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Thursday, July 31st, 2014

The Trustees of the Reservation Part I: A Visit to World’s End

Becky

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Last week I was lucky enough to travel up to the coast of Massachusetts and visit some wonderful places. Thanks to the Trustees of the Reservation, 100 sites and 25,000 acres of land have been conserved. They manage a wide variety of sites, from the National Historic Site of Naumkeag, with it’s amazing gardens designed by Fletcher Steele, to more than 5 miles of trails through the dunes and greater site surrounding Crane’s Beach on the North Shore of Boston.

photo - The Trustees of the Reservation

I was able to visit two remarkable sites maintained by the Trustees of the Reservation. The first is an all-time favorite, World’s End in Hingham. This amazing site is a glaciated landscape consisting of four drumlins that jut out into Boston harbor. Way back in the day, Frederick Law Olmsted designed carriage paths lined with oak allees,when the site was slated for subdivision. Luckily that, plans for the UN headquarters, a potential nuclear power plant and who knows what else were all thwarted, and World’s End remains and incredibly beautiful spot for hiking and picnicking. There is a rugged cliff trail and a panoramic view of the Boston skyline, Hingham harbor and the town of Hull from its highest points.

There is so much more to maintaining these properties than mowing the grass. This modern birdwatching blind is a recent addition at World’s End. Recently, the adjacent salt marsh it looks out upon was completely rehabilitated. I love to spy egrets here.

Once dammed up and blocked from the harbor, the marsh had filled in and become overrun with invasive plants. A recent project was taking out the dams and reestablishing the marsh. The new bridge at the far end of this photo replaced the dam.

On my last visit this deer and her mother crossed right in front of me on a walking path. The 251 acre site is a wonderful habitat for all sorts of wildlife.

From atop the highest drumlin, you can spy the skyline of Boston in the distance.

For more information on visiting properties protected by The Trustees of the Reservation or leaving a donation to help them keep up the good work, visit thetrustees.org. To see more photos from my trip, check out Design Public on Instagram.

Our next visit will be to Norris Reservation in Norwell Massachusetts, which abuts the scenic North River. Stay tuned.

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Monday, July 28th, 2014

Sale! 20% off iittala

Becky

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You have approximately one week to scoop up great deals on iittala — our 20% off sale ends on August 5th, 2014.

In case you are unfamiliar with iittala, it’s a brand that offers many iconic pieces for design lovers, from hand-blown glass birds designed by Oiva Toikka to classic vases by Alvar Aalto.

iittala Toikka Barn Owl

By the way, in case you were wondering about the man who behind the birds, this is Oiva Toikka:

But there is so much more to iittala than just the coolest glass birds around. It’s my go-to for host/hostess and wedding gifts. When there’s a sale like this, I like to stock up. Don’t tell my friends, but my standing wedding gift for everyone I ever met in architecture school is an Aalto vase. I like to scoop up a few when I can save 20%.

Kaj Franck’s Kartio Carafe

Of course, don’t feel like you have to buy stuff for other people. When there’s a sale, it’s an even better justification to shop just for yourself. The simplicity of Kaj Franck’s Kartio Carafe will please you minimalists and fans of all things Finnish.

iittala Sarpaneva 2.9 Cast Iron Casserole

The iittala  Sarpaneva 2.9 quart Cast Iron Casserole with the wooden handle will become your favorite piece of cookware, and you’ll leave it out on the stovetop 24/7 just to show it off. I gave one to my very picky impeccable Aunt Sally Wittenberg many years ago and it is always out on her stove. And Aunt Sally was never one to just leave things on the stove that weren’t in use.

Even if you’re just looking up to pick up a little something, there’s something special from iittala. My choice is the iittala Kastehlmi in light blue. The little beads make this such an elegant and charming piece.  While it is practical glassware, I’m thinking it’s going on my nightstand to corral my watch and jewelry, or perhaps with one floating flower in it.

But don’t let me tell you what to buy, go shop the sale yourself!

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Wednesday, July 16th, 2014

Designer Interview: Sarah Jane Studios

Becky

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We are so excited to announce the launch of a collaboration made in heaven. Illustrator Sarah Jane of Sarah Jane Studios has teamed up with Pop & Lolli to bring her charming and whimsical creations to removable fabric wallpapers and decals.
Pop & Lolli founder Mia Viljoen first fell in love with Sarah Jane’s work when her daughters’ South African grandmother made them matching dresses from Sarah Jane’s fabric. She then realized the charming illustrations would make brilliantly gorgeous wall decor, decals and wallpaper .
Today we’re sitting down with Sarah Jane to learn more about her inspirations for this charming collection. Thanks so much to Sarah Jane for sharing her thoughts and inspirations with us!
PHOTO CREDIT: Tara B Photography
How does this collaboration differ from others you’ve done before? My products in the past mostly have been created here at Sarah Jane Studios. My fabric that I design is a collaboration … a licensing relationship. And this one is just that. I love that I can design for Pop & Lolli while still keeping the Sarah Jane esthetic as a strong brand. This collaboration is different in that I am actually able to sell and market the wallpaper myself as well, which I get really excited about. I love being directly involved with the customer!
What’s it like to go from prints and textiles to wallpapers and decals? Is your approach any different? If so, in what way? From textiles, wallpaper is an easy translation. Most of my wallpapers are directly from my fabric collections. My approach with the wall decals took a bit more preparation. It was a matter of in some cases redrawing the illustrations to fit the end result of being enlarged and used separately.
How can parents help keep the magic of childhood alive the way your illustrations do? Creating creative spaces for children is key. Children live in their imaginations, and will do that naturally regardless of their environment….for a time. Keeping their spaces a live with color, design and story is what keeps that whimsical thinking an ongoing experience for them. I’ve also found that when  children’s space is designed with creative play in mind, the parents are more likely to engage in that play as well. Fostering creative play is always easier when the space is fun, colorful, and whimsical first.
What inspired this collection? Is there a particular message seen in it you’d like to reiterate? What does this message mean to you? Simple, imaginative play inspires most of my designs. I am a firm believer in letting children be children. Not growing them up too fast. The world does a pretty good job of that already. Children parading around with balloons and bugles, mermaids that seem classic and timeless, and children riding bareback through an open field might seem unrelated in context. But in feeling, it’s the same. Let children imagine themselves without boundaries, keeping play simple and creative and imagining themselves in the art.
But on top of that, I also care greatly about making sure that a children’s space is in line with the design-minded parents. Color that’s fresh, line work that’s simple and expressive. The parents have to love it too!
Thanks so much Sarah Jane! We’re so excited that everyone who makes a Pop & Lolli purchase will be entered to win a $50 gift card from Design Public, now through August 8, 2014, so be sure to check out all things Pop & Lolli.
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Thursday, June 19th, 2014

Get Your Wallpaper On! Brown and Graham is 30% Off

Becky

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Now through June 30, 2014, Graham and Brown’s stunning wallpapers are up to 30% off at Design Public. If you’ve been considering wallpaper, now is the time to commit!

In case you are not familiar with this excellent  company, they have been around since 1946, collaborating with stellar designers to create unique wallpaper designs that are not for the meek. Here is just a small sample of the variety available from Graham and Brown.

Jubilee by Graham and Brown

Jubilee is for those of you who long for London; this jolly good paper is full of 1950s icons from the fair city.

Trippy by Graham and Brown

Trippy has become an icon on its own, a favorite of artistic directors and set designers. It has shown up on period movies and TV shows from the sixties, seventies and eighties. It’s funky print can bring big retro style to any room of the house. Cover everything from all the walls to the ceiling, or go more subtle with just one accent wall.

Concrete Script by Graham and Brown

Script is full of words rendered in a lovely cursive,on a paper that mimics the patina of concrete. Think of it as calligraphy meets graffiti.

Steve Leung Jiao for Graham and Brown

Steve Leung Jiao will bring a climbing botanical garden into your home, flickering with subtle metallic flecks. By the way, Graham and Brown has all sorts of botanical designs, from bold and modern to something straight out of a sweet English country home.

Contour Spa by Graham and Brown

Contour Spa gives a geometric look that works well with styles from mid-century modern to contemporary to eclectic.

To find out more information about any of these wallpapers, simply click on the photos to link to their product pages.

Shop all Graham and Brown

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Friday, June 13th, 2014

5 Fantastic Houseboats and Floating Houses

Becky

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There is something so romantic about a floating house. Maybe it’s because we imagine a sweet widower played by Tom Hanks and his precocious son living in one in Seattle. I don’t know, what do you think? Anyway, I’ve found myself collecting images of float houses and houseboats on Pinterest lately and searching out float house designers to interview at my other gig over at Houzz. Here are five that caught my eye.

by flickr member _wim_

This brightly-colored houseboat has an ingenious turf roof. And yellow and blue make (grass) green. Simply charming in its simplicity and color palette.

via Dyna Contracting

Float houses are different than houseboats in that you don’t actually drive them around the bay. They are tugged to their slips, usually in float house ‘hoods and give a whole new meaning to living on the water — literal one. This one, designed by Ninebark Design Build and built by Dyna Contracting has one bedroom and one bathroom and a wonderful open living space with big views.

photo by Marcus Peabody

It was a little hard to track down much information about this house as I fell down a Pinterest rabbit hole trying to find out more, which led to nowhere. However, thanks to Google reverse search (thank you “Catfish” for helping me learn how to use that), it seems it was posted by inspiration green in a blog post. The cabin floats atop Perry Creek, near the island of Vinalhaven, Maine. I’ll have to look for it this summer when I’m up there. I love the way they have created a container garden out in the middle of the water around their float home!

This amazing home in Portland, Oregon got its 15 minutes of fame on a recent episode of Portlandia. It was designed by architect Robert O’Shatz, who is a master of organic architecture. It was in the episode featuring Steve Buscemi as The Celery Guy and served as evil Bacon’s house.

When I was visiting some friends who moor their boat in Georgetown, Maine last summer, I was struck by these romantic little float houses you can rent. They are towed out into the harbor at Robinhood Marina. I’d love to wake up surrounded by this beautiful place. Click here for more information on renting a snug little floating house.

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