Category Archives: decorology

DIY – Refurbishing a Small Hanging Cupboard

Well, happy new year to you, too!
About some time that something pops up on this god-forsaken blog in 2012.
Today I am going to invite you into the wonderful world of Do-it-yourself realness with a little refurbishing project.

“DIY” and “Refurbishing” may seem two terms a little far-fetched. I basically took the above pictured small hanging cupboard and made it prettier. So, yes, DIY and refurbishing was involved, but I did not put together a new couch from old wine caskets and vintage army clothes. Which I will probably never do. Anyhow, The cupboard you see is something I got for free over the internet via a german site called “alles-und-umsonst” (everything and for free) and thought it looked cute and would be nice on my wall and BAM! an idea was born.

This is how rough it looked at some stage. It admittedly looked a little better before I started working on it. One of the first things I did was taking off the four plastic hooks on the bottom of it.

And I painted them in colors that fit in with my imagined color-scheme of turquoise/blue-ish.

What I needed for this project – that took me unbelievably long to finish, not because of its difficulty but because of my neverending laziness – was a few simple things:
A) My hands:

B) Some sandpaper and a scraper:

Together I applied them to the cupboard and scraped and sanded off the white lacquer. This would have been so much easier with a machine – but maybe I wouldn’t have been as proud afterwards.

Afterwards I re-painted it in bright white and bought these bathroom-glass-tiles, which were meant for decorating the front door of the cupboard.

And thanks to the wonders of hot glue these little tiles, neatly fitting in with my color-scheme, were permanently applied to the cupboard door one square at a time.

I screwed the plastic hooks back in, applied some matching paint to the door-knob and put it up on my wall.
Voilà, behold it in all its decorated and decorative glory:

And what do we think of this?

Exactly.

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DIY – Matchbox Advent Calendar

November just sneaked  in, so y’all are getting nervous, cause the hell, your sweethearts and kids all want advent calendars and it’s only one month left to get one. Do not despair, I am here to help. Actually, I am just about to throw the DIY advent calendar I made for my boyfriend last year in your face, in case you might wanna get inspired by it (which is of course totally what I hope for).

Step 1: Get inspired. I got my inspiration from the decoration-blog-sphere in the form of the picture below. I’d love to credit the source, but this pic has been slumbering on my harddrive forever and I can’t remember where I got it from. But my guess would be Decor8. To help you with step 1 this post right here exists.

Step 2: Assemble as many matchboxes as possible, preferably 24.

Getting matchboxes of different shapes can be fun. As can be the hunt. Take boxes from every bar you’re at, they usually give out free ones.

Step 3: Empty the matches in some other container – you’ll be set with matches for the coming years. They come in handy once you want to light all those christmas candles.

Step 4: Puzzle together the matchboxes in a tree-shape (we might also just call it triangle) and glue together each “floor” aka the horizontally in line ones first.

Step 5: Ok, admittdly my taking-pictures-of-steps-in-between skills are pretty shitty, cause after glueing together the “floors” wrap green fabric (or paper) around each “floor” and once done with that, glue all the “floors” together in previously laid out tree-shape.

Step 6: Decorate your matchbox tree. In my case I glued some buttons and button-like thingies on it, cause I got a huge jar of all sorts of buttons standing around and they make for pretty tree-decoration.
Decoration also includes putting numbers on each box. You can stamp them on, or handwrite or do whatever you like (press in Braille maybe?).
Step 7: Fill your matchbox advent calendar tree with all the wonders of the earth. Or candy. Which are of course not mutually exclusive concepts.

Step 8: Be extremely proud of youself. Well done!

Futuristic Living and Organic Architecture Pt. 2

Dudes and dudettes, it’s been a while since the last instalment in the Futuristic Living and Organic Architecture series (you can find part 1 HERE). Futuristic Living Pt. 2 (here) doesn’t really count in, since there was no organic architecture part.
But today there is! We’ll have a look at some energy efficient, self-sustainable or carbon-neutral houses, so you can get an idea of where you wanna live in, say, 30 years from now? Or shall we make it 15? Whatever, the sooner the better, right?

via cubeproject.org.uk

First, I’d like to introduce you to the cube-project which “is an initiative of Dr Mike Page at the University of Hertfordshire who set out to build a compact home, no bigger than 3x3x3 metres on the inside, in which one person could live a comfortable, modern existence with a minimum impact on the environment.” To get a first impression you can watch a tour around and through the cube, which gives you a good idea of what it looks like and how it works.

“Within its 27 cubic metres it includes a lounge, with a table and two custom-made chairs, a small double bed (120cm wide), a full-size shower, a kitchen (with energy-efficient fridge, induction hob, re-circulating cooker hood, sink/drainer, combination microwave oven and storage cupboards), a washing machine, and a composting toilet. Lighting is achieved by ultra-efficient LED lights, and the Cube is heated using an Ecodan air-source heat pump, with heat being recovered from extracted air. It has cork flooring and there is two-metre head height throughout.” And of course, it is made from a variety of sustainable materials.

via cubeproject.org.uk

If you want to learn more about the cube, you can visit the homepage of the project by clicking HERE. There you’ll also find a lot of additional information, especially concerning the technologies used and the generating of energy.
But what if you think: “this is all nice and well, but way too clean and waaayyy to small for my liking?” Well, here is the answer: Simon Dale’s low impact woodland home!

Yep, it not only looks like a hobbit’s home, but it made of wood, straw and clay, making use of natural material found in the surroundings (and most importantly: harvesting them responsibly) with all additional materials gathered from the trash that people tend to throw away: windows, plumbing and wiring equipment, etc. Below you get an impression of the process it took to build this inspiring home.



Not only is it ridiculously beautiful and super-eco-friendly, but on his homepage Simon Dale gives valuable instructions if you wanna go for something similar yourself. And he claims that he doesn’t really know much about carpeting and the like, saying he’s just and able-bodied dude who gave it a try. And since he likes trying he decided to build another one to move into, which looks just as gorgeous (a good reason to visit South Wales, I guess…).


all of the above 7 pictures © Simon Dale at http://www.SimonDale.net, you can visit his webpage by clicking HERE.

If you’re more of an enthusiast for minimalism in architecture rather than going for the cluttered green natura-all-over-the-place look, the following home in Tübingen, Germany planned by the architects Martenson and Nagel-Theissen of studio AMUNT might just be the one for you.

It’s a so-called passive house (meaning that it doesn’t require traditional heating systems since its construction makes maximum use of “passive” sources of heat, like sun, heat radiating of human bodies or electrical appliances, thereby requiring a minimum of energy) and provides space for two adults and four kids according to their webpage, but I guess you can get more creative with the number of adults vs. children when it comes to deciding if you wanna live in something like that. Which seems to be fairly easy, since it is easily produced and delivered to the construction site, where they only have to piece together the 136 pieces that it consists of. Which is mostly wood, really, making for pretty interiors.
Oh, and yes, I was talking about minimalism. Why? Have a look yourself:





all images (c) AMUNT, via nageltheissen.de, visit their page HERE

Jealous already?
These are just three different options for organic and/or low-energy living in future days. Some people obviously already do so now, I don’t (yet!), but there is really no reason why we all shouldn’t. Since I like ending posts like this one with more food for thought I give you a TED talk by the bright Catherine Mohr on Building Green (duration 6:13).

Jonathan Adler’s menagerie of ceramic animals

Thanks to the Süddeutsche Zeitung Magazin I stumbled across the jonathanadler.com webpage, which has all sorts of decoration goodness, but I was particularly enchanted by their pottery. There is a collection called menagerie with a variety of animals made of ceramic, some with a certain purpose, others just because they’re pretty, I guess.

These three are obviously not only beautiful but also very useful as either pitchers, boxes or, ermh, boxes. For all those who are not superficial and like their precious objects serving a purpose other than just being real precious and beautiful. For all those who don’t give a shit, there are the following few animals that are really just nice to look at without pretending to be of any further use:

So, these sculptures are all really pretty, but I wouldn’t be myself if I didn’t fall in love with … a giraffe! As a ceramic sculpture! Yay! General cheers for the awesome idea to bring more giraffe in our lives.

all images (c) by jonathanadler.com, by clicking the image you get to his online-store

There is a lot more to discover over at their shop, but I am loving this collection. And I am most certainly dreaming of amassing a huge personal collection of giraffe sculptures, giraffe pitchers, giraffe boxes and giraffe whatnot-holders.

So, what is “natural” for Ben the Illustrator?

Beautiful weather and beautiful things go together very well, and since you’ve probably been dying to write some good old-fashioned postcards to your beloved friends I bring you the perfect dose of illustration goodness that you just needed.

Behold the beauty of the “Natural” postcard-collection designed by Ben the Illustrator (his website is here) and available at the 1973 online shop (you can get to it clicking HERE). A select few are presented here, which are my favorites. I love the contrast of the vibrant colors with the wooden/stone backgrounds. So, if you feel like sending me a postcard anytime soon, you know where to look. Ha!

And another one that is so perfectly designed to be sent to one particular person I know:

Living like Spiderman!

If you’re afraid of spiders, you should maybe skip this post. Then again, you’ll miss out on the good stuff, so you better stay.
Anyhoo, this post is not really about Spiderman, rather about how his flat would look like. Full of cobwebs and stuff, is that what you’re saying? Nah, Spidey is a tidy soul, plus he’s on top of his game, so there is only the best in design-o-land for him.

Admittedly, all of this makes little sense to you, I guess.
Besides two flatmates and no living pet, I have two pet plushie spiders. They usually hang around my bed, or crawl wherever I place them, but they are dear to my heart. So, as I was looking at them one fine day, I thought: Hey, how about some spider inspired interior design. Et voilà! There was an idea.

Behold the cuteness of Kryp, the green guy on top of my head in the picture to the left, and Ms Tarantula, who is really just a houseguest since her owner Agnes gave her into my loving care. Plus we both figured our two spiders would probably like to hang out. Cause that is what plushies think about all day.

So, naturally I searched the interwebz to find some pretty spider stuff, and I could dig up some arachno-gems. Keep in mind, that I don’t own copyright to any of these pictures, but you find out about that (and other stuff) by clicking the links provided below the respective pictures in the descriptions.
Let’s start out with the chairs, where you can place your very human butt in spiderly surroundings.

The steel-chair totally looks like it is about to crawl away, before it does so, you can find it here. The cobweb chair (which is really a miniature) to the right is to be found here, and the somewhat cute, somewhat scary spider-stool can be found here. Yeah, I kinda tricked you with the headline, but here is some real Spiderman, on a sofa, and you can check it out here.

Every good chair needs a table to stand beneath as the very old yet non-existent saying goes, so I took a look around for some arachnoid tables, and from very literal to more abstract ones there is a pretty range to be found.

Starting in the upper left corner, there is the modern chrome version coming with only four legs (to be found here), followed by the more literal table that’s being carried by a huge spider (find it here), and another cobweb themed table that would go nicely with the chair in the picture above (see more here ). On the lower left there is another six-legged modern take on the spider table (here), followed by yet another more literal version that could also qualify as an ant (find it here), and then two more abstact modern chrome-and-glass tables in black (here), and in white here.

Now that you sit on your chair at your table you need some light, of course, to behold the black-widow-aesthetic. But do not worry, there are some pretty lighting options spidey-style available for you:

The one hanging from the ceiling (find it here) looks like a spider-mom laying some eggs (which they don’t do like that, I’m aware, thank you). Going clockwise we encounter some technical construction that could be a light, a spider or something totally else ( more here), while the next two ones are like spider-mom and spider-kid carrying their inner light into your home and into your heart (here). The last one is a classic Tiffany-style lamp, with something resembling a spider on top, for all those who like understatement (they can check here).

All this arachnoidal glory made me want to give my best and come up with the first ever mood-boards/interior-sketches I have done in my life. In case you want to know what your potential spider-home would look like (and what you get by hiring me as an interior designer – which I am not).

Adhering to a clean and industrial aesthetic I give you room number one with a spider inspired chair (find it here), the accompanying sofa (here), the perfect table (found here), and the perfectly fitting lamp (here).

In this more playful ensemble I go colorful on your human behind with a spiderriffic table of wood and glass (find it here), an insanely awesome chair (here), an equally cool stool (here), and a sofa with moving legs that you can rest upon (here). Of course you need light, so why not try this spider-inspired lamp with swollen legs (find it here). And yep, that could totally be your kid running around dressed as a spider (costume from here), enjoying the room for what it is.

Now, mind you, all this work and talk and writing has made me tired and vulnerable, so I need some plushie time. How about these?

Isn’t Lulu, the blue little spider in the center just darling? Find her here.
Clockwise moving, let’s also not forget the brown and big-eyed spider on the upper left (here), followed by an itsy bitsy little thing that could have climbed out of a Miyazaki Hayao film (here), and the more realistic, red-legged spider that you’ll find here. Then we have the sparkly little black fella on the right (more here), another Ikea-resident (like my Kryp) to sit down upon (here), and yet another Ikea-resident-spider in the form a plushy hand-puppet (here).

Ideally, having a plush spider you’ll be as happy as her with her oversized plushie. Too adorable, right? Uploaded by her mom, I guess, to whose flickr account you get when you click the picture.

Phew, that’s good days work there, makes me wanna sit back and cuddle in with my two little arachnoid friends.

But alas, as a parting gift, I give you the now classic Spider-Pig, performed by the one and only Mr. Homer Simpson.

All things Stitch (because really: why not?)

Back here in this review you can read about why I am so in love with the movie that is Lilo & Stitch. Unfortunately for my wallet and my flatmates this love for the movie extends to its merchandise, in an infantile connection of longing for the fantasies of the movie becoming reality in my life. Or whatever. ‘Cause really: I’m in heaven.

Living in Japan for a while turned out to be the most gratifying experience for any Lilo & Stitch Fan, because they love the movie as much as me, only as a nation opposed to me as an individual, which means a whole effin’ industry takes care of my need for things Stitch. And because all of them things are so radically pretty (oh, and totally sensible and stuff) I’ll force you to another practically mindless blogpost that is heavy on pictures and light on thinking. But who really cares? Exactly! Let’s start with the wonderful USB-stick that looks like Stitch on a surfboard (thanks, Mone!), follwed by a changing-motive-postcard (once more, Mone, thanks).

Our bathroom is by far the most harrassed space in our flat. That is where my Stitch-passion has a firm grip on the interior design of the room (mixed in with some Spongebob and Pokemon, mind you). Because really: isn’t a bathroom supposed to take you back to the joys of childhood and alla that? Yes, we say (collectively).

 Of course, the bathroom is not the only place that Stitch has invaded. There is the lovely paper-sculpture in light green (glowing in the dark) that Jochen made for me (thanks) and the magazine holder in my room.

I also got stacks of sticker-sheets and giftwrappers with all L&S characters on it. I’m especially in love with the ones that look like stamps from Ohana village. The beauty of it! Almost too much to behold!

Yeah, okay, so what, you say? Gee, I don’t know, go read a book! But admit it, somewhere deep down in your stone-cold heart you nurture the tiny flame of love for all things Stitch… And if it overpowers you, just come back and visit this post.

Thrifting kitchenware and the like

My first real post on this blog was about plates and stuff (you can read it here), so it’s been a while, over a month already, that I posted something like this.

Me and my flatmates are passionate fleamarket and thriftstore raiders and have acquired quite a few gems. To remind the world of their glory I give you a glimpse on some of them, but avert your eyes quickly if the glamourosity is too much to bear!

Notice how I forced the US-countryside coasters already two times on your eyes? Ha! I’ll even do it a third time! The three green vases are actually from Ikea (ultra cheap) and were given to me by my mother. Below a plate that reads “Happy Birthday!” in German and will make a great little gift for the next birthday kid in town, instead of just some lamey card.

Futuristic Living and Organic Architecture Pt. 1

For my workouts I started to watch videos on ted.com. Coz I wanna gets smartz, y’all. That’s why. Some of the speeches are very good, and practically all of them are very informative, catering to whatever you just happen to like at that moment. I stumbled upon two videos in specific that caught my attention, both of them being about the future of architecture. They deal with questions of sustainability, eco-friendliness and the incorporation of nature and living matter into architectural processes. The first (and short, only 2:57 ) video features Mitchell Joachim, where he talks in “Don’t build your home, grow it!” about using plants and chemically engineered tissue for building homes. Enjoy below.

Some of the ideas he presents in his speech are already being used by other people over the world, who try to grow homes. Below you find structures grown of trees who were “woven” together, using the incredible feature of tree-trunks that, well, they grow together if you force them long enough at a tender age. The structures are “designed” by (1) Konstantin Kirsch and Richard Reames (via fennelandfern.co.uk), (2) Hermann Block (via konstantin-kirsch.de), (3+4) a bunch of people in northeastern India (sorry for not being able in this case to be more specific [and yes, I blame western arrogance], copyright held by Vanlal Tochhawng, via v1kram.posterous.com). 

 

But combining nature and architecture can go in a very different direction, too. There’s tons of examples where organic architecture focuses more on the aesthetiques of organisms and tries to incorporate buildings into landscapes, nevertheless trying to make living things integral parts of the construction. One example is the “Urban Forest” by Chinese architecture studio MAD Ltd. (they hold copyright to the pictures below, by clicking them you get to their website)

Of course these MAD Ltd. designs totally remind me (and probably you, too) of science-fiction paintings and renderings that make the future seem a pretty sweet place to live in (or time, that is). Take for example the picture “Futuristic City Complex” below by artist Staszek Marek (who holds copyright, via coolvibe.com):

Or to take it even further, the below image by Mark Goerner (holding copyright, via cgfriend.org) where the city structure is not built into the natural setting, but the nature is rather built into the city itself:

 

The Urban Free Habitat System by Danish studio N55 pursues another architectural approach and does not create a static space for human beings, but lets the human being decide where to create his_her resident space. By using a simple steel construction seemingly public and open spaces can be transformed into private settings and zones of personal comfort.

Copyright of the above pictures with N55. You can visit their website by clicking here or any of the photos above.
Obviously, questions about sustainability and nature conservation arise, but more pressing for most would probably be to hear about plans for bad weather, unwelcome observers and the like (to be fair: they do address these issues in the according manual on their site).

The following pictures by Ilkka Halso take a different approach to nature and its relation to architecture by visually wondering what happens when we build around nature. Or specifically for nature, since we might be in need of preserving the little residue that is still left to us. And thus, what we often take as a given, becomes a museum object: 

Copyright to all of these gorgeous pictures by Ilkka Halso. You can get to the website either by clicking here or one of the above pictures.

And I’ll just close this post (there’ll be more though, that’s why it is entitled Pt. 1) with the second ted-talk I watched on the issue: Rachel Armstrong talks in “Architecture that repairs itself?” about her research into metabolic materials for architecture, imagining a way to restore the foundation of Venice and more (video duration 7:32).

Cosmic Living: Enter the Universe!

How appropriate: I’ve been toying with the idea to this post for a few days and just when I was about to start, I find my perfect point of entry! Namely: The Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2010 has been chosen (you can learn more about that by clicking the below image). Tom Lowe from the USA won with his image entitled “Blazing Bristlecone” and it is really pretty spectacular:

copyright: Tom Lowe, via nmm.ac.uk

 Why appropriate, you might ask. Now that is, because this post was supposed to be about how images of our beloved little universe and all its pretty contents can inspire interior design and decoration. Granted, the two fields lie a little apart, but when they mix and mingle usually amazing results occur.

I’ll start with what could be labelled “my own two cents”, cause one source of original inspiration, mind you, were two pictures I have hanging on my walls. The first one is actually a postcard, the second an image that I cut out from our daily newspaper.

Please take special notice of my clumsy photography in the second picture, where you can see the reflection of my camera. Oh, and extra points for those who can name the planets shown in the first picture in the correct order.

So all these awesome pictures are only the introductory bit to what I’d like to show you now, which is fantastic interior design options, stumbled upon on the thedesignfiles.net (by clicking on the images you get to the respective posts).

copyright: the design files
copyright: Aura, via thedesignfiles.net
copyright: Pia Ulin, via the design files

The first one is from the Diesel stand at an interior design fair in Milan called Zona Tortona. The second picture features and interior by soft furnishings brand AURA from Australia, designed by Tracie Ellis. The third one is a photograph taken by Pia Ulin, making creative use of the lampshades that I kind of have a hate/ignore relationship with, although they can admittedly be used astonishingly effective sometimes.

Since decoration is like fashion for the home, I thought it was just fitting to throw in some clothing here as well: Voilà, the Christopher Kane resort collection 2010, via Tavi’s style rookie:

via thestylerookie.com

Makes me totally want to go out and buy some random shirt with, say, the milky way on it. Or something. Anyhoo, This post is almost about to be over, but since we were so heavily on the photography side up until here I’ll give you some thematically related watercolor images that I found on Alex Chapmans Blog (I assume he holds the copyright to them, or knows at least who does).




If you wish upon a star…