vintage Peacock picture from a local thrift store.  Silver tray with photos and perfume bottles was purchased at the Salvation Army.


Monday, March 21, 2011 0 comments

Spring Brunch.......

What a beautiful weekend.  The weather was gorgeous and it was a very productive weekend.   I decided to welcome Spring by making breakfast and having brunch al fresco.   Besides, I  love making a table with vintage mis-match plates and platters.  Hope you had a nice weekend too. 

All gone.....
Wednesday, March 16, 2011 0 comments

I'm Hungry.........

Today was the first day this year that I started thinking about the dishes I like to make in summer.  You know, the lighter fare.  The kind of food that is summer fresh and light but packed with flavor and goodness.  Today I made a tortellini (cheese),  roasted artichoke hearts, purple onion and multi pepper salad.  This dish is easy to make and full of flavor.  I like to eat with flat bread but you can serve it as a side dish too.  I'd love to know what you think of this after you make it.  Bon Appetit.

Here's what you need:
1 1/2 cup artichoke hearts ( I use frozen)
1 1/2 cup cheese tortellini (I use frozen)
1 small red pepper sliced into thin strips
1 small yellow or orange pepper sliced into thin strips
1/2 cup parsley roughly chopped
1/2 medium red onion sliced into thin strips
1/4 cup Freshly Grated Parmigiano  Reggiano cheese
1 small can sliced black olives (Optional)
1 package Pita Flat bread

1/2 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/3 cup Red Wine Vinegar
Salt and Pepper

Spice Mix:
1/4 tsp. dried basil
1/4 tsp. dried oregano (1/2 tsp if you want flat bread)
1/8 tsp dried thyme
1/8 tsp fennel
1/8 dried red pepper
1/8 tsp dried garlic

Preheat  Oven to 425 degrees

Cook the tortellini according to directions.  Drain the tortellini when cooked and put in bowl  to cool. Shorten the artichoke cooking time (according to directions) slightly and drain.  Place artichoke hearts in a single layer on a cookie sheet and sprinkle one pinch of spice mix.  Roast in oven for 7 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove from oven and let cool.  Place in the bowl with the tortellini when cool.

Mix the dressing (see above) and whisk until blended.  Pour half over the tortellini and artichoke hearts and stir.  Sprinkle half of the spice mix  in and stir.

Add the peppers, onion and remaining spice mix and dressing.  Grind a few grinds of black pepper and salt. Stir until coated.  Add the parsley and olives (optional) and stir until blended.  Cover and refrigerate (this gets better the longer it marinates).

Meanwhile if you want to serve the flat bread, cut the round into 4 pieces and brush lightly with olive oil. Sprinkle with dried oregano and a few grinds of salt. Put in 425 degree oven for 8 minutes or until brown.

Sprinkle with cheese before serving. Enjoy!


Monday, March 14, 2011 0 comments

Monday's Muse.........

Pia Jane Bijkerk is a multi-talented stylist, photographer and author of several books.  Her photography is amazing, her styling is heartfelt and authentic and her writing is soulful and intentional.  Dividing her time between her houseboat In Amsterdam, Paris Apartment and her native Sydney residence,  Pia finds inspiration everywhere and embraces it fully.  Her blog is a collaboration of recipes, trip journals (including soundscapes), book reviews, artist spotlights and styling tips.  Below are some examples of Pia's work.  To read more about Pia and and her works go here.



Photos Courtesy of : Pia Jane Bijkerk
Friday, March 11, 2011 0 comments

Garden Inspiration.......

No matter where you live, there are times throughout the year where it's better to be outside than inside.   For me, living in Houston means that the best time to enjoy the outdoors comfortably is in the Spring and Fall.  That's when the mornings are cool and the humidity is relatively low.  Lately I've been looking for inspiration for outdoor spaces and I've collected a few images that I want to share with you.  Maybe you are looking for garden inspiration as well?  I'll be painting and finishing up my closet this weekend (I will do the reveal next week) and then taking some time off next week to do some other projects.  Whatever your plans are, take sometime to enjoy the outdoors.

Loving the color and feel of this space don't you?  

What a great space to read a book or take an afternoon nap.  Love the contrast of the chartreuse and the licorice colored walls.  Photo:  Thomas Story
How lush is this?  Tucking succulents into a palm tree.  Brilliant Idea.  Photo: Sunset 

These potted succulents are drought tolerant and lots of color and textrure too.
Photo:  Jennifer Cheung via Sunset

Soji Modern Solar LED Lantern.  Available for $39 at Allsop Home and Garden.

Soji Ltd. Printed Solar LED Lantern.  Available for $29 at Allsop Home and Garden.

Woven Recycled Plastic Rugs made from straws.  Pattern is reversable and will not mildew.  Prices start at $50 and are available at Home Infatuation.

Restored Basketweave chair and table powdercoated in Sunny Yellow.  Available for $325 for both including shipping from Vintage Glider.

Vintage 2 seat Dotted Circle Glider Loveseat.  Available for $500 (shipping included) at Vintage Glider.

Monday, March 7, 2011 0 comments

NOLA Style....

I love the mixings of architecture that are scattered throughout the south and Louisiana in particular has a vast array of styles that include French, Spanish, West Indies and Antebellum to name just a few. These influences come together and is reflected in the food, architecture, music and history that is uniquely New Orleans. It's Mardi Gras now and in honour of things french, southern and creole I thought I would share some new and vintage items that are sure to add some NOLA style to your space.

Old Mardis Gras Ticket.  It is for sale for $50 here. 

Reproduction French style wood turned chandelier. $450 at perch. 


Loving these silk satin cut velvet drapes.  These can be found at Perch in New Orleans.

Map of New Orleans Tray by Laurel Wilder.  Available exclusively from Hazelnut New Orleans.

"Cluster" by Christine Sauer

100 year old roofing tiles stamped with a fleur de lis.  $3 a piece from Craigslist.
Plantation Living Room from Vestiges of Grandeur: Plantations of Louisiana's River Road

Interesting look at this blend of French, Spanish and West Indies Architecture.  Through Amazon.

Friday, March 4, 2011 0 comments

Spring Dreaming........

Spring is right around the corner and I know that for most people it can't come soon enough. I've been working out in the backyard which is where our family spends most of our time when the weather is nice.  I've been thinking about making some additional outdoor cushions for my furniture just to freshen things up a bit.  Currently I have a set of burlap cushions that give my vintage outdoor furniture a more organic look and I like that.  I'm thinking of having an additional set made for when I want to have a more decorative feel.  I am loving the Trina Turk indoor/outdoor fabric collection desgined for Schumacher.  The colors are vibrant and the prints are timeless.  Whether you are poolside or inside, these fabrics are durable enough to stand the test of time.  To see all of the Trina Turk collection, go to Schumacher.

Trina Turk Peacock Print in Driftwood

Trina Turk Super Paradise Print in Driftwood

Trina Turk Louis Nui Print in Sulfur


Trian Turk Tangier Frame Print in Driftwood

Kelly Wearstler for Schumacher Fern Tree