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Nothing says welcome home for the holidays like a fresh evergreen wreath. Enter to win this one, complete with pinecones, citrus and berries, from farm-direct florist FiftyFlowers.

We’re giving away three of these seasonal delights, so answer this week’s question before 12/11c Monday, Dec. 6 to be entered into the drawing. And we’ll ship it out ASAP, so you can enjoy the festive scent of juniper, Noble Fir and cedar in time for Christmas.

This week’s question: What single item of holiday decor most captures the spirit of the season in your home?

For inspiration, check out HGTV’s dazzling ideas for wreaths, tree trimmings, fireplace mantels and centerpieces.

Click for official rules.

Imagine a 5,300 square-foot home complete with cathedral ceilings, see-through floors and a Moorish wine cellar with LED lights. Impressive, yes? Now, what if I told you this was merely the detached pool house to an even larger home? You’d be stunned, no doubt.

Tennessee designer Jamie Beckwith went all out in this jaw-dropping space, custom designing the flooring, the decorative woodwork, even the wooden tub herself. So before joining Jamie’s tour of her personal oasis, best to super glue your jaw together.

Take A Dip

From the traditional cottage in Carmel-by-the-Sea to the modernist cabin built on a lava flow landscape, author Linda Leigh Paul’s new book, Cottage and Cabin, is both a meditative and jaw-dropping collection of 40 houses taken from five of her previous books. Each provides insight into structures that meet the specific needs of the owner, but where landscape (and the potential destructive force Mother Nature) is paramount in the design.

So take a blog-size tour of Cottage and Cabin based on our recent conversation with Linda, and enjoy stunning photographs that are sure to inspire you to start planning your idyllic refuge. First on our stop, an island getaway by a volcano.

Photographer: J.D. Peterson - Architect: Craig Steely


I loooove decorating bathrooms. It makes no sense, because the benefits are rarely reaped (except for last year’s bout with food poisoning, but that’s inappropriate to discuss in this forum). I think that’s why I love bathroom designs so much — they’re unexpected and often neglected spaces of the home. In fact, I tend to use as many non-bathroom furnishings as possible in my lavatories, just to make guests twitch. I’m surprising that way.

So naturally, my bathroom ideas are overflowing, (ha! pun!) and I’m absolutely thrilled to share them. We have two bathrooms: one for guests/future kids (not yet, Ma!) and one for ourselves, which happens to be bigger than my first Los Angeles apartment. I’m a lucky girl, indeed.

Care to see what I’ll be doing with each space? Here comes the style board for the master bath suite!

Click for Inspiration

I have a feeling that the second I hit “Publish” on this post, my mother will come bursting into the front door, scoring tool in tow, scolding me for even considering wallpaper as a viable wall treatment for our home. Yet I can’t help it, Mom, because wallpaper is back and it’s killing me.

design_for_mankind 2010-08-17 at 5.27.42 PMThis Charlotte Mann photo shoot sealed the deal.

Yes, I realize wallpaper can be painstaking to apply and, yes, even more ridiculous to remove, but for a gal afraid of pattern, it’s a must-do in order to conquer my fears.

One, Two, THREE Wallpapers

We had a minor setback this week with the installation of our windows. And really, it’s a good thing. Because you know what? Things were going all too well. I was starting to awaken in the middle of the night, suffocating in the well-ness of it all.

Indeed, it was time things went wrong. And wrong, they did.

It all started when we had the lovely folks at Anderson Windows install some breathtaking 100 Series windows last week. And they are gorgeous. And we love them. And that’s not at all what this post is about.

What this post is about? Siding.


Spoiler Alert: The Budget’s Out the Window

Despite its romantic name, Rose Cottage seemed more like something out of an old horror movie — neglected, deserted and hidden away on 60 wildly overgrown acres in Orange County, New York. The stone house, built in 1847, was unlikely to appeal to the faint-of-heart.“It looked like a haunted house,” recalls Guy Clark, the Manhattan-based interior designer who first came across it six years ago. “There were trees engulfing it, vines were growing through the windows and into the attic, the front porch was falling off, and nothing worked.” And then there were the squatters: squirrels had chewed the windowsills, bats had invaded the attic, and 17 big snakes had set up camp in the dirt-floored cellar. Read on to see how Clark and his partner, fashion designer Harrison Morgan restored this New York farmhouse to its former luster.


In March, Scripps Networks Interactive, our parent company, opened a new LEED-registered building at our headquarters in Knoxville, Tenn. I love our sunlight-bathed, eco-friendly, beautiful digs featuring wall-sized windows, an open floor plan, brightly-colored, ergonomic furniture, and natural materials like bamboo and cork. One of my favorite features is the plant-covered living wall in the lobby.



This year when selecting a wreath for your home, play with shape and materials to make your wreath more unique and stylish. Create an eye-catching focal point with this blossom wreath. It has color and texture with velvety, fabric petals. Using boxwood, magnolia or holly branches can update your look without changing your color scheme. This square boxwood wreath is simple and contemporary at the same time. You can also  go for a more natural look with this tree-shaped cedar bough and pine cone wreath.  This allows for Christmas decorating, but it will not over-shadow your home for those who believe less is more.

wreath 1wreath 3wreath 2

Living Wall Garden
A vertical garden plot tops my list of planting to-dos this spring — not only because they’re attention-getting and verdant, but because the squirrels in my backyard love to dig up my plants. A simple, mounted wall planter will keep things green and out of reach.


(5 of 7 holiday home decor gift guides my fellow decorating editor, Chelsey, and I have put together according to design style)

Eco-this, eco-that. Remember when snipping 6-pack plastic pop rings was a joke (turns out, not so) and it was considered dorky to pack your lunch in a reusable lunch box?

If you think Eco-Chic style is just a fad, see’s spoof on the next eco trend: Eco-Fatigue!
Eco Fatigue Fake Fad from
Photo: Integrated Press, via

For those who are still gung-ho about being eco-conscious, there are plenty of nifty gifties for the holidays to satisfy your green urges. Plus, spending your hard-earned cash on earth-friendly items is a gift you’ve given yourself without even knowing. Here are our top picks for Eco-Chic gifts this season.

Cedar Sake Cup
Cedar Sake Cup
Solid cedar cups smell as wonderful as the sake poured in them. Now your eco-conscious friend can sip in style.
Buy: Canoe, $5

Recycled Glass Wasp Catcher
Recycled Glass Wasp Catcher
A humane, and beautiful, way to catch pests around porches and breezeways that’s every bit as kind to the wasp as it is to the environment.
Buy: Gaiam, $12

Be the Change Throw
“Be the Change” Throw
Chelsey spotted this beautiful interpretation of one of Mahatma Gandhi’s most famous quotes. The throw is made of jersey tees and satin edging and is sure to inspire your eco-conscious recipient every time they need to keep warm.
Buy: Branch Home, $368

Felt Magazine Rack
Felt Magazine Rack
To be read like Mugatu (Will Ferrell) in Zoolander: “Felt is so hot right now!” Two-sided industrial felt, belted with bungee cords makes for an accordion-style magazine rack that’s as hip as your eco-friendly friend.
Buy: Pique, $80

igrobot from chocosho
This little guy makes me happy, and why wouldn’t he? His mission is to bring green life to humans. Give him a buzz cut, and the grass will resiliently grow again — much like the weeds in your lawn. He also can be replanted and reused for other purposes if your green friend unfortunately lacks a green thumb.
Buy: Chocosho, $12.50

ecoDesign Source Book
ecoDesign Source Book
A must-have for eco-fanatics. This book is chock full of resources selling everything from clothes to home goods that are equal parts beautiful and green. Have your smelling salts nearby when you gift this: Your eco-conscious recipient might go into a tizzy.
Buy: Sprout Home, $35

Fireplace Screen by Tammy Roy
Fireplace Screen
Tammy Roy is an eco-inspired metal artist who dumpster dives to create her lovely metal bowls and home accents. Salvaged rebar and beer bottle votives make this fireplace screen one of a kind — and it’s totally fireproof! Finally a place for the eco-friendly to put all their soy candles.
Buy: OneEighty Design, $250

See all the 2007 gift guides for the home:

Shabby Chic
Modern Style
Old World, Traditional Style
Whimsical Style for Kids
Graphic Design Style
Ethnic Style, Around the World Gifts
Stocking Stuffers Gift Guide
Wrapping Paper Guide

Shop for more Eco-Chic gifts at’s MarketPlace.

Design HappensGuest Blogger: Catherine B. Stein, president of THE COLOR COUNCIL

Caren’s note: The New York International Gift Fair is a five-day showcase of the latest releases in the gift and home furnishing industries from about 2,700 companies around the world. Catherine B. Stein, color trend forecaster and convention regular, brings us the style trends seen at August 2007′s fair for Design Happen’s NYIGF series. All pictures except Eggflat and Tatami Organic bedding taken by Catherine.

Pebble pillows
Just when you thought you’d seen every imaginable texture applied to throw pillows, comes one you don’t want to throw. Tumbled, delicate white stones adorn the front face of this gravel-textured pillow, which is surprisingly supple and inviting. The ultimate for patio or pool — and limited edition — be the first on your block to own one before Wilma and Betty!

Twos Company modern wood vases
Modern meets environmental on these smooth, tactile twig and branch vases. Each round wood slice is hand set on a fiberglass mold and preserved with a lacquer coating. Watertight to hold fresh florals, or interesting enough au naturale! Singularly, or grouped together to create your own forest landscape, these pieces have all the makings of a future classic.

Josh Jakus Eggflat
Coddle your riches the eco-conscious way. This sculptural, felt tabletop piece evolved from an experiment in bending surfaces along seams. Named Eggflat, it folds flat for storage, and then unfurls to hold fruit, keys, coins, jewelry and other small treasures. Individual 12″ x 12″ units can be joined laterally to extend and form a personal landscape. The gray industrial felt is made from factory excess, and is 85 percent wool, 15 percent mixed fiber.

Molave Designs driftwood candelabra
From the culturally rich archipelago of the Philippines, comes a dancing driftwood candelabra ready to strike a pose. Graceful arms hold small pewter dishes ready for votives to illuminate an arabesque. All is staged on a base of indigenous molave wood.

Bangkok Imports Mango wood lamp
Mango wood from Thailand fashionably stacks up to brighten your life by way of a handcarved lamp base with silk shade; or use as a single candle holder. These handpainted pinstripe beauties can also be used as serving bowls, cache-pot or for seasonally displaying autumn’s bounty.

The Grove Furniture Collection from Roost
Looking to create your own enchanted forest? The Grove Furniture Collection, from a company called Roost, supplies everything you’ll need. Gnarled and twisted roots are sandblasted, nailed together and then blow-torched to achieve an uncommon burnt, rustic character. Tabletops, seats and flat surfaces are made of recycled elm wood.

Matt Roth's Packs of Seeds
Adorable seedlings sprout from Matt Roth’s, “Packs of Seeds.” Each little box is a plant container, made of recycled rice hulls, filled with natural soil and holds the potential of a tree. If you nurture friendships and honor loved ones with this 100 percent natural gift, the earth will smile upon you.

Marsha messenger bag
Eco-fashionistas rejoice! Tired of explaining why you still carry a leather handbag? Let the Marsha messenger bag flaunt your eco-consciousness. Each aluminum bag is hand-crocheted by a cooperative of Brazilian crafts women, using 100 percent post consumer recycled pull tabs. Now that’s commitment.

Dorothy Spencer Yardstick boxes
Materials that were once considered discards have now become “reconstructions,” given a new life and meaning. Here, designer Dorothy Spencer uses old advertising yardsticks to create an eccentric, homespun box. Resting on old roller skate wheels, and thoughtfully hinged, it opens by way of a red enameled, garden spigot. Nostalgia and charm collide in a most appealing way.

Strangler Vines floor lamp
Wriggling its way out of the exotic jungles of Thailand, this primitive floor lamp balances simplicity with sophistication. So called “strangler” vines, because of their encompassing nature to trees and vegetation, are cut, dried and sculpted into totemic works of art, all on a base of mango wood. This nether-world original can be topped with a shade of paper, cotton, silk, raffia or linen.

Handcrafted teak bench
As if blown in by a zephyr, this teak root bench is comfortable indoors or out. Crafted with minimal cutting, these pieces retain the beautiful twists and turns formed by weather and wind. Artisans from small villages in Indonesia coax the spirit of the wood to lie gently and beguile.

Schlee Design wood veneer vases
This is where art meets craft and transcends both categories. Form defies function in these museum-quality, abstract vases. Spanish cedar, flamed birch, cherry, Sargasso, ebony, and zebrawood veneers are shaped to create distinctive vessels. Interiors are finished with a beautifully transparent, waterproof resin. Specific size, shape and wood requests can be met. Wow!

Lazy Susan USA lighting pendants
Light up your Eco Chic room with an array of nature-inspired pendant lamps. Gourd-shaped mango wood displays its grain in glowing subtleties, while delicate twigs weave a rustic nest. Smooth cane — thin as spaghetti — is engineered into an elongated globe that appears lighter than air. On another, a veil of coconut shell beads outline a fantasy coral, sheltering an inner linen shade.

Tatmi Organic cotton collection bedding from Unison Home
Tranquility prevails in geometry, ivory bed coverings. A light gray, over-scaled graphic grid is symmetrically styled to soothe inner chaos. Tatami Organic is the name of this 100 percent organic cotton collection, and is available in full, queen and king sizes. Time to “Z-Z-Zen” to sleep.

Get more Eco Chic inspiration:
10 Ways to Go Green In Your Home
More Earth-Friendly Home Decor
Looking for green products seen on HGTV?

Looking for more from the New York International Gift Fair? Check out Catherine’s Asian style roundup.

Design HappensGuest Blogger: Jennifer Sergent, editor-in-chief, HGTV Ideas magazine

Caren’s note: No trees were chopped in the making of this blog.

Green is the biggest buzz word in design these days, and the furniture industry is no stranger to the trend. So many furniture makers are introducing lines of green furniture that the International Home Furnishings Market in High Point, N.C., now has an EcoStyle Pavilion to show them all in one place. What is green, or eco-friendly, furniture? It uses wood is certified to have come from sustainable forests. It has non-toxic finishes. The foam inside the cushions is made from recycled materials, and the foam is then wrapped in 100 percent cotton. The textiles used for the upholstery are organic and chemical free. And here’s the thing — it’s all pretty darned good looking!

Here’s a tour of the newest green furniture. If you buy it, you not only have good taste — you’re also being a good citizen.

Rowe Furniture eco-friendly sofas
Aura (top) and Summerlin sofas from Rowe Furniture
Rowe Furniture launched its Eco-Rowe collection this week, with 21 new natural-fiber upholstery fabrics, bringing its line of eco-friendly fabrics to 137 options. The cushions on its new Aura and Summerlin sofas are filled with recycled fiber — in addition to natural duck feathers and down — and are wrapped in 100 percent cotton ticking. The wood frames are made from domestic lumber cut from sustainable forests.

Copeland Furniture Taliesin Barrel Chair
Copeland Furniture, a Vermont company known for its natural hardwood furniture, has stamped the signature Taliesin Barrel Chair from its Frank Lloyd Wright collection with the Forest Stewardship Council’s logo, meaning the all-cherry frame comes from an inspected forest that is “well managed according to strict environmental, social and economic standards.”

Bernhardt's rubberwood buffets
Bernhardt’s Cascade collection was produced from plantation-grown rubberwood, with walnut veneers from sustainable U.S. suppliers. The center door of the display curio is covered with pressed rubbertree leaves under glass. The unusual buffet looks cut directly from nature, and has ample storage for silver, wine and china.

C.R. Laine Potomac Sofa, Meurice Sofa and Meurice chair
Top to bottom: Potomac Sofa, Meurice Sofa and Meurice chair
C.R. Laine introduced a “down2earth” upholstery line, in which cushions are filled with fibers spun from recycled plastic drink bottles. The fabrics are 100 percent natural fibers such as linen and cotton. The wood frames are certified under the Sustainable Forestry Initiative, and the springs are made from 50 percent recycled metal.

Palecek Woodland Collections
Palecek has always been known for furniture made from natural, sustainable materials such as rattan and plantation-grown hardwood. They are also involved in a reforestation project in the Phillipines, helping to plant more than a million trees over the last 15 years. Palecek introduced six green fabrics this week, made from hemp, bamboo, linen and cotton. The Woodland Collection features taupe organic hopsack on the chairs and hemp on the sofa. The wall panel is carved from plantation hardwood.

Left to right: Coffee table and retreat console from Charleston Forge
Recycling is big at Charleston Forge, and its limited edition pieces this fall have great pedigree. The forge is offering just 100 coffee tables made with old wrought iron window guards removed from the Roanoke, Va., Veterans Administration Hospital in 1940. Its retreat console, meanwhile, was made with cedar boards rescued from the demolition of an old lake house, and there are also just 100 available. Grab these pieces of history while you can!

Left to right: Harden Furniture console, sofa and chair
“We were green before green was cool,” is the new slogan at Harden Furniture, where fifth-generation Hardens run the company that uses lumber from its own forest in upstate New York. Its forests are certified under the Sustainable Forestry Initiative. Harden’s new green upholstery line includes a striped fabric made from post-consumer plastics and recycled cotton; 100 percent cotton with no chemical finishes; and leather made from natural, recyclable dyes.

Next: Candice Olson’s “3 C’s” collection for Norwalk Furniture

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