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    We think most things look—and feel—better once they're worn in, wood included. Here are five favorite spaces with wood that flaunts the lived-in look; some of it centuries old, some brand new.

    For more from our member architects and designers, visit the Remodelista Architect/Designer Directory.

    White Oak Flooring in a Duplex Remodel by Elizabeth Roberts Design, Remodelista

    Above: Elizabeth Roberts Design installed new white oak floors throughout this duplex renovation in Fort Greene, Brooklyn. The muted color pairs well with the home's historic features.

    London Terraced House Remodel by Liddicoat & Goldhill, Remodelista

    Above: Architects Liddicoat & Goldhill remodeled this 19th-century terraced house in London for a client who is an avid collector of vintage and reclaimed materials. The client's antiques and the home's original woodwork (such as wood paneled shutters) were the designer's palette. Photo by Tom Gildon.

    Tribeca Loft Remodel with Worn Wood Beams by Wettling Architects, Remodelista

    Above: Hundred-year-old beams (and relatively newer Wishbone chairs) in a Tribeca loft by Wettling Architects.

    Credenza Sideboard with Warm, Worn Wood by Magness Interiors, Remodelista

    Above: A credenza set for serving in the home of Santa Barbara-based Carole Magness of Magness Interiors. The designer's home, a 1919 farmhouse, was designed by Wallace Neff.

    Worn Wood in a Brooklyn Heights Remodel by Elizabeth Roberts Design, Remodelista

    Above: A mix of old and new in a Brooklyn Heights loft remodel by Elizabeth Roberts Design. A new open kitchen and reclaimed-wood dining table suit the owners' entertaining needs.

    Open Kitchen and Dining Remodel by Nick Noyes Architecture, Remodelista

    Above: Golden wood and gilded frames warm this modern kitchen/dining renovation by SF-based Nick Noyes Architecture.

    Get even cozier with 613 images of Rooms with Rugs in our gallery of rooms and spaces.

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    Is there anything burlap can't do? It can cover windows, skylights, serve as a table runner, divide a room, and more. Here are five spaces that make clever use of this humble material.

    Above: A handmade burlap curtain in a room designed by Sibella Court.

    Above: Fabienne Collombel's bedroom in Marseilles features an instant burlap headboard, photo via Marie Claire Maison (via The Design Vote).

    White Bookshelf Wallpaper

    Above: Burlap serves as a skylight cover in this room featuring White Bookshelf Wallpaper designed by Young & Battaglia.

    Above: Burlap curtains serve as room dividers in Scott Newkirk's Brooklyn flat.

    Above: A painted burlap table runner by Radical Possibility.

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    I hate cords. Even the word "cords" is ugly. Yet they were everywhere in my life, snaking across the floor, tangled under my desk, draped over the nightstand, twining themselves around the headboard and conspiring to strangle me as I slept. I tried to corral them with twist ties, cord-wrapper hubs, plastic cord-tamer shoe boxes. But nothing worked—until I discovered five foolproof ways to put them in their place.

    It started with a remodel. One day, while my designer friend Stephanie Dorfman was sitting at her kitchen table sketching new cabinets for my house, I started telling her about the bad dream I'd had the previous night. "All the computer cords and cell phone chargers were wrapped around my ankles, and there was an evil enchanted power strip, and it said, 'Can you hear the lambs screaming, Michelle?'"

    Stephanie looked up from her drawing. "Don't worry, we can hide every cord in your house," she said. "They'll never be able to hurt you again."

    Sure enough, Stephanie designed clever cabinetry—for the home office, the TV room, and the master bedroom—with more secret compartments and hidden trap doors than a Vegas magician. You cannot see one single cord in the whole house. But the beauty of her system is this: you don't need to remodel your house to hide your cords. Here are some Penn & Teller tricks that will work for you.

    Photographs by Michelle Slatalla.

    secrets to a cord-free home office via Gardenista

    Above: The home office, where both my husband and I work, is a glorified alcove off the living room; from the front hallway, you can see straight through the house to our desks. So it was imperative that every ugly cord, charger, power strip, cable modem, and random electronic gadget be invisible. Can you spot the printer?

    hide computer and phone cords in a home office via Gardenista

    Above: Stephanie Dorfman's design for the house involved false walls, pullout drawers, hidden electrical outlets, and vented doors (to prevent electronic components from overheating). In the office, the two desks and a long wall of low cabinets form a horseshoe shape.

    dropped ledge to hide cords in home office via Gardenista

    Above: Behind the U-shaped countertop is a dropped ledge; it's 3 inches lower than the height of the countertop. On the ledge behind each of the two desks is a hole, big enough for all the cords to fit. The computer cords, the phone cords, the camera cord, even the cord from the electric pencil sharpener—they all disappear into that hole, positioned behind the pedestal of my computer monitor.

    false panel behind desk to hide cords via Gardenista

    Above: There's a false wall behind each desk. The cords drop behind the two-paneled false wall and are plugged into power strips that sit, hidden, on the floor behind.

    Of course, you don't need to install built-in cabinetry to get the same look. Stephanie suggests this simple method:

    Secret No. 1: Build a false wall.

    Here's how. First make a desk, creating a base with two file cabinets such as White File Cabinets ($159 apiece from CB2) as a support for a desk top. For the desk top use a wooden door or other piece of solid wood that measures from 1.5 inches to 3 inches deep and has a 6-inch overhang when placed atop the file cabinets. For instance, if your file cabinets are 19.5 inches deep, the desktop should be 25.5 inches deep.

    Position the desktop on the file cabinets to create a 1-inch overhang on the front and a 5-inch overhang on the back of the file cabinets.

    Next, buy a piece of 3/8-inch-thick plywood and cut it to cover the opening below the desktop. Screw the plywood into the back of the file cabinets and paint the front of the plywood—the side facing into the room—the same color as the wall behind it. Now you have a false wall.

    Above: Cords are gathered together, then threaded through the top of the ledge on the back of my desk.

    Secret No. 2: Cut a hole in your desktop to make cords disappear.

    Cut a 3.5-inch round hole in the back overhang. Attach a White Round Plastic Desk Grommet with Cover; $6.60 from Cable Organizer.

    Secret No. 3: Don't stint on the power strips. Behind the false wall under my desk are two Belkin 6-Outlet Home/Office Surge Protectors ($6.33 apiece from Amazon). Get two, even if you think one is enough, because there is always going to be something else you'll want to add in the future—a desk lamp, say—to the jungle of cords in your office. Also, it's easier to keep the cords from tangling or knotting if each one has some "air space" around it on the surge protector.

    how to hide a printer and cords in a home office

    Above: Printers are very ugly. And bulky. I never want to see one again. The wall of drawers in my office includes a double-deep drawer in the middle. That's where my printer lurks.

    Secret No. 4: Buy a wireless printer such as an Epson Workforce 545 All-in-One Printer ($152 from Amazon). A wireless printer eliminates the need to run a cord between it and your computer. Getting rid of even one cord feels so sweet. Put your printer inside a drawer and install an electrical outlet inside the drawer. Plug in the printer and never again see its cord.

    a rolling shelf to hide a printer in a home office via Gardenista

    Above: My printer is on a sliding shelf inside the drawer. When the drawer opens, the printer rolls back, creating enough space for copies to come out the front.

    Secret No. 5: Put your printer on a rolling shelf to make it easier to add paper, remove copies, and operate the controls. Sources for a wide selection of different sizes and types of glide-out shelves include Shelf Genie, Hafele, and Rev-a-Shelf.

    spanish bluebells in a vase via Gardenista

    Above: All that's left on my desk: some Spanish bluebells from the garden.

    N.B.: See more Domestic Dispatches for 7 Secrets to Make the Perfect Bed and Help! My Marble Backsplash is Stained.

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    Confession: I am a reluctant composter. I know, I know. My impulse is to scrape the dinner plates into the sink, whirl the disposal, and be done with it. I do have a stainless compost bucket under the sink, but it's an awkward—and less-than-fragrant—arrangement. In my next life, I plan to incorporate an in-counter compost solution. And you? Do you keep a lidded pail on the counter? Tell us your techniques in the comments section:

    kitchen countertop with built in compost via gardenista

    Above: An integrated countertop compost portal; photograph via Cultivate.

    countertop with hole for compost via Gardenista

    Above: Two pullout drawers—the top one has a cutting board and the one below holds both a garbage and a compost bin. Photograph via The Farm Chicks.

    Above: A stainless steel bucket you can lift out and carry to the compost bin in the backyard. Photograph via Blanco.

    in counter waste bucket for kitchen compost via Gardenista

    Above: An in-counter removable waste bin to collect scraps. Photograph via Studio Gorm.

    countertop compost system via Gardenista

    Above: A DIY Compost Farm by Charlotte Dieckmann.

    For more compost solutions, see Compost Like a Pro: Maven Bins Made in Vermont.

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    I don't have anything against the idea of TV; in fact I consider TV to be the new novel. When I power-watch three or four—OK, five—episodes, I get the same woozy, drugged-out high as from being lost in a book. What I hate is how a TV looks, a black hole on the wall trying to suck light out of a whole universe. Plus, it has ugly sidekicks skulking around: modems, woofers, blink-y black boxes, and cords. Here's how to fix those problems:

    But first: how did I come own an enormous flat screen TV in the first place? The usual way. My husband tricked me into it.

    About three years ago, we moved across the country and my husband, arriving in New York City a few weeks ahead of me, took advantage of my absence to rush out to a harshly lit electronics store on Broadway to buy the biggest TV he could find—possibly the largest one in existence at that time. I got to town to find it propped on cinder blocks in the otherwise unfurnished living room of our apartment, with about a billion black snaky cords spilling out and attaching it to a life support system of bizarrely pulsating blink-y box things. "Isn't it beautiful?" my husband asked.

    Of course I wanted to get rid of it. I mean, I haven't even known how to turn on a TV since the advent of those remote control things, much less how to change a channel (are they still called channels?). But then the weather turned cold and gray, and I got sucked into watching episode after episode of Downton Abbey or Mad Men or Grey's Anatomy. (This is a much more instantaneous way to entertain oneself in New York, by the way, than bundling up in a coat and boots and scarf and gloves and going into the hall to wait for the creaky old elevator; riding slo-o-o-wly down nine flights with the neighbors who you don't know and their dog; walking to the subway; breathing through your mouth to avoid the bad underground smell while waiting for a train, and then riding it somewhere to do something.)

    By the time I moved back to California and remodeled my house a year ago, the TV was my friend. I wanted to find a way to keep it in my life without ruining the beauty of the new, no-cinder-block decor of my house. This is where my friend Stephanie Dorfman, a designer and certified cord removal specialist, stepped into the picture.

    Photographs by Michelle Slatalla.

    flat screen tv and entertainment center cordless family room via gardenista

    Above: Do you feel this the biggest TV you have ever seen? No? Good. It's an optical illusion.

    Secret No. 1: To minimize the TV's hulk-iness, Stephanie surrounded it with deep bookshelves. The screen sits flush with the front of the shelves, making the TV seem barely three-dimensional and no more obtrusive than, say, a chalkboard.

    Secret No. 2: The TV is surrounded by a generously sized (it's 5 inches wide) frame with a beveled edge, like a picture frame, further diminishing the screen. (The frame is attached by magnets and pops off so my husband can rummage around behind it with cords, etc.).

    Secret No. 3: Notice how the whole wall—shelves, cabinetry, frame—is painted a single neutral, light color. This further downplays the TV, which is mounted on an arm against a false wall that's shallower than the wall behind the surrounding bookshelves; cords attached to the TV drop behind it into the cabinets below.

    bookshelf surrounding flat screen tv via gardenista

    Dealing with TVs is one of those design dilemmas that never goes away. In other words, the size and shape of TVs change but they still look bad—just in new, bad ways. In my grandparents' house, an entire corner of the living room was a no-man's-zone given over to an old-fashioned TV cabinet from the Pleistocene Era; the set hadn't worked for years but there was no move to get rid of it (in those days, furniture was a life sentence; the prehistoric sofa had lace doilies sewn over bare patches on the arms). You knew to avoid the TV cabinet corner if you were playing hide-and-seek because it had sharp corners to jab you as you tried to slip past the person who was "It" without being tagged.

    Then came Armoire Armageddon. In the 1990s, TV sets still were about three feet deep, and I was one of those people who bought into the "let's-get-an-armoire-to hide-the-TV" craze. Flash forward 20 years, with flat screens everywhere and all these hulking, superfluous armoire things taking up space in living rooms across America. I gave mine away—overnight, it seemed, its value had dropped from the $800 I'd paid for it to $0—and still feel lucky that someone would take it. Given the number of TV armoires that are still out there, lurking in corners of living rooms, I expect that eventually we'll see them littering highways like discarded mattresses.

    octagon cane metal doors for ventilation entertainment center via Gardenista

    Secret No. 4: Put all that horrible TV-related stuff inside cabinets, and put vented doors on the front so the electronics don't overheat. Beneath the TV, Stephanie designed doors with Octagon Cane Decorative Perforated Metal. For more information on perforated metal patterns, see Direct Metals.

    tv components on pull out adjustable shelves via Gardenista

    See where the cords drop down from the TV above?

    Secret No. 5: Put all the electronic components on pull-out drawers so it's easy to get to the cords at the back. Our TV is attached to a receiver that's connected to a set of five surround sound speakers including a subwoofer the size of a dorm refrigerator; a router; a Blu-Ray DVD player; a Sonos hi-fi system bridge, and an Apple TV. I don't know what any of these things are—my husband insisted we "needed" them—but I am happy I cannot see them. They live inside these cabinets.

    There is a messy tangle of cords attendant to any entertainment center setup; I put a few books on the bottom shelf to hide the cords (and the power strip to which they are attached).

    how to hide computer cords at home via Gardenista

    Secret No. 6: Let your furniture help you hide the cords. At my house, the power strip hides between two pieces of my sectional sofa.

    In the family room, we lounge around a lot on the sectional with our computers (sometimes while simultaneously watching TV—sick, I know). Where the two pieces of my sectional meet, a power strip lurks beneath on the floor. You can pull up a cell phone charger, an iPad cord, possibly even the charger to my husband's electric shaver. There's a lot hidden under the cushions.

    power strip hidden under sofa via gardenista

    Above: From a distance you would never know a tangle of nasty wire is attached to the power strip that sits beneath the sectional. The whole spaghetti-bowl mess is tucked between the cushions of the sofa, and we fish out the appropriate cord when we need it. Cost: $8.99 (for a Belkin 6-Outlet Home/Office Surge Protector from Amazon).

    If you don't have a sectional, you still may be able to accomplish this neat trick. Simply attach your power cords to a power strip that sits on the floor behind the sofa, and thread the cords up through cushions or unobtrusively up the side of an arm.

    bookshelf with tillandsia air plants via Gardenista

    Secret No. 7: Maintain some electronics-free zones in the family room. On my bookshelves are, well, books. And plants. Can't you just feel all that oxygen coursing into the room? Empty white space is a design element that makes the area around the TV set feel more open and spacious.

    And now? I still have a few episodes of House of Cards (the British version—I finished power watching Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright last week) to catch up on. Reminds me of Bleak House.

    Emboldened to rid your life of all cords, once and for all? Miracles do exist. See 5 Ways to Banish Computer Cords From Your Home Office.

    Hooked on Domestic Dispatches? See all of Michelle's weekly columns here.

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    Recipes, cooking apps, pasta-making tutorials. What's not to love about the bottomless recipe book and culinary courses available on tablets? Food splatters on the screen, for one. Spilled milk on the counter where the tablet lays, for another. I'm having my own debate about my tablet's readiness to be in the kitchen. Is the iPad ready to be a kitchen appliance? Where do you stand?

    If you are a devotee of your tablet as cooking assistant, let us know your favorite cooking apps in the comment section below.

    Andrea Ponti Bosco Cutting Board ipad Stand, Remodelista

    Above: Designer Andrea Ponti's Bosco Cutting Board and iPad Stand is the product that could get my iPad to migrate to the kitchen counter top. Andrea Ponti Bosco Cutting Board ipad Stand, Remodelista

    Above: An "experiment with the relationship between technology and a kitchen tool that is often dull and flat but used daily", the Bosco Cutting Board and iPad Stand is made of Ginkgo wood hand-carved out of a single log by Kyoto craftsmen. Take the cutting board out of the stand and replace with an iPad. Still a prototype, I am hoping it comes to market soon. Images via Andrea Ponti Design.

    Chef Sleeves for ipad, Remodelista

    Above: Take cover. Spill proof and food-covered hands proof, Chef Sleeves are perfectly sized ziploc covers for the iPad; $19.95 for a 25-pack at Amazon. Image via Whole Food Lab.

    Williams Sonoma Screen Shield

    Above: I prefer to keep disposables at bay. While it doesn't protect from monumental spills, the washable, anti-glare Williams Sonoma iPad Screen Shield keeps your iPad splatter free; $14.95.

    Ipad mounting system for kitchen wall, Remodelista

    Above: The best idea may be to keep the iPad off the counter altogether. There are a variety of wall-mount options. My favorites are those with minimal visible hardware like Vogel's RingO Wall Mount; $66.95 at Amazon.

    Above: I am not sure our family needs another draw to the refrigerator, but an option to keep your kitchen tablet off the counter without a permanent fix is the magnetic FridgePad for iPad; £34.99 at Woodford Design.

    Maybe a Tablet Disguise is the way to go?

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    Until very recently, if I had moved into a house or an apartment with a fifties-style mint green sink I would have shrieked in horror and called the plumber. Lately, though, I've been noticing appealing bathrooms with original plumbing fixtures featuring a fifties retro charm.

    Above: A bath in Brooklyn designed by Elizabeth Roberts: "We took every single tile off the wall and rearranged them in this bath," Roberts says (see the rest of the house at A Brownstone in Brooklyn, Reborn).

    Above: A minty green vintage enamel sink; photo by David Ross.

    Above: A bath in the Melbourne home of Luke Mortimer, spotted on Design Sponge.

    Above: A jadeite sink and tub in Australia, photo by Toby Scott.

    Above: A fifties-style green sink, photo by Lisa Hubbard.

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    Here are some inspiring ways to integrate that new (or old) washer and dryer set—especially useful for those of us who live in small spaces.

    Above: Colorful barn doors hide the laundry, via House Beautiful.

    Above: In the laundry room of Tricia Foley, the washer and dryer are concealed behind cabinet doors made from reclaimed pine. Photograph by Eric Piasecki for Martha Stewart.

    Above: Eric Pike's NYC kitchen features a stacked washer and dryer next to a refrigerator, via Martha Stewart.

    Above: In this traditional UK laundry room, the small-scale washer and dryer are concealed behind curtains; see Steal This Look: Traditional English Laundry Room.

    Minimalist Built-In Laundry Room and Kitchen, Remodelista

    Above: Suspended sliding base units in dark oak built by Antonio Citterio hides a linen closet and washer/dryer in the kitchen.

    For more reasons to redesign your laundry room, sift through 57 Laundry & Utility Rooms in our Gallery of rooms and spaces.

    N.B.: This post is an update; the original story ran on March 8, 2012.

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    Spotted lately: bricks used in unexpected ways (as kitchen island base, as herringbone floors, as a decorative motif): here are five of our favorite examples (OK, seven—we couldn't help ourselves).

    Above: The brick hearth and mantle are surprisingly modern looking in this Norfolk barn by Carl Turner Architects.

    Above: Gray stone bricks in a kitchen from Ina & Matt Studio.

    Above: Bricks function as herringbone pattern floors at this Danish summerhouse via Purple Area.

    Dutch Architects and Their Houses

    Above: A brick kitchen counter from Frank Visser and Mirjam Bleeker's book Dutch Architects and Their Houses.

    Above: Bricks support a rustic wood column in a converted barn from Dutch design studio Ina & Matt.

    Above: A minor brick detail accents the Dinesen wood floors; see our post on Walls, Windows & Floors: Dinesen Wooden Floors in Denmark.

    Above: Bricks made pale with a light wash of white paint from Norm Architects in Copenhagen.

    This post is an update; the original ran on July 24, 2012.

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    There is something undeniably pleasing about a well-designed spice rack.

    When I moved into my first apartment, my top priority when stocking the kitchen was to buy little glass jars for all the hand-me-down spices that I acquired (the benefit of having a chef for a mother). Here are five quick solutions for the kitchen spice display.

    Metal Tins with Clear View Tops

    Above: Use Metal Tins with Clear View Tops to organize your spice drawer; $48.24 for 72 2-ounce jars from SKS Bottle. Photo from Amy Kundrat's Flickr.

    Above: Spices hung neatly on the wall in the home of Allen Hemberger; photo via Design Sponge.

    March Spice Jars on a Windowsill, Remodelista

    Above: The humble beginnings of my spice collection starts with March Pantry's black glass jars designed by Design is Play and available at MARCH in San Francisco.

    Dean and Deluca Spice Rack

    Above: Dean and Deluca Spice Rack; $175 from Dean and Deluca. Photo via Time Out New York.

    Salts in Weck Jars at Terrain, Remodelista

    Above: Salts displayed in Weck jars and labeled with kraft paper stickers; $25 for the set of three each at Terrain.

    Droppar Jars

    Above: Create a spice drawer using Ikea's Droppar Jars made of glass and stainless steel; $9.99 each.

    This isn't our only kitchen storage secret; take a look at our post on 10 Strategies for Hiding the Microwave.

    N.B.: This post is an update; the original story ran on April 11, 2012.

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    A friend emailed to say she was searching for a porch swing, which made us realize we hadn't covered this category before. It also made us realize that it's actually hard to find a good exemplar; here are five we like (plus a bonus DIY project).

    Above: Loll Design's Go Porch Swing is made from 100 percent post-consumer recycled plastic reclaimed from used milk jugs. The swing hangs from black nylon cord with stainless steel fasteners; $850 from Design Within Reach.

    Above: Wood Country Cabbage Hill Red Cedar Porch Swing (shown above with a whitewashed stain); $336.69 at the Porch Swing Company.

    Above: The White Banks Bed is made in South Carolina; go to Bulls Bay for ordering information.

    Above: The Louisiana Cypress Swing Bed is $475 from Louisiana Cypress.

    Above: The Kingsley Bate St. George Porch Swing is made of solid teak with solid brass fittings; $590 at Wayfair.

    Above: A DIY Porch Swing via Ana White.

    For more porch inspiration, see Summer Screened Porch Roundup.

    N.B.: This post is an update; the original story ran on August 8, 2012.

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    There’s little you can’t make (or bake) with a 10-inch cast iron skillet, and if you look after it properly (season it regularly), cast iron cookware will last you a lifetime and beyond. Here are five favorites.

    Above: A row of variously sized cast iron skillets; a chef's dream. Image via Brook Farm General Store.


    Above: Vintage Griswold or Wagner cast iron skillets (the Rolls Royce of the cast iron world) can be found on eBay from $80 to $250.


    Above: The 10-inch Lodge Logic Skillet is available through Amazon; $15.92.

    Camp Chef Cast Iron Skillet

    Above: The 10-inch Camp Chef Cast Iron Skillet is available through Amazon; $17.99.


    Above: The one drawback to the cast iron skillet is that the handle gets very hot. The Lodge Signature 10-Inch Cast Iron Skillet with Stainless Steel Handles offers a cooler handle option; available through Amazon, $57.39.

    FeLion cast iron pans in shape of US map, Remodelista

    Above: At FeLion Studios, you can even have a cast iron skillet made in the shape of your homestate. See FeLion for more details. 

    Looking for cookware? See 41 backposts of Cookware.

    N.B.: This post is an update; the original story ran on October 18, 2012.

     Vote for Your Favorites in Each Category Once a Day

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  • 07/08/13--10:00: 10 Summery Mosquito Nets
  • Summer's here (and the mosquitoes are circling), which prompted us to round up our favorite insect-repelling sleeping spaces.

    N.B. We like the 100 percent cotton mosquito nets on offer at Mosquito Nets.

    Piet Boon bedroom with mosquito net

    Above: A bedroom in one of Piet Boon's Caribbean vacation villas for Bonaire.

    San Giorgio Mykonos Mosquito Net Remodelista

    Above: A mosquito-net draped bed at the San Giorgio Hotel in Mykonos (see the rest of the hotel at Bohemian Paradise Found.

    Above: A mosquito netted bed in Sweden via Artilleriet.

    Jerome Galland White Interior Mosquito Net

    Above: A room from the White Interiors portfolio of Jerome Galland, via Interior Design.

    San Giorgio Mykonos bedroom Remodelista

    Above: A mosquito-net draped bed at the San Giorgio Hotel in Mykonos (see the rest of the hotel at Bohemian Paradise Found.

    Above: An open-to-the-elements bedroom in Casa Lola, Jan Eleni's home in Brazil.

    Patricia Larsen garden bed Remodelista

    Above: Patricia Larsen's summertime bed in Mexico, with the most beautiful mosquito net we've seen; see Larsen's house at An Artist at Home in Mexico.

    Above: A bedroom at the Lanthotell Mallorca in Spain.

    Above: A rustic home on the Greek island of Sifnos, from Marie Claire Maison via The Style Files.

    Coreys Converted Barn Remodelista

    Above: Corey's Converted Barn on AT.

    N.B.: This post is an update; the original story ran on August 29, 2012.

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    One of the easiest—and most underutilized—interior design strategies? Drape your furniture in simple cotton canvas painter's drop cloths.

    Hitoshi Uchida's Drop Cloth Sofa in Japan, Remodelista

    Above: Wrapped in a drop cloth, a sofa becomes a Christo-like work of art; this one is in antique store owner Hitoshi Uchida's home in Kamakura, Japan. Photo via The Selby.

    Above: A chair is invitingly rumpled, via OWI.

    Le Dans La Cloth Covered Chair, Remodelista

    Above: A covered chair from Le Dans La.

    Above: An instant bedspread, via Kikette Interiors. Although this one appears to be linen, a laundered painter's drop cloth would also work.

    Above: The draped sofa adds a casual note to a potentially formal space; photo by Jim Franco.

    Above: At the Ace Hotel in Palm Springs, beds are draped in covers resembling drop cloths from Free City in Malibu.

    Heavy Weight Canvas Drop Cloth

    Above: Cotton canvas drop cloths are available from several online sources. Ace Hardware offers heavyweight Canvas Drop Cloths in several sizes, ranging in price from $25.99 to $35.99.

    N.B.: This post is an update; the original story ran on March 13, 2009.

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    When I was in my mid-twenties, I lived in a Bauhaus-style apartment with plaster walls that crumbled the minute I put a nail to one. The owners were nice enough and installed rods which allowed me to hang my art using invisible fishing line. Here are a few ideas for hanging art in an unconventional way.

    Above: London-based artist Tracey Emin hangs her drawings from wooden slats attached to the ceiling. They were a gift from artist Gary Hume. Photograph by John Shand Kydd for the Wall Street Journal.

    Above: James Huniford's hallway features art mounted on clipboards. Photograph by Pieter Estersohn for Elle Decor.

    Above: Art hangs from a rod attached to the ceiling; via Canadian House and Home.

    Above: Wooden clothes hangers display art prints and posters; photo via AT.

    Above: An Ikea curtain wire (Dignitet) and office clips display a collection of children's art; photo via The Style Files.

    Above: Skirt hangers hang from a wooden rack via Ikea Spotting.

    N.B. This post is an update; the original ran on April 24, 2012.

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    One of the easiest ways to set an enticing table is to get creative with napkins. Here are some favorite ideas. No starch required.

    Dining Table at Le Marche St. George in Vancouver | Remodelista

    Above: Linen napkins are knotted in the middle at an outdoor dinner hosted by Le Marché St. George in Vancouver, B.C.

    Rough Linen Orkney Napkins | Remodelista

    Above: Tricia Rose of Rough Linen groups two layers of linen together and ties them with brown twine. The Orkney Linen and Smooth White Linen Napkins are $20-$24 each from Rough Linen.

    Leather Napkin Ties at Bar Agricole | Remodelista

    Above: Spotted at Bar Agricole in San Francisco, the rolled napkin secured with leather. Here's how to DIY your own leather napkin ties.

    DIY Botanical Napkin Rings for Thanksgiving | Gardenista

    Above: Last week on Gardenista, Erin grouped seeded eucalyptus, rosemary, and hypericum together for a Botanical Napkin Ring.

    Napkin Rings by Live Wire Farms in Vermont | Remodelista

    Above: Traditional in shape but unconventional in material: Live Wire Farm's Wooden Napkin Rings, made from Vermont hardwood; $20 each.

    For a table setting filled with ideas to steal, see our post on Schoolhouse Electric's Fall Dinner With Friends

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    Candlelight was the first—and for centuries, only—truly reliable source of flattering illumination at outdoor dinner parties. No more. Here are five up-to-date lanterns, all of which use high-efficiency LEDs to light things up.

    Hobo Lanterns

    Above: Molo Design's Hobo Lanterns owe their glow to light-emitting diodes (doesn't that sound so much more melodious than the acronym "LED"?) inside simple felt bags. With battery packs, they're portable. We'd like an assortment to light the patio this summer; $100 each.

    Un Sac de Lumière

    Above: Un Sac de Lumière is a set of four white waxed paper bags and tea lights, all hung with a piece of wire; $16 each.

    Rechargeable Portable LED Lantern

    Above: The rechargeable Portable LED Lantern comes in two colors, white or amber; three levels of brightness can be controlled by touch. It's $79.99 at Mr. Light.

    OXO Candela Luau Lantern

    Above: The rechargeable Luau can be dimmed by twisting its base; $199.99 from Oxo.

    Soji Solar Lantern

    Above: The battery-powered Soji Solar Lantern is white; a colored LED inside is responsible for the amber glow. We'd hang a cluster in a tree at the far edge of the garden.

    Solvinden Solar-Powered Light

    Above: Ikea's solar-powered Solvinden Lantern ($14.99) uses the sun to recharge its built-in battery; after nine to twelve hours of sunlight, it will last for up to twelve hours.

    (N.B.: Happily, the price has been cut to $17 since the last time we admired it.)

    N.B.: This post is an update; the original story ran on March 27, 2012.

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    Beyond the standard issue hose hanger; five practical and innovative ideas to detangle the garden hose and keep it off the ground.

    Steel Hose Hanger

    Above: The galvanized Steel Hose Hanger from Swiss company Alba Krapf hangs on to any existing tap wall mounting, neatly solving the problem of where to stow the garden hose; €19 at Manufactum.

    Above: Old wooden textile spools (found at antique shops and flea markets) bolted to a backyard fence create a hose hangar. Via Sunset.

    Above: An industrial-strength steel bracket is bolted to a deck support beam for instant hose storage. Via Modern Cottage.

    Galvanized Bucket

    Above: This Galvanized Bucket bolted to the wall not only serves as a hose hanger, but also as a caddy for the sprinkler (or other gardening implements); $13.99 at Amazon. Go to Martha Stewart for instructions.

    Behrens 35-Gallon Round Steel Tub

    Above: Another simple bucket solution: store your hose in a large galvanized wash tub, like the Behrens 35-Gallon Round Steel Tub ($46.80 at Amazon). Via Addicted to Homes.

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    Wall-mounted furniture: a saving grace for small-space living. Here are five of our current space-saving furniture favorites, from outdoor bars to desks to dining tables.

    LAX Series Wall Mounted Dining Table, Remodelista

    Above: From Mash Studios, the LAX Series Wall Mounted Dining Table is made in California of English walnut with a natural oil finish; $420 at Yliving.

    Loll Wallbanger, Remodelista

    Above: Here's an innovative space-saving furniture design for outdoor entertaining: The Loll Wallbanger. Designed with Urbancase, the Loll Wallbanger is intended for outdoor cocktail parties. The fold-open bar is made of 100-percent recycled high-density polyethylene, and comes in a choice of eight colors; $399 at Horne.

    LAX Series Wall Mounted Desk & Shelf

    Above: A longtime favorite, the LAX Series Wall Mounted Desk from Mash Studios is made in California of English walnut with a natural oil finish. The sliding cabinet doors are made from folded white powder-coated aluminum that slides freely on a grooved track. The corresponding LAX Wall Mounted Shelves can be hung high for over-desk storage or low to act as a buffet or credenza; $720 and $730 respectively at Design Public.

    The Ledge

    Above: The Ledge is a clever space-saving cord-management system, drawer, and pullout shelf/work surface from Seattle-based Urbancase. The wall-mounted desk is available in red lacquer or walnut; $1,300 and $1,500 respectively at the A+R Store.

    Clever Wall Hanger,

    Above: The Clever Wall Hanger, designed by Markus Boge and Patrick Frey, is a wall-mounted drawer that works equally well as a night table in the bedroom, a phone table in the hall, or a storage table in the office. The steel mount is fixed to the wall, and the drawer slides onto it. The birch plywood drawer can be ordered in white, red, or black. Available in small and large; €125 and €145 at Manufactum. (N.B. For more wall-mounted shelves, see "10 Easy Pieces: Wall-Mounted Shelving Systems.")

    Deskbox, Remodelista

    Closed Deskbox, Remodelista

    Above two: New from UK-based design duo Raw Edges (creators of the Stack for Established and Sons) is the Deskbox, designed for Dutch furniture brand Arco. A hit at the recent Salone Mobile in Milan, the Deskbox can be fixed to a wall and acts as a shelf and container (with a clever single pencil holder) when closed. Unfold the top and you have an instant writing desk or laptop station.

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    As a twenty-something city dweller in a rented apartment, I've become a bit of an ascetic: Investing in bulky furniture is the last thing on my list.

    Here are five ideas for an instant headboard that is inexpensive, effortless, and most important, easy to haul into a moving van when and if the time comes.

    Above: A headboard outlined in pink paint by Los Angeles designer Alexandra Angle.

    Above: Black and white maps lean up against the wall; via 47 Park Avenue.

    Above: An entire wall painted in chalkboard paint in the bedroom of German fashion designer Hanne Graumannr; image via Vosges Paris.

    Above: A macrame hanging by Portland, OR-based Sally England makes an unexpected headboard; photo via Palace Store.

    Above: White reclaimed doors as headboard via Hus & Hem. If this idea appeals, see our post on DIY: Reclaimed Doors as Headboards.

    Above: A chalkboard is a nice choice for welcoming guests or for the children's room; via Jeanine Brennan for Apartment Therapy.

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