I do venture beyond furniture every now and again, particularly in the summer when you need things to get you in and out of the house. I bought a pair of these for our trip to Turkey last summer and love them. While not good for city hiking, there were awesomely comfortable run around shoes and pretty darn good climbing rocky trails as well. There are MANY more colors and Les Toiles has a new website in the US so that you can order online.
I just discovered these lovely signed prints by Adrienne Wong, celebrating Central Park in a style inspired by 1940's children's books. There are five prints in this series. Published by Municipal Prints, you should also check out their Brooklyn Travel Prints.
In looking around at really well designed commercial chef's knives for the home that work beautifully and are built to last, a number of readers have recommended these as super high quality and very well priced.
"The blade steel is Japanese AUS6A high-carbon stainless steel and is sharpened to a razor-sharp edge. The handles are co-polymer and provide a soft-yet-firm grip. The handle is exceptionally non-slip, even in a wet kitchen environment. While you can put these knives in the dishwasher, we recommend handwashing to maintain your knives—and keep the knives from harming anything else in your dishwasher. The Kershaw 9900 Series is NSF Certified for commercial kitchens."
I saw this pic at the Casamidy site (Sollano Space) and almost jumped it was so beautiful. Strong contrasting zig zag stripes behind a stove are so unusual and so sensual. Tracking down a source for the tiles, Jorge Almada, of Casamidy, told be that they are very common tiles from Dolores Hidalgo and sent me to this source, MexicanTiles.com, because they ship out of San Diego (better because the tiles are fragile).
Also called Harlequin Talavera Tiles, they come in three sizes, 2x2, 4x4, 6x6, and the pic looks like 4x4 to me. There are also many more colors, but this pic's dark blue looked most appealing to me.
Something totally different and summery for the table: "white enamel-coated steel flatware is by Italian company Variopinte. It has a gorgeous glossy finish which is achieved by baking each piece twice at 800 degrees C; this also makes the range very durable and dishwasher-safe."
My current favorite stool is newly available from England and a vintage design from their vault. Handmade by Ercol north of London, the seat is rounded and generous, while the legs are thin and spare. The whole thing is sort of an English spin on Shaker. Made of ash and beech the design is based on the stools used by draughtsmen to sit at their drawing boards in the Ercol design studio in the 1950's. It comes in many finishes and six colors.
This year I've devoted myself to testing a number of new things, including wireless stereo systems because I've been moving a lot and want less stuff in my life.
Stepping up from a system I discovered last year, this little unit by B&W has a better, bigger sound at half the price. Connected to your Mac or iPhone with Airplay technology and packing two 87.5mm (3.5in) full range drivers, I was extremely surprised and impressed with the sound. With a relatively small footprint, it blew away the other system I'd tried and was nearly as good as the more expensive A7 B&W unit that I was also testing.
With sound big enough to fill a living room, but small enough to fit on a book shelf, the Z2 is B&W's newest entree at their most affordable price point. It has a new generation dock which powers phones and iPods up top, a very easy set up app, and comes in white and black.
Ok, I had my doubts. I am a natural fiber guy. For the past few weeks, I've been sleeping on Sheex, a "performance fabric" turned into sheets AND.... they're sorta great. Once washed, they're silky soft, cool, snuggly and cozy, totally like a natural fiber. I recommend giving them a spin.
What are they made of? "Performance Fabric" means that they're made of poly based fabrics of the same type used in Nike, Under Armour and Adidas sportswear. You know those stretchy shorts you love to run in? Well, here there are as sheets. Invented to two women's basketball coaches in 2007, the idea was simple, if it feels good and regulates temperature better than cotton, why wouldn't it make better bedding?
This is what they say: "Temperature and sleep quality are closely related. The human body experiences a slight drop in body temperature right before falling to sleep. Traditional sheets trap heat and can disrupt sleep. SHEEX performance fabric breathes better, allowing your body to do its job naturally.
Testing conducted at the North Carolina State University Center for Research on Textile Protection and Comfort demonstrates that SHEEX performance bedding holds a proven advantage over cotton in enabling and maintaining optimum conditions for sleep.
Sleeping better and longer has been shown to lead to improvements in important areas such as heart rate, mood, weight loss, energy levels and even athletic performance. A commitment to improving your sleep quality is about more than just sleep itself – it's a commitment to improving your overall health and wellness so you can perform at your peak each and every day."
My go to dish towels at home are now these large, thin and very absorbent flour sack towels that you can find on Amazon and elsewhere. "Frugal folk used to cut up floursacks to create these soft, white, pure cotton floursack towels."
Ok, this is aspirational, but what a lovely sink! I took this pic at a friend's house and then traced it to an English factory that sells through a bunch of shops in the US (now Amazon too). I have never been a big sink person before, but I really like the soft edges, large size and warm feeling of this ("biscuit" is the color), which is made of "fireclay" - not enamel on iron - so that it is much tougher and is acid/alkali resistant. And they're handmade in Darwen, England since 1897.
The bowls come in all sorts of different sizes, so whether you've got a mansion or just a small place you want to feel like one, this is the end of your search.
I spotted this years ago, but wasn't moved. A few months ago, however, I saw things differently when I saw one in person and "got it." We've had one in the window of our new apartment ever since, where it is a sweet and surprising eternal, unwired, non-batteried nightlight. With a soft glow that can also go anywhere (it's watertight and weatherproof) this little thing is a great nightlight and a soon-to-be-tested outdoor summer find. Bright Idea: we're giving them to four year old and a seven year old at their birthday parties this weekend. :)
I have three. These small, shapely African baskets are perfect for wastepaper, laundry and toys around the house. Each one has a unique feeling and they beat the pants off of basket solutions from Bed, Bath and Beyond. I've also found some sets of the same thing for less at Amazon.
Favorite new addition to my home. Simply the most elegant water purifier I've ever seen. Designed and manufactured by a Canadian company based in Montreal, Ovopur holds 11 liters and its cartridges can be returned for full recycling and replacement.
I had breakfast with Pierre Roset yesterday, CEO and family member who has run Ligne-Roset for many years, and he told me that their most amazing design and STILL their best seller is Michel Ducaroy’s Togo, which was launched in 1973. What else can you say? It IS a classic in that it defines a time but continues to be relevant, comfortable and totally eye catching. I predict that it will be an even bigger hit as we fully reclaim our 70's heritage in the next ten years. You can be first.. now with a 20% discount.
Perfect gift. Tipped off by a friend tonight, I checked out this remarkable new company that makes intricate, high quality puzzles in Boulder, CO. I chose this one as it's not endlessly complex, and it's round. Each puzzle is made out of quarter-inch maple plywood and the finest archival paper and inks. Also, each one includes "whimsy" pieces, which I'd never seen before.
I must be getting older because I saw this stunning set of French silverware at Dean & Deluca (they have a great eye) and wanted it. So I looked it up online. Thin and not chunky, shiny but not blinding, sharp but not threatening, this traditional set of silverware also seems plain enough to be everyday ware and the sorts of thing you'd find in a bistro and not in a fancy restaurant in France. Made by Chambly since 1860, this stuff "uses the best nickel silver base available. Each piece is silvered to the highest French legal standard, guaranteed by the square hallmark. All silver flatware is over plated to 150 grams."
BTW they also do the same styles in stainless for a lot less.
I'm already thinking ahead. An Alice Waters slow food favorite, the original Tuscan Grill. Modeled from an 18th century Italian design and crafted by artisan metal smiths by hand in Tuscany. Also comes in a larger size.