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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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Thursday, May 29th, 2014

Designer Interview: Brad Musuraca, Owner of Tronk Design

Becky

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After graduating from The University of Cincinnati with a degree in classics,  Brad Musuraca  noticed his friends in the architecture school working on their final furniture-building projects, and thought that it looked like a lot of fun. He carved out a spot in his family’s factory to start experimenting during his free time outside of working there, working with wood and metal and creating prototypes. This led to him starting his own  furniture company, Tronk Design.  Here’s more about how he got his start, his design process and advice for budding designers. Thanks to Brad for answering our questions today.


Tronk Design Hudson Table with Inlay

What was the first piece of furniture you ever built?

The very first piece I ever built was a tall long thin table you might put in a hallway and throw your keys on it as you came into the house. It was very simple because I only had one machine, so the wood came from Lowes and I stained it, trying to make it NOT look like cheap pine. It’s actually still around in my Dad’s office.
Cincinnati is chock full of great design history — are there any examples of local designers/designs  that inspire you in particular?

Honestly I really like Charley Harper, as does everyone I suppose. I actually tried to get in touch with their studio to see if I could integrate some of his iconic animal designs into my furniture. Nothing happened with that, but I’m still holding out hope.

Your work has the vibe of a contemporary take on mid-century modern. What are some of your favorite elements/principles from that era that you like to use in your work today?

I try and keep the furniture as slim and elegant as possible without sacrificing functionality. Yes it is very minimalistic, but each item has something subtle that adds a little pop to catch the eye. Ultimately mid-century furniture was designed to be high quality, but also able to be mass produced.
Can you walk us through your process a bit, from the time you get an idea to the finished piece of furniture?

I’d like to start off by saying that I tend to have a bit of an obsessive personality.  I will literally think about a new product idea non-stop for days. I have a long list of ideas sitting on my desk that honestly, I will probably never get to make. Usually I just end up making the latest idea that pops into my head.
It starts off with a prototype, roughly fashioned with cheap wood from the hardware store. Then I’ll make whatever changes I would like from there, because nothing ever seems to look exactly as you imagined it. Once that is done I’ll make another prototype out of cheap wood, but this time do all the joints properly to see what it will actually be like in reality to make the thing. If that goes well then I’ll make all the appropriate jigs and make another prototype out of slightly better wood, which I usually stain to get a feel for the color of the final piece. This prototype inevitably ends up in my house. Finally I’ll make the real deal and make up a manufacturing direction sheet from everything I just learned through the prototyping process. A lot more methodical work than inspiration, unfortunately!


I love the way the Franklin Shelf works a corner — how did you come up with that?
I just wanted to design some type of shelf that fit into a corner. I went through all the usual suspects you would imagine. Then I thought “well, what if it was just a flat board in an L shape?” Then I figured it would need support so I added another shelf and connected them. Then I thought it would be interesting if they could stack, so I added another shelf on top, which  gave me 3 layers of shelving. Then I thought that if the user wanted to put something on the shelf that was larger than 10″ in height, they would have a problem. So I made one side of the top shelf a little shorter than the shelf below it — this created a little shelf where you can put a vase or something else a little taller. Then for the sake of symmetry I did the same thing to the opposite side of the bottom shelf.

Do you have any advice for budding furniture designers about running their own shops?

Be prepared to work 60+ hour weeks for little or no pay, and focus on PR.

What do you have on the boards next?

Trade secret :)
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Wednesday, May 28th, 2014

Designer Process: Silkscreening With Thomas Paul

Becky

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Today we’re going to take a trip to India, and you don’t need to fight over all of your vintage Louis Vuitton luggage with your siblings ala The Darjeerling Limited beforehand. Designer Thomas Paul is taking us through the steps of how his dynamic prints come to life through the ancient art of silkscreening. I have many Thomas Paul items around my house, including a version of this amazing octopus shower curtain, and as I type, my elbow is resting upon a Thomas Paul Zebra pillow. After seeing exactly what goes into creating his pieces, I am even more of a fan. I hope you enjoy this virtual field trip, and thanks to Thomas for taking us on it!

Thomas Paul Octopus Vineyard Shower Curtain

The final product: The Octopus Vineyard Shower Curtain. This shower curtain requires a four color process.

Thomas Paul

1) The design is printed on vellum.

Thomas Paul

2) The screens are shot, one screen per color, and then washed to reveal the design.

Thomas Paul

3) The screens are dried.

Thomas Paul

4) Swatches are chosen.

5) Colors are mixed.

Thomas Paul

6)  The fabric is laid out smooth for printing.

Thomas Paul

7) The screens are inked.

Thomas Paul

8) The screens are cleaned.

9) Ink is pulled through the design onto the fabric

Thomas Paul

10) The process is repeated along the length of the fabric, one screen per color.

Thanks so much to Thomas Paul for providing us with the art and process. If you’d like to see more of his designs, browse all Thomas Paul here.

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