Archive | September, 2010

One Stylin Canadian

27 Sep

While I’m usually an equal opportunity design show enthusiast, certain formats just seem to set my heart a-flutter. This summer I discovered an HGTV show that combines real estate ventures, money-saving techniques, and drop dead gorgeous designs. Did I also mention that it’s hosted by charismatic Canadian Sarah Richardson and her adorable sidekick Tommy? This former host of HGTV’s Room Service flawlessly combines traditional designs with a modern flair. The formula is simple: Sarah finds a house and completely renovates and redecorates it roof to floor. She tries to keep within a budget, and explains how much she is spending on each room. While you may be now making a mental list of the numerous similar shows currently on TV, there’s just a something a little quirky that makes this show extra special. Sarah designs each room as if she will be living there, not just the standard show-room, what will get the most people interested,granite counter tops and beige walls. She takes risks and always seems to end up with a perfect design that I would die to live in. The Bonus? For those of us who don’t have cable TV or aren’t free Saturday nights at 8:30 (which is when it airs on HGTV), Sarah’s House streams free online at  Here are just a few of my favorite of Sarah’s rooms:

This is a great home office that uses punches of red to spice up any leftover work assignment. A framed cork board with a beautiful print turns notes and other reminders into artwork.

While some may scoff at the idea of a living room laden with pink pastels and floral patterns, this design is a perfect mixture of Parisian class and 1950’s chic. And who wouldn’t want to feel like they lived in a puff pastry or a Chanel suit?

While I personally have no need for a nursery, I couldn’t help but love this room. Sarah avoids the cutesy trap while still keeping soft and child-friendly. With a mix of fun yet mature fabrics, she made this room perfect for all ages. I also loved the painted wooden letters, a Mary Tyler Moore inspired touch that could work anywhere.


Fall into Craft Corner

26 Sep

There’s just something about fall in New England. I don’t know whether it’s the perfect temperatures, the colorful foliage, or the smell of warm apple pie, but this time of year always seems to inspire my crafty nature. Maybe it’s the fact that the outside is now more colorful than the inside of my white-walled apartment, but I can’t help but be excited that I can now adorn the tops of every surface with speckled gourds or rustic pine cones. What also excites me is that autumn is one of the cheapest seasons to decorate in. Everything from branches to leaves to acorns are all free, right outside your. Other great natural accessories such as pumpkins, gourds, or apples, cost mere dollars. There tons of autumnal design ideas on the web at Better Homes and Gardens, HGTV, and Martha Stewart. Even if you weren’t blessed with the craft gene, give these easy fall decorating tips a try!

These small pumpkin-like gourds are perfect as a centerpiece for a table or lined up on a windowsill. You can even paint these gourds different colors for a more bold and graphic feel that matches your own design aesthetic.

Here’s a dramatic and inexpensive touch to any room. All you need are a few branches, oranges, and a large glass vase (incredibly inexpensive at a thrift store or tag sale). For an interesting twist, try switching up the fruit in the vase and using lemons, apples, or pears.

These unique coasters are a classy way to ring in the season. With limited materials and easy instructions, this craft is a perfect way to add originality and class to any tea time.

Decorating with Laughs

24 Sep

While I appreciate a standard craft book as much as the next decor-ista , sometimes pages and pages of dry instructions about personalized candle molds or monogrammed pillowcases just don’t enthrall me to the core. That is why, when I hear of a book that combines crafts with quirkiness, I take notice. The amazing Amy Sedaris is famous for playing hilarious roles on TV, however recently she has harnessed her comedic talent with her love of the domestic arts. In 2008, she published “ILike You: Hospitality Under the Influence,”  which was an adorably kitschy look at entertaining and party planning. Now comes “Simple Times: Crafts for Poor People”. In this rough economic climate, who wouldn’t be interested in creating a lovely coconut craft. Not only is it a cool material to work with, you can also have a tasty all natural beverage to keep you hydrated after all that coconut carving! Take that traditional craft supplies! It’s available for pre-order now if this seems like something that needs to be added to your design library. And just in case all you Martha fans are longing for more posts on that delightful perfectionist, here’s a video I think everyone will enjoy.

Martha Mania

18 Sep


Long before trendy design shows, etsy, or Ikea were household names, there stood a single woman at the center of a craft, food, and decorating empire. That woman: Martha Stewart. Yes, love her or hate her, it is hard to ignore her influence on pop-culture and the design world. While I know most young adults probably don’t idolize this special lady quite as much as I do, using her simple and classy tips and tricks are a perfect way to stretch a buck or add pizazz to an apartment or dorm room. After all, who knows better than Martha how to make a small cell-like room feel warm and homey?

Here’s a great idea for those places where the walls can’t be painted. Rather than living in a monochromatic nightmare, take grandma’s old coffee table and paint it a fun new color.  Who hasn’t seen an old  traditional chair at a tag sale or flea market? Take Martha’s advice and revamp it! For instructions on recreating this piece and more, go to or watch everyone’s favorite craft maven on the Hallmark Channel.

Wecome to Designphile!

8 Sep

For as long as I can remember, I have been a bit of a decorating nerd. As a child, I rearranged my room constantly, always deciding which design would truly show off my various collections, whether they be stuffed animals, pogs, or other various trinkets. By now, my taste has matured and is hopefully more sophisticated than my days of decorating with beanie babies. However, I still hold on to the same crafty (and thrifty) sensibilities of my younger days. While I love to peruse magazines in which the featured designs cost more than my college education, I do not possess such a budget. I do, however, possess a hot glue gun and years of being a craft nut. So if you also spend your Sunday afternoons watching marathons of “Design Star” or if your dream shopping spree consists of a trip to a fabulous fabric outlet, or if you simply want to read me gush about my nerdy obsessions, then sit back and enjoy Designphile!