Lili Zarghami

"I buy chairs instead of expensive shoes."

Lili is Editorial Director of HGTV.com. Her personal obsessions include looking for just the right sofa, ogling real estate listings, and reading floor-plans. She has an admitted "chair problem," collecting them like most women collect shoes. Lili lives in an apartment that's perpetually too small (probably because of all the chairs) in Brooklyn, NY with her husband and young twins.

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We’ve received entries from all over the country from architects, interior designers, builders, and remodelers who think that they have what it takes to win the 2014 Fresh Faces of Design Awards. Voting is now open and we need you to tell us which design reigns supreme. Take a look at some of the gorgeous projects we’ve received and then head on over to vote and enter for a chance to win $10,000! VOTE HERE>>>

fresh faces kitchens

Best Kitchens entry from Katy Lyons

>>>>See All the Best Kitchens Entries

fresh faces best use of color

Best Use of Color entry from Red Egg Design Group

>>>>See All the Best Use of Color Entries

fresh faces best use of pattern

Best Use of Pattern or Texture entry from SuzAnn Kletzien

>>>>See All the Best Use of Pattern or Texture Entries

fresh faces serene retreat

Best Serene Retreat entry from Sarah Barnard

>>>>See All the Best Serene Retreat Entries

Check out the rooms in all the categories including the ones above and lots more, then vote for your favorite project in each.

 

Let’s make room for good company, together. Explore fantastic ideas to create a home that’s welcoming for all.  Explore IKEA’s guide for a guest-ready home.

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Former Design Star winner and Secrets From a Stylist host Emily Henderson partnered with Sunrise Senior Living for the second year in a row to make over the room of deserving residents of the Sunrise community. If you know (and love) Emily like we do here, you’ll know that her room designs are full of life, color and style – just what a blank space needs to truly feel like home. Helen and Dominic — this year’s winners — were treated to a makeover of their home which just didn’t suit the personalities of this upbeat couple who’ve been together 67 years.

emily henderson sunrise living

Emily shared with us a bit about this stunning room refresh. She says, “The whole redesign was just so satisfying. Sunrise is a really awesome community – it kinda feels like college dorms but for seniors. Helen and Dominic were so happy and I think re-invigorated [by the makeover]. I truly believe that your happiness can be strongly effected by how much you like your home, so I’m hoping that this makeover makes every day a little bit happier for them.”

Here’s more of what Emily had to say about this project that is close to her heart:

LILI: Can you tell our readers about this heartwarming makeover? 

EMILY: I have a serious soft spot for seniors. I think they can get easily dismissed in our culture which is just insane because, A. they’ve lived a long and often challenging life and that should be respected and B. if we are lucky we’ll all be there someday. So I was very excited when Sunrise approached me to do this makeover again. It took place at a Sunrise community outside of Columbus Ohio, where Helen and Dominic live. Their son nominated them for the makeover and they were picked because they are just incredible people. Dominic was a prisoner of war for 19 months in WWII and he and Helen have been together for 67 years and have such an incredible marriage with 4 lovely children.

LZ: What was the first step in redesigning Dominic and Helen’s space?

EH: The first step is finding out what their wants and needs are. They both love gardening, the colors blue and green, Frank Sinatra, and their style was more traditional with some modern updates. So we created a mood board with elements from these and started playing around with what looks good together.

sunrise living moodboard

LZ: What was the inspiration for the color palette and design scheme?

EH: Helen really loves blues and greens (me too, obviously) so we started there. And since they both love gardening we wanted to bring a garden inspired pattern for the wallpaper so we found this floral that we loved because it wasn’t too busy and felt really fresh. So that was our ‘jumping off point’ as we say in the biz. Once we had the wallpaper then we tried to make it more masculine by bringing in some darker tones (charcoal grays and dark blues). We brought in wood tones to warm it up and to help it feel a bit more traditional.

LZ: How hard was it to incorporate the easy chairs? Was that your biggest challenge?

EH: Yeah, the “easy” chairs weren’t so easy. They are big and bulky, its true. BUT they also are extremely comfortable and practical for them so it seemed insane to replace them with anything less comfortable. We shopped around (trust me) but ultimately there was just nothing that could compare to the comfort of those chairs and that really was key in this redesign.

LZ: What was Dominic and Helen’s favorite aspect of the re-design?

EH: I think they just love how happy and fresh it feels now – and customized just for them. Oh wait, and the mini-bar. Dominic LOVES to entertain and have people over for drinks so we got him this mini-bar stocked full of fun drinks and on top of it is a music box that can play records, cd’s and hook up to iPhones.

sunrise makeover bed

If you want to check out the full makeover, before pictures, product sources, and tips on designing for seniors head over to Emily’s detailed blog post. She links to a video interview with the couple that had me tearing up and made me realize just how deserving this pair is.

sunrise makeover reveal

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Comfy sofas that look good are not exactly hard to find. There are so many furniture makers that really get that what we want when we plop down at the end of the day is a couch that not only feels good, but looks good, too. However, if you add a couple of key constraints about price and size, the field of options becomes considerably narrowed. When Kayla requested that I help her in her search for an apartment-sized sofa that worked well with a mid-century modern look, but was conventional enough to live with every day, AND cost under $700, I knew I had a tough assignment.

So for everyone who is in the camp of needing something small but really good looking, I present to you the following affordable and handsome options:
apartment sized sofas

The Chloe sofa on the left is from Macy’s and is currently on sale for $599. The sales at Macy’s come and go but the good news is they always come back around. Over the past several years, they’ve upped their furniture game and partnered with a bunch of great designers to put out some really refined looking pieces. On the right is a new classic from IKEA – the Kivik sofa. It’s actually one of the larger sofas on my list at 89″, but its proportion is right for not overwhelming a smaller space. Plus, it’s a perfect movie-watching couch.
apartment sized sofas

I’ve learned from designer Brian Patrick Flynn to always check Overstock.com when looking for pretty much anything. Chances are they’ll have something really close to what you want for a really good deal. That definitely holds true for this Signature Design sofa on the left at $679. Ditch the pillows that come with it and add some with a bright mid-century pattern and you’re all set. The loveseat on the right from West Elm is one of my all-time favorites. In fact if I had a need for another couch myself, I’d pick this Everett Upholstered Loveseat.
apartment sized sofas
An option I hadn’t considered for apartments before — but one that makes total sense now that I think of it — is a daybed. The one on the left is also from West Elm and has great mid-century modern lines. It would double as an excellent guest bed for company. Those of us who live in apartments often lament the lack of guest accommodations and this could be just the answer. It’s on sale right now, too, for $639. Last but not least is the Courtney Sofa from Target. Granted, it comes in at a fairly tiny 60″, but if you’re looking for something that’s an upgrade from a college-era futon, this is a pretty good bet. And at $499, the price is pretty hard to beat.

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When I moved into my first apartment too many years ago to admit, my stepfather gifted me with a toolbox full of all his “doubles.” Later when my brother moved to a tropical island, he handed down his steel toolbox to me and I was thrilled. I truly love my trusty tool kit and even love sorting through it to find just the right instrument for a given job. My toolbox and the tools in it are feeling their (20+ years) age, however. So I’m daydreaming about replacing everything with tools that help me make the fixes around my home and are beautiful to boot.

Not only are these tools functional, but they’re even gorgeous enough to display — maybe on a magnetic strip? I love how self-referential the wood handles are and the care that was clearly taken in designing and crafting them. But tell me: am I alone in my handylady desires? Or are you a fixer with an enviable tool set, too?

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Oh lowly trash can, where would we be without you? We would be surrounded by piles of trash, that’s where.

Silly odes to the waste bin aside, this kitchen necessity is often overlooked as an accessory that is deserving of good design. Understandably, many trash cans are made of hard plastic, straight-lined and completely unadorned (all the easier for cleaning). But for those of us who are looking for a more — dare I say? — classy trash can that you can proudly display out in the open, there are some real beauties out there:

I’ve coveted the classic Wesco Kickboy for some time, but it’s a bit of an investment piece. That hot pink (radiant orchid?) Premier Housewares bin, which I could only find available in the UK, would look dynamite in an all-white kitchen. So what do you guys think? Do these trash cans make your “want” list?

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If there ever was a product that screamed: “Please, just leave me to my function and forget my form. I’ve got a job to do!” it’s the lowly doormat. And who could blame it? Its sole purpose is to be stepped on with dirty shoes. When Briana suggested we look for some mats that were not-too-kitschy yet not too plain I knew I’d have some hunting to do. I think I’ve found some good options in a range of styles that meet the aesthetic requests and don’t shirk their function altogether:

door mats

1. Anchor West Elm; 2. Tvis round mat IKEA; 3. Wink Orange Rug; 4. Oceanstar Bamboo; 5. Branch Door mat; 6. Magical Thinking Southwest Geo Rug; 7. Turkish Doormat

I have to admit, at my own apartment, I go for pure function in my entryway. I’ve got a recycled-tire doormat that you can stand on with dripping, snowy boots and just wipe down later. However, these are all so pretty that I might reconsider my choice of pure utility leaving me, as usual, with a case of the wants.

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I’ve been on a hunt for “ugly things that aren’t ugly,” since last week’s post about modern filing cabinets. I received some really great requests to be on the look out for and I’ve added them all to my list. (If you’ve got a request, let me know in the comments!) This week, Liz wants a good looking ceiling fan. Challenge accepted. Since I wasn’t quite sure what style she might have in mind, I found a variety that could fit well into almost any setting. Here’s what I came up with:

attractive ceiling fans

Top Row, L to R: 1. Stella Ceiling Fan by Dave Ellis; 2. Flyte by G Squared; 3. Haiku Fan; Bottom Row, L to R: 4. Lit Modern Ceiling Fan #4; 5. Avian Ceiling Fan; 6. Plum by Modern Fan Co

RELATED: How to Install a Ceiling Fan

The key to finding a really beautiful ceiling fan, unfortunately, is looking beyond some of the big box home improvement stores. They’re so convenient, but their selection can leave the design enthusiast unsatisfied. And sadly, a lot of the better looking fans come with an equally “impressive” price tag. If you think of them as an investment — one you’ll be staring at every day — perhaps it’ll help get you over the sticker shock.

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When I get my home to myself for an extended period of time — no kids, no husband — I tend to go on the sort of cleaning and organizing binge that a normal working mom would think was…well, excessive. Instead of lazily reading books, or going out to brunch with girlfriends, I revel in the chance to fix my apartment knowing that no one but me will mess it up.

I was telling Briana that I could see the surface of my desk for the first time in ages and that led us to searching for a filing cabinet for her that would inspire her to file her piles of papers. She’s been looking for just the right at-home desk storage for a while and she indulged my current organizing mania by letting me window shop for her.

Here’s what I found in the way of cute, modern filing cabinets to fit her bill. The only downside? Now I want new office organizers, too:

Browsing for these filing cabinets got me thinking there are loads of high-function everyday objects with less-than-high style. What everyday item or household necessities do you wish you could find prettier versions of?

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You guys. When I saw these patterned paint rollers on Buzzfeed, I felt like someone had been keeping a secret from me! How could I not know about these ingenious tools? I know we’ve talked wallpaper and wallpaper-look-alikes to death, but these rollers from the very appropriately named NotWallpaper seem like a whole different ballgame. Granted it probably takes a pretty deft hand and a bit of practice to use, but these rollers seem like the best of all worlds: lovely patterns in colors of your choice with very little permanent commitment. That’s my kind of wall treatment.

patterned paint rollers

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If you have trouble perking up in the morning, maybe what you need is a neon yellow bathtub? Granted this tub from Blu Bathworks would be a tough shade to work into most decor (it comes in other colors too), but I kind of love it. It works especially well against concrete and could turn an otherwise stark space into one that’s fun and playful. Am I crazy? Will this scream “2013″ five years from now?

neon yellow bathtub

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In middle school my best friend-at-the-time and I pooled our money, went to the mall and spent our communal allowance on a “Best Friends Forever” necklace. It was in the shape of a heart and jaggedly split down the middle. We each wore half. But the times, how they’ve changed. Best friends now can have matching iPhone cases that convey the same only-complete-together sentiment.

heart iphone cases

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Happy 4th of July, D-Happers! I hope you all are relaxing with family and friends and celebrating all the best of America. I thought I’d share a few delights with you that would be right at home with any patriotic decor, and are also all Made in the USA. Enjoy your holiday!
made in the usa products

Top: Etsy seller KelseyGarrityRiley (Savannah, Georgia), Bottom left to right: Harper Chair by Jonathan Adler (Designed in NYC), Milking Stool by François Chambard (Brooklyn, NY), Oculo Pendant Lamp by Niche Modern (Beacon, NY)

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When my necklace collection started getting out of control, I took matters into my own hands and made a wall organizer out of little more than a ruler and many clear thumbtacks. It works, but it doesn’t come close to being as beautiful as this Wish Tree Jewelry Holder. The branches can hold dangling earrings and necklaces, while the small cup at the bottom can catch more dainty pieces. I even think that it would look pretty great with some bow ties and cuff links hanging around.

jewelry tree

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With a truncated holiday week on tap, I’m having a hard time concentrating on anything but 4th of July celebrations. I’m a real sucker for fireworks, but what do you do with your day off before the sun goes down? I think I might try my hand at this Patriotic Berry Trifle. Blueberries and strawberries are in season and it looks fairly simple to put together. And you can’t argue with the very pretty red, white, and blue results!

patriotic berry trifle

Photograph by Steve Giralt

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These gold-leafed log tables have been around for a while now, but every time I see one, I’m equally charmed by them (they remind me of The Giving Tree!). I love them used as unexpected accents in an otherwise staid room. These tables from Phillips Collection are cast from tree trunks, but I think you could DIY them from a spare log you have lying around, don’t you?

gold leaf log table

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The upcycling design trend is still going strong, and rightly so. Taking an unused item and turning it into something useful and beautiful is not only earth-friendly, but it results in truly one-of-a-kind pieces. This “hacked” light designed by HGTV Star Cris Mercado was made from an old camera body, a tripod, a light kit and finished with an Edison bulb. It was the judges favorite, and one of mine too!

vintage camera light

images

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Of all the joys of summer – swimming, grilling, camping – there is one that I can’t get on board with: linen. Obviously, it’s lovely and fitting for the season, but the moment I’m in a linen shirt it’s wrinkled and stained. I’ve banned it from my wardrobe. This dinnerware, however, could let one enjoy the feel of linen without all the drawbacks. It looks natural and “raw” but clearly works just as well with dressed up silverware.

west elm linen plates

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