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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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Friday, February 7th, 2014

Cool Stuff We Spied Around the Web This Week

Becky

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What caught your attention on the web this week? Certainly there was plenty of Sochi not-so-funny terrible conditions fall over the internet. Here are five things that made me say wow this week.

1. Swimming on the Metro. The proposals for the abandoned Metro stations in Paris was my favorite link this week. Can you imagine if this:

Magically transformed into this?

What a beautiful and unique subterranean spot for getting some laps in.

Photos via NK Paris and RATP/ 20 Minutes; story via Messy Nessy Chic

2. Sochi, oh Sochi. I don’t know where to start, but this graphic certainly lightened the mood for me. Yes, I’m 12, potty humor gets me every time. I have to wonder about the graphic artist who had to sit and illustrate things like “don’t put a fishing pole in the toilet,” or “don’t do your business in the ‘upper deck.’” Is the one on the bottom right some sort of Olympic athlete-caliber calisthenic? That position looks tougher than eight-angle pose:

photo via @SebToots/Twitter

3. Thomas Wold adds his magic to Pinterest’s offices. I was so excited to see ingenious designer Thomas Wolds installation at Pinterest get attention from The Wall Street Journal online as well as at Fast Company. Though I would like to state for the record that I asked him for an interview about it months ago but the man was too busy building more magical things. Way to go Thomas!

Photo by Victor Ng

4. Other people’s Facebook Movies (or even your own). JUST KIDDING! Seriously Facebook, when we X it out as “annoying or unintesting,” stop putting them in our news feeds! Sheesh.

5. Vintage NASA photographs. There’s something so cool about these, I want to blow one or two up and design a room around them. I think it would be really neat for a kid’s room as well:

photo by Neil Armstrong/NASA via NBCNEWS.com

What kinds of cool things did you catch on the internet this week? Please let us know in the Comments section.

Also, we’ve been trying our hand at Instagram (I know, we’re WAY behind the times on that one!) Please feel free to give us any suggestions on how we can be better Instagrammers, we could use the help. Have a great weekend everyone!

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Tuesday, February 4th, 2014

Snaps from The New York Gift Show

Becky

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Design Public hopped over to the other coast this week to check out the gift show in New York City. This is an exhilarating and exhausting trip, where we get to talk to our vendors and meet new ones.

I’ll never forget my first gift show. I was completely overstimulated and fascinated, and my feet had never throbbed so much. There were creatives from all over the world, presenting everything they had worked so hard on all year.

I couldn’t make it this year, but Todd Thedinga did. Here are just a few fun shots he’s snapped at the show as he booth-hops. We’re excited to be bringing all of the new products to you as soon as they are available. In the meantime, here’s a peek, and some links to shop all of  their current goodies.

Shop Modern-twist

Shop Pablo

Shop Area

Shop Bob’s Your Uncle

Shop iittala

Shop Ameico

Shop Chilewich

Shop Haptic Lab

Shop Fatboy

Shop Sempli

Shop Areaware

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Thursday, January 16th, 2014

Around the Web This Week

Becky

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photo by Patrick Cashin, via The New York Times

I loved seeing Patrick Cashin’s photos of the MTA’s massive construction projects (he’s been taking them for 16 years). It reminds me of Margaret Bourke White photographing massive-scale infrastructure projects so many years ago.  Check out the entire slideshow at The New York Times.

40 Maps That Will Help You Make Sense of the World. I am obsessed with maps and this collection covers a ton of subjects, from countries that don’t use the metric system to a US Map of the highest paid public employees by state (most of them are college coaches, a few academics in states with crappy college sports teams snuck through).

The 17 story-high water slide. Part of Schlitterbahn Waterparks and Resorts (hilarious name for a waterpark, I have some funny definitions of “Schlitterbahn” made up in my head). Apparently it’s taller than Niagara Falls. When I first watched this and my stomach stopped lurching, I thought “No way in this world, I’d never survive the wedgie!” I guess you go down in a four-person raft though? Maybe when I was under 25 but I couldn’t do it today. How about you?

photo by Kim Lucian, via Apartment Therapy

Taking a break from Tech. Apartment Therapy contributor Kim Lucian has been working on the January Cure (it’s an AT thing) and this particular aspect strikes a chord with me. It’s really hard, even on vacation, to stop craving an email check on the first day, but the longer you go unplugged the more relief you feel. Try to unplug during some evenings at first (baby steps), then go for an entire 24 hours on the weekend. Before you know it, you’ll be trading in your smartphone for an old-school flippy one.

What caught your eye on the web this week? Do you have any great links to share that inspired you, made you laugh, made you gasp? Please share them with us in the comments section.

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Wednesday, January 8th, 2014

Gus*Modern Sale (There’s a Feel-Good Catch…)

Becky

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We’re having a sale, with a catch: Support your local food bank with at least 3 non-perishable items or donate at foodbankscanada.ca and receive 15% off items from Gus*Modern.

So it’s easy, while you’re taking care of that cleaning out the pantry New Year’s drudgery, put a few things aside for others; after all, if you haven’t eaten it by now, you’re not going to, and it’s going to waste. Stop by a local food bank (find one in this directory) and drop off whatever you can. Remember, once the holidays are over donations tend to take a big dive, so people need your help more than ever, especially during this polar arctic blast of freezing temperatures.

Or if you don’t feel like leaving the sofa, just donate over at foodbankscanada.ca and then hope on over to all the Gus*Modern goodies and shop with a 15% discount.

Ossington Coffee Table from Gus*Modern

The Ossington Coffee Table is a mix of dark metal and walnut wood. Best of all, it has a clever open shelf for coffee table books, tabloids and the remotes. It also comes in stainless.

The Truss Chair by Gus*Modern

The Truss Chair has Scandinavian modern simplicity, but plays a little with geometry, giving it a contemporary look as well. It strikes me as the kind of chair the best student in furniture design class presents for his/her final review and gets a dream job from one of the jurors.

Carmichael Loft Sofa by Gus*Modern

Finally, a sale is a great time to invest in a sofa that will last for many years to come. Whether you like the unique Carmichael Loft Sofa or are in need of a low, mid-century modern style sectional sofa, Gus*Modern has an option for you.

Shop all Gus*Modern

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