"Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.”
_ William Morris
, 19th century craftsman, designer, writer

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Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Pumpkin Carving: Halloween Hideaway

Halloween is creeping closer...are you ready?

If you haven't carved a pumpkin yet, consider creating one of these countrified condos...


Since I've never been big on celebrating the scary side of this haunted holiday, I couldn't wait to try my hand at Cinderella-inspired architecture. Admittedly, guilty of cute, but predictable pumpkins for years, the pumpkin pied-a-terre was a wonderful way to change up my routine. 

The resulting, Halloween hideaway glows from within with a soft warmth that reminds me of Mousekin's Golden House, a classic children's book I read to my kids when they were little. The story weaves the tale of a small mouse who finds a discarded Halloween pumpkin and makes it his home. When winter comes, the pumpkin protects him from the wind and cold and keeps him safe and warm inside.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Anatomy of Style: Skeleton Chic

 Every once in a while you see something that makes an impression --like, say a skeleton lamp.

I noticed this gentleman lighting up a room at the Greystone Mansion Designer Showcase in Beverly Hills last fall and ran into him more recently at the WestEdge Design Fair.

We've got to stop meeting like this...

At the fair in Santa Monica, my friend was puttin' on the ritz, plated in 24 karat gold and silver, but I would recognize those cheekbones anywhere.

It turns out, the light-headed skeleton is the creation of Emmy-nominated set decorator Marcia Zia-Priven and Paul Priven, the husband and wife team behind Zia-Priven Extraordinary Lighting in Los Angeles.

After working together in Hollywood, the couple teamed up to star in their own production and have been turning on design leaders such as Jamie Drake, Lauren Rottet, Geoffery Bradfield, and the late Oscar de la Renta ever since. 

The duo designed the original, hauntingly beautiful piece for the designer showcase and it served as the inspiration for this year's glammed-up relatives.

The lamps are made using German-engineered teaching skeletons which are plated in 24 karat gold or silver using a proprietary process and priced between $1700 - $7000 (to the trade only).

Imagining how my dog might react to the expensive chew toy, and where I might put one in my own home, I asked Zia and Priven who they envisioned adopting the skeletal chic style.

"Celebrities, music industry clients, people looking to make a statement," said Zia, noting the lamp's inherent rock and roll vibe. "It's for people who want something that no one else has," added Priven.

Steven Tyler are you listening? 

Just when you thought Hollywood couldn't get any thinner...

Follow me on Twitter @ThsAmericanHome and Pinterest @Bonhome

Monday, October 20, 2014

On Trend: Mining Copper

Lately, the rosy warm tones of copper have been catching my eye. I have noticed it gracing details on the pages of magazines, Pinterest and store shelves. This past week, I saw the copper moon (shown above) in the window of one of my favorite, Long Beach, California boutiques, Luna. The following day, when I found copper mugs and accessories at Target I knew the trend had reached a tipping point.

To get the burnished glow without a major investment, consider going DIY and using metallic copper spray paint (available in stores such as Wal-Mart, Michael's, and Lowe's).

The possibilities are endless...

 Van Heesch Copper Bicycle

Hammered copper pendant lights via Lonny. 

Industrial copper fixture via Trendspanarna.

 Copper cages shown on the Trendspanarna blog (Fyi, it's written in what I am guessing is Swedish or Danish?)
Copper cups at Target. When a trend hits Target,
 it's gone mainstream.

 DIY copper hooks using copper elbow joints and caps via Remodelista.

Hammered copper soaking tub shown in The Artisanal Home book by Jorge Almada and Anne-Marie Midy. Found on the lovely, You Have Been Here Sometime blog.
Shine on!

Friday, October 17, 2014

This Weekend: WestEdge Design Fair

 It may not look like much from the street, but I promise once you get past the underwhelming banner tacked onto industrial cyclone fencing things start looking up. Way up. 
The 2nd annual WestEdge Design Fair being held in Barker Hangar at the Santa Monica Airport this weekend (Oct. 16-19) is every inch a designer showcase.

 The show features more than 150 high-end exhibitors as well as ongoing panel discussions and workshops geared toward homeowners and design enthusiasts 
-in layman's terms, it's a smorgasboard of style. 
The best part, great taste without the calories. Unless of course, you sample from the outdoor grill demonstrations or take advantage of the well placed lounges throughout. 
 (Which, by all means --do!)

Open to both the trade and the public, the showcase plays host to mega brands (Bosch, Jenn-Air, Benjamin Moore, Gaggenau, Smeg) as well as entrepreneurial artisans such as Sitskie Design Studio, Foundation, Timothy J. Ferrie Lightsculptures, and Pelle to name a few.  You can browse everything from paint and furniture to lighting (skeleton lamp by Zia Priven!) doorknobs, fixtures, kitchen and bath products, outdoor furnishings, area rugs and refrigerators.

The event is also a great place to meet the designers and talk about their products and their processes in person. I have a feeling some of these folks will be remembered in the history books.

Watch for blogs about some of my faves in upcoming posts.

Lucite billiards table by BD Collection.

Online Advance tickets $20; Tickets sold onsite, $25.
Barker Hangar, 3021 Airport Ave., Santa Monica. Parking $10 cash. 

Friday night cocktail party benefiting the A+D Museum, 5-8pm are $40.
October 17, 11am-8pm (including cocktail party)
October 18, 11am-6pm
October 19, 11am-5pm

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Picture Show: Living With Art

Living with art is one of those incredibly personal decisions that makes it fun to peek inside a stranger's home -gallery walls immediately reveal intimate details about the people who live there, what they like and what's important in their lives. 

On my Pinterest page, Living with Art (follow me @bonhome), I have been collecting pictures of rooms with an artistic point of view. I love the way the gallery walls I've chosen as examples use an eclectic array of photographs, Polaroids, paintings, needlepoint and even paint-by-number pieces to establish cool, covetable personal style. Take note, and if the spirit moves you, go for it! 

My previous post, How To Create a Gallery Wall, offers tips to get you started.
The massive array of Polaroids papering the wall above is from ABeautifulMess.com.

Black frames and black and white photos unify a variety of sizes and shapes. Picture pinned from SmallShopStudio.com.

Although the shapes and styles of the art are different, the wall works because the size of the pieces relate and fill the wall like wallpaper.
 Pinned from Feedly.com.

 I love so much about this room -the light, the table, the wide wood-plank floors -and of course the arrangement of the artwork: two large pieces center an asymetrical, balanced display. 
Pinned from Holly Becker's Decor8 Flickr stream.

Wallpaper layered beneath an eclectic gallery wall. It may sound like something that would defy style and good taste, but it looks amazing. Bold & beautiful. Pinned from the very cool online magazine

 There is always beauty and elegance in simplicity. Would you have hung the smaller piece on the top or on the bottom? 
Pinned from the beautiful blog, In The Fields (formerly, A Country Farmhouse blog).

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Organize: Small Miracles

I learned a lot interviewing pros from the National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO) for my bookazine projects on organization and one of my favorite tips was to attack clutter and chaos in tiny fun-sized bites.
The idea: instead of setting out to re-organize a whole room, start with a single drawer. 
 So, I did. Starting with one of the busiest, most ransacked, disorganized drawers in the house -the "medicine cabinet" drawer. 
I humbly submit the before picture above. Scary, but this is Halloween month...so look at the scrambled contents and imagine Psycho music...
On the advice of pros, this was my process:
  •  Work standing up.
  • Set a timer or stopwatch (unless this stresses you out, because who needs that!). I was hoping to do the job in 15 minutes, but it ended up taking 29. The sense of urgency kept me on task and focused.
  • Sort quickly into piles: Keep - Toss - and What the heck is this doing in here? For some drawers and cabinets you may also want a donate pile.
  • Wipe down the inside of the drawer and any organizational containers. Line with contact paper or even a piece of wrapping paper cut to fit.
  •  Now comes the (relatively) fun part, add back into the drawer only what truly belongs there. Check expiration dates before restocking. I found medicine from 2009 -time flies! Although it's not fun to throw out unused products, I realized I was grateful we hadn't needed to use the entire box of Immodium before it expired, but I digress. In addition, if we did actually need the Immodium, it would be a sorry time to find out it had expired. Digressed again.
  • I also tossed broken boxes and sorted contents into plastic baggies. I didn't want to buy new drawer organizers so I worked with what I already owned. If I find better solutions in the future I will let you know!
  • Finally, I cleared the trash and relocated the lost items to their proper places.
  • My drawer is not perfect, but it is a major improvement and it definitely rates as a minor miracle around here. No more headaches looking for the Advil!
Just as the pros predicted, success is inspiring. However, since the plan was only for one drawer and one small chunk of time, I scheduled the next mini miracle for another day. Slow and steady wins the race. 
(Also, yes, that's a bundle of Chapstick we've got there -and maybe now that I can actually find it, I can stop the insanity.)

Monday, October 6, 2014

Note Worthy: 2014 Long Beach Open Studio Tour

Happy Monday, my friends! 
It's that time of year again and I am busy getting ready for next weekend's Long Beach Open Studio Tour (October 11-12) a free self-guided tour that takes you into the homes and studios of local Long Beach artists. 
I've been a participating artist on the tour for the past five years and this year, my son Ethan will be joining me to show his hand crafted, wheel-thrown ceramics - I am a proud mama.
For my part, I have several new photographs to show and have also been experimenting with a new printing format -intrigued? Come see!
 Tour maps are online (click here) and will be open for visitors Saturday and Sunday from noon to 5pm.

I am working on getting my notecards ready. I have considered selling the notecards on the blog as well - thoughts? Would love your feedback...

Mark your calendars!

 And remember, there will be snacks!

Friday, October 3, 2014

Parisian Interlude: Astier de Villatte


Last August, we spent a whirlwind day in New York City visiting as many of our favorite places as possible and ABC Carpet & Home in the Flatiron District was on the list. An enormous building with a million different floors (possible exaggeration), the space is an interior design mecca and worthy of the pilgrimage (no exaggeration).

Just down the street from the fun and funky Fishs Eddy, ABC Home features the kind of directional design that doesn't dither about price points. You know the adage: If you have to ask the price you probably can't afford it... Personally, it's an adage I never seem to heed.

So there I was looking at price tags left and right, when I came across a display area featuring the Astier de Villatte collection of milky white pottery and tableware from Paris -I was in love. Until I scanned the tags: heartbreak. A mug for $128; a scalloped-edge pasta dish for $140...
Well, I suppose we could all use the same bowl? 
It was beautiful.

Hand-crafted in a Bastille workshop once used by Napoleon's silversmith (!), the pieces are formed using black terracotta clay and inspired by the methods and artistry of the 18th century. Sigh.

Still, my full appreciation for the work wasn't fully realized until I watched the absolutely gorgeous video I included on the blog above. Yes, I know it's long, but do yourself a favor and take a mini-break to Paris. If possible, watch it on a full screen. The scenery alone is pure escapism, pour yourself a glass of wine, grab a baguette and wear something stripey...it's like you're there...
The video does an amazing job of showing the craftsmanship behind every piece and the work that goes into every candle, notebook and wineglass they sell. As my Francophile friends might say, C'est magnifique!
The video makes me think of a Mr.Roger's episode for design loving adults -it's a beautiful day in the  arrondissement!

Have a wonderful weekend!
xo-xo (kisses on both cheeks!)

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Going Bananas: How To Make Ice Cream With One Ingredient

We go through bananas like a family of chimps, but sometimes even that's not fast enough to avoid the unappealing (pun intended) mushiness of overripe fruit. 
This week, instead of transforming the unchosen into banana bread, I took the advice of good friend and clever mom, Michelle Martin, and made ice cream instead.
The "recipe" is so easy even this monkey could do it:
First, freeze the bananas until solid (usually overnight) in an airtight bag or container. Then, get out the food processer and puree the frozen pieces (scraping down the sides several times during the process). Thanks to the fact bananas have more sugar than water, and that very ripe bananas (with brown spots) are even sweeter, within minutes, you will have "ice cream" - or more accurately, a cold, creamy, low cal substitution that is vegan and sugar free. It's delish.
Top with chocolate sauce, sliced almonds, chocolate chips, or a sprinkle of cinnamon -or whatever your heart desires.

Go Bananas - B-A-N-A-N-A-S! 
(Does anyone else remember that cheer?)

Freeze the bananas in an airtight bag or container overnight. You can pre-slice before freezing, or roughly chop them if they have been frozen whole (which mine were).

 Using a food processor, puree the frozen bananas. I stopped a few times to scrape down the sides of the bowl and make sure all the good bits were included.

 You can see the stages from rough chop to creamy, creamier, and ice creamiest. Keep scraping down the sides until you achieve the consistency you are looking for.

At this point you could also add in mix-ins like chocolate chips, almonds, mini M&Ms, peanut butter, nutella, honey, cocoa powder, be creative.

Once it gets creamy, continue blending for a minute or two to aerate the mixture.

The yummy results will have a soft serve consistency which you can eat immediately, or transfer to an air tight container and freeze (overnight) until solid. 

Let me know if you give it a try!

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