Interiors: Purposful plants

Air pollution is all around us, everyone that inhabits this planet is subject to its adverse effects on the human respiratory system.  This photo shows outdoor pollution but there is plenty of indoor pollution too.  Computers, synthetic fabrics, gas stoves, nail polish, tobacco smoke, you name it it is probably affecting the air quality in your home.

Parlor Palm

We can make our home environments happier and healthier by adding a few house plants.  Here are three easy to find plants that “grow fresh air”.

Everyone knows this one, the Golden Pothos is one of the easiest to grow for its tolerance to a variety of environmental conditions.  It can withstand low light and under watering and it produces an abundance of fresh air.  I have one of these in my stairwell, low light to no light it continues to thrive.

Aside from the fact that this is the most popular plant brought to funnerals, the Peace Lily is another real fresh air trooper… not only is the foliage beautiful, it blooms with a delicate white flower.  This plant removes toxins from the air, we could all use a little help form the Peace Lily in more ways than one.

The palm comes in a few varieties, Areca and Parlor Palms are the most popular. These palms are easy to grow for their high tolerance to low water conditions.  I have a few of these in my home and I don’t always remember to water them, regardless; they are still plugging away to produce fresh air for my benefit. 

All of these plants can be found in nurseries around Israel, a little fresh air goes a long way.

 

 

Designer review: Groovy

This mail holder is pretty Groovy, designed by Danit and Yinnon Simhi.  This pair work together to create objects that have a bit of nostalgia about them, their products remind us not to forget the small stuff.  The contraption below looks like it doubles as an ice bucket, you gotta love these multi functional products that add color and conversation to home accessories.

  

The love of your children in art

I  am your stereotypical ‘Jewish Mother’ – My Boys are PERFECT. They are also the center of my life and I love them more than anything else in this world or any other one.  So you can imagine how excited I was when Nava Abel (my sister-in-law) told me on my birthday that she was ‘working on something’ but that she didn’t know when it would be done. She finished it last week. It was worth the wait.

Art brings meaning to a space. It sets a mood. Decorator art makes as much of a statement as something chosen for its incredible beauty. Of course, those statements are completely different – even if they are equally strong.

I love this painting not just because it is of my sons. I love it because it is beautiful. It speaks to me, adds color and interest.

And yet. I also love it because it is of my sons. Aidan looks like he is ready to party and Sean is deciding what he thinks of you. These are my boys, and having this painting on the wall brings a warmth to the room that didn’t exist before.

Not that the flower prints which were there before were so bad, but they were decorator art. They filled the space and met the design requirements of the room. They didn’t fill me with joy whenever I looked at them. This does.

And that is all the difference.

Folding into furniture: Origami

Origami, the Japanese art of paper folding has been around since the 1600′s.  If you’ve ever made a paper airplane then you have crafted a work of origami.  What I love about this artform are the square assorted sheets of paper that come in packs especially for making origami.  I buy the packs just to have access to this colorful assortment of inspiration.

 

Some people like a challenge, have you ever seen such a small crane?  I think this level or origami making would drive me insane.  The crane below is more my style.

 

Many designers have taken this art as a serious study for furniture design.  Geometric folding can lead to some functional products, Yanko Design has a way to make paper cups.

This side table is pretty neat.  It is made with recycled steel and coated with Eco-friendly paint and if you don’t need a table just fold it another way and make a chair… just joking!

How about a paper ring?  This one is my favorite.

How often do we come across something so functional and beautiful at the same time?!  Once in a blue crane…

 

Online store review: Chesshouse.com

Chess is a very popular game in Israel, some schools even have “chess class ” in their curricular line up.  I grew up playing backgammon, my best friend in high school had a beautiful game table at her house… I have been looking for one ever since.  I got pretty excited when I found Chesshouse.com, they not only have all you need to play games they also ship to Israel.

Look at this great table.  It has four of the best games ever invented: Chess, Chinese Checkers, Backgammon and Checkers.  It is made of wood, the games fold into the table for storage and it comes with all of the game pieces all for $295.00 USD (plus shipping). 

This one is more conventional but it has six games inside.  It is also made of wood and comes fully stocked with all game pieces, everything for $199.00 USD (plus shipping).

How can you beat this?  Even with the extra cost for shipping, it’s a real steal!

Good Ideas: Garage floor tiles

These garage floor tiles from Garage Tek are a really great way to make a floor multifunctional.   I love the actual product, but I also think this is the perfect DIY project.

This red and black checker board can be simulated quite easily.  You can either find similar self adhesive floor tiles and arrange them in this pattern or paint them onto the floor yourself.  Floor paint from local paint companies like Nirlat and Tambour will do the job.

Hopscotch 1,2,3!  This one is a bit more challenging to paint but not impossible, all you need is a steady hand and a lot of patience.

Remember shuffle board?  How great would it be to have one of these right in your garage or play space?  Any flat, open, indoor / outdoor space would do for this creative home fun project. 

Here is an example of a painted shuffle board game, this one looks like it may need another coat of paint…

Designer review: Sofi Bar-Adon

Israeli product designer Sofi bar-Adon  has a small line of interesting items.  Her products are practical and functional with an artistic twist.  She sells her work in museum shops and it shows.  Sofi and illustrator Rutho Modan collaborated to make the lamps featured above, both lamps sell for $42.00 each; museum pieces at museum prices…

Plexi-glass side table AKA magazine rack, you can take it where ever you go; $168.00 (for this price, you better take it everywhere you go!).

  

And here is another version of the same concept, same concept same price; $168.00.

 

I have been seeing this item a lot lately shown as a room accent in local magazines, I think it is neat but I definitely have a thing for clocks and licence plates… this one is only $28.00, quite a steal!

Home tour 2: The details

Once upon a time every home in Israel had terrazzo floors. Now one only sees them in a space begging for renovation. One thing I love about Sigal’s home is how they made the old terrazzo tiles into a modern design feature. Notice the hand-painted tiles cut into the space.

We’ve had our granite porceline tile for 6 years now and some places look better than others. You have to take a jackhammer to terrazzo if you want to chip it. I can see why it was so popular, as it is infinitely more practical.

This is a large airy home filled with small intimate spaces. The TV area, below, is seperate from a shanti sitting area (closer to the back doors).

Sigal keeps her walls neutral so that her art is the main focus.

The kitchen is filled with creative constrained chaos – one of my favorite looks. You can see that this is a home of people who use their kitchen.

Every possible space available for shelves is used.

And more art, plus their collections from abroad…

Flower therapy

 I was really inspired by Maxwell Gillingham-Ryan, author and founder of a great book and website called “Apartment Therapy“.  I picked up his book “apartment therapy, the eight-step home cure” a few weeks ago and have been cleaning ever since.  One thing in his eight-step home cure process is to bring fresh flowers into the home once a week to nourish the “heart” of your home.  I highly recommend this practice, I have been doing it and it not only adds beauty; it actually becomes a looked forward to event for me every Friday.

  

Fresh flowers are always beautiful.  It is important to nurture them everyday with clean water if possible, this will prolong the beauty and the life of the flowers.  Dead flowers should be thrown out immediately.

Home tour: The sanctuary of Sigal

Sigal Caspin-Segal is what you get when you mix Indian artwork and mythology with science fiction / fantasy and add a dash of shanti (Israeli hippy). She lives up the street from me, and a friend of the family designed her amazing house. I love homes like this – individual with little niches and details that tell you about the people who inhabit the space.

There are a lot of photographs from this space (there was just so much to see!) so I’ll be making more posts. More rather long posts.

Continue reading