ALL POSTS IN Designers & Shops

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You know those mornings when you pour a cup of coffee, run across a blog and find yourself pages in (and possibly drooling) 45 minutes later? That’s what happened during my first interaction with Designlovefest. It’s one of those blogs you have to pull yourself away from because it completely sucks you in with fantastic imagery, graphics and ideas. Bri Emery, the blog’s founder and editor, created Designlovefest in 2009 as a place to showcase creative images, typography, design and color on a daily basis. I stumbled across Bri on Pinterest and have been inspired ever since.

hgtv blogger of the month bri emery designlovefestBri Emery from Designlovefest

Not only does Bri coordinate Designlovefest, she’s also a freelance commercial artist in Los Angeles, the art director for online shelter publication Rue Magazine and she writes a column over at Oh, Joy!. And, as of last year, Bri has teamed up with photographer Angela Kohler to form Blogshop, a two-day workshop that offers photo-editing classes specifically catered to those in the blogosphere. It’s currently being offered in major cities around the U.S. and Europe, if you’re interested.

So, what are you currently in the market for? Color inspiration? Design ideas? An afternoon DIY project? Party recipes? Fashion styling? Designlovefest has it all. And maybe that’s why I can’t stop reading, because I’m searching for a little bit of everything. Dive in.

Make It:

designlovefest picnic blanket diyMake It: DIY Picnic Blanket

This project has me DYING to head to the park just so I can lay down on something other than the old beach towel or beige sheet I usually use. Using a drop cloth, painter’s tape and three colors of paint, contributor Natalie Shriver creates an ombre-painted picnic blanket in stunning shades of yellow. Hello, summer!

See More Projects From Designlovefest

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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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So, last week most of the HGTV.com editorial team headed to NYC to soak up four days of contemporary and ultra-modern design at the International Contemporary Furniture Fair (ICFF). Liz, Briana, Camille, Farima and I all covered 145,000-square-feet of space and talked with hundreds of designers, retailers and manufacturers from all over the globe. It. Was. Exhausting. And so much fun! We met Jonathan Adler, bumped into our very own Jamie Durie (who turned us all into giggling fools) and picked up some incredible design trends that we can’t wait to share with you all. But with more than 500 exhibitors, we were bound to pass a few unique and odd pieces worth passing along, since we’re pretty sure you won’t be finding any of these in your local furniture shops. Of course we saw plenty of functional, innovative and clever furnishings, but these are purely design for design’s sake. Ready to see? Here we go!

icff 2012 carnegie fabrics parsons the new school for design canopyCarnegie Fabrics :: Parsons The New School for Design

A Structural Pavilion Created From Sustainable Fabric: I was completely and utterly mesmerized by this canopy that I noticed within the first few minutes of entering the conference on day one. Design students from Parsons The New School for Design took fabric off a chair and upcycled each piece to form this dreamy structure. Imagine installing this in your outdoor space and hiding from the sun with a good book. Sigh…

icff 2012 rachel o'neill velcro chandelierRachel O’Neill

A Chandelier Made From Strands of Velcro: “Velcro: it’s not just for your KangaROOS shoes. It can also be your chandelier, and a beautiful one at that. These are custom made-to-order — the designer lives in Ireland but sells a lot in London and NYC, too.” — Liz Gray

icff 2012 tracy kennedy wallpaper fringe designTracy Kennedy Wallpaper

Textured Wallpaper With Touchable Fringe: “When I first saw this wallpaper, I immediately thought of the flapper costume I wore a few years ago for Halloween. I can totally see it in a swanky bar in Las Vegas. Nevertheless, it was one of the most memorable pieces of the show for me.” — Farima Alavi

See a Mannequin Lamp, Zombie Chair + More

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So, there’s a bit of a design dilemma in our home. I have a love for all things vintage and a bit retro, and that includes industrial-chic, too. My boyfriend, well, let’s just say we would own the most sleek and modern furnishings available if he had his way. We’re talking Star Trek-style modern. See the problem here? It’s virtually impossible to marry both of our styles, so we usually agree on something contemporary or retro/modern-inspired, shake hands and move on. But I stumbled across this reclaimed wood coffee table and I just couldn’t let it pass me by. (Especially if I can make it myself.) Dan Faires, Design Star season five fan favorite and host of DanMade, created this rustic, industrial project that’s surprisingly easy to make and incredibly charming all the way around. And I’m pretty positive boyfriend won’t object to this living room centerpiece, especially if he knows it was handcrafted by moi.

how to make a reclaimed wood coffee table

To make this coffee table, you need four thick pieces of reclaimed wood, L-brackets, screws, casters, polyurethane paint or stain, a circular saw and sandpaper. Get the Full Materials List and Step-by-Step Instructions >>

Watch the video below to see Dan in action and to pick up some helpful tips:

So, are you dying to bring this rustic piece into your home, too? Start building and let us know how it turns out.

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If you’ve perused HGTV.com’s entertaining and holiday sections, then you certainly know who Camille Styles is. And if not, then you need to get to know her because she’s fabulous. And to be honest, I’m not quite sure how she manages to do it all. (There are only 24 hours in a day!) As the owner and creative director of Camille Styles Events, Camille runs her Austin-based event planning company with the help of a top-notch team. She’s also a lifestyle expert and the founder of CamilleStyles.com, where she shares daily entertaining ideas, DIY projects, recipes and inspirational design ideas to hundreds of thousands of readers each month. Plus, she’s the host of HGTV’s upcoming mobile party planning app. This girl does it all.

camille styles events hgtvCamille Styles of Camille Styles Events :: Photography by Paige Newton

Camille is all about stress-free party planning and stress-free style, and those qualities are evident right when you click into her blog, CamilleStyles.com. It’s inspirational, light and feels completely natural. The blog is made up of a team of nine writers, including Camille, who all contribute through various features or specialties. And most of what you’ll find is brand-new, original projects, recipes and designs created  by the team, and that’s what I love most. I know I’m seeing fresh ideas I won’t find anywhere else. (You’ll go Pinterest-crazy after visiting Camille’s blog — guaranteed.)

camille styles events pinterest

Speaking of Pinterest, Camille’s page is chock-full of more than 2,000 food, party and decorating ideas. So, start following and pin away.

When I come to Camille’s blog, there are certain features I immediately check out and bookmark. With summer right around the corner (or practically here), I’m constantly on the search for delicious summer recipes and cocktails, plus easy DIY projects I can do on a rainy day. Here are my favorite Camille Styles’ features and some ideas you can enjoy, too.

Tuesday Tastings, The Perfect Bite + Bottoms Up

camille styles events recipes hgtvPear, Chevre and Honey Flatbread Recipe :: Ginger-Plum Sangria Recipe

I think we can all agree that one of the best Pinterest categories is “food.” If you love to cook or are a novice chef like me, check out “Tuesday Tastings” and “The Perfect Bite” where Camille and blogger Jess Simpson share recipes and mouth-watering photography. I’m dying to try this pear, chevre and honey flatbread recipe (above, left). Remember the bohemian-style wedding we shared with you last week? This yummy dish was featured there, too. It would be the perfect addition to an outdoor summer soiree, don’t you think?

Don’t forget those poolside cocktails! Camille shared this ginger-plum sangria recipe just before Cinco de Mayo in her new weekly feature, “Bottoms Up.” This is the perfect place to pick up delectable cocktail (and mocktail) concoctions for small and large gatherings alike.

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I’m a self-confessed Justin Timberlake fan and have been since the 90s – you know, the ‘N Sync days? So, when I heard that Justin was teaming with celebrity stylist and interior designer Estee Stanley to launch HomeMint, a collection of home goods and art, I kind of freaked out, naturally.

Justin is an international artist, style icon and entrepreneur, and now, he’s officially marching into the design world as HomeMint’s designer and curator. It may seem like unlikely territory, but to him it feels natural. “HomeMint combines my love of architecture and interior design with my passion for technology and social media to create a brand that offers aspirational designs for the home at accessible prices,” he says.

homemint justin timberlake estee stanleyJustin Timberlake, designer/curator of HomeMint

Justin and Estee designed some of the pieces in the collection and curated others, seeking inspiration from European design and blends of different styles of architecture. The collection, that officially launched today, features everything from bohemian throw pillows and ceramic storage jars to Thonet dining chairs and Indian Ikat hand-tufted rugs. The exclusivity and uniqueness of many of these products are where Justin and Estee’s expertise is evident.

At today’s launch event at The Mercer Hotel in New York City, the two discussed the line’s look and feel, having both male and female curators. Justin certainly brings a level of masculinity to the collection, although feminine elements still remain intact. While Estee finds the masculinity apparent through the dinnerware and throws, Justin thinks the collection’s layering presents his strongest influence but adds: “There’s nothing like a woman’s touch to a home.”

So, I’ve already picked out a few of my favorite HomeMint items. (Well done, JT. Well done.) What I love most is how unique each item feels, along with the European flair. They’re all right on trend, but still feel like they could last in your home for ages.

homemint justin timberlake home goods pillowsSpeckled silk pillow in orange and pink (top); Jacobean print pillow in orange (bottom)

homemint justin timberlake estee stanley artwork sage vaughnArtwork: New Wave by Sage Vaughn

homemint justin timberlake estee stanley antique rugsAntique Russian hand-woven rug (top); Antique Moroccan hand-tufted rug (middle); Turkish hand-knotted rug (bottom)

homemint justin timberlake estee stanley decorative skullsDecorative brass (left) and silver (right) skulls

homemint justin timberlake estee stanley celadon vase ironwood snake accessoriesCeladon carved vase with cover; Large and small ironwood snakes

homemint justin timberlake estee stanley tarascon dishwareHand-woven Moroccan basket; Tarascon cereal bowl and mug; Blonde hickory cutting board

HomeMint shoppers can purchase these products at non-member pricing or pay a monthly membership fee of $9.99. Members receive exclusive pricing, early-bird access to limited edition items and a personalized showroom of products each month, matched to their particular style.

Check out the brand-new collection and let us know what you think. Are you surprised by Justin’s taste? Were you expecting the pieces to be different? Let us know in the comments below.

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When you think about the homes of your favorite designers, artists and authors, what do you picture? Thousands of books lining the walls? Rare artifacts sitting on contemporary built-ins? A completely elegant yet eclectic museum-looking space you just couldn’t imagine calling home (but, of course, want to)? It’s virtually impossible for me to picture the inside of Kate and Andy Spade’s home (what could it possibly look like?), and now, thanks to Todd Selby, I don’t have to imagine anymore.

Todd Selby The Selby

Todd Selby, an interiors, portrait and fashion photographer and illustrator, has been sharing inspiring and glamorous interiors with the world since 2008 on his website, The Selby. What originally started as a small website of friends’ interiors, soon erupted into requests from viewers all over the world wanting their homes featured, too. Before he knew it, he was hearing from world-renowned companies regarding collaborations and ad campaigns.

So, when you go to The Selby here’s what you’re going to get: lots and lots of interior eye candy. I mean, you’re getting an insider’s view of some of the most creative individuals in the world and the spaces they call home (or work). My favorite part of these “home tours” is what Todd chooses to focus on, like a wall sculpture, light fixture or bookshelf knickknack that may typically go unnoticed. Sometimes he just centers in on the smaller pieces and you’re dying to know why.

Let’s take a look at some interiors, shall we?

Kate and Andy Spade’s Home in New York City:

Kate Spade Andy Spade Home The Selby

My eyes just run wild when I look at this living room. I immediately notice the artwork above the mantel. Then I notice the yellow floor lamp, then all the pops of red (on the pillows, window seat, area rug). It’s pure sophistication.

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I’ve been a follower of Little Green Notebook for a long time, enviously watching Jenny Komenda transform an old chair here, a buffet there or create a stunning vignette from spruced-up thrift store finds. It’s to the point where I can’t even walk into my home without sighing in pure frustration. (I still haven’t painted my almost two-year-old entertainment center. It’s on “The List.”) She’s certainly talented and I’m 100 percent jealous of her skills. BUT I am lucky to have her blog as daily inspiration, so when I do wrangle up enough time to tackle that mile-long list of DIYs for my home, I have Little Green Notebook as my immediate go-to.

little green notebook blog jenny komenda

Jenny started both her interior design business, Jenny Komenda Interiors, and Little Green Notebook in 2007. She currently lives and works in downtown Manhattan where she shares a cozy loft with her husband and three daughters. She updates her blog daily with design inspiration, DIY projects and info from her daily life. Over the past few years her blog and business have expanded, and to top it off she was recently named by Elle Decor as a rising talent in the interior design field and someone to watch in 2012. We’re definitely watching, and here’s why we love her.

Jenny Komenda Interiors = Beautiful Interiors

You should totally take advantage of the flat-rate, one-day design consultation services offered by Jenny Komenda Interiors. For an entire day, you’ll spend time decorating and design planning with Jenny and one of her assistants in your locale. After, she’ll send you a complete plan for your space with suggestions and sources for paint colors, fabrics, window treatments, flooring, lighting, accessories, furniture modifications and more. Then, you can transform your room all on your own, becoming your own designer.

Unfortunately (for us), Jenny’s full-service design work is booked through 2013, but you can be added to a waiting list. Just send her an email…and try to be patient. While you’re waiting you can at least experience some love-at-first-sights like I did by scrolling through her portfolio. Just look at that purple tufted headboard – swoon!

jenny komenda interiors eclectic living room

jenny komenda interiors loft workspace

jenny komenda interiors colorful girls room

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I’m obsessed with Pinterest and I know most of you are too, so I know you’ll relate to this. You know when you find a blog and you’re scrolling and you find yourself pinning every single thing on the page? Like, this blogger knows what I like?! Well, that’s how Fly is for me. Andrea Pippins, Fly’s sole editor, started the blog in 2006 as “a daily resource to inspire young women to pursue their creative passions.” From fashion trends and wallpaper patterns to vintage artwork and color palettes, Andrea shares a sampling of it all for her readers on a daily basis. I’m particularly fond of her fashion picks – they’re always full of color and pattern, and I’m constantly thinking, “That’s so daring! Could I do that? I should do that!” Her goal is to continually empower people to be individualistic and creative in every way, just like this.

fly girl blog andrea pippins

fly girl blog andrea pippins

Andrea comes from a visual communications background and has a MFA in graphic design that has landed her positions working with well-known design publications and brands, such as Hallmark Cards, TV Land/Nick at Nite, Free People, Nickelodeon and Creative Quarterly. Her original posts give her an opportunity to showcase her expertise and showcase new talent as well.

Read on to see why we heart Fly so.

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It’s true. I have fashion, design and cooking obsessions. I’m sure many of you do, too. So, whenever I need to get my daily fix of beautiful clothes, eclectic designs and scrumptious recipes, I head over to A Beautiful Mess. Elsie Larson created her five-year-old blog to “promote an inspired lifestyle through fashion, handmade and pretty things.” On top of being a blog editor, she’s also a designer and the co-founder of Red Velvet, a shop that specializes in vintage and independent designer fashion and accessories. (She is a thrifting queen; see her closet for yourself!)

a beautiful mess blog elsie larson

I love to be inspired by other people’s handiwork on a daily basis, but there’s just a certain satisfaction I get from embarking on a handmade project of my own. If you head over to the projects page, Elsie and her team have compiled an endless amount of original tutorials. I’ve already added at least 10 to my winter to-do list, including some garland ideas for spring, vibrant paint chip art and painted leather bracelets that will be perfect for my summer wardrobe.

a beautiful mess blog diy projects handmade

Elsie has definitely set her blog apart by integrating creative how-tos and fun tutorials into her weekly posts, as well as tours of her home and her own decorating ventures. She treats her blog as a learning space, and each topic, whether it’s photography, beauty, decorating or baking, teaches me something new every time I stop by. In the photography section, you can learn how to take better self-portraits, or see how Elsie displays photos in her home and steal the look for yourself.

And I want to steal the look. I can’t get enough of her vintage style. Just look at her living room, bedroom and kitchen:

a beautiful mess blog elsie larson living room

a beautiful mess blog elsie larson bedroom nightstand

a beautiful mess elsie larson kitchen

a beautiful mess blog elsie larson kitchen

When you’re not making fabric necklaces or glitter shoes, be sure to check out “10 Things I Love” every Sunday, which features Elsie’s current design and fashion obsessions. Isn’t that just the perfect way to end the weekend?

a beautiful mess blog elsie larson

I find Elsie’s most recent online venture incredibly cool. Not sure how to sew a simple bow? (That would be me.) Or looking for information on developing your new blog? Elsie and her team have created several e-courses that are now up and running. Based on their experiences with running a business and a blog, they have compiled lessons they feel will be helpful for those looking into starting a small business, creating a blog, learning how to sew or styling a home, to name a few. You can check out the course introductions and sign up if you’re interested.

A Beautiful Mess is one of my favorite blogs for DIY and handmade project ideas. What is your go-to blog for DIY inspiration? Tell us in the comments!

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We’ve done a lot of work on our apartment recently, but one area that regrettably remains untouched are the closets. And they are a horror show. (When I say I have skeletons in my closet, I mean literally — the Martha Stewart skeletons that I use as Halloween decor keep falling out of my hall closet when I open it. And don’t get me started on the nightmare that’s barely containing my wardrobe.) So, when I spotted this “closet” in the Australian retail store Green With Envy, that is what I turned.

david hicks closet

Designer David Hicks (not that David Hicks, this David Hicks) gave this dressing room area all the touches I’d dream of if I had a walk-in closet of my own: Art Deco lines, a sophisticated-yet-decidedly-feminine color scheme, a dramatic display rack of clothes and comfortable seating. Shopping usually feels like a bit of a chore to me, but I’d try on tons of togs if it meant spending time here.

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Sure, we’ve all seen it: red and green for the holidays. While this famous combo may not exactly be fresh, new or unexpected, it’s obviously working; every retail store is covered in this complementary duo from floor to ceiling. Well, according to the color wheel, crimson and emerald are M.F.E.O. (made for each other, in Sleepless in Seattle terminology), and that’s enough credibility for me to love ‘em together.

But what about when it is no longer November 26th-ish or December 24th-ish? Does this very special pair still scream “Sleigh Bells and Santa Claus” or can it be used year’round with absolutely no tie-in to the most wonderful time of the year? You be the judge: Here are several examples of red and green that defy any seasonalization. Is that even a word? Who cares? It sounds good and seems like a great way to end this paragraph.

Bosch Ford Lego

Bosch and Ford designed the Lego headquarters and pulled off the red and green combo. What seems to work best with their design is the actual shade of green they chose; it’s more grassy than it is mistletoe/Christmas-ish. An excellent non-Christmas-ish green for walls, very similar to this, is Leapfrog by Sherwin-Williams.
Kid Craft Bedroom

This bedroom packed with KidKraft furniture is an excellent example of how lime and green defy being typecast as holiday. Lime and fire engine red is an excellent pairing for a gender-neutral kids’ room.

Ralph Lauren Red Green

Leave it to Ralph Lauren Home to make tartan cool, especially red-and-green tartan. In fact, this brand is a fantastic source for the red/green combo. From bedding and fabric to wallpaper, they’ve got dozens of examples that work year-round.

Okay, anyone else see any successful red/green wonders that defy holiday reference?

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Imagine co-managing a design blog with someone whom you’ve never met and who also happens to live halfway across the world. This is the situation for Desire to Inspire editors Jo and Kim. They met on Flickr in 2006 by sharing bookmarked images and instantly discovered a common interest in interior design. It didn’t take long for their lovely new blog to garner a strong following. They both have their day jobs of course, but claim their hearts belong to design and “all things beautiful around the home.” Four years later, Desire to Inspire has been ranked number four on The London Times Top 50 Design Blogs.

desire to inspire jo and kim design blog editorsJo and Kim From Desire to Inspire

So, you’re looking for some daily inspiration? Then you’re in for a treat. Jo and Kim feature interior designers, architects, photographers, stylists and their own readers’ homes from all over the world. There’s always an eclectic mix of eye candy, and I’m constantly mesmerized by their incredible finds. Trust me, you’ll never get tired of scrolling.

Find out why I love Desire to Inspire and how it inspires me, and then maybe you’ll get inspired, too. (And then please forgive me for using the word ‘inspire’ three times in one sentence.)

They Feature International Interior Designers and Firms With Amazing, Out-There Styles

brick amsterdam interior designer desire to inspire blog design blogBricks Amsterdam >> Amsterdam

gardener and marks australia interior designer desire to inspire design blogGardener & Marks >> Australia

isabel lopez-quesada spain espana interior designer australia desire to inspire design blogIsabel Lopez-Quesada >> Spain

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There is a four-letter word that takes all of the fun out of being a professional decorator: prep. It can literally take two days to find the right drawer pull for a teensy-weensy kitchen. But, then again, that’s why the pros are paid; they get it done, and they get it done right.

Lately, I have been mesmerized by the idea of what it was like to work as a designer or decorator decades ago, mostly because those poor people never got to shop online, which significantly reduces prep time. Particularly, they never got to experience Wisteria. Wisteria is a dream shopping destination for lovers of everything from European antiques to furnishings with industrial flair.

Headboard

Many of their headboards, for example, rival those in high-end showrooms yet come in at a medium price point. Picking up the Louis XVI upholstered style here allows a homeowner to splurge on other key bedroom elements, such as linens or nightstands.

High Back Chair

Although many of the pieces available on the site fall more into the traditional style of European furnishings, there are constantly surprising new finds with updated takes on traditional classics, such as these extra tall Windsor chairs. I may or may not like these even more because of my 6’5″ stature.

Industrial Chair

This industrial steel chair jumped out at me months ago, mostly for its lines and aged finish; however, one look at the price tag had me ordering it for a boy’s room I designed in Florida. NOTE TO PARENTS: Industrial chairs like this can really take a beating from your little guys. Plus, when he outgrows it and wants to change to something else, it can be used successfully anywhere else in the home. Investment piece!

Console Table

Wisteria often uses unexpected materials in unique ways. This console table has an iron base and a top covered in black-and-white bone tiles. It packs graphic punch but with traditional materials, which also warm up a space.

Anyone else have any great Wisteria finds?

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I haven’t even started thinking about doing my holiday gift shopping yet, but I’m not worried because along with our own excellent gift guide on HGTV.com, I’ve got an ace up my sleeve. That ace is called Svpply. If you’re not already familiar with it, think of Svpply like Pinterest, but for products. It’s tempting to call it a “social shopping site,” although I think the better way to describe it is a “retail bookmarking and recommendations” site with a clean, minimalistic design. You create an account, and drag the “Buy Later” bookmarklet into your browser’s toolbar. Now when you search the shopping sites you love and spot something you want to remember, you can click the “Buy Later” button, briefly describe the item, and it gets clipped and saved to your Svpply.

svpply

This is handy enough, but there’s also a social element. You can follow friends, stores, or even strangers with great taste, to see which products they’ve added to their accounts. Not to mention that there are features that allow you to see the trending products across the site and Svpply’s own Editor’s Pick. Best of all for this time of year are the gift guides, broken down by price point and type of product, and the new ability to make a set of items (like a Pinboard) — say, “In-Law Gift Ideas” — and either keep the set private (good if the people you’re shopping for are also on Svpply) or mark it public to share with other users (like I plan to do with my own wish list, hint hint). Svpply’s always been handy for my Daily Delight design spotting, but I think it might just make me the best Secret Santa of all time.

Are you on Svpply, or are you planning to join? If so, leave your user name in the comments! Happy gift hunting, all.

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While, for many, traveling is the most amazing thing in the universe, it makes me want to clock myself over the head with a steel suitcase to avoid what I consider the Dark Side of Travel: canceled flights, cranky airport employees fed up with hearing complaints from travelers all day, people reclining their seats back on airplanes thus giving my 6’5″ self only 2.5 inches of breathing room, and of course, babies who save three weeks worth of crying for their airplane-seated audience.

But after 4 straight weeks producing, art directing and writing editorial for HGTVRemodels, I have learned to appreciate a great hotel like nobody’s business. When it comes to hotels, two words come to mind: Dorothy Draper.

Who is that? Well, she is one of the most influential professional decorators of all time. In fact, hotels were her thing.

Dorothy’s Style: Hollywood Regency. Here’s How to Get the Look

After shooting a gorgeous home in San Francisco this past week, I mentioned the similarity of Draper’s aesthetic to said homeowner’s bathroom. This led me to Google the bananas out of Ms. Draper and look up all of her lobbies, most in New York City. What I noticed about her work is its timeless appeal; pretty much any of her hotel interiors could pass as having been completed in 2011. For those of you unfamiliar with the iconic work of Ms. Draper, take a gander below and become a friend of Dorothy.

Dorothy Draper

The stripes? Large scale and high contrast. Very Hollywood. I bet you can name three of four super decorators off the top of your head who’ve done this themselves. And if not, oh well, I can.

Dorothy Draper

How about the super dark colors? Insanely glamorous and packed with high contrast and some elements of masculinity although kinda-sorta overall a femme room, yes?
Dorothy Draper

Super gigantic scaled- moldings! Yes, yes yes! While this may be something many decorators do these days, back then it was totally “OMG, did she really just blow the scale up that large? So edgy, that Draper!”

Got a thing for Dorothy, like I do? Share, friends!

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In any elimination show, nothing’s more important than the first impression each contestant makes. Who will be the dark horse? The sweetheart? The villain? As the Design Star editor, I size up our contestants the same way, since I’ll be spending (at least virtually) lots of time with them.

Right off the bat, there was something appealing about Kellie’s warm, comfortable style and easy personality. Many of you fell for her too — she led all season in the Design Star fan vote and ended up winning the grand prize, her own show right here on HGTV.com (more on that later!).

Kellie Clements Designs

Kellie’s bright designs just scream fun, but they’re functional, too, like the built-in window seat and storage niche from the designers’ Brooklyn penthouse. (The view isn’t bad, either.)

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There are certain pieces of furniture that have paved the way for the interior design world and will always stand the test of time: the Egg Chair, the Barcelona chair and the Arco Floor Lamp, just to name a few. And lucky for us, one of these modern favorites has found its way into our office. University of Cincinnati student Alison Donner spent the last quarter in the HGTV Home Studio co-op program working with top HGTV design experts to create an interactive exhibit that focuses on an iconic, 20th-century interior design trend: George Nelson Bubble Lamps. Find out what Alison has to say about these iconic lamps and bringing them into your home.

Wall Covering Design Trend: 3D Sculptural Surfaces

hgtv home studio george nelson bubble lamps hgtv design happens

In 1947, George Nelson designed the Bubble Lamps as a substitute to more expensive silk lamps. The plastic was less expensive than the silk material and safer than using paper, so he covered a steel frame with the plastic material and the Bubble Lamp was born.

“I was really drawn to the Bubble Lamps because they are so versatile, and timeless. They work in so many room types and styles. Bubble Lamps are a fun way to add design to a room,” Alison says.

The Bubble Lamp may represent a mid-century modern style, but it’s certainly not limited to that particular design style. “The variety of shapes and sizes make the lamps appropriate for many sizes and styles of rooms. More simple shapes, such as the ball, work perfectly in a traditional space, while more funky shapes, such as the propeller, work great in a modern space,” Alison says.

HGTV home studio george nelson bubble lamps hgtv design happens

Alison wanted to ensure that people were not only learning all about George Nelson’s lamps, but that they were learning how to properly light their homes, too.

“One of the best general lighting tips I can give is to use multiple light sources for a variety of light in one space. Instead of just using a pendant over a table, wash an adjacent wall with light as well, and possibly some floor lamps or sconces nearby,” she says. “Having different light sources will create a variety of light, as well as create light contrast that is pleasing and interesting to the eye.”

“Lighting should be a fun additive to a space, not an afterthought. Many times, lighting can be the last thing you think of when putting together a space. Using a lamp as a statement can really help build the space from the beginning,” she says.

hgtv home studio george nelson bubble lamps hgtv design happens

To Alison, a small design detail — like the Bubble Lamp — should be incorporated from the beginning of the design process to really make the space come to life. “Sure, a room can be well-designed without a lamp, but when you add the perfect lamp, the space really comes to life. Whether it is the perfect hanging lamp, or the design on a plate you want to use, starting to think of these things from the beginning of the design will result in a truly cohesive and warm space.”

What do you think about George Nelson’s iconic Bubble Lamps? Would you add them in your living room or above your dining table?

Tell us in the comments below.

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I know I talk a lot about mid-century modern design and decor, but it wasn’t my first love. That’d be art deco. Maybe it’s cliche at this point — see Woody Allen’s recent film, Midnight in Paris — but I’m obsessed with Roaring ’20s literature (Dorothy Parker, Hemingway and Fitzgerald, swoon), film (Louise Brooks and Clara Bow in anything), art (Man Ray and Tamara De Lempicka, especially) and style. When I saw that fashion designer Sue Wong was collaborating with English Home for a collection of bedding, curtains, cushions and fabrics that all have a Hollywood deco bent, it reignited my passion for the glamour of that period.

shanghai mood curtains and cushions

It’s tough to pick just one part of the collection that I like the best, but the Shanghai curtains and pillows are understated, yet swanky. They’re a brilliant translation of Wong’s elegant deco Asian red-carpet gowns, and would be a perfect in the classic buildings I’ve seen in New York (like the newly-restored lobby of the Ardsley). All of the sudden, I have the overwhelming urge to bob and finger wave my hair. They say you never forget your first crush, and in this case, I don’t want to.

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  • As seen on the HGTV series, House Hunters Renovation

  • As seen on the HGTV series, House Hunters Renovation

  • As seen on the HGTV series, House Hunters Renovation

  • As seen on the HGTV series, House Hunters Renovation