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.

Lili Zarghami ON PINTEREST

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POSTS BY Lili Zarghami

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I’m not sure how many times I’ve seen something and thought that it was the best thing ever invented, but there have been quite a few. What can I say? I am an optimist! When I saw this beach bag, I couldn’t believe that I’d lived so long without it. After every beach trip, I always end up trying to gently shake sand out of our bags and into a trash can. (I know, I know, this problem would be solved with a yard if I had one.) Enter: The Shake bag. It has a trap door at the bottom that keeps your items in while letting the unwanted sand out. Genius.

shake women's tote

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June is prime wedding season (not that people don’t have lovely weddings all year long). But because most of my friends and family tied the knot a decade or so ago, I’ve been out of the wedding loop for a bit. I’m excited that this year I have a wedding to look forward to, though – ahem, Ms. Designer MacGyver.

barn wedding - kacy jahanbini photography

Photo: Kacy Jahanbini

Briana’s nuptials have me thinking about wedding trends, and man, are rustic weddings hot right now. There are so many gorgeous barn weddings with burlap accents, wild flowers in mason jars, and rough-hewn signage happening these days. The barn above might be my absolute favorite rustic wedding location. Photographer Kacy Jahanbini captured this gorgeous shot in Norfolk, Connecticut. If you want to check out the whole event, head on over to his blog.

Do you have a wedding trend that you’re gaga over? Tell us on our Facebook page.

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The school year is finally winding down for my kids. Because this has been their first year of school, I’ve kept a significant amount of their artwork that’s come home. I’m hoping to hold onto as much of their 6-year-old sweetness as I can (for when they’re terrible teens who tell me how uncool I am). But since we live in an apartment, I’m acutely aware of how space for these mementos will quickly run out. I thought this coffee table book called Mini Masterpieces designed by Paislee Press might be just the right (neat! ordered! beautiful!) solution to the problem. You upload your little Picasso’s work to the template, mix in some family photos and you’ve got a keepsake that will not shed glitter. And how adorable is the Paislee Press family?

book of your kids art

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Happy Monday morning, everyone. If your brain isn’t quite ready to jump back into the work week quite yet, take a little mental vacation with me and this portable hot tub. When Briana showed me the Dutchtub® below I let out a gasp and asked, “That’s a hot tub?!” As their site explains, it’s fairly straight-forward and simple: it’s a big bowl of water that’s wood-fired and naturally circulated. Best of all, it’s completely portable. If this is getting back to basics, count me in.
dutchtub outdoor hot tub

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Yesterday’s New York Times Home section featured the recently renovated brownstone of Beastie Boy, Mike D (also known as Mr. Michael Diamond) and it’s just as cool as you might expect it to be. Aside from their media room “sofa” which I’m pretty sure is an upholstered bed — genius! — the one thing that caught my eye was this chandelier made by Studio Tord Boontje. Maybe you’ve seen his Midsummer Light before? The guy’s good with lights. This Blossom Chandelier is made of Swarovski crystals and lined with LED lights. The effect in Mike D’s dining room is beautiful, natural and elegant. I’d love to see it lit up at night.

tord boontje blossom chandelier

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A friend of mine was just bemoaning the lack of diversity in Father’s Day cards. If your dad (or the father of your children) doesn’t fall into the barbecuing, golfing, remote-control-loving category, it can be tough to find a card or a gift for him for Father’s Day that seems appropriate. My dad and my husband — and I suspect a lot of other dads out there — are hard to shop for because of their “outlier” status. Something like this wall art from Etsy user RedWallStudio might be just the thing, though. Because no matter his taste, chances are you feel just this way about your dad:

father's day print - etsy

Photo: RedWallStudio

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Know what’s better than luxurious (yet expensive) wallpaper? A trompe l’oeil treatment on your walls that looks just as good at a fraction of the cost.  Chrissann Gasparro over at Ducklings In A Row is sharing her tutorial on how to paint your walls with a DIY stencil. Chrissann’s hilarious account and really simple instructions not only make this a fun read, but also a project that will make you wonder, “Why didn’t I think of that?”

I love how this pattern made a very straight-forward and otherwise ordinary white-walled room feel immediately glamorous and “done.” It even straddles the masculine/feminine lines I was just wondering about the other day. Great work, Chrissann!

DIY wall stencil - Ducklings in a Row

Photos: Chrissann Gasparro

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I’m a real estate stalker. Being a New Yorker, I love knowing how much a home costs (it’s a quirk in this city and I promise you it’s acceptable here).  Most of all I just love pulling the curtains back and taking a look at what’s behind those windows. One of my favorite places to do just that is over at one of our sister site’s blog Cool Houses Daily. I spotted this Frank Lloyd Wright beauty over there just the other day and wanted to share it with you all.

At a hefty $1.39M you get to own a piece of history, letters between Wright and the original owner Ray Brandes, and all the FLW-designed furniture, too. Anyone in the market for a million dollar home in Issaquah, Washington?

frank lloyd wright brandes house

Image Source: Realogics Sotheby’s International Realty | Via FrontDoor.com

 

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I’m an admitted Jonathan Adler fanatic. So when I saw that JCP is carrying a new line of his products called Happy Chic I was…well…so happy! I’ve already pinned this blue velvet side chair to my “I sort of have a chair problem” board and had to stop myself before I pinned the whole line. True to Adler style, the collection is full of accessories with loads of color and bold graphics. His large scale pieces are elegant, classic and would blend with most any decor. The price point is more affordable (especially with a sale!), so maybe this is the time a JA piece and my apartment finally become one?

jonathan adler happy chic

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Last weekend my family was invited to a friend’s Putnam Valley lake house for a day of row boating, paddle boarding and general good times. I’ve never really enjoyed lake swimming that much in the past (see: my aversion to bugs), but my point of view changed radically after just one lovely day. Now I’m lake-house-obsessed.

This absolutely perfect one bedroom cabin on Lake Michigan is being completely renovated by Sarah Sherman Samuel of Smitten Studio. She’s sharing her progress as she transforms this formerly unappealing, plywood-paneled home — check out the before pictures! — into a truly gorgeous retreat. I really adore the charcoal exterior paint and how it makes the greenery surrounding it seem even greener.

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It only really, truly got warm (OK, sweltering) here in New York last week. I’ve installed my window A/C units and the sun is out well into the evening, but my bedroom still feels like it’s stuck in winter. I’m hoping to make it feel a bit more seasonally appropriate and am inspired by the crisp whites and blues of Marianne’s nursery and this month’s Color of the Month, Paradise Blue.

Since I share my bedroom with my husband, I try to keep his more masculine taste in mind even if I don’t really want to (sorry!). I feel like something along the lines of this color palette from one of the suites at the Wythe Hotel in Brooklyn could do the trick. Clean, fresh, and summery without being girly. Do any of you have any no-fail, battle-of-the-sexes solutions for your home?

wythe hotel rooms

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Here’s something you’d quickly learn about me if we spent time together in the summer: I have an irrational fear of moths (butterflies are no friends, either). To say it’s embarrassing is a huge understatement. I’m a grown woman! These are small bugs! And this summer I’m trying to come to terms with yet another winged creature that is making its every-17-year curtain call on the east coast, the cicada.

I’m using artwork like this cicada print to inoculate myself. It’s pretty, aesthetically speaking. I can get behind those lovely geometric wings. Art nouveau jewelry helps, too. Throw in a little steampunk and I almost like these critters.

vintage cicada

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Yesterday I got a little futuristic with the 3D printer porcelain dishes, but today’s Delight? It’s pure science fiction. This espresso maker from Scanomat TopBrewer is controlled by an app on your iPhone or iPad.

EXTRA: HOT KITCHEN TRENDS>>

Personally, I spend a lot of my morning running back and forth from the bathroom (getting ready for work) to the kitchen (making coffee). Imagine if you could just pull out your phone while putting your makeup on, dial up a macchiato and have it be ready and waiting when you made your way to the kitchen? I think I might be in love.

top brewer espresso maker

 

More Goodies from the Kitchen:
Budget Beach Cottage Kitchen Makeover
Hanging Mason Jars for Storage
Color Inspiration for the Kitchen
Coveting This La Cornue CornuFé Stove

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I spotted these shapely, vaguely honeycomb dishes and lamps by The Mod Collective on D-Happ contributor and friend Jeanine Hays’ Pinterest. What’s even cooler than their great colors which initially caught my eye, though, is how they’re made. The pieces are developed with design software, then printed out on 3D printers! The porcelain is dyed, moulded and cast from the 3D forms. Yes, those awe-inspiring machines that are saving lives and making incredible scientific advances are creating cool dishes, too. Check out the whole line and tell me what you think.

PLUS: BE YOUR OWN DESIGNER, 3D PRINTER NOT REQUIRED

mod collective porcelain

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All of the editors here on Design Happens have certain events they look forward to all year. For some of us, it’s KBIS or High Point. But for me, it’s hands-down the ICFF (International Contemporary Furniture Fair). Nothing gets me as excited as when I see what some of my favorite modern and contemporary designers have in store for the coming year. Making a big, green splash at this year’s fair is IKEA’s Stockholm collection. Take a look:

ikea stockholm furniture collection
Yep, that’s a green velvet sofa and I totally love it. The whole Stockholm collection seems a bit more refined and mature than IKEA collections we’ve seen in the past. It’s less dorm room and more urbane. Even still, a sofa that starts at $899 is pretty first-apartment friendly. What do you think? When this collection debuts in August 2013, will you be in line waiting for it?

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The other morning, I unexpectedly woke at 5:30 and could not get myself back to sleep. But thanks to this bout of insomnia, I found a documentary that I had to share with you all. (Does everyone watch movies when they can’t sleep? I am new to sleeplessness.) The Queen of Versailles chronicles three years in the life of timeshare mogul David Siegel and his wife Jackie. When the cameras started rolling, director Lauren Greenfield thought she was going to document the construction of the biggest personally owned home in America. At 90,000 square feet and outrageous cost of $100,000,000, “Versailles” was the stuff of self-made-billionaire dreams. What the director did not know when she started filming in 2008 was that an economic crash was just around the corner for this family and the entire country.

YouTube Preview Image

Like so many other Americans, Siegel overextended the real estate ventures he personally and professionally embarked on. And after the very sudden and dramatic collapse of the real estate market and the near death of his business, Westgate Resorts, the fate of the Siegels and the unfinished Versailles is unknown. The cameras keep rolling as assets are auctioned off, private schools are spurned for public ones, and the spending habits of a once-billionaire’s wife finds its only outlet at Walmart. If you’ve got time for a movie this weekend, mix yourself a cocktail, grab some movie snacks and stream this stunning piece of cinéma vérité.

queen of versailles

Photo courtesy of Magnolia Pictures; Lauren Greenfield

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I discovered DwellStudio bedding a decade ago by stumbling into one of those perks of living in New York City: the sample sale. At the time I’d never spent more than $30 on a set of sheets (thank you Ikea!), but I immediately knew that this bedding, with its not-your-mom’s patterns and material quality, would be an investment I wouldn’t regret.

dwellstudio entrance christiane lemieux

Look at those ram door pulls! And right: Christiane Lemieux

Now, more than ten years later, the company is opening its first flagship store in SoHo. Founder and Creative Director Christiane Lemieux has expanded the DwellStudio line to include furniture, home accessories, baby and children’s furnishings, along with their bedding staples. I got a chance to preview their new space and see their line of furniture in person for the first time. Such a treat!

dwellstudio bedding and textiles

Bedding display on shelves painted the perfect shade of slate gray.

The store feels as if you’ve stepped into someone’s very well curated home with vintage finds mixed in among the company’s line of modern products. I am still gaga for the bedding and can attest to its resilience over time. That first set I invested in still looks as fresh today as it did in 2001. It would even work well with any of the newer patterns. The sofas are luxurious and classically neutral enough to play well with pieces you already own.  The baby and children’s line is darling without being saccharine. But most impressive to me was the wall of DwellStudio fabrics which seem to have been designed to let you mix patterns like a pro despite not actually being one.

dwellstudio furniture

I couldn't fit this sofa in my bag, but I tried.

If you’re in New York, or plan to be, you can check out the store yourself starting today. Tell me in the comments if you have any designers that you still love after all these years.

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I first saw this fantastically simple and fun melted crayon art on Pinterest. So I couldn’t resist trying it with my kids when my sister-in-law Courtney suggested this very project after seeing it on Whatever. When you’ve got two five-year-olds in your house, you end up with loads and loads of crayons lying around, so why not put them to good use? That is, as long as you’re brave enough to pull out a glue gun with young kids. I found that having a one-to-one adult to child ratio helped. A lot.

All you need for this project is a piece of foam core (you could just as easily use framed canvas), crayons in an array of colors, a hot glue gun and a hairdryer. We started off by choosing the colors we wanted to use and lined them up on the board. Since ours was going to hang in my kids’ room, we went with a rainbow of colors, but using all one tone or even just a couple of colors would create a great effect as well.

melted crayon art

Clockwise from the top left: lining up crayons, hot gluing, all glued, and applying heat!

Once you’ve got your colors lined up, you hot glue the underside of the crayon. Ours weren’t perfectly lined up, given the lack of precision of my amateur “artists,” but that only added to the kid-made effect in my opinion. If you choose to do this project indoors like we did, you’ll want to line your backdrop with newspaper (lesson learned!). Start blow-drying keeping your heat focused at the middle of the crayon. I have a fairly powerful hairdryer so we saw the results in just a few minutes. You’ll notice the paper start to look wet, and soon thereafter the wax will start to drip onto your canvas.

metled crayon art

Left: almost done! Right: the finished product

You can keep the heat on the crayons until you get the effect that you like. We had a couple of crayons that nearly lost all of their innards when some people (I’m not naming names) got a little bit overzealous with the blow-dryer, but I simply applied more heat to the “glop” to correct it. The wax dries very quickly and we were able to hang this up within 10 minutes of finishing. Add a signature for posterity and voila! A great piece of art perfect for children’s rooms.

 

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