NYC–International Contemporary Furniture Fair

This past weekend, I attended ICFF (International Contemporary Furniture Fair) held in NYC at The Jacob Javitz Center. I also attended Wanted Design (an International Design Event) at The Tunnel down the street from the Javitz Center.

Initially, I planned to attend Wanted Design to view my son’s senior project he had created for his industrial design program. He, along with several other students had been selected to present and display their products created for a competition sponsored by Corning Museum of Glass. When I went to register, I discovered that the ICFF was happening at the same time. Perfect opportunity for a business trip!

I met up with a friend once I arrived in Manhattan Friday afternoon and we ventured to FishsEddy and ABC Home & Rug down near Union Square.

       

     

These were two places I had heard of and had wanted to visit for quite sometime. Both have great accessories for use in the home. FishsEddy, more practical and somewhat understated, playing off of themes from the past. ABC Home had an eclectic variety of everything from light fixtures to vases, trivets and cutlery to jewelry, seating and area rugs of amazement. I look forward to returning again.

Saturday morning was spent at The Tunnel for Wanted Design. Located across from a Porsche/Ferrari dealership, I was able to see my son’s project presented along with his classmates in a professional environment. It was great to see them in their element, engaged in conversation with fellow designers/professionals as they begin their journeys into their careers.

        

As I walked the length of the hall, I came upon unique designs for lighting, furniture, wall papers, jewelry and functional home products. It was just a taste of what I would see in a few hours down the street at the ICFF.


I traversed the rows of the Javitz Center with my husband for 2+ hours. Each aisle presented something new and unexpected. Whether it be a unique wall clock, use of a color in an interesting way, rug designs or seating that appeared to be sculptural rather than a functioning piece of floor dressing or furniture, I was captivated by the amount of wonderful designs I was encountering. I was like a kid in a candy shop – I wanted to be able to use most of what I saw within my clients homes or businesses! For now, I took many photos, business cards, postcards and literature for the office. I am looking forward to connecting with several designers via Facebook to see their new product launches and updates.

   

   

   


            

            

            

   

If you hover over an image – you can click on it to connect you to the designer’s website or a larger image.

Here are a few websites to other designers that you might enjoy:

www.jujupapers.com  -  www.modernmaine.com  -  www.debrafolz.com  -  www.davidtrubridge.com  -  www.akkefunctionalart.com  -  www.motawi.com  -  www.graypants.com

The shows were fantastic. I am looking forward to attending next year and perhaps venture to some other venues to gather more resources. The weekend proved to be not only inspirational for my business, but we also happened to catch an off, off Broadway show in Union Square purchasing RUSH tickets!

I LOVE NYC.

Comments (5)

Spring Cleaning the non toxic way

It appears we get to open our doors and windows a few weeks earlier than usual this spring. With the mild winter we experienced as well as the unusually higher temperatures the last several weeks, transitioning into spring is on everyone’s mind. Not only does that mean searching for lighter clothing options, but in many households with colder winters it means cleaning the home to welcome the warm temperatures.

One might be tempted to reach for cleaning products off of grocery store shelves. That’s okay, as long as they are not the toxic/chemical laden products that shout out to us with promises of doing this and that. By purchasing some basic ingredients at the grocery store you can make all of the recipes to follow to create natural cleaning products for your home. You might also find them to be more economical as well. I have selected some of the following recipes from Natural Home and Garden’s March/April Issue.

house clean

Ingredients for creating your own cleaning products:

  • baking soda – bicarbonate of soda can be found in the baking supplies aisle
  • citrus seed extract – powerful antimicrobial agent, often sold as grapefruit seed extract, available at most health food stores
  • essential oils – available at health stores, my favorite oils are Young Living Essential Oils. (contact me if you would like to purchase this brand). Make sure that you purchase pure oils and only use what the recipe calls for,  do not add more – it will not make the formula stringer, if anything it may cause skin irritation. Common ones used for cleaning are citrus (grapefruit, orange, lemon or lime), rosemary, eucalyptus, tea tree, thyme, citronella and peppermint.
  • lemon juice – available at grocery stores
  • liquid castile soap – this is an olive oil based soap available at grocery stores or health food stores
  • salt – kosher salt for scrubbing
  • vinegar – purchase vinegar labeled grain alcohol or neutral grain spirits, you want to avoid buying one with petroleum byproducts.
  • washing soda – sodium carbonate or soda ash, can be found in the laundry detergent aisle
  • plastic or glass spray bottles – you can purchase 24 oz. plastic bottles at Staples or smaller one are available online
  • plastic squirt bottles – reuse from another product or can be purchased online

orange oil

Let’s start in the kitchen -

Sink Cleanser for Stains

  • 1/4 cup washing soda
  • 1/4 cup baking soda
  • 8 drops of essential oil – rosemary, eucalyptus or tea tree
  • 3/4 cup vinegar for rinsing

Combine washing soda, baking soda and essential oil in an airtight container and shake well to blend. Sprinkle a small amount in the sink and scrub with a damp sponge. Rinse the sink with vinegar, then with hot water. For stubborn stains, allow the formula to sit on the stain for several minutes, then scrub and rinse with vinegar and hot water.

Citrus Dishwashing Blend

  • liquid castile soap
  • 20 drops lime essential oil
  • 10 drops orange essential oil
  • 5 drops citrus seed extract

The wonderful lemony/citrus aroma is not only great to smell but it has benefits as a natural degreaser. Fill a clean 22 ounce bottle with castile soap (dilute according to directions if using concentrate). Add the essential oils and extract. Shake bottle before each use. Add 1-2 tablespoons of liquid to dishwater and wash as usual.

Automatic Dishwasher Powder

  • 3 cups washing soda
  • 1 cup baking soda

Combine all ingredients and store in a sealed container. To use, add about 2 tablespoons to the soap compartment of your dishwasher. If you find your glassware has a residual buildup, reduce the amount in each use to 1 1/2 tablespoons.

Herbal Disinfectant

  • 2 cups hot water
  • 10 drops thyme essential oil
  • 1/4 cup washing soap

Combine all ingredients in a spray bottle and shake well. Spray on surfaces and wipe clean with a damp cloth or sponge.

Kitchen Wipes

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 ounce liquid castile soap
  • 6-8 drops of favorite essential oil

Instead of using paper towels to wipe up spills or clean counter tops, store multiple squares of cotton cloth (old T shirt or pajamas). Fill a container with all of the ingredients (you may want to use a large glass jar), shake when ready to use, pull out a cloth, ring excess liquid back into jar and wipe surface. The cloths can be washed and returned to jar for reuse. Cap jar between uses.

Tough jobs:

  • For very greasy dishes, add 1/2 cup vinegar or lemon juice to dishwater.
  • To loosen baked-on foods from pots and pans, immediately add some baking soda to the dirty dish and wait 15  minutes before cleaning. If the pan has cooled before you have had a chance to add the baking soda – boil a solution of 1 cup water, 5 drops cedar (or other essential oil), and 3 tablespoons baking soda directly in the pot or pan. Allow mixture to stand until food can be scraped off easily.

Controlling Kitchen pests:

  • Ants – wipe cabinets with a damp sponge and 6-8 drops of peppermint or citronella essential oil. Then place 3-5 drops of the same oil on window sills, doorway cracks and in the corners of cabinets under the kitchen sink.
  • Centipedes, Earwigs and Silverfish – Place several drops of peppermint, eucalyptus or citronella essential oil in the areas that collect moisture – basements, garages and cabinets with plumbing fixtures.
  • Mice – place sprigs of fresh peppermint between pantry items in your cabinets, or make a solution of 2 cups water and 3 teaspoons peppermint essential oil and spray it wherever you find mouse droppings.
  • Mites and Weevils – Place a few whole nutmegs in flour containers.
  • Other insects – place loose bay leaves in kitchen cabinets.
Moving on to the bathroom -

Germs-Be-Gone Toilet Cleaner

This antibacterial spray cleaner is specifically formulated for cleaning the general surface area of the toilet, and under and behind the seat.

  • 2 cups water
  • 1/4 cup liquid castile soap
  • 1 teaspoon tea tree essential oil
  • 10 drops eucalyptus or peppermint essential oil

Combine all ingredients in a spray bottle and shake well. Spray on toilet surfaces and wipe clean with a damp cloth or sponge.

And Let’s Not Forget The Laundry Room -

Talk about chemicals and artificial ingredients – let’s talk the laundry aisle at the grocery store! I can not walk down it without a sneeze attack. The fragrances alone trigger a reaction in me. I began using fragrance and dye free laundry soap years ago. I don’t use fabric softeners nor dryer sheets with fragrance. Here is a simple recipe for washing powder and some additional tips.

Simple Washing Powder

This recipe makes enough powder to last a typical family of four for one year. You can easily reduce the amounts to make a smaller quantity for your use.

  • 16 cups baking soda
  • 12 cups washing soda
  • 8 cups castile soap
  • 3 tablespoons lavender, lemon or grapefruit essential oil

Combine baking soda, washing soap and soap flakes. If using, add essential oil and mix with a whisk. Use 1/8 cup per load.

Helpful tips

  • Eliminate the use of fabric softeners by using 1/2 cup vinegar in the rinse cycle.
  • Pre-treat stains with a combination of washing soda, water and baking soda.
  • Forgo dryers sheets. For fragrance, add a few drops of essential oil to a damp rag and throw it in the dryer with laundry. Use dryer balls (www.ecosisters.com) to reduce drying time, wrinkles and static.
  • Make sure your dryer vents outdoors and clean out the vent periodically.
  • Rid the washer of bacteria, soap scum and grease by running a cleaning cycle with white vinegar and hot water.
  • NEVER combine bleach with vinegar or ammonia – it produces a toxic chlorine vapor.
  • line dry your clothes. They smell great and don’t use any energy!

laundry

If you don’t want to make your own recipes for cleaning products, there are several nontoxic lines that you might want to try:

Keep things simple and healthy – we are bombarded by so many chemicals and toxins, keeping our cleaning products as natural as possible within our living space is essential. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at design@lmkinteriorsltd.com or 978.335.1140. Happy Spring!

 

Comments (6)

Graffiti Knitting – an interior craft gone exterior

It began last winter with me knitting a scarf for my youngest daughter. A friend had knit a scarf with pomp-a-doodle yarn and said it wasn’t that difficult to do and it actually didn’t even take that long to knit with this particular type of yarn. Fast and economical fashion – count me in. And so it began – it started with that scarf, then two more pom pom scarves this holiday season for my other daughter and her college room mate, then a cowl for myself (again with the pom pom yarn), then creating a scarf with the pom pom yarn mixed with a fringe yarn, and the latest, a scarf with a “ruffle” yarn. I can’t seem to stop and I have only created neck attire!

I posted the images of my creations on Facebook and inquired if there was a way to somehow connect my new hobby with my blog postings. Several friends weighed in with interesting thoughts-

Kate: Are you working with eco-friendly yarns (non-toxic dyes, natural fibers, etc), which would give you a link to “green” material choices for interiors — or maybe there’s a fun way to use knitted pieces as a design element? Or maybe there’s a metaphor in the whole process of knitting — you untangle a mess of yarn, and turn a single strand of wool into a unified piece (like working with disparate design elements and turning them into a pleasing and unified room design)?

Donna: Have you seen Norah Gaughan’s book Knitting Nature? Very “green” and fascinating way to design- reminds me of Bachelard’s book The Poetics of Space on home design.

I liked both of these suggestions, but it was Leah’s reply that captured my attention: Check this out- I just saw an article on it recently. I’m not entirely sure as to how it would tie in, but it did pop in to my mind… http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yarn_bombing.

According to Wikipedia: Yarn bombing, yarnbombing, yarnstorming, guerrilla knitting, urban knitting or graffiti knitting is a type of graffiti or street art that employs colorful displays of knitted or crocheted cloth rather than paint or chalk.

image

image

image

image

image  image

image

image

image

image

image

image

How cool. Yarn bombers target anything they find from sleeves on parking meters, trees, statues, to cars and buses. Like most graffiti artists, this group of knitters often tag in the middle of the night. Some troupes wear crocheted masks while they work, and although it is technically illegal, the police have yet to make any knitter arrests.

In researching images for this blog, I discovered an artist that goes by the name OLEK (Agata Oleksiak) born in Poland living in NYC. ​”Crochet came to me as a result of being totally broke. I had to make a costume in NYC and I had no cash for a sewing machine. I used any materials I could possibly find…I even cut my sheets into strips to make pieces. Being resourceful is in my blood as you can see. Crochet is for poor people…that’s why you can find it in almost any culture across the globe.”

I was fascinated to see how much art Olek has produced in recent years. I have LIKED her Facebook page, bookmarked her website (http://www.agataolek.com/), and I look forward to seeing her work in person in the near future.

  image

          Olek creating The Cube

Some of Olek’s work both in galleries as well as on the street:

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

I am not sure if I connected urban knitting with green interior design, (other than showing some interiors covered in knit and crochet slipcovers), but I did share an art form that is gaining in popularity and world recognition. Hopefully, you have seen something unique and inspiring and find it as interesting as I have. If you have any knitting/crocheting queries, please feel free to contact me at design@lmkinteriorsltd.com. I will try my best to be of assistance.

Comments (6)

One catalogue–so many great finds for your home

There are a few catalogues that I look forward to receiving. Mostly they are related to home, decorating or objects of interest. Every once in a while I receive a catalogue that stands out. The first time I got one from Sundance, I had so many pages dogged eared, I might as well have said – I want everything and anything in this! Anthropologie is another one that I love to thumb through over and over again. This season I received one from uncommon goods. Talk about some unique and cool items. Since I have been shopping for the holidays these last several weeks, I thought I would share some the items I found interesting. Perhaps some that might be appropriate for your home. I have limited my selections to home goods, they offer so much more! I have kept the product descriptions as quoted from the catalogue because I thought they were appropriate. Please go to their website to view the following as well as many more items. www.uncommongoods.com

Wine Barrel Bench“Old wine barrels can be used for lots of things, like these sturdy Vintner’s benches, which are made from reclaimed wine barrel staves (the bent planks that make up the barrel’s sides). Perfect for the mud room, porch, or back-door entrance, each bench is handcrafted and uniquely aged and patinaed. No two are alike. Handmade in Texas.” (uncommon goods, 2011)

Skateboard Stool“Add a kick of street style to your home with this sturdy, compact seat that features a creative reuse of of roughed-up skateboards. Broken boards are byproducts of skate culture and decks are usually destined for the landfill once they’re cracked. Inspired by the consistent way many skateboards were busted, artist Jason Podlaski collects shattered skateboards from skateshops and skateparks in the US and Canada and turns both deck and truck into a hybrid, high-quality piece of furniture that’s built tough. The scrapes and scars on the decks create a beautiful veneer of use over the original graphics. Every deckstool is meticulously built, reinforced and finished by skilled craftsmen in Pennsylvania.” (uncommon goods, 2011)

Magnetic Pallet Chair“Lovingly reclaimed and refurbished by hand, this Adirondack-style chair was once an industrial storage pallet. Each sturdy, one-of-a-kind piece is handmade from repurposed pine and oak with rare earth neodymium magnets that transform its design into a functional modular piece.
Embedded magnets allow the chair to collapse back into an easy-to-store pallet shape. Naturally endowed with a gorgeous patina, each piece is made to play elegant host to backyard soirees for years to come. Handmade in Ventura, CA of reclaimed wood, glue, neodymium magnets, paint, VOC compliant exterior varnish & sealant.” (uncommon goods, 2011)

Recycled Tire Basket“You won’t have to tread lightly around storage with this industrial tote, hand-sculpted from scraps of recycled tires in Milwaukee. Ideal for multi-purpose storage, its tough and roomy road rubber frame was born to haul it all–from firewood to fresh-picked fruit. A natural bin for your home or garden, this basket goes the extra mile: All one-of-a-kind pieces are handmade in a job skill workshop by people with disabilities or limiting conditions. Handmade in Wisconsin.” (uncommon goods, 2011)

Recycled Wine Barrel Side Table“Whether or not the wine born from this wine barrel had an earthy flavor, this side table has an earthly quality. Made from recycled white oak wine barrels – they’re usually discarded after a few years – the side table has a shelf and splendid iron accents. Handmade in Georgia.” (uncommon goods, 2011)

Distortion Candlesticks“Add a burst of life to your table setting with this curvaceous candlestick. Designer Paul Loebach gives his creation its unique twist by using state-of-the-art technology: from computer design to special 3D printers to the final result, these whimsical candelabras are the embodiment of delight, pure and simple.” (uncommon goods, 2011)

Geometric Candles“Each candle takes the shape of a bold, nearly two-dimensional shape with a textured surface, and rests in a brushed aluminum stand. But in spite of their futuristic aesthetic, the process of making them is decidedly old fashioned. They are entirely handcrafted, from the forming of the molds, to the trimming of each wick, and every detail in between. The candles are made from 100% triple-pressed palm wax, an environmentally friendly, renewable material. Palm wax melts with little or no dripping, and its high melting temperature ensures they will maintain their shape as they burn. The candles are unscented, so you can enjoy them at dinner without overpowering your meal. Handmade in Bloomington, IN.” (uncommon goods, 2011)

Recycled Glass Tree Globes - Relationships“Celebrate those dearest to you with elegant 100% recycled glass globes, featuring an interior glass trunk that branches out to support vibrant splashes of color. Handmade in Canada by artist Stephen Kitras. To make these pretty globes, artist Stephen Kitras first has to receive a shipment of broken glass from a supplier in Seattle that makes windows for cars, homes and offices. They send their broken shards to Kitras, who then melts them down in a furnace for 12 hours before creating his signature pieces. Globes come with a plastic hang tag that is designed to be used for hanging the globe, either on the display stand specifically designed for the globe or from a different location.” (uncommon goods, 2011)

Personalized Family Pillow“This embroidered pillow piles the whole family onto the couch without cramping your style. The ultimate creature comfort, featuring customized figures for all the characters under your roof. Handmade of cotton and flax by Mary and Shelly Klein in Grand Rapids, MI.” (uncommon goods, 2011)

Phuzion Series Sushi or Cheese Tray“Your guests are sure to be impressed with this eye-catching glass sushi or cheese tray. Artist Orfeo Quagliata designed this vivid colored tray using his own handcrafted opaque glass that he creates in his glass studio in Mexico. Striking, sturdy and versatile, this tray can be used as a modern centerpiece or to showcase your scrumptious hors d’oeuvres or sushi.” (uncommon goods, 2011)

Bike Chain Bowl“Since he was a kid, Graham Bergh has been making things out of found objects. After getting his Master’s in Economics and Environmental Policy, he wanted to become an innovative recycling professional when he got a flat tire on his bike and said, “Hmmm…interesting material…” So he got to building creations by hand out of recycled bicycle parts, and soon gathered a team of artists to come up with new ideas and assemble the ideas they had. The results are distinctive accents like this bike chain bowl, which is perfect for keys, change and more. Handmade in Oregon.” (uncommon goods, 2011)

Labyrinth Bowl“Show me your ways… teach me your paths… guide me in your truth.”
~ Psalm 25 (engraved on bottom of bowl)

“Symbolic of a spiritual journey and personal discovery, this beautiful labyrinth bowl encourages you to contemplate your own path through life. For a calming and contemplative practice, hold the cool pewter in your palm and gently run your finger tip down the path from the outer edge, trace the path to the center and then back out again. Handmade in California by Cynthia Webb. Lead-free pewter.” (uncommon goods, 2011)

Large Mexican Papaya Bowl“Made from dried Mexican papaya, this parchment bowl is a stunning centerpiece and guaranteed conversation piece. Artisan Margaret Dorfman hand builds each fragile bowl out of parchment made from slices of papaya through a 12-day process that includes curing, pressing and aging each piece. Place a glass votive candle inside the bowl for a warm orange glow or fill it with fragrant potpourri. Handmade in California. Each is one of a kind and will vary.” (uncommon goods, 2011)

Flip Flop Mats“More flip for your flop, these colorful doormats are made of scrap foam rubber from sandal factories in the Philippines that would have otherwise ended up in a landfill.” (uncommon goods, 2011)

Lobster Rope Doormats“Float-ropes are used by lobstermen to tether their lobster traps. Unfortunately, float-rope entangles Northern Right Whales (an endangered species) which swim in the same waters. In order to protect these whales, lobstermen are now required to turn in their old float-ropes and switch to sink-ropes instead. 300,000 pounds of float-rope was destined to go to landfills and burning facilities in Massachusetts before it was re-purposed for projects such as this.

Extremely durable, these doormats can handle the toughest weather conditions and are resistant to mold, mildew, salt water and sun. They do not absorb water or harbor insects. To clean, just give it a good shake. Handmade in Maine of 100% recycled materials. Includes card about the project.” (uncommon goods, 2011)

Hand Blown Recycled Glass Rectangle Vase“This multicolor hand blown recycled glass is so gorgeous, you may decide to display it au naturel. Of course, it also looks great filled. Try your hand at a centerpiece of daffodils, colored marbles or even jelly beans. The possibilities are endless thanks to the generous splashes of color. A unique gift since no two vases are exactly alike. Handmade by Canadian artist Stephen Kitras.” (uncommon goods, 2011)

Buddha Bowl“Enjoy a moment of Zen with the handmade Buddha Bowl. Nestled naturally in your palm, this bowl allows you to enjoy rice, soup, cereal and hot cocoa with ease. Its comforting shape washed in soothing color, this dish brings a touch of tranquility to your daily routine. Who knows-maybe you’ll find enlightenment in your morning latte. Available in many colors: olive, pacific, aubergine, black bean, tofu, and butter. Created by Flavour Design. Sold individually. Handmade in southern California.” (uncommon goods, 2011)

“Bring nature and relaxation to your life with this engaging bonsai garden kit. More than just a potted plant, this is a grove of miniature trees that you foster along, from seedling to sprout to bonsai forest.

These tiny trees are actually ancestors of the giant California redwood. Called Dawn redwood, they were thought to be extinct until the 1940s when one was discovered growing in a rice field in central China. And even though its towering relative is an evergreen tree, the Dawn redwood is one of only two known deciduous conifers. In the fall its leafy needles turn from green, to yellow, to copper, bringing the pageant of the changing seasons to your desk or kitchen window.

Kit includes: tree and moss seed, recycled steel seedling training pots, seed starting wafers, growing medium, bonsai scissors, rake with spade, river stone, and directions. Handmade in the USA” (uncommon goods, 2011)

All of the above items can be found at uncommon goods. www.uncommongoods.com

Wishing you and your families a wonderful holiday season – here’s to a Happy and Prosperous 2012! As always, if you have any design queries, please contact me at design@lmkinteriorsltd.com or 978.335.1140.

Peace,

Lisa Kawski

Comments (3)

Interior Design: Interior Plants

I grew up in a home where my parents enhanced our interior living spaces by bringing in the vibrancy of our outdoor gardens. My father had built a rock bed in our family room to have the cluster of potted plants sit in (although I think it was also meant for catching the bird droppings from our caged finches). I wish I had an image to share, I don’t recall the names of the plants, I just remember tree-like plants, cacti, and seasonal flowering plants and perhaps a fern or two or maybe it was a spider plant that made me feel – even in the dead of a Rochester, NY winter – the life, color and warmth that these plants provided.

When I moved to my first apartment with my husband, we incorporated all of his plants that he had collected from his places of residence, including some from his parents home. I do remember that we had many spider plants, they were indestructible! Once we acquired our first cat that decided the dirt in the base of the planters would make a perfect liter box, we removed live plants from our living environments. We didn’t have plants until we owned a home – and those were outside in the gardens! (We still do not have any interior plants, only the occasional vase of flowers on the table) Currently, between the design of our home and the lack of direct sunshine on the first floor and the additional two cats and dog – we maintain exterior garden beds for our flowering plants, shrubs and enjoy the sugar maple trees that line our property.

I got a call from a client the other day asking me if I had any advice about bringing in the plants they had maintained throughout the summer on their back deck and front porch and creating a space for them inside of their home. It got me to thinking… I can name only two clients in the past ten years that have plants in their homes! Again, an occasional vase of flowers or a small counter top plant may have been spotted, but nothing like the “jungle” that I was familiar with in my childhood home. I had never been asked to design for or with interior plants. I wasn’t quite sure how to guide them. Here are some of my thoughts that I shared with them.

I first gave them the name of an old acquaintance to contact: Susan Harvey of Susan’s Interior Plantscaping, Inc.. I had met Susan about 9 years ago at a networking meeting. She has a great business and I mostly thought of her as a resource for commercial clients. Corporate office, lobbies, restaurants, hotels and such. I had been in touch with her several years ago when I was contacted for services of redesigning a large corporate lobby. But now, I thought she also might be able to provide some guidance for this client. She could be consulted to assist my client with the variety of their existing plants and the needs of each plant in an interior setting. To be honest, my main thought was that the plants might need to be repotted into coordinating planters to match the interiors I had designed for them.

I now am planning to share with my client the article I came across this past week while reading my Natural Home & Garden magazine: Living Design: How to Decorate with Plants. (click on the title of the article and it will bring you to the article on-line) My take away from the article was:

  1. “Consider using houseplants to accentuate areas of architectural interest in your home”
  2. Plants help purify indoor air. Ask local garden center if they spray their plants with pesticides; if possible choose a grower that does not. It turns out that the pesticides are what emit VOCs (volatile organic compounds). Not helping your interior air quality at all!
  3. Purchase planters made of natural materials such as clay and ceramic and not plastic.
  4. Don’t think of plants as an afterthought – they can be an integral part of the design.
  5. Repeat colors or forms from your exterior plants in your interior plantings to connect both of your environments.
  6. Know how to best care for your plants to make them flourish and last for many years.

I also consulted a book I had purchased a few years ago entitled: Homes That Heal and those that don’t  by Athena Thompson. She speaks about research that NASA had conducted in the early 1980’s about indoor air quality and how plants can affect this. There are several plants that can be used in our environments that can clean the air in a sealed space containing pollutants of ammonia, formaldehyde and benzene. These are products that are often found in our cabinetry, carpeting, flooring and wall coverings. Below is a list of the top fifteen houseplants recommended by NASA:

1. Philodendron scandens `oxycardium’, heartleaf philodendron
2. Philodendron domesticum, elephant ear philodendron
3. Dracaena fragrans `Massangeana’, cornstalk dracaena
4. Hedera helix, English ivy
5. Chlorophytum comosum, spider plant
6. Dracaena deremensis `Janet Craig’, Janet Craig dracaena
7. Dracaena deremensis `Warneckii’, Warneck dracaena
8. Ficus benjamina, weeping fig
9. Epipiremnum aureum, golden pothos
10. Spathiphyllum `Mauna Loa’, peace lily
11. Philodendron selloum, selloum philodendron
12. Aglaonema modestum, Chinese evergreen
13. Chamaedorea sefritzii, bamboo or reed palm
14. Sansevieria trifasciata, snake plant
15. Dracaena marginata , red-edged dracaena

Here is Athena’s top ten houseplant recommendation:

  1. Bamboo palm (Chamaedores seifrizii)
  2. Rubber plant (Ficus Robusta)
  3. English Ivy (Hedera Helix)
  4. Dwarf Date Palm (Phoenix Roebelenii)
  5. Boston Fern (Nephrolepis Exaltata “Bostoniensis”)
  6. Peace Lily (Spathi Hyllum)
  7. Corn Plant (Dracaena Fragrans)
  8. Kimberly Queen (Nephrolepis Obliterata)
  9. Florist’s Mum (Chruanthemum Morifolium)
  10. Gerbera Daisy (Gerbera Jamesonii)

I also realized that I have seen many interior photographs of kitchens with potted herbs growing on the window sills. Were those plants placed in that location just for the photo or can one really grow herbs on a window sill? Again, I turned to my Natural Home & Garden magazine and there was an on-line article regarding herbs. Four Easy herbs To Grow for an Indoor Garden. Not all herbs can survive let alone grow next to the chill of a pane of glass. This article shares which are the hardiest as well as some recipes.

I am not an expert on interior plants, but I do know that plants can greatly improve our indoor air quality as well as add significant texture, color and visual stimuli to our interiors. If this blog encourages you to purchase some interior plants, please choose organic and locally cultivated varieties. As always, if you have any thoughts or questions you can email me at design@lmkinteirorsltd.com.

Comments (3)

Observations & Inspiration

Almost every Monday, Wednesday and Friday morning you can find me walking around my town between the hours of 6:30 am and 8:30 am. I do this as my form of exercise, but it also is an opportunity for me to “see” the things in my neighborhood and town up close. I am usually driving to most of my destinations and attempts to keep my eyes solely on the road fail me as my eyes wander off to look at things I had observed earlier in the day. An addition being built on a house I have admired, a new garden being planted, a house getting a fresh coat of paint color, a fence with a very attractive detail, the seasonal changes of the foliage and flora, etc. It makes me feel connected to my environment by being observant.

This past month, I travelled to Paris, France to visit with my son who has been studying in Germany since April. He flew to Paris to travel around with my father and I for the better part of a week. I had planned the trip as a whirlwind museum tour  to seek inspiration. We had been to Paris for a few days about 18 years ago and seen the Louvre, Notre Dame, the Arch de Triomphe and a few other destinations, but this time around I had created an excel spread sheet of all of the additional sights I wanted to visit. Each day was packed with visiting at least three destinations: museum, Cathedral or monument. My intention for this trip included: being able to spend some valuable time with my son and father, to enjoy being in Paris in the summer time, walking the streets of Paris and being able to take in all that it had to offer and seek inspiration from my observations to bring back to my personal and business life.

Day One:

Saint Chapelle – gorgeous stained glass windows and golden statues.

Notre Dame – of course, the stained glass rose windows, but also the magnitude of the structure both inside and out impressed me yet again.

Centre Georges Pompidou – I loved all of the contemporary artwork. I was surprised as we ascended to the top of the museum on the exterior escalator and found we were listening to Mickey Hart’s (of the Grateful Dead) recording of Sacred chants of the Gyuoto Monks Tantric Choir! It fit the environment so well. I think I photographed every piece in the museum!

Musee des Arts Decoratifs – Ralph Lauren’s car exhibit (August and I sneaked in as we did not have a special ticket) and the amazing jewelry display upstairs.   

   Saint Chapelle    Doors of Notre Dame                         

   Centre Pompidou    Musee des Arts Decoratifs

Day Two: 

Seine Cruise – the best way to get a feel for all of the buildings and sights along the river. We even witnessed an intense work out class.

Musee Quai Branly – the most interesting contemporary/organic structure with an amazing collection of indigenous art from Africa, Asia, Oceania and the Americas.

Eiffel Tower – where I had the best chocolate croissant EVER! Oh yes, and the views were breath taking…

Palais de Tokyo – another contemporary museum. They were in the process of installing new exhibits, so we did not go into the museum. However, we explored their great bookstore. I purchased a book on Paris Design.

             Seine Cruise  Musee Quai Branly

            Eiffel Tower  Palais de Tokyo

Day Three:

Musee d’Orsay – Beautiful and inspiring! The building, the Tea Room and the artwork were just wonderful. (No photos allowed).

Espace Montmarte – Salvitor Dali – I LOVE DALI! What a wild man.

Sacre Coeur – We arrived to hear the nuns singing and afterwards sat on the steps watching street performers and looking at the views of Paris. I purchased a small watercolor painting by one of the talented artists in the square which I must get framed.

Musee d'Orsay Salvador Dali Sacre Coeur

Day Four:

Arc de Triomphe – the elevator was not working, so August and I climb the 250 spiral stairs to the top! Talk about a cardio work out first thing in the morning.

Musee Jacquemart and Andre – over the top residence of famous art collecting couple. The interiors were spectacular, the artwork – amazing and the furnishings – incredible.

   Arc de Triomphe  Musee Jacquemart and Andre

Day Five:

Versailles – Spent the entire day enjoying the Palace (amazing), eating the best lunch in my life at Angelina’s, and then touring the gardens (with classical music playing throughout).

  Versailles - Hall of Mirrors lunch at Angelina's

  Versailles - gardens Versailles - gardens

We dined at wonderful cafes and bistros enjoying French onion soup, cheese platters, hot chocolates, crepes, foie gras, escargot, macaroons, champagnes, decadent desserts, and even pizza. We travelled on the metro and bus to all of our destinations. We stayed near the Louvre in a boutique hotel with a very personable staff that were helpful when we needed guidance. Paris is an easy city to navigate, so it made seeking our destinations uncomplicated.

I can only speak for my visit, but I had a fantastic time and returned home filled with inspiration not only from the sights we saw, but also the experience of travelling to a foreign country (where I don’t speak the language) and really engaging all of my senses and being open to the experiences that unfolded. I look forward to incorporating some of my observations into client projects and to another visit to Paris. Perhaps this next time will be spent just walking the city blocks and observing, the way I do each week here in my own hometown.

If you would like to see more images from my travels to Paris, check out my FaceBook page  lmk interiors, ltd. or email me at design@lmkinteriorsltd.com.

Comments (4)

Great Resources: magazines to the internet

It started with my mother’s Better Homes and Gardens back in the late 60’s early 70’s. Thumbing through them after she had finished looking at that month’s issue. Cutting out the pages of things I had liked and anticipating applying the ideas in my first apartment. I would make collages with images based on color. Pages of things of various shades of blues, greens and of course – purples. I never really liked oranges, yellows or reds – back then…

After I had graduated from design school and moved to Massachusetts, I began receiving my own issues of Better Homes and Garden each month in the mail. I then added Metropolitan Home and Architectural Digest. Martha Stewart came and went and as I glance over at the bookcase in my office now: stacks of Home, Domino (2005-2009) and House and Garden date back to 2006. The largest collection is Natural Home from May 2007 to this month’s issue. I also have an IKEA brochure for each year dating back to 2006.

lmk interiors, ltd. bookcase            lmk interiors, ltd. close up magazines

I love turning the pages and looking through old as well as contemporary issues. It offers inspiration for layouts, color palettes and overall design that I can share with clients. The only difference now is that I can view most of the magazines I have mentioned on the internet. I only subscribe to one magazine: Natural Home and Garden.

Several of these magazines are no longer published nor do they have websites, but I did want to share a few that I enjoy viewing. On any of these sites you can type in green interior design, eco-friendly design or sustainable design in the search window and find a wealth of ideas.

Metropolitan Home ceased publication in 2009, but a website with all of the archived issues and new inspirations can be found at http://www.elledecor.com/. The plus: there are so many categories to find a multitude of ideas; the negative: one can get lost on the website for HOURS! I find this to be true on most of the following websites. My advice is to limit your searches to an hour at a time.

http://www.bhg.com/ (Better Home and Gardens)http://www.architecturaldigest.com/                     http://www.marthastewart.com/                             http://www.traditionalhome.com/                               http://www.housebeautiful.com/                                        http://www.dwell.com/                                                 http://www.realsimple.com/ (I do look at this at the checkout register in the grocery store when they have an issue on the stands)http://www.naturalhomeandgarden.com/

                          Natural Home and Garden magazine issues

As I have shared, my Natural Home and Garden magazine is my largest collection. Mainly because it offers a wealth of information on green design. It showcases renovations and new construction as well as providing information on sustainable and recycled products for use in the home as building materials and purposeful  and decorative products. I enjoy using their website, but I still love turning the pages and dog-earring things I like and might use on my next project!

Through Facebook I have found some great websites (blogs) that keep me posted with innovative products and design ideas as well. By subscribing to them, I get their posts on my news feed and can click for the latest informative tidbit.

http://inhabitat.com/                                                      http://groovygreenlivin.com/                                   http://www.hipmomsgogreen.com/                     http://www.GoGreenWebDirectory.com/

I enjoy sharing these sites with you. If you have any questions, you can always contact me at design@lmkinteriorsltd.com or (978)335-1140.

Comments (3)

Older Posts »
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.