Why Don’t You…?

… circle up?

With more and more homeowners tearing out walls to achieve a lighter, more airy look, why are straight lines getting all the glory? Next time you’re thinking of expanding your current dinette into a bigger kitchen, re-think the traditional route and get creative with a circular archway. Don’t you love how much it modernizes the entire space?

Of course, a perfect circle is no average Joe’s DIY, but I’ll bet a handy contractor would know what to do. Go forth and sphere yourselves!

[Image Credit: House to Home]

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What I saw in… Hearst Castle.

San Simeon State Park / en route to Hearst Castle

Have you ever been? It definitely wasn’t all that I had expected. Even though I’m a modernist and minimalist at heart, I can certainly appreciate the history and grandness of the Hearst Castle. Just the ride up to the Castle will take your breathe away. Talk about a long-term collaboration, the construction of the Castle was a 28-year project, maybe even more, between the famed San Francisco architect Julia Morgan and William Randolph Hearst. Did you know the architectural style of the Castle was inspired by Hearst’s European travels with his mother when he was a boy? The main house towers were inspired by a Spanish cathedral, guest cottages reminiscent of the Mediterranean, a Roman temple front and columns that anchor the outdoor pool… Can’t even begin to describe the massive European and Mediterranean art and antique collection. It literally covers just about every wall and room (and there are 165 rooms in total!). You have to see it to truly appreciate Hearst’s love of collecting. I was in complete awe.

 

Casa Grande / the main house

 

side view of Casa Grande / entrance to wine cellar

 

Casa del Monte (House of the Mountains) / “House B”

 


Billiard room / Flemish tapestry from 1500

 

tiny glimpse of the kitchen / look at that oversized mixer!

 

Neptune pool / how great is that pattern?

 

Roman pool / 1″ square mosaic tiles decorated the walls from floor to ceiling

{ all camera phone images by Peggy Wong }

 

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5 Wooden Wine Racks

Winter is just around the corner, which means loads of entertaining and spirits. Naturally, I’m on the hunt for wine racks that are both well-designed and affordable enough for gift-giving and hostess surprises.

While searching, I noticed my favorite designs were wooden, creating a beautiful mix of rustic, yet modern. Check out a few I spotted below!:

a. The Umbra Barrel Bamboo Wine Rack ($20) collapses when not in use and features a unique, circular design that holds 12 bottles. Definitely a top contender!
b. For a statement, the Zebrano Wood Wine Rack ($110) houses ten bottles with chrome accents separating each “layer.”
c. Equal parts sculptural and smart, the Wine Knot ($120) holds seven bottles in a molded plywood design. Gorgeous!
d. Sometimes you stick with the classic. This 24 Bottle Cellar Cube ($46) is an old standby for obvious reasons – the perfect mix of form and function span so many decor styles.
e. By far the most budget-friendly option is the Wine Bottle Folding Rack ($4) that seems directly inspired from my favorite Swedish drying rack. I love the simplicity, and of course – the price!

So, friends – which would you choose? Any favorites I’ve missed?

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Shop Talk: Mrket

Photographer / designer Peter Bagi launched Mrket after dreaming of owning his own general store. Well-edited with emerging art pieces and curated housewares, Mrket is a must-see for quality design and celebrated function. Here are a few finds I’m craving!:

1. This black walnut cheese board deserves to be displayed daily. What a beauty! ($55)
2. Made of reclaimed wood, the Sailor Sam Lamp ($160) would make a lovely industrial statement in any space.
3. A pair of old style creamers are a classic addition to every kitchen – and fit the bill indeed! ($15)
4. The Yew wood knife holder ($75) hails from the Pacific Northwest and begs to be spotlighted in a rustic-inspired kitchen.

Any beauties you see in the mix? Happy shopping!

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9 For $9: The Kitchen Edition

Sometimes, the best things in life are free. Other times, they’re just cheap. In this case, I’ve spotted nine design finds to make your everyday kitchen/dining experience a bit more fun… all for less money than you spend at your local Chinese takeout spot.

Eat up!:

-Forget the dreaded PB&J mess. Instead, opt for a handy double-ended knife to keep the goop from the goo. ($9)
-Make your guests laugh with spaghetti-inspired scrubbers that clean stains faster than you can say basil. ($8.50)
-Cat salt & pepper shakers? Why not? ($7)
-Wine Lines are key for your next dinner party. Finally, a stylish alternative to the Sharpie! ($6)
-Wooden measuring spoons that are as easy on the eyes as they are on the wallet. ($9)
-Bored during dessert? Get crafty with origami napkins! ($8)
-The Dress for Dinner napkin will make any guest smile with its cheeky (and functional!) design. ($6)
-A sweet illustrated clam chowder tea towel will liven up your next dish duty. ($9)
-Mini cocktail forks are always a necessity, and these fit the bill. ($6)

Bon appetit, friends!

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