Real Rooms

Wednesday, April 1st, 2009

Photo Essay: A Few Design Favorites


Posted by Matt | View all posts by Matt

I’ve got a few favorite pieces of furniture and household items around my apartment and I thought it’d be fun to share them with you dear reader. Yes, a disclaimer is needed: some are Design Public items (gasp) but other are simple items that I’ve grown to love for either their sentimental value, ease of use or iconic simplicity. C’mon inside, let’s check em out! You can leave the shoes on.

First up are a pair of Danish inspired lounge chairs my grandparents passed on to me about 15 years ago when they moved from Connecticut to Florida. I imagine they date back to the 50’s.

Every time we visited Grandma and Grampa the chairs made an impression on me as they were upholstered with the NASTIEST orange plaid fabric. Now 6 year old kids usually don’t pay much attention to upholstery, but I assure you, this fabric was so ugly, it’d give any American youth nightmares for weeks. It must have been added in the 70’s when everything was orange.

Anyway, I was delighted when it was revealed that the 70’s era upholstering was removable and underneath revealed a super swank, silvery-tan fabric in absolutely perfect condition.  Very 50’s modernist. VERY jet setter. I can just imagine my grandparents entertaining back in the day, listening to Dean Martin and having a martini or two. Now they are situated in my living room.

If there was fire, I’d definitely grab these on the way out.

As you can see I’ve adored one of them with the obligatory fake sheep skin throw in effort to get the “Domino Magazine look”. All the women in my life seem to approve.

Moving on.

Here’s what I wake up to everyday –  a single beautiful flower. OK it’s fake flower but still, I think it’s very Zen of me. Also pictured are a Pablo Tube Top lamp, a Numbers Clock by Jonas Damon and of course a relic from my former life as a underpaid rock star: My Tom Anderson Classic Drop-Top strat.

Someone returned a Lights Up! Weegee lamp for whatever reason so guess what? I adopted it and it’s in my dining room now. I love this lamp, it DOMINATES. (Three drunken party goers could easily do the “head in a lamp” shade routine with this bad Larry!)

OK on a serious note. Here’s an item I cherish and use almost daily. A simple leather money clip my Dad gave me years ago. I’ve used it forever and I before it became mine my Dad used it forever. It’s got his initials on it. How slick is that?

This is a MAN’S money clip. It looks cool when you snag a few dead presidents out of it. Every time I use it I think of my Dad. Sometimes it’s the little things…

You probably can’t tell from the rest of the pictures, but I really like COLOR. Also, despite the one fake flower on my night table, I enjoy having and living things around me. Plants, some fresh flowers and yes, even a classic fruit bowl can have a positive affect on your daily frame of mind. Here’s a beautiful bowl from Desu Design that I picked up to frame some lemons. It’s called a “hug” bowl. I guess it hugs the lemons. I kinda need a hug right now…but I digress.

While we’re on the subject of citrus, I’d like to make a health announcement. Add a little lemon juice to your H20 everyday – it helps correct the PH levels in your body and detoxifies your liver or something. I saw it on the internets so I know it’s true. It also tastes really good.

OK Guitar #2. It doesn’t get more CLASSIC than this! This is the “Eames Lounge” of the guitar world: A three-tone sunburst 1962 Fender Stratocaster!

Alright I’ll admit it, mine’s a Reissue so it’s not “the real thing” but it’s pretty darn close. (The real thing would set you back several grand.) Anyway, the reissues are made EXACTLY the way the originals were. They even use crappy magnets and soldering techniques as they did in 60’s to make it even *more* authentic. When you use the whammy bar the B string goes out of tune every time (just like the real thing). I think that’s awesome.

Anyway I love this guitar. It’s built like tank. It there’s ever earthquake I’ll hoist this guitar overhead to deflect falling debris. (Then of course, if the house then catches fire I’ll proceed to the living room to rescue Grandma’s lounge chairs.)

Finally we have an item from my morning ritual: espresso. Although I’ve recently discovered the joys of sipping tea throughout the day, without a doubt, my day ALWAYS begins with an espresso. No lemon. No sugar. No cream. Apparently my great grandfather “Floriano” used to drink his with a shot of grappa but that’s a tradition I’ve yet to embrace.

I like this stove top espresso maker for its simplicity and ease of use. It takes about ten minutes from the time I start the burner to the time I have to jump up and to save it from boiling over. During this time I’m forced to sit, contemplate my day and enjoy the silence of the early morning.

I’ve also got an electric espresso machine that’s not worth mentioning here. (It’s a Krups – gross) I’ve got my eye on upgrading to this beauty: Rancilio Silvia. Perhaps the folks at will send me one to review? (PLEASE find me via Google blog search.)

OK that’s all for now. To be honest I’m tired and it’s time to iron my socks, floss, and go to bed. I’ll leave you with one final picture of a another simple classic: My beat-to-hell Converse All Star slip-ons. As you can see, I may need a new pair.

*Feel free to share your favorite designs in the comments below…


Thursday, January 29th, 2009

The City: Olivia Palermo’s Pad


Posted by Becky | View all posts by Becky

Since Ali went there and admitted to watching The Real World yesterday, I figured I’d just go there and admit that I watch Whitney Port navigate The City on a weekly basis. The hilariously cold and snobbish “social” Olivia Palermo has a pretty sweet pad. I equate plopping a Hermes logo tray to wearing a T-shirt that says “J’adore Dior,” or me pinning my Ralph Lauren Polo tags to my bulletin board when I was eleven, but this room is pretty nice. I certainly would not let that cousin of hers put his dirty nasty self anywhere near the white John Robshaw pillows, but since those have been available on The Home Shopping Network she should probably pitch them anyway. What kind of trust fund princess with a fake job at DVF would be caught dead with goods that are readily available to the masses?

Also on The City, two random chicks no one cares about gossip about making out while perched in big Kelly Wearstler chairs at Bergdorf’s…

images are screen shots from


Friday, January 2nd, 2009

Bare Bones NYTIMES


Posted by Becky | View all posts by Becky
1 Comment »

Years ago, this blog grew out of a Design Public newsletter I wrote on a monthly basis. One of my favorite features was the customer profile, which we hoped to continue here on the blog as often as possible. PLEASE, if you want to show off your home, EMAIL US at! We’d love to share it with everyone. You do NOT have to have any Design Public products in your shots, but if you have ordered anything from us, we’d love to see how it fits into your lifestyle.

I realized we have not done a customer profile in awhile when I saw this feature in The New York Times yesterday. In a nutshell, architect Koray Duman found a cramped, dark, 2 bedroom Manhattan apartment on Craigslist and was able to envision its open sunlit potential. With $25K, a lot of sweat, and the help of some friends, Duman realized his vision of the stripped-down bright space. A major factor in his success was minimizing free standing furniture to keep the floors clear. In addition to pieces from IKEA and a sculptural radiator from, he picked up these MASH Studios pieces from Design Public:

Readers, please, don’t make me have to wait until your abode is featured in a national paper to see it! Email us and show off your stuff! Don’t be intimidated by how cool this pad is; I give this one a perfect ten. Often the fives are a lot more interesting and relatable than the tens. If you’re feeling like you’re at a one, send in some shots and tell us about your design struggles and we’d be happy to help.

all photos by Phil Mansfield for The New York Times. To see the entire slideshow house tour, click here.


Thursday, December 4th, 2008

And I Said “Let There Be Light!”


Posted by Ali | View all posts by Ali
1 Comment »

Whoa. Imagine going nearly two months living in a loft (aka a box) with only one floor lamp and some lighting from the kitchen. Let me tell ya, these were two months of very long and dark nights, especially now that the sun sets at 5pm. But as of this past weekend we have light! (excuse the mess)

loft lighting

We had to get our electrical setup figured out before we could install the Lights Up! Deco Deluxe Pendant Lamps over our “dining” and “living” spaces. We actually decided to use just the two big sections of the pendants…after playing with the various pieces to the lamp we liked the simplicity of the two pieces. What is great though is if we ever want to change it up we can add the rest of the shades to the pendant and we’ve got a new lamp!

While going through this lighting process/challenge I have learned a bit about what it takes to give a home the right lighting. I’ve collected all of my findings in our lighting guide, but if you see anything missing or have additional insight, please share!


Wednesday, November 19th, 2008

Loft Floorplan Ideas?


Posted by Ali | View all posts by Ali
1 Comment »

Loft with a posing dog
Finney, the dog nephew, posing.

Loft progress installment #3. I finally had a weekend open to put away a grand total of 7 boxes. We still have about 3214564 boxes (actually more like 17) left to unpack, a trip to Mexico and company coming for Thanksgiving (aka those boxes will never be touched!). Aye! With the time I did have available I was able to take the Flickr photos I promised of all of our furniture. This way you can get a sense as to what we are working with, our style, and our challenge!

Interior designer Murphy Moon passed along three floor plan suggestions which I have been eager to share:

Murphy Moon Loft Plan B

Murphy Moon Floor Plan

Murphy Moon Floor Plan A

I love the way Murphy encourages a distinct separation of work and living space…I never would have thought to create a platform for the office space. If we can only make the separation of work/life happen! Cooper’s photography business is a work from home job so he likes to have either music or the TV on during the day to ease the silence. At the moment the TV is within easy eye distance to his desk but this just may have to change. Here is a glimpse into Cooper’s “office” with the “his and hers” Steelcase desks:

His and Hers Steelcase desks

Hopefully you can sense that we are still a ways off from having the place as we vision it…currently we are living in “survival mode.” We need more lighting, a few rugs, and dining chairs. But, we are getting there. If you have suggestions on how we should arrange things, bring it!