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27 April 2011

Treehouse = freedom!

Now, I don't know if this is because of Swiss Family Robinson or what but I've always loved the tree house aesthetic, which to me means textured woods of every kind, shades of green and blue, white tile (click here to see the post where I found the above apartment.) It's that fun you're on an adventure and you find a tree that you want to sleep in for the night. You love the nook in the tree so much you decide to camp out for a week. During that week you fall in love with the local Tarzan and you guys shack up there and it turns into your forever house.

About 5 years ago, HGTV had this feature about a giant beach house in Hawaii owned by these wealthy socialites and it was completely open on the side facing the shore. I remember the house had this sort of fireman's pole that the kids could slide down to get from the second floor to the first, and I loved all of it because of that we're-havin'-an-adventure! feeling. They must have had a way to close it up at night, but I think I'd be too paranoid to have a house that was just open. It's laughable thinking how that would go over in Minnesota, with mosquitos in the summer, puffs of leafy winds in autumn and relentless blizzards in winter. I'll have to find another way to get the tree house feeling, but I loved that feature.

One of my good friends in elementary school had architects for parents, Zuber Architects, Inc., and they had this lake cabin which was a tiny one bedroom but it had a loft in the living room where the kids slept. The only way to get up there was this big wooden ladder. The thing I loved about it was this lever/pulley system with a basket that went up along the ladder, right next to it. We hauled books and snacks up there. We put the stuff in the basket, pulled the rope until the basket was at the top, climbed the ladder and voila. It was all very Treasure Island. Brilliant!

The Swiss Family Robinson Tree House in Disney Land, California.
I remember going when I was about 5 with my Aunt Marilyn.

My friend Liz's parent's house is built on this hill, so the back of the house, where this nice deck is, is level with the treetops in the backyard. It's amazing. You feel like a squirrel when you sit on their deck. is my birthday and I would like to celebrate with a little Toothpaste for Dinner.

26 April 2011

So In Love

I love everything about this bathroom that Apartment Therapy showcased in their Bold & Beautiful Bathrooms post. What do I love exactly? The deep porcelain tub, the painted wood floor and white rug - the general overwhelming use of white - the gray curtains and that chandelier. I love when chandeliers are used with a shabby motif. Like a complex crystal chandelier hanging above an old table with the paint chipping off of it, for example. Love that stuff. I wonder if that could be described as Victorian Decay. Haha Anyways, ughhghghhgh. Frothing 'round the mouth over this bathroom.

This looks London chic, to me anyway. After taking a bath in this blessed tub, I'd throw on some Louboutin pumps and hit the town with Daisy Lowe and company.

25 March 2011

Little Girl Rooms

For some reason I can't stop thinking about my sister's children's rooms in their new house. They've been so busy with fundamental issues with moving in (they moved in in January) that my sister hasn't gotten the chance to unleash her mighty decorative powers to her full extent yet. So my imagination is going astray. The issue with the longest wall of the baby's room is that Alice's crib is up against it, so wisely, Beth doesn't want to hang anything above the crib in case it comes crashing down. Below are some ideas I've been piling up over the last week while I've been stewing over what to give Alice for her birthday.

The first idea I had is something that you have to be very careful about. If they're not done write, decals look cheap. But if you choose wisely, they're beautiful, classy and irreplaceable. Here are some examples I found that would be appropriate for a baby like Alice.

The first two I found on The Land of Nod, but the rest of the decals are from various suppliers on These little birds from Land of Nod are lined up so they look like they're perched around the rails of the crib or the child's headboard. They're so rich in detail and, since a lot of decals are easy to peel off and re-set, could be acceptable in a girl's room for a while. A lot of these decals are more baby-oriented though.

Decals range in price from $25 to $200 dollars, depending on the size mostly.

The important thing to remember is the colors can be adjusted in most cases.

LOVE the little elephants.

Meh. This one's a little cliche but still has that magestic allure.

This last one reminded me of the Tinkerbell movies.

The Land of Nod is my favorite online store when I'm shopping for small children and babies. It's my first stop if I need to buy a baby gift for work. I love the little growth charts they have, like this fairy chart below. Obviously these wouldn't hang above Alice's crib, but first I want to show how cute they are.

NOW back to the business of decorating the long wall with the crib against it. I thought these banners were sweet, Unfortunately the Alice letters aren't as pretty put together as the Madeline letters, but I don't think this banner would be difficult to make.

My niece Cora, Alice's older sister, would love these little hanging fairy mobiles. I'm not sure how they're fairies - they don't have wings. But I like that they're 3-D and colorful and have cute faces (see, the cute faces are key!)

More mobiles...
I love these little alphabet cards. The illustrations are adorable and the colors are vibrant.

I can see Beth getting creative with these Wall Flower cards.

Here's an example of what they look like hung up. They're pretty big, 8 x 10".
Again with the cute-faced mobile.

I found these vintage garlands made out of old sheets and random fabrics on the Lulou & Ada blog. I just love them. Think how you could modify this idea for party dinners and different themed table settings. I love the fabric flower banner below. I'm inspired! Thanks Lulou & Ada. :)

23 March 2011

The Not So Big House

I love these books by Sarah Susanka. My sister Beth introduced me to the series and we've been browsing through them at her house in Brooklyn Park, which I'll get into in another post. I'm particularly fond of Susanka's attention to detail and her appreciation for woodwork.

"The Not So Big House books by Sarah Susanka bring to light a new way of thinking about what makes a place feel like home—characteristics that many people desire of their homes and their lives, but haven't known how to verbalize.

How big is Not So Big? Not So Big doesn't mean small. It means not as big as you thought you needed. But as a rule of thumb, a Not So Big House is approximately a third smaller than your original goal but about the same price as your original budget. The magic is that although the house is smaller in square footage, it actually feels much bigger."

On her site she lists recommended readings. Here are a few I want to get to:

Get Your House Right by Marianne Cusato

The New Cottage Home by John Tolpin (reminds me of Tolken, especially after seeing the photo below in the book preview)

House as a Mirror of Self by Clare Cooper Marcus

The chapters in House as a Mirror of Self that I'm interested in are:

Chapter 2 - The Special Places of Childhood

Chapter 3 - Growing Up: Self-Expression in the Homes of Adulthood

Chapter 5 - Become More Fully Ourselves: Evolving Self-Image as Reflected in Our Homes

Chapter 8 - Where to Live? Self-Image and Location

Chapter 9 - The Lost House: Disruptions in the Bonding with Homes

Chapter 10 - Beyond the House-as-Ego: The Call of the Soul

20 March 2011

Speaking of strong women...

It hasn't failed my attention that the movies with houses I love always have strong, beautiful and feminine female leads. Clearly, I aim to be a strong beautiful woman who owns a strong beautiful home!

Speaking of Meryl Streep and warm climates, I was reminded of a source of inspiration for me that has nothing to do with interior design. I've always admired the style and bravado of Linda Kozlowski in Crocodile Dundee with her safari-chic wardrobe, casually perfect hair, sun kissed, rifle-wielding appeal.

I couldn't find a good photo, but I particularly love the white linen shirt with suspenders and dress with boots outfit. Accessories? Thin silver wrist watch and rifle. If it wasn't a 1986 film, where her home was set in jet-set New York City, I probably would have liked that character's home.

Dream House #2 - The "Out of Africa" House

I've always enjoyed a desert/safari-inspired style. I had a friend in elementary school whose parents were architects, and I remember they had statues of giraffes all over their house. It made a big impression on me.

I love Meryl Streep, and from a young age I've been familiar with Out of Africa. My mom used to play the soundtrack, and I've always remembered the scene in the beginning of the movie where she stands up to her husband at dinner when he tries to put her in her "place".

The thing about that movie that resonates with me is how she quietly commanded attention and respect. She was strong, beautiful, and the lady of her house. And the house was beautiful.