Archive | October, 2010

From the city to the country…

30 Oct


Obviously, I love the chic downtown style of those gals on Sex and the City, but those lovable Gilmore Girls know how to decorate a country house like no other. The show, which ran on the WB (now CW) network from 2000-2007, featured a fast talking mother and daughter duo. Their quirky personalities certainly showed in the interiors of the many great old New England houses featured on the show. Whether it’s the beautiful Victorian that Lorelai and Rory lived in, or the inn that Lorelai opened at the ed of the fourth season, they flawlessly combined country and traditional elements with hints of quirky kitsch. While fictional, the design in the “Dragonfly Inn” literally made me wish it was real so that I could book a room for a relaxing weekend. Lush frabrics mixed with vintage wallpaper made for a rich design. That, along with the quirky accents, created an antique chic look  that would make any cool grandma proud. Look out for these elements in this clip from the show:

Even better than the great wallpaper used, great guest stars, like Christiane Amanpour!



Carried Away with design…

27 Oct

While most girls envy Carrie Bradshaw’s taste in fashion (or taste in men), I have always thought the interior design of her New York City apartment was the real show-stopper. While it may not look like an immaculate hall from the pages of architectural digest, it does look like a place that I might want to live, or at least have a few cosmos with friends. Design should invoke emotion along with being aesthetically pleasing. That’s one of my favorite things about this Sex and the City apartment, it screams Carrie, not set design. Each lamp, piece of artwork, or chair, looks like something the character would have purchased, and some even have stories portrayed in the series. Remember that chair she bought from Aidan? It didn’t just go away once that character left the show, it stayed in her living room and was referenced in subsequent episodes. While the size and location of her apartment may have not been the most realistic of circumstances for a young writer in the city, the style was. Things that could have been hand-me downs or thrift store finds are mixed with high-end furniture gallery pieces. However as most fans know, all this changed once these sassy ladies made their way from Home Box Office to Box Office bonanza, drawing huge crowds for both movies. One of the major themes in the first movie is the radical redesign of Carrie’s apartment. MirrorMirror asks the question: Carrie Bradshaw’s apartment- Love or Hate? While I think her new style is still cool and certainly chic, I just can’t help but cling on to the old days where Carrie was single and her apartment seemed like home.

While the goings-on of Carrie’s bedroom were usually the focus of the show, the bedroom itself is really something to talk about. Comfortable and cozy, with a mix of shabby-chic and modern elements, this space looks like an actual woman’s bedroom. Pale textiles and wall color perfectly juxtapose with dark wood and a few patterned elements.

This is definitely my favorite room in Carrie’s place. The entryway, usually a spot for keys and discarded shoes, now becomes a personal library of sorts. Being a writer, Ms. Bradshaw would need a place to store old articles or perhaps old copies of Vogue. This wall of floor-to-ceiling bookshelves does just the trick! Add in a vintage bench, side table, and lamp, and Voila! You’ve got a fabulous foyer.

Carrie was not the only SatC lady to have a great apartment. Miranda, Charolotte, and Samantha each had unique styles reflected in their homes. To revisit these great spots, visit for photo galleries from the show.

Surfing for Inspiration

24 Oct

By now, I’m pretty sure I’ve proven how much of a design geek I am. However, my nerdiness does not stop there. Oftentimes I will procrastinate by making crafts or redesigning my room, but more likely than not, I will  be watching television. Obviously, I’ll make my standard surf through HGTV, and Martha‘s new home, Hallmark Channel. I may even stop by Lifetime to see what’s happening on Project Runway. Most of the time, though, I am watching particular shows on DVD. And I can’t help but notice that while I only occasionally envy these characters’ lives, I almost always envy their digs. Yes I know, it’s unrealistic compare my college apartment to one on TV which has been assembled by a team of set designers, but it can’t hurt to use these as inspiration for my own place. While browsing the internet, jogging my memory for the glorious flats of the small screen, I once again was led to and their   “10 Best Inspiring TV Show Decor” list.  So many classic examples that have inspired throughout the years. Last on their list, but first on mine: Sex and the City, coming up next on Designphile!

Divide and Conquer

23 Oct

For the past several posts, I have been focusing on fixing the problem of too much wall space. However, what do you do when you have the opposite problem: not enough walls, period. In the case of dorms, apartments, and kids’ rooms, shared spaces are everywhere, causing design challenges and sometimes fighting roommates.  If we all had the ability, of course we would be happy to just build a wall or a whole room to solve this problem, but for most this is not an option. So why not make the best of it, and turn this divisive issue into a unique design focal point. Solutions come in all different materials, price points, and installation times.

These interesting sliding panels are brought to you from the wonderful people at Ikea. Their kvartal system is perfect due to its versatile design and many panel options. The ability to move these semi-translucent dividers/curtains is perfect for spaces that are a tad small but still need the option of privacy. As with most Ikea products, there is some assembly required, but it’s still a lot easier than building a wall!

This nifty video shows another creative solution to a troublesome open floor plan. Its installation requires less time, money, and holes in your ceiling than the kvartal system. Simply buy some curtains or make your own. Careful to pick out a fabric that works with your decor rather than competing with it. It should look like a natural addition to your room, not like a glaring sign saying “warning! we’re hiding an unsightly mess behind here!”

Sometimes, apartments do contain structures meant to divide the space. However, the one above was an unsightly railing that worked more for safety rather than style. The above is from my own apartment’s loft, which also happens to be my roomie’s bedroom. While the loft is the largest bedroom in the apartment, it also lacks a full wall on one side which is exposed to the living room. After mulling over various possible answers to her decorating dilemma, my roommate, Jennie decided on this innovative trick. She cut strips of fabric the length of the railing and weaved them in and out of the metal rails creating an awesome  basket-weave effect. She then did the same with ribbon to add a splash of color that ties it in with the pops of orange all around our apartment. This idea not only gives her more privacy in her room, but looks great–from both sides of the fence.

These are just a few ideas to solve the common issue of too many people, not enough walls. However, all of these are also useful in a studio apartment scenario where you would want to separate spaces due to functionality rather than privacy. Whatever your reason, remember that room dividers come in all forms. Got a cool stained glass window or mirror? Suspend it from the ceiling to separate a space. An avid reader? Use open backed bookshelves to divide your room. Big fan of burning some incense and just mellowing out? Beaded curtains are still a groovy way to solve a lack of walls or doors. Express yourself with room dividers, you and your roommates won’t regret it!

Dress your walls in style

22 Oct


Here’s a great idea that also serves a purpose: use your own accessories as hanging decor. All too often, I’m scavenging for a cool scarf or necklace at the bottom of a bag in the back of my closet. All the while there’s tons of available space on my bedroom wall. Here’s where Martha comes to the rescue once again! All you need to do is get an old frame and take a trip to a hardware store.The instructions are also pretty easy to follow. Why hide such beautiful pieces in a jewelry box? The  bonus: you can’t feel too bad buying that new pair of earrings if you know it will be serving double duty as a part of this personalized wall hanging. It also keeps all of your favorite bling at your fingertips, and keeps anything from getting tangled. For all of my non-crafters out there, you can check out for already-made earring holders (and for more jewelry to fill it).


Warhol Schmorhol

17 Oct

This next project may be more for the crafters/ aspiring artists among us, but I swear anyone can do it! All you need is acrylic craft paint, canvases (found at any arts and crafts store or discount stores such as Big Lots), and a stencil. Find a bold, simple picture that you’d like to put on your wall. Go through clip art or or think of things you like. This is an example from my own apartment:

This is from the radio/television show “This American Life.” I love this show so much that I decided to commemorate it on my living room wall! They use this logo on t-shirts and commercials. After you find what you want to paint, the rest is pretty simple. Just cut out the images and trace them on to the canvases and then paint them in and paint the background your desired color. Don’t want to waste printer ink just to trace the image? I used my laptop screen as a light box and traced the image on a white piece of paper lightly with a pencil (*be very careful not to scratch your screen*). Be creative! You don’t have to be Monet to out paint on canvas. Channel your inner Warhol and use everyday objects as art. Like music? Use a bowl or plate to trace a large circle on a canvas. Do the same with a smaller one to draw the circle in the middle of the largest circle. Paint the smaller circle in a bold color and the outer circle in black. put a white dot in the very center, and quicker than you can say victrola, you’ve got yourself a record!

Even simpler: channel your inner child and paint colorful shapes on canvas. Who said colorful interlocking squares isn’t suitable artwork? (Not Piet Mondrian, that’s for sure). Hopefully these tips will help everyone properly cover their walls without wasting all that money on tacky posters, or costly prints.

Decorating Hoopla

15 Oct


For those of you out there who still have an abundance of blank wall space, here is yet another idea to “round” out the list, this time from This project requires a sliver of craftiness and is great for sewing enthusiasts who have leftover scraps of fabric. All you need is less than a yard of fabric for each hoop (depending on the size), the embroidery hoop itself, and a thumb tack or nail to hang it on the wall. If you don’t happen to have scraps of cool fabric lying around your apartment, just take a trip to your local craft, fabric, or quilting store for a few quarter flats. Quarter flats are pre-cut squares for quilt-making. They’re usually under $2.oo and come in a variety of colors and patterns. This is an especially handy craft for all those awesome fabrics that are a little too loud or crazy for something like a pillow or a purse. Know avid embroiderers? Ask if they have old hoops that they’d be willing to part with. You can also find them cheap at tag or estate sales. I recommend using wooden ones for a more uniform effect, but they also come in plastic.

And if you’re really ambitious….

Who says you have to think inside the box…or the hoop!