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Thursday, February 13th, 2014

Fresh Decorating Ideas for Valentine’s Day

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Please welcome Jennifer Lutz, a home décor stylist and author of Christmas Tree Market Blog. Jennifer has some hints for sprucing up your Valentine’s Day décor tomorrow, without all the usual hearts and doilies. Please take it away Jennifer, and help us get our homes gussied up and festive in a more modern way!

Decorating for the holidays is an opportunity to create a display that’s all your own. However, with a holiday like Valentine’s Day, it can be all too easy to fall into the trap of frills, lace, and paper hearts. Put a more modern, subtle twist to your Valentine’s Day décor this year with these simple yet lovely DIY home decorating ideas.

Photo by Jennifer Lutz

Create a Valentine’s Day Mantel Display

The living room is the perfect place to decorate for Valentine’s Day—there’s enough space that you can create a Valentine’s Day look without overwhelming your family or guests. To create your perfect Valentine’s Day mantel, try using any of these charming home décor ideas.

Photo by Jennifer Lutz

Combine Books and Flowers

Placing books and flowers on your mantel makes for an elegant yet affordable Valentine set-up. Display some of your books with their spines upright on your mantel as you would on your bookshelf. Then, place some tulips inside a mason jar filled with water, and display them next to the books to create a simple Valentine’s Day decoration. For a more traditional but still low-key look, books with red and pink spines, or even stories themed around love, would be a sweet touch. You can also add more visual interest if you place some books lying down and then putting a clock or a photo on top of the stack.

Photo by Jennifer Lutz

Utilize Twigs and Vases

Another Valentine idea is to bring the outside in. Grab a handful of twigs lying around in your yard, and place them in tall hurricane glasses or vases. Fill up the vases with white beads or decorative balls to keep your twigs upright, then place them anywhere on your mantel. For balance, ready two twig vases and place them on both ends of your mantel. This look works not only for Valentine’s Day, but for winter décor as well.

Photo by Jennifer Lutz

Drape a Valentine’s Day-themed Garland

Make your Valentine display even prettier with a DIY garland. Buy some red and white pompoms at your local store, and use baker’s twine to string them together. Simple and adorable, this garland ties the Valentine’s Day theme together.

Make Use of Candles

Round out your Valentine’s Day display with candles. Place candles of various sizes along the length of your mantel to create some more visual texture. You can stick with white candles, or if you prefer to give your display a Valentine boost, use red or pink candles.

Please share your favorite Valentine’s Day decorating in the Comments section!

-Jennifer Lutz

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Monday, October 7th, 2013

Guest Post: Designer Interview with turnstone’s Jenny Gauld

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Recently, writer Carla Turk had a chance to pick turnstone designer Jenny Gauld’s brain about how the process of designing a harmonious functional office works. Take it away Carla and Jenny!

Turnstone Bivi Holders

So how does this process begin? In any design project, it all starts with a good set of questions. It is about finding solutions to your needs, discussing how you want to use your space, the type of storage requirements and how to use color and materials to support your brand. The budget, move-in schedule and any other pertinent details are addressed at this point. This is about you and how you want your space to be.

It also starts with your vision. There are online tools you can use to create an overall scheme or get a better idea of what you like, such as Pinterest or turnstone’s past work.  I’ve known designers take their clients to check out spaces that might be in line with what they are looking for. Co-working spaces are also good places to visit since they have the same amenities as an office: open and private spaces, break room and copy/print areas.

Turnstone Bivi Rumble Seat

What are the office trends you’ve seen/designed in projects that you’ve completed recently? Startups tend to create a workplace that speaks so vividly about their culture, foster a tight community and exude fun. An office is traditionally where we collaborate, meet with clients and facilitate our day to day business. With planning furniture, we can help foster activities that will encourage interactions like dotting the space with comfortable soft seating to capture a sense of your home’s living room or a communal table to get everyone to each lunch together. It is about culture and how to stay true to it everyday.

Turnstone Scoop Stools

Supporting different postures is becoming important in the office. Almost everyone works from their laptop and being mobile is a common activity in the office. Allowing different seat heights, ranging from standard seat to stool and bar height chairs, allows you to move around and support posture.

Turnstone Buoy Chair in Chili Red

We are pretty content with my existing reclaimed furniture. Does design really matter?Of course it does! Your office is where you create, collaborate and reach project milestones. But it’s not only about having a space conducive to productivity, it is creating an inspiring and comfortable space to share with peers who you spend most of your time with.  Just take a look at Fracture. A company which started with randomly placed “reclaimed” furniture, but has taken the big step by creating a well-organized and branded space. It brought a sense of ownership and a positive future.

Fracture's Offices

Letting go of the reclaimed furniture is a big step. But if you are serious about your company and its future, I believe it is time to outgrow the hand-me-downs and invest in the tools to help your business grow.


Inspired? Shop our Steelcase sale now through 10/14/2013


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Friday, August 2nd, 2013

Guest Post: Designing a Succulent and Herb Garden on the Patio

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Elana Joelle Hendler of EJH Brand made it her summer goal to shape up her patio along her patio along the Venice, California canals just in time for summer. Here’s how it went down:

The goal: Decorate my beautiful flagstone patio with lively green colors, fresh herbs and fragrant aromas.
Theme: West Coast casual chic.
Additional goal: Appease my utter obsession with succulent decor by adding arrangements lining the house and in accent pots.

Succulents: When I moved to Venice, I was so inspired by the succulent decor you can find practically everywhere around here that I started incorporating it into the branded look for my business, including a live EJH succulent wall. I haven’t looked back since. They are an excellent patio choice because visually, they are fascinating, offering a variety of shapes, textures, colors, and sizes. They are also very low maintenance.

How I used them: First, I bought large pots in three different sizes to create a sense of high and low. This is a great way to break up the monotony of a space. I planted several different types of succulents with different shapes and colors to create elements of a dynamic dessert garden on my patio. Then, I used the same varieties and planted them on the border of the house and covered the dirt with red and white rocks to hide the dirt and add texture.

Herbs: By complete coincidence, I choose plants that are actually accounted for as essential oil candles in my EJH Signature Candle Collection. When shopping the nursery, I was immediately drawn to the Greek sage. From a distance, it looked like lavender but as I came closer I could see the beautiful soft and fuzzy texture of the leaves with pretty purple flowers.

Benefits of sage: Beautiful seasonal flowers, pretty leaves, medicinally used for centuries to cure so many ailments from skin to memory loss and is also great for culinary enthusiasts. Grab a few leaves and throw them into your fresh soups and meat dishes. If you’re not going to cook, you can always just enjoy how lovely they look on your patio on a warm summer day.

Next, I headed over the rosemary and lavender.  There is no better way to make your patio feel like a spa retreat like lavender. Not only does it add a chic rustic look, they smell wonderful and promote calm. Cut off a few sprigs and tie them together with a string and place them around the house next to the bathtub.

Table Top: Last, I planted some fresh oregano and chocolate mint leaves in shiny silver pots to decorate the patio table. I’m not one for overly ambitious patio table decor, so for me, the fresh herbs and a lavender candle to light on summer nights is all I need to enjoy the summer at home, in style, on my patio!

What’s on your patio this summer?

Shop all of Elana’s creations at EJH Brand

All photos by Elana Joelle Hendler

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Monday, May 20th, 2013

Guest Post: Contemporary Venetian Style

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Please welcome to architect, interior designer and blogger Elisabetta Rizzato, who will be taking us on a trip to her hometown of Venice, Italy, where we’ll stop by some of her favorite haunts to check out contemporary Ventian style.

In the eyes of a careless observer, the city of Venice might seem like a place that has remained unchanged over the centuries: waterways, streets (“calli”), ancient buildings, everything seems to be indifferent to the passage of time.

But there are many examples of how Venice shows its link with contemporary times: In new architectures, places, commercial activities, art, design and in the people who live and study there. In particular, I would like to talk about some shops in Venice that either demonstrate modernity while maintaining continuity with the past or that have a clear break with the past.

The first category includes numerous examples of how old products or new interpretations of old forms are reproduced and sold in our times; one of the most interesting examples is certainly Venetia Studium, whose main store is located a few steps from San Marco square. Venetia Studium speaks the ancient language of elegance and good taste – rich fabrics, high craftsmanship and attention to detail are the characteristics of the products sold in the store, with a wide range of home furnishings and clothing accessories .


The store also contains the famous Fortuny lamp. A timeless design object, it’s a floor lamp that turned 100 years old in 2007. It was designed by Marià Fortuny Madrazo, also known by the name Mariano Fortuny (Granada, May 11, 1871 – Venice, May 3, 1949), a Spanish painter, designer and set designer. The lamp is considered as one of the most interesting products in the history of industrial design and it has revolutionized the world of lighting, thanks to the special lighting effect it produces – the bulb is turned inward and is projected on a fabric used for reflection. More than a lamp it is a great light projector, which in its dynamic lines evokes a confidence in the future and modernity that make it contemporary.

I stumbled by chance in an upcoming opening of the new store, located on a street side to the Peggy Guggenheim museum:


A shop that always attracts my attention for its clean cut from the past is called Fiorella Gallery and is located at the corner of Campo Santo Stefano, a short walk from the Accademia Bridge. From its windows you can perceive the huge contrast with the surrounding environment: – bright colors, neon and works of irreverent art appear from the traditional architectures of plaster and brick of the field.

Inside, there are unique pieces from contemporary artists and irreverent designers, including works by Gaetano Pesce, Ettore Sottsass, Rod Dudley, Still and works of the owner, Fiorella Mancini. The store has been around since the 1960s and has a very interesting history.


To see more of Elisabetta’s beautiful inspirations and learn more about her work, be sure to visit er interior design.

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Tuesday, November 15th, 2011

Guest Post: DIY Ideas to Freshen Your Throwaway Furniture

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Hi Everyone! We know you may be over here shopping for new furniture, but here at Design Public, we love to mix old and new. So while you peruse for the perfect wallpaper or a new big boy bed, consider pieces you may already own to go with them. Here’s Alex Levin , a writer for Granite Transformations (a green remodeling company that advances sustainable construction practices reducing waste and recycling, such as using broken Skyy vodka bottles to make countertops), with some helpful hints about how to re-use and repurpose. take it away Alex!


In today’s economy, replacing outdated, broken or just plain ugly furniture isn’t always affordable. Furthermore, tossing old furniture also costs the earth. Learn to look beyond the finish of a piece of furniture to reveal the construction, design and material underneath. Here are some ideas to get your started.
Potential Projects:
Lightening up old pieces: Worried that your dark brown antique buffet table will look out of place in your new home – but you love the shape? Paint it a bright bold color that will play off other items in the room and throughout  your home.
Freshen up a wardrobe: Strip, sand and paint one white for child’s room. Add funky hardware (knobs and pulls can be changed out as your kids grow up).
Reupholster a sofa or chairs: Choose a fabric you like, and find a matching glossy paint for the wood frame and legs. You’ll need ribbon and adhesive glue to keep it in place, upholstery tacks and a staple gun.
Wooden tables, desks and cupboards. Whether you want to paint or sand down to restore the original finish is up to you. Kitchen cupboards gain a whole new lease of life through simple repainting, while desks can look completely
different through a coat of gloss and a new stencil design.
Getting Started
1. Evaluate your existing furniture. Make necessary repairs; fix wobbly legs, fill cracks, and take care of any other structural problems.
2. Look at the finish. Assess if you need to strip and sand before refinishing/painting.
3. Gather supplies. Round up everything from the dust cover to protect the floor to the paintbrush. You may need to purchase a few safety items, like gloves and goggles.
4. Choose a workspace. Factor in the weather, ventilation, and upcoming  in-law visits.
Upcycling: Repurpose an Old Item  to Make Something New
Here are a few ideas:
  • Place an old door atop two filing cabinets to create a hard-working desk.
  • Turn plastic bottles into chandeliers
  • Make an Adirondack chair from old baseball bats
  • Turn an iron into a bedside lamp for a unique retro look
  • Transform a clawfoot bathtub into a sofa
  • Turn a discarded dishwasher drum into a modern coffee table
Refurbishing old furniture is easier than you think, and is also a lot of fun. A few quick fixes can help your inherited old pieces fit into contemporary surroundings, save you cash and save the planet.
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